Saturday, 27 February 2010

Valentine's Day (ShakeItPhoto style)...

Cardstock: Bazzill Basics; Patterned Paper: Pink Paislee; Letter Stickers: American Crafts, Jenni Bowlin Studio, Making Memories, October Afternoon, Cosmo Cricket, Dymo; Punch: Dovecraft; Fonts: Another Typewriter, Traveling Typewriter, American Typewriter; Adhesive: American Crafts

Sometimes (but rarely for me), a layout just falls into place. This was one of those layouts. I spent a good ten minutes staring at the Pink Paislee patterned papers (the 'one manufacturer' for February), my collection of Thickers and letter stickers...and finally the photographs. Oh how I love the ShakeItPhoto app for the iPhone! For those times when it is completely inappropriate to whip out your camera and take 250 photos of the contents of your plate, the ShakeItPhoto app (and the iPhone in general) are a scrapbooker's/aspiring paparazzo's dream. Anyway, ten minutes later the layout was pretty much in place. This is highly unprecedented - it was very much a 'ta-da!'/hallelujah moment. I'm keep my fingers crossed that I have more of them...

I tried three new things on this layout: the new Cosmo Cricket Tiny Type letter stickers; the October Afternoon Mini Market letter stickers; and American Crafts' This to That permanent glue runner. All three are awesome. I would definitely recommend the AC adhesive - it was very smooth, very easy to use...and it actually adhered all of the glue to the page, rather than half of it...although I have a feeling that my problems with glue runners are more to do with the person applying them than with the product itself. *Ahem.* I had a lot of fun putting the grid together - to give it a bit of dimension I used two different sizes of 3D foam dots (applied haphazardly to the page). I think those Lullaby Glitter Thickers are my favourites so far...I just wish they were available in more colours!
We had such an incredible Valentine's weekend. Luckily for me, Jamie figured out pretty early on in our relationship that the fastest way to my heart is through food, so he took me to the Palm restaurant (an American Steakhouse) for dinner on Saturday. WOW. The food there was unforgettable. We did a lot of laughing...I sampled a Razzmopolitan (or two) and the waiter gave us free desserts. We will definitely be going back! On Sunday morning we had bacon sandwiches and exchanged cards, Jamie gave me five beautiful red roses (one for each year of our relationship) and then we wandered off to Starbucks for hot chocolates and mocha frappuccinos before settling down to watch TV.

I may have also themed my socks to the occasion.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, 19 February 2010

This is Why I Scrapbook: Part 2

Have you ever thought about why you scrapbook? Maybe you've done so 'accidentally,' when someone asks you what it is that you do for fun...and why. Perhaps, as you attempt to explain away another scrapbooking-related purchase to your husband/partner/boyfriend/friend/parent/yourself (I tend to find that they're either enablers or just make you feel really bad), you cry, 'but it makes me happy!' Or maybe, like many of us, you've just never really given it any thought.
[You might be wondering at this point why it's even worth it, but here's my theory: scrapbookers document things that are meaningful to them. And I'm guessing that if you asked almost any scrapbooker, they would rate scrapbooking as pretty high on their 'things that are very important to me list.']

Before I participated in 'This is Why I Scrapbook,' I had never organised my reasons into coherent thoughts, but I'm so glad that I made the effort to do so.

For myself - and others - it was an opportunity to take look at how we process and document our lives through a layout. In this vein, I would argue that a scrapbook isn't just a pimped out photo album. Rather, it is a genuine labour of love (apologies for the cliche)...which provides stories and insights into times gone by. Yes, a photo speaks a thousand words. But when you have thousands of photographs, those words get lost.

For the most part, however, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to thank someone whose passion and enthusiasm for scrapbooking left an indelible mark on my life. Thank you again, Mrs. Rose. You rock. (My credit card company thinks so, too!).

So, go make yourself a cup of tea/coffee/whatever keeps you sane and head on over to Shimelle's blog. Take a peek at each of the entries and vote for those people whose reasons resonate with you. Hopefully you'll be inspired to put pen to paper and record your own thoughts on why you scrapbook....I'd love to hear them.

And thank you so much to those of you that have voted for me. You rock too :)

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Cardstock: American Crafts, Bazzill Core'dinations; Patterned paper: American Crafts; Letter stickers: American Crafts, Jenni Bowlin Studio; Embossing folder: Crafts Too; Punch: EK Success

'You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.'
Dr. Seuss

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Scraplifts and other stories

Cardstock: American Crafts; Patterned paper; Jenni Bowlin Studio; Letter stickers: American Crafts, My Little Shoebox, Jenni Bowlin Studio; Punches: Fiskars, EK Success, Martha Stewart, Woodware; Felt star: Paperchase; Buttons, pearls: from stash.

Owing to the loss of Scrapbook Inspirations and the closure of Borders (pretty much the only stockist of Creating Keepsakes in the UK), I recently started buying the UK edition of Scrapbook Trends. Even though I have a sneaky suspicion that it is a couple of issues behind its US counterpart, I 100% LOVE IT. And I was particularly inspired by Ronda Palazzari's layout, featured on the cover of the February 2010 issue (entitled 'Logan'). I decided that it would be perfect for three photos that I had struggled to incorporate into a layout, so I scraplifted the basic structure of Ronda's page and switched in my own colour scheme (based around JBS papers).

