July 31, 2013

WIP Wednesday & Grab Bag Goodness

So as you know, I've been working on re-organising my scrapbooking supplies and arrangements.  I've been mulling over how to potentially better store my papers and I finally took the plunge and decided to try out a new system and see how it goes.  Here's what I've set up:

I buy cardstock by the 10-pack and I've been saving the left-over sleeves to recycle and thought they could make good paper holders.  I cut 4" off the front tops and made some little tabs with scrap card and washi tape to label them, then started putting in paper by manufacturer.  I didn't have enough sleeves for all of the manufacturers but I have a lot of singles and two pages from random companies so there's a fair bit of 'miscellaneous', which is fine for now.  Behind the patterned paper is my cardstock, arranged by colour; then specialty papers and letter sticker sheets, notepaper pad and scoring board.  I'm going to try this out for a while and see how well it works for me, then decide if it needs adjustment or if I want to purchase proper Cropper Hoppers, etc.

I also did a big de-stash the other week - my first ever de-stash, actually - it was so liberating!  Being a teacher, I could of course take it into work to use with my class but I actually thought it might be more fun to make grab bags for interested readers such as yourselves.  Sounds fun, yes?  So here's the deal...

Grab Bags!
I've made 9 themed bags (see the list below) and you're very welcome to take as many as you wish, I'm just asking for $10 USD to help with the cost of international shipping.  I'm very happy to combine multiple grab bags into one shipment, although depending on weight, I may ask for an additional $5 USD.

This is older product from a number of sources, such as scrapbooking manufacturers, Papercraft Inspirations magazine free gifts, generic craft stores and dollar stores.  Each grab bag is comprised of different items but may include: patterned paper (either 12x12, 8x8 or 6x6 sizes), clear stamps, stickers, tags, dimensional embellishments, rhinestones, sequins, letter stickers, brads, tapes & adhesives, photo corners, buttons & beads, ribbons, artist's colouring pencils and ephemera.

Available themes (list will be updated as needed) - $10 USD shipping cost unless otherwise stated:
  • Autumn (small - $5 USD shipping cost)
  • Winter (small - $5 USD shipping cost)
  • Summer/Spring
  • Christmas
  • Wedding
  • Baby
  • Kids & Critters
  • Card-Maker's Pack
  • Misc./Trave/Food
UPDATE: All grab bags have been claimed and shipped!

If you're interested, please email me at cenglanddesigns [at] gmail [dot] com and indicate which grab bag(s) you'd like.  Please also include your shipping address.  If combining bags, we can discuss any necessary adjustments to shipping costs, which will be payable through the above email address via PayPal.

July 29, 2013

Keukenhof Snapshots

So last week I was following CHA-S quite closely through manufacturer blogs and 2Peas but I didn't have much inspiration for anything new to scrap, even though I wanting to get in on some of the 2Peas CHA challenge action.  Thankfully, my friend Anya came down to visit for the weekend and we enjoyed some crop time together and that really helped to inspire me into working on a new page, with the bonus of being able to catch up with a good friend I've not seen much in the last year - thanks, Anya!

So I decided to finally start scrapping some of my Amsterdam holiday photos from 2011.  I spent an entire day at Keukenhof gardens and have probably close to 100 flower/garden photos and let's face it, it's pretty darn difficult to not find beautiful flowers inspiring (or at least, for me).  So here's my finished page:

I started by pulling out my absolute favourite flower photos, looking for a selection of different types, shapes and colours.  That narrowed things down to 24 photos, which I thought was fairly impressive on its own.  Later I paired this down further to 12 photos.

I decided that using Polaroid-style frames would be the best way of featuring so many photos on a page so I got to work hand-cutting scraps of white cardstock.  Since I wanted the photos to remain the focus point, I chose to use a tone-on-tone design.  I used a black fine-liner pen to doodle around the frames and then found a distressed patterned paper sheet that also had a doodled frame around it for the background - perfect!

My original thought was to use a grid layout, perhaps titled and with the photos staggered to give it some movement and energy on the page.  Then I decided it would be cute to have the photos hanging from little washing lines instead and found some natural fibre twine that would fit well with the nature-theme and tone-on-tone design.  I also used some natural wooden mini clothes pegs to highlight my favourite photo of the bunch and I also clipped one onto my journaling card.  The rest of the photos I attached to the line using washi tapes.

