March {Kit} Madness

It is that time of year—March Madness! Since I live in the ACC area, college basketball is everywhere. And as much as Iove tournament season, I love March {Kit} Madness even more.

Recently I have been challenging my scrapbooking self by purchasing a collection of products then using that kit for my layouts during the month. I have found that when I limit myself to just a certain number of products, I can complete more layouts because I am not constantly hunting for supplies that go together. Also, since I use these products all month, I tend to use almost every scrap and embellishment. (Then I do not feel so guilty when I buy more!)

This month I went a little bit crazy (no doubt due to March Madness!) and bought a few more products than I usually do. So I have quite the challenge to use up what I have purchased! However, I just received an order of about four months of photographs—I have plenty of pictures to keep me busy.

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Here is my supply list:
Bite Sized Bits from Cold Avocado Soup by Jillibean Soup 12×12 patterned paper
Pinch of Presents from Christmas Cheer Chowder by Jillibean Soup 12×12 patterned paper
Crush from Love Notes by Crate Paper 12×12 patterned paper
Beau Book from Love Notes by Crate Paper 12×12 patterned paper
Corn Maze from Apple Cider by October Afternoon 12×12 patterned paper
Social Studies from Milk Money by October Afternoon 12×12 patterned paper
Let It Snow Stripe from Let it Snow by Echo Park 12×12 patterned paper
Keeping Cool from Keepin’ Cozy by Echo Park 12×12 patterned paper
Winter Whimsy from Keepin’ Cozy by Echo Park 12×12 patterned paper
Cozy Cardinals from Keepin’ Cozy by Echo Park 12×12 patterned paper
Conversion Table from Homemade With Love by Cara Bella patterned paper
We’re Expecting by Bella Boulevard adhesive chipboard
Goodness Thickers printed chipboard letter stickers by American Crafts
Lindsay Thickers glitter letter stickers by American Crafts
You Are My Happy file folders by Teresa Collins
Milk Money memory cards by October Afternoon
Love Notes adhesive badges by Crate Paper
Sprinkles Lilac Assortment enamel dots by Doodlebug Design
Sprinkles Limeade Assortment enamel dots by Doodlebug Design
Milk Money Pop Drops enamel stickers by October Afternoon
Gems adhesive dots by Studio Calico
Wood Veneer sun die-cut wood pieces by Studio Calico
Arrow Paper Clips by Freckled Fawn
Pine acrylic stamps by American Crafts

One thing I enjoy about today’s scrapbooking products is their versatility. Some of the papers I chose for this kit come from Christmas collections. However, because they are not so obviously holiday-themed or have beautiful reverse sides, I can use them in a variety of ways. For example the Cozy Cardinals paper from Echo Park has one side with small cardinals sitting on tree branches in the snow—pretty clearly a holiday theme. (Although I could use this side with the photos of the cardinal in the snowstorm I took a couple of weeks ago!)

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But the reverse side is a nice muted print of white and grey birch trees on a pale green background, which will work for a number of different photos.

It looks like tomorrow is going to be another snow day for me, so I am looking forward to having some scrappy time with my March Madness kit.

FRESH?

At the beginning of the year, I had great plans for my One Little Word, FRESH. I had planned to eat healthier foods, declutter my house, exercise regularly again, and be outdoors more. I documented all of these ideas in my first assignment for One Little Word.

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However, due to cold wintry weather and a few health issues, my plans went right out the window. Many days I did not feel like cooking, much less planning healthy homemade meals. We started a home improvement project which is causing more clutter than less. I did not have the desire to exercise and I was stuck in the house while during the snow, rain, and extremely cold temperatures.

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When February arrived, I was not looking forward to doing the One Little Word assignment. I knew that my word had not been very visible in my life during January and I felt disappointed. However, I knew that if I did not at least attempt the next assignment, I would feel even less connected to my word. So I went online to found out what this month had in store.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a reflection exercise that allowed me to create cute cards for my album as a place to document the journey with my word last month. I crafted the cards and wrote down my feelings of disappointment about my word in January.

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The next part of February’s assignment was to create intention cards—specific goals I want to meet and actions I want take in the next eleven months.