I think what particularly appealed to me about Ronda's layout was the effortless way she combined so many techniques and elements without detracting from her photos. I would definitely recommend taking a peek at her blog, which is full of incredible inspiration.

Anyhoo, I was so obsessed with Scrapbook Trends that I decided to try out an issue of Cards magazine as well (of the same publisher). I should probably mention here that I have never been particularly interested in card making, although I always marvel at what other people produce.

And yes, I may have developed a bit of an obsession with this magazine, too (it's serious eye candy).

So I decided to try my hand at making a card....

This was very much an experiment. It meant that I got to play with my Heat Buddy, which always provides hours of endless embossing entertainment. It also meant that I got to play with these cute little American Crafts chipboard frames (from its Letterbox line) and my new American Crafts 'Thanks' stamps (which are very awesome indeed). But, most exciting of all, I got to play with this:

I have to give a massive shout out to the lovely Meghann for this. Back in November, she posted this gorgeous card, complete with signature stamp. I coveted said stamp. And then I came across Sweet Papery on Etsy, which sells reasonably priced custom made stamps such as the one above...and they ship internationally (this was very much an hallelujah moment). I couldn't resist it! I am totally thrilled with how it turned out....

Sweet Papery also has a website, which has some lovely stamps, many of which are self-inking. It's all very drool-worthy! My current favourite is the abigail stamp, but seriously...there are so many to choose from...

I just beat Jamie at at archery on Wii Resort (this never happens), so I'm off to revel in my glory!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Who dat?!

For someone who doesn't understand the first thing about American football (despite the best efforts of Jamie and my friends and host families in Memphis), I have a perverse obsession with it. It might have something to do with the atmosphere, or possibly the food (I am pretty much addicted to funnel cake). Whatever the reason, I was super excited about the Super Bowl this weekend.

I was especially excited because I saw the New Orleans Saints play the San Diego Chargers at Wembley in 2008. This was my first NFL Wembley experience...and it definitely didn't disappointment! The Saints were the dedicated home team, providing thousands of themed flags for the crowd to show their support (you can sort of see my flag in the photo above).

I have it on good authority that it was a pretty good game, with the Chargers attempting a Hail Mary pass in the final second (although it didn't quite work).

Characteristically, I was a big fan of the half time entertainment! There was a mini parade, complete with floats and marching band (and cheerleaders of course).

I loved the Saints cheerleaders! I practically fell over with excitement when we found out that they were selling and autographing calendars before the game.

I originally wanted to support the Chargers, but I was swayed by the enthusiasm of the Saints fans scattered around us - it is amazing that they travelled so far to support their team! The Saints won 37-32, which I'm told was pretty impressive given that Reggie Bush was having knee surgery at the time.

For me, the highlight was definitely the merchandise...Jamie and I bought miniature helmets and footballs, as well as an NFL London 2008 pennant. And, being the hoarder that I am, all of this was on display for the Super Bowl this weekend! Jamie was away on Sunday, but we watched it last night while munching on a KFC boneless bucket.

And you know what? I almost understood American football by the end of the game. Almost.

I'll be back later with a crafty post!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Project 365

Can you believe that it's February already?! I'm a little bit relieved...January always feels very anti-climactic after the fun and festivities of December. And it's so very dreary - I'm definitely ready for spring :)

On the up side, the end of January also marked the successful completion of the first month of my Project 365! I decided to do this at approximately 23:55 on New Year's Eve, having done no research whatsoever and having no real clue what it precisely involved, other than you had to take a picture everyday for one whole year.

And that's exactly what I've been doing. I didn't set out with a particular aim or theme. As I have progressed with the project I've started to make an effort to photograph things that I might not necessarily document, which is especially the case since I've been back in London.

But generally I just photograph things that interest well as those parts of my daily routine that I usually ignore or overlook. I've also noticed that I photograph 'things' as opposed to people...and that I curiously gravitate towards reds and creams, which was totally unplanned.

I wasn't sure what to expect, or even if I would stick with it. But I can honestly say that I've loved the experience so far. It has taught me to look rather than to simply see. And, had I not been doing a 365, I probably wouldn't have taken these photos, which are two of my favourites from January:

I've loved seeing how other 365 projects have progressed since the start of the year. If you're doing a 365 or if you're interested in starting one, I really recommend checking out this post by Ali Edwards and this post by Sharyn Carlson. Both Ali and Sharyn have been documenting their 365 projects using Becky Higgins' Project Life, which sadly isn't available in the UK at the moment (although Becky mentioned on her blog that it might be shipping internationally in the coming weeks). Sharyn's idea of using Shuttercal is a brilliant one - it helps you to keep track of your photos in a calendar format, which makes life a whole lot easier! Also, if you have an iPhone, Lisa Truesdell mentioned a very cool app on her blog which is sort of like Shuttercal - just search for Project 365 on iTunes and it should come up with the link.

Are you doing a Project 365 this year? I'd love to hear about it if you are! You can take a peek at mine here. And here is the photo for 31/01/10, because January just had to be awkward and have 31 days: