Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pretty dance photos

For those of you who live in my part of the world, you'll know we've been having a cold, wet summer, so it was no surprise to hear the well-used phrase, "will you do some craft with me?"  The only surprising part being that we were almost a week into the school holidays before I heard it!
Last Friday night Maddy had her dance concert, so I pulled out the last of last year's photos to scrap, and Maddy decided to do an accordion album incorporating photos from both years.  She didn't get very far, so maybe I'll show you her creation later, but here's one of the pages I did:

It seems appropriate to me that some of the last pages (if not the the last pages) of the year should incorporate exactly the sorts of things I've been working on using all year.  In this case: older papers from SEI "Aunt Gertie's Garden" and various Scrapbook Walls collections, as well as an assortment of tags, ribbons and flowers.
And with that, I'll say goodbye and wish you and yours a very merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Product challenge to self: paper strips

It's the first day of the school holidays, and before I got stuck into all my chores, I wanted to finish this page. It is based on the December Scrapbook Boutique challenge, which is to use the colours blue, pink, red and white.  After a couple of false starts, I decided that this would be a good project to challenge myself to use  only paper strips. Since I decided to store my paper strips separately to my other off-cuts back here, I've found I've turned to them often.  I won't pretend the quantity has dwindled that much (or at all), but I'm using strips at about the same rate that I'm adding them! 

I hope I'm forgiven for adding a tiny bit of other colours to this page, namely the pastel word and letter tiles.  They were just too perfect for this page, and just scream "baby girl".  As my baby is now 8,  the number of baby girl pages I have still to make are pretty limited!
For embellishments, I sewed the ribbon hearts on the machine.  I just folded as I went - no agonised pre-planing here! - and just finished them off with a button and word tiles.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

November Stretch your sketch.

I had the November "stretch your sketch" sketch from Two Peas up on my ideas board for a couple of weeks or so before it occurred to me that if I added another photo at the bottom, it would work really well for the rest of the photos from this day when Rohan was "teaching" his little cousin how to skateboard!

Here's what I came up with, this time for Rohan's own album:

It has been a while since I last used the Silhouette - even the kids had noticed! - so I used it to cut the arrows and stars for this page.  No off-cuts today, the multi-coloured paper is from the most recent papers I purchased and the stars and arrows are from a 6" pad.  The orange which mats the photos comes from a pack of Basic Grey "Indian Summer" papers I bought a couple of craft shows ago.  I don't know why I bought them - the colours and patterns don't often work for me! (I think I just saw the words "Basic Grey" and "special" together and my brain just went to mush!)  So anyway I am slowly working my way through them, often in tiny doses like you see here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

11 photos on a double-page-and-a-bit

Today I want to show you a page I made based on Shimelle's latest 4x6 photo love for November.  The concept is to use a photo protector between the two pages of your layout in order to add an additional 4 photos and 2 4x6 journalling blocks.
I don't own the actual 6x12 divided photo protectors that Shimelle demonstrates, which hold 3 landscape photos on each side.  On the other hand, I do own a truck-load of the 12" ones, and I was quite happy to cut one down.
(A couple of years ago, I bought a whole lot so that all the un-scrapbooked photos could be held chronologically in the same album as my completed pages.  That's what I do with my kid's albums, but I very quickly realised that the cost to do that with the family photos would be astronomical, hence all the spare photo protectors)

I felt a bit like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat as I was choosing papers for this layout, I kept on finding more and more Basic Grey "Marjolaine" offcuts in my stash.  I ended up using 3 of these papers and some of the matching stickers.  I only ended up adding my own Mini alpha stickers for the sub-heading, and some tiny flowers and brads.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Product challenge to self: sue's RAK

Life for me, at this time of year (like the rest of you) gets pretty hectic. I thought finishing TAFE would give me a bit of breathing space, but no sooner had I finished, the school I've been doing my placement at offered me 7 days casual work!
So it's only now I'm getting around to telling you that I had a bit of a winning streak last month, winning two challenges in a row at Let's Scrap, as well as the monthly sketch challenge at my local scrapbook store!
To the right you can see the lovely goodies I received from Sue, and you'll see how I've already used some of the flowers in a moment.

