Monday, January 30, 2012

A little something extra - at no extra cost!

Some people scrapbook very fancy, very embellished pages.  Others have a cleaner, more simple style.  My pages generally tend towards the simpler end of the spectrum.  And I'm OK with that.  I like the fact that I keep the photos and stories as the key focus of my pages.
But lately, I've been thinking (especially given the size of my stash) that it wouldn't hurt to add just a little something extra to some of my pages.
This week at Two Peas, Shimelle's alter-ego, Glitter Girl, tackled just this issue, of adding just that little bit extra, (see here)so I decided to take up the challenge!

Trying a "scrapbook starting point" has never been that appealing to me, but once as I just saw it as a variation on a sketch, I could move forward, using one of the new photos I've just had printed out.
I really wanted to add some ribbon or something to this page, but it just wasn't working for me.  I don't own any mists, but I used ink and watered-down paint to bring the colours on the page together.
I'm not the sort of person to use cutesy ice-cream embellishments on a page about a trip to an ice-cream shop.  Using my Silhouette, I cut out a few asterixes from a couple of different fonts from two of the same papers, and punched out some circles from a third.
A simple page, telling a lovely, simple story!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hooray for new photos!

I am absolutely hanging out to buy some new patterned papers, I haven't bought any for months! I decided to wait until my new batch of photos arrived, which they did earlier this week!

Being the responsible spender that I am (trying to be), I thought I'd pick out a few photos to start, and see what I could come up with from the stash, then take the rest of the photos to the shop to match up colours.

Here's what I came up with first, using this week's ColourQ combo:

Rohan got into skateboarding in a big way last year (that's how he broke his arm 2 weeks ago, if I haven't mentioned that already).  On the way home from a camping trip on the October long weekend we stopped at a (conveniently deserted) skate park for a break.  While we were there, Rohan successfully "dropped in" for the first time.  And I was there with the camera to take these awesome photos!

I'll be back soon with more pages, I'm sure!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Craft with Grandma

Hi everybody, Maddy here! When my Grandma came to visit, she did lots of craft with me.  We made some flowers with white paper, white pen and buttons.  And then we put it on a dark background. 

I love doing craft with Grandma!

(note from Mum: Maddy got this idea from this fabulous book, 365 things to do with paper and cardboard,)

The $1 per use guideline

A few years ago I was at a papercrafts show with my sister.  We were doing a make-and-take and the girl at the booth was telling us about her friend (let's call her Jane, as I can't remember what her name was).  Before Jane would buy any new stamps, she would ask herself, "can I use this stamp at least three ways?"  Before we had finished at that booth, Jane herself arrived, and promptly began showing off the new stamps she had purchased from another vendor.  "ah yes" I said, "but can you use them three ways?"  You should have seen the look on her face as a complete stranger repeated her philosophy!

I think we all agree with Jane, at least in theory - we want good value from our purchases!  But sometimes we don't stop and think before we buy something new about how much we'll actually use it, or we have good intentions, but then our focus shifts to something else new before we've done justice to the first purchase.

So that's where the $1 per use guideline comes in.  For every dollar I spend on any given item, that's the number of times I need to use it before I buy a similar item.  So a $3 packet of flowers would need to be used 3 times before I bought any new flowers, for example.

Now, because I'm still a believer in the stash, (but in a controlled way) the other option is that the new item gets incorporated into the stash, but I need to use a similar item from the stash twice as many times.  In other words, if the $3 packet of flowers goes into the stash, I would need to use other flowers from my stash 6 times before I could buy more flowers.

At the moment I'm envisioning this applying this guideline to things like embellishments, stamps and other tools.

My first big purchase of the year is a stamp set I bought on Ebay for $17.  So, before I buy any more stamps this year, I will need to use those stamps 17 times, other stamps 34 times, or any combination of the two.

Bring on the challenge!

The set I purchased is a Stampin' Up accessory set, which matches their Family set of bodies, heads etc my sister gave me for Christmas a couple of years back.  This new set includes (among other things) a skateboard and tae kwon do uniform.  I've had this set on my Ebay "watch" list for ages now, but couldn't afford it last year.

