Welcome. This blog is my little home on the web. It's mostly about my favorite hobby, digital scrapbooking. You might also find some recipes, home decor projects, or parenting woes. But mostly digital scrapbooking.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Hummingbird Stories

It turns out that the hummingbirds are not all gone south for the winter yet. They are still here, but they are different. They sit up high in the tree branches for hours on end making their cute fingernails on a chalkboard noise. They only come down to the feeder fleetingly. They look a little bigger and their throats seem a little blacker.

Dailies 8x10 Templates by creashens

One afternoon I heard one above me as I walked with my laundry. I stopped under the tree and searched the sparse branches. There! I saw him, chalkboarding away. The feathers around his face were fluffed up a bit, in a funny way. Funny because it looked like he had thin twin horns sticking out, one from each side of his face. I was not being stealthy as my laundry bag hit against the half-wall behind me. But the bird completely ignored me. It was only then that I noticed there was another hummingbird perched on a branch about six inches away. A female I think, and the male was screeching away at her. Did she like that sound he blared right in her face? As I contemplated that thought, they suddenly darted away at great speed. Did she retreat and he chased? Or did he lunge and she fled?

I think the birds that have stuck around are mostly males, making their apparently never ending mating calls. Although ... why would they make mating calls if there are no females around? Maybe the females are here too but are keeping warm in their nests. Maybe withstanding the cool weather is a hummingbird sing of virility. I think the birds in the summer were females feeding their babies, explaining why they were constantly visiting the feeder all day long. Those are my guesses anyway.

Lately the hummingbirds come to the feeder so infrequently that I haven't attempted to take any pictures. But today I gave it a shot and was happy with the result. Although, as you can see, no feeder shots; only tree shots. Not quite a partridge in a pear tree, but nice nonetheless. Merry Christmas!

Dailies 8x10 Templates and Juan Carlos & Fifi Kit by creashens; Far and Away by Gennifer Bursett;
layout composition inspired by Captured Moments layout by bcgal00

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Simple Digi Cards

I often make simple little cards with my digi supplies and my old paper cardstock stash. Here is one I made today:

Merry Little Kit by creashens

Here's how I make them:
  • In Photoshop I make a simple illustrated 4x6 inch card design with a white background. It usually has a little picture and a simple message.
  • I flatten all the layers and put a thin inner stroke on it. (I use the stroke lines as a cutting guide.)
  • When I print, I make sure that the image isn't centered on the paper, but instead is placed toward one end of the paper. That way, I can use the extra to cut a blank page to place in the inside of the card.
  • I use my paper cutter to cut out the card cover, cutting inside the black lines so that the paper is a little under 4x6 inches. That leaves a little border around it when you glue it to the cardstock.
  • With the leftover white paper, I use my paper cutter to cut another plain white piece of paper that is a little smaller than 4x6 inches.
Here is the inside of this card, to see what I mean. It just has a piece of white paper glued in so I can write my message by hand.

  • Using colored cardstock from my paper scrapbooking stash, I cut a 6x8 inch piece and score it down the center so it folds to 4x6 inches.
  • Then I use a glue stick to glue down the paper pieces to the cardstock. For the cover, I glue it down all across the paper. For the inner sheet, I just put a stripe of glue across the top.
  • I usually flatten it down really well and sometimes place it under a heavy book for a while.
  • I found 4.75 x 6.5 inch envelopes at Michaels, and my homemade cards fit with room to spare.

 Here is a card I made over a year ago, that I happened to photograph.
For The Record by Valorie Wibbens

And these next two I have the digital files, but didn't photograph the actual cards.
Daydream Scrapflower collab (Sabee's Creative World element)
Piece of Cake by Wish Bliss Studio

These simple cards are really fun to make, and I'm always pleased to have a handmade card with little effort. And I'm always glad to find use for the paper supplies that I've kept around. Happy card making.  And thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Why I'm Not Scrapping Right Now

Eek! I missed a post on Sunday. The problem is that I haven't been scrapbooking lately. I had been working away, getting caught up on all my 2013 scrapping so that I'll be ready to print ASAP ... and then I saw this:

I did the Month Of Challenges last January at The Lilypad and had a blast. I used it as an opportunity to get caught up on my scrapping.  So I decided to put everything on hold so I can get nice and behind again, and then scrap a layout a day in January to get caught up again!

It's probably silly, but I don't care.

I would love to win that permanent CT spot. The Lilypad is my dream team.

I thought that the hustle and bustle of December would keep me occupied, but I'm getting to that point where I just want to scrap something! I need that creative outlet. I did even start a page earlier tonight. I was cleaning my desk and found a scrap of paper on which I had written a quotation. This is what it said: "What word do you want? I'm a human thesaurus." Who do you think said that?

See you Sunday, hopefully.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Elf on the Shelf

This is the third year that we've had Elf Michael celebrate the season with us. He still has surprises up his sleeve.

On December first, we awoke to a special doughnut breakfast with all of our favorite doughnut flavors.

One night Elf Michael was "naughty" and got into the marshmallows with Baby Rose. She is a bad influence.

