Monday, February 8, 2016

Valentines Day │ 5 Things We Love About You

A notice came via email a week ago from my daughter's teacher asking all of the parents to write a love note to their child that would be read aloud this week at school. I of course thought this idea was amazing and sweet and totally right up my alley. She stated in the instructions that she was hoping for messages of accomplishment, encouragement of personal goals, memories and expressions of paternal love (x2 for us). That added up to five things in all so my wheels started turning on how I could accomplish this. I could have easily sat down with pen and paper and written it in letter form but she also said that we could feel free to get creative and add photos, artwork, stickers, etc. I need no extra incentive to make something more that it needs to be so when she said we could use photos I thought a little micro mini was the perfect idea.

My inspiration came from the numbered tags that Ali Edwards had included in her December Daily® kit this past year. I used one of them in my album as you can see here so I initially thought I would use the one thru five tags since I had only used the number fourteen.

I thought it would be really cute to add some red and pink foil to them using my Minc Machine and since I wasn't sure how these tags were printed I decided to make my own.

The first thing I had to do was create the tag shape. I used a tag I had already purchased as my starting point and then adjusted the size to what I wanted it to be. I knew I wanted to Minc the number and the little circle around the tag hole so I created my documents knowing I would use the Print and Cut feature. I have a laser printer so making custom items to Minc is super easy.

One thing you have to remember to do when creating items in your Silhouette studio is to make sure that if you are doing a print and cut is to turn off the cut lines for items you only want printed and not cut out. Here you can see that after the page is printed and I run it thru my Silhouette, the only thing that will be cut is the outside edge of the tag and the middle circle. The default setting is to always add a cut line to anything you create so if you don't remember to turn these cut lines off your Silhouette will cut everything out.

I knew that I wanted to cut my photos so they were the same size as the tags and lately I have had a lot of fun printing and cutting photos with my Silhouette. I copied my tag shape to a new document and then edited and cropped the photos to the correct size first in Photoshop Elements. I saved the photos as a .png files because I find when I save files as a .png it will import into my Silhouette studio in the exact size I want them to be. If I save them as a .jpg it will open quite large and then I would have to scale them down. I prefer to skip that step and import exactly as I need them to be. 

In order to make sure that the photos are lining up exactly in the right spot for the cut lines I make sure that the tag shape is brought to the front so that I can lay the photo underneath to line everything up. To to this just right click on the shape and select Bring to Front.

Here you can see the print and cut all ready to go and the cut lines are exactly where they need to be. I just run a letter size sheet of photo paper thru my printer and then cut it on my Silhouette. It works perfectly.

To finish off the project I created a little envelope to hold the tags that you can see below. I closed the envelope with twine that wraps around two circles that I attached with eyelets, one on the front and one on the back. I dressed up the front circle using a super cute emoji die set that is from Studio Calico. I cut most of it in gold foil cardstock and the heart eyes are cut from red foil.

I also made a simple cover tag to go on top of the others that I created in my Silhouette as well. It was made using the text tool and the XOXO is a digital element from In a Creative Bubble. The five is a gold thicker that I had in my stash.

My husband and I wrote our messages on the backs of the number tags so that you can read the messages and see the photos at the same time. Its super cute and since its a surprise my daughter has no idea its coming so I can't wait to hear all about it after she sees it.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Featuring Kelly Purkey │ January Release

Hello everyone, its release day over at Kelly Purkey's Shop today and I wanted to share with you what I've made so far with this months latest stamps and kits.

The first thing I made was a Project Life® spread for week three. I used the a mixture of cards and stamps from the main subscription kit, High Five and the Mini in Minutes kit, Life Happens. I also mixed in some of the stamps from the You're A Life Saver stamp set.

Working with the 9x12 size is really working for me. I am loving having the 6x4 slots to fill with larger photos and I've even started taking some in that orientation now that I know I need them. Typically I take all of my photos in the vertical orientation, I know its not 'normal' but its what I like the best so there you go.

I really loved mixing the mini in minutes cards with the kit cards and of course all of the stamps. I especially love the bright red and pink cards in mini kit that was designed by Anne Marie Espinoza this month. That little dotted curvy arrow stamp is just the cutest!

I also really loved adding the alpha stickers that Kelly is including with the kits to my spreads. I have been a fan for awhile from way back in the day when Kelly had released these before. They really are the perfect size and font to add to pocket pages. 

Oh and if you haven't yet watched Adele's Carpool Karaoke, stop what you are doing right now and watch it. I've watched it several times already and when I saw the article online that I added to my album saying they had enough for a full hour episode I died, I would totally be up for that, just sayin'.

