Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happy Days

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) 


What am I so happy about?  Glad you asked . . . it's back to school week!  Rob went back to work on Tuesday, the primary schoolers went back yesterday and the High Schooler today!  It's not that I don't love my family, and I certainly think they all deserved a holiday, but I love my routine as well and can't wait to get back into it.

For the next couple of weeks, I have three very simple goals:  exercise (primarily for my back) catch up on the housework, and spend some time in the craft room!  I should be able to manage that!

Here's a page I made using my January Counterfeit Kit, about Maddy's birthday party last year:

What you can't see very clearly in the photo is some stamping I did in a darker shade of pink.  It reads "Happy birthday Maddy" above the banner, and "sleepover" curved below the 9.

I ended up journalling on another scrap of one of the pinks I used on the background, then adding a similar-toned ribbon as a pull tab and more stitching.

This next page isn't from the kit, but is one I started just before the dreaded creative block hit at the end of last year.  Rohan's friend took a series of photos and then edited them into this one, fun, photo.  I wanted to keep the page pretty basic so as not to detract from the photography.

Thanks for stopping to take a look, until next time, take care!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Kit scrapping

{For the Counterfeit Kit Blog Hop, keep scrolling down to the next post}

January 26.  Australia Day.  We've had a very Aussie morning and been to the beach, with lamingtons and "Aussie Burgers" on the agenda for later.  We're just back from a week's camping by a beach up the coast, and I've used some of my "recovery time" to finish off some pages I started before I went away . . .

For a while there, I thought that the name of my January Counterfeit Kit, "Summer Heat" was going to refer more to the fact that my kit was hiding away in my craft room . . . where the summer heat meant that it was an unbearable place to be most of the time!

On one particularly hot day, as I was bemoaning this fact, Rob suggested to me that I bring some craft down into the air-conditioned kitchen/lounge/dining room.  My first instinct was NO! I haven't packed up supplies to scrap away from home for ages, and even when I have friends over, I seem to spend more time going backwards and forwards to the craft room for more supplies than I do creating!

The idea took hold, however, and not too much later I had my light-bulb moment, "hang on! I'm scrapping from a kit these days! How hard can it be?"

So  I braved the heat long enough to collect my Counterfeit Kit (conveniently stored in a pizza box), adhesive, trimmer, and some photos.  I chucked in some washi tape and the rest of my scrap cardstock backgrounds, and took myself back into the air-conditioning.

Those of you who scrap on the dining room table (or remember back to when you once did) know you only have a finite amount of time before you've got to pack up tools and feed the hoards.  But in that time, I managed to get this page to the point where I wanted to add some mist and a title on the Silhouette:

Because I was working so close to the kitchen, it was perhaps inevitable that my mind turned to challenge #2 at the Counterfeit Kit Blog challenge, to use cookie cutters in some way.  I pretty quickly decided to use the smallest of a set of nested star cutters as a stamp - the sort of cutter that's so small it would take a million years to make a whole batch that size . . . not worth the effort with a teenage boy in the house!

Once again, you could say that this page came "all from my kit" as long as you allow that I've already "added" the scrap background and the washi tape to my kit, and that I've just added a piece of blue paper (from Echo Park: For the Record 2: Documented) to the kit.
The blue paper and woodgrain washi are significant because Angus is currently a brown tip, which in Shi Gan taekwondo is a blue belt with a brown band.  And of course he is breaking a board, hence the woodgrain again.

Almost as exciting as Angus breaking a board, (on the first try!) is that I managed to capture the moment on my phone camera! Applause all round!
My verdict on away-from-the-craftroom-scrapping?
Thanks to my Counterfeit Kit, I'll be quicker to think of it when the next heat wave hits.  In fact, maybe I could venture away from home again . . . craft date, anyone?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Counterfeit Kit Blog Hop

I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the Couterfeit Kit Challenge Member's Blog Hop.  This month, the brief of the challenge was:
"create a project using three patterned papers, three embellishments and a three word title."
If you've been hopping along, you should have come here from Leslie's blog.

