Scrapbooking Supplies: Amazing pages from Graphic 45

I received a crafty shipment this past week which included a Graphic 45 8×8″ paper pad from their “Time to Flourish” collection.  These pages are amazing!!  I almost don’t know what to do with them … surely I can’t actually cut them?

I actually discovered the wonderful world of “planners” this past weekend.  I think it may help to resolve my problem.  I can use these papers purely as decoration in my MamBI “Happy Planner”!!

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Gorgeous pages from the Graphic 45 Time to Flourish collection 8×8″ paper pad
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A February Valentines themed page – exquisitely decorated from Graphic 45 “Time to Flourish”
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I love a winter themed paper that isn’t TOO wintery.  This amazing paper demonstrates that balance perfectly – from Graphic 45 Time to Flourish collection.  Can’t wait to use these in my new Happy Planner!!

 

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Pocket Pages Scrapbooking: My First Album, Part 1

This blog of mine is still very new, but already I’ve spoken a few times about my love for this “new” pocket pages style of scrapbooking.  It is amazingly easy, but still very enjoyable and particularly satisfying for those of us who are strapped for time.  It is possible to complete an entire album like this one in just a few hours.  Simple Stories actually calls it “Snapbooking” !!

This is my first pocket pages album.  I have divided it over a few blog posts so that I can include numerous pictures for each ‘chapter’.  It will become apparent over just these first few blog posts that I have already learned quite a lot about this style of scrapbooking in the space of a few projects.

There are many ways to use pocket pages.  Some people use it like a yearly planner, or date book.  Others do albums on a monthly basis.  Some people use large 12×12″ albums and others, like myself, have stuck with the smaller 6×8″ size (at least for my first few projects – it’s a great way to learn the ropes on a smaller scale).  You can dedicate an entire album to a specific subject, or child, or event, or holiday.  Or they can just be random.

For my first album, I chose to feature photos from our various family activities and adventures.  No matter how busy we get, I have always been the driving force in our family behind “family time”.  Whether it’s popping out for ice cream at the beach after dinner …. or a quick trip to the park …. or a beach bonfire with friends …. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, or that you spend half an hour or six hours doing it.  Family time together is our golden time.

As shown in the first two photos at the top of this post, the initial chapter in my first pocket pages album has some photos from our family walks to the local park.

The album I’ve used is a 6×8″ Simple Stories Sn@p Binder in Green.  These binders come with a selection of 8 hole-punched cardstock divider inserts inside, 3 kraft cardstock dividers, and also 10 pocket pages.  So they’re a bargain buy!

This first photo shows the kraft divider I’ve used as the Title Page …. “Family Walks to the Park”.  Then the cover page is one of the cardstock design inserts.  These pages feature the following:

The Kaisercraft Fine & Sunny Collection features throughout this chapter …. as well as pieces from the Simple Stories Good Day Sunshine collection and their sticker sheet sets.

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This is the first page in the chapter.  I used my photo corner rounders on the pictures to match the pre-cut 3×4″ heart cutout from the Simple Stories Good Day Sunshine Collection.  Behind it is just a basic pre-cut 3×4″ cardstock piece from Becky Higgins Project Life.  The flowers are a generic brand and the stickers are Simple Stories.

On these next pages, I used a few different sticker products.  Some of them are stuck to the photos, and others are stuck to the outside of the pocket pages.  I tend to find it is better to use stickers on the outside of the pockets if they are “bulky” and not flat.  Here I’ve used a generic foil gecko sticker, generic felt flowers, Simple Stories circle stickers and a washi tape sticker that I’ve written on.  In between the pages I used a Simple Stories Good Day Sunshine collection sunburst cutout.

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The first chapter was a short one – just a few pages.  This is the last page … A Me & My Big Ideas Pocket Pages “Happiness is This” collection 4×6″ card which I’ve stamped “Treasure these Memories” onto.  And one of my favourite photos of my two boys.  I didn’t embellish the page any further.

The second half of this chapter featured photos from another trip to the park a few weeks later.  The cover page is another of the cardstock dividers that came with the Simple Stories binder and I used the same chalk shading on the Becky Higgins Project Life lined 3×4″ card (just in different colours).  I also used another Pearl Pen from Viva Decor, but this one was silver.  The pearls initially showed up perfectly, but I managed to smudge them by moving the page too soon after making them.  Lesson learned there.

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As always, I am fairly minimalist in my approach to scrapbooking, but it works really well with the pocket pages.  This spread features one of my favourite ever photos of my kids.  My eldest, Sam, looking like such a rugged little boy playing outside – scruffy hair, cut on his chin & all.  I didn’t even give the pictures rounded edges in this chapter.  I kept them square.  For this page I’ve just used a leftover piece of yellow polka dot paper and stuck two 4×6″ photos on it slightly askew.  In this chapter I used letter stickers to put the names of all my kids across the pages.

I got a fair few photos this particular day, so there are a few two-page spreads in this chapter.  I used a few papers from a “Die Cuts with a View” 8×8″ paper pad which I think was called “Animal Crackers”.  It’s an example of the way this style of scrapbooking allows you to use just about anything you have in your collection in coordination together.

