Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Wow! Your Parents Really...

When I mentioned here that I didn’t have any resolutions this year as such, but that I did want to scrap more, a very specific part of this wish was to scrap our wedding photos. I can tell you that there won’t be any disappointment or self-flagellation on this front if January is anything to go by – here’s another layout, inspired by this week’s sketch from Scrapbook Challenges. This one’s about my mum and dad at the wedding, and has a frivolous side to it, whilst still remaining stylish and in theme with the rest of the wedding album.

At some point in the build-up to the wedding, my parents were sort of/almost dictating which songs we should have in our playlist. You would think I would have either freaked out, or cottoned on. But evidently I was too distracted. So when the first of their requested songs came on in the evening, and they picked up their feet and started jiving – yes, jiving – my jaw hit the ground like Sebastien the Crab’s in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. When we finally got them off the dance floor they admitted they’d been having secret lessons in the build-up to the wedding. In fact, they went to such lengths to hide the lessons from my brother, who lives at home right now, that they told him they were going out to marriage counselling!

They really got on board with the whole 50s-ish theme – and they loved it. AND they looked incredible. This fact was not missed by anyone – one of our friends said to me, in that voice that sounds surprised because it’s generally unexpected that such a possibility could exist, ‘Wow, your parents really have style!’… and so the title for this layout was born.

The sketch – yet another great one from Scrapbook Challenges:

this is one of THREE different takes on the sketch on offer this week
 And my interpretation:

Scrapbook Challenges sketch #280

Sunday, 29 January 2012

A Project to Stick To

Last year I made lots of resolutions – hardly any of which I managed to keep. This year I know better, and have only a few things I’d be pleased to stick to: walking, photographing, and scrapping – specifically, doing more of each.

A project I’ve seen bouncing around the forums was about walking at least once a week, and taking your camera with you. Nearly perfect, I thought – that’s got two of the three. But I thought more about it, and realised I could easily make it about all three. So I’ve set up a section on the Scrapbook Challenges forum specifically for this 52 Walks project. Each week I add a prompt word or phrase, and then anyone who wants to participate must take their camera out with them on their walk and snap something that is inspired by the prompt word or phrase. Then when they come home, they gotta scrap about it. The format’s nothing new, I know: it’s like Project Life, Project 365, December Dailies, that sort of thing… but for me the leading of such a project certainly is new.

I’ve decided to make a mini book out of mine – I’ve altered the outside of an old notepad and ring-bound hole-punched postcards inside to act as pages… and since I've used lots and lots of Gauche Alchemy products, I've turned it into a video.

the sneakiest of peeks
 (The full video – another stop-motion triumph – will be available some time next month!)

But I can’t just tease you with a sneak of the cover, can I? Here’s my progress so far – for this month, I’ve made it through 3 weeks of prompts, and am working on the fourth as we speak.

The photos:

Week 1: Out of Context

Week 2: Blue

Week 3: Reflections

And the decorated postcards (sorry, photos taken at night):

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3
It’s a great project – small and spaced out enough to not monopolise my time, but still motivating and inspiring.

Want to join in? Find out what Week 5's prompt is? Back-daters are welcome! Come on over to the Scrapbook Challenges Forum and sign up!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Bobbing and Weaving, Ducking and Diving, Picking and Choosing

What feels like a really long time ago I made this tray – for me. There was a second tray, destined for the husband’s lap, which never got altered.

Until now.

Over at Scrapbook Challenges it was my turn this month to post a technique challenge – so, thought I, the perfect opportunity to finish this two-part tray project!

My technique? Paper weaving. I thought about repeating the sunburst effect on his tray, but since good old checkers are really his thing, the paper weaving idea fit much better:

he loves the black and white
It's not finished - I need to add his name, laminate it and varnish the frame, so I'll post a nice picture when I've done all that.

But I liked it so much I did some more on a birthday card for our friend:

the birthday boy's gonna so totally, like, flip over this

If you want to see in-progress pictures of me weaving paper, get onto the Scrapbook Challenges forum!

