Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A short yarn about a lot of . . . .

In some countries they might call it yarn, but here we tend to just call it wool.  For the longest time I didn't have a wool stash.  The process would go: decide to knit a jumper, choose pattern, buy wool, knit jumper, repeat process at some time in the future.  But that all changed when I came in contact with two wool stashes that were being culled.  The first was a close friend's mum, who was then battling and has since lost her battle with cancer.  I basically got first option on any wool my friend chose not to keep.  The rest went on Ebay.  The second was a much bigger stash.  So much so that when my friend's aunt died, he and his wife had a huge wool sale, raising money for the water project their son was working on in Bali.  I offered to help on the day, and needless to say, came home with . . . you guessed it, heaps of wool!
Probably close to a year had passed, and I still hadn't started knitting, quite a problem in a year devoted to crafting and culling.  And it's easy to see why the old process was so much wiser.  When you choose to knit a garment, there's often a direct relationship between the pattern and the wool it is designed for, which makes for a perfect fit. Sure, it's possible to take an 8 ply pattern and use a different brand, but many wools don't even tell you what ply they are, and when you start looking at international patterns, they speak a whole different language again!
So how to break the knitting drought?  Something flexible about size, shape, and needle size? Something that will use exactly the amount of wool you have?  You guessed it, baby, a scarf!  This scarf took me about two weeks and came with me to ballet and acrobatics lessons, soccer practice and of course kept me company while watching TV.  The best thing about knitting a scarf in winter is that once it's long enough you can wear it and knit it at the same time!
Finding a second project proved more of a challenge.  It went something like this:
Find something potentially suitable for 12 yo. and ask, what do you think about this?
"I don't like it"
What don't you like about it?
"It's wool".
Ok. So no knitting for you.  Next I find a lovely riding-style jacket I thought I could make for myself.  Until I realised by the size needles it uses it must be a 12ply.  Mine of course being 8ply.
Third attempt: find a really beautiful cabled pattern for my 7yo.  Would look lovely in the mauve wool I had picked up with her in mind.  Except then realise not quite enough wool and biggest size of the pattern may no longer fit her by the time it gets finished.
Eventually settled on a simple hooded jacket for her; it's a variegated wool that calls itself "plum" and is looking quite pretty as it is getting knitted up.  There's an adult quantity of wool so there'll be heaps left over, but at this point, I'm just happy to be knitting.
Scarf, anyone?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Something old, something new . . .

Here's a page I finished earlier this week based on Sketch 256 at Scrapbooking Challenges
I think I'll file this one under "older patterned papers go with older photos".  Oh, the sweet memories of when my children used to play together so nicely in the backyard . . .
The decadent thing about this page?  See that piece of purple check paper?  I cut into a brand new sheet of patterned paper for a rectangle about 10x3cm.  But then, it was a sheet destined for the bin if it didn't get used soon, so maybe it wasn't that decadent!

Next page I did was based on the monthly sketch at "Ideal Paper Craft".  This one I'll file under "it's fun to use new patterned papers before they turn into old papers too".  I used my Basic Grey Marjolaine papers which I have really loved since buying the whole set at the end of last year.  This page uses one full sheet and off-cuts from other projects of three other double sided sheets of paper, as well as the coordinating stickers. 
A hint: I find it hard to visualize how stickers will look on the page when they are on those big sheets, so I cut them out, backing and all, so I can play around with placing them on the page.
Bonus hint:  after I was happy with the placement of my elements, I took this digital photo, so that after I had added tape to the back of everything, I would still remember where it all went!
the finished page!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

a new mantra, "Story first"

The page to the right sat, finished to this stage, in my "work in progress" file for quite a few months.  I had been soooo looking forward to scrapping these gorgeous photos of my daughter playing on the beach, and I absolutely loved this colour combination.  The problem, (as you'll see by the finished page) was not the large amount of white space, but rather the lack of a story to go with it.  This page is, I hope, the last one that I will scrap purely for the sake of scrapping a pretty picture. This page (as well as reading the Simple Scrapbooking book I mentioned in an earlier post) cemented in me the realization that for me, the story always has to come first (pretty pictures always a bonus though!)  I ended up journalling about the simple joy of playing in the sand, which has always been so important to our family.  Love that we live so close to beautiful Newcastle beaches!  Story told, lesson learnt.
The finished page.

