Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Simply Scrumptious! Don't you think?
Last week or so I have been using Tim Holtz and Sizzix dies for a whole new world of crafting joy. It's needle felting. You cut the wool with BigZ and other thicker dies. The Tim Holtz Alterations line is terrific for this. We all know they cut paper, light acrylic, vinyl, chip board, grunge board, and so on. And yes we may have heard they also cut fabric. But have you cut wool felt? And have you used the pieces to make a dimensional sewing project?
Gifties! My two grown children --and their spouses-- needed some holiday decorations. As newly married pairs, neither couple had much for personalized Christmas decorations yet in their homes. How about some nice big Christmas stockings?
What is needle felting? Needle felting is the craft of layering wool felt accents over wool felt base fabric and needle poking them with a special tool in order to integrate the fibers. Wool has this wonderful attribute of being able to bond with herself and make firm bonds without glue. Needle felting combines several of my favorite parts of creativity. It combines my love of fabric, fresh creativity and project design using supplies tools I own. I am able to use recycled wool scarves, skirts, sweaters and pants in these projects too which is a real bonus.
Needle felting gives me a quick sense of accomplishment with amazingly simple techniques. The finished pieces have an old world look and a wonderful tactile feel. They are created with an old world skill and simpler tools. I like that a lot.
Here is how I made these heirloom stockings in much less time than you might think! I worked on these off and on for less than 4 days total. Maybe 2-4 hours each?
First I drew a paper stocking pattern in a shape I liked that was large enough to fit an ample sized batch of goodies. I pinned the pattern to some 100% cream colored wool fabric and then cutting two identical pieces for each stocking. I used one of my spiral swirly Tim Holtz stamps and some ink spray to give the base fabric some interest.
I then cut lots of trees and stars and leaves and holly pieces with my Sizzix and Tim Holtz Alterations Big Z Dies. They cut our recycled and store bought wools with no problem! The names are made with an older Sizzix set of alphabet dies called "Fun Serif Alphabet" but you could use any other that will fit in the space. The stars are also an older star die from Sizzix.
His unique shapes are perfect for an old world project like this. Don't you just love the trees?
Even the words and smaller pieces cut beautifully.
Now comes the design fun! I laid the pieces out on the stocking base to decide where they looked good. Pin them in place. For my more traditional son and his wife I planned out a classic holly theme. For my daughter and her husband, I planned an outdoor tree theme. He is a astronautical engineer and physicist and loves winter so I put more stars and more glitter on his. She is a bio-systems and bio-products engineer in paper processing so I have lots more trees on hers. Each set of stockings reflected that couple. I wish I had found the larger deer die in our stores here, but everyplace was out! Dang! But I can felt that additional piece "into the woods" later I think. :D
When designing, allow space at the top for your choice of cuff. John and Steph's set of stockings used a sweater waistline for the ribbed top cuff in green. The other set of stockings had a red wool fabric top cuff. Plan ahead!
Felt, Felt, Felt, Felt. It takes about 20-40 pounces with the felting tool to secure an accent piece to it's base fabric.
Felt the accents on BEFORE you sew the stocking front and back together.
Sew together, add cuff, add dimensional accents like buttons and add a loop to hang.
John and Steph's stockings all filled up! Love that TH holly die above! And that tree die shape is amazing on the project below.
You can see I added Stickles to simulate snow on my scenes. My choice of glimmer color for my snow and stars was the Stardust Stickle. I exhausted my supply stash of three bottles but it was SO worth it. Trees and holly need snow!
Stickles make a big difference! Glitter it up! Featuring the Tim Holtz NOEL die, holly, street lamp, branches and more!
I just knew I had to work in my liberal dose of metals! Here is my assortment for this project. Some pieces are Maya Road and some are Tim Holtz. I used word charms that described each child. I also used circle charms with symbols meaningful to that person. Stars and moon for our astronautical fellow. Birds for the nature lover. Rx like symbol for the doctor and a big heart for the smart, sweet gal he married. Each set went onto a dog chain on the loop of the stocking.
Charms: before above and after below.
