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My favorite photos

I can finally share a project I've been sitting on for over a month now... since the family officially celebrated Erin's birthday yesterday, she's now seen her present and I can post it :)  This year I made her a mini album of my favorite photos of Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh (and hopefully her favorite photos too).  Since the album is a collection of photos, I didn't do any journaling... just listed events, dates and places for record keeping.

Here's the cover... I posted a sneak of it on my blog after I made it and sent the completed album home with my mom last month and Erin knew she had it and was trying to find out what it was.  She was sure that since the sneak peek was pink that it was about Eraleigh and therefore a gift for her or my mom... she was right, of course!

Favorite Photos - Cover 

I got several 6x6 acetate album pages and mixed them with 6x6 cardstock and 6x6 photos and used my Bind-it-All to create the album.  On several of the pages that are just 6x6 photos, I put an acetate page in front of it and embellished it, but I somehow missed taking pictures of a few of them with the embellished plastic over top.  Oh well!  Here are the inside pages.  Set 1:

Favorite Photos - Pages 1-13 

And set 2:

Favorite Photos - Pages 14-29

And now I'm trying to get back to work on my Christmas projects... I've been nursing a cold for the last week or so and it hasn't been a big deal, but Friday night it got pretty nasty so I've been in bed for the last day and a half.  Not the funnest way to spend a long weekend, but at least I got to enjoy most of it :)  I'm up and back among the living now, but I'm still feeling a little out of it.  At least scrapping doesn't take too much energy, I just need to find some mojo and get to work!

My first wreath

Over the years I've made quite a few wreaths, but I've always been helping my mom make them... I've never actually had a Christmas wreath for my own home.  So this year, I had a bunch of gorgeous flowers left over after decorating my tree and I thought it would be perfect to use them in a wreath.  This morning I braved the Black Friday crowds (which weren't actually that bad!  at least as long as I stayed clear of Kohl's or our new In & Out Burger... lol) and headed to Michael's to use my coupons.  I came home and worked on pulling it all together while I watched a little hockey.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  Of course, since it's so windy up here on my little hill I hung it on the inside of my front door... all the better to enjoy it, right?

Christmas Wreath

And of course, no post would be complete without close-ups:

Christmas Wreath 2

Christmas Wreath 3

That ribbon is gorgeous, but it left glitter everywhere!  I think it's time to go down and pull out the vaccuum and then settle down with a dvd and some leftovers and enjoy my tree :)

The most wonderful time of the year!

My favorite thing about Thanksgiving is and always has been the fact that it marks the beginning of the Christmas season.  That isn't to say that I don't love spending the day with my family, enjoying each others' company and eating a lot of really good food... that part is great - even when being together is a phone connection instead of physical presence like it was this year.  I also think it's wonderful to take the time to count my blessings and express my gratitude.  (And this year we're SUPER grateful because Rick just got a great job!)  And did I mention the food?  But really, it's all about the fact that this is the day when I can decorate my Christmas tree and pull out my Christmas play list.  I love it.  So last night and today I got my house all decorated and as I pulled out my ornament collection and started hanging it, I enjoyed the time to reflect on where I got each one and what a blessing it's been to have the opportunities I've been given.

Anyway, this post is mostly for my family since while we were on the phone earlier today they were demanding photos.  So here they are... LOTS of photos!

My tree last night after I set it up (all the dark spots are where my giant blue poinsettias are)

Blog - Tree at Night 

And this morning after I added all the rest of my stuff... (two views of the living room - I like them both and couldn't pick just one to post)

Tree - Living Room 1

Tree - Living Room 2 

And the part Mom especially wanted to see... close ups of this year's decorations.  When she came to visit, we went to Tai Pan Trading twice and fell in love with some of their ideas like the elves sitting on the oversize balls - I have fairies, though... there are about 5 more similar to this in my tree :).

