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On the joys of Scrapbooking

I have a passion for lettering.  I love fonts, so I love stickers, thickers, die cut letters, alphabet stamps … I cannot get enough of them.  I buy them by the cartload, and buy all sorts of oddball styles and unusual colours, that I then struggle to use.  When I DO manage to use something that I had given up hope on I get a little frisson of joy.  How sad is that?

But one of the joys of scrapbooking is capturing those funny, oddball moments.  This layout is of a “competition” DD persuaded DH and DS to partake in.  Not that THEy were competing – she organized a competition for her Cabbage Patch dolls with DH and DS bringing the dolls to life.  Has any other family done such a thing?  I wonder.  That, too, is one of the joys of scrapping – with the internet galleries, and layouts published in magazines, it is so much fun getting a little insight into the lives of everyday families like ours.  The little window published layouts gives us behind the net curtains can be funny, scary, silly, and always interesting for me.  I squint to read the journaling, I examine the photos, looking for both common ground and things that would never, ever happen in our house.

A simple layout of a magical moment.  Can you see the dolls (and the “magic hands”) having a potato and spoon (I’m not mad enough to risk broken eggs on the carpet, sorry) race and a sock, rather than SACK race? And see the trophies?  Tin foil cups and some weird golden cat statues, and all the “girls” with their prizes.  It’ll never happen again, as the love of CP dolls has passed with the advent of the teen years for DD and the willingness of DS to do such a thing has passed with the advent of near adulthood, but thinking back on it makes me smile a sad smile, knowing it was a once in a lifetime moment.  But I am glad I captured it and can revisit it any time just by flipping through my albums. THAT is the real joy of scrapbooking.  The fact I was able to use some letter die cuts that had languished in my stash for all too long was a bonus.


Shaped mini-books

It is funny how the most unlikely things will inspire you. While tidying up after unpacking after a trip back to the states last year, I was breaking down some boxes for recycling. DS had been very excited to find Rock Band 2 on sale, and knowing it wasn’t due to be available for the PS3 in the UK for quite a while, and being well under our ‘family allowance” for good to bring back, we re-jigged the suitcases and carried one home. A box is a box, but the internal support cardboard immediately grabbed my attention. I’ve been saving it ever since.

As DS is well into music, like most teens, and has taken up drumming as well as guitar, I could see a mini-book in the making. OK, not exactly a MINI-book, as the shape is about 15 inches tall, but you know what I mean!

I first traced the shape on to two pieces of 12 x 12 black cardstock, part on one, part on the other, and cut them out.

I scanned the two halves then stitched them together in Photoshop and resized them to about 11.5 x 11.5 with the idea that would allow me either a near 12×12 page OR to resize it smaller (which is probably what I will do in the end, possibly about 8×8, I think) and create the shaped book.

So it just goes to show you that the old saying about TRASH and TREASURE is definitely true where scrapbookers are concerned. I can already visualize the mini-book of music related photos for DS. Now, if I can JUST get him to stand still for the photos, it’s all good!

Here is my template – hopefully this will give you a .jpg to save. It’s only 72 dpi but as you will only use it to cut out the cover and shaped pages it hardly matters. I would do the cover shape then slightly reduce it in size so the pages are a tiny bit smaller. If you make one before I manage it, do comment with a link as I would love to see it!

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Busy busy busy

DD is taking part in a Christmas Show with her SPICE group (ice skating for the disabled) and it is proving to be a huge time suck. Not that we mind, it just means between the usual sessions and the dress rehearsals and the long trip to and from the rink, then the shows, time is in short supply these two weeks.

But, carrying on with my Sunday someplace else posts, I wanted to link to a cute project on Martha Stewart – Claudine Helmuth’s adorable “Sitting Pretties

I am stil trying to source something like the inexpensive and cutable roof flashing she uses in the UK, without much luck. I am pretty sure scrapbooking metal would work but fear the edges MIGHT be a bit sharp. I’ll keep looking and maybe experiment with cardboard. It will not be exactly the same but I think it will work.

See the article here and download the template PDF here!


A Christmas gift

I made a little book for DS as a Christmas gift last year. It covers his life, as he approached 16, and it’s a gift I think he treasures. I still love the poem and thought I would share it as I can see it being the basis for any minibook about a child and suspect it may not be a very well know bit of writing. Erma Bombeck used to have a weekly column in my home town Sunday paper and this was something I always remembered vaguely. I had to search for it but (as usual in this day and age, on the wonder that is the web) it was there.

Sorry the photos are a little dark and a little yellow, but I hope you get the idea anyway.

“I see children as kites.

You spend a lifetime trying to get them off the ground. You run with them until you’re both breathless…they crash…they hit the rooftop…you patch and comfort, adjust and teach. You watch them lifted by the wind and assure them that someday they’ll fly. Finally they are airborne, they need more string and you keep letting it out. But with each twist of the ball of twine, there is a sadness that goes with the joy. The kite becomes more distant, and you know it won’t be long before that beautiful creature will snap the lifeline that binds you together and will soar as it is meant to soar, free and alone. Only then do you know that your job is done.”

Erma Bombeck

I just realized these are not final photos – at some point while making the book I got the text out of order (numpty!) but in the final version that was handed over (now somewhere in the dark and murky depths of my teenager’s bedroom, hopefully still in it’s protective box!) it’s fixed. Why is it I cannot properly SEE my mistakes until I see them in a photo?



I am no digital designer, but I do occasionally make something for a layout that I keep because I think it may be useful in the future. This is one of those things that I thought I would share – it was in SI a while ago but a second chance to grab it may be welcomed. I Googled “antique bingo card” and found one that I liked the look of. Using Photoshop I recreated it, with a blank bit at the top for adding your own white letters. All you need to do is download it then save it and open it in some sort of photo or drawing program. Type your letters in white and overlay them over the black box at the top of the card then print. You can then delete the letters and re-use the basic card over and over again. You can print the card on any paper but it looks great on Kraft or a creamy or flecked white

Here is the layout I made using it:

Part of the rational for posting this is to test out the best way to add a huge JPG. Not entirely sure how WordPress deals with JPGs so I will play around with a few ways and see what works best! As you see on the layout it prints fine (using the best quality option on my printer) but if I’m honest it’s probably not high enough quality for a digital page or mega-resizing. The layout sample is about 5 x 7 and I printed it on speckled cardstock, so any less than crisp text didn’t really matter. I wouldn’t do it on photo paper! Feel free to give it a go. LMK if it works for you and any problems you may encounter.

The 150 dpi JPG is here.

There is a PDF (which may or may not be better quality) here.

And, yes, I know, “Don’t give up the day job to work as a digital designer!”

(for anyone who is consumed by curiosity the 5 quirks are: always hanging my bag on the kitchen cabinet (after almost being robbed a few years back I have this thing about leaving my bag in sight of the doors or the windows); watching H&A (so lame, I know, but I started watching it because we were new to the UK and it happened to come on while DS was napping – I still wonder what ever happened on Shortland Street and Blue Heelers LOL!); my love for art so long as it is surreal; drinking a gallon of iced tea every day, winter or summer; and my ability even now to recite the entire Dr. Seuss’s ABCs … Big A little A … what begins with A? Aunt Annie’s Aligator A A A ….


Two versions of a layout

One of the (few) things I am quite happy about in not having to be concerned with when making a layout nowadays is the fact that I have complete free reign. There are no magazine issue to be concerned with, I just make them as I want. No specific papers to use, no technique to be created for step-by-step photos, just a layout.

I thought I would post two versions of one today – one is the one I made originally, and one is one that appeared in Scrapbook Inspirations, with a supplied set of papers. I like them both, and honestly can’t decide which I like better. What do you think?


This one was made on two 8.5×11 pages. It was rejected only because of the size – the mag is geared towards a 12 x 12 or two 12×12’s and the odd sizing created problems. I was then sent the Fascinating range of papers (which I have to say I love) to make a new version as a single 12×12. This is what I cam up with, using some of the same elements.


I think the contrast is higher in the second one, with all the black, but also like the softness of the first and the “white space” allowed by the slightly larger format. For me, it’s a coin toss. I’d be happy with either one of them in my albums. I did love threading wire thru the hollow ribbon (from a GoGo kit, I think) to let me shape it and will definitely do that again, as I have a lot of hollow ribbon in my stash, maybe even surrounding a page or making flower petals, I’m not sure.

I love seeing multiple versions of the same layout and thought others might as well!