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Pre-cut 2×2″ square pieces from the “Good Day Sunshine” collection from Simple Stories

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More pre-cut pieces from the Simple Stories “Good Day Sunshine” collection in 2×2″ size and some stickers
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This page features 3×4″ size pre-cut pieces from the Me & My Big Ideas “Happiness is This” pack.  I loved the foil finish, it brought life and interest to my pages.  When choosing your colours, try to take a prominent colour from your photos and go with that – it will coordinate well and make your photos stand out.  For this particular album chapter, I wanted bright colours everywhere!

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This page features Die Cuts with a View “Animal Crackers” pages – the monkeys matched my playground theme perfectly!
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Parenting Level: Expert!  Hands-free baby feeding gave us a good laugh and was worth remembering.  I also took our little 5-week-old Emmy on the swing and down the slide at the playground.  This page is a glitter paper from the Die Cuts with a View “Animal Crackers” paper pad (8×8″ size cut down); with Kaisercraft Fine & Sunny Collectables and Simple Stories letter stickers.
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These photos were quite large and I didn’t want to cut them down …. or remove one entirely from my chapter.  So I just used both on facing pages with simple embellishment to make the photos stand out.  I only added Kaisercraft enamel dots, Simple Stories letter stickers and Kaisercraft Fine & Sunny Collectables.
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The final page of the chapter is a cut-down paper from the Simple Stories Good Day Sunshine collection.  I just added a die-cut Butterfly from Bella! with some Twinery twine wrapped around it and Kaisercraft rhinestones stuck on.  The paper was quite bright & busy so I didn’t add anything else.

Beginner Scrapbooking Layouts: Sleeping Beauty (with OTT Bling)

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I will preface this blog post with a disclaimer … as the title suggests, the purpose of this particular layout was to go over the top (OTT) with bling.

At the time of making the layout, my little girl was just a few months old.  She was my third of four children, but our first girl.  I had spent the previous 4 years buying, scrapbooking and decorating kids’ rooms with blue, green, and red.  I was obviously more than a little excited, as a girly-girl myself, to use some pink and pastel colours at last.

Although there was nothing “pastel” about this page …. it’s way out there with the bright pinks and greens.  But Anabelle was wearing the same little Bonds onesie that all of my kids have worn as their first outfit … which of course was blue after having 2 boys first up … so the pinks and greens have also been combined with blues and whites, together with all the glitter and sparkle.

This layout is a proper mish-mash of all the little embellishments that I had been bursting to use for the previous few years.  So to keep it simple, here is a list of what has been used:

The story behind this layout: When my little girl was born, she was awake for a bit under 2 hours, then fell into a deep sleep that spanned two room changes and no attempt whatsoever to be quiet in either one.  We eventually had to wake her up late the next afternoon, after about 13 hours or more, to give her a wash!  Little did we know what was to come, as her personality has now developed into that of a very robust & dramatic little toddler!  But she still trots off to bed voluntarily whenever she is tired, and therefore remains our Sleeping Beauty.

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Scrapbooking Supplies: Inspirational Bling

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“Say it in Crystals” packs from Prima Marketing Inc … Debutante collection on the left, Butterfly collection on the right

It’s always fun when the postman arrives with a new package of scrapbooking goodies.  Unluckily for me, I don’t have a great scrapbooking store in my home town.  There is a chain store with a few bits and pieces, but full collections and undamaged papers are difficult to locate.  So it’s online shopping for me right now.

Today’s package contained a special treat …. new bling!

I love to bling it up on scrapbooking projects.  In fact, I have one project which I will blog later today that was all about being OTT with the bling and sparkle.  These kinds of embellishments also work really well on Project Life and similar pocket page style albums because they are fairly flat.

In the picture above, I’ve got some gorgeous self-adhesives flowers from Prima Marketing Inc.  The “Say it in Crystals” packs come from the Debutante Collection (left) and the Butterfly Collection by Jodie Lee (right).  Like most Prima Marketing Inc products, there is a shabby-chic Victorian-era softness to them, with stunning colour combinations.

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My Mind’s Eye Enamel Dots – Jubilee Wildberry

Also in my package were some Enamel Dots from My Mind’s Eye.  Another graphic colour combination, but at the other end of the scale.  There’s no softness here!  Just bold, bright “Wildberry” colours from their Jubilee Collection by Celeste Knight & Jen Allyson.

Very often when I find fantastic colour combinations like this, they will become my starting point for a scrapbooking project.  I will use these as the inspirational compass and find a photo, paper and other embellishments to fit in with the colour scheme.  It’s a good illustration of the fact that there really is inspiration wherever we choose to find it.

Photography: Capturing variety in your photos

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A not-so-happy snap

Scrapbooking and photo albums are about preserving life’s memories in a creative and enjoyable way.  One of the things I love most of all is to use a variety of pictures – not just the posed happy snaps depicting the Utopian Pleasantville family life …. but the random, the funny, the interesting, the inspiring, the beautiful and even the sad.

You wouldn’t want to turn the pages of your album or scrapbook and have all of them look the same.  You want variety.  Variety in setting, in facial expressions, in motivation, in colour, of emotions, and a variety in the reactions that you inevitably have to each page as a result.

This is just a quick example of some ways to get thinking about variety when taking your pictures.

Selfies

Let’s start here.  Everyone, after all, knows what a selfie is.  They are pictures taken by us, with the lens turned around to capture ourselves.  But even the humble selfie is not immune to monotony.

