Monday, July 21, 2014

Blog Hop with a Difference

Have you seen this going around? It's called a Blog Hop with a Difference, and the reason it's different is because there's no end to it! It will forever expand outwards and onwards into the big wide blogosphere. Let me explain.....

Last week I was ever so honoured to have been tagged in the Blog Hop with a Difference by the fabulously beautiful (even when heavily pregnant!) Raquel Bowman. Raquel and I are both Scrapbooking Memories Masters this year, and she's just recently been invited to join the Glitz Design Team. Her layouts have always inspired me with their clean layers and awesome colour combinations. And it sure doesn't hurt that she's got the world's cutest kid!!

Today I share with you my contribution to the Blog Hop, including the three people I've chosen to carry on the banner next week. But I'll get to that in a minute.

I've been invited to answer the following questions:

1. What am I working on right now? 

Usually at this time of month I'd be busy with the soon-to-be-released Studio Calico kits, but due to some unforeseen delays most of us will accepting the challenge of super speed scrapping when they arrive later this week! 

In the meantime I've taken a deep breath and plunged right in and officially created my first Project Life spread!! YAY! Now I say 'plunged right in' but I really just mean at the shallow end. I'm going to be working in a Handbook for it's smaller size, and for now will probably just stick to the contents of my Project Life Kits so I don't need to stress about product choices. But guess what? I really loved doing this! So hooked right now!

2. How long does it take to create a project?

Oh man, yeah so I'm usually that scrapper that takes a minimum of 2 hours to complete a page. I'm that scrapper who has trouble taking decisive action. I try this paper and then that paper. I move each embellishment to three different locations before I'm happy. I agonise over title choices. Interestingly, the journaling comes really quickly.

Now obviously none of this is going to apply later this week when I go into super-speed-scrapping-mode as alluded to above ;-) 

3. What are my fave things I love to create with at the moment? 

I'm still totally obsessing over my Color Theory Inks. I may have mentioned that once or twice here before. Oh and feathers. Definitely obsessing over feathers too. 

Recently I put together a tutorial combing feathers and ink. It was a fun little project to make a stylised dream-catcher for a layout. You can download the instructions here if you're interested.

4. How does my creative process work?

In my professional life I'm obliged to consistently undergo evaluation. I meet with my superiors to analyse both my strengths and faults and figure out ways to improve. I guess I find it hard to avoid the same process when it comes to my scrapping. So once I decided that some of my weaknesses include making good colour combinations, and the inability to be decisive with product choices I now focus on these aspects and strive to improve them.

That means my current creative process involves first pulling out a colour combination I want to work with. Often I'm inspired by the colours I find in a kit or within a collection so that actually the decision has already been made for me! Next I pull together some supplies that match the colours so that when I'm in the middle of assembling my layout I'm not faced with infinite choices.

5. How do I become inspired and stay inspired?

First and foremost I'm inspired by wanting to document my stories. I keep little notebooks filled with my scribbled thoughts, the stages of development my kids are going through, quotes and conversations, big events and everyday routines. I'm hoping all these will make it into layout form at some point. 

But let's be honest... it's not always that deep and meaningful! I'm also inspired by pretty new products, and having a specially cultivated box of beautifully designed and exclusive supplies land on my doorstep every month gets my creative juices flowing. I've been a subscriber to Studio Calico for 5 years now and I have loved every single kit. I'm totally serious! They've got a great new subscriber deal going at the moment where you get a free kit. Subscription Information is here.

6. What is my signature style?

This is always the trickiest question to answer isn't it? Definitions are tricky, especially since like most people I find that my style has evolved over time and I hope it will continue to do so in the future. Right now I'm finding that I'm totally into layering papers and stacking embellishments whilst still maintaining straight clean lines. This applies just as much to my card making as it does to my scrapbooking. I guess that must mean it's part of my signature style then?!

And now I'd like to nominate three fabulous women who'll post next Monday the 28th, and keep this Blog Hop with a Difference going!

Chantelle McDaniel from The Anticlockwise Fish
Chantelle is also another Scrapbooking Memories master who astounds me with her creative take on our monthly challenges. This talented lady is on a handful of other design teams as well including the Jenni Bowlin Digital team, Sassy Scrappers and Greatest View. She really is a jack of all trades and has such an enthusiasm for our craft.

Maggie Massey is the Midwestern Girl
I've come to know Maggie this year as we serve together on the Studio Calico Creative Team. She has got to be one of the sweetest, most genuine, and just plain lovely women I've ever worked alongside. And to top it all off, she's crazy good at this scrapping business too! She's part of the Heidi Swapp team and has just began her own challenge Instagram account called Society 54. I can't wait to see what she's got in store for next week.

Kim Archer, editor of Jot Magazine
After a week spent together teaching at Escape 2 Create, I'm honoured to now call this scrapping legend one of my friends. She's been a pioneer on the Australian craft scene for many years now and can include such amazing titles like Editor of Etzcetera Magazine and now Jot Magazine into her resume. Kim is a woman of legendary style and continues to be a constant inspiration.



Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Story of the Forks... and a winner!!