I'm always very good when I go on holiday about keeping memorabilia but I'm less good about organising and storing it once I get home.  I had all of my Amsterdam bits and bobs in a plastic bag (and knew where to find it - bonus!) but I often get so into making a travel layout that I forget to check the bag and pull out material to plan into the page until too far into the design process.  But not this time - I got into that bag and pulled out my e-ticket, Keukenhof business card and train ticket to the gardens and decided I would work them and the journaling card into the design using a glassine bag, which would also help to cover up a motif on the background paper that didn't fit the page and I layered all of that under the last photo.

Again, because I wanted to keep the photos as the focus, I used basic black Thickers and letter stickers for my title and I stamped in a grey that wouldn't be over-powering on the page.  I also kept my embellishments minimal (although Anya teased me that she would have stopped *ages* ago - ha!).  I was also quite pleased with myself that I managed to work in the magenta coloured vellum stickers from the Yes, Please sticker sheet - I love how virtually any colour will work with most flowers.

I cleaned up quite well on the challenge prompts with just this one layout (totally impressed myself):
  • Stash Busters - use scraps (white cardstock for frames)
  • 2Peas - Glitter Girl (focus on photos)
  • 2Peas - Scrap Your Stash (use frames)
  • CHA 3 Pieces of Memorabilia (tickets x2, business card)
  • CHA 4 Elements of Nature (flowers, birds, butterflies, ladybird)
  • CHA 5 Senses (journaled about sight and scent)
  • CHA 10 photos (used 12)
Weekend crop results - Anya with her finished page and my nearly-finished page:

Such fun!  I'm very much looking forward to when she moves back closer, hopefully in the next few months, and we can do these things more often.

July 28, 2013

Pinspiration Sunday

So, a lot of new goodies in the crafting world with CHA-S last week.  I'll admit, I was hooked entirely on the scrapbooking market side of the event.  I'm really not sure how my budget is going to survive my next purchase once the new releases are available - I have something akin to at least 3 collections either already in or eagerly awaiting going into my 2Peas bucket - yikes!  Anyway, go grab your hot beverage of choice and cozy up for your weekly dose of photo love.

* listening - to the birds chirp and the wind blow
* reading - Through the Kaleidoscope (Amy Heller's scrapbooking colour theory class)
* making - my first Amsterdam travel LO!  (trip 2 years ago)
* eating - far too many unhealthy things lately - really must get a grip
* drinking - water
* wearing - PJs
* weather - overcast, 22C
* feeling - hungry
* wanting - far too many beautiful new CHA products *sighs*
* planning - to set up my new paper stash system
* loving - having an old friend over for a weekend crop; thanks, Anya!
* enjoying - Oskar snoozing in his basket next to my bed (sweetness)

This past week's inspiration:

OMG, total *love*!  I just found this this morning and although I've been planning for years to re-decorate my lounge in a lovely mauve, I'm seriously considering changing my mind to these.  There is even a selection of the collection available in home decor weight fabrics.

I will admit, I have a tendency to fall victim to this - I don't always properly press my sewing and it can turn around a bite me in the butt later.  Always good to review the 'basics', as it were, and not get sloppy.  I also quite liked the envelope tip to avoid getting seam allowance lines on your blocks - very handy.

I just think this is so inspirational - a grassroots organisation promoting free lending and exchanging of books using tiny little birdhouse/mailbox-like containers in communities worldwide.  Such a great initiative!

This is my Pinterest board for the 2Peas Mix & Match CHA-S challenge game.  If you've not seen this, the premise is to choose 5 current products from the 2Peas store and 5 yet-to-be-released products and mix n'match them together for a unique look of old and new.  I based my board on the absolutely *gorgeous* Carta Bella Hello Again collection (yes, that will be jumping into my next 2Peas bucket for sure).  There's a mix of Maggie Holmes, OA, Webster's Pages and Fancy Pants in there as well.