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The Fit-Mum Selfie … designed to tout one’s accomplishments and generally shame others
  • Try including other people in your picture
  • Take the picture from a different angle
  • Don’t take selfies in front of the same bathroom mirror endlessly – unless you are specifically aiming for some kind of comparison montage …. mix up the backgrounds and settings
  • Use selfies to record special events or accomplishments (which includes putting on a nice dress, for those of us who have 4 kids and a business and never manage to get out anywhere nice) … special events do not normally include getting out of bed or pulling faces in the mirror.  Well, not always.
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The Family Selfie … different angle, multiple subjects, later afternoon lighting
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The brand new baby selfie
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The “I’m hot, heading out on the town and did eye make-up for the first time in 2 years & dug the contact lenses out of a bathroom drawer” selfie …. NOT taken in front of a mirror
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The Photobomb selfie

“Set the Scene” Photos

Some photos can be useful for establishing a scene.  It can be a landscape, a room view or just one of those panoramic pictures our iPhones can take.

Background Photos

For crafters, sometimes we need those ‘arty’ type photos to use as fillers.  Or for those who do PhotoBooks online, you may often need photos to act as backgrounds to your pages.  I’ve only ever completed one PhotoBook so far, but I find myself collecting these background photos and archiving copies of them as such on my computer.

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Not just Smiles!

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Epic beach time tantrum

As cruel as it may sound toward the children in our lives who are already subjected to endless photo opportunities, don’t get stuck forcing them into smiles and “Cheese!!!” in every single photo.  If they are crying and having a tantrum – snap a photo of it.  They can make unexpectedly cute pictures, and in years to come they will become valuable ammunition for those 21st birthday slide show montages.  The picture at the top of this blog is one such example, and just for fun, here is another:

Craft Projects

Well obviously!  Our craft projects are very often the result of many hours of work and are something to be proud of.  This blog contains hundreds of examples.  Try to take a whole-project photo as well as a few that are close-ups of particular points of interest on the piece.  Hanging up a child’s painting or drawing on the fridge is always a sign of admiration, but every now and again I get my kids to hold up their pieces for a photo.  I tell them I want to remember that drawing forever and they are very chuffed.  It can also save a lot of tears if said drawing is forcefully removed from said fridge by an active toddler bent on redecorating.

Milestones & Achievements

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Nicholas poses in his classroom with some “Sight Words” Awards

Amongst all the other noise of everyday life, we can’t forget to have the camera at the ready for those special little moments that mark a milestone or achievement to be savoured and enjoyed.  Baby’s first tooth, school athletics carnivals, school awards, the big holidays, travels, first day of school, etc.  Sometimes I make little signs to put in the picture as a personalised touch, especially if the pictures are being scrapbooked or shared on social media.

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Emmy poses with a handmade “5 months today” sign

Besides the big events, other achievements can include anything that you might be happy with or proud of.  Home building and decorating projects are a good example, and others might include a top academic grade, a nicely wrapped Christmas present, an exciting gift that you gave/received/made, an item of furniture that you put together or made yourself, a homemade batch of baby food, an arrangement of flowers or really anything that you might be wanting to remember or share.  Why shouldn’t you be proud of your hard work?  It’s nice to scrapbook pictures that aren’t just travel or kids related.  It gives us an opportunity to show off what we’ve done and journal our story of how it was done. I’ve included a couple of examples below of the things I like to take pictures of myself.

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Baby #4’s newly decorated (and newly built) bedroom
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A particularly well set dinner table that I was proud of … I really enjoy making dinner a special event for my family at least once a fortnight.  This evening was a Norwegian Smorgasbord dinner that has become a family favourite!
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A set of cube shelves that we built ourselves in our front room
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My Christmas present wrappings from Christmas 2015

Food

Hmmm…. This is a tricky one.  But then again, not really.

People take photos of food left, right, and centre … and there is nothing wrong with that when it’s done a certain way.  Pictures of half-eaten dinner that looks like a dogs’ leftovers is not appealing to social media followers; nor is it fun when others post a picture of every dinner they’ve ever made, every single night.  It can also get a bit much when bloggers post a photo of every single entree they’ve ever been served at all the cafes they visit on their holiday.  But a photo of an especially pretty or unusual restaurant meal, or a proud photo of a well set table, or a snap of some yummy cookies fresh from the oven are perfectly acceptable.  I am lucky enough at present to own the best bakery and patisserie in my hometown, so I have extra opportunities to take yummy food photos!

Silly Moments

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The day I got stuck in an elevator at University

In the theme of impressing the importance of avoiding an entire album or scrapbook full of purely posed and smiling photos, it is also fun to take pictures of the things that make us smile each day.  For scrappers, they provide great opportunities for inventive journaling captions; for photo albums they allow us to write memorable descriptions; and they can also become social conversation pieces when posted on social media or framed on our walls or mantle pieces.

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Baby’s first taste of solid foods

Selfies with my kids, pulling funny faces or mocking their silly tantrums are some of my favourites.  Others include the funny things kids inevitably do each day, and those little moments that you manage to catch just at the right second.  I’m a firm believer in finding the positive in any situation … taking a picture of the bad times, or mistakes, which make you laugh later as you look back on them, is a good way to turn negatives into a positive.  Not a bad excuse for photography!

