Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Favourite 15 before 2015 - Photos

As you've seen, I've been joining in with Kellie Winnell's Top 15 before 2015, and my last installment is to share my favourite 5 photos.

These were all taken by me, on either my proper big dSLR or just my simple ol' iPhone and I've chosen these 5 because they showcase my family doing what they do best.

1. The Sunset Cuddle:
Yes it's true I was asking them to pose for this impromptu photoshoot, but the moment captured right here was a candid shot where they instinctively went to hug each other. I love that my girls love each other so much!
Like all my favourite photos it was only natural that it would make it's way onto a layout or Handbook spread sooner or later. Here's where I shared this one in layout form:

2. Underwater Bethany:
When I bought a LifeProof case for my iPhone it was with this specific purpose in mind - to be able to take underwater photos. It arrived with great timing as we were just about to embark on a beach holiday. Now I'm not one for reading a manual or researching techniques beforehand - I figured I would just experiment as I experienced. Ironically, this particular photo was one of the very first I ever took and turned out to be one of the best!
Handbook Page:

3. MooSaur:
By nature she's a quiet laid-back relaxed character who's ready to just 'go with the flow'.... but she's also got a quirky side, and it was out in full force the day we went to the Dinosaur Adventure exhibition! Love this photo for capturing her mood so comprehensively :-)
Handbook Spread:

4. The Country Boy:
Despite the fact that it was me who grew up on a farm, it's the Trophy Husband who has really taken this kind of lifestyle to heart. Whenever we go up to visit my parents (who still live on the farm) he's ready with any kind of excuse to try and get on the tractor or grab a gun to hunt some rabbits. He just loves it!

5. Preggers:
My sister coordinated a photoshoot to take some official photos to announce my pregnancy to the world (see them here), but it was this iPhone selfie that I took on the spot whilst springing the news on my parents that I count among my favourites too. Probably because of the reaction it elicited as the confusion turned into shock turned into excitement!

And that's it for me for 2014. I hope you have a lovely New Years Eve and I'll see you all back here again next year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Favourite 15 before 2015 - Projects

The second installment in the Top 15 before 2015 is to share with you 5 of my most favourite projects I've made this year. This is probably the toughest choice yet! And I honestly don't know that I've really got it right. I mean, there are lots of projects that I like, and a few that I'm not really happy with, but picking my top 5 favourites is quite a difficult decision. Here's what I came up with anyway...

1. Light
Most of my scrapping this year was with the Studio Calico kits and I love that I was prompted to use supplies and try techniques that I possibly wouldn't have tried otherwise. For a start, I've experimented with hybrid scrapping and double-page layouts heaps more than ever before, and this layout from the Sandlot reveal was both!!

2. Lady Rules
My true passion when it comes to scrapbooking though is about focussing on the story, and documenting our life and times. I prefer honest and open journaling and want to keep it a true representation of what we're going through, so sometimes that's going to involve using the words bum and fart and undies for example! This layout features direct quotes from a 4-year-old so definitely includes all those words!! ;-)

3. Good Life
This year I started playing around with some Project Life -style scrapping in my Handbook and have really enjoyed it. I'd say I'm still getting the hang of it and am still trying to develop my own style, but this spread was amongst my favourite early attempts.

4. Happy Card
My big discovery this year though was that I'm really REALLY enjoying my card making, and if you've been reading my blog even just for the month of December you will have no doubt noticed that! Teaching a card-making class throughout November gave me an even bigger push in this direction and I'd confidently predict that you'll be seeing many more cards from me in 2015. My class which is called 'Flashy Cards Fast' focuses on making technique-driven cards for all occasions on a time budget, and is still available for registration if you're interested.

5. Kindergarten Mini Album
Possibly due to my newfound card-making focus I didn't make as many altered projects or mini albums as in previous years, but one I did get finished was this Project-Life-Card based miniature album documenting Moriah's first days at Kindergarten. It helped immensely that I was following along in a class taught by the amazing Kim Archer whilst I was at Escape 2 Create!

Have you joined in with Kellie's idea to document your Top 15 before 2015? See the original post here to see what it's all about.
I'll be back tomorrow with my Top 5 Photos!


Monday, December 29, 2014

Favourite 15 before 2015 - Blog Posts

What a great idea by Kellie Winnell to document the top 15 favourites before 2015. I'm jumping on the bandwagon! What top 15 you ask? It'll be broken up into 3 segments over 3 days and will cover my 5 favourite Blog Posts today, my 5 favourite Projects tomorrow, and my 5 favourite Photos on Wednesday. Sound good? Here we go then....