Tree - Crystal fairy 

And adding the hummingbirds we found to my poinsettias:

Tree - Poinsettias and Hummingbird

And in my dining area... the centerpiece:


And another idea from Tai Pan - these are hanging from the ceiling over my dining room table (there are two of the small fairies and five gold snowflakes plus the big one):

Blog - Floating fairies

And finally, my staircase and landing:

This year the trees in my landing are covered with birds and butterflies :)

And finally, I did actually celebrate Thanksgiving today as well.  I had offers to go to dinner with friends and co-workers, but I decided I'd rather stay home, relax and decorate and cook our family's traditional favorites (thus providing myself with leftovers for the next week :D)  I even made Mom's butterhorns from scratch!  So this is for Erin, who was taking pictures of food at home... it made me feel closer to my family to know we were eating all the same stuff today (except Nicole and Brian who are now in New Zealand.  Whatever. I'm not jealous or anything.)

Blog - Thanksgiving Dinner

So that's it.  There's some pisatcio cream pie with my name on it calling me from the fridge.  Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S.  Happy Birthday Erin!  The family is celebrating on Saturday, but since today is the big day I had to make sure to post.

Back to scrapping

I finally made it back into my scrap attic, and I was actually in the mood for something other than art journaling!  I finished my first round of Banana Frog projects, which was quite fun, and then decided to do a layout for myself before I jump into Christmas projects (and I've been terrible about procrastinating these :-P).  First, though... here's my layout.  I've got a backlog of photos of Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh that are all waiting to find their way onto layouts so I decided to use one of my favorites of Rick and Eraleigh enjoying a spring morning from the window of my old bedroom (there's a gorgeous weeping cherry right outside):

One Moment in Time 

As you can see, I didn't completely get away from gluey fingers... lol.  I made the butterflies out of thin chipboard, patterned tissue paper from Autumn Leaves, Mod Podge and Pearl Mica paste.  I also added some pearls and rhinestones and a book page flower from Marah's class a few weeks ago.  I deliberately cut the white paper to a size that wouldn't work perfectly with the Martha Stewart border / corner punches, so I covered up the sections where it didn't look quite as good with more rhinestones :)  I also used some of the yummy new paper from the American Crafts Letterbox line... it's definitely one of my new favorites!

And a close-up of the butterflies:

One Moment in Time - Close-up

And now I've GOT to get on the Christmas projects... thinking about the fact that they aren't done (or even started!) has been stressing me so I figure the best way to get past that is to actually do them.  So off I go!

P.S. - HAPPY BIRTHDAY Nicole!!!  She and Brian are off on her dream trip to Australia and New Zealand  and I'm so jealous!!! Not only that, the little stinker had enough frequent flyer miles that they both flew business class the whole way!  So she already got my present and birthday wishes a few days early, but I needed to post it anyway :)

I'm seriously having so much fun.

I know there are a few people wondering if I'm ever going to do regular scrapbook layouts again... lol.  Of course!  I've got a fun one finished for Banana Frog and there will be more.  But to be completely honest, there was a point recently when I just didn't want to come into my craft room at all because I was just bored!  Taking these classes from Julie and Marah has been the best thing I could have done for my mojo.  Now I have so many ideas running through my brain I'm frustrated that I don't have all day every day to just sit and play!  I'm writing them down as they come, though... I'll get to them! 

In the meantime, I think this is one of my favorite things I've done in a long time.  Yup, another art journal page.  But I LOVE IT!!! It's been a while since I've really loved so much of what I've been working on, but lately it's been happening more and more.  It's been good to find the old me... the one who used to really love scrapbooking and crafting and finding ways to combine the stories I want to remember with some creative therapy.  I guess getting my fingers all inky and gluey has been kind of a therapy in itself.  So yeah.  I'll get off of that now and just post pictures already!

Did I mention that I LOVE this?  Because of that, I'm sharing in great detail.  Apologies in advance ;)

Phase 1 (or really like phase 12, but the first point when I took pictures).  I had this idea for something using a globe that would represent my love of travel.  It was a pain in the butt, but I'm loving how it came out.