A favourite of mine is pictured below, when my middle son stacked the dishwasher for us.  A small and simple thing, but the picture brings us such entertainment and joy every time we look at it and remember what he did that day.  It was fun to share on social media and will provide great ammunition for a 21st birthday slide show one day!

 

Action Shots

Taking photos of finished projects is good, but action shots taking during the process are also a good way to chronicle achievements.  They can make a photo album or scrapbooking layout more interesting, giving your journaling story an illustration.  Others can include a series of photos that show cause & effect (actions & consequences), or a funny moment as it unfolds.  The picture below shows a happy photo I took of my baby girl while eating a teething rusk (the teething process has been a bothersome one for her) …. but the effort she exerted was so great, she literally passed out mid-rusk about 20 minutes later, which was when I took the second photo.

These other photos include my boys clearing out our garden, at the start of their fort-building project …. and Mamma (me) doing some face painting on the boys one Sunday afternoon.

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These tips and examples are not designed to be an exhaustive list, of course.  But they should get the creativity flowing.  Think outside the box when taking photos.  It doesn’t necessarily require you to take 300 photos per day, or to have a camera or phone in your hand at all times.  I probably get mine out 2-3 times per day at most.  But I like to chronicle our family life so this is how I do it without getting stuck in monotony.  I am by no means a professional photographer.  Many of these photos were taken on my iPhone 6S, and most of them were saved from my Facebook page posts over the past few months.  In that short space of time I managed to take a wide enough variety of pictures to write this blog.  There are more ideas to share, but more than likely in a follow-up blog post in weeks to come.

If you enjoy my approach to beginner level photography and scrapbooking / craft projects, please hit “Follow” and subscribe to my blog.  Please also leave comments ….I enjoy reading them and responding!  You can also find our Facebook page: Scrappy Mamma

Beginner Scrapbooking Layouts: Family Day

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The scrapbooking page featured in this post has a very simple layout, which any beginner scrapbooking enthusiast can easily reproduce.  Yet it is also very effective and well balanced, and showcases a lovely colour combination.

One of my favourite scrapbooking products to buy are papers.  I have literally thousands of them, and sometimes I hardly know what to do with the papers that are particularly pretty.  There are many 12×12″ papers that feature lovely whole-page designs that I can hardly bear to cover with photos or embellishments.  So how do we use them?

This project has utilised a page from Kaisercraft’s Great Southern Land collection.  Specifically the backside of P818 NSW.  The collection depicts Australiana bushland themes with native flowers, bird-life, sunburnt oranges, muted greens and a sketch map of Australia.  I have also used one of the perforated die cuts from PS199 TAS.

I chose to keep the embellishments to a minimum for a few reasons …. anyone who has read my previous blog posts would have noticed already that I take a slightly more minimalist approach to my pages, but I also chose to try and highlight a little the pattern on the paper itself.  The fact that it was one of my first completed pages quite likely played a significant role as well.

I took the following steps to complete this page:

  1. I measured out the photo, cut a dark coloured piece of cardstock to size as a photo mat and glued the photograph to the mat.  The darker colour was necessary to make the photo stand out from the fairly busy background patterned paper.  I then placed the photo on the page and stuck it in place.
  2. It looked to me as though the paper was just a bit too stark in its pattern.  I wanted to
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    Tim Holtz Distress Ink Pad and Blending Tool – image from http://www.timholtz.com

    give it a more earthy and natural feel.  So I took out my Tim Holtz Distress Ink pads for the very first time, and using my Distress Ink Blending Tool with a Walnut Stain shade of ink I blended the edges of the paper.  This is an extremely easy technique, even us beginners can handle it.  I recommend taking a look at the videos on Tim Holtz’s own website or otherwise there are many instructional videos available on You Tube.

  3. I then sorted through all of my various embellishments and created a pile of possible items that could match my colour scheme and/or theme.  This is a really great way to “see” what you can use on a particular page.  You will always end up with way more than you need, but once you have your pile of potential embellishments you can sit down and try out different combinations until you’re happy.
  4. I selected a variety of different flowers from Kaisercraft’s Paper Blooms (Honey,
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    Kaisercraft’s Paper Blooms in “Honey”

    Sage, Seabreeze) and Mini Paper Blooms (Aubergine), focusing on muted earthy tones with a few blues to match in with my dress and my kids’ clothes in the picture.  Extracting colours from photographs is a great way to create harmony in your layout and to make certain colours pop from the page.  I also used a pink BoBunny Blossom in the centre for a pop of colour and some Kaisercraft Paper Leaves.

  5. I arranged the flowers on the page and stuck them down, layering them just slightly and roughing up the edges a little as well.  I thought they looked too clean on this ‘dirty’, earthy page and so I took my Distress Ink pad and inked the edges of the flowers here and there as well.
  6. To balance the page (and create a “Z” of embellishments) I arranged the perforated die-cut from the collection at the top right corner of the photo together with a torn piece of brown cardstock (which had a slight pearly sheen to it for texture on the page), some more Kaisercraft Paper Leaves, and some die-cut Butterfly  Collectables from the Botanical Odyssey Collection.  Again, I inked the edges of the die cuts to make them blend into the page.  I also chose a pink butterfly to balance
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    Kaisercraft’s Paper Leaves embellishments (EM995)

    with the pop of pink in the BoBunny flower, and a large blue butterfly to again extract the blue colour from the photo and make it stand out.  The smaller orange butterfly balances with the bright orange shirt my husband was wearing in the photo and makes it part of the overall colour scheme instead of sticking out on its own quite so much.