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As I wrote the January reflection card and the intention cards, I realized that I still have plenty of time to work with my word this year. Also, there were many unplanned events in January that will actually allow me to reach my goals later this year. Even though I did not necessarily eat as FRESH as I wanted, I did have time to read new cookbooks and get ideas on better meals. The house may be a mess right now, but after our project is over, our home will be more FRESH and the decluttering will follow. And because I was indoors much of the past month, I completed several scrapbooking projects and researched FRESH ideas for future pages. As February comes to a close, I am looking forward to next month’s assignment!

The Blizzard of 2014 and Giveaway Winner!

The snow started on Wednesday afternoon and didn’t let up until about 4:00 pm today. In all we received about 8 inches of the white stuff. To my Wisconsin-born husband, that is not a lot. But to my North Carolinian self, it is a blizzard! Luckily, we have been able to stay at home and sit by a nice warm fire. We only had to trudge through the snow to make sure all of our horses were surviving the storm as well.

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Congratulations to the winner of the seat in Before Your Story–comment #2, Deanna Ridgeway!

34 Things (and a Giveaway!)

Recently at Simple Scrapper, Jennifer Wilson featured a list of 34 things that she wants her daughter to know about her. She is teaching a class at Big Picture Classes called Before Your Story: A Simple Approach to Autobiographical Scrapbooking from Birth to Adulthood. These stories are part of a special album that she will show you how to put together in this course. At the end of the class you will have a wonderful album full of stories from your childhood through early adulthood.

My list of 34 things was recently featured on the Simple Scrapper blog. I absolutely loved putting together this list—it brought back such wonderful memories! I’ve been a mom for a while now (my children are almost 15, 13, and 11), so at times it is difficult to recall that I really was a teenager once upon a time. It’s also hard to remember things I used to do with my husband before our kids came along. Now with this list I am ready to dive into Before Your Story and put all these memories in one place.

Number two on my list states “I took ballet, tap, jazz, and pointe for over ten years.” I have dozens of pictures of my from dance recitals over the years, so I decided to go ahead and scrap a couple of these photos right now.

I happened to have some pink and grey patterned papers from My Mind’s Eye on my desk. I knew these papers would work well with my photos. I arranged the remaining pieces of paper I had on my desk and added a strip of vellum left over from another project. All of the patterns were fairly neutral and simple so my small photos are allowed to shine. I added only a few strips of busier floral paper, brads, smallish letter stickers, and a date sticker. The journaling strips fit right under my photo perfectly.

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And now I have a story to add to my Before Your Story album! If you have similar stories that you would like to document, check out the Before Your Story class at Big Picture Classes.

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Before Your Story
A Simple Approach to Autobiographical Scrapbooking, from Birth to Adulthood
http://www.bigpictureclasses.com/before-your-story.php
2/27/2014 $45.00

About the Class
There are milestone events in life, such as marriage and motherhood, that divide us permanently into a “before” and an “after.” It’s easy to become so immersed in the after—the glorious here and now—that our “befores” rarely appear in our scrapbooks.
In this 6-week workshop with Jennifer Wilson of simplescrapper.com, you’ll have all the guidance you need to tell your growing-up story in one gorgeous 12″ x 12″ pocket album. Her class combines the ease of slipping photos and journaling cards into photo sleeves with the brilliance of Stacy Julian’s “Library of Memories” scrapbooking categories.
Jennifer excels at making big goals reachable and overwhelming projects finish-able, with her step-by-step processes and detailed planning worksheets. You’ll complete a simple, streamlined album that will help your spouse or partner catch up on the years leading up to the moment you met. Or, it’s the perfect answer to that age-old question, “Mom, what were you like when you were my age?”

Learn more and register here.


I also have a seat to give away in the class! Just comment below describing one story you would like to document from your early years. *Giveaway will be open until Wednesday, February  12, at noon Eastern time.*

My December Story

This year I took the class Your December Story at Get It Scrapped. This class was different from any class I have ever taken. Here is a short description of the class: This December, like Dorothy dropped into Oz or Alice tumbled into Wonderland, you will receive a call to adventure. You will move from the ordinary world into a one of magic and tests as the holiday season arrives. The class revolved around me becoming the hero of my own Christmas adventure story. I loved the literature references to Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Alice in Wonderland, and Wendy in Peter Pan. Each week brought a new challenge to document a chapter in my December story.