Here are the lovely My Mind's Eye stamps I received for the second challenge.  I am so excited, they are just the sort of versatile stamps I can see myself using over and over again!

Here is the first page I made using Sue's flowers:  it's the sort of story to warm any crafty mother's heart.  If you've been following my blog you may have already seen some of Maddy's lovely creations and know that she loves to join me for a bit of paper-crafting goodness.  Because of this page, I will never forget how proud i was when I saw her ink her edges for the first time - I'm not sure if it's a skill I taught her in a formal sense, or whether she just picked it up by watching.  Either way, she's a natural!

Did you notice I used the same letter stickers to make my title as she was using in the photos?  And yes, I did ink the edges with the same shade of ink as well!

This page was inspired by Shimelle's weekly sketch last week.  I started it between finishing work Friday (I finish at one) and picking up the kids from their school, then finished in bits and pieces over the weekend.

These photos were taken during our Christmas card photo shoot 3 years ago, the year Maddy had a broken arm.  I love that, other than the flowers from the RAK, everything on this page is very much from the stash.  Behind every single one of those circles at least one element has been cut and stretched to fit!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A few of my favourite things . . .

It's hard to believe that so many things are entering into "end of the year" phase!  Our Bible Study end of year party is next week and here is the card that we will all sign for our lovely leader (or "facilitator" as she likes to call herself!)

 This card (based on last month's sketch at Card and a Half) contains so many of my favourite things right now:
  • neutral background.  So much of what I'm doing right now is based on white, black or kraft.
  • white vellum butterflies.  since I stamped my first one, I am "addicted" to these litter critters
  • circles.  Large and small, they are appearing more and more on my cards and layouts.  I love them!
  • My hand-made mini alpha stickers. 
  • Last but not least, using products from my stash!  This card continues the theme of 6" pads, and uses 3 different papers from the same K & Co pad.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Work in progress has progressed.

A few weeks back, I took you on a tour of my work-in-progress album. I've been steadily working through it since then and I'm pleased to be able to share with you two of the last three pages!

First up, this page about Maddy and her uncle.  I've had these photos of them together waiting for the right sketch to come along.  They are from different events but they all share a common theme: the special bond that they share.  The right sketch finally did come along, from Challenge Heaven.  
This page uses the last two pages from a pack of Basic Grey  "Fusion" papers.  All the tags are from a sheet by Cosmo Cricket.  They really helped to pull the page together.

Colorful Creation's "Monday Mixer" last week was a Bingo game.  I didn't hold out much hope for being able to put a page together, but thought I might as well flick through the folder and see if anything could work.  amazingly, I came  across this half finished double page with a blue colour scheme about Rohan turning 12 last year.  It was waiting for some inspiration to get it finished.  Turns out mini alphas, ribbon and stamping were what this page was missing!  Once I thought of using the clock/watch stamps and the theme of time ticking, it came together very quickly.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Two thankyou cards, and Make your own mini alpha sticker tutorial

I sent my final TAFE assignment in this week (hooray!) and my last day at the school at which I have been doing my placement is Monday. Here are the thank you cards that I've made for the two teachers I've been working with:

The Marvy Markers got a workout this week, which was nice.  For the male card, I took my starting point as this week's ColourQ colour scheme.


For the female card, I took Shimelle's challenge to make a card with a circle design in the centre.  I am really, really happy with this card!  And yes, they are the letter stickers I'm talking about.  So if you're interested, read on . . .

DIY mini alpha sticker tutorial
Step 1: In a word document, type out a full set of letters, numbers and whatever characters you want to use. YOU get to choose how many of each letter you would like, how many upper- and lower-case etc.  But don't go too crazy, you can always print them out later.  You'll want to have a space between each letter and a line space between each line.

Step 2: That's the tedious bit out of the way.  Now you can copy and paste to make as many sets as will fit on one page.  Make each set a different font and/or point size.  If you're clever, you might want to label each set at this point .  I didn't think of this until later, so I hand wrote it in the margin.  (Don't forget to save the document for future use!)

Step 3: Print out onto thin cardstock.  I printed mine onto white cardstock I bought especially for the printer.  You could of course print onto coloured cardstock, or change your font colour, but again, don't go crazy, you only need to print them out just before you plan to use them.

Step 4: Use your trimmer to cut between each row of letters.  I left a bit at the end so they are all still attached.