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In other news, the Gauche Alchemy mamas challenged me in December to make a video showing how to make a scrapbook layout with their mixed media products - for anyone who is stuck in mixed media canvas mode but wants to switch to layout mode and doesn't know where to start. Now, I want to add a little disclaimer here for the video quality: December was a tough month for me – it seems that I ate everything in my path, including all the hours in all the days, and I just couldn’t get to doing anything as properly as I wanted to. This project included. But to go with this GA blog post, here is the video nonetheless – and a promise that next month’s will be altogether more… together!

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Finally, my trusty assistant, DJ the Dog, helped me pick out two winners for the SC blog hop RAKs here on AndHandmadeToo:

Winners, PM me your addresses – there’s a long-awaited trip to the post office I have to make anyway, so I may as well send all the packages in one go!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Our Brilliant Stars

When we were planning our wedding, we knew from an early stage that more than mere observers, we wanted people to be involved in the wedding. So in our intricate detailing of how our day was going to pan out, we included a lot of people, and from those people, we asked for quite a lot of things.

I’m sure it’s fairly normal to ask family members to help out – all of my family decorated the venue for us on the day, my mum made all the cakes the day before, and his close family hosted welcome drinks for guests the night before – and when it comes to the bridesmaids and groomsmen, there are pre-set, etiquette-driven, certain particular tasks that fall into what you would call the ‘normal’, ‘standard’ or ‘to be expected’ category. But what we asked of our bridesmaids and groomsmen went beyond the norm – then again, our whole day did, too.

We assigned certain responsibilities to each of them, such as asking one of the boys in braces to be the music monitor; we got the polka dot princesses to manage the quiz during dinner by collecting and marking the answer sheets; they all ushered the tables into the ceremony room for our own personal ceremony after dinner; and they each invented and asked vows to the bride and groom to make sure we were going to look after each other. They did a lot more besides this – an awful lot. For that we are eternally grateful, and so touched by the distance they went for us.

It’s for this reason I wanted to make this layout a fairly uncomplicated page: to show off the simple fact that we are so thankful for these friends and what they shared with us on our wedding day; they really were superstars. The true meaning of friendship came out on that day and we will not forget the feeling of immense pride and joy at having these people present at our wedding.

It’s another Scrapbook Challenges sketch – up this week on the forum – in fact, I designed this one myself (except Brynn, SC Queen Bee, jazzed it up and made it look all snazzy like that):

it didn't look this good when I handed it in
The double-page version looks like this:

i tried smooshing it all onto one page, but it's better on two

And a rare double-pager from me looked like this:

Scrapbook Challenges sketch #279
Using only Bazzill cardstock and MME Quite Contrary patterned paper, a few snips of Happy Days paper, alphas and journaling cards, some Happy Days and For the Record stickers, AC Thickers and Bitty Grunge stamps from Tim Holtz to get the circles into the layout, I created a panorama of what I hope is love, gratitude, awe, respect and happiness.

they really were superstars!
Thanks, you lot, for helping to make our wedding day so awesome. We will not forget. x x x

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Guest Creative Scrapper

And so for the exciting news!

Kristine at Creative Scrappers contacted me last year to see if I wanted to be a guest on their blog... and of course I said yes. Why would I say no when the blog is just about my favourite source of sketch and layout inspiration?

You can read my guest post on the Creative Scrappers blog but I'll show you what I made with sketch #192 here:

Creative Scrappers sketch #192
Our first engagement photoshoot was uncomfortable for me. I am not great at posing and really needed to be directed more strongly. Out of 500 photos there were about 50 I liked, and about 30 made it into the final collection. Which all makes me more happy that we got this one - full of attitude, looking totally comfortable and acting quite the poseurs.

rockabilly say yes!

The page is a memory of our discussion about props: he had his hat, I had my handbag... and then at the last minute I said 'Bring your guitar!'.

me and him, in object form
Echo Park collections make up the majority of this layout - I seem to have kept scraps from Life is Good and For the Record which match well with Happy Days. You'll also find some Lily Bee, Crate and Jenni Bowlin in there. Credit also has to go to Basic Grey for their postal stamp... don't you just love the black on black of the heat embossed postmark?