How awesome is this page by Kiwijesta at 2Peas?  She was inspired by Paige Evans and her use of scraps but I really feel that she's made it her own, hands down.  I love everything about this page from the misting to the paper choices to the embellishments and especially that pop of dark turquoise in the title and journaling.  Just awesome.

Serious cuteness alert - I love this idea.  I could see adapting a matchbox for this card or of course you could just DIY the shape from cardstock scraps.  Would be a really unique way of inserting gift certificates, event tickets or anything else.

The Maggie Holmes embellished clips were very popular in her recent release and there's more on the way in the new collection.  I've also seen bobby pins being used in card making recently, too, so it's certainly a growing trend.  I love the look of these fabric covered button pins and they're super easy to make - you just need a button covering kit and some flat-backed bobby pins.

I also thought this origami tutorial could be fun to try for when you're short on dimensional arrows or want to focus on using up your paper scraps, etc.

I will undoubtedly have an entire post on the topic of finding this year's Christmas collection of choice, which seems to have been a whole 'drama' unto itself.  However, I'm really liking the look of North Pole, by We Are Memory Keepers (go figure).  More on this at a later time.

And finally, since I'm taking a colour theory class at the moment, let's enjoy some colour love.  How yummy and delicious is this palette (haha!).  *swoon*  It reminds me of Amy Tan's gorgeous Yes, Please collection, which I believe I can safely say is my currently all-time favourite collection to date.  Just yum.

July 26, 2013

Quick Cards - Tatty Teddy

I've been in between inspiration the last few days but I have a friend coming over for a crop tomorrow so I'm working on getting myself back into a scrapping mood by working on some quick cards today.

I decided to use up a few more of the Tatty Teddy chipboards I received as a free gift from an issue of Papercraft Inspirations and to make them go more quickly, I simply scraplifted my previous design concept and made a few tweaks here and there for each card.  I also used up scraps from my scrap basket and two 6x6 papers someone sent me in a swap a few years ago so it feels good to clear out some of that paper.

Now, look carefully at the bottom right corner of the birthday card - see that typed 'Happy Birthday' sentiment?  I did that on my "new" (new-to-me) typewriter, an old Olivetti!

Isn't she gorgeous?!  I'm still working out the model number in the hopes that it will help with purchasing the right replacement ribbon - if you happen to recognise it or have a good website to help with this, I'm all ears!  I'm estimating it to be from the 1960s, based on some preliminary photo comparisons I've done so far.

It's in very good condition - only one key that doesn't work (where the number 1 would be) but I'm not fussed over that and can substitute an 'l' for a 1 if needed.  Types in both black and red.  Case was included.  It took three weeks to finally pick it up from the previous owners but I'm so looking forward to using it for some journaling here and there on my future projects.

Do you have an old typewriter that you use for your papercrafting?  I'd love to hear how you use yours, if you do.  I'm going to test out typing on vellum and then directly onto photos (that doesn't bother me).  I'm also planning on buying some clear washi tape to type onto for journaling.

July 25, 2013

Belated WIP Wednesday

Okay, I know it's officially not Wednesday anymore but I was having a completely slovenly day yesterday and didn't do much of anything (it was wonderful, btw).  Anyway, I'm playing catch-up today and have actually managed to be quite productive so I guess it all evens out in the long run.

So, first up - I have finished my donation slab blocks for the Quilts Recover Southern Alberta project - yeah!  I sat down today and sewed a new orange block, since I had fallen in love with the first one I made and then made a second red block, since I had a lot of leftover red scraps I'm unlikely to use for anything else.

That brings the total up to eight blocks altogether and I'm quite happy about it.  I'm eagerly awaiting Cheryl's address so that I can pop these into the post in the next week.  Here's a look at the collection altogether:

I've also been working a bit more on re-organising my scrapbooking stash.  It all started when I found some wooden clothes pegs at a good price; brought them home and decorated them with narrow washi tape, then sat down and went through my ziplock bag of ribbons, creating a donation pile and winding the rest I wanted to keep onto my new, prettied-up pegs.