Art Journal - Carpe Diem 1 

Basically, I found a picture in Google images that showed the side of the globe I wanted to use, blew it up to the right size and printed it on plain white cardstock.  Then I sat down (forEVER) with phone book pages, a jar of Mod Podge and a paintbrush and collaged the phone book pages into the shape of the land.  Then I layered oil pastels, opalescent watercolors and Golden Pearl Mica Flake acrylic on top.  Then I mixed some mica pigment powders with more Mod Podge to create the border I was going to glue the collage to.

Phase 2:

Art Journal - Carpe Diem 2 

I added journaling, jewels and covered a chipboard heart with more phone book pages, lumin art (liquid) and more Pearl Mica flake and stamped "carpe diem."  I thought I was finished when I decided to play with my PanPastels a bit.  Which leads to...

The final product!  Which I love!

Art Journal - Carpe Diem 3 - Final Front 

And because I'm in shameless display mode, I'll share close-ups :)

Art Journal - Carpe Diem 3 - Final Side 1 

And finally...

Art Journal - Carpe Diem 3 - Final Side 2 

Okay, that's it.  Now I've GOT to get some sleep.  The only problem with creative overload is that I tend to not go to bed on time. (Who am I kidding... when do I EVER go to bed on time?)  But seriously... lots of meetings tomorrow and then class tomorrow night and study group afterwards.  Nothing like going through that list to make the eyelids droop!

Art journaling

I started the day with every intention of working on Christmas projects.  That went out the window!  Instead I opened my blinds to watch the snow while I listened to Christmas music and just played.  (Oh, and if you like classical, check out the Eaken Piano Trio... they have some beautiful holiday music).

I've been really inspired lately by some books I've been reading including Alphabetica and 1000 Artist Journal Pages as well as drooling over Teesha Moore's work and watching some great videos she put together... I've loved her work for years!

So here's what I came up with... a page for my much neglected art journal:

Art Journal - Submerged 

I used a few techniques we've learned in Julie's class on here... first, I did the background with Adirondack color wash and gel medium over a phone book page and then I did a textured tissue technique at the bottom (in this case textured phone book page... lol.)  The "S" is a stencil that I covered with modeling paste, paint and Lumin Art.  I made the fish out of cardboard and spritzled glitter while the paint was wet and I just free-hand painted the background.  Tons of fun!  Here's a close-up:

Art Journal - Submerged Close-up

Finally, yesterday I got the frame I ordered for my bird collage - I got a cheap gallery frame from Dick Blick and I LOVE it!  I hung it with my little fish collage I did a while ago:

Blog - Framed Collages 

Okay... off to watch the Avs game and get some dinner, but after that I swear it's time to get down to work on my Christmas projects!


I actually can't believe how fast this week has gone... it seems like yesterday was Monday!  I guess keeping busy really makes time fly, huh? 

I've spent the last three nights working on homework and a case study for my Marketing class, but yesterday I got the stamps in the mail for my guest design spot on Banana Frog and I was so excited to start playing that I just couldn't help but start making things as soon as I got home from class last night.  In fact, the minute I opened the package ideas started flooding my mind and it was hard to choose where to start!  The only downside is that I can't share anything until they publish it on their blog.  But!  I can give you a little peek of the craziness that is my desk between making presents, working on Julie's Technique-a-Palooza class, and tonight's fun and messiness.


I cleaned it up a bit after this picture... it's hard to work in an 8x8 space.  lol.  Anyway, I'll be meeting with my study group this weekend, but I'm hoping to make lots of progress on my Christmas presents and my Banana Frog projects as well as something I can share.

Happy Friday!

The cutest little duck

Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh was a duck for Halloween this year, and she was so adorable!  I still wanted to play a bit with the techniques I'm learning in Julie's class, so I decided to pick one that I really wanted to try and do it with a Halloween layout in mind.  I ended up doing a really fun technique that uses acrylic paints, stamps and Distress Inks.  Here's what I came up with initially:

Distress into Acrylic - Halloween Bkgd

Julie described the effect as faded or vintage wallpaper and that's exactly what it looked like!  (I'd love to try this with Crackle Paint sometime soon...)