This page is also significant in that it is the 52nd page I have completed since I started counting for my "spend less, craft more" challenge.
One of my goals was to complete at least 52 pages, an average of one a week.  Not that I plan on stopping!  Another of my goals is to "do something creative every week" and scrapping is certainly my number one creative outlet at the moment.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The stashometer

I was browsing some blogs the other day and came across this lady who gives all her scrapbook pages a "stashometer" reading.  How cool is that!  Of course, pretty much all of my pages are 100% from the stash, but it got me thinking, how would I rate my pages for their stash-eating goodness?  How would you?
Here's what would get brownie points on this page I did for Scrapbook challenges "Scraplift the POTW" - (you should hopefully see the original if you click here)
  • using only off-cuts of patterned papers (5 no less!)
  • using a product I have heaps of but don't use often enough (buttons)
  • using a product long forgotten in the bottom of a drawer (the scrabble tiles)
  • clever use of a supply I'm running low on, in this case the negative of the "O" sticker (clever because it's a "hole", get it? Well I thought it was clever, anyway).
And here's the journalling.

Monday, June 13, 2011

This post comes with a warning!!

Warning: this post contains content which may upset some readers.
I've been thinking about what is it about other people's pages that is so great, and why I wish mine were more like theirs, until it occurred to me, it's not that I don't like my pages, but that their papers are different.  That is to say, they are different from the ones I scroll through in my stash every time I go to start a new page.
So when I dropped in to my local Scrapbooking Store the other day (they had finally gotten page protectors back in stock), I knew I was going to want to buy a sheet or two of new papers.  The deal I made with myself was, if I was going to buy anything new, I had to cull some of the old!
True to my word, I pulled out the paper stash as soon as I got home.  About ten or so papers have gone into a box.  I am allowed to use them, let my daughter use them, give them away or swap them, but they are not going back in the stash!!!!  Some of them are even Basic Grey!!! (You have to understand that it like a Masterchef contestant culling their Nigella cookbooks).  Any left in the box by the end of the year will be binned!  Four sheets of paper (and this is the shocking bit) went straight into the BIN!!! 
Here's to a year of spending less and crafting more and a reasonable sized stash that can have small amounts of new supplies added regularly!
It has been a miserable, cold rainy June long weekend here.  Perfect, as it turned out, for scrapbooking a record number of pages. The secret to my speed, I think, is a couple of things, firstly feeling more comfortable in my scrapbooking skin and feeling that sometimes simple little stories really do just need simple pages. And secondly, (this will be no surprise to many people) letter stickers are really fast to use! I've gotten over the fear of using up all of some letters because, quite frankly, better to have a half-used sheet of stickers than a pristine unused sheet waiting for the perfect combination of titles that means no letters go unwasted!! This was no mean feat on my part, I mean, the word "between" used all 3 "e"s on the page for heavens sake!
I'm not saying that I'm a letter sticker convert, my sizzix fonts and letter stamps will always be a much more budget conscious-way of making titles, but it has been a very liberating weekend.

P.S. The Climb Tomaree layout was done for the Scrapbooking Challenges sketch 257

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Embrace the Simplicity

The other day my beautiful friend Sheryl came over to scrapbook.  Fun, joy, fun!  A great time to catch up, recharge the creative battery and get inspired.  She lent me her copy of "clean & simple scrapbooking/the sequel" by Cathy Zielske.  I love, love, love this book! I so get her take on scrapbooking, " . . .at it's core, this hobby is very simple. Take a photo. Tell a story. Save a memory."  I love how she uses beautiful photos and well-told (often funny) stories and they just don't need that much embellishing. 
The funny thing was that I kept thinking "why isn't there a story later than 2005?"  And then I realised that the book itself is five years old.  But it hasn't dated the way my 5 year old scrapbooking magazines have.  And that's another good thing about her simple philosophy.  It's timeless.  Instead of thinking "that page is sooo 2005", you just think, that's a great page.  Great photos.  Great journalling.  End of story.
I can see a whole list of challenges-for-self coming out of this book
  Here's a page I worked on in my scrapbooking date with Sheryl.  My favourite bit of this page (which is probably a bit hard to see in this photo) is the tiny birds stamped in the top right hand corner.  They echo the journalling (also a bit hard to see here) which says:
Walk along with Mum and Dad
No place I'd rather be
Feels like flying through the air
One . . .Two . .

P.S. My friend Sheryl makes beautiful pages too!