1. Copper Mountain Reveal
Alright, so technically speaking this blog post went up at the end of 2013 - but it was the reveal of the Studio Calico January 2014 Kits so I'm counting it!
Why was it significant? Because it was the first set of kits I worked with as a Creative Team member and boy was I nervous! I really felt like the pressure to perform was on and I agonised over those pages for hours. I ended up being reasonably happy with how they all turned out and ultimately the Copper Mountain kits turned out to be amongst my favourite for the year.

2. My First Scrapbook Teaching Gig
In March I attended my first Scrapbooking Retreat - the wildly popular Escape 2 Create and it was a truly wonderful experience. Even more crazy than attending.... I was teaching! I've never done anything like it before (or since) but Amanda and Meredith and all the attendees were absolutely fabulous and supported and encouraged me each step of the way. Here's the story of my class and the layout I taught.

3. Silhouette vs Cuttlebug
As you will have noticed, the vast majority of my blog posts are project-focused. The kind where I show you one layout or card (for example) and then talk about my process of creating it. This is the mold that my blog was built on, and this will continue to be the case in the future. But it made for a refreshing change to do an impromptu product review of sorts in July when I compared what I love most about my Silhouette, and why I still need to have a Cuttlebug as well. So I'm thinking I could possibly do more of that sort of thing going forward?

 photo Lemon-Lush-Thanks.jpg

4. Brush Script
Being on the Creative Team for Studio Calico this year has been such an amazing experience for so many reasons, but one of the top ones is because it's 'forced' me into using new products and trying new techniques that I probably wouldn't have tried otherwise. I've taken many of the Classes that have been offered throughout the year and whilst each of them have taught me something exciting, there was a handful that really stood out above the rest. One of these was Kal Barteski's Life Scripted Class, and I blogged about my experience here. PS. This class is still on offer if you would like to join in at any time!

5. Project Life
Previously I have sworn that Project Life was just simply not for me. Too structured, too time consuming..... whatever else! But my eyes have been opened this year and I discovered that of course I can make Project Life into whatever I would like it to be, and that I can make it fit my own style. And actually, considering it's probably much more story-focused than even scrapbooking (usually) is then it might even be a better fir for someone like me who loves to document the details. I'm still figuring out what direction I'll take this for 2015, but here's the post that tells the story of discovery in 2014.

It's been quite fun looking back through some of my highlight reel of blog posts. It's quite an interesting exercise. Maybe you'd like to try it? All the details of joining up with Kellie's linky party are here.

See you tomorrow with my Top 5 Projects!


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Rainbow Christmas Bag Tutorial

Because I'm a sucker for a personal request!
So when I was asked on Instagram if I could do a tutorial on how I made my rainbow Christmas bags which I blogged about here, I didn't even contemplate saying no :-)

So it turns out these are really simple. Here's a look into what I did.

I start off gathering all my supplies together right at the beginning. I decide on a colour scheme that will blend nicely together, in this case greens and blues, and choose some mists that will work. It doesn't matter to me that they're all different brands! I also have a paint palette filled with water as well as a water misting bottle, and of course a paintbrush and my plain calico bag.

I dampen my entire calico bag with the water in the misting bottle - just spray it all over so it's nice and moist. I'm aiming for an ombre effect with my colours so I start with the lightest (lime green) and make it even more dilute by mixing it with more water. I paint some haphazard brush strokes across the top. Then I paint a bit of the lime green straight from the bottle so it's a touch darker.

I then move onto the next colour (aqua) and repeat a similar process. There's no right or wrong to this, I just slosh it on however I feel like. Sometimes I mix the mist with water, sometimes I paint straight from the water. Sometimes I drag the brush all across the length of the bag, sometimes I just paint a section. Just have fun with it!

I keep on going with the other colours until the whole bag is covered. I do like to finish at the bottom with a really bold dark colour though, and paint it quite heavily to create this dramatic effect.

After it's done drying (whether you have the patience to let it air dry or whether you speed it up with a heat gun) you'll find that the colours have blended nicely and have lightened up a bit. Now I like to spread on some glitter glue with a palette knife. You can be as scant or liberal as you want...... I love my glitter so I've added quite a bit to these bags. I've gone with a couple of different colours too just to make it more interesting.

The last addition to the bags was to stamp a simple pattern of crosses with Color Theory Ink. I just rolled them on in sections, again with no particular systematic approach... just wherever I had a little gap that seemed to need filling ;-)

The tags I made up as I went along. On some scraps of watercolour paper I splashed on some of the mists at the same time as I was painting the bags. I would just wipe my brush on the paper after I finished each colour on the bag. That way I didn't waste any of the mist and I knew the colours would match!