But the biggest surprise was the Saturday morning when we found out that Santa turned off Elf Michael's magic for the day. He could be held and played with, without losing his magic!

 There were helicopter rides.

There was launching from clouds.

He went with us to get the Christmas tree.

It was a great day. This just about sums it up. Thanks, Santa!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Two New Layouts + Story Swoop

I have two doubles to share. This first one has pictures from Thanksgiving morning.
A Little Joy and Pocketful No. 1 by Creashens

Originally this was a single page (just the right hand side), but there were a couple more cute pictures that didn't get included. I wasn't sure what to do with them ... then the Story Swoop from Get It Scrapped popped up in my mail inbox. I decided to give it a try. It was really fun!

It's a free tool to upload one or more photos, and then there are some journal prompts/questions to answer about the photo. The prompts help you to get at the emotion the photo evokes and to zero in on some of the details or backstory that might get overlooked.

Here is the journaling I wrote based on the prompts:

"The best of childhood. They are showing off their jump moves - hand stands and splits. He can't contain his craziness. I'm taking pictures through the gap in the safety net. I look at each one and smile. We don't know what the future holds right now. Will we even be in California next Thanksgiving? I'm thankful for this morning that cousins and sisters can be together."

And here was my original journaling:

"I took these pictures on Thanksgiving morning at Hilly's house. Miller and I spent the morning there before we headed over to Teenie's for the big meal. He had a blast."

I think the Story Swoop journaling is a bit better :)

And here are some pictures from the Zoo. I love the flat collage templates for photography pages. They make me feel sophisticated.
Multi-Mini Templates by Scrapping with Liz; Naturally Organic by Jenn Barrette; Hello There by Allison
Pennington; A Wonderful Day by Sahlin Studio; Everyone Has A Story by Captivated Visions;
Emboss It Tape by Merkeley Designs
Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Another Shutterfly Book

I have another Shuttefly book to share. The content of this book is similar to a book that I printed with AdoramaPix. I had this printed as a gift and shipped it directly to the recipient. I finally got a chance to look at it myself this past weekend.

It's a very nice book. It is the 8x8 inch size, and I used the standard paper which has a very nice print quality. The standard paper in this book seemed a little thinner than the standard paper in the other Shutterfly book that I printed. When I looked at my order history, both books were ordered with "standard" paper, though. I though the print quality was better in this book.


Unlike the AdoramaPix book that starts directly with 2-page spreads, the Shutterfly book allows for a single title page on the right hand side.

Here are some inside pages.

The basic Shutterfly book had a few more pages than the basic AdoramaPix book, so I threw in some extra full bleed photo pages.

I've been very pleased with these Shutterfly books. Shutterfly offers two sizes that Blub does not: 8x8 inch and 10x10 inch. (as of this blog post, Blurb has 7x7 inch and 12x12 inch square books.) I may just have to consider Shutterfly for my next yearly album.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Some Recent Layouts

Here are some recent scrapbook layouts. Having just printed my 2011 and 2012 books, I'm itching to print another. I'm trying to make sure 2013 does not fall behind.

These are some pictures of inside play. Sea creatures are well represented in my scrapping this year. I copied the title from a past layout called "boy + spider." My "girl + story" series that I wrote in 2012 for The Artisan Notebook was also inspired by that same title.
When You Smile Templates by Scrapping with Liz;Wild Child by Jen Barrette;
Good Harvest by CD Muckosky; Blessings Ribbons by Gina Miller

I've been playing with the Lighting Effects filter in Photoshop a bit lately, and tried to use it on this page. I thought the lighting effect here gave the page an underwater vibe - a little dark and hazy. I've had trouble getting just the look I want. I can get the edges to darken, but it tends to wash out the center.

Some pictures from back in January. The motion blur is fun. It wasn't due to my skill, though. It was serendipitous use of my old camera's Auto mode.
Double Monthly Challenge Templates 10 by Scrapping with Liz; Just Go With It Kit, Foiled No. 2 Papers,
3 Minutes Kit and You Sliders by creashens; Glitter Paper by Two Shutter Sisters; Life365 Hodge Podge 7 by
Gina Marie Huff; That's Life kit by Etc. by Danyale

Christmas pictures...... So, these should have gone in my 2012 book, but the photos were misplaced and I didn't find them until after I had sent my book off to print. What a dilema, huh? I'm sure this exact problem is why some people refuse to print books and choose single prints instead. Most likely I'll just stick it at the beginning of my 2013 book. That's the way it goes.
Wondrous by creashens; Cardstock Essentials 3 by Karla Dudley; Capturing Fall template by Amy Martin

And another really old Christmas picture. Prior to 2010 I did single prints in page protectors, so I can just add this one in. Back in 2007 I had just discovered digital scrapbooking. I was blown away by the pages that could be made, and I scrapped almost exclusively with quick pages. A quick page is a page that someone else has already put together for you, and there are "holes" where you can drop in your own pictures. And you can add journaling to top if you like as well. It was kinda fun to go back and scrap a page from scratch from those baby years.
Tomte by creashens; Jump For Joy template by Amy Martin

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Printed 2012 Scrapbook

I'm back to share the other book that I had printed. I thought that for this post I'd focus on some of the details about the book and my printing choices. Here are the basics:
  • Ordered book through Blurb
  • Large Square Book (12x12 inches)
  • Hardcover with ImageWrap
  • Premium Paper - matte finish
  • 136 pages
  • Used online Bookify tool
  • Arrived in one week (I chose the least expensive shipping option)
The 2011 book had the Premium lustre paper, while this one had the Premium matte paper. I prefer the matte, although honestly, it was hard to tell the difference side by side.

