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.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Favorite Layouts from April 2013

April was slim pickins' - only five scrapbook pages to choose from.  Here are my two favorites.

These are pictures I took at a nearby nature area. I was using my old camera at that point, but I was happy with a lot of these pictures. I thought I was very clever to place pictures of people in the inside heart clipping masks of the template, and only pictures of nature in the outside spots. This layout also has my very first photograph of mushrooms.
Heartilicious Templates by Scrapping with Liz; Three Little Birds and Felt Up No. 1 by creashens

And here are pictures from our spring break, in which we did nothing very exciting. We literally stayed home every day. This experience was the inspiration for when, a couple months later, I put a lot of effort into finding a summer day camp for the little guy. I'm sure you can guess why.
Double Monthly Challenge Templates 4 by Scrapping with Liz; Spring Fling by creashens and Robym Meierotto
Hello, Head Over Heels, and Torn Bits 5 by creashens
Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Digi Smack

Over the summer there was some discussion on The Digi Show about anonymous posting on the internet. The discussion jogged my memory about a digital scrapbooking "smack blog." I had heard about the smack blog but never searched it out, but after The Digi Show discussions I did.

After reading the smack blog, and even participating a little for a few months, I have mixed feelings about it. You can read the long version or skip to the bottom and read my summary.

The positive/neutral.

First, I asked a previous owner of the smack blog what she thinks about it. She was disappointed in the negativity of the blog, but she saw it as a place for people to share reviews about digital products - quality issues, or perhaps a noteworthy customer service experience. There are no anonymous review venues for our digital scrapbooking industry, so the smack blog provides a place for that.

Second, people are naturally curious. In our digital scrapbooking industry, the design side of things is intricately woven in with the whole community. We have very direct access to designers. Many of us are on creative teams where we get to see more of the business aspects of this hobby. Many scrappers would like to become designers. I think it is natural for customers to be curious about what goes on behind the scenes. I think the smack blog offers an outlet for that curiosity. Of course, just because you are curious doesn't mean you have any right to know things. But I don't think there's anything wrong with being curious and asking questions.

Thirdly, I have the feeling that there is no safe place in our community where people CAN discuss their varying views without the fear of consequences. Topics like product prices, the politics of creative teams, freebies, designers switching stores - all of these are interesting. People want to talk about things, and people want to be able to talk in a safe environment. If the community doesn't offer that, then maybe an anonymous blog is a good alternative.

My own personal experiences with the smack blog have been mostly positive. When I was first lurking, I actually saw my name mentioned in a post. Someone had paid me a compliment (thank you!), but it made me worried that smacking would soon follow. When I told the scientist about this, he said, "That site is poison!"

I have mainly posted at the smack blog with my name because I do not like the idea of posting anonymously. And I posted at the time when I got eliminated from the Cropped competition. I was really bummed about being cropped. People on the smack blog responded to me frankly, but with constructive criticism. Yes, it stung this sensitive person, but in the end I felt better about being cropped. I felt it was fair.

One poster made a comment that suggested posting with my name could be considered attention seeking. That made me feel really uncomfortable, and since then I have made a couple posts anonymously. Sometimes interesting discussions come up on that blog, and it is enjoyable to join in the discussion. I would like to contribute using my name, but I sometimes feel embarrassed to do that.

Now the negative.

Here is the main thing: people say some mean things on there. Things people should be ashamed of saying. The single thing that bothered me the most about the smack blog was a post like this (these are my own words, paraphrasing the sentiment):

Any hurtful comments that appear on the smack blog should not be taken seriously. Anyone who is hurt by such comments has personal flaws making them overly sensitive.

I take issue with this idea because hurtful comments are intended to hurt people. There is no way around that. If you go around throwing weapons at people, you can't negate your responsibility by saying it is your victim's fault because they should have worn better armor. I'm the most sensitive person I know, and I get my feelings hurt all the time. Sometimes it sucks being sensitive, but I stand behind the merits of being a sensitive person.