When my son saw my cart full of wools at the secondhand store, he asked me (with a semi-critical tilt of his head) if I REALLY needed ALL those wools? Yes, son, I do!!! Now that the stocking are all done, he knows WHY! These were a big hit with all four grown children on Christmas day. I almost hate to give them away to the kids....Ahhh, the sacrifices we parents make...all for love. ;D
Friday, December 16, 2011
Do you feel behind in your scrapping? Do you wonder if you will ever finish that album? Do you wonder how some scrappers get caught up and stay caught up? If so, sit a spell and take this little eight question scrapbook quiz. It will help you see what your goals and your style are within the hobby. No two scrapbookers are identical --as we all know. But we do sometimes put a lot of pressure on ourselves to either get a lot done or to be super artistic on every page. And there are some of us who have never looked realistically at our hobby or our style. If you are just beginning to scrapbook and hope one day it will all get done or just plain feel overwhelmed by the number of photos stacking up...read on!
I love good photographs and I love this hobby. Scrapbooking is not only a hobby for me but also a part time job. So, I spend a good portion of my week thinking about it, doing it, reading about it , and chatting about it! A few months ago, when a friend was complaining about how many rolls of film she was backlogged, I was curious just what kind of numbers she meant. She stunned me by saying she had taken over 15 rolls of film for one two-hour event! I have since talked to several other gals who shoot photos at this amazing rate!
I am sure she got lots of fabulous photos in that group of 540 photos from that one event. But was it really worth it? She also had many rolls of film that had never been developed from the last year. Her guilt over not having the money to develop all those rolls of film or the time to scrapbook them into pages the way she hoped was overwhelming her. I want this hobby to stay fun. I also want my dear scrapping friends to be realistic and NOT get discouraged about this hobby!! This is supposed to be fun!
I felt bad for these gals because they often feel so guilty about not being "current" in their albums. Often, their goal had been to include every picture into their albums. All this stress leads to scrapping block (like writer's block!) because they feel overwhelmed! Honestly, that above incident compelled me to do the math so that we can all have a little perspective on our hobby. Even if you do not do 15 rolls per event -- do you do six rolls per big event or per month?
Let's take a look at the statistics involved here. It may just impact our personal scrapbooking goals and style!! It should affect how choosy we get about our photo opportunities, how fast we scrap, or at least what photos we choose to include in our albums. Keep in mind not only the money involved but the time as well. I know some gals say money is no object when preserving a history of a childhood or marriage. I agree. But I also know that none of us has unlimited resources financially. Even if we had buckets of money, what about in terms of time? Something has to give.
Do you Take Six Rolls a Month?
If you take only 6 rolls of film at every big event and each roll has 36 photos on it then that makes 216 pictures for that event. If you have a significant 'event' in your life every month (and some of us have more but let's just say one per month) then you have 216x12 which equals 2592 photos a year to scrap up into albums. If you are doing six rolls of film per month for any reason these numbers will apply to you. Keep in mind this is just for keeping current.
Just the Facts, Ma'am
We can get about 6 photos average on a page so 2592 divided by 6 is 432 pages created a year (If we could keep up!) If you have to do approximately 432 pages a year and there are 365 days in each year then that means you need to do one to two pages a day or 7-10 pages a week to keep current when shooting 6 rolls a month! Ask yourself, "Is a page a day my current goal and rate? "
One photo album can hold an average of 50 pages. 432 (pages to do ) divided by 50 (pages that will fit in each album) is 8.64 or lets round down to 8 albums a year. After all, not all photos turn out and we do give some to grandma, right? If we multiply that by the approximately 20 years your kids are home it will equal 160 albums for you to do during their childhood.
And if you give half the the albums (80 albums!) to them when they go away to an apartment or college or their own new homes with their new spouses (who are also lugging 80 albums ). Do you really want them to have to tote all that around for the rest of their lives? So, bottom line is we need to do 8 albums a year JUST to keep current at the rate of six rolls a month. This does not include any special occasion albums such as wedding, vacations, gift albums, or graduation. Not to mention swap pages for SB Buddies!