  7. I placed a Kaisercraft Rhinestone Flourish in the bottom right corner of the photo to complete the “Z” across the page and balance it out.
  8. I’m not someone who is especially great with titles.  The title of “Family Day” could apply to just about any of my projects as they often tend to focus on our family day trips which we enjoy doing with our kids.  I just used Kaisercraft Chipboard Alphas 2 and some matching alpha stickers for the title and stuck them in place.
  9. The page was finished off with a little more inking of the edges (where I had missed spots) and I also placed a few Kaisercraft Rhinestonesin Island Lagoon, and Kaisercraft Pearls.

 

This whole layout, while again being one of the first ones I have done, probably took about 2 hours … and that was while also entertaining 3 kids, googling the various techniques I wanted to use, googling how to use these patterned papers, and while running loads of laundry.  It is absolutely possible as a beginner to produce a lovely scrapbook page with minimal tools & embellishments to hand and with minimal time.  Scrapbooking pages like this allow us to incorporate our many loves into one love for crafts.

If you enjoy this blog and are looking for inspiration and discussion directed at beginners, please like this post, hit “Follow” for the blog, “Share” to Facebook (and find our Scrappy Mamma Facebook Page) and feel welcome to ask questions in the comments section!  I’m a beginner as well, but I have the benefit of having sold these products in my former online craft store for a number of years so I can do my best to steer you in the right direction.  I am also someone who is brimming with ideas, themes, and colour combinations so I would love to share those with anybody needing inspiration or guidance.  See my About page for more information.

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A bundle of flowers on the page including Kaisercraft Paper Blooms, Mini Blooms, Paper Leaves, and BoBunny Blossom in the centre.
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Kaisercraft Rhinestone Flourish and arrangement of die cuts and paper leaves complete the balanced “Z” across the page.

One Love

The Magic of Photo Filters

I have been taking hundreds of photos of my kids every month since our eldest son graced our lives in 2007.  We have always invested in having a great quality camera to make sure our precious moments are captured the best we can.  In recent years though, as we had 3 more children and purchased a business and went back to studies … as life generally got a lot busier and our bags became too filled with nappies and kiddy snacks to fit a large camera everywhere we went … we have started using our phone cameras a lot more.

There is a down-side to this of course.  Until just recently, phone cameras were not 100% reliable and didn’t take the best photos.  Nonetheless, the best phone camera available became a good excuse to ensure we also invested in good iPhones.

But there is also an upside.  Having photos readily available on our phones meant that we suddenly became much more reliable at posting pictures on social media for the enjoyment (and by demand) of overseas family and friends; and emailing and messaging pictures for my Mother and Husband during the day was also at my fingertips.  Another advantage of camera phones is the ease with which we can apply filters to make our photos look even better.

Personally, I’m not one to apply too many filters.  I worry too much about losing the integrity of the original photo.  But there are apps out there (I won’t presume to review them here – that’s a bit outside of my expertise) which allow you to modify a copy of your photo while retaining the original untouched version.  Instagram is one of them and has a pretty good array of different filters whilst also being very easy to use.

I’ve copied a few examples below of photo comparisons with & without filters.  Again, I am by no means any kind of expert …. all of these were done via Instagram, and took me all of 40 seconds to do each one.  But for the beginners out there like myself, it shows you what can be achieved very quickly and very easily.  For each one I previewed different filters and chose my favourite, then made small adjustments to brightness, contrast, and maybe sharpness.

Pictures on the left are the originals without filter, and on the right the filter and other adjustments have been applied.  Hopefully the blog doesn’t diminish their quality too much to see the real difference between them.

If you have photos on your computer (from a nicer camera, or sent to you by someone else) then there are easy programs you can get which can do the same thing.  Or you can always email the photo to yourself and save it to your phone to use the phone-based Apps if you prefer.

The printed versions of all these photos look absolutely amazing, and given that a couple of these have already featured in my recent blog posts, I’m sure you can tell that they have become my favourite shots of my family.

Fancy Frames

I have always been a fairly frugal mother.  I had always spoiled my kids with lots of “things”, especially when they had a nanny in our home instead of going to daycare when they were much younger; but I found myself bargain hunting and buying them lots of cheap rubbish instead of investing in nicer things that would last a longer time.  I have since learned my lesson and now buy much less, but of nicer quality.

Having picture frames around the house has always been an everyday part of family life.  We like to surround ourselves with reminders of our precious little angels …. WHEN they were precious little angels.  Similar to my experience with the kids’ toys, I had always bought bargain frames thinking one was the same as any other.  But I have recently discovered that spending good money on gorgeous frames can be worth its weight in gold.

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A selection of pretty frames and the photos I’ve chosen to go in them

The above frames were bought at Bed Bath N’ Table in Cairns, Australia.  It has since become one of my favourite stores for nice quality trinkets such as these, and especially for my Easter decorations.

Making picture frames for the home can be just as creatively satisfying as any scrapbooking or craft project.  I enjoy searching through my photos to find the perfect fit for a specific frame, and a certain special place on the wall or furniture bench space.