Before I show you my page, here's the sketch I used, this month's sketch from Scrapbook Supplies Online:

If there's one thing I've learnt since I started participating in challenges is that you don't have to be 100% literal, 100% of the time.  So if you're trying to count patterned papers and keep going past three, what you need to know is that the green paper is the B-side of the floral that I've used around the edge.  And the journalling card that I've cut in half and placed both above and below the photo strip is, of course, a journalling card.  For journalling on.  Not a patterned paper.  Or an embellishment.  (Which is not to say I wouldn't have defined it differently under different circumstances. LOL).

And I'm sure I don't need to tell you that "spring is" is my subtitle, therefore giving me a 3-word title of "freesia picking time".

Thanks for stopping by, and now it's time to hop over to visit Kate.
The full blog hop list will be published on the CKCB so if you get lost along the way, head over there to find your way back onto the hop.
 I hope you'll leave me a comment to let me know you were here and enjoy the rest of the hop!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Scrapbook background using scrap cardstock

Last month, while I was suffering from a major creative block, I spent quite a bit of time watching Scrapbook Process videos on Youtube.

One of my "finds" has been a series called "From Scraps to Pages" from "Aurorinbag".  A series of process videos using all scraps?  Yes please!  Here's one video that managed to inspire me in my very uninspired state:

  Once I got over the fact that December was supposed to be "finishing off projects" month and decided that any creativity was better than nothing, I pulled out some cardstock scraps to see what I could come up with. 

I ended up making one white background . . .

a pink one . . .

a blue one . . .

a tan one . . .

and a multicoloured one!

And that's as far as I got.  I arranged them in one sitting, stitched them down over another sitting or two, then left them in a pile.  Finally, finally, I can show you a finished page!

But first, something else to share . . the fresh deliciousness that is this month's Scrapbook Boutique challenge!

White, yellow and green.  Yummy or what?

Before I could begin, I took a moment to add a couple of items to my hastily constructed January Counterfeit Kit: a sheet of yellow paper, some stickers and layered cardstock, all from Echo Park "For the Record 2: Documented".  Plus the white sheet of scrap cardstock background, of course.

There, now I get to say that I made this page "all from my kit!"

The photos aren't the best quality; they're from the first lot of photos I've printed from my phone, and I'm not sure if there's a better way to download them. Having said that, I kind of like the effect of the late afternoon sun streaming in from behind.

I'm totally loving finally having my Silhouette back in action, too.  I think I'll be doing that layered effect a lot more often.  What do you think?

I hope you find time to "take a moment" this weekend, whether it's to create, or take the family out for an adventure . . . enjoy!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Does my stash look big in this? (Ten things on the tenth)

Hey there, crafters! Does "stash-busting" appear anywhere on your list of New Years Resolutions this year?  This month, I thought I'd share ten "Spend Less, Craft More" principles for "Ten things on the Tenth".  Whether your weakness is for paper-crafts, fabrics or some other craft hoard, I hope you find some ideas to motivate you!

1. Here's a radical thought:  Do you need a stash at all?
I explained in more detail back here about how I suddenly acquired a stash of wool (knitting yarn) and later wished I hadn't.  The way I knit is to chose a pattern and the appropriate wool together, for that one item, then knit that one item.  End of story.   Beyond a box of oddments for those times when my children want to make a pom pom or the like, I have no business owning a wool stash at all!!
Similarly when I'm dressmaking, I chose one item (or an outfit), then make that garment up before moving on to anything else.  So why did I still have at least ten lengths of fabric in a box after a recent fabric cull?  Hence the 2013 fabric stash challenge!
When it comes to scrapbooking though, I love to pull out some photos and papers from my stash and play around with them.  So a paper stash is OK - as long as it keeps within the limits of my budget and my available space.

2. Organisation is your friend.
Knowing what you have and where you have it is key to using your stash.  But if you're getting out your pen and paper ready to be told how to organise your stash . . .sorry.  I share with Glitter Girl the belief that the organisation system that works best for you is the one that matches your creative process (if you haven't already seen that Glitter Girl Episode you can watch it here.  Incidentally I think that the principles she talks about are equally applicable to all crafts, not just scrapbooking).