Last night, when I dropped the kids off at Tae Kwon Do, we received the happy news that one of the women who trains there had her baby earlier this week.  So I raced home and made this card:

So that's one use down, 16 to go!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

positive plus negative equals two-for-the-price-of-one (almost)

In the past I've blogged about a few challenges and "scraplifts" which have been pretty much copies of the original idea, so you'd be forgiven for thinking that I always worked that way.  The truth is, that a lot of the time, y inspiration comes from right in front of me - the colours in a photo I'm using, a stamp I feel like playing with, the left-overs from a project I've just finished working on . . . you get the idea.
Sometimes, though, I come across something that absolutely takes my breath away.

That happened when I was wandering around in blog-land, and came across this gorgeous card at a blog called Our Change of Art:

I loved the use of the negative of the butterflies and could instantly see so many possibilities!  As soon as I had the chance, I jumped on the Silhouette and created two templates, one an obvious copy, and also a more versatile set of round windows:

First of all, the card I made with the negative windows:

Now here's the card I made using the positive images.  It is my entry for this month's purple, green and white challenge at Scrapbook Boutique:

Now for the circle cards:  This card, for my Dad, has images stamped on each of the circles, then attached with mounting tape:

For a birthday party Angus was going to, I used the negative windows:

(If I do this style again, I think I'll use the Silhouette and make the inner circles slightly larger, this was the best I could do with my CM circle cutters)

So many possibilities!   I'll be doing some more playing with negative images for sure!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rescued papers

I've already shared with you how I bought the pack of Basic Grey "Indian Summer" papers, and how hard I've found them to use.  I'm learning to let go of products I don't want, which is awesome.  But it's even more awesome when I find a use for something I initially didn't think I could and love the end result!

Page one: I came across these photos of Maddy playing in the leaves in our backyard.

I had already scrapped these photos for the family album, (using the Indian Summer papers) but this time it's for hers.  I had a bunch of little photos printed in different orientations and wasn't sure how to use them, until I came across the January sketch from Crafty Sketches.  The only thing I ended up using on this page other than the Indian Summer papers and stickers was a white gel pen and white cardstock.  By mounting the stickers on white and using mounting foam, I was able to give them a lot more definition.  My favourite thing about this page (other than the expression on Maddy's face) ended up being the white gel pen around the edge, which I added at the last minute.  Funny how something so simple makes such a difference!

Page two:  A very different one for Maddy's album, in one of her ballet outfits. Using the blue as a starting point, I chose ColourQ challenge no114 to work with.

The paper I cut to use as a mat wasn't quite red enough, so I inked the edges pretty thoroughly . . .

. . . by the time I added all my elements, including the berries, you'd hardly recognise it as being from the same collection!  but I love the results!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

December stretch your sketch

Feeling like there's been an absence of new photos this year?  That's because of a sad little story.  I went to download some photos and discovered the connection on the cable that connects my camera and computer was damaged.  So I dug out my old cable, connected it up . . . and the whole computer shut down!  Yikes!
So I jumped on Ebay and waited (impatiently) for my new cable to arrive.

But I'm pleased to now be able to show you this page which I actually did on New Years Day, based on the December stretch your sketch at Two Peas.  I adore these photos of Maddy we took at her first Christmas.  I covered a box with wrapping paper and attached a bow to her head to make the sweetest present under the tree ever!  For years after the boys would refer to "those things you stick on babies heads"!

Those purple flowers have been sitting in my stash for forever, so it's nice to give them a proper home!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ten highlights of 2011

Inspired by Shimelle's 10 things on the 10th, here are some spend less, craft more highlights . . .

  • Increased confidence in combining colours (largely thanks to ColourQ)
  •  Enjoyed finding lots of ways to use my never-ending supply of offcuts
  •  Learnt how to add interest to my pages by using sketches
  •  Learnt (much later) that sketches don't have to be followed exactly and can be s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d!
  •  Discovered that small patterned and tone-on-tone patterned papers are the most versatile papers to have in your stash
  •  (and thankfully  managed to find ways to use some larger patterns)

  •  Loved using some older supplies, especially when mixed with newer ones
  •  Really, really, really loved my new Silhouette machine
  •  Stopped waiting for a "special enough" page to use the stickers and embellishments I have been hoarding in my stash.

  • And most of all, focussed on what inspires me to create, not what inspires me to spend!

I look forward to more highlights in 2012!