So What is Your Scrapbooking Style?
Ask yourself this question while photographing and scrapping...will they really need all that??? Are all those photos really necessary? Couldn't we have done the job with one tenth of the pictures? Do you really need to scrapbook every second of an event? Maybe we should take only a few rolls per event and scrap up only a few pages per event...I don't think my kids will have room for 80 albums --let alone 160-- when they leave home!!
Ask yourself, can I be more choosy about the photos we scrapbook and even before that, about the events we decide to photograph? Should we be taking five photos instead of fifty? Or do I really like to have it all on film? Perhaps I do. Will it really be ok if I only scrap up the best 5 out of the fifty and put the rest in acid free photo sleeves or boxes? Is it your style to journal the story more and take fewer photos? How guilty do you feel about that stack or box or un-scrapped pictures?
Take the pressure off yourself with this little quiz!
Does that seem contradictory? Well there is a lot of scrapbooking GUILT out there and I hope to help you come to terms with your personal style so you won't feel overwhelmed. You will enjoy scrapbooking more when you understand your personal style, make adjustments in your goals or style, and let go of the guilt! Sit a spell and you will get a realistic look at both your goals and what your scrapbooking style means for your album-making!
2) Other Obligations: Do you work outside the home ( either paid positions or volunteer work):
4) Time and Commitment: Do you scrapbook on a regular basis:
5) Commitment: Do you feel you honestly spend more time:
6) Goals: I hope to one day (before I die):
7) Style and Expectations: My album pages are:
8) Flexibility and Motivation: I am motivated to:
All right, Lets check your scrapbooking style! --Get ready for the Reality Check!
Your Personal Results
Go with the letter you chose most often when replying. If two letters occurred the same amount, then your style goals should fall into the second letter. For example if "A' and "B" were both chosen 4 times--go with the response for choice "B". I say this because most of our lives tend to get busier than we want them to and not less so!
6 or more A's --Realistic goals and hard work will get you there! You are on the right track! You may even be one of the few who is already caught up! We admire you! You take representative photos at events and do not get carried away by overshooting the event. You make time for the hobby on a regular basis without being bogged down or sidetracked. Scrapbooking several pages is a daily or weekly event for you. You have matched the time you have to the task you want done. You are an inspiration!
6 or more B's -- You will probably get your albums caught up if you work a bit faster and make a few albums in the simple and classic style! Don't get too bogged down! You may need to re-adjust your thinking on either question 6 or 7. Now and then you can add a WOW! page or technique but try to keep it all in perspective.
6 or more C's --Your scrapping pace is probably not keeping up with the goals you had set for yourself. You may want to take fewer photos, scrap a page or two a day, or take some speed scrapping techniques to heart. This is especially true if you have long hours at work or intense family commitments and little leisure time. Take a look at your expectations and tone it down a bit. Something has to flex to get your albums done.
6 or more D's --You have several features here that are working against you finishing all your albums. Take time to check out whether you should either take fewer photos, pare down your goals, or figure out how you can work more often, faster, and simpler. Perhaps get someone to help you with all those photos! Husbands and grandparents might enjoy the project! Consider only scrapbooking the top 20% of your photos and put the rest in acid free photo sleeves or storage. Don't give up quality but find a way to make pages with less time investment. Use some speed scrapping techniques until you get caught up. Make it your goal for the new year to set aside the urge to do pages that will take a week to complete! You may not have the time for that right now. Prioritize your goals. If you answered D on both question 6 and on question 7, reevaluate which is more important to you...fancy or finished? It's up to you.
Your Personal Way is the RIGHT Way!
My main point is to make sure your photo-taking and scrapbooking style matches your budget and your scrapping hobby time. Don't load yourself up for a feeling of failure! Have fun and enjoy the process with an eye on the ultimate goal of getting it done the way YOU want! There will always be someone else with a prettier page or more albums completed. Acknowledge that, tell yourself not to feel guilty, and keep at it!
