Thursday, May 31, 2012

Smile featuring Pion Design Papers

Smile - featuring Pion Design
This is a layout that I had intended to submit for the Pion Design Sketch for the month of May but somehow I got my timezones all mixed up and missed the submission date.  So here it is!  
This features the Studio of Memories Collection. Ring of Roses, Pink Butterfly and Tags.

This is a photo I took of my niece before her dance recital May18th.  It was so much fun to see her all dressed up and excited.  Aunt Jen couldn't help herself with the camera.

I also used Dusty Attic Keys and Locks DA0680 and keys along with the new Dusty Attic, Dusty in Bloom flowers, Bridal Veil DA0805 at the top and the little blooms tucked here and there.

More detailed photos.

Thanks for looking.  Maybe next time I'll get my international times correct. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

White River Valley - Dusty Attic Challenge

I created this for the Dusty Attic Monthly Sketch Challenge.   This month, the sketch was created by the talented and inspirational artist, Mistra Hoolahan. 

I used the Dusty Attic Vine Border DA0459 and the Compass Rose DA0686.  I painted the compass rose with Adirondack paint in Sandal, then sprinkled Stampendous Frantage Aged Silver Embossing enamel over it while the paint was wet and gave it a blast of my heat gun.  Really cool stuff. 

The vines are simply inked with Tim Holtz Vintage photo. 

The papers I chose were from the Cloud9 Colorbok paper collection called Victorian Parlour.  I love these papers.  I used the 12x12 and papers from the 8x8 pads. 

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Peony Bud - Scraps Of Darkness and CSI -Colors, Stories, Inspiration case file #20

Peony's Slow Bloom - This was created for the CSI-Colors, Stories, Inspiration case file #20 using the amazing Scraps Of Darkness May Kit, Summer Breeze. 

The kit is beyond amazing.  Check us out and give it a whirl.  

Escape Kitty and I are Special Investigators for the month of May at CSI-Color, Stories, Inspiration.  Kitty, in true Kitty fashion, has been stealing the design thunder by posting her  work before I get chance.   This week, I scrapped faster than her and got mine done first.  ha!  Kitty - your plot for scrapping and feline world domination has been foiled just this once.   

The evidence I incorporated: 
  1. I created a spiral with my string, then I painted it with gesso.
  2. Lots of white space
  3. I used a least I think a butterfly is a bug. - a pretty bug. 
  4. Paint drops - yellow found in the corners
My Testimony:

Inspirational word Slow:  Peonies signify the start to summer in my yard.    I have a few peony bushes that fortunately grow without my assistance and care, otherwise I would fail them with my neglectful lack of gardening skills.   They are a beautiful and fragrant flower.   I anxiously await their bloom which seems sooooooooo slow.  It seems as if days and days pass while this delicate flower stays in bud form.  It is really a very slow wait for the start of my summer. 

The kit came with a cool Crafters Workshop 6x6 template which I used some molding paste.  You can barely see it here.  White on white is so difficult to photograph effectively.

The netting under the photo was given to me by my friends Peggy and Kathi.   We had a scrappy girls weekend and all met in Ohio.  When we get together a few times a year around the country, we descend upon local crafting stores like a wild ravenous bunch of locust devouring whatever coolness may catch our fancy.   Fun times!  Those angels had the foresight to grab a roll of this metal mesh and split the cost.    When I saw it, I believe I may have wept.    So gorgeous, so crafty, so unique and SOOOOOO NOT MINE.  The gals decided that  the best way to console me and shut me up was to cut off a piece and share.   Happiness and quiet was restored in our scrappy room once again.  They both are such angels to share with little 'ol Jen.  

It's a funny thing and I am so amazed every time I think about  getting together with these scrappy gals. We met on-line.  They are among what I call "the greats" and I am actually in they're presence scrapping.  I adore watching them create and  watching the magic appear on paper while I am gazing over shoulders like a fanclub member in giddy disbelief.   Then they hand me supplies ( granted I am balling like a desperate fool)?  Ohhhhhh wow - I never want to use it - I only want to hoard it. 

Thanks ladies  - you are my sistahs.

I used the wonderful Dusty Attic Leafy Stem #3 Small - DA0581,   I painted the whole thing with Adirondack Paint in Willow.  Then dabbed with gesso here and there to tone it down.  I did not want to focus on my leafy stems but more so on the photo of my start of Summer.  