Week One: The Call to Adventure
The first week’s challenge was to document those early signs that show me that the holiday season is arriving. In my first layout, I scrapped about how I can tell that the holiday season is coming because the weather gets colder and we usually have a fire, and that I pull out all of my old holiday magazines and books.

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Week Two: Mentors
The second week’s challenge was to think about my holiday mentors—those people who influenced how I celebrate the holidays today. My mom was the most influential person in my holiday life, so I scrapped photos of two Christmas trees from my childhood with a photo of our tree this year. I documented how special it is that I have many of those same decorations on my tree that my family used when I was a child.

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Week Three: The Magical World
The third week’s challenge was all about how I celebrate—all of those little things that come along only once a year. For this challenge I scrapped a recipe that I make every year, one that my mom was famous for and made during the holidays.

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Week Four: Magical Objects and Tests
The fourth week’s challenge was to document those things that make every holiday different. This week I told a story I had always wanted to document. I grew up in North Carolina so each year we had a Fraser fir from the mountains as our tree. When my husband and I were living in California, we went to buy a tree and couldn’t find a Fraser fir anywhere! Finally, in the very back of one lot, we found one lonely Fraser fir. Of course we bought it!

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Week Five: The Reward
The fifth week’s challenge was to reflect on and record how my holiday story turned out. My page for this week was just a short reflection on the peace and serenity that I always feel on Christmas Day.

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Week Six: The Road Back
The last week’s challenge was difficult for me in that I never want to give up Christmas. I am always hesitant to return to the real world after the holidays are over. So I documented photos I took at various events we attended at church this year. One of my goals every year is to focus less on the material aspects of Christmas and remember why we celebrate this holiday.

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I really enjoyed documenting my holiday in this way. Although I do a Christmas mini-album each year, I don’t always journal in such a reflective way as this class prompted me to do. And because of the journaling I did in this class, I was able to make several goals for things I want to do next year.

Looking Back

December is always a time of reflection for me. I look back over the year that is just about to end and marvel at how fast the time has gone. This month at Simple Scrapper, the focus has been on the past–a timely subject for this month. 

In my first layout, I looked to the past, but not very far back. My daughter and I had just recently taken a road trip to Kentucky for her thirteenth birthday. This trip was a first for us–we had never taken a girls-only weekend before. So I wanted to document this event fairly quickly. I chose two photos that best represented our trip and used one of December’s Sketch Templates to create my page.

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In my second layout, I went much farther into the past. Back in 2000, my husband and I made a cross-country move from North Carolina to California. We lived in San Jose for two years–it was an incredibly exciting time! I didn’t start scrapbooking until just before we moved back to NC, so I don’t have many pages about the life we led there. Luckily, I found two photos of us in front of our house in CA, so I used a December Sketch Template to pull this page together.

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Scrapbooking about the past can be very rewarding. The December Story Starters and Sketch Templates at Simple Scrapper can get you started in the right direction. So check out the site and if you are not already a member, sign up now on the membership page!

Hello Story Weeks 2 & 3

As expected, Ali Edward’s Hello Story class at Big Picture Classes has not been a disappointment. I have been intrigued with the new approaches to storytelling that I have learned in the first three weeks. In the first week, I completed a page using a time line. (See post Hello “Hello Story” below.)

In week two, we were encouraged to tell a story in a fill-in-the-blank format. Included in that week was a cute downloadable card meant for use in Project Life. I, however, used the cards to record the same day from the point-of-view of each member of my family. Using Heidi Swapp’s memory file and coordinating products, I came up with this mini-book.

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The card had fill-in-the-blank sentences such as “Today was one of those _____ days” and “I’m currently dreaming about _____.” It was very interesting to hear the different answers from each person.

Week three focused on telling a story using direction, either literally or figuratively. I had just gone through some old photos and found one of my husband and I right after we were married, so I formed the idea of showing us then and now. I used several large arrows I had in my stash to show the direction of our lives.

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I loved showing over 20 years on one page! 

I’ll be posting future Hello Story pages here soon!

My First Kit

When I first started scrapbooking, I fell in love with kits. I joined several kit clubs so that I could get those cool pizza boxes overflowing with goodies each month. One of the reasons I joined kit clubs was that I didn’t trust myself to be able to put together coordinating supplies myself. I would walk into a scrapbook store and quickly become overwhelmed with the choices. Would this paper go with that paper? How do I choose embellishments that will match each other as well as the paper? What colors of cardstock will best complement the patterned papers? Having someone else send me a box of supplies that all worked together was my idea of scrapbook heaven.

Over the years, I have been a member of several scrapbooking kit clubs (many of which are no longer around). However, when scrapbooking companies began coming out with coordinating lines of products, I began buying these complete lines so that I knew for sure that all of the supplies would match. One of my favorite companies was Chatterbox–I still have some of their products!

During the last year or so, I joined a couple of new kit clubs, just so that I could get products from a wide range of companies. When I bought complete lines, I tended to stick with the same companies. I wanted a variety! I quickly fell in love with several new product lines and thoroughly enjoyed mixing up products from different sources.

In the spring, I participated the Stash Bash at Simple Scrapper and was challenged to incorporate old supplies into my current stash. I took this opportunity to go through all of my old scrapbooking supplies that I still had in boxes from our move four years ago. I went through all of the paper, cardstock, embellishments, and photos–tossing what I knew I wouldn’t use. Then I combined the papers and embellishments into new kits, pairing photos with them as well. I surprised myself with how easy I found it to make these new kits. I have made several layouts using these old supplies!

The next step, of course, was to now create my own scrapbooking kit. I hit the Two Peas in a Bucket website and chose a slew of supplies that I liked and thought would go good together. Here is my new batch of goodies:

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This is what I picked out:

Grapefruit Fizz patterned paper from Pink Lemonade by Lawn Fawn
Notes patterned paper from Composition & Color by Alison Kreft
Aerial View patterned paper from Composition & Color by Alison Kreft
That Way patterned paper from Composition & Color by Alison Kreft
Family Tree patterned paper from New Beginnings by Webster’s Pages
Poolside patterned paper from The Pier by Crate Paper
Sunshine patterned paper from The Pier by Crate Paper
Country Kitchen Baker’s Dozen patterned paper from Farmhouse Paper
Wonderful patterned paper from Maggie Holmes by Crate Paper
Aperture patterned paper from Maggie Holmes by Crate Paper
Mellow Yellow patterned paper from Yellow Submarine by Echo Park
ASAP patterned paper from Farmhouse Paper
Doilies patterned paper from Beautiful Life by Laura Passage by Echo Park
To Do patterned paper from Farmhouse Paper
Cut & Paste decorative tape by My Mind’s Eye
Hearts & Stars cork shapes by Fancy Pants
The Pier ephemera pack by Crate Paper
Open Album ephemera from Maggie Holmes by Crate Paper
Noteworthy acrylic stamps by American Crafts
Pink Lemonade cardstock stickers by Lawn Fawn
Doily Thickers by American Crafts
(all products can be found at Two Peas in a Bucket)

I absolutely love the cork shapes and I can’t wait to use them! My new creations using this kit will be posted here!

Then and Now

As I work my way through a whole box of old photos from my parents, I am often surprised by some little detail in a photo. I recently found a photo of me in my room when I was around 10 years old. I had a pretty typical pre-teen room–full length mirror, cute wall hangings, a cork board, and posters on the wall. 

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What I immediately noticed, however, in this picture is the poster I have hanging on the door to my closet. It is difficult to see, but it is a poster of two horses–one bay and one grey. I loved horses when I was young, as most girls seem to do at some point, but I never got the opportunity to ride. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I started riding. And just recently I was lucky enough to find a new horse–a grey, just like in the poster. What a wonderful layout this made! I paired the old Polaroid of me in my room with a recent one of me and my horse Stanley. Sometimes dreams do come true!

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In With the Old and the New

During a recent Stash Bash at Simple Scrapper, I went through my scrapbooking supplies, organizing, sorting, and purging as necessary. I still had, after four years, papers and embellishments stored in boxes in my basement from when we moved into our current home. I went through all of those old supplies and tossed what I did not want any longer. Afterwards, I was left with a pile of supplies that needed to be integrated into my existing stash.

As fate would have it, Shimelle Lane was rerunning a class of hers called Scrapbook Remix. The whole class is centered on mixing old and new supplies and collections from different companies. Following her advice, I made several new kits from old supplies mixed with my newer things.

I have used several of these kits so far, and I’ve been surprised how well I liked the old papers and embellishments when combined with new products. One such kit is shown below.

