Happy Summer Break!

I am working on some exciting new scheduling and content for you – so I’m taking a “blog break” briefly to get that into place as well as take a few much needed break days. I don’t normally post this kind of notice, but I figure some might need the reminder to take a break now and then! It can seem like the lists to-do are never ending sometimes for sure… but recharging is vital.

I’ve been slammed with projects and it is definitely time to take a few days, chill a bit, and then get back into it. I’ve LOVED the big (mostly secret!) projects that have kept me so occupied, and I’m excited to share what will be coming next. For now – it’s time to clean up the studio… but first a little chill time.

Got requests or things you’d like to see? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Creating customized sports/school containers

As I always disclose – I am a paid consultant for Brother, but all ideas and opinions are my own. I let you know this upfront because as my daughters dig into school sports and more what I’m finding is that ScanNCut is more valuable than ever! When it comes to designing custom stuff – well I have no limits.

What could be better? The auto blade means I don’t have to guess. The mat sizes mean I can go up to 2ft long of most materials, and it makes it super easy to customize things like sports gear bags, containers, and more.

My top tips when looking to iron-on things:

  1. Test the iron on the material someplace first. I just discovered a garment bag I was going to customize was melt on any heat impact. NO!
  2. Measure twice, cut once!
  3. Don’t forget to turn things backwards if there is text. Otherwise your iron-on will be backwards.
  4. Consider the use, and what color/size will be effective.

Recently I created a great project – Here is a link to my video on adding name (scanned in) to iron-on vinyl and creating custom boot bag.

Above is some vinyl getting ready to be applied! More tips?

  • consider consistency and color theme if there will be multiple items
  • save your files especially if you’ll use them again
  • Enjoy the craft process!

With two active teen/tweens that means I will enjoy whatever crafts – and time- comes my way. I’m enjoying the creative challenge of hand crafting or customizing things as possible.

Do you have tips for me? I’d love to hear them! Please do let me know how you’re getting more crafting in or finding projects in your busy life. For me, I’ll be partnering with this ScanNCut and bringing you a LOT more videos on my YouTube channel while occasionally rounding them up and posting blogs for certain tutorials. Have a great week!

New ideas: Class with James Luke Burke

A week (or two now? Summer time flies…) ago I took a class from James Luke Burke on illustration and I am still blown away! If you ever have the chance- take a class from him. Or even just follow him on IG or YouTube so much inspiration!

Here is a link to my YouTube video if you want to see my work and a few more on where I’m taking the ideas.

What struck me the most was:

  • I need to make more small amounts of time to practice
  • I CAN draw! Who knew? Not me – I am shocked by how well I did over the course of a day
  • Investing in myself (or yourself!) and gaining education and creative concepts is always a good idea
  • Fly with more crazy ideas – why not?
  • Embrace the whimsical. Reality surrounds me every day, why not play in the non-realist world a bit more?

I am currently designing a Vegas style showgirl costume for a horse (oh yes, really) and I have to tell you this class really boosted up my confidence because I was better able to sketch my concepts in advance of having materials, and it’s been great!

I am also currently designing my outfits for the rapidly approaching GenCon event and being able to sketch with more confidence? HUGE!

One of my many ambitious personal goals is to connect more, be more vocal with fellow creatives and well, anyone who is around! This class was a great chance to support a visiting artist as well as learn from an amazing teacher. It also reminded me to compliment more, try more often, and keep at it.

I’ll be here writing thank you notes, doodling, and well – being my best self! What are you up to this summer?

Scrapbooking: Let the photos guide you!

Have you heard of Disney Bounding? Essentially it is a form of dressing in a costume – except not a costume at all! The ‘rules’ if there are any is that you dress in regular clothes that when put together into an outfit resemble a Disney or other character. Fun, right? Well Miss Rebecca is super into this concept and I wanted to create a whole page about here in Disneyland as Hei Hei the chicken from the movie Moana.

The week had been super busy so this page actually happened over 3 or 4 days. I sketched out my general idea (notice how VERY rough my sketch is – that’s ok!), gathered supplies, and began playing with the idea of feathers and details in this bold color palette.

Due to the subject, this scrapbook page was entirely led by the colors in the outfit/photos! This is a really fun way to add a lot of personality to a scrapbook page without having to think too hard about where to start. So how do you add the right quantities or styles of things to let your photos guide you?

Here are some tips:

  1. Whatever the MAIN color you see in the photo, should be less or an accent color. In this example it’s the mustard yellow top. I chose instead the dark green (color of her pants you can’t see!) to balance better.
  2. Go with what you like! I liked a darker red tone vs brighter for this, and while not perfectly on character I felt it looked just right and added what I wanted mood wise.
  3. Texture, texture, texture! Ribbon, thread, metallic items, vellum, textured cardstock – there’s a load of ways to add more texture, detail, and fun to a page. Notice how the gold textured paper and the jewels add that detail to an otherwise “just cardstock” page. Same with my stitching, pen work, and all of the other little details.
  4. Test it before you glue it. This is ALWAYS my recommendation, but especially with bold colors! Look and see how it goes, if it feels right, and most importantly if you like it. If not, ditch a color and try something else!