I'll be using this technique again
A big thanks to Kristine for asking me to be part of the Creative Scrappers scene! If you haven't heard of them already, you should go check them out now. They are really very, very good.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Boxes... and Skulls... Again

While I'm working on something very exciting and waiting on something else very exciting (I'll share this very soon), I've got a very tiny thing to show you today.
Like I did here, I've gone and made another skull box. 
lots of skulls....yeah!
(Sharing time: I have a possibly unhealthy obsession with boxes. Boxes, tins, and the like. I like to collect them. Even if they may not have any future potential use. I like to stack them inside each other. I like to find the precise right one to store things in. (Boy do I love to store things.) I like to decorate them as giftboxes. I like to incorporate them into scrapping projects. I like to make myself them and...etc)
I used a heat embossing technique and Inkadinkado stamps borrowed from my mum to get this super smart look:
love how oily and grungy it looks
Did I mention I like boxes? This one was used to house a gift voucher at Christmas - and now it holds cufflinks. The gift voucher wasn't for cufflinks, but cunning box reuse is evidently one of my husband's traits too.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Hold On Tight

Well I hope everyone enjoyed the SC Blog Hop - there were certainly a lot of you hopping around and leaving comments! More Scrapbook Challenges today - I have sketch #278 to share with you.

Participating in the weekly sketch challenges can earn you the title of Pick of the Week or even win you a prize. Most importantly, the sketch itself and the layouts made by the DT can go a long way to nudging you out of a creative rut or giving you the confidence to try something new.

If you've been hanging around here for a while, you'll remember my horror story about my wedding hair. I won't go over that again (if only to avoid the pain of recounting it) - at least not entirely. But now I've made a layout about it, it's kind of hard not to retell this aspect of the wedding day.

I think my hair and make-up girl fainted when she heard the driver of the caddy say 'since we're running late, we'll have to take the big roads' - big roads being the inner city ring, which dips up and down and in and out of tunnels, and is two, three and sometimes four lanes wide. She assured me the style would hold (what else could she say?) but I think it was the major disruption to traffic flow caused by the beer festival that saved my curls: after we got off the ring, every road we turned down was blocked, leading us onto progressively smaller and slower roads. Going slower meant less wind, and less wind meant precious moments more of preserving my carefully curled wedding hair.

The photographers followed behind us in the car and sneaked this shot of me and my mum holding on for dear life:

Scrapbook Challenges sketch #278

I used Echo Park's Happy Days collection primarily for this layout, but you'll find some Crate (Restoration), Lily Bee (This & That), Melody Ross and American Crafts in there as well.

love that AC ribbon

This is the sketch - create to your heart's content and upload to the SC gallery - but always remember to hold on to your hair!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Scrapbook Challenges Blog Hop

Welcome to the January Scrapbook Challenges Blog Hop! This January we're celebrating more than a new Design Team - there's also the small matter of having moved away from Ning to our very own site. This makes for easier interaction between us all, which means more inspiration for members!

If you're on the Hop, you should have joined me from the talented Anna's blog. Before moving on to the Blog Hop sketch, I'll tell you a little bit about me. I'm a recently married freelance editor living in the inspiring and interesting city of Brussels, Belgium with my dog and my husband. I'm a little bit punk, a little bit rock n roll, and I like to push myself to achieve new techniques and methods. I've been scrapbooking for about five years, but it's only really in the last couple of years that I would venture to call myself an artist. It can take a while to get started and then to keep up with the online community, but I've found that eventually you find your rhythm.

Anyway, onto the customary sketch. SC challenges you to make a layout based on this sketch and upload it to the Forum for the chance to win a prize:

Or the double-page version:

For my take on this sketch, I squished up the two pages into one:

capturing our arrival in London this Christmas

yes - that is a cell phone circuit board under the title!

And now the moment you've been waiting for: the prizes!