It really is ok to do less than a page a day if you realize you are NOT going to get every photo you take into albums! If you are a slower scrapper for whatever reason, go for a few representative family albums with just the best pictures or a sampling of events through the years if you are not up to doing a page per day. Artistic styles and speeds vary from person to person. That is ok! Invest in some acid free boxes and labels and let the photos you won't ever scrap up rest in acid free storage. Label them of course! But keep in mind that acid free storage is not a dirty word!! Make sure the photos you do take and scrap up are superb and worth your scrapping time!
Realistically, the goal is to get albums done the way you like them. But remember to move along too. Are you one of the folks who want to do ALL the pics from all the years? Statistically, you will just need to step up the pace to one -three pages a day! You might even get time to do those heritage photos before you die! Keep at it steady! If you cannot --for whatever reason --scrap at that pace, adjust your expectations of yourself.
If you have actually scrap booked fast enough to be happily caught up, then SUPER! I applaud you! Now that we know our own scrapbooking goals and styles, I hope the rest of us can make some scrapbooking changes and adjustments and one day do the same!
Written originally by Kathleen Aho aka Rockester on May 21, 1999 - 22:00
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Just wanted to share a cute ornament I made last week --as well as a simple technique for making your standard white string into any color quickly and easily. First the ornament.
I made 10 of these to trade in my paper ornament swap on ScrappersChallenge.
I made 8 more as ATCs for my ATC December winter swap at our scrapbook store
I made 12 more just a bit larger-sized into greeting cards with a different sentiment for the greeting card swap also at our local store. 30 total and now done! Done is good!
Shown is the ATC sized Christmas ornament and the hang-string is coming out center top held in place at the top with the blue brad.
First the ornament front:
Techniques used on the front:
Distress stain some white index weight cardstock in a couple blue stains.
Emboss with a texture folder to add dimension.
Crackle the whole ATC card with Tim Hotz crackle medium.
Stamp text on with navy blue ink.
Add decorative sturdy brad at top center with string under it on the backside.
Stamp wording on banner. Ink banner sides, Fold and pop dot up banner (Tim Holtz Sizzix)
Add 1 inch square mirrors that have also been crackled with Tim Holtz crackle medium and they have also been inked over the crackle mirror piece with some walnut stain to show off those cracks. I love this effect!
Add gems, silver sticker stars as you like.
and the reverse side:
We just can't leave the back undecorated for an ornament designed to hang on the tree. :D
Stamp ATC sized blue cardstock with Tim Holtz ATC Stampers Anonymous stamp in navy ink
Stamp over this with olive green ink and Tim Holtz swirl stamp.
Match up this back and glue it to the decorated front ornament ATC piece made above.
Add silver glitter glue to round ornament piece and let dry
When dry, add same pre-ribboned star ornament piece on a pop dot to the center of the back of your ornament card
Add silver sticker star lower left and upper right with mini gems as you prefer
Add a mini gem to ornament ball.
I needed blue and white string for these, but didn't want to run out to the store when I have so much white string already here at home. Use what you have, right? I have about 9 rolls of string in varied widths and ages from vintage to modern. Time to use up some of the white-with-sparkle string.
I decided to color it fast and easy with
From white to blue in about 60 seconds. Literally. Just soak the string while it is still on the roll with stain and let air dry an hour or two.
Monday, November 21, 2011
St Louis was tons of FUN!
Let's start at the top.
Friday: our first day
My daughter and I were off on an adventure down to St Louis to attend a Mary Engelbreit Studios Home Companion Creative workshop!
I won the the two tickets for the November Workshop via a contest that Mary held on her site and blogs. If you haven't seen the new online website for Mary E and her art, check it out! Her son, Will, who looks to be about my own son's age, runs it and they intend to eventually have all her current products available there. Seriously cool.
I flew from Minneapolis in the wee hours of the morning on Friday and Jenny flew from Pennsylvania. We got in at exactly the same time on different airlines and met at the airport. Yeh! Hug, hug, hug.