My second project was adding some of the stamps and cards to my planner. I have several planners that I like to play around in just for fun but for my day to day planning this year is being done in a Get to Work Book. Because some of the stamps this release were so appropriate for Valentine's day I decided to decorate my February monthly calendar. I used stamps from the You're a Lifesaver set, the Life Happens set, and the High Five set. I also mixed in some of the Clearly Kelly Planner stamp sets; Special Occasion, Travel, Food, TV, Sports and Appointment. I also used Kelly's inks which are amazing for stamping in your planner. The sets I used are; Coffee and Donuts, Urban and Fashion. I love the grey ink in the Urban set. Its nice to have a dark color that's not black. Its like a soft black and I love it, its not to dark but just dark enough.

A few people asked on Instagram when I posted a sneak image how I added the pink and red heart card to my planner. I saw someone post this idea on Instagram awhile back and I'm sorry I don't remember who that was but they used an old Bind It All Machine and punched the holes. I happened to have one too so I used it the same way. After I punched the holes I clipped little notches so that I could add it and remove it from my planner. Here is a better look at that so you can see what I mean.

I love the pop of orange when the card is flipped over. Here you can see that I layered the alpha stickers to create a shadow effect, I just laid down the black stickers first and then added the white on top just a bit off center so the black showed.

I used one of the cards from the main High Five kit to make a list that I can clip into my planner. That little dotted arrow stamp, I tell you its super cute!

There was also a alpha stamp set, Williamsburg that is perfect layered underneath the Greenpoint alpha set that I haven't had a chance to use yet, but its super cute so make sure you check it out.

I hope you enjoy the release, its another great month for sure!
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Friday, January 22, 2016

Featuring Color Cast Designs │ December and January

Yesterday was new release day at Color Cast Designs and I just realized that I haven't shared with you the pieces that I have made recently so I wanted to catch you up. I'll start with the latest release since that went live yesterday. As you can see above there are lots of great items appropriate for Valentine's Day which totally inspired my first project.

This layout was inspired completely by the large red glitter piece in the Crazy Love set. I knew I wanted it to be the focal point of my layout so I designed it all around that one piece. I printed the quilted background using my Silhouette Cameo and the sketch pens. I had visions of hand stitching it but I wasn't going to have time to sit and do all of that. Thankfully the sketch pens worked out great as another option. I used the gold glittery pen here and its really pretty in person. I made the vellum envelope myself using vellum from the Studio Calico Brighton Pier release and the We R Memory Keepers envelope punch board. Man I love that tool, I use it so much. The Kraft chipboard tags were found in the Dollar Spot at Target as was the red and white cording. The tags came with black and white cord but I liked the red and white better. I layered everything so it looking like it was spilling out of the envelope and then placed the red glitter hearts and some of the older white outline hearts. I really love the white glittery hearts from the Good Times set and I also added in a few of the white outline hearts from this Wonky Hearts set. I love how this turned out.

The second piece I made was the Project Life® spread that I shared on Wednesday. Here it is again so you can see it.  I used the following sets on this spread Adore You, Good Times, Must See TV, and Better Me. I love how versatile these sets are, they are so easy to split up and use in many other ways then just all together on one project.

From December's release I made two layouts. This first one is a real favorite of mine for sure. We had a party at our home on New Year's Eve and I hung up some decorations in my home that were really long strands of floating elements that were hung on clear fishing line. They ended up being the inspiration for the layout and the Hello 2016 set was perfect to mimic my decorations.

One of my favorite cut files from the Silhouette Store is this set of 3D sequins. I decided to try to cut them out of photos and it totally worked. I also cut some smaller sequins out of gold and silver foil cardstock from Michael's. I hand stitched the gold stitches so it would mimic the fishing line of my decorations and then just alternated the placement of the acrylic pieces and the photos so it was evenly balanced. This layout is full of dimension and it was really fun to make.

I love the gold mirror acrylic and I think its so cool that it was in this set. I saw a lot of gold mirror pieces in some of the new lines presented at CHA so I'm happy that this trend will stick around for awhile.

My second project was this layout featuring the Let it Snow snowflakes. We don't get any snow where we live in California but we did go seek it out one day this past December. I wanted to make a separate layout of this great picture I snapped of all three of us even though I had already featured it in my December Daily. I used my Silhouette Cameo again with the sketch pens to draw in both silver glitter and red a series of scattered snowflakes that are designed to be sketched and not cut. I know snowflakes aren't red but I wanted to pull a bit of red into the layout since its so prominent in my main photo. I love the contrast and I think it still works. I then layered the photos on top of each other so they would flip up and sewed them into place with my sewing machine. I love how this turned out. I did crop the top photo so it would have the point when cut and laid that our in Photoshop Elements. I then layered the acrylic snowflakes to add more dimension and added in a title using some old foam glitter Thickers that I had on hand.