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In this kit I have the following:

My Mind’s Eye, Lost and Found 2, Sunshine Memories patterned paper

Authentique, Glowing, Afterglow patterned paper

Basic Grey, Origins, Authentic patterned paper

Webster’s Pages, Spring Market, Market Menu patterned paper

Bo Bunny Et Cetera Filigree Die Cut patterned paper

Simple Stories, Fabulous, All About Me patterned paper

Bo Bunny, Et Cetera, 12×12 Cut Outs patterned paper

October Afternoon, The Thrift Shop shape stickers

Echo Park, For the Record element stickers

October Afternoon, Farmhouse shape stickers

Crate Paper, Random Collection phrase stickers

Crate Paper, Farmhouse phrase stickers

Bo Bunny combo stickers

Jenni Bowlin, Flag Banner number stickers

Simple Stories 4×6 card (leftover from a 12×12 sheet)

Echo Park cut outs 12×12 sheet

Basic Grey chipboard diecuts

Ribbon

Wood tags

Canvas tags

Buttons

I made five layouts from this kit. Using the papers from this DIY kit was a bit of a challenge because many of them were leftovers from already-used collections that had large-scale or unusual designs on them. This time, Glitter Girl at Two Peas in a Bucket came to the rescue with a video on using papers with large-scale patterns. I have in the past tended to shy away from using these papers or using the alternate side, but, in an effort to step outside my comfort zone, I challenged myself to use these papers.

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The first layout above uses the patterned paper Sunshine Memories from the Lost & Found 2 collection from My Mind’s Eye. To me, this paper has wedding written all over it. While cleaning out my old scrap supplies in the basement, I also came across stacks of old photos with which I had yet to do anything. I remembered seeing a photo of me with my sister and the other bridesmaids at her wedding. I believe that this picture was in a frame once upon a time, but had been replaced by newer photos. It seemed perfect for this page.

I also used a chipboard die cut from Basic Grey, stickers from both Echo Park’s For the Record and Crate Paper’s Random Collection. I inked everything with Distress Ink. My favorite touch is the yellow rose sticker from Echo Park that reflects the rose on the paper.

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The next layout began with a sheet of patterned paper from Webster’s Pages called Market Menu from the Spring Market collection. The entire page was made up of images of small advertisements for Farmer’s Markets and old seed packets. I felt the sheet as a whole was a little overwhelming, so I cut out the individual pieces, inked them with Distress Ink, and made a border one side of a piece of Bazzill kraft cardstock from my existing supplies. We live on a farm, so it is not difficult to find photos that go along with the theme of this paper. I used pictures of our family picking blackberries last summer. The only other embellishments I added to this page were a mix of two different letter stickers, both from American Crafts.

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Among the old photos I found in my basement were several black-and-white prints that my husband and I made back when we photographed with B&W film and did much of our own developing. I knew one of these prints would work well with the Basic Grey paper called Authentic from the Origins collection. The photo is of me and our first fur-baby, Hannah. I added stickers from the October Afternoon For the Record collection, washi tape from Recollections and 7 Gypsies, glitter letters from American Crafts, a button, and two pearls. I wrote the journaling along the vertical border sticker.

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When I came across the Afterglow paper from Authentique, I assumed I would use the side that had just a cream-and-black checked print, since the other side was a Halloween print. I already have tons of Halloween paper, so I added this sheet to this kit. However, when I got ready to use the paper, I realized I had this photo of my older son at Halloween when he was two (he’s now fourteen). The subtle Halloween print worked very well with the photo, so I abandoned the checked print that I originally thought I would use.

The first thing I added were pieces of the ribbon I had amassed from various places. I used one of the cardboard die cuts from Basic Grey, stickers from Echo Park and Jenni Bowlin, and journaling block from Bo Bunny’s Et Cetera collection. I used just a few items from my current supplies—the wood embellishments from Freckled Fawn and some orange-and-black letter stickers.

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My last layout is again based on a sheet with an all-over design. The photos I used are small and very technically imperfect, but they are of the first two puppies that my husband and I got from the pound just after we were married. Both of these dogs are no longer with us, so these photos are even more precious. I simply added stickers from October Afternoon and Crate Paper along with letter stickers and rhinestones from my stash.

I still have several items leftover from this kit, but I feel good about using up many of my old supplies!