One of these frames is quite possibly the most beautiful frame I have ever seen in my life,

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Possibly the most beautiful picture frame I’ve ever seen! Purchased from Bed Bath N’ Table in Cairns, Australia

and I’m sure the picture does not do it justice.  It was a perfect fit for a picture of my new baby girl, and the sweetness of the little lacquer birds around the edge matches her sweet nature perfectly.

The tiny frame with all the sparkly rhinestones around the edge is a favourite of mine as well – this is the second one I’ve bought after I gave away the first one as a gift to my mother.

There are still quite a number of cheap picture frames sitting empty around my house.  They just don’t inspire me very much to want to fill them.  In fact, I’ve just now decided I’m going to get rid of them and buy some more gorgeous frames like this for my walls and furniture instead!

Another alternative, of course, is to decorate your plain, drab picture frames yourself.  One of my other favourite things to do with photos is to buy large A3 basic frames and collage many photos in them.  Normally with a theme like our most recent holiday, or our wedding, or I also have one filled with pictures of my first born son sleeping everywhere aged 0-3 months (he would sleep anywhere, anytime, all the time!)  I am sure I will blog about those collage frames in the future.

This is just another way that crafty Mamma’s can express our creativity and enjoy our photos and memories every day.

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The finished frames with their perfectly chosen photos

Our little Surprise

This is the story about a Mamma-scrapper (me) who really, really wanted to make a scrapbook page with the ultrasound printouts which always seem to live in a “baby box” somewhere.  I also had some really cute little 6×6″ papers from an American Crafts Amy Tangerine Plus OneAmy Tangerine “Plus One” paper pad … but they were so cute, I didn’t want to cut them.  I wanted to show them off as much as possible.

I’m getting ahead of myself though…

The story starts back in January 2015.  Our precious little baby #3 was just 8 months old and I found out we were unexpectedly-expecting baby #4.  I actually didn’t get the courage to tell my husband for a whole week … and only managed to blurt it out when he stumbled across the first ultrasound picture on the page showing I was already 8 weeks along.  Oops.  So whilst little miss baby #4 is extremely well loved today and is nothing short of a ray of joyful sunshine in our lives …. we spent most of 2015 being somewhat freaked out at being caught so unawares.

So that explains the title of this scrapbooking page.  I hope.

As with most of my projects, I started by going through my incredibly immense stash and put together a collection of various pieces that coordinated with my choice of papers.  A kind-of “Mood Board”, which in actual fact was just a smeared sea of pink, yellow, and black across my craft desk.

A black cardstock background was the best way to make the lovely bright colours from the printed papers really stand out, and from there I chose a natural hessian stick-on flower I picked up at a local $2 store (there were 6 in the pack and they appear in a few of my projects) … a printed polaroid frame from Pink Paislee “Secret Crush” collection … A wooden bird from Kaisercraft which I left raw … some random washi tape … some yellow enamel dots from the Snap Life Documented collection … and a chipboard heart flourish from Australian company Words or Whatever.

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Our Little Surprise … an otherwise black and white layout is spiced up with pops of loud pink and yellow … featuring American Crafts Amy Tangerine “Plus One” 6×6 Papers and a Chipboard Heart Flourish from Words or Whatever

The chipboard heart flourish was coated first with some basic white Gesso from my local $2 store.  Then I painted over it with Viva Decor Precious Metal paint in a pink shade.  I also added some Kaisercraft rhinestones to bling it up a bit for my little princess-to-be.

The alpha stickers are a mix of American Crafts Thickers (in two different pink designs) and some alphas taken from an old BoBunny Press collection.  I also added a “Precious” definition rub-on from Kaisercraft to finish it off.  The word “love” was already printed on the pink paper square and I just traced around it with a black fine tip pen.

It’s important to let those little things you really love in your collection …. like a certain photo, or pieces of paper like I have here …. guide how you structure your page.   I really loved these patterned papers and it was the key driver behind my layout.  These pages you create are memories.  They are designed to be looked back on in years to come.  They don’t have to look perfect … they just have to look meaningful to you and bring you joy both during and after their creation.  So that’s why you want to make sure your favourite pieces, the things you really love the most, take centre stage.  You will love them all the more when you open up your scrapbooks again and thumb through them.

Once again, I do prefer my fairly simple & uncluttered style of scrapbooking.  I’m sure the professional bloggers could have layered this page up so that it wound up weighing roughly the same as my precious newborn …. but beginners should find these kind of clean lines refreshingly easy to emulate in their own crafty corner.  The layering can come later if you so desire.

Remember also (beginners out there) that you want to see a “Z” and TRIANGLES across your page.  Here, you can see a Z if you start from the top left corner, go across right, down diagonally left through the “love” and chipboard heart in the middle, and back right again through the ‘surprise’ title.  There is a triangle formed with the hessian flower, bird, and heart elements.  And there is also harmony in the balance of the “love” word outlined in the middle of the 4 photos square. These Z’s and Triangles indicate balance and flow in your layout.

 

A New Style of Scrapbooking for the Busy Mamma

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Ok so I’m the first to admit … this style of scrapbooking may not be 100% “new” as of the date of this post in February 2016.  However, it’s certainly a new discovery for ME.  And I’m loving it!!  It is absolutely perfect for the modern busy Mamma and they represent a lovely connection between old style photo albums and contemporary scrapbooking styles.