When dry I punched out the tag shape and added a simple (glittery!) letter.

Despite the non-committal face ... trust me.. the girls loved opening their bags on Christmas morning!
Hope you all had a marvellous Christmas celebrating the joyous season with friends and family.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Rainbow of Christmas Calico Bags

Despite how many times I pin "pretty packaging" projects to my Pinterest board and swear to myself that I'm going to do something fabulous with this year's Christmas wrapping when it comes time to do it I just want a quick and simple approach!

I like to also use the opportunity to get rid of all the excess packaging and bags and paper that have been accumulated during the year, so I came up with a plan to reuse lots of the plain calico bags that Studio Calico (used to) send their embellishments in.

These are perfect for wrapping clothes and soft toys and other more malleable presents and so I've ended up doing a couple for each of the girls.

I made no secret of what I was doing and throughout the process the girls watched me create these. We don't 'do' Santa in our house - all of their Christmas presents come from us, so they obviously know that I have to wrap them. In fact, I even let them be a part of this process by encouraging them to suggest what colour schemes they would like for their bags. And the addition of glitter was Moriah's idea!

Initially I thought I might just leave it with the plain colours, but debated in my head about more detail with stamps (I briefly flirted with the idea of embroidery but that seemed more time consuming than it's worth!) Ultimately I settled with some simple coloured stamping. 

I think this blue/green one is my favourite. Reminds me of a tropical ocean - and the glitter makes me think of mermaids ;-)

This one I'll call my summer sunset.

Similar colour scheme here but with a bit more pink focus. Moriah also specifically requested a touch of gold so I experimented with a stripe of gold acrylic paint mixed in amongst the waterpainted other colours. It obviously doesn't blend as well and I found that I had to apply quite a good amount to get it to spread on the calico. But it works well enough as a whole.

And of course we couldn't go past some purple for Moriah's other bag. It's her absolute favourite favourite FAVOURITE colour!

Tied up tightly with string so there will be no peeking until Christmas Day - which is just around the corner hey? Therefore I better wish you all a very Merry Christmas in case I don't see you beforehand! Enjoy yourself :-)


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Noel Card

So many Christmas cards to make, so little time to do it. Lucky I'm on a roll! And lucky there's plenty of places to look around for inspiration. Here's my latest effort.

It's based on the latest Jot Magazine Mood Board challenge, which looks a little something like this...
The board inspired me straight away with it's combination of rustic neutrals and then the pop of dark red and green on top. So that's exactly where I started my card - by adding the letterpressed white and platinum background paper onto a kraft base. Then I began boosting up the texture another notch with giant shiny gold alphas and grossgrain ribbon.

The final touch was the stamped leaves and red bling which I'm hoping looks close enough to holly or mistletoe to pass as a Christmas embellishment?!

I'm thinking I've got a couple of Christmas projects left in me yet.
And yes.... I'm still working on my 2013 December Daily for a start! ;-)


Friday, December 19, 2014

Using those Cute Jot Tags!

Just can't stop the Christmas crafting around here!

I'm pretty sure if I had sat down at the start of December and started writing a list, or calculating how many Christmas cards and tags I would have to make in order to cover everyone then I would have driven myself bonkers. Instead, I've just been doing two or three here and there along the way as different events come up and it's actually been a really enjoyable process.

When the latest Jot Magazine came out, and it offered up these free printables designed by Kate Mason (aka Messy Miss Kate) I just knew I was going to have to do something with them. Aren't they just super duper cute?! And this is just a selection!

Motivated by their sweetness and their fun colours I quickly whipped up these two cards as a sort of inverse process of each other. Not changing the design helped, and being able to just glue those cute tags on without any real process really made these come together in a snap. Which I'm finding is also important for crafting at this time of the year :-)

I used my well-worn Metal Christmas Die to cut through all the layers of tags and card at once (which it did with ease) and backed it with some glitter paper because it offers all the bling with none of the mess of traditional glitter!

A scattering of gold sequins and some mist droplets was the finishing touch, and I'm pretty happy with how they turned out.

And I've still got heaps more of those tags to use, so I could easily make a whole set. In fact, come to think of it, these are going to be perfect for my girly work colleagues.... so I better make a few more 'cos there's more than just the two of them!

True to my word, I went ahead and made a couple more to round out the set. Really loving how these turned out (if I'm allowed to say that myself?!) 



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