Thanks to the kindness of our online friend, Vickie S, we were swept up and off to a delicious brunch at Miss Aimie B's Tea House in historic St Charles, Missouri. Isn't this building that Aimie B's is in a great Victorian? I want that ornate railing! Great conversation and food. I was so glad to meet another longtime ScrappersChallenger. Thanks Vickie!
Jenny and I spent the rest of Friday afternoon catching up, walking around the Central West End, and getting to know this intriguing hipster area of St Louis. But seriously, the best part of Friday was just seeing and talking to my daughter. I would have been happy to do so on a rock in the rain. :)
A wonderful conversation, a yummy dinner and TWO cocktails each at Bar Louie's and then a caramel apple cake dessert to share as well! Send hubby the bill! LOL
That caramel cake was huge! We shared of course. Good thing the walk back to our hotel was only a block. Haha.
Saturday: our second day
Bright and early Saturday morning, we headed over to the ME Home Companion Workshop at the Mary Engelbreit Studios area of the West End neighborhood. That part of town has some truly wonderful old architecture. Unsure of exactly which building the Studio was in, we paused by the newspaper stand on the corner to get our bearings. Coming up immediately behind us, someone pokes her head between us and asks if we are looking for the Workshop. Her big sunglasses did NOT disguise her. Turning to see Mary Engelbreit herself right beside you speaking to you over her coffee cup, offering to give direction, is such an unexpected treat. Well, hello Mary E! And off we then went into the right building!
The everyday-ness of that kind encounter really set the pace for the aura of genuine character during the whole weekend. All 20 or so of us Workshop crafters knew we probably should probably be shell-shocked in awe to be in the Studio with one of America's most renowned and well-loved artists of our lifetime.....but we were not in "awe". I mean that in a very good way. We were comfortable and happy and creative! I give credit to Mary for that. Her happy calm --almost a modest shyness--put us all at ease. She is smart and clever and witty yet all somewhat quietly. Not a show off. Not trying to be the center of attention. They say that the observers make the best artists. I can see this in her. So nice.
We wandered about the Studio admiring Mary's original artworks and anticipating new product lines.
I love her sense of humor....Mary's workroom.....witch? I don't THINK so! :D
above photo from ME Studios
Adorable figurines. I was happy to see they are just the right size for my little village on my buffet during the holidays.
Around every corner was a darling vignette combining vintage and ME goodness.
Amazing felt art kits from Herrschners and Bucilla.
Anne Estelle's winter dress is embroidered wonderfully.
One of Mary's original art works in the front lobby.
New fabrics and calenders in production now for Spring.
The above fabrics are available NOW in their online store. So cute! Perfect for a kitchen or porch.
Re-submit your work. Ignore the nay-sayers. Never give up!
Some of these vintage and hand painted birdhouses look very familiar! I am crazy for a swoopy roof line!
My favorite item was Mary's printer box shadow box of memorabilia. Her art comes from her family, her experiences and her past.
An adorable 20 inch tall retired Santa kit from Bucilla and Herrschners.
Here is a pic of my daughter and I. Getting ready to CREATE!!
photo taken by staff at the ME Workshop
Mary's team was awesome. We got to meet John M her COO, Barbara Martin from The Home Companion who was our hostess, and Will, Mary's son, who runs the online store. Teaching us were Charlotte Lyons, Kathy Curotto and Nancy Wethington who are all terrific artists themselves and very talented instructors. We even got to meet Mikayla, Mary's daughter. She just popped in to give hugs to her brother and her mom and spend a little time with all of us simply because she missed them...I love that.
Soon creativity was blossoming all around us in class! Small class sizes allowed us get to know each other. We shared trinkets, ideas, and conversation. This was truly a blessing of the workshop. Having fun learning a new skill with my daughter in this amazingly happy and unique studio was awesome! Our first class was wearable art with Charlotte Lyons and most people did decorated sweaters. You start with felts and wools and baubles!
This one was designed by our table companion for her daughter Anabelle who is four years old. Lovely design. Lucky little Anabelle!
Jenny did a hat complete with amazing wool acorns. And then she did a rhinestone-embellished black sweater for New Years Eve. Pics below.