Step 5: Run a length of double-sided tape across the back of each row

Step 6: Now it's just a matter of cutting out each letter as you need it.  If you run out of a particular letter, you can always print more out!
Step 7: Store each font sent in a separate zip-lock bag.

Cutie on a skateboard! (and product challenge to self #3, fibres)

I don't tend to print photos out at smaller than 4x6, unless I plan to fit stacks of photos on a page, like a birthday party for example.  And I actually had printed out stacks of photos from this particular day, for Rohan's album.  When I saw the November sketch from Scrapboxx, however, I decided to use just a couple of photos and do a page for the family album first.

This meant I could make the focus of the page my niece (her first skate) and therefore make it a bit girlier!  I loved using the Basic Grey offcuts, a number of different fibres, and flowers on a skateboarding page!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Scrapbook boutique november challenge

Here is a the card I made for the Scrapbook Boutique November challenge.  Follow the link to see the cute little cupcake with those gorgeous dots!

What do you think, are these large dots or small circles?  Who cares, I loved making this card, so fun going through my small scraps box looking for papers that would work   I'm so glad that I inked the edges of my circles, too - it gives it a much more finished look.  I thought a bout adding eyelets to every circle, but (apart from the fact that I didn't have the right shade of pinkish red) I like the good old visual triangle.

The girl is from a folder I have creatively named "card bits".  It's a lever-arch folder jam packed with all sorts of punched shapes, half-finished projects and stamped images - many from stamps belonging to friends, when I've been to craft get-togethers.  It's one part of the craft stash I haven't really tackled, so for now, pulling out the odd image every few  months will have to do!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The least fun craft experience of the year so far . . .

It started innocently enough . . . browsing my blog list, when I came across a challenge to make an altered tag, with a link to a Tim Holtz video.

Bad thing #1: He was demonstrating his distress inks, which aren't exactly new, but I never realised how awesome and versatile they are!  My internal wish-list, which has essentially been lying dormant this year, went into over-drive!  Wouldn't it be great to have those Distress Inks in every colour! And how about those stamps he's using!  To die for!  Now, if you're confused as to why this is a bad thing, let me explain what used to happen with my "wish list" items.  Many times it would be months between being inspired by a particular stamp/embellishment/whatever and actually buying it.  By then, I would have no idea of what the original inspiration even was, or else the desire to try it may have been superseded by some newer idea. 

so anyway, I decided to try and combat that particular attach of the "I wants" and try to modify his techniques using what I have, "Spend Less, Craft More" style.

And so we come to Bad thing #2: I decided to start my background with a direct-to-paper method using some hardly-touched chalk ink pads.  Problem was, they were so dry, in the process of dragging the pad across the paper, I actually dragged the ink pad off the cover! 
At this point, I thought some re-inking was well in order.  Which brings me to a sad little confession: I have something like about 60 ink-pads, and re-inkers for less than half of them.  As I was re-inking, I was observing the sad state some of my pads are now in, some have cracked, some have lost their sponginess.  So the new agenda for early 2012: work out how much I am prepared to spend on re-inkers, which colours to invest in and which ones to sacrifice. 

That really took the wind out of my sails, but come Sunday I was determined to get this tag made.  I didn't use enough ink to totally cover the tag, but I decided I didn't mind the effect.  You probably can't tell from the photo, but the Pearl-ex on the stamped images has a lovely shiny effect.
It's not a really polished project, (in fact I will probably redo the sentiment on another layer before I give this card away) but I'm proud of myself for seeing it through to this stage, and it was great to be reminded of the Pearl-ex powders that have been sitting neglected in my stash for so long, hopefully I will find some time to play with them again soon!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Found objects on a Scrapbook page.

I'm on my third day of a gastro bug and feeling pretty blah! The only creative thing I've managed to get done is finish this page for the latest Let's Scrap challenge, which is to use found objects on a scrapbook page.  I had been shopping only the day before I saw the challenge, and had looked at my shopping bag from Tree of Life and thought, now that has potential craft value, so it was awesome to use straight away!
Here's what I started with:

These photos (which Rohan took when he was only about 7, by the way) have been sitting in my work-in-progress folder for a while, waiting for a suitable challenge, and something to journal about - you know I'm not very good at taking some nice photos and whacking on a quote or something!
I was inspired by a blog I have started following recently, Scrapparazzi,  to use Bible verses on my layouts.
So here's the finished product, complete with verse from John 10:10:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

ColourQ meets Shimelle

It is always a happy day in my book when the current ColourQ challenge matches a scrapbook page you feel like working on!