How lovely, eh?  I've since found an old glass container I no longer use for baking supplies and have stored them in there.  Well, then I seemed to have gotten the de-stashing bug because I quickly moved on to my stash baskets, which are now pretty bare.  I'm very happy about that, though, because a lot of it was stuff left over from my extremely early scrapping days that doesn't match my current style or things that I've received from elsewhere (ie. magazine gifts, etc.) that again don't match my style.  And of course, clearing out the old means plenty of room for new shopping - squee!

So at the moment this is the current state of things.  Not really organised, as you can see.  Those two woven baskets in the bottom shelf are actually my 'stash' and with the exception of cardstock and patterned paper, everything fits in here.  Small, right?  What can I say, I own a small flat and I need to balance living space with hobbies.  The majority of my scrapbooking supplies are currently in a similarly large basket in the kitchen, though - that's my current stash that I'm working through so this certainly isn't all of it.

The box on the second shelf in the first cubby on the left is my box of de-stashed items.  The other two cubbies on this shelf have things that would normally fit into the stash baskets but it's all awaiting further organisation at the moment.  I'm trying to decide what to do about paper storage right now.  I have paper sleeves that my 12x12 cardstock comes in that I'm considering recycling to hold my patterned paper in one of these cubby squares.  Or I might invest in a cropper hopper - one for cardstock and one for patterned paper would be plenty for me.  Or perhaps the black three-partitioned cropper hopper.  I'm going to chat it over with a fellow scrapper friend who's coming to visit for a crop this weekend and then try to decide on a course of action.  Suggestions are whole-heartedly accepted.

July 22, 2013

So Many Happy Memories

Last Wednesday I shared this sneak of some supplies I had pulled for a new layout:

It took me a while to start working on it for two reasons.  First, my initial sketch ideas all seemed to gravitate towards designs that work best with portrait oriented photos and my photo was landscape oriented.  Second, I wanted a design that had flow and avoided the boxy feeling (I've been working with a lot of squares lately, it seems).  Then I realised I could adapt one of the sketches from Shimelle's Hitchhiker's Guide to Scrapbooking by using a large doily and after that, everything fell into place.

When I put these papers together, I immediately thought of using this photo.  I didn't even remember what the colours were, although it was probably a sub-conscious realisation.  I also wanted to use this lovely, bold floral paper from Oxford Lane.  I'm not one to often use floral designs - I'm more of a geometric girl - but it's so pretty and I like a challenge so I cut it into a circle to lay inside the doily.  I wanted to cover the seam between the paper and doily but didn't have any great ribbon choices so I decided to hand stitch using a fancier embroidery stitch - the chain stitch.  It adds such wonderful texture and dimension to the page and really draws in your eye - here's a detail shot:

I also thought I would carry the floral theme into the embellishments - also not something I normally do but I was recently sent some pretty Martha Stewart large flower embellishments and I have a few flowers left in my stash I thought I would use up.  In the end, I didn't use either of those but instead used this pretty fabric flower, which I paired with a felt bracket that I cut up to look like extra leaves.  I also painted some gold Stickles into the flower's center and leaves to liven up the white space inside the flower.

As it turns out, EP's Here & Now collection actually matches the turquoise, lime and yellows of Oxford Lane quite well so I used the element stickers to embellish a second cluster on the diagonal.  I liked how the cloud stickers had floral motifs in them, then added some arrows and butterflies.  I added more gold Stickles to the large yellow butterfly and to some random dots on the floral background paper.

I wanted to keep the rest of the page simple and airy so I used a banner strip for the title, ran a little embroidery floss along it and used a label to contain my journaling.  I also stamped the date and a sentiment along the right border and then drew a fine doodling line around the other three sides, because the design was feeling like it lacked grounding.

Want to try chain stitching on your pages, too?  I made a short video to help show you how.

Now, if you like the look of the chain stitching and also like to hand stitch on your pages but have only used the running and/or back stitches, I would encourage you to try some more decorative stitches!  They really add pizzazz to a page and while they often look complicated, many are in fact very simple and transfer well to paper stitching.  You can find a plethora of embroidery stitch photo tutorials from Sarah's Hand Embroidery Tutorials and here are a half dozen beginner level stitches to get you started:

Arrow Head Stitches

Blanket Stitches

Thanks for joining me today and I hope I've inspired you to try some stitching on your next page and if you do, I'd love to see it.