I'm drawn to the smack blog because of the positives I noted above (customer reviews, curiosity about the business, the opportunity to discuss sensitive issues). But a lot of it just feels like gossip. I believe gossip is bad because it hurts people. It is a sin that tempts me tremendously, and I struggle with it constantly. I'm not really a gossip spreader, but hearing a piece of gossip lights me up inside. I'm not happy about it, but it's true. Hence, I've twice removed the smack blog from my bookmarks, only to re-bookmark it again later. I'm weak. Sometimes I wish I had never found the smack blog.

Here are my overall conclusions.
  • The digi smack blog is read by all kinds of members of our community: designers, store owners, scrappers on creative teams, and scrappers not on creative teams.
  • Different people see the smack blog as serving different functions. Some people think it is a place to be nasty without consequence and responsibility. Some people think it is a place to engage in discussions that cannot be held elsewhere in our community and to provide anonymous reviews of digi scrap products and customer service.
  • Some people feel a strong connection to the blog and to their own view of the blog, to the extent that they try to dictate what other people should or should not say on the blog.
  • Some people think negativity is the underlying purpose of the blog - that it is not a place to leave positive reviews or to praise designers, stores and members of the community.
  • But I get the feeling that some people wish it was a more positive place.
  • Thoughtful posts generate thoughtful posts in response. Nasty posts generate nastier posts in response.
  • Some people think non-anonymous posting goes against the spirit of the blog - that anonymity is central to its purpose.
  • There are people who believe that any association with the smack blog (even reading it) will get you blacklisted by some members of the community.
I don't think the smack blog is inherently good or bad, and I don't think anonymous posting is inherently good or bad. But after several discussions with the scientist, I've come to understand that in the absence of consequence (i.e. anonymity), people will misbehave.

In light of that last bullet point above (the part about getting blacklisted), I'm a little apprehensive about publishing this post. But I suppose the damage was already done when I posted at the smack blog and signed my name. I really hope I don't get blacklisted. But the smack blog, and the human behavior around it, interests me. The scrapbooking community interests me. And what else should I write about on my blog but things that interest me?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Recent Scrapbook Pages

Here are some pages from the last few weeks.

The first three pages are pictures from our little camping trip at the end of summer.
Wonderfall kit & Add-on and Hello Kit by creashens; Recyclables 22 by Scrapping with Liz

Wonderfall kit & Add-on and Hello Kit by creashens; Bunch of Photo Templates by Scrapping with Liz

China Beach was a beautiful little beach at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.
Template Revisited 13 by Scrapping with Liz; Vintage Florals by Valorie Wibbens; Sequoia Tree by Sara Gleason
How It Began by One Little Bird; Glitter Paper by Two Shutter Sisters

Some pictures from last fall at the farm/pumpkin patch.
Quilted Mosaic by Etc. by Danyale; Photo Mat Full Templates by Scrapping with Liz

And a couple silly pictures at home.
Stay True by Etc. by Danyale; Halloween Template by Wishing Well Creations

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I did a little research, and at first I thought the hummingbirds that visit my feeder are Ruby Throated Hummingbirds. Their backs look green (at the right angle) and their throats have amazing red scales (also at the right angle). I guess the red scales are actually feathers, but they don't look like regular feathers. After a little more research, I read that ruby-throated hummingbirds are very rare in California. I looked at many pictures of hummingbirds, and all I can say is that my hummingbirds look like the female or the juvenile male of several different varieties.

Despite the red and green goodness, hummingbirds look plain old white/gray/black from underneath or from the side when the lighting isn't perfect. Not too exciting.

 Here are a couple where I got some of the green on their backs.

Here is the best I've got of the red on their throats.

And here is a hummingbird checking me out.

But hummingbirds aren't the only visitors to my porch.  I've also got flies that look like bees. I actually thought this was a bee at first.

But once I started looking at the pictures it took, I thought to myself: this bee's face looks more like a fly than a bee. Well, it turns out that there are flys that mimic bees. They fly differently, though. Bee mimic flies often hover in the air, and that's exactly what this fly does.

I think this is a younger version of the same type of fly.

Here is a regular house fly in comparison.

And here is a honey bee. I haven't seen very many bees this year on my porch. But this one was enjoying the basil blossoms.