Here is the page - for Rohan's album, about Hamish joining the family:

I used Shimelle's sketch of the week, and it all came together pretty quickly.  Not much in the way of product other than paper this time, including:
  • 2 "rescued" papers, (the red and the brown)
  • 2 from a 6" pad (the "vanilla" ones
  • an off-cut (the blue)
  • which leaves the orange - a recently-bought untouched sheet (but it goes without saying that I cut away the part that you can't see in the middle - to use again another time!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Product challenge to self #2: metal birds and 6" pads (and scrapbook packaging)

This morning there was a two-hour teachers strike, and I ended up keeping one child home for the rest of the day with dizziness and headaches.  Which meant the things I had planned to go out and do were either condensed or cancelled.  I could have used that extra time to catch up on some housework, or maybe to work on my last TAFE assignment.  What I actually ended up doing, was scrapbooking . . .
The current challenge at Let's Scrap (challenge 119) is to interpret a LS sketch incorporating some scrapbooking packaging.  Not having done a lot of spending recently, I don't have a lot of cute packaging lying around, but when I bought a Fancy Pants stamp set last year I did save the packaging, for the over-sized scalloped edging, which I thought would be fun to use someday.  That day has arrived!

I bought a little package of 10 metal birds at the craft show I went to earlier this year.  I was determined to use them before they turned into "old" supplies.  The tree on this sketch gave me the perfect excuse . . .truth be told, I'm not 100% sold on the colours on this page, but it's a story I wanted to tell, so I'm calling it a finished page and moving on  . . .

When I posted a few months ago about some cards I made using 6" pads, a lovely reader made the comment that it was a great idea to use 6" pads for cards.  Oh wow. Cards is pretty much all I have ever used them for . . . I thought about this again recently, when the presenter on a Two Peas video commented that she liked using 6" pads on her scrapbook pages because the patterns were . . . I think the word she used was "tighter". Enough said, and the Monday Mixer sketch at Colorful Creations looked like the perfect place to practice using 6" pads on a scrapbook page.
By a happy co-incidence, I ended up using the same packaging and some more metal bird on this page also.  I painted them this time; can you tell which one of these birds used to be hot pink?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Product challenge to self #1: Slide mounts

Last time I posted, I alluded to the fact that lately I have been focusing on using my paper stash, more so that all the other bits and pieces in my stash (especially since I got my Silhouette!). So, with only two months left of the year, I thought I would challenge myself to get some more use out of a wider variety of products.  There are products that have been sitting totally neglected in boxes or drawers, others I have a lot of and would like to try some more varied ways to use them. Here's the list I came up with (no particular order):
  • vellum
  • slide mounts
  • 6" pads
  • metal birds
  • other metal
  • chipboard
  • ribbon
  • flowers
  • paint
  • eyelets
  • stamps
  • buttons
  • ribbon-threading punch
Here's what I've come up with first, using (drum roll please) slide mounts!

I have a little drawer which contains only slide mounts and other small frames.  I'm not sure why I bought as many as I did, probably inspired by some long-forgotten project in a magazine.  I have used some over the years, but the trick with these guys if to find something small enough to frame!  On the card above, the easy solution was to frame a sentiment.  for a bit of fun I added butterfly wings on either side.
And here's a peek at the page I did for Maddy's birthday party earlier this year.  Butterflies again, but this time they are bursting out of the frames.   Hmmm . . . that works . . . wonder how else I could use that idea?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Stashometer goes through the roof!

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'd be forgiven for thinking it's only my paper stash I'm trying to work through, and it's true, that is often what I focus on, and what I tend to use the most of.  Here are three pages I've made recently and why they would send the stashometer crazy . . .