July 21, 2013

Pinspiration Sunday

Sunny evening, everyone!  We've been enjoying some truly lovely summery weather the last few days, which means I've been busy juggling crafting with soaking up some R&R.  Although if I'm honest, the crafting has been winning out over the sunshine; something I should rectify soon.  So, you know the routine - go grab your hot beverage of choice and cozy up to some photo love.

* watching - Bones, premiere episode
* reading - Papercraft Inspirations, August issue
* making - many pretty paper things :P
* eating - homemade, grilled hamburgers - YUM!
* drinking - water
* wearing - tank top and shorts
* weather - clear and sunny, 22C
* feeling - excited to play with a new toy
* needing - to finish the 2 blocks for Albertan Relief & buy a new bike (urgently)
* planning - to re-organise my scrapbooking supplies
* thinking - I need to be out in the sun more
* loving - my current creations
* enjoying -  looking forward to Haberdashery sewing group

Now, on to the pins:

How beautiful is this quilt?  I love the soft, sparkly colours on the pure white background and the interest and movement that the uneven border adds.

This website has tonnes of embroidery stitch photo tutorials with easy-to-follow instructions.  This site will be popping up again soon but I thought I'd share now in the hopes that you find some lovely new stitches to try on your next project, sewing or papercrafting.

How cute is this idea?  I like the mason jar trend but I've never invested in any of the papers or stamps, etc.  I think Senoritascapper has used her jars wonderfully, though, and it makes me want to scraplift this adorable page.

This page is so whimsical.  I love the background of branding stripes and the flourish of simple, white butterflies, perfectly positioned but it's the glitter ombre letter stickers that really bring this page together.  Stunning.

There is something I love about stripes and especially diagonal stripes and the combination that Laura has used here with circles is so striking.  I love that single pop of blue.

Yes, you read that right - Ikea!  I couldn't believe it myself but it appears that they now have a gift wrap and stationery line (or that's been the case for a while and I've only just noticed now - entirely possible).  Anyway, the tapes come in sets of four in pink, blue, green or black.  I'm not sure if the quality is washi-style or decorative cello tape and my local Ikea doesn't have them in stock currently but I'm looking forward to investigating further.

If you missed it last week, I used this tutorial to make a neat twine flower for a scrapbooking page.  It's actually ridiculously easy and they make lovely accents for papercrafting or could be sewn onto handbags or the like.

And because I love orange and I've been getting into greys these days, I had to share this lovely colour palette - it just makes me happy and warm inside.

July 20, 2013

Whale of a Birthday

I needed to make a birthday card for my step-father so yesterday I set to work on it.  I knew I wanted to use some wood veneer numbers I'd recently bought but was struggling on which papers to use.  Long story short, I (finally) decided on the FP Down by the Shore collection.  I've been wanting to experiment with the new corrugated cardstock and the maritime portion of the collection has an especially nice masculine feel to it.  Prepare yourself for extreme cuteness - no, seriously, this chubby little whale gets me every time:

Isn't he *adorable*?!  My initial inspiration actually came from the central pennant, where you can see I layered up the wood veneer numbers (my step-father's age) and like I said, I just can't resist that whale and thought he'd be cute layered over the pennant, too.
For the corrugated cardstock, I simply stitched it with my sewing machine - the pressure from the presser foot did flatten the area I'd sewn but I also went over it twice so...  If you want to sew your corrugated cardstock and want to prevent it from flattening, I would recommend seeing if your machine has the ability to adjust the height/pressure of your presser foot (check the manual if you don't know this yourself).

I felt more pennants would help support the design and decided to use the anchors, since that's one of the challenge prompts in the current Stash Busters Challenges over on the 2Peas forum.  Then I fussy cut the whale and cut reverse scallops into the striped paper to help ground everything.  Lastly, I wrapped some twine around from which the pennants could hang and tied little knots in the ends.  I wasn't going to add a sentiment to the front but the 'happy happy day' sticker fit so nicely and I really liked how the pennants helped to lead the eye to it.

And yes, if you look closely in the above photo, that *is* lobster/crayfish fabric under the card.  :P

And just because I truly can't resist, I'll leave you with this: