Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Back to Card Making

Although I make cards regularly, I haven't posted any in quite awhile so I thought I'd share some that I created recently to replenish my stash. Unfortunately, I've had a number of reasons to send sympathy cards and actually had to send some store bought cards (gasp) because I didn't have extra time during the holidays to make my own.

So with the holiday hustle behind us, I spent a rainy afternoon creating some all occasion cards that I can send out in a pinch. I have seen a number of cards created using the layered floral stamps sets from companies like Altenew and although I love the look, I didn't have any of those stamps and didn't want to spend any more money right after the holidays. So I went through my stash and found this older flower stamp from Hero Arts and I added in the leaves from another clear stamp collection that I had. Sentiments came from the Many Greetings set from My Creative Time. 
I used my lighter and darker Copic markers to create a layered, almost watercolor look to the flowers. I purposefully didn't color right to the edges and even left specks of white on the flower petals for a unique look. Overall the design is very simple and I just changed up the colors and sentiments for variety (although all the cards shown are sympathy cards, I also created thank you and thinking of you cards to have on hand.) I love the simplicity of them and the colors are bright and cheery. The entire set just makes me happy.

Now here's hoping that I don't find reasons to send these sympathy cards out anytime soon, but at least I hope if I do need them, they brighten my friends' day.

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Planner Post--Week One

In my last post I revealed my new planner for 2016--the Word Wise planner by 1Canoe2 and although I was a little leery about how thin the paper is, I am really pleased with how great it looks now that I am actually playing in it. Take a look at my first week...

I started off stamping everything onto sticker paper (see Monday's entries), but by Tuesday I had decided that I was going to live on the edge and stamp directly on the page. Sure there is a little bleed through to the reverse side...but as long as I stick with the lightest colored inks and use a soft touch, I think it is going to be okay. If anything shows too dark through to the other side, I can always cover it with a sticker or photo. I have found that the little icon images work pretty well as long as they are not solid images...for things like the solid envelope that I used on Thursday...I just stamped onto sticker paper first. 

The thing I love most about this planner is the large sized grid blocks...this format makes me so happy because now all my events aren't lined up in a column, which always looked so rigid. And for those lighter days in my schedule I don't have to figure out how to fill up the space. 

This first week is a little busier than it will probably be in the future...but I was having so much fun trying different things out. Have you been keeping a planner too? Maybe it was your New Years resolution to start one for 2016. 

Whatever your goals, I hope they are crafty!


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Planner Review

Just put together a quick video to recap my planning addiction from 2015 and talk about the planner I've chosen for 2016.

Thanks for watching.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Things that Make Me Happy

In my last post, I mentioned that I had a new plan for my planner so I thought I'd report back about how it's going. One of the reasons I love this new planner by Personal-Planner was the ability to create a generic planner so that I could do all the decorating myself. But I found that the lack of a design was actually causing me to go a little crazy with all of my stamps and stickers, so the end result was kind of a mess. After planning out the July 4th weekend with coordinating inks, stamps and stickers, I decided that having a color scheme for the week might make things look a little more cohesive...and I think I was right.

My friend Melissa over at ScrapItUp365 designed an adorable July planner kit of amazing stickers and I put many of them to great use. It was nice to have a bright vibrant color scheme to tie everything together and I think it really helps to calm what I was lovingly referring to as "color chaos"...take a look.

I used a couple of my inks that coordinated and kept it very simple. In the end, I loved the result and think that "color coding" my pages is definitely the way to go. 

In fact, I loved the look so much that I decided to take a stab at making some of my own stickers so that I could keep this look going. Melissa is working on more kits...but I'm pretty sure she doesn't want to design a set each week for me.  Now I am no designer (in fact my stickers were just made in Microsoft Word) but it's pretty easy to turn some simple shapes into cute little planner stickers. And the best part is that I can choose color palettes that match the inks that I use in my planner so that I can coordinate it all. (That was not an easy task, but it's done and I'm 99% happy with the result).  Take a look at last week's layout, using my own 'designs"...

I created a PDF of some of my favorite stickers so I could share them with all of you. Just print them out and cut them up (see if I was a real designer, I'd figure out how to make Silhouette cut files to go with them, lol). To save yourself a step, print them right out on label paper. Enjoy and please, if you share them, I'd love for you to link back to my blog here.

Happy planning.


P.S. Although my stickers can be used in any planner, they were designed to fit the A5 Planner from Personal-Planner. The column width is 1.75 inches, which is much wider than the Erin Condren feel free to cut them to fit.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Calming the Color Chaos in my Planner

It's been a full month now using my new planner and I'm still not totally thrilled with how my pages have turned out. At first I thought it was because they were too jammed packed, but now I am beginning to think that there is more than just a little too much going on. I think my lack of planning in my planner might be, at least in part, to blame.

BEFORE: A little too much going on
One of the reasons that I chose to order my planner from Personal-Planner was the flexibility to design the inside pages exactly as I wanted. I chose to leave my pages relatively clean (blank) so that I could decorate it myself, without being tied to a specific color or design scheme. And while that was good in theory, in my first month of using it, I wasn't completely happy with how my pages were turning out. Each week seemed incredibly busy and it was hard to look at them for too long without feeling a little stressed out. And if I felt that way, I am sure that anyone else looking at them felt overwhelmed too.

AFTER: Coordinated IS better
As the holiday weekend (Independence Day) approached, I had a number of great holiday themed stickers that I downloaded from Vintage Glam Studios.
As I mentioned in a previous post, this is great site for finding free, printable PDFs of some cute design elements to add to your planner. I print out the pages onto sticker paper and cut them out by hand (yes it would be a lot easier if I had a Silhouette, but fussy cutting works fine). There's a nice selection of sticker sheets available in a 
number of different color schemes with basic checklists, banners, and other design elements. Each month a new sheet is release with a different color scheme and although I think they are designed to fit in the Erin Condren planners, they work perfectly many others as well.

After laying out the weekend, I realized that (for me) a little color coordination
is a VERY GOOD thing. I don't want everything matchy-matchy all the time,
but I found that just sticking to a basic color scheme made it seem much more coordinated and a little less chaotic.  So I am going to give this a try over the next few weeks to see if that helps me find some peace in my planner. This planner is definitely a work in progress for me, but the best part is, if I don't like something, I only have to suffer 7 days until I can turn the page and start over fresh. One of these weeks, I'm bound to find something that works for me...and it might just happen next week :-)

My friend Melissa (owner of ScrapItUp365) recently designed her own 2-page set of July planner pretties (check them out here) in the most wonderful summer color scheme. I love so many of the elements and was literally cutting the first page before the second page even finished printing. There are adorable geotags...and even geotag banners, perfect for recording your appointments and stamping a coordinating icon to match. Instead of just including traditional "to do" lists, she has fun checklists including "Things I SHOULD be doing," "Awesome Accomplishments," "Summer Bucket List for this week" and "Procraftinations..." But I am head over heels for the little circles with the 1/2 design and the arrow banners with space to write or stamp in. Design elements like these are so much fun to use in your planner because they can be customized however you'd like. And wouldn't some of these elements even be adorable on a scrapbook layout or a card? 

So now that I have a plan and some beautiful new stickers to play with, I can't wait for next week to get here so I can start decorating. Stay tuned, lots of pictures will follow.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Planner Pretties

So it's been a couple of weeks of using my new planner that I bought from Personal-Planner and I am truly loving it. There is so much room to capture everything that happens in my fact, sometimes on those quiet days, there is a little too much room. Take a look at a sample weekly spread from my planner...busy huh?

So I've been using a lot of stickers and doing a lot of stamping. And the best part is that you can stamp directly onto the page. In my last planner, the paper was so thin that I had to stamp everything on sticker paper first. Now I only use the sticker paper if I've made a mistake and want to cover it up :-) Or when I print out some of the free printables that you can find on the internet. (One of my favorite sites is Vintage Glam Studios, stop by and check out Dru's collection).

So let's talk about some of my go-go products that I use in my planner daily. (Note: I am not compensated by any of these companies and there are no affiliate links in this post, just my humble opinion about products that I use and love).

Pens: I use the Uniball Signo 207 pens almost exclusively. Stephanie Ackerman introduced me to these pens when I took a doodling class with her a year ago. They are waterproof gel pens that you can use with alcohol-based markers like Copic or Prismacolor or watercolors and the ink won't bleed. So they are my go to pen for all my creative needs...and the fine tip is perfect for writing in small places. These pens also come in a multi-colored pack for those of you who want to color-code your planners.

Stamps:  There are so many great stamp companies out there creating stamps specifically for planner use. The majority of my planner stamps come from Studio L2E, but
I also use planner sets from the Sweet Stamp Shop and Waffleflower...don't limit yourself to just these companies. You probably already have some stamps in your collection that will make your planner come alive. When I want to stamp some text in, I use the Alphadots stamps set from Paper Smooches or the thin alpha from Hero Arts that came in the Stamps & Cuts flag set.

Inks: I am a bit of an ink hoarder. If it's a pretty color...I buy it and I have several different favorites. My go to favorite brand is Memento and I have almost every single color they have created. Not only do I have a dozen of the larger pads (pictured here), but I've also collected many of the colors in the Dew Drops size because they are easier to store (hoard) and they are great for planning on the go (which I don't do a lot of, but I could if I wanted).

There are actually 3 different types of ink offered in the Dew Drops collection. The standard inks, are pigment inks, just like the larger pads. But you can also get Dew Drops from the VersaMagic and Brilliance collections...and the range of colors is absolutely beautiful. 

VersaMagic dew drops are actually chalk inks, and the one thing you need to know about chalk inks is that the pad itself is very juicy and the ink stays tacky for a bit right after you stamp it. These inks work great for solid image stamps, but you need a very delicate hand if you are going to use them with small line art images because it is very easy to put too much ink on the stamp and you won't get a clean image. 

The Brilliance Dew Drops are pearlescent colors and they add a bit of shine to the stamped image. For the small images that you might use in your planner, you aren't going to really notice the sheen of these inks...but they have some wonderful blue and purple colors that I couldn't find in the other collections, so I picked up a few. But I wouldn't rush out to get these inks just for planning purposes. Like the Versamagic chalk inks, these pads are juicy and so you will want to use a light hand when stamping smaller images with these. The sunflower yellow color pictured here is my favorite color to stamp my sun images when recording the weather.

For an inside view of how I use these products in my planner, I created this short video below. If you have planner products that you love, please share. I'm always looking for new inspiration. Thanks for watching.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Planning Perfection, Perhaps?

Have you gotten caught up in the planner craze. Well I certainly have! So many adorable products out there to turn your everyday calendar into a work of art. 

Up until now I was working out of last year's planner that I got at Staples. It was an academic calendar so due to run out at the end of for the past few months I've been scouring the internet looking for a replacement. Heidi Swapp, Me & My Big Ideas, Webster Pages, Inkwell Press, and the queen of planners, Erin Condron, all have gorgeous product lines...but I wasn't finding exactly what I wanted...until I stumbled upon Personal Planners. The thing I love about Personal Planners is that you get to design your very own planner...everything from the front cover design, through all the inlay pages, right down to the back cover.

Now my planner is pretty boring at first glance...but that was EXACTLY what I wanted. I plan on decorating the heck out of my planner with washi tape, stamps, stickers, rub name's gonna be in there. So I wanted a planner with a very simple layout so that I could customize it just for me.

So without further it is!

If you'd like a quick peek inside my planner, be sure to check out my video below. And if you like what you see, you can use the coupon code that I mention at the end of my video to order your very own Personal Planner.

Only 13 more day until I can start using the planner, so be sure to stop by again and check out how it looks when I've gotten my hands on it. I'll be posting another video showing some of my favorite planner products...the stamps, inks, and pens that I use the most and how the Personal Planner holds up stamping (hint: initial attempts look very promising).

Hope you day is turning out just like you planned!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Scraptastic Sunday

Today was one of those days where I had nothing to do but craft and lots of creative mojo. That doesn't happen often, but when it does, I run with it.
Sketch for SIU Pajama Party
created by Melissa Pearson

My dear friend Melissa over at ScrapItUp365 has been my creative muse this month and I've really loved all the fun ideas and inspirational projects that she's developed on her new site to keep us crafting. If you haven't been over to the website be sure to click on the link above to learn more. She has some fun sketches, great make and take projects, and a weeklong layout challenge that she calls "7 in 7" layouts in 7 days. (I'll post those layouts in a separate post).

Today was the ScrapItUp365 Pajama Party....a chance to get together and craft with other online friends. I loved the sketch that was provided (see right) and actually used it to create both a card for my mother's birthday (shh...don't tell her) and also a scrapbook layout for my sister-in-laws gallery exhibition last June.

This sketch is a perfect way to use up those paper scraps.

This sketch worked perfectly for a 12 x 12 layout as well.
I love when a sketch can do double duty for cards and layouts, don't you? If you'd like to see more great sketches and meet a wonderful group of online crafters, be sure to stop by and say hello. I hope to see you there.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

LOAD Day 2 and 3 Layouts

Popping by real quick to share the layouts that I completed for days 2 and 3 of LOAD Once Upon a Time.

Our prompt for Day 2 was inspired by the classic childhood tale of Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. I decided to use this photo to capture the special bond that our son and cat have.  The layout was created using the February Challenge sketch that my friend Melissa posted over at her newly created online scrap group, called Scrap It Up 365 (website coming soon).

Yesterday's prompt had us looking at fonts, so I used a combination of letter stickers and online journaling (from the Peter Cottontail song) to create this whimsical layout featuring my little niece at her first Easter Egg Hunt. Hard to go wrong with pictures of this cutie!

Time to go work on today's prompt....hmm....better put my thinking cap on for this one. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Layout a Day 215--Once Upon a Time

February is one of my favorite times of the year for crafting. I've just begun my 5th Layout a Day (LOAD) journey in this month-long challenge titled Once Upon a Time. We'll be telling the stories of our lives with an underlying them of literature and books...what could be more ideal from a former English major?

Our first prompt asked us to relate to a character from a childhood book...and that sort of stumped me. I have just finished organizing the hundreds of current day photos that need to be going back in time to scrap a childhood memory just wasn't on my to do list. For my page, I compromised and created a layout that featured a photo of some of my favorite books (and characters)--past and present.

Instead of actual journaling, I found this great quote by Lloyd Alexander that summed up my feelings perfectly. And what better way to put it on the page than in a homemade bookmark.

That's all for today. Time to work on my next art journal prompt for Documented Life Project (DLP)...stay tuned, I'll post pics when I am done.