I’m referring to the “pocket pages” method of scrapbooking, which uses clear plastic inserts and binders in all shapes, colours, styles and sizes.  Not only do they look great, no matter whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro … they are incredibly easy to use (foolproof even), you can vary your level of ‘adornment’ (lots of embellishments or just the bare minimum), they are easy to store, easy and interesting to flip through, and …. the biggest PLUS yet …. there are all kinds of ready-made, pre-cut, “pop them out of the packet and whack them straight in” paper pieces you can buy to make the whole process even simpler.  You could almost literally put these together with your eyes shut and still make a fantastic looking album.

That’s not to say that these albums are so easy that they’re just not fun.  They are.  Besides, the fun is always up to you.  Everyone has their own reasons for finding scrapbooking fun.  For me, it’s the memories I’m reliving while I scrap my favourite photos and write my journaling …. it’s the pride I feel in creating something that my children (or grandchildren!) will hopefully one day cherish …. and it’s the feeling of satisfaction I get when I create something that looks nice and I sit down to show my husband and kids what I’ve made to a collective muddle of impressed exclamations and flagrant disinterest depending on the prevailing winds that dictate childhood moods.

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One of my favourite pages so far

So what exactly is involved in making these albums?There are a lot of different options.  Personally, as I was just venturing into scrapbooking after years of hoarding materials and tools, I wanted something smaller than the traditional 12×12 page size.  So I chose a 6×8 inch album from Simple Stories.  I saw it on sale with a smooth kraft finish and green binding and I was hooked in.  However there are 12×12 albums and inserts available as well.  I’ll probably step up to those in the future (after all, I’ve got about 50 or so 12×12 Kaisercraft binders around here somewhere left over from my craft website store days!) but for now I love the training ground that the 6×8 size provides me.

Once you start having a look at everything that’s available, you will notice that the pocket sizes range as follows: 2×2, 3×3, 3×4, 4×4, 4×6 (standard photo size) and 6×8 in the smaller size albums, plus 2×6 border strips; with the larger albums also containing bigger sizes such as 6×12 and 12×12.  There are dozens of variations in the template configurations for the plastic sleeve inserts.  I personally found 12074647_10154277210109278_823525259815211189_nmixed packs to be the best bargain, particularly to get started; and the ability to mix photo sizes and use many photos in each page layout as opposed to just one or two was yet another lure that tipped the scales in favour of pursuing this form of scrapbooking.

Keep in mind that many items you might purchase are one-off buys, which will last you either forever or at least a long time, or a number of projects, or until my kids get hold of them and pull them apart (does anyone else have the continuous problem with toddlers dismantling their tape runners?).  Here is my list of things you will probably need when making these albums (note that I have ignored any everyday scrapbooking items like scissors, glue/tape, pens and a self-healing craft mat):

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I love these 6×8 kraft binders from Simple Stories – with bonus inserts provided to get you started! Photo courtesy of http://www.simplestories.com
  1. Binders (many come with some basic inserts).  The binder size you choose will dictate the inserts and possibly the scale of other accessories you utilise.  For smaller albums you will need to focus on smaller scale embellishments as more often than not over-sized decorations just won’t have a place on the page.

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    Clear Plastic Inserts from Simple Stories – photo courtesy of http://www.simplestories.com
  2. Plastic page inserts – a mixed selection of templates/configurations is good.
  3. Packs of Pre-Cut Cardstock Inserts – Plain ruled cards are a good basic, and any other packs or themes that take your fancy.  They can often feature basic patterns, quotes, foil finishes, glitter, pictures, words, textures, borders or plain cardstock colours.
  4. Stickers – Because you generally want the photos etc inside the pockets to lay flat, stickers are perfect embellishments.  Get a good selection of washi tape stickers, alphas (big & small), words, geo dots, tags, etc.  After I started this form of scrapbooking I found myself stocking up on a lot of stickers, especially alphas in all shapes, sizes and colours.
  5. Rhinestones & Enamel Dots
  6. Photo Crops – Again, I like the Simple Stories brand angled side crops (as opposed to the round ones – I have a circle cutter for that).
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  7. Photo Corner Rounder – I absolutely love mine.  It is one of the most simple tools I think I’ve ever used and makes perfect round corners without even trying.  I recommend getting a medium (10mm) and a large as pictured.
  8. Other Embellishments that work well: Flairs, Twine, Flowers (flat are generally best), Kaisercraft Sparklets, Stamps, Buttons, Paper pieces generally, Photo overlays, Ribbon, Rub-Ons, Journaling Cards, Chipboard or Cardstock Shapes (such as Kaisercraft Collectables or BoBunny Noteworthy) and similar.

 

Some additional pointers relating to these binder scrapbooks:

  1. They are perfect for beginners.  I would suggest starting small as a way to get started.
  2. This style of scrapbooking becomes even quicker and easier for the busy Scrappy Mamma if you have a decent colour printer at home.  It is not necessary to spend a fortune and I’m sure I will blog about this particular topic in the future, but something that will print decent quality photos at home rather than running all over town to get them done can save a lot of time and make it easier to get some scrappy time for yourself as it requires no forward planning.
  3. Embellishments : Go light, or go heavy, it’s up to you! (and your budget/schedule/personal taste)
  4. Let yourself outside of the box.  These little pages are a great way to experiment with colours, collections, embellishments and other things that take your fancy.  So often we get put inside a trendy little ‘box’ when trying to emulate what we see in craft magazines and on the more accomplished bloggers’ sites.  You are not restricted to a single colour palette, or paper collection, for any single binder.  Pick a broad theme and run with that.  For example, my first binder was all about family activities that we do together …. that’s how I grouped the photos but after that it was free reign.  Different colours, different collections, a variation in embellishments and techniques used, and it still looks fabulous.
  5. When selecting your plastic inserts, remember that the template you choose has both a front side and a back side that need to be filled.  It’s important to choose the right one to compliment and fit all of the photos you want to include in a particular section.
  6. Each pocket in the plastic inserts is obviously limited in its capacity.  It forces us to move away from the current “trendy” scrapbooking technique of layering, layering, layering because the pieces will simply become too thick to fit into the pocket.  If you’re just starting out, then try keeping it clean and simple.

At some point in the near future I will do a blog outlining the steps I personally take to do a project.  Sometimes it can be helpful to know where to even start.

I will point out that there are a LOT of brands on the market which have released their own lines of ‘pocket page’ scrapbooking products.  A few that are my own favourites and seem to me to be the leading products in the field:

  1. Simple Stories Snap (or Sn@p) – my personal favourite, it features in a lot of my first projects.
  2. Me & My Big Ideas (‘Mambi’) Pocket Pages – I love their quotes and glitter/foil finishes.
  3. Becky Higgins Project Life – Especially good when you want larger collections of coordinating pieces.
  4. We R Memory Keepers Albums Made Easy
  5. Kaisercraft Captured Moments – I’ve just started getting a few of these, and so far they are really good although they seem to focus on just 2 sizes for now.
  6. October Afternoon Daily Flash – Love the old school feel of this brand.
  7. Plus any papercraft brands that have ‘elements’ or similar box shape cutout pages like this one pictured below from BoBunny Press:
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BoBunny “Head over Heels” collection paper – an example of box square cutouts that have been included on scrapbooking papers for years and which are perfect for this ‘pocket pages’ style of scrapbooking

Whilst all of these brands are fantastic, and provide a great opportunity to purchase coordinating items as a package … don’t feel like you’re limited to searching for these pre-cut and coordinating items in your scrapbooking supply haunts.  You can literally use any items and just cut it to size with a standard cutter, and even round the edges with your corner rounder (see my list of must-have items above).  Many of my projects have mixed and matched all kinds of products – in fact I’m quite sure that none of my projects so far have used any single collection or ‘matched set’ as will likely become evident as my blog progresses and shares them.

My first scrapbooking attempt

The day that I finally sat down and attempted my first scrapbooking page was a fairly momentous one within my little bubble.  After starting out selling used postage stamps for charity on eBay some 12 years ago, I progressed to buying and selling for a profit and fell into crafts.  At one point my eBay page was turning over some serious $$ and morphed into my own dedicated website.  For some reason I decided I wanted to purchase a local cafe (to start paying some bills, rather than spending everything on new craft stock all the time) and since that time I’ve had a huge quantity of leftover stock going unused.  I should sell it …. there is literally tons of it in my storage shed and it’s become a sore point with my husband these days …. but I can never seem to find the time to catalogue it etc.  So for now, I’ve started picking through it and using it myself.

For my first foray, I chose a lovely photo I had taken of my husband and two eldest children while we had been out to dinner at Palm Cove celebrating the (rather unexpected) news that we were going to have a fourth child.  The photo was taken in the moment that the boys were told.

Palm Cove beach is a lovely spot in FNQ – popular for weddings and holidays, it has an amazing laid-back “resort” style vibe with shops and cafes along the waterfront and a pier that has some great fishing.

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Palm Cove Beachfront – NOT photoshopped! We wake up to this every day in sunny FNQ. Credit for photo goes to http://www.palmcove.net
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A sample of the shops along Palm Cove beachfront … we love it here.  Credit for photo goes to http://www.prettydelicioustravels.com

I wanted to make the photo stand out because I loved it so much, and I also wanted it to have a tropical vibe because of our location.  To be honest, the colour selections probably could have been better.  But it was my first attempt … I was trying to pull out the blue from the corner of the picture, and make it pop from the page.

For this page, I literally just cut the photo to size and put it on a black cardstock mat board, then layered it against a blue cardstock mat board.  Then I stuck it to the page.  The page is from Kaisercraft’s Tropicana collection.  Then I stuck on some flowers (from Bo Bunny & Kaisercraft) and wooden palm tree fronds and bird (Kaisercraft) which had been inked a little bit.  The only thing I got slightly fancy with was the title.  It’s a chipboard title from Words or Whatever which was inked with blue and black Distress Inks (Tim Holtz).  Then I sprinkled some American Crafts embossing powder over it, pointed the heat gun at it and voila.

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So my first scrapbooking page was certainly not a complex one.  It’s pretty simple, but it’s effective too.  If I were going to do it again, I would probably choose a background paper that was pale blue to allow the picture to shine.  But I was hell-bent on using this “tropical” paper.  But the layout itself is an easy one to reproduce.  You don’t need hundreds of layers to a page.

For so long I had collected all these tools and supplies but stopped short of actually using them, not knowing where to start.  Making something simple like this is a great way to get the ball rolling.  Flowers are your friend …. they work on many layouts and are easy to use.