This one was Charlotte Lyon's photo of her own sweater. So inspiring!
Jen in her embellished hat - photo by Charlotte Lyons
Jen's rhinestone sweater--stunning! I loved it. So very her.
My creation took two classes to make. I worked on it in both the wearable art class with Charlotte and the following wool needle felting class with Kathy Curotto. It is a 9x12 wool felted clutch bag/tote from Hancock fabrics. I think this size bag is for Ipads but I am using it for all my needle felting tools and supplies. I added a lot of fun embellishments and wool felted accents.
Below we are getting ready for scarf/needle felting class in the afternoon. Like I said, my bag took both class times. Our talented needle felting teacher for this class was Kathy Curotto, previous style editor of the Home Companion magazine. I discovered that I just LOVE wool needle felting. It is so fast and so texturally beautiful. Plus, it's a great way to upcycle some secondhand wool!
Our wonderful classmates
close up of my wool strawberry with seed beeds embellishment. Photo by Charlotte Lyons.
and a pic of my 9x12 inch wool bag, unfolded, so you can see the backside too.
Jenny's original needle felted scarf--lovely!!!!
An Unexpected Treat--or Two!
Back in 2001, a group of us ME fans on Yahoogroups called the MaryEngelbreitScrappers got together in Houston, Texas at the Great American Scrapbook Convention. Mary Engelbreit just happened to be signing autographs there. We made her ahead of time a 8.5x11 photo album with layouts from each of us fans. We then presented the album to Mary in person at the convention. Guess what! During our creative weekend workshop, I asked Mary if she remembered the Houston event. She not only knew immediately what I was talking about, but she still had the actual MEScrappers album on display at the Studio! Here I am with it 10 years later! What are the odds of that?
And here is my layout page set inside the album. Even my daughter Jen was in the set of photos from another autograph signing at the Mall of America in MN on these pages. So we got to embarrass Jenny a bit and show her photo to Mary when Jenny was 11 and had BANGS! :D
Our next surprise was a gift from Mary herself. She gave each of us an autographed copy of her newest beautifully illustrated children's book THE NUTCRACKER. What a wonderful treat!
above photo by Charlotte Lyons
Truly a classic and yes I will, someday a few years into the future, read this to my grandkids!
What a day! Off to dinner at the end of the day. We were famished! Several people recommended Sub Zero so away we went!
Burger for me.
Jenny loves sushi. :D
I sent this pic to hubby just to make him jealous. LOL Definitely a yummy meal.
Sunday: day three of a wonderful weekend
Vintage Ornaments with Charlotte Lyons
Previous web photo of Charlotte teaching her vintage holiday ornaments---I was too busy crafting to take pics. LOL I still only got two ornaments done out of three. Jen got all 3 done!
Jenny's shadow box paper basket: (photo by Charlotte Lyons)
Here is my Putz glitter house decoration. Note the personalized K wreath above the door. :)
...and my mitten ornaments. Have I mentioned I love blue?
Such a treat to be creative in such a wonderful setting.
I didn't take the above photo. No, it's from the internet. But Mary did pose for us at her drawing table just like this if we wanted her to do so. I figured after 20 other people asking her to do that, I would give her a break. Mary was so patient.
However I did go for the Workshop photo shot with Jenny and I and Mary at the same drawing table. Jenny is actually sitting in Mary's drawing table chair. Too bad they cropped out the drawing table AND added that huge elf! Oh well!
But we got a better photo later.
Soon it was time for us to say goodbye to Mary and the Workshop team. Jen and I hit up the Central West End shops for a bit shopping. We stopped for a refreshing lunch at Duffs and on to a few eclectic antique shops like Rothschild's before we headed off in the nice yellow taxi for the airport. It was only my second taxi ride--ever!
Living large in St Louis I tell ya. :D
Thank you, daughter Jen for joining me. And a special thank you to Mary Engelbreit and all responsible for allowing me to win such a wonderful prize weekend! It was a dream come true for me and I won't ever forget it.
So much fun.
So much inspiration.
Cross this one off the bucket list. :D