OK, I'm not going to give you a prescriptive organisation system, but here's a few things I think are important:
  • I'm a very visual system, so I like to be able to see my supplies as much as possible, and I like all my boxes, drawers etc to be clearly labelled!
  • Your most-used supplies should be closest to hand
  • Having said that, a cluttered work-area can be counter-productive to creativity.  When I encounter a creative block, I invariably clean up my workspace.
  • Make sure you're happy with your organisational system before you commit to spending lots of money on beautiful storage systems.  Otherwise you might end up with a stash of empty containers as well!

3. It's OK to cull.
While you're organising, be honest with your self. Are there items in there you know you'll never, ever in a million years use?  Cull them! Culling might mean recycling or even throwing into the garbage. It might mean donating to your local preschool, or having a swap with crafty frends.  But pretty pretty please don't just give them to a friend with an even bigger stash than yours, just because you know she'll take it!  She probably won't use them either!

4.  Use it or Lose it
I know what you're thinking . . .  but how can I be really truly 100% sure that a particular item really deserves to be culled?  This is where the fun starts! Those items go into the "Use it or Lose it" pile.  Allocate an amount of time and challenge yourself to see what you can use in that time frame.  Then at the end of that time, cull whatever is left.
Of course, if you have a lot of product in this category, you might of course want to break it up into more manageable chunks of supplies, rather than overloading yourself by trying to use everything at once. 

5. Compare your incomings and outgoings.  
Often, when I talk stash-busting on this blog, someone will comment that they try to use stash-busting strategies, but their stash just keeps on growing anyway! If that is true for you, ask yourself this question: How does the product coming in compare to the product you use?  Are you are buying product faster than you're using it? Be honest with yourself about what products you're accumulating, and then you're ready for the next step!

6. Set a budget.
Back in 2010, I set myself a budget of $5 per week on absolutely all my crafting supplies.  I stuck to it, managed to reduce my stash,and actually enjoyed the process!  This year my budget is equivalent to $10 per week, and I can't imagine needing to spend any more.
You might choose to give yourself a per week budget like I did, or limit the amount of particular products you buy.  Some crafters choose to spend no money at all for a set amount of time, perhaps with the exception of certain staple items. (Dressmaker commits to spending no money on fabric for six months, only purchasing notions essential for finishing projects using fabric from the stash) 

7. Keep track of your goals
Invaluable to keeping me on track over the last two years has been a small diary in which I've kept track of all my  spending.  Every time I've completed a project, I've kept track of that also.  Of course making my goals and progress public right here, on my blog, hasn't hurt either!

8. You don't have to do it alone!
Do you have friends who would like to join you in your stash-busting quest?  If not, (and I'm sure you already know this) there are plenty of groups out there in internet land that could help you.  Two of my favourites for paper-crafting:

The Counterfeit Kit Challenge
Here's a quote from their blog:
"If you have ever browsed through those great monthly scrapbook kit clubs and admired their beautiful kits...but knew you needed more supplies, like a "hole in the head" know who you are (you're the one with TONS of supplies and embellishments in your ever growing scrapbook stash)...this challenge is for you!"
The idea is that each month they choose a kit and members "counterfeit" the kit from their own supplies, then offer various challenges to inspire us to use them.  Brilliant!

Let's Scrap has, apart from weekly sketches and regular challenges, a dedicated "Scrap Our Stash" group.

Of course, any blogs or challenges that you already frequent are great too, as long as you stick to the following principle:

9. Focus on what inspires you to create, not on what inspires you to spend.
This was my motto for 2010.  For me, this meant deleting almost all craft-related "saved searches" on Ebay, and giving up regular "window shopping" at my favourite on-line craft stores.  We all know how easy it is to find pretty things we want to buy when that's what we're looking for!  And how much that can eat into the time we might otherwise be spent in the craft room!
Instead, I tried various Challenge websites (sketches and colour challenges being my preference) which enables me to focus on using my creativity with supplies I already have on hand.

10. Have fun!
I promise you that buying less new stuff and using more older product doesn't have to be painful!
In this ten things post back here I share ten current trends that are highly compatible with stash-busting. 
And stash-busting doesn't mean you have to compromise your own style, although you might like to stretch yourself by trying a different style occasionally!