Page one: Slip'n'Slide
 Firstly,  a page I made based on the October  "stretch your sketch" from Two Peas.  It was another set of pretty photos that sat around for a long time because I don't really "do" pretty photos without a story attached.  But finally, when this sketch came along, I decided to let the photos speak for themselves, hence the lack of any journalling.  Stashometer-wise:
  • The background paper is from an old DCWV stack I bought at Big W several years ago.  Truth is, I've used those papers heaps, but 48 is a lot of sheets of paper!
  • The rest of the PP is offcuts from the same stack  (except the die-cut border, which I cut for my "inspire" layout but decided it was too large to use)
  • Letter and word tiles are REALLY OLD, and the none of the word tiles had been used before!
  • Tags had been bought in a set of 100 at the local newsagent, also several years ago
Page two: twice the fun
This page began when I read the newsletter from my local scrapbook shop, Shop and Crop,  announcing a monthly sketch!  Not a challenge coming from across the globe, but from the very next suburb!  How could I not take part!
I never used to be one of those scrappers who say things like "I always use a minimum of three patterned papers on a page"  In fact, for the longest time, it wouldn't occur to me to use more than one, mainly due to keeping the cost down.  On this page, though:
  • I used three untouched PP (all quite old) as well as a sheet of cardstock.  The pinks came back from my sister's honeymoon to the US in 2004!
  • The sparkle comes from that old favourite, Kindyglitz.

Page 3 is my entry into the Colorful Creations Round Robin.It features:

  • 3 patterned papers (all also unused) of similar vintage to those used above.  The butterfly paper comes from the honeymoon also, and the purple actually had a date of 2002 on the back!
  • I remember buying the PP with the words on it after reading an article in a magazine, where the author suggested using the words on such papers as a fun addition to journalling and titles.  Great idea, but I just never used them . . . until now!
  • more of the pastel letter tiles
  • lace from the endless collection I've acquired from my Mum's even more endless collection

Friday, October 21, 2011

A less literal interpretation . . .

I've been pretty proud of myself this year, feeling like I am exploring new avenues of creativity, taking inspiration from all sorts of places, but I've recently made an unpleasant discovery:

sometimes I'm too literal.
It's true.  And here's proof.  I came across this beautiful inspiration piece from Scrapbook Boutique:

 I thought, OK, that's easy.  I imagined a black card, with a white paper flower, a black button centre and silver rhinestones around the outside.  And that was fine, until I did their blog hop and saw what the DT had come up with.  Oh.  That was when it hit me.  Like my less than satisfactory CC September round robin page, I  don't seem to kow the difference between "inspiration" and "copying". 
Would my idea have been a nice card? Sure.  Creative? Not so much.
Here is the card I finally came up with:

I was originally going for elegant bling, but the holographic silver paper (which actually came from some packaging) meant it turned out more disco bling!

This layout is one I did for Lets Scrap challenge 117.  They gave you a list of embellishments to try, and I chose to make my flags (or banners) out of fabric:

And here's that literal thing again: I kept worrying that I didn't have all the elements - and in the same spot - as on the sketch.  Hang on, whose page is this anyway? Eventually I turned the sketch over and refused to look at it any more!  The photos are in the same place as on the sketch, and I used the idea of the banners and the circle elements, but I have moved things around a bit to work for me. 
I felt that the red of my banner was a bit bright, so I splashed a bit of white and orange paint over it to soften it a bit.  then I splashed some more paint around the edge of the page.  That's what my kitchen looks like at the end of a cooking session, after all!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Take one", and Pagemaps October challenge

Here is a page I've had planned for a little while, the second page based on my "spend less, craft more" project - this time based on a mantra (for want of a better word) I created at the start of  this year:
Focus on what inspires you to create
(not on what inspires you to spend)
(you can see the original post here)
When I saw the current sketch at Page Maps, I knew the time had come to make this page.  Here it is:

The paper that the pink flowery shapes comes from is one that has been sitting in my stash close on a year.  It's a Basic Grey, which I love, but those patterns were just too big . . . it was such a relief to realize I could  "fussy cut" a few shapes rather than use the whole piece;  I was then able to give myself permission to use the reverse side (the orange dots).  I am already using the offcuts in another project!
Do you recognize any of the photos on this page?  Just for fun, I tried choosing a ribbon from the photo of my ribbon box . . .the green ribbon turned out to be perfect, and was just the right size for the ribbon punch!
For this page, I also took a challenge called "take one" which comes from SJ's Little Musings, a blog I came across through Shimelle Lane's blog.  And any friend of Shimelle's, well, let's just say I was happy to take a peek.  The idea behind "take one" is this: instead of taking inspiration from outside sources, to go back to what you love about your own pages, choose one element, and use that as inspiration!
While going through some of my family albums over the weekend, it struck me that I love it when I combine my word and letter stamps. Sometimes as a title, sometimes as journalling or as accents.   Here is one example, and this is my "take one":