I made a colorful cover for this one. Most of my other books have predominantly white covers, but this was a really nice change.

I even put color on the back.

In Bookify you can customize the color of the spine, and they offer several different fonts for the text. I always choose a white spine.

The solid background of the spine wraps slightly onto the front and back covers by about 2mm. Some people might not like this, but I think it is fine.

The overall size of the book is just under 12x12 inches. The width is about 11 and 7/8 inch.

The height is about the same.

The papers inside are a little bit smaller.

The height of the paper is about 11 and 3/4 inches. I didn't measure the width because that's hard with the binding seam.

I chose a page layout with a large square image and approximately 1/2 inch white borders. The actual image is about 10.5 inches wide.

I don't print full bleed for two reasons. When you print full bleed (your image goes right up to the edges of the paper), the very edges of your image will be trimmed off. Creatively, I want to be able to work right up to the edge if I so please. I don't want to worry about anything getting trimmed off, so I choose a printing method that eliminates that problem.

NOTE:  Within Bookify, when I dropped my images into the pages, the images were being slightly cropped. The "Fill Photo" option was selected by default. On every page I hovered over the image and selected "Fit Photo" instead. I think the reason is that the image size in Bookify is not exactly square. This was a very small adjustment and would probably only be important if you truly had text right up to the edge of the image.

The other reason that I don't print full bleed is that I frequently make 2-page spreads. Anything along those meeting sides is going to be "eaten up" in the seam of the book. Since my books are 100+ pages, that seam can be pretty deep. They way I print my books (with the border all the way around), the white border is getting "eaten up" in the seam and the images themselves are completely visible.  In fact, some white border does show down the middle of my books. I could probably get away with only a quarter inch white border, but Bookify doesn't offer that option.

When I make my 2-page spreads I generally try not to put anything too important in the very center, especially a person's face. Here are some examples.

I will place elements across the seam.

I will place pictures across the seam, but not so that a person's face gets cut in half.

I'll place title work across the seam, but I try to line up the letters so that the cut comes between two of the letters.

Sometimes text falls across the seam, and I just let it be. I have (although rarely) even placed journaling across the center.

So, printing with borders satisfies my desire to print double page spreads and lets me be freely creative when I design my pages. There are some printing companies that print Lay-Flat books that do not have the seam in the middle. For example, the AdoramaPix book I printed was in that format. Those books are much more expensive, and they probably have a page limit that would be too low for me. My yearly books are averaging 135 pages, and I'm pretty sure lay flat books can't have that many pages.

Hopefully it won't be too long before my 2013 book is complete. I think I might try Blurb's Book Smart software instead of Bookify next time. Since I have so many posts now about my printed books, I added a tab up across the top so you can easily find all the posts. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Printed 2011 Scrapbook

I had two albums printed by Blurb, and here I will show you the first one. The fun thing was that since I was ordering two books, I chose a different paper for each one so I could see the difference.

Here is the run down on the first book.
  • Large Square book (12x12 inch)
  • Hardcover with ImageWrap
  • Premium Paper - lustre finish
  • 148 pages
  • Used Bookify to create the book
  • Arrived in my hands in exactly one week.
I'm very happy with the book. It's beautiful. In the past my Blurb books have had a slight warp to them, but these two books were very flat. The Lustre premium paper had a very subtle sheen to it. It is definitely NOT glossy. I normally order the Matte finish premium paper. I think I like the Matte better, but it is really hard to tell the difference between the two. Visually, I can't tell any difference. But the Matte seems to have a smoother feel to my hand.

I was a little frustrated with the Bookify tool. The page layouts were very restrictive. Most of my pages just had a single large image on them (11x11 inches on the 12x12 inch page), but sometimes as I added additional pages to the book, that particular page layout just disappeared from my choices. I would have to go back to the page and delete the photo and then suddenly the large square page layout would be back. It was frustrating, but I always eventually got the layout I wanted.

I had one page that I wanted to just drop in an invitation and thank you note I had made - just place them side by side on the page. But Bookify wouldn't let me make my own page layout. I was completely restricted to their preformatted layouts, which really didn't make sense for the two images I wanted to put on the page. I actually had to go into Photoshop and place my 2 images on a white background, save the jpg and then upload that into Bookify.

Which reminds me of the third concern I had with Bookify. As I built my book, I would upload all of the layouts for a month at once and then arrange them in the order I wanted. But Bookify seemed to let the upload progress in the background without any indication of the progress. They were showing up in the book making tool, but I found myself wondering if it was really uploading the full resolution images. In the end I guess it all turned out OK.

Here are pictures.

I love everything about it! I'll share pictures of my 2012 book next week. Thanks for stopping by.