We've also seen quite a few lizards this year. I've even wondered if there is a little lizard household in amongst a collection of pots on the porch because they always seem to run there. They are harder to photograph because they run as soon as they see you.

In other photography news, I'm taking Your Life Captured Through The Lens photography class from Katrina Kennedy. It's a lot of fun! I'm getting off manual mode and taking better pictures! Just what I've always wanted.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Favorite Layouts from March 2013

A few more favorites, as I continue to sum up a year of scrapping without blogging.

Here are pictures from our mom's group Easter picnic. I just love the three bottom pictures of Miller pretending to be an eagle. He loves to get into character.
Recyclables 19 and Photo Mats by Scrapping with Liz; Lemon Squeezy kit by Creashens

Here was his sixth birthday party. I had a woodland/forest animal/camping theme to the party. I made felt animal masks for all of the kids, I made a paper mache bee hive for decoration, and I baked one of those log cages. It was a lot of work, but totally worth it. Another neat thing about this layout is that I included a copy of the party invitation right in the layout.
Artsy Journal Templates & Big Doodled Alpha & Numbers by Scrapping with Liz; A Better Me collab template
by Nettio Designs; Playful Papers by Amber Clegg; Whole Wide World Papers by Rachel Young; Kitsch
Papers by Sahlin Studio; Make a Wish by Sahlin Studio and Valorie Wibbens; Dear Mom by Valorie Wibbens;
Fun in the Sun by Little Butterfly Wings; Life365 Notebook Brights by Gina Marie Huff;
Spring Rain by Laurie Ann

Here is a close up of the printed invitation. I had it printed at Costco with a white background. Then I cut away the white background by hand to get that wavy edge. This might be my favorite invitation to date.
Doodled Frames by Scrapping with Liz; Nature's Goodness by Faith True; Birthday Wishes by eNKay Design

And here are pictures from open house at school. I just love the asymmetric design and the big black and white photo at the bottom left. And I love the colors too.
Artsy Journal Templates 2 by Scrapping with Liz; Cleaning Bug Papers & Alpha and Twiddle Twiddle by Pink
Reptile Designs; Little Calicos by Valorie Wibbens; Messy Marvin Deconstructed by Amy Wolff Designs;
Retro Mod &Art and Soul Freebie by Sahlin Studio; Diptych by Paislee Press; Pocket Sleeve Template by
Digital Design Essentials; Bits and Pieces Templates by Natasha Nast

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


When I posted my favorite layouts for March 2013, I included a picture of Miller's sixth birthday party invitation.  I thought I would do a post sharing all of the digi scrap invitations I've made. My go-to invitation is to print 4x6 or 5x7 prints at Costco, get appropriately sized envelopes at Michaels, and send them on out.

First, here are Miller's invitations.

2 Years
Products by Gina Marie Huff

3 Years
Retired Scrap Orchard collab kit

4 years
This one I printed on 8.5x11 paper with a map on the back. I folded in thirds to mail. This was the first year we had all our family travel to our town for the party.
Products by Gina Marie Huff

5 Years
Love + Grace Collab, Kristin Aagard, Scrapping with Liz, Flergs

6 Years
Scrapping with Liz, Faith True, eNKay design

My niece's invitations.

4 Years
Scrapping with Liz, Gina Marie Huff, Patricia Christensen

5 Years
Scrapping with Liz; Laurie Ann, Kristin Aagard

7 Years
Scrapping with Liz; Faith True, Dream Big Designs

Like title pages, invitations are really fun to make. I don't know if you picked up on it, but Miller was really into bugs and spiders for a while; and my niece was really into pigs for a while. It's fun to add little details like that to the invitations. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Recent Scrapbook Layouts

How about some recent layouts for a change?

