Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Things I Have Done and Tried This Year

This has been a fun year for me with my scrapbooking. I have tried many new things and scrapped quite a bit.

The first half of the year, I was still living in Saudi Arabia and was limited to what supplies I brought with me. However, thanks to Scrapscription, I made several mini-albums where I practiced layering techniques and learned more how to make fun and interactive mini-albums. I also tried misting for the first time, which turned out to be a lot of fun. I made several pages using the colorful Mr. Huey's mists. I want to get a few more stencil patterns. With the leftovers from the Scrapscription kits I have made several really cute pages that are scrappy and fun. In fact, I used a bunch of leftovers to start on my Egypt album. The patterns and colors reminded me of Egypt. I ended up ordering two more kits from Scrapscription to complete the Egypt album. I'll use the 6 x 6 albums for other projects.

I have been doing a few pocket scrapbook pages here and there. When I got back to the USA, I found Simple Stories in my local Michaels. The books were so cute and the size was great, so I picked up a few things. I discovered that I LOVE Simple Stories. The products are fun and colorful. It is an easy way to share everyday fun memories. Today, I stopped at my local Michaels and found several Simple Stories products majorly discounted. I picked up everything that was on sale, including two 6 x 8 albums that were on sale for $3.99 each. What a bargain! I have been working on an album covering our return to the USA through November. I think that Simple Stories would be a great entry point for someone really new to scrapbooking. The books look great, the size is really manageable and the products are really fun.

I also bit the bullet and bought a Project Life album. Originally, I intended to use the album to work on my parents' family photos, but I never got around to it. I guess I was too tired from the early months of my pregnancy. I did decide to use it for this new year. My goal is to document the everyday stories of my family. I also just bought the Baby Project Life album. My goal is take a picture a day of my little girl when she arrives at the end of January. I love the idea of having a picture a day for that first year. This is my last baby and I really want to remember what it is like to have a newborn.

I created several mini-albums for my sisters for Christmas presents and for my parents. I have been working steadily through my stash. I still have a long way to go, but it is fun work. With Simple Stories and Project Life, I'm documenting everyday stuff. I'll use 12 x 12 traditional layouts to really work on longer stories that have more meaning and thought for me.

I also subscribed to Gossamer Blue, which is a monthly kit club. I used to subscribe to Storytellers Club, but they have gone out of business. I enjoyed their products and I continue to use the kits I have. I didn't resume my membership when we moved back. I have wanted to use more and more embellishments and I liked what Gossamer Blue had to offer. I haven't used my kit yet because I have been so darn busy, but I will get to it tomorrow. I have only bought two kits and will cancel my membership because I don't have much space for new stuff and my budget can only take so much. But the kits are awesome!

I made a fabulous December Daily album that I'm really proud of. Instead of buying new product, I used the Christmas stuff I had. The album is chock full of details from our everyday lives, plus all the fun details about our first Christmas in our new home. I also put all our Christmas cards in the album, so it is stuffed full of really meaningful items. I can't wait to do this again next year.

I also took several classes in 2013 that I wasn't able to complete because of our international move and my pregnancy. My goal for 2014 is to actually go back and complete the classes--I love forever access. I'm really excited about Ali Edwards class, Hello Story, because I loved her different ideas for telling stories.
I subscribed to Paperclipping which is a library of video tutorials. I love the podcast the crew puts on and their videos have been excellent. I'm learning from the design principles. I need to be more diligent about watching the videos though.

I also discovered Scrapbook & Cards Today  which is a Canadian publication. They still put out a physical magazine!!!! I ordered a subscription to the magazine and can't wait to start getting issues. I also ordered their planner, which is awesome. I've been using the planner to record tidbits about our days, and lots of story ideas. I love the style of the scrapbooking. Becky Fleck is an editor and I love her style, colors, and concepts.

I am sad that Creating Keepsakes went under and isn't publishing a physical magazine anymore. I'm not crazy about the digital format, but I'll take what I can get. I'm subscribing to more blogs and sites and trying to get used to the digital format generally. It's taking some time, but I'm learning.

I feel like my style is developing and changing. I'm having fun and playing with new ideas and techniques. Above all, I'm having fun creating and learning. I love the happiness boost I get when I make beautiful things. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

ScrapScription Mini-Album: A Review

I saw an ad for ScrapScription in an older scrapbooking magazine a few months ago. So I hopped online and browsed their website. I was totally blown away by the offerings.  ScrapScription a monthly kit club for mini-albums. At $32.95 per month plus $7.95 for shipping and handling, the kit club provides a good value. Purchasing the kits individually without a club membership does cost more, based on the kit. As I live in Saudi Arabia, the club option really isn't doable for me. However, they do offer kits through a single-purchase option. I ordered a few kits to try. I received my kits on Christmas Day, which was a huge treat. I've already completed one kit and am in the process of making a second project.

1) Scrapscription is a small business and they offer outstanding customer service and support. When I made my order, I had to make some special requests about shipping and they quickly responded to my questions through email. They were helpful and prompt. As a bonus, they checked with me on the shipping price before they charged my credit card.