Here you can see the photos flipped up. I added my journaling on top of the last photo before I printed it out.

I loved this technique so much I even replicated it in my December Daily on a smaller scale. You can see that example in this post.

I hope you enjoyed the items in this release, I know a few items have sold out but for the most part everything I mentioned above is still available. I hope you have fun creating with everything you purchase.

See you soon,

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Project Life® 2016 │ the beginning

Admittedly I did a horrible job sharing and completing my 2015 albums and I have a lot to catch up on for sure, especially the last part of the year. That being said there was never really a minute when I thought about not doing it this year. Working on my class for Big Picture this past November really got me super excited and it revved up all of the creative enthusiasm that I have for this project. I love it and I don't want to stop. Its as simple as that. There are a few things I plan to do differently this year though so I wanted to share them.

The first big change for me is to switch up the size. I just could not do another year of full 12 x 12 spreads. I think that's what burned me out last year. It was just too much and just too hard to fill week after week because I'm just not snapping as many day to day photos as I have in the past. I think that's due to a few things; 1. my daughter is at school for 6 hours each day, 2. I'm busier doing design team work and other creative projects so I'm working more and playing less and 3. I just needed a break from my camera/phone. I mean lets be honest it gets a bit old sometimes, for myself and for my family and friends. So that brings me to 9x12. I bought two of these albums from A Beautiful Mess last year on sale and I really loved them. That inside yellow give has me at all kinds the heart eye emoji's. I played around with a few spreads last year using the 3 x 3 page protectors and I really, really loved them. My plan this year is to use an all 3x4 protector and a 3x4 and 4x6 protector each week. I'll mix in full page 9x12 layouts and some 3x3 pages when I want, probably as inserts. I purchased some additional page protectors at Studio Calico because the protectors from A Beautiful Mess were sold out. Studio Calico just released new albums that have the same ring configuration so I'm glad of that, more options for supplies is always a plus.

That brings me to my title page shown above and below. I used the one I had created for my Big Picture Class project as a jumping off point. I pretty much left everything the same except I switched out the photos to more current ones and changed up one filler card. I loved the way colors worked with the inside cover of the album, I think it really pops. The family photos were the most current ones that we took this past November. They were shot by my friend DeAnna, if you are local and need a good photographer I totally recommend her. She's done our photos the past two years and I love them. I added in some vellum hearts and a rubber banner from Studio Calico and the filler card at the bottom will be released by Kelly Purkey at the end of this month.

My first spread of the album took a turn that I have never done before. For the past six years I have always started January 1st. This year though I decided to start on December 31st. I made this decision for two reasons; 1. the spread would have been super short, only three days which meant I wouldn't have had enough photos and 2. I wasn't sure if I would ever get around to adding these photos to my 2015 album and I really wanted to share them. So there you go, I now had enough photos to fill a spread and I'm sharing photos from a super fun party that I wanted documented.

I used a lot of cards from the December Lollipop Guiled Studio Calico kit, I especially loved the 2015 and 2016 cards and they worked great on this spread. Some of the accent pieces like the black chipboard came from the Tin Man Embellishment Kit. The rubber banner I used on my title card is also from this kit. The celebrate acrylic piece and stars are from Color Cast Designs.

One thing you might have noticed that I doing different this year is I am making the borders on my photos thicker. I love it and I'm pretty sure I will keep it up all year. Its a small change but one that keeps things fresh and different and fresh and different is always a good idea. If you are wondering the borders are now half inch so the photos are cropped to 2.5" x 3.5" this year.

My second week was kind of all over the place. I was super sick so I had hardly any photos so when I sat down to work on them I was pretty worried. When things like this happen and I feel like I don't have a good mix of photos or a good jumping of place to start with colors or things like that I tend to simply and unify the photos as much as possible. You can do that many ways but my two favorite ways are to edit the photos to black and white and add in pops of color or you can create a template and crop the photos all the same size so they are all cohesive. I opted to create a template for this spread and I think it definitely helps give it an interesting focus when the photos themselves might not seem super interesting. Adding in a few filler cards to help tell the story also helps fill the gaps you might have photo wise.

Here is what the photo template looks like and if you are interested in using it on a spread this year, you can download the template right here.

I added in quite a few embellishments from Color Cast Designs that will be released tomorrow during her shop update. You can find a link to Jessica's store right here. I love adding her pieces to my spreads and they always help bring in pops of color and help tell my story even more. She has such a wit about her and so many of the phrases she uses have me cracking up.

My plan is to continue on a weekly path as the year progresses and I'm so looking forward to documenting this year. Like I said above, I  might switch up the protectors from time to time and I might get loose with my date ranges based on the number of photos I have so don't expect rigid consistency as far as dates and spreads go. That being said, I look forward to sharing the year with you and I'll see you soon.

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