The Scraps Of Darkness Kit came with a scrumptious piece of white corrugated board from Jillybean.   Oh how I love my corrugated papers. 

The Peony sticker was a $1.00 find at Michael's Crafts that I bought on a whim on a shopping trip with my gal, Kimmyc70.    We are bad influences on each other. 

Thanks for looking and have a wonderful day. 

Birthday Card - Scraps of Darkness, Summer Breeze

This is a Birthday card I made using the Scraps Of Darkness May Summer Breeze Kit and the Prima Sun Kiss collection. 

I am not much of a card maker yet every last inch of these wonderful papers needs to used.  Please check out this versatile kit.  Don't let the name Darkness throw you for a is whatever you want it to be.   It's sweet, it's dainty, it's artistic, it's edgy, it's steampunk, it's rustic, it's shabby chic, IT'S YOU!

I needed some detail in the trim I used so I took my Adirondack paint dauber in Lemonade and just dabbed here and there. 

The trim was a surprise gift from my friend Hel.   If you have spent time in the galleries at over at, you may know her as Helbert.  Gosh what a sweet and considerate soul in addition to being a talented artist and friend.

Any way, she surprised me with a wonderful package for my birthday full of the most luxurious trims and ribbons, fabrics and some burlap.  The burlap was a little dubious however, because it had a big square cut out of the middle - rather sloppy job.   Then I saw Miss Escape Kitty had a layout with oddly the exact size of the burlap square.   Kitty tried to pretend NOTHING happened by ignoring me as I spoke to her.  Any of you have pets that try to pull this routine on you when you address them?

Thanks Hel!  You are one in a million - talented, kind and ever so thoughtful.

Supplies used:
Ranger Ink - Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabber - Lights - Lemonade
• Ranger Ink - Liquid Pearls - Dimensional Paint - Bisque 
• Ranger Ink - Stickles Glitter Glue - Icicle 
• Prima - Sun Kiss Collection - Chipboard Stickers with Glitter Accents 
• Prima - Lady Godivas Collection - Fabric Flower Embellishments - Nougat 
• Prima - Sun Kiss Collection - 12 x 12 Double Sided Paper - Kindred Spirits

Thanks for looking

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Grandma's Garden - Once Upon A Sketch and Pink Challenge at

This was created for the Pink Challenge at and for the Once Upon A Sketch Challenge (sketch by the greatly talented Nadia Cannizzo).  A tribute to my grandma, a beautiful sweet soul.  

My journaling is always on the back of my layout and it reads:

After several years of living away from my hometown, I decided it was time to move back and spend some time with my grandmother before time escaped.  Her health was fragile.   Every weekend I would go to see her, bring her flowers from the market and sit and chat.    Boy could that woman chat!

In our weekly conversations, I sat and listened to old family stories, dreams from her youth that would never be, regrets, successes and perhaps a few stories that made me go , hmmmmmmm really?  I cherished our visits.

She loved flowers in her tiny little garden but was no longer able to plant any so I became her "able- bodied hands" for planting. One fall, I planted a good 200 bulbs for her - pink  and yellow tulips.  I also planted 200 bulbs in my garden.   We were gonna have a contest to see whose bulbs would grow and who's  bulbs would get dug up and eaten by the squirrels. 

In the spring her garden was a bloom with the biggest most gorgeous tulips.  She'd call me and ask how mine were.  I had about a dozen.  We laughed and laughed at my pathetic garden skills. 

Grandma passed away that July.  She is missed daily.  She was an angel here and I am certain she is with the angels "there".

Incidentally, these are the only 3 tulips in my garden.  That's all I have.  I took this photo on Mother's Day to remember her and our giggles over my crummy garden. 

I used the Dusty Attic Dusty In Bloom Flowers - Bridal Veil DA0805 and inked the edges pink with Tim Holtz Spun Sugar and Cats Eye Pastels in pink. 

I also used the Dusty Attic Baroque Corners DA0543, the smallest size.  Inked them with the Cats Eye pink, covered in clear embossing powder and then stretched them out over the wings as accents. 

Thanks for looking.
Little up date: Thank you to all at who voted this as a runner up in the Pink Challenge.