New products coming out at CHA just around the corner . . . whatever.  But a new Scrapbook Boutique challenge released today . . . that's something I get excited about!

Well, thanks for stopping by, and I hope I've given you something to think about!I wish you well on your creative journey this year!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

January Counterfeit Kit, "Summer Heat"

I've done it1 I've managed to put together my January Kit for the Counterfeit Kit Challenge!

The lovely kit this month is called "A Merry Winter":

I've never felt the need to be too literal when it comes to my Counterfeiting.  So while I took some of the colours and elements from the original kit, I called mine "Summer Heat"!


 It's summer, (and yes, it has been hot!), it's school holidays, and we have a week camping coming up.  I know I don't have a lot of scrapping time this month, so I didn't want to spend a lot of time putting a kit together. 
For my papers, I went for colours and patterns that were similar to those in the inspiration kit.  I've got a lot of new papers recently, and wanted to mix up the brands a bit.  Let's have a look:

L to R: Basic Grey "Out of Print", Echo Park "Everyday Eclectic", cut apart journalling cards and ledger paper from Studio Calico "Take Note", Carta Bella "Traditions and Teresa Collins "Sweet Afternoon".
Here's the back sides:

For lettering, I pulled the only really old supply in this month's kit: some pastel letter tiles.  I didn't have any red letting similar to the Thickers in the original kit, so I've pulled some off-cut red cardstock to put through the Silhouette.

The only embellishments I've gotten out so far is two packs of new wood veneer shapes (tiny stars and those cute people) and some kraft coloured die-cuts I did on the Silhouette:

I love how both the birds-on-a-wire card front and the heart banner give me both the positive and the negative to play with.

Any other embellishments, cardstock etc I figure I'll just add as I go, if need be.

Happy kitting and happy crafting, fellow counterfeiters!  I'll see you back here for the Blog Hop, or hopefully before!

Friday, January 4, 2013

The 2013 fabric stash challenge (and other crafty goals)

Happy New Year, friends and visitors!  There's something unique in the air that only happens at this time of year, isn't there?  An aura of expectation, of hopes and plans and dreams.  We set lofty goals for ourselves, and who's to say we won't achieve them!

Two years ago, I set myself goals to spend less on my craft supplies and more time actually using them!  If you've become a follower sometime since then through one of the Scrapbooking challenges I frequent, you could easily assume that this meant only papercraft supplies.  But the truth is, my craft stash actually encompasses fabric, wool, and beading supplies and more!

Lengths of fabric and half-finished sewing projects that weren't exactly new to begin with have now been sitting in their boxes for another two years!

Two lengths of fur and giraffe pattern
   Last month I decided it was time to pull down some of those boxes and remind myself what they held.  As I shared with you here, it was so overwhelming it started the biggest creative block I've had since I started this blog, and for a while I didn't see a way past it.  Although I did give away a couple of lengths of fabric and cull a lot of scrappy end-pieces, there was still a lot I wasn't willing to part with.  All that fabric, those unfinished projects, seemed insurmountable.

Five of the lengths of the fabric I can't bear to part with

But two skirts (here's the other one)and one mini-quilt on, I'm ready to commit to the revised Spend Less, Craft More goals for 2013:

  • increased budget to $8 per week, plus an additional $50 "splurge" at the start of January and again in July, (equivalent to approx $10 per week in total).  
  • I've reduced my free "staples" to basic adhesives only.  Everything else I defined as a "staple" last year (page protectors, albums and replacement blades) will now come out of the budget at 50%.  ALL sewing notions and other items required to finish sewing projects will come out of the budget.
  • Create an average of one scrapbook page per week
  • Start a 2013 "Project Life" style album, although I expect to do a double-layout (or perhaps two) per month, rather than one per week.
  • Complete at least one sewing project per month, from my list of fabric lengths and unfinished projects.
  • Not start any other sewing projects, unless the majority of the supplies comes from the stash,.
Two mini quilts, both ridiculously close to being finished

The central panel of a wall quilt