Thanks everyone for your interest in my latest giveaway - a seat in the upcoming BPC "Grammar-Free Journaling" Class. I've combined all the entries from my blog and my facebook and then let choose a winner.

A great big congratulations goes to.....
Yay! Please get in contact with me via email and I'll hook you up with a code to get free access to the class :-)

For everyone else, don't forget that if you sign up for the class and use the code:
You'll get $7 off the full price. But hurry, because the offer ends on the first day of class which is the 24th of July. I can't wait! 

And just because a post feels empty without some kind of photo or project I thought I'd very randomly share this wooden cutlery set I altered back when I was a Guest Designer for American Crafts

A very simple project, mainly consisting of dipping cutlery in paint and then covering them with glitter! But really... messy painty glittery projects are quite possibly the best kind ;-)

My girls quickly claimed these after I was finished photographing them, and have been using them for afternoon tea parties ever since. I have to admit, I love it when my kids enjoy what I make.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Grammar Free Journaling GIVEAWAY!

I'm not sure if you've ever noticed my little 'catchphrase' underneath my blog title? It reads, "a story is born every minute" and it's something that I actually thought long and hard about. I wanted something that was fun, said something about me, and described my scrapbooking philosophy at the same time. I chose this phrase because it eludes to birthing - something which I do every day as an Obstetrician, but mainly because it summarises the reason I scrapbook.

I scrapbook in order to capture the everyday stories.

The big events I think I'm more likely to remember. But the details of our everyday routines, the conversations we have, the crazy quotes from my kids, the 'frivolous' things I'm loving right now, my hopes and dreams for the future, the emotional battles of today - these are the things that constantly change, and therefore become important topics for me to document.

So I'm a firm believer in journaling on my scrapbook layouts. It's pretty hard to capture all those stories without adding a word or two... or hundred! My pages always ALWAYS include journaling, sometimes more, sometimes less. Which means one of the challenges I face is thinking of new and interesting ways of communicating that story. That's why I'm super-excited about this new class from Big Picture Classes, and even more excited that I was invited to contribute to it!

It's called Grammar-Free Journaling, and no, it doesn't really mean we're not going to be adding grammar! It just means we're going to be focused on using stress-free methods of documenting truly compelling stories in creative new ways. Let me share a little insight...


Now because I know not everyone feels as comfortable as I do including paragraphs of soul-stirring journaling (heee hee!) I want to reassure you - that's not what this class is about! It's actually going to teach some really interesting and quite novel approaches to story-telling that include methods such as quizzes, pie-charts, journaling in numbers, and a little thing called 'painless poetry'. I tell you, I've read through the curriculum and it is blowing my mind! Most of these methods I've never even contemplated before :-)

Here's a little sneak into a page I created for class. I've shared some other sneaks here, and here, as well as on my Instagram account. I got a little stamp-happy on this layout and I used all my favourite bits from my Camelot Kits because I wanted to show you that you can still remain true to your style and include all the things you normally love whilst using the class journaling strategies :-)

Ok... so now I've got two more exciting things to share!

Leave me a comment here, and/or on my Facebook account for a chance to win. Tell me about your thoughts on journaling, share a common strategy you use to journal, let me know why you hate journaling and why you need to take this class! Whatever!

This is open internationally, and I'll draw a winner on Friday 18th AEST.

Secondly - I've got a DISCOUNT COUPON for all my Blog readers!
Just in case you don't win, and you still want to take the class, Big Picture have been kind enough to allow all my readers $7 off the price when you sign up before the 24th!!

The coupon is:

Good Luck :-)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Silhouette vs. Cuttlebug

Just recently an about-to-get-serious-about-crafting friend of mine asked me my opinions on whether she should buy a die-cutting machine and what would I recommend.

I gave her all my thoughts on both electronic machines like the Silhouette and the manual ones like a Cuttlebug. At first I told her you probably don't need to get both, and since the Silhouette can do so much more - just get that. But then I started thinking about it and realised that I don't think that's true at all!

I own both types, and although my Cuttlebug had been gathering dust for a year or two there - it's undergoing a revival in my house right now! With all the new metal dies getting released at Studio Calico every month I'm finding that I'm quickly accumulating quite the new stash - and I'm using them ALL THE TIME. (This bow is a current fave.)

 photo Lemon-Lush-Thanks.jpg

A couple of months ago I purchased the "Thanks" die, thinking it would make thank-you cards a breeze, but not with any specific occasion in mind. This week I had a dozen or more thank-you cards to make and I was sooooo grateful that this die made it quick and easy!

Now I know I could have done that on the Silhouette, but it would have been fiddly with all the different coloured papers I wanted to use. And the font is quite delicate so I can imagine having to make a few spare for when I ripped them pulling them off the sticky mat ;-) Plus I think the metal dies leave a nicer smoother finish where they cut, rather than the metal blade.

So I'm curious to hear your thoughts.
Silhouette or Metal Dies?
Do you have both? Do you use both? Which do you prefer?

PS. You can find all the Studio Calico metal dies HERE. And there just might be some more getting released with the new reveal ;-)


Sunday, July 13, 2014

More Bright Ideas

Things I am guilty of hoarding:
  • Patterned Papers (obviously!) I think we're all in the same boat there right? My precious vintage Sassafras stash will never leave my hands. 
  • Flair badges, enamel dots, brads.... all those little round embellishments that are the perfect finishing touch. I've still got packets and packets of flair from my days at Evalicious, and I still swear I'm going to use every last one. 
  • Thickers and Alphabet stickers. When is an alphabet ever finished? For me it's pretty much has to have every single one of it's vowels gone. Maybe I need to be more ruthless? In the meantime, yeah... I've got a lot of Thickers!
  • New obsession: Project Life cards. You saw that in my last post right? Months of subscribing to the Project Life kits, and not one spread ever started means a lot of cards already piling up.
And that's why I'm excited about the upcoming "More Bright Ideas" class at Studio Calico.

It's being taught by Nicole Samuels - the queen of the repetitive design - and it promises to "guide you along a four week course designed to jump start your creativity and get the supplies off your desk and into your projects. Eliminate those piles in this virtual crafting retreat full of ideas, inspiration and motivation."

Like most of the classes as Studio Calico it comes with included Printable Journal Cards and Embellishments, as well as Cutting Files too. The class runs for 4 weeks and will include 8 sketches, challenges, and plenty of projects and video lessons along the way.

The best part? It's ONLY $5!! (yes I shouted a little bit! sorry) You'd pay that much just for the Printables and Cutting Files alone! The people who took this class last time it ran are positively raving about it.

Just so you know.... I signed up straight away :-)


Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Story of the Twirl and Swish

A couple of months ago I caved and started subscribing to the Project Life kits at Studio Calico. I say 'caved' because if I'm completely honest (and you know I always am!) Project Life is something I thought I would never, and could never do. More the latter. Mainly because of the time commitment involved, not because I don't totally believe in the philosophy behind it. 

Anyway, despite this first step of subscribing to the kits, I'm yet to ever complete a spread. I haven't yet made it that far. But I think it's going to happen. I really do! It won't be in the traditional sense, because I still don't have any more time on my hands, but one day soon I'm going to document some events Project Life style.

In the meantime, I'm actually really in love with the kits. I love how they compliment the main Scrapbook Kits with the same basic colours and elements. The embellishments are super-cute and because I guess I've always had a thing for journal cards! So I find I'm using the kits a lot just on my traditional layouts. 

Take this layout for example. I started off with a couple of my favourite cards from the Camelot PL kit and layered them up with some papers from the Camelot Scrapbook Kits. I added in some vellum and tulle (actually ripped from one of the dresses in the photo..... not on purpose!) for texture. And sprinkled some embellishments around for good measure.

All the stamps you see (the stars, the banners, the cheeky sentiments) are from a new 4x6" set called "Celebrate" designed by Mama Elephant. They were just perfect for this layout about the first dress fitting my girls went to in preparation for their role as Flower Girls at their Aunt's wedding recently. Oh wow did they love those dresses! Moriah could barely stand still for a photo because all she wanted to do was twirl and swish!

I'm still doing all my stamping with the Color Theory Inks because I'm totally obsessed with them. I really hope the new set of colours will be released soon. I desperately need to add the purple and hot pink to my usual line-up.

So tell me I'm not alone in this. Surely there are others out there who subscribe to the Project Life kits and don't do Project Life? Surely!



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Jot Kids Bethany

We love Jot Magazine around here, and we especially love it when school holidays roll around and they release their Jot Kids Mood Board Challenge! My girls really enjoy their scrapping and are constantly raiding my supplies to make their own layouts, despite the fact that I have a box for each of them that I regularly top up with my scraps. I encourage it of course, and even have a separate pile of photos printed out just for them that they're welcome to use at any time. 

So when I told them Jot were going to run another challenge they were very excited. They haven't stopped talking about the first one, and more than once asked about whether there would be more. We were counting down the days in my house for this!  Bethany (who's 7) actually squealed out loud when she saw how pretty the Mood Board was!
She jumped up and wanted to get scrapping straight away. I negotiated and decided we should at least get out of our pajamas first. I know right? No fun at all ;-)

The first step was all about going through The Stash together and deciding on what she should use. She eventually decided on this mix and match of Amy Tangerine papers, checking out the b-sides and comparing the colours until she had carefully culled down her choices to the final dozen... or so. She also used some of the free Printables found on the Jot Blog, and she took inspiration from these to chose the theme of her page.
Yes, it's about ice-cream!

It was really amusing to watch her process... as she seems to display many similar scrapping traits to me! First she layered up papers and cards making sure to consider where she would journal.  Next she freaked out about what title it should have and how on earth she was ever going to line up the letters. Lastly it was all about adding the finishing details like the punched hearts with sequins, and then wrote out her journaling...

Shall I translate?
It reads, "Summer is great when..... 1. Ice-cream 2. Go to Athletics 3. Swimming in the pool 4. Going to the Beach 5. Jumping on the Trampoline"

Couldn't agree more!

Thanks Jot Magazine for the great challenge. My girls absolutely loved it, and I hope it continues to be a regular school-holidays feature!



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