Scraps of Darkness May Reveal

 Scraps Of Darkness presents May- Summer Breeze.  This kit reminds me of a warm summer day on my deck with a glass of fresh lemonade and a bowl of homegrown raspberries to snack on.  As with all Scraps Of Darkness kits, though, you can take this kit in any direction you want.  That's how versatile it is.  As you scroll through my designs, you see how easily this kit can adapt to your scrappy mood and scrappy style.  This kit pairs interesting papers with unique embellishments including the amazing stick pins handcrafted by Mandy Harrell.   

The featured paper collections this month are:
Simple Stories-Documented
Prima-Sun Kiss Collection
Little Yellow Bicycle

Sunflower Fields
This is a photo I took with my remote control in August 2011 in a giant sunflower field in my city. I was actually there taking photos of a co-worker and her newly engaged fiancee so I hopped in while they were off smooching.  hahahha, well, that's my version of the story - just slightly askew from reality.

Like I said, this kit is like a tall cool glass of fresh lemonade. The papers here feature the Prima Sun Kiss Collection.

I used Dusty Attic ATC Frame #1 DA0673, just cut it and painted white with dabs of yellow.  I also want to highlight the new Dusty Attic Dusty In Bloom Leaves DA0810.  So versatile, so perfect and a "Must Have" for cluster filler and accents.

A close up of the new Dusty Attic Dusty In Bloom Leaves DA0810.  Yeah, I know....gorgeous and so subtle. I just inked the edges a bit with some Tim Holtz Vintage photo to create definition.


You Make Me Smile
This is a photo of my niece and puppy brother, Fezzik.  Aren't they sweet together?  Much thanks to my friend Helene (Helbert at ) for a wonderful surprise for my birthday.  She sent a big package of laces and trims and some of the coolest burlap I have ever seen.  Thanks a million sweet lady! 
Anyway, the burlap  strip at the bottom is from Hel. 

Starring the very unique paper collection from Simple Stories - Documented Collection.

Thanks again for the burlap, Hel. I pleated it and sewed it with my machine.

On The Road
My husband has always dreamed of being on the road and touring the world with a band.  So I created this photo for him to help live the dream.  The bus is a photo of a rust bucket from Ohio.  I simply combined the bus with a recent photo I took of his band and gave him a tour bus within his price range.  hahaha 

The band decided to use this for a poster.  It's about all the mileage they are going to get outta that bus.

My husband is the man on the left leaning against his guitar.  He's been playing for about 48 years or so and plays more than I scrap, as if that is even possible.  Still it is only a hobby for him since we really like to have money to pay our bills.  It's about as lucrative as scrapping.  That means we'll both be working our full time jobs for a while longer if we are lucky.   Yet he still has his dream.

I used the paper from Simple Stories -Documented line here with the Dusty Attic Crooked Fence DA0620.

Little side note - this band plays Irish music.  My husband had just cracked open a cold Irish Harp beer so I added the Harp bottle cap to the layout after I pounded it flat with a hammer. His bandmate is drinking a beer in this photo too so it all ties together. 

Our Summer Sunshine
This is a photo I took of my cousin last fall.  She is a total doll.  This layout features the Prima Sun Kiss Collection, some Prima bling and flowers.

This design is based on the monthly sketch from Charlotte Jenkins, also known as suepup.  She is a brilliant sketch artist and makes scrapping so much easier.

I used the Dusty Attic Wrought Iron Fence Border DA0176, painted it white and added dabs of sandal colored Adirondack Paint.

Thanks for looking and spending time here.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tutorial -How to Combine Your Border Punches -Have Some Fun

Combining Punches:
I must admit that I am having a case of punching boredom. If you are like me and live within a budget, then punches are a "once in a while" type purchase.

Boredom must be the "mother of invention".  And since Mothers Day is approaching, I guess this idea is just fitting. I decided to mix up my border punches lately.  Shake it up a bit and re-energize my punches.  Make the most of what I have. 

I borrowed this layout from my sweetheart,  Escape Kitty, since I help her out so often by supplying all her scrapping materials.  Sorry EK!  But I am giving you credit after all. 
I added some contrast to this image in photoshop so that the border would pop for you to see more easily ( so please keep in mind that the photo below isn't "pretty" - it's dramatic.)

I mixed up the border punches by using the Martha Stewart Punch Around the Page Eyelet Lace at the corner, and then with one additional punch to extend the design, then I switch to the Martha Stewart Cherish Punch Around the Page.  Here are the two punches below.