PS. The "inspire" diecut came from, which I also came across thanks to Shimelle!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Three wedding pages and a . . . (actually just the wedding pages)

Back in 2004, when my sister got married, our boys were in the party as ring bearers.  At some point after the event, I did  mini-album, but not so long ago I started thinking, this is a story that is missing from the boy's albums, so I had some photos printed, and here is the results, starting with the page for Rohan's album . . .

We've all seen those pages in the Scrapbooking magazines where they go, "see, you can use flowers on a male page".  Well this is my version! I figure it's pretty safe seeing he was only 5 at the time, and it is, after all, a page about a wedding . . . they're pretty masculine colours, too.
I had two different stories I wanted to tell for Angus.  Here's the first one I made . . .

How gorgeous is this photos?  It's one of my all-time favourites! (I can't take the credit, my brother was the official photographer at the event).  It looks like Angus (not even 3 at the time) is the last guest at the wedding, absorbed in his cake!  I used sketch 268 from Scrapbook Challenges as my starting point (which, I just realized, is last month's challenge, not this one, but anyhow, it still looks good).  The background paper that I used was a really old Basic Grey that I have had forever, have never found a page for, but no way was I throwing it out!  It works perfectly for this page!  If you double click for a closer look, you might be able to see how well it matches the upholstery on the chairs!
For the next page, I had originally pulled out some totally different papers, but then, (just after I had put everything away) decided that I wanted it to relate a bit more closely, so got everything out again!

This is one of those family stories which take on legend status and will never be forgotten.  For that reason, I didn't want to journal it in too much detail, just enough of a hint that a non-family member who came across this page will get a bit of a hint, and might ask for more details . . . and if you are that non-family member, here's what happened:
When we arrived at my sister's the day before the wedding, I suggested that a rehearsal for my very young, never-been-ringbearers-before sons would have an idea of what to expect.  But she was a busy, distracted bride-to-be and she'd already had her rehearsal, so that was that.
But on the day, poor, not-quite-three year-old Angus was quite upset when the minister took the ring off his little pillow.  The whole congregation heard the now famous line:
"why did that man take my ring?"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

13 photos on a one page layout!

How awesome is this idea from Shimelle at Two Peas?  Her September 4x6 photo love class incorporates 9 photos by putting 2 photos on both sides of those inserts you can see . . .  but I had 13 photos so added a third insert. What a fun, interactive idea!
Shimelle uses transparency for her pocket.  I, on the other hand, don't own any transparency, but am always looking for ways to use vellum, so, voilla!  I thought about stamping over it to give it a bit of pattern, but ended up deciding there was enough going on, what with the patterned papers and all those photos and all.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mother-daughter craft session (and some cute dog scrapbook pages)

Rob had just headed off to Canberra with Angus, and Rohan was at the skate park, so what better time to have a mother-daughter craft/bonding session?  I have learnt that Maddy likes to do the odd scrapbook page, so last time I had some photos printed out I got done especially for her, of her favourite subject matter - Hamish!
She loves to see her work on my blog, and here it is _ Super Star Hamish!
Here's Maddy telling you how to make shooting stars: "you punch out stars and then you cut out around the stars you've punched out.  Then you get some white ribbon and fold it in half, and then you staple it onto your stars.  That's all you have to do!"

And now for some pages I have been working on . . .
 This is the last of the pages documenting our friends moving interstate, this one for Angus's album.
For this page about when our friend's puppy came to stay, I had the idea for the journalling before he'd even left, even though it took a few months to get the photos printed out.  It showcases all the naughty puppy things he got up to, but hopefully also shows how much we loved having him stay!
 What I also love about this page is that I used up the offcuts to two different patterned papers as well as the light blue cardstock.  The journalling spot is a spare die-cut from another layout.