Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Sketch Challenge

We're at the end of June.  Can you believe it?  The year, once the snow leaves, seems to just fly.  Or perhaps, it's more, once the heat hits the year tends to drag.

This is our last look at the June sketch, which is found in each of the scrapbook kits and provided exclusively to Apron Strings by Becky Fleck over at PageMaps.  The sketch, as it is has places for seven photos.  I talked about breaking the sketch down and making it your own HERE.

Here, Kristin Perez only had five photos.   You can see she adjusted the size of the photos on the left side to fit her needs, while maintaining the layout of the photos in the sketch.  She embellished similarly to the sketch, right down to the envelop (which was in the kit before I knew the sketch included 'bout that.)

Here Maria Swiatkowski stuck true to the layout, without the envelope, and embellishing a little more clean and simply.  

If you leave the space for the envelope empty you may need to do a little adjusting.  A simple option is to move your journaling to that space.  You can also slide the right side grouping of photos to the left and embellish the right side of that group a little heavier or move the journaling there.  Another option is to slide the left side photos over the seam and crop the photos so they spread over the seam of the two-pages.  You might use larger photos, like 6 x 4", so you don't crop someone in half.  You could also just do as Maria did with a simple diecut in the envelope's space.  Adjusting your layout to compensate for the envelope will re-balance the layout and eliminate the empty space.

Finally, we have Jennifer Halleck, who slipped in another photo (to get eight photos on her layout) where the envelope would be.  Her embellishing followed the sketch, though she shifted the right side embellies down.

It's the last day of June, if you haven't yet cracked into your kit, make it a priority.  Use your sketch and you'll have a completed layout before you know it.

Go.  Create.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Layout (Lesson 4) and Psuedo Cocktail

Before we left on vacation last week, I had another spurt of creative energy and completed quite a few layouts.  Now, unfortunately, between the garage sale where we managed to sell quite a bit of stuff (the remainder of which is in the garage and needs a drop off at the local ARC) and the returning home from said vacation, there are stacks of boxes, totes, bags and other paraphernalia blocking my way to my studio.  Seriously.  Blocking it.  It's like a giant fort down there.  And that's without picturing the spray of Legos, pillows, blankets and Wii gear strewn into the mix.  It was on my list to tackle yesterday, and I'll finish it up today. . .there are several trips into the crawl space to rearrange and then getting things put away.

But on that creative run, I completed several layouts for my Sketch Solutions class.  This is Lesson 4.  The left side is based on the sketch and because I had more photos, I expanded it to include the right side, which is kind of a mirror of the left.  The four grid photos on the right loosely mimic the four "grid blocks" on the left:  the large vertical photo, the grouping of embellishments, the title and journal cards and then the horizontal photo.

I used up the remainder of the October Afternoon Snapshots line from the April Smaller kit.

Our week-long jaunt into the Colorado mountains didn't include a menu plan. . .well nothing concrete.  It was more, "here take chicken, brats and ground beef and figure it out according to the daily fish-reeled-in count."   I did, however, see two things on Pinterest before leaving.  Actually I saw a couple things, even pinned them, but didn't think about them until I returned.  Ah, next time.

Anyway, one was simply a picture of a marshmallow with a mini Rollo shoved in the center and roasted.  Tried it.  Loved it.  Keys to success?  Really shove that Rollo in. . .almost to the point of poking out the other side.  Have the tip of the skewer going into the Rollo.  And have the Rollos at least at room temp. . .we had a melted-into-a-hockey-puck-disk incident on the drive up (which makes the whole shoving into a marshmallow more difficult) with out first bag of mini Rollos.  The next bag went into the fridge and were a little too cold to get melty in the short time it takes to roast a marshmallow.  Still, they were good.

The next thing I saw, and it stuck with me, was the Bailey's Dipped Roasted Marshmallows.  There's really no recipe - the photo tells it all.  They were awesome.  You know what put them over the top - I know, you're thinking, "how is that possible," but it is - taking the roasted Rollo stuff marshmallow and dipping it in Bailey's.  Oh sweet bonfire!  A hit with the bonfire group.  Totally doing this at home when the heat is about to make me live in the freezer (which it sounds like could be today.)

With hubby gone all week, we'll be finishing up what we couldn't finish up because he was gone all week.  Taking care of the boat.  Getting the remaining gear stowed (this is where I miss our camper - set it up for the season and left it until the end of the season.)  Getting the remaining garage sale non-sales to ARC.  Regaining control of the basement - in prep for the hot days I'll be spending down there.