The maintenance phase

Have you heard me comparing the spend less, craft more process to a diet?  Well if you haven't before, you will today.
A good weight loss program essentially involves consuming less calories than you use, and ideally consists of a carefully controlled intake of food (ideally a balance of healthy foods), combined with regular exercise. 
In the spend less, craft more "diet", I have limited my intake (spending) and tried to focus on healthy foods (essential items I will actually use).  My "exercise" has been pushing myself to try a range of challenges.
So far so good, but what happens to so many of us  when our "diet" finishes?  We go straight back to our old habits and the "yo-yo" cycle kicks in.
That's where the maintenance phase comes in.  That's when you gradually reintroduce extra foods, including the odd treat you've been denying yourself.  You may be able to cut down on the exercise a little too, but ideally you will have found an exercise plan that you enjoy and can stick to.  You are trying to find a balance which will maintain your weight goal.
So here's my maintenance plan for 2012:
  • Still limit spending to $5 per week, with the following additions:
  • "staple" items will be exempt from the $5 limit: staples being defined as albums, page protectors, journalling pens, replacement blades and adhesives.
  • an additional $50 "splurge" allowance will be added, which can be accessed at any time during the year
  • use what I buy!! How's that for a radical concept?  Ideally, this would mean only buying products I have an immediate use for, but we'll see how that goes . . .
  • reset the goal of one scrapbook page per week initially, to be revised depending on how busy I find myself
  • keep the goal of 2 online challenges per month
  • balance that with the goal of 2 non-challenge pages per month.  (This would include pages such as school events, birthday parties and the like where there are photos of lots of other children).  some of these I might still post snippets of, many I probably won't.
And that's about it! Wish me luck, and I wish you all the best finding balance in your life this year too

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How much does your cardstock weigh now?

If you've been reading since the beginning, then you'll know that a  year ago I decided to reign in my craft spending.  Here were my three goals:
  • limit spending to $5 per week, or a total of $260 for the year (considering the huge amounts of craft supplies I have loaded up in my room that really should be plenty)
  • and try and create something (scrapbook page, card or whatever) at least weekly
  • to have a smaller stash by the end of the year.
I quickly expanded those goals to the following (see original post here):
  • update this blog regularly
  • do something creative every week
  • complete at least 2 challenges a month
  • complete a scrapbook page a week (single or double)
  • work through my "projects" box with the aim of completing each item or considering getting rid of it.
  • knit my way through my wool stash 
  • make a list of my scrapbooking supplies (by group) and mark each time I use each item
  • be prepared to cull unused items, and 
  • weigh my cardstock, and compare in 12 months.
So, how did I go?
  • update this blog regularly
At 80 posts in 2011, I think that counts as pretty successful!
  • do something creative every week
Again, with a total of 133 scrapbook pages and 16 recorded "other" projects, a resounding success!
  • complete at least 2 challenges a month
Some months I managed 7 or 8!
  • complete a scrapbook page a week (single or double) 
see above!
  • work through my "projects" box with the aim of completing each item or considering getting rid of it.
not so successful.  I did complete one sewing project and do a little bit on another, but paper-crafts have definitely taken precedence this last year.
  • knit my way through my wool stash 
Again, less than fabulous.  I did knit some scarves and start a jumper for Maddy, but mainly I learnt the pointlessness of having a wool stash.  I hope to use and/or cull some more this year
  • make a list of my scrapbooking supplies (by group) and mark each time I use each item
I definitely kept my list, and enjoyed marking it off at the completion of each project.  But I'll tell you a secret: I still have a lot of stuff!  For example, I can tell you that I recorded that I used ribbon in 75 projects, but see that box of ribbon that is my wallpaper?  It still looks pretty much the same.  And there are 3 other boxes with more ribbon in them!
  • be prepared to cull unused items, 
I still have my "use it or lose it" box of papers, and I'm hoping to have a swap/give-away day after school goes back this year.  
  • weigh my cardstock, and compare in 12 months.

I totally couldn't wait to get the results on this one . . . last year's total was 21.58kg (including some storage boxes).  That is now down to (drum roll please) 17.69kg, a reduction of nearly 4kg!
The amount of offcuts has increased slightly, with the most dramatic decrease being sheets of patterned paper.
  • limit spending to $5 per week
I did it! (with the help of a few presents, not least of which being my Silhouette) I did it! I actually have $13.50 left over which is totally burning a hole in my pocket right now . . .