Want to see more process on this page? Here is a link to my YouTube video about this page.

I 100% adore this scrapbook page. I love the textures, the color ratio, the use of feathers, and how this page compliments a perfect moment and outfit most of all. Now sometimes I ignore the colors in the photo (or just make sure my choices simply don’t clash) – but once in a while I find “let the colors guide me” to be a really successful approach.

Do you ever let the colors guide you? Do share!

Scrapbooking 101: Work flow

Once upon a time I’d just pick a photo at random, sit with it and think about what I wanted to do design wise, and work a scrapbook page up featuring it. Then one day I realized I had a very random stack of stories and images that really don’t tell a cohesive tale, nor did they particularly work together within an album. I mean, they went ok… but it was very obvious that different trends and timelines were at play and it was a bit jarring. What is my point? My refusal to have any kind of system or boundaries actually ended up with me creating a lot of projects that I didn’t want, didn’t like, and some of which I ended up redoing.

A good use of time? NOPE! This is where work flow and strategy come in – and I am a believer that you can thrive with a very large to very small amount of organization and planning in your scrapbook, but that some amount at some point is definitely key. In this article I will touch on a few different approaches I’ve taken that I liked as well as some tips.

1: TBS stands for to be scrapbooked, and this was a huge game changer and the one constant you’ll always find in my studio now. At the most basic level, have a single box (or many, if you’re feeling wild!) of photos divided by topic that you’d like to scrapbook. This gives you the bare bones framework of “here are stories I want to tell” while not telling you an order, which goes where, color, or any other restrictions. Quite simply you are setting up “start here” point. The benefits are easier to grab and go, as well as much easier to NOT accidentally tell the same story twice. If a story is told, it’s not in the box anymore. Any excess photos you didn’t scrapbook go into “photo storage”. Sound simple? It is absolutely the simplest form of photo storage I’ve found, and one that really keeps me knowing where my “to tell” stories are. I’ve been trying to get more specific, have specific vacations or years within their own boxes/bins and that helps me even more.

2: Keeping up the album. Where do your scrapbook pages go when done? It might sound obvious – but into the album! For a long time I made stacks of pages, and what ended up happening was me forgetting what I had, me not saving space for pages, and basically just a big ‘ol mess. The other added benefit to this is you can visually see the progress of the scrapbook project, which makes it all the more encouraging to keep at it!

3. Keeping sketches, plans, mood boards, etc. To be honest I don’t often get this deep, but you could in theory mark out every page and what story will be told (within an album), sketch designs and plot in depth every page, have a color scheme for album continuity, etc… however this can at times become all you would do, leaving no time for actual creating. I believe strongly in this (it’ll get a future article!) within reason and for certain occasions. For example, right now I have my Europe 2018 album labeled with which pages go where because there are 2 full albums with about 10 spots left and knowing where I scheduled space for the few remaining pages really helps me know what is left and where to put it.

That’s organized… now what?

Work flow and batch processing is something I am working really hard on for myself to “work smarter, not harder” as they say. With specific application to scrapbooking what I say is, use the time you have and make the most of what you’ve got. For example:

  1. I was up early and so I loaded photos from my phone onto the computer and ordered prints on Saturday morning before I left for the day. Monday at noon they’d already been delivered, all because I took 30 minutes and used it in a way that suited my energy level and location.
  2. Today I felt really disorganized and not really sure what to pick, so instead I tidied up my supplies with my scrapbook time.
  3. I didn’t have enough time to finish a full page. Does that mean do nothing? Nope! I selected photos, thought about the story, and gathered some supplies. The next day when I had a few minutes I worked on the placement and journaling. Day 3? Embellishing. The point here being that 3 days of “no time” to scrapbook and I actually finished a page!

These are just a few examples from my life over the last seven days. As you can see – there are a lot of ways you can group your work together in order to make sense of it as well as get the most from your time and supplies. Sometimes time and other times mood dictates what I do with my available craft time – the key is making sure I did something when I can as that really adds up.

When it comes to the flow of my crafting I do not tend to start many projects for example – journal on 10 cards, then attach those cards, etc… unless I am working in a format such as pocket page where that makes sense and advances my progress vs just starting lots of seemingly random projects. There is however one way I start almost every scrapbook page.

I take out the photos and place them over a sheet (or two) of 12×12 kraft color cardstock (or whatever size format I’m working on) and I think about the story, the photos I want to use, and possible ways that will fit together on a page.

This is how I begin every page because it allows me to imagine within the size confines what might and might not work. Eliminate potential designs. See what ideas pop into my head. Then once I have a good vision I grab whatever I choose to work with and run!

I hope you’re enjoying this series – do stay tuned and watch later this week as I share a page “let the colors run the show” – that I’m super happy with!