Martha Stewart Punch Around the Page - Cherish

Martha Stewart Punch Around the Page - Eyelet Lace

Example Two:
I mixed up the border punches by using the Martha Stewart Punch Around the Page Wildflowers on the ends,  then I switch to the Martha Stewart Cherish edge punch.

I sharpened the edge a bit so you can see it better. 

Martha Stewart Punch Around the Page - Wildflowers

Martha Stewart Punch Around the Page - Cherish

Example Three:
I started in the corner with the Martha Stewart Punch Around the Page -Deco Fan 
Edge Punch is Martha Stewart -Cherish 

Example Four:
Edge Punch is Martha Stewart -Cherish 
Martha Stewart Punch Around the Page -Deco Fan Corner  punch used in the middle

Example Five:
Started in the corner using Martha Stewart  Vintage Lace  
Edge Punch is Martha Stewart -Cherish 
Martha Stewart Punch Around the Page -Deco Fan Corner  punch used in the middle

Thanks for looking now go have some punching fun and let me know what fun combinations you created.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tired of Your Photos? Got Photo Boredom? Try This!

Photo taken in the window of a shop.

A Case of Photo Boredom
I received an email last week from a great friend who is a fellow scrap artist.  I adore her work, admire  her creativity and refer to her art for inspiration yet she mentioned that she had a case of photo boredom.  I thought to myself, "You too? You suffer from that? But you are soooooo great. "

So tell me if this sounds familiar?  You finally carve out some YOU time and want to scrap.  You clear your scrap table ready to get started.  You sort through your stack of photos or scan the photos on your computer and nothing "grabs" your attention.  For the moment you are simply uninspired by your photo collection.  

You have no fresh photos of your children, grandchildren, friends, family and pets.  Your heritage photos are not helping to provide that spark of inspiration either.  Blah, what to scrap!  I hate when I come away from my scrapping table feeling bored before I even start.   

Go take some photos and play with sunlight. Let the light inspire you. 
Go take some photos of just "stuff", things,  little nooks in your house that get great sunlight.  See how the sunlight hits the furniture in your room and take a photo.  Got a favorite hat or shoes?  Place the item on a table and let the morning sun dance on it.  Snap!  Take a photo and play a little.  Who says you always need to scrap people?  Some of my favorite pieces have been from things and places I have photographed - no people at all.

This is my favorite hat that I set on my dining room table letting the morning sun illuminate it to show the great golden colors of the hat and rich browns of the hat band. 

This is Escape Kitty and her cat brother, StayBehindCat's favorite view of the word when they are stuck inside the house. It is also one of my favorite places in the house when the morning sun streams in. 

Play with sunlight!  Look at how the sun is shinning into your house in morning and evening hours.  Pay attention to it and observe. These two times of the day will have the best dramatic effect. This is the morning sun hitting some wine glasses left out from the the night before ( a girls scrappy weekend get-away).

Peer out your window and see how sunlight hits your yard or the neighbors yard.  Don't be bashful - ask if you can take a photo of your neighbors flower garden or tree.  I suggest asking.  Don't be like me and pop over in your jammies holding a coffee at 6am.  You may catch them off guard and find yourself explaining your slippered feet and bathrobe to the police.  My neighbors are now used to the unexpected me.  I am now expected - a frightful sight, yet expected. 

This was taken from my front garden at 7am as the sun was rising.  The daffodils almost look like parchment paper all aglow. 

I asked the neighbor if I could photograph his wonderful Tiger Lily since mine were dying off and the evening sunlight was "kissing" his flowers so much prettier than mine.  He has no grass under his flower bed, yet it makes for a nice contrast in the photo.

A shot from my garden at sunrise (before my lily's wilted and passed on).  This is about 6am and the sun is totally backlighting the lily's petals.
This is actually from my yard on a really hazy sunrise.  

 Don't have a yard?  No problem.  Take your camera out on the town - to the town park, main street, downtown or to the lake.  I even take mine to the local antique shop and see what's in their window that I can "borrow".   I really do!  This is what I have found: 

This was taken from the window of an antique store.   Those bottles look stunning and the rich honey, amber, mahogany, and magentas are reduced to dull brown without the sun to make them pop.  Wish I could show you an example of this, but I would not have noticed the photo opportunity if it had been  dark out. 
This was taken after a gentle snow at my town park.  Winter, everything appears dead and dormant but for me, it is an opportunity for some peaceful beauty.  There is not a lot to this photo, but it actually says a lot to me.  Simple can be great.  