Happy "Bailey's" Friday,

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Adventures in Purging - Part 2

You can find Part 1 HERE.

Today's advice/suggestion/tip goes for the rest of your home and wardrobe, why shouldn't it apply to your scrap supplies, too?  Is it broken or dirty? 

This is/was my first Cricut (yes, I had two.)  This one just stopped working one day; one day a long (too long) time ago.  The power won't come on and it has just sat on a shelf, taking up space and making me think, "I should have that looked at" every time I see it.  I have two men in my life who could probably trouble shoot the problem in a matter of minutes and either fix it or tell me it's a lost cause.  

As crafters there's an odd mind-set that all things need to be kept.  I don't know if it's a "I spent money on this" guilt or what.  But it's time to get over it.  If you had a skillet that was broken, you'd either fix it, or toss it and buy a new one.  If you pants were frayed and torn, and not by design, you'd toss them.  So why are we keeping the punch that sticks every time?  Or the dull scissors?  Or the paper that is totally faded (though they're not supposed to do that)?  I guarantee you the skillet and pants cost more, yet we manage to identify they are broken and let them go.

If the item is not in working order, if it’s frayed, torn, stained, ugly, or otherwise unsightly, think about moving along.  Note:  If the given item can be restored to working order, then do it.  Now.  Today.  Otherwise, it's going to sit, unusable, again.  If you can't take the time right now to fix it, you won't later (hello, power), so let it go.

As for my little Cricut there.  I've got a couple days to see if someone can tell me it can be fixed - parting it out is not an option, so it won't be listed to eBay.  If it's a quick fix it'll go in the garage sale, otherwise adiós little Cricut, you served us well.

Today, go find three things that are broken, sticky, dull, torn, faded, whatever and get rid of them.  If you need a replacement, make a list.

Go. Purge.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

We Are

  • We are mobilizing
  • We are seeing more snow than last year, but less than we've seen in the past
  • We are Day One
  • We are catching the first fish - a Pike - and impressing our 5 y.o. brother
  • We are heading to the pond with "the brothers" to oversee their fishing.  Note:  eventually he'd take his turn at casting
  • We are told to keep our feet clean, so we settle in to watch "The Lego Movie"
  • We are stocking up on snacks for a day of fishing
  • We are fishing in our own way. . .with photography
  • We are finally getting to the good part. . .bonfire, roasted marshmallows and dipping said marshmallows into Bailey's; adults only naturally.  Thanks, Pinterest.
  • We are trying to entice "Nessie" (aka a really big Pike) into biting.  Nessie remained elusive.
  • We are kicking back on Colorado's version of a beach
  • We are serving up mud-pie
  • We are building . . . it's kind of our thing
  • We are digging. . .'cause that's what you do on a beach
  • We are signaling our fishermen
  • We are ultimately goofballs
  • We are adhering to the "you catch it, you clean it" rule
  • We are seeking refreshment in a Beach Bum after the arduous hike up the hill in Crested Butte
  • We are lunching in Crested Butte
  • We are loving when we find chairs our size
  • We are on vacation. . .it's here and so are we.
  • We are conquerors
  • We are interrupting some early morning Marmot road-side meeting
Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Back At It

Aaannnddd. . .we're back.  After a week in the Colorado high country (if you follow me on Instagram you saw our adventures), we are back to cleaning, laundry, cooking and trying to move my children off their enlarged summer bottoms.  So far only laundry and some cleaning has taken place - though I got a wild hair while vacuuming yesterday and space-bagged a ton of stuff in my linen closet.  As a result, I'm not afraid to open the door anymore (I just have the top shelf of toiletries running loose to deal with.)  I did have to cook for the in-laws last night, but with hubby out of town for the week, I see sandwiches for the rest of the week.

We had a great week of doing nothing.  We met up with hubby's siblings and their families for our annual trip up to Taylor Park.  The menfolk did a lot of fishing.  I think my nephew and his friend spent every waking moment on the lake and caught a ridiculous amount of fish.  The weather took them off the lake only once.  My boys fished the smaller inlet pond behind our cabin.  They had spied a large Pike and were determined to get him; he remained elusive.  We made a trip up to Crested Butte.  I took three of my kids down to the beach to play one afternoon.  My daughter, my sister-in-law and I drove around the area so my daughter could snap photos.  I finished one book and started another.  I knitted.  I even scrapbooked a couple pages for the Sketch Solutions class.  We enjoyed a bonfire - the 5 y.o.'s highlight.  We saw deer, elk, marmots, lots of fish and just the great beauty that is the Colorado mountains.

Happy Tuesday,

Friday, June 20, 2014

Adventures in Purging - Part 1

The StashBusters class was great - if they offer it again, take it!  Seriously.  Take it.  Have I said that enough?  Is it coming across that it's among my faves?  Not only did I create (and I created a lot), but I dug in and dug out.  I used new stuff and old stuff.  I used stuff I forgot about (eyelets) or that I've always wanted to (stamps.) It inspired Throw Back Thursdays and has me rethinking the storage of my embellishments.

While the thrust of the class was to use your stash, it was mentioned at least once (or maybe I read that into the class) that if you don't love it, let it go.  I think the letting it go part, especially after a class where digging into your stash and sort of reacquainting yourself with it, is easier to do, but it's not necessary.  I, myself, dug into some of my old, like way old, kits.  I'd sorted them out a few years ago (purging should be more frequent) and hadn't touched or thought of them since.  As a result, the kids' school was the recipient of a large box of, mostly, patterned paper and cardstock.

So, I thought I'd PSA (Public Service Announcement) my purging process with you in the hopes that it'll help you part ways with products you don't reach for, maybe never have.  It's freeing - in mind, spirit and in space.  Why are we so attached to products that do nothing for us, anyway?

First a quick note about my own stash.  I don't have specific paper storage, loose paper, that is.  I'd say 95% of my stash is in kits (as seen above.)  I use them that way, and they stay that way until I've put all that I can to use.  Once I'm done with a kit, I'll pull out any remaining embellishments, but the papers are either tossed or put in the donate box.  I have some collections of a particular line, but those are treated just like a kit - together until the bitter end.  I can tell by my current storage that if I had loose paper, it'd be stored by manufacturer.  Cardstock is by color.  Embellishment storage is under review - but currently sorted by the type of embellishment with brads, buttons and ribbon also broken down by color.

I'll make these posts short, well after today's, that is.  Today, part one:

As you sit with a pile, drawer or stack in front of you, ask yourself, "Do I have to talk myself into it?" 

Oftentimes I’ll put something in the “toss” pile, knowing without a doubt that I am not in love with the object or the potential projects it represents. But then I do the double-think thing, telling myself, “Weeeelll, I could paint it yellow/take it apart/learn how to use it…” If you find yourself talking yourself into keeping something, stop. Let it go. Move on. There are plenty of projects and supplies to love without forcing yourself into a half-hearted relationship with Mr. Not-Quite-Right.  If you're an altering-it-to-fit kind of crafter you wouldn't be considering that particular item for the toss/giveaway pile.

Look around your space.  Toss or give away the first five things you find where you are talking yourself into keeping.  

Go.  Purge.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Throw Back Thursday - Sketch Solutions - Lesson 3

So these classes are helping me to get a lot of pages done, and using my supplies; both are really good things.  Because I've yet to print more Project Life® photos, I'm getting some traditional layouts completed.  

Most of the sketches that come with the classes are single pages, which I don't typically do, but I'm finding they are coming in handy for those events that only have one or two photos.  I usually pass over these kinds of events because I always feel the pages are empty, too much white space, and not in a good way.  I guess it comes from working with a 12 x 24" (aka a 2-pager) canvas more often than not.

To tell you how old these photos are (this is the "throw back part"), that's my now 15 y.o. losing his first tooth.  My goodness.  I had several pictures, but they were basically all the same, so I selected these two and set about to embrace the single pager.  I stuck true to the sketch and didn't crop the photos.  The addition of the 10 x 10" background shrunk my working space down and that combination left the page feeling more complete to me; more full.  

I used the remainder of the Smaller April kit, the October Afternoon Snapshots line.  I used parts of the kit on another layout and so there is nothing left of this kit.  Not even enough to create cards.  Gotta like that.

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

We Are

  • We are enjoying the breakfast of champions - the I don't care about the calorie champions.
  • We are reading, what else - hockey, while we enjoy our Starbucks
  • We are so needing Peonies in our garden; these are from my mother-in-law's garden.
  • We are savoring a huge crop of made-it-through-the-snow strawberries from the garden.
  • We are finally getting our jersey back from having it personalized - four months later. 
  • We are laying out an experiment against boredom
  • We are right. . .if you put it out, they will come.
  • We are formally introduced to Star Wars (we've been playing Star Wars Lego on the xBox for a while) with a screening of the original Star Wars.  We may be hooked.
  • We aren't sure if this reads Star Wars or Spaceballs.
  • We are showing off (after poo-pooing it while in production) big brother's Lego replica of a Storm Troopers' gun. . .not so bad now is it, buddy?
Happy Wednesday,