So then I decided to make this the background for my layout:

Trick or Treat 

I also used the same technique to do the chipboard letters in the title - they were originally white so I painted them and stamped them with a big spider web and then distressed the edges.  I also did a glitter strip and some paper flowers inspired by Marah's classes :)

Lots of homework this week (already!)... I spent several hours buried in my books tonight and I'll be back there again after class tomorrow.  Tonight was one of those times when I was tired and a bit overwhelmed and had to ask why I'm actually paying for this... lol.  (I think it's payback for spending the weekend playing ;)  I know it's all worth it, though.

12 hours of scrapping fun

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had signed up to take some classes with Marah Johnson at a nearby scrapbook store.  Yesterday was class day and it was so much fun.  I signed up because her projects looked awesome and I'd heard that she's a great teacher for learning new techniques... I wasn't disappointed!  I loved my first class so much that I grabbed the last spot in her 3rd class so I could take all of them.  The first class (Bird mini-album) started at 9am and we were there finishing our third class until 9pm.  Here are a few photos from the day.

Marah, showing off her awesome bird book:

Marah with her bird book 

We worked at different technique stations set up at the next table and as we finished each one, we brought the pieces back to pile up and get ready for the album assembly.  We used glitter, glimmer mist with flocked paper, alchohol inks with Krylon pens, Lumin Art sprays and mica pigment powders mixed with Mod Podge.  It was awesome to learn so many new ways to use products I've got in my stash at home.  Here's the pile at my work spot as I finished the components:

Marah's Class - Bird Book Assembly

And a shot of the technique stations as we worked on the Twilight album:

Marah's Class - Technique Stations 

Here's a shot of my versions of the projects from the three classes, including the book paper flowers Marah taught us how to make.  We did the bird album, the Twilight album and this awesome box full of 3x3 chipboard mini books.

Marah's Class - Finished Projects 

And the inside of the book box:

Marah's Class - Inside of book box

The insides of the chipboard books are still empty - I haven't figured out what I'm going to use this for yet.  I've got all of the backgrounds for the pages in the mini albums done, but most of them aren't assembled since they need photos first.  I'll have to figure out what to put in those too.  When I do, I'll post the finished insides. 

I'm so glad I signed up... I had a great time and learned a lot more than I had thought I would.  I also met some really fun ladies that I hope to see at more classes and crops in the future.  Now I'm hoping that I'll have some time this week to play with some of what I learned!

Glue on my fingers

I forgot how fun it can be to really get your hands dirty... tonight I smeared oil pastels with my fingers and then painted and decoupaged with Mod Podge and as I sat waiting for my photos to transfer off my camera, I also remembered how it's kind of cool to sit and peel glue off your fingers.  I'm not sure exactly why I moved so completely away from doing this kind of thing, but I'm really glad I challenged myself by signing up for this paint and ink technique class.  I've only done two of the techniques so far, but I'm having so much fun!  Not to mention using art supplies I've had tucked away for years...

Tonight I chose to do a project that used oil pastels and watercolors.  I've always loved collage and art journaling and this seemed like the perfect technique to try and go in that direction.  Here's what I came up with after following the instructions and Julie's video:

Oil Resist Background

And a side view...

Oil Resist Background - Side View 

At this point I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do next, but then I looked up and saw two papier-mâché birds that I made a while ago as an experiment just sitting on the top of a bucket and the idea for a finished piece just popped into my head.  So... I mounted the background on a thin sheet of chipboard and then pulled out stamps, ink and paint. I also grabbed an old phone book, a butterfly punch and some Mod Podge to kick it up a notch.  I guess it's kind of a 3D art journal page... lol.  Voila!

Oil Resist - I Can Fly 

And a few closer shots of the birds... (click to see it bigger)

Oil Resist - Bird Close-ups 

I really like how this turned out... I think I might need to go get a frame!  The downside to this is the fact that it's now almost 2:30am.  lol.  I think I might have to resort to a Mountain Dew before class tomorrow night ;D

Playing with paint

I probably should have considered the fact that I just signed up for a messy scrapbook class before I splurged on a manicure at the spa, but after a few hours of playing with paint last night it held up surprisingly well!  I tried one of the techniques from my Technique-a-Palooza class with paints and aluminum foil and it was a lot of fun!  I've moved away from doing lots of involved techniques and that kind of thing over the last year or so and I had forgotten how much I loved it.