2) Pricing is reasonable but with the added convenience of having someone pull all the different pieces together which I think adds to the value of the package.

Now on to the actual projects!!!!

I made this the Just Be You album

3) The kit came with detailed directions. I've made projects from kits before and I have to say that Scrapscription by FAR offers the best directions I've seen. The project directions had nine pages of detailed instructions including color photographs for each page. The directions have a grid on the first page telling you how to cut the papers so you can get all the cuts you need. 

4) There is plenty of product, and plenty of paper scraps so you can enough to complete the project. 

5) If the project doesn't tickle your fancy, but you like the product, you can easily create your own projects.

6) My kids LOVED the interactive features in this album. I make a lot of big albums, but I think that I am going to make more mini-albums so my family can more easily access the albums. As Stacy Julian puts it, "Mini-albums are snack size!" And it is true. These also make great albums to display that are easily shared with guests. As much as I love my full-size albums, few people have the stamina or interest to digest a 100-page monstrosity! (I don't think my albums are monstrosities per se, but they can be daunting.)

I enjoyed putting this together for many reasons. It gave me a break from having to create from scratch. It also gave me an opportunity to practice layering techniques. I typically scrap with a very clean and graphic style. So this album gave me a chance to practice and try different things. I think practicing is a good way to learn how to incorporate new styles into an existing style. 

I really think that ScrapScription delivers a really good value and product and should be considered for any scrapper who likes to make mini-albums. 

Monday, December 31, 2012

iPod Pictures and Scrapbooking

I recently listened to a Paperclipping Roundtable Podcast about using your iPhone or camera phone for taking pictures. I enjoyed listening to the guest talk about using their phones to document everyday moments in their families and how to take pictures that are beautiful and artful. I don't use my camera to take pictures because it is a crappy phone and I'm cheap. I do, however, use my iPod touch to take pictures, even though the quality isn't as good as my regular camera, which is a point and shoot. I usually have my iPod everywhere and it often becomes the most convenient option when capturing family moments. After listening to the podcast, I want to learn how to better utilize my iPod camera and take better pictures.

I have made a couple of pages using iPod pictures that I want to share here.

Several months ago, our family went to Najd Village Restaurant, a restaurant which serves authentic Saudi food in Riyadh. Now this may not seem like a big deal because I live in Saudi Arabia, but you would not believe how hard it is to find a restaurant which serves authentic Saudi cuisine. You can easily find lots of international foods from American to Thai, but Saudi food requires a lot of time to prepare, so few restaurants attempt traditional dishes. Along with the food, Najd Village offers atmosphere. You go into rooms which resemble old Saudi homes, sit on carpets and lean on cushions, and eat your food on the floor. It is a really great experience. When our family visited Najd Village for the first time, I forgot my camera, but I did have my iPod. The pictures were grainy and poorly lit, because the room was pretty dim. But I took my pictures anyway.

I didn't know what to do with them because of the poor quality until taking a class from Big Picture Classes which featured a sketch a day. One of the sketches called for using a grid with 2 x 2 pictures and 2 x 2 squares of patterned paper. When I saw this sketch, I realized that my Najd pictures would be perfect for this. The quality of the pictures wouldn't be so bad in small prints. I downloaded the pictures to my computer and then used my Canon Selphy Photo Printer to print out my pictures. I think the pictures turned out great and the layout really works in sharing this great story our family's adventures living in Saudi Arabia. 

I shared this second layout a few months ago, but is worth mentioning again here.

 My toddler has a habit of falling asleep in really odd places, as long as he has his blanket and pacifier, he is good to go. I started snapping pictures of him using my iPod and then uploading them to Facebook because they always made me laugh. After I had taken 7 different pictures on different days and times, I realized that I definitely had a story here worth scrapbooking. I downloaded the pictures to my camera, printed them with my photo printer and created this page, which I think is funny and great. It is one of my favorite because of the pictures which totally tell the story.

Most of my scrapbook layouts feature pictures taken with my Fujifilm waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof camera (which isn't super expensive but kind of a necessity when we swim a lot or go out into the desert), but I can definitely see myself using more and more pictures from iPod because of the convenience of it. Plus, those pictures do capture those moments and stories I want to record.

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Projects

I have not been working directly on my scrapbooks lately. I haven't felt terribly inspired, which is okay. Inspiration sometimes comes and goes in waves. I think I'm at a low point. In lieu of pretty scrapbook pages, I am making a Blurb book out of my blog entries. It has been tremendously fun to go through my old posts and compile them into a book. I'm also cleaning up my gmail accounts.

In the meantime, I made a page about my son's funny nap habits for the Big Picture Classes: Big Idea Festival. One of the presenters challenged people to enjoy the moments. Right now my moments revolve around a toddler who will sleep anywhere (except church and his bed) if he has his pacifier and blanket. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Silent Charity Auction for Displaced Ethiopian Maids

I wrote the following post on my other blog about the silent charity auction for Ethiopian Maids. Please follow me to In a Maze of Beige and learn what you can do to help out Ethiopian Maids who desperately need your help.

Here are the three scrapbooks I made and donated to the event.