I did this as a play along layout for the last round of Cropped. The challenge was to create a "decadent" page and to use the four mystery elements (floral kraft paper, metal car element, scalloped mat, and purple unicorn doodle). My implementation of "decadentness" was to incorporate a lot of different scrapping styles. I chose a template that had a pocket scrapbooking look but also incorporated a large photo. I had two journaling blocks, one of which had my fancy angled text that I do sometimes. I used title work over the photo and mixed a font with word art. I embellished with a couple large flowers. I'm very pleased with the result.
Cropped Round 6 Mystery Basket; Everyday Storytellers No. 1, Sup?, Nillie, Wire Number Essentials,
Cardstock Essentials 3 by Karla Dudley; Felt Up No. 1 and Be Kit by Creashens;
scallop clipping mask from Cropped Round 2 Freebie by Crystal Livesay

Occasionally Miller gets really into taking pictures. Unfortunately on these occasions, he likes me to take about a hundred pictures of him making silly/ugly faces. But ha ha, I got a couple of smiles too!!
Wildflower Mini Kit and Shades of White Paper by Etc. by Danyale
Facebook Freebie Template by Scrapping with Liz

Some pictures from Christmas last year. I would like to have all of my 2012 layouts finished by Christmas time ... what I really want for Christmas is to get both my 2011 and my 2012 albums printed. Right now I'm trying to alternate scrapping an old layout and a new layout to get it all done in time. I'm not too far behind on 2012 luckily.
Ianthine Templates & Fun Folds Overlays by Scrapping with Liz; Comfort & Joy Collection by Sugarplum Paperie
Petals No. 4 and Oak Tree by Sara Gleason; Sparkly Holiday by Jenna Desai;
Warehouse Alphas 1 and 2 by Karla Dudley

My mother-in-law came to visit for a couple of days and brought my niece with her. We had a great time, of course.
Double Album Templates IV by Scrapping with Liz; You Collection and Foxy by Creashens
Cardstock Essentials 3 by Karla Dudley

Miller's first day of school. I was not able to get a posed first day picture (it was really overwhelming how many kids and parents were at school that first day). I satisfied myself with a few candid shots that I sneaked.
September Ledger, Bare Necessities Stitches 2 and Juan Carlos and Fifi Kit by creashens
Jump For Joy Template by Amy Martin

That's it for today. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Album Title Pages

Liz (of Scrapping with Liz) recently released some Title Page Templates. I already made a title page for my 2013 album, so I decided to get a jump on 2014.

Title Page Templates by Scrapping with Liz; Good Stuff Add-On by Allison Pennington
Spring Rain by Laurie Ann; Lightly Textured by Cheeky Monkey Designs

I enjoy making title pages. I make yearly albums, so I like my title page to have the year, and some kind of generic quotation about memory keeping. Here are my other album covers.

Big and Bold and My Own Backyard by Allison Pennington; Foam Stamp Alpha by Sahlin Studio

Duly Noted Vol. 2 by Allison Pennington; Fresh Stamped Alphas by Amy Martin; Diptych by Paislee Press

Sketched Frames by Scrapping with Liz; Your True Colors by Captivated Visions

Sweet and Simple Life #4 and #8 by Gina Marie Huff

Life365 Collection by Gina Marie Huff

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Favorite Layouts from February 2013

February was a slow month - only three layouts to choose from. I must have been taking a long break after a layout a day in January.  Here are all three of them.

This is my favorite for the month, and one of my all time favorite layouts. I like the photography, and I love the architectural sketch of the museum that I found online. You can click on this to see a little larger version of it.

Double Album Templates IV by Scrapping with Liz; Summered, Hello Add-on Solid Papers and Torn Bits 5 by creashens
architectural sketch by Renzo Piano

Miller talking on the phone with a grandma. He would always want to call her and he could talk for hours.
Recyclables 20 by Scrapping with Liz; You Make Me Happy When Skies Are Gray by Scrap Orchard Designers

Finally, this one is a layout about blowing kisses. When we were brushing teeth one night Miller told me that if you blew a kiss at someone and they didn't catch it, the kiss would still follow them. Quite a while ago, I blew Miller a kiss and he pretend caught it and then ate it. Ever since then, that's what we always do when someone blows us a kiss. Also, I also tried to do a black and white sketch look to the photo.
You & Me by Sugary Fancy; Cardstock Essentials by Karla Dudley
Everyday Essential Cardstock by Gina Marie Huff

Thanks for stopping by!