1. For completing a layout based on the above sketch and uploading it to the Hop On section in the Forum, you stand to win this pretty prize:
2. For leaving a comment on every blog of the DT, including the start and the end points, you could win this following amazing prize:

3. One new member who joins between 13 and 15 January will be selected at random to win the following sweet prize:

4. Finally, I have a RAK to offer to two lucky readers:

a whole bunch of interesting bits and pieces

To be selected at random for the RAK, you'll have to tell me in your comment on which date I got married. You'll find it here on my blog. Hint: it wasn't this year :-)

So, leave me a comment and then move on to the next blog on the Hop: the amazingly gifted new DT member Livy!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Aim for 2012

Although I learned from setting resolutions in 2011 that that's just not the way I roll, I do have one aim for 2012 that I would really like to stick to.

For my birthday last year my parents gave me a sweet little bridge camera - a Canon PowerShot SX130 IS. I have slowly been getting to know it, but now I would like to ramp up relations and become an accomplished user.

I started off the year well. Just before getting on the Eurostar back to Brussels, I snuck this shot at St Pancras Station in London:
using the 'miniaturise' function

I am not often pleased with my own photography work, but I really like this one. I was just standing there waiting in the queue, staring at this exact shot, when I realised I should turn my eyes into a camera lens.

I've added a new page on my blog which will be dedicated to those photos of mine with which I'm particularly proud or happy: let me know what you think so far.

What are your aims for 2012?

Sunday, 8 January 2012

For A Little Girl

Today I'm going to share a project that I worked on in fits and starts last year, in between wedding planning and decoration making. The trouble with projects like this one - and I'm sure you've had the same - is that although the idea forms early on, say, with a new collection (Crate’s Emma’s Shoppe, in this case), the execution of it is slow and spread out, and even worse, the date on which it can be made public is far away because it’s a gift being made well in advance.

Emma's Shoppe was made for little girls

I gave this mini-album to my best friend’s daughter as she turned two. It’s empty, ready for mummy and daddy to fill with cute pics and tales of their princess. Of course Emma’s Shoppe was perfect for this. 

I chose the gatefold design to take advantage of the husband's binding services
I loved making this album - even though I find it almost impossible to pre-make albums. All my pages and minis are designed around the photos, so whenever I sat down to work on this project, even though the concept was there, all my ideas went aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! and ran away. It took me ages to get over that, and to get over the feeling that I was somehow leaving it unfinished.

this reminded me of my books when i was a little girl

I'm sure she doesn't need a book to tell her this!

You wanna know the best part about this project? Better than the thought that went into it, how beautiful it is, or how the little girl will be fascinated by the different layers and pages? Better than all this is the fact that my husband has a binder at work. One day he looked at what I was making, and knew what I wanted to do with it. He knew what a Bind-it-All was before I even had to explain and - get this - offered to bind the album for me! So one day in November he was seen entering the office with a cute floral stack of papers, taking them to the binder, punching them and binding them together for me!
a gatefold with varied layers makes for an interesting book for a little girl
I took many more pictures - because I loved the paper collection and what I did with it. But I also hope to see the princess soon and see what she and her parents have done with it :-).

Thursday, 5 January 2012

One and Only One

There is only one....

....the 'one' challenge at True XOXO Girls, that is. Get on over there this month for you will not be disappointed! There are a few new girls to welcome as they bring their unique creative styles to the blog this year. There are some stunning, beautiful layouts there - and they are all inspiring in their different ways. Some girls chose a 'one love' theme, others a 'one manufacturer', others still a 'one of each' idea. I opted for one colour because I've wanted something all white of my own for a while.

all white?

It didn't come out how I was expecting. And I can tell you, those people who make monochrome layouts make it look easy, because this was DIFFICULT. And I think it shows - I'm not really too happy with it, although I can't seem to put my finger on why? Any help, anyone?

But don't let me put you off. This really is a challenging challenge - if you're looking for a kickstart this new year, you need look no further. Don't forget, there's a prize to be won!