Here's what I did... first, I made some fun butterflies using the technique from Julie's lesson:

Painting on Foil Phase 1 

And a close-up...

Painting on Foil Phase 1 - Close up 

And then I took it a step further with a little bling and some edging with my Copics to add a little definition:

Painting on Foil Phase 2 

At that point I was going to stop for the night, but an idea for a layout popped into my head and I just *had* to follow through and do it.

Sunday Best 

I decided that since I had my paint out anyway, I might as well play just a little more and distress the background a bit.

I'm looking forward to doing more playing with all these fun new techniques :)

All hail the birthday weekend!

Yup, it was my birthday this weekend... the big 3-5.  A while ago my mom called me and complained that everything on my wish list was boring (she says that every so I told her that she should just come and see me instead.  Incredibly, it worked out that she was able to do just that, so I took Friday and today off work and we just played non-stop.  She arrived Friday morning (which was my actual birthday) and we took off running.  We went down to Provo and had lunch at Kneader's, stopped by my office to see the Halloween decorating I had helped with before I left (Halloween is a BIG deal at our office.  Our department won "best use of smell..."  I need to ask some questions when I go back tomorrow.  lol).  Then we went to Deseret Book, the BYU bookstore, the Quilted Bear and picked up cupcakes at Sweet Tooth Fairy to use as my birthday cake.  Finally, we topped it off with dinner at The Brick Oven and went home to have cake and watch The Proposal.  Super fun birthday!

Saturday we went to Gardner Village and had manicures at the spa, ate lunch at Archibald's (um... HELLO fried avocado and fried green tomatos! Soooo delicious) and then shopped at all the fun boutiques.  Then we went to the movies and saw Cirque du Freak: The Vampires Apprentice which was actually pretty good.  We proceeded to make Nicole jealous with dinner at Ruby River (and I now have enough leftovers in my fridge from this weekend to feed me for a week!)

Sunday was our relaxing day.  Mom read the new Dan Brown while I did a little scrapbooking - nothing to share, though, since it's for a gift.  I finished it and took pictures, though, so I'll post it eventually :)  We also drove out to see the Draper Temple since mom hadn't seen it yet.  And then, I got her totally hooked on Arrested Development.  Guess what we'll be watching when I go home for Christmas!  lol.

This morning we shopped.  More.  We're a bad influence on each other while shopping and always have been, but it was so fun!  We went to Tai Pan Trading and drooled over their Christmas displays and found new ways to stretch mom's suitcase weight limit to the max.  A few more stores and lunch at Weinerschnitzel (which is totally nostalgic... we ate their all the time in Colorado when I was a little girl).  Then we went home to ooh and ahh over our goodies and I put together a new arrangement with a great Venetian mask I found on clearance and some silk floral stems.  Then it was time to go to the airport.  Mom's winging her way back to Virginia as we speak and I already miss having her here.  It was so much fun! 

And now for a little overview of the weekend in pictures:

Birthday Weekend Collage 

And the Venetian mask arrangement... it's quite stunning in real life (if I do say so myself!)  I used a mix of purple and gold plastic jewels in the base of the vase to keep everything together. 

Blog - Mask Arrangement 

And now I think it's time to play before I have to get back to real life tomorrow... as a birthday present to myself I signed up for Julie's Technique-a-Palooza: Paint & Ink class.  I thought it would be a great way to learn some new techniques and play with some different mediums to jump start my scrap mojo.  I joined in late so now I'm trying to decide where to jump in.  Eventually I want to do it all... so with that, I'm off to get my hands dirty!

P.S. - I just wanted to throw out a big THANK YOU to everyone for the birthday calls, texts, emails and Facebook notes.  It was a great day and wonderful to be remembered :)