This is a photo from my local park taken at sunset on a super hot, hazy day. 

Don't be discouraged by some bad weather, snow, or rain clouds. 
Storm clouds make for the MOST dramatic skies. I actually adore taking photos before and after a storm, rain or snow. 
This was a photo taken at our local beach after a very bad storm.  It was so bad I was not even sure I was going to go shoot photos.  I persevered and captured such a dramatic sky.  I do not know who these fiends were but they gave me a cute shot, so THANKS unknown friends. 

More photos after a storm.

My husband loves John Deers tractors.  I saw this as I was driving home from work and had to pullover.  The clouds were so moody after a long day of rain, the grass burnt out so nicely from the summer heat in certain areas. I have yet to scrap this, but I wait...

This is a photo of my shed in the back yard.  Not particularly a great subject for a photo but the trees and the ground look really pretty after a dusting snowfall.  

Take your camera to some everyday common places and focus only on light.  

This is a photo I took last week at my church after the altar candles had been blown out.  I really wanted the candles to be burning but I was too slow.  By the time I asked permission, made it to the altar with my camera and was ready, the candles had been extinguished.  I didn't let it stop me.  The smoke rising from them is cool enough. 

This is photo of StayBehindCat just lounging in the sunlight.  This one is all about the light hitting him.
This was taken outside of a tree farm and restaurant.  Rusty 'ol water pump, but the sunlight makes that rust look spectacular. 

This is a photo of my husbands favorite beer  as we have lunch on a pier.  Nothing special, yet the sunlight hits the glass so perfectly.  Ahhhhhhhhh cheers darling.

This is a photo of the porch at the Hospital where my father-in-law lives at about 10am.  The sunlight is casting a warm, inviting haziness.  The lighting in the picture has transformed this into a grand old southern estate in the middle of July.  Never mind it's a Veteran's Hospital in Vermont in September.

I have no idea whose fence this is but it was a photo taken on a scrapping trip to visit a friend.  The fence was interesting to me so snap snap snap.  Not really a captivating photo but with the right papers and style, it will be fun for me to use and will provide inspiration. 

Same scrappy trip as above and the sky was starting to brew a storm when this little gnome hollered to me.  He is sassy and fun.

I have yet to scrap this, but when I get a paper collection that "talks" to me and tells me to grab this photo, I'll be ready.  Someone from work had a bouquet of flowers on their desk.  I asked if I could borrow them, took them outside and set the vase in the grass.  Then I let the sun touch them just so.  Snap snap and done. 
A creepy 'ol gravesite?  Nope.  Look at how the sun hits the middle of the stone and illuminates the rust and colors on the stone.  Luscious scrappy material waiting for the perfect paper line - whatever that may be.

Another shot from that creepy cemetery?  OK - I'll give ya that it may be a little moody BUT look at how the sun is streaming through the fencing? 

This photo was taken in a historic section of my city at about 9pm.  It's different and it's not people.  Plus it feels a little European to me. 

Photo Editing Time - Turn your photos into sepia and B&W. 
Try turning your photos into black and white or sepia photos.  This can totally change the feel of the photo and give you scrapping options that may better accommodate the patterned papers you want to use.

If you do not have any photo editing software, may I suggest Photobucket or Shutterfly?

You do not need fancy photoshop programs to do these editing features.  Both Photobucket and Shutterfly have wonderful and robust editing options these days.  I use them both at times if I need a tweak to a photo and do not have my photoshop program available.

The most current upgrades to Photobucket leave me scratching my head asking me why I even bothered to BUY photoshop.  It has almost all the editing features I would use in photoshop, but extraordinarily user friendly.  Free is the way to be!

These days you can remove blemishes, crop, remove objects (referring to my barn photos below: the tree limbs on the left in sepia photo were cropped out of the colored photo).

Start easy and get the most dramatic changes.

The barn photo was taken at 8am on my drive to work and the beach photos were taken at 8pm after a really strong storm.

I  find that more and more, I am scrapping things.  Photos can evoke emotions.  You can have graceful photos,  moody, feminine and provocative based on the sunlight and time of day.

Go play, take some photos, broaden your scrappy horizon and take note of the sunshine.  Remember what your goal is.  It is scrapping inspiration and to break your photo boredom.  You do not have to be a great photographer, because I am not.   You simply have to find things that may look interesting for but a fleeting moment as the sun dances on it.  

Thanks for looking.