Just a quick note to send a "shout out" to a most wonderful seller on Etsy known as "Cake4Breakfast". She sews tablecloths and other beautiful items. In the spring I had a tablecloth made. I love it so much! Then a month ago I decided I need a Christmas themed tablecloth. I can't buy my table size in stores so custom made is the way to go for me. I decided I deserve to treat myself to something that can be a heirloom. Now I am the proud owner of a most wonderful Christmas tablecloth that will be cherished for years to come!
I received the tablecloth yesterday and was so excited I made a scrapbook layout about it just last night.
Here it is:
credits: Oh Joy kits - by creashens and paislee press Shop till You Drop kit (and alpha)- Lisa Sisneros Dear Santa kit - Little Butterfly Wings Holiday Template #10 - Simply Tiffany Studios
I have a pet peeve. It's a small, rather unremarkable one. Ok, I have a ton of pet peeves but tonight I will just mention the one. I'm not even sure how to describe/categorize it. Movie props for American movies filmed in Canada.
Well, let me explain. So, for a long time I've enjoyed watching Christmas movies. I don't care if they're theatrical releases on TV, or made-for-tv. They don't even have to be any good. They just have to be Christmas-y. Maybe I'm just becoming a Scrooge, or I'm too tired, or more likely, I've already seen every movie made. This year I can't seem to sit to watch a movie for more than 10 minutes. What is bugging me so much? It's the props.
I have a running joke with my husband about movie props. Years ago I surprised him by my keen ability in telling if a movie was filmed in Canada, merely seconds after the movie begins. Finally I told him my secret. If I see a US mailbox within the first 10 seconds of a film, it is almost definitely filmed in Canada. They (whoever the movie people are) use it to set the scene. Watch a show filmed in the United States and you'll rarely see this. It's true... check it out for yourself. What I found irritating (besides the low budget quality of the movie, and the cheesy dialogue... ok, maybe I am a bit Scrooge like) is seeing all the inconsistencies in their "scene setting". The movie I watched tonight (for 5 minutes) showed the mail box. Ok, so good, we're in the United States... phew, I thought we were in Ontario for a second there. As I'm staring at this mailbox, a lady wears a plastic bag as a hat. The plastic bag belongs to a retail chain called Dollarama, which is based out of Quebec. Then behind her, across the street is a Canadian post office truck. But don't worry, they've posted over the logo with American stars & stripes. On the building behind them, they've hung Stars & Stripes banners. Do they even do this in the States in December? Isn't that more of a 4th of July thing?
I found all of this so distracting, I couldn't follow the lame plot and so I turned off the TV. I'd rather scrapbook anyway.
Yes, I AM a scrooge!
I'll stick to Claymation and White Christmas for my holiday movies from now on.
Anyway, here are the layouts I've made this past week (Click to enlarge):
This sort of layout is WAY out of my comfort zone but I was trying something new. I'm not sure if it worked or not. Not very Christmasy but it is part of my December Daily.
Credits: Holiday 2011 Template #4 - Simply Tiffany Studios (Tiffany Tillman's Holiday Templates 2011 Class at reneepearson.com) Life is a dancefloor - Ju Kneipp & Laura Banasiak Fairytale dreams kit - Mari Koegelenberg
There isn't anything particularly exciting about the topic... just documenting my days.
Holiday 2011 template #10 (from her class at Renee Pearson)- Tiffany Tillman (Simply Tiffany Studios) Snowy Day papers - MellyBird Designs Winter Woodland kit - Lisa Sisneros
This is a crazy layout... try not to get vertigo looking at it. I think it must be a tribute to my Grandma's bathroom at the time of the photos taken, which was a eyeful of bright pink. So, I guess it is fitting.
Holiday 2011 Template #8 - Tiffany Tillman (Simply Tiffany Studios)Oh Joy kit - creashensSnowy Day Papers (and some elements) and Alpha - MellyBird Designs Peace & Joy kit - Nikki BoudreauHoliday Magic and Merry Merry brushes by Nancie Rowe JanitzSnowflake brushes by Julia Makotinsky (I think they're packaged with a kit... don't recall)
Ok, these two (a two-pager) are from two weeks ago:
My musings on past Christmases and how they relate to my life now.
Peace and Joy by Nikki Beaudreau Designs (Guest Designer @ CatScrap)
Simply Tiffany Studios Elegant Holiday #6 template by Tiffany Tillman (at Design House Digital)
I did this a few weeks ago:
Merriment (Holly Jolly and Countdown paper packs, Solid Papers, Girl Stickers, Date Labels, Tabs) by MellyBird Designs @ CatScrap
52 Templates #5 by Simply Tiffany Studios @ DHDframes: Dirty Pockets No.1 by creashens @ CatScrapCookies for Santa word art by One Little Bird @ OScraps
... I began my most favourite class of all! Tiffany Tillman's Holiday template course at ReneePearson.com is now in its third year. All new kits, templates and daily lessons. I have taken all three.
The first class in 2009 was a present to myself. I wasn't used to taking classes online. I had dabbled briefly in digital scrapbooking but preferred paper. My intention was to use the templates for paper scrapbooking. Or maybe do hybrid pages (a term for the type of scrapbooking I tended to do already without knowing it). My photoshop skills were rusty and I hadn't scrapbooked in a while as I'd had my first child that year so I was pleasantly surprised when I fell in love with digital. Mostly I liked that I wasn't making a mess that my daughter could get into.
Once I took that course, there was no going back. Since then, I've taken most of Tiffany's classes. I've learned so much from her. Plus, in searching for Christmas kits to use in my first template class I found a designer I loved and did a google search on her. That is how I found CatScrap. Months later during a summer template class I got the nerve to post one of my layouts in the CatScrap challenges and got noticed for a BOB (Best of the Best) nomination. I was all psyched to try and get that honour but before it could be decided if I'd won, I had applied to the creative team and got a placement. That was exhilarating and intimidating. I hadn't spent much time online or in galleries since before my daughter was born. Even then, I never posted.
As an artistic person in general, I had always imagined how great it would be to create my own kits. I had no idea how to approach that so I was happy enough just to be part of a creative team at such a talented stop. I had some fun spots as a guest on creative teams, and on Log Your Memory. Then one day I couldn't help myself and started to design a kit. That's how I became a CatScrap designer. I've met some amazingly talented and kind women in this community: Scrapbookers, bloggers, artists, designers and educators. So much is available at our fingertips if we are open to learning. I'm so excited to see what the future brings. Although I have to admit I am struggling to balance kids (#1 priority), design and sleep. Sleep is really lacking and unfortunately it really does affect the other two priorities.
All this ramble just to say that it has been a busy year and I am so excited that December is upon us and I can take some "me" time to document our holiday season. I love Christmas and enjoy sharing all the magic of the season with my family. I am going to share with you my layouts made this month. I'm also trying to get some design work finished up too... so make sure to check CatScrap and my other blog www.mellybirddesigns.com to see what I'm up to there. Leave a meaningful (or even just friendly) comment on any of my posts here and maybe I'll share a coupon with you (make sure to leave a way for me to contact you).
Here is my first layout (it's a 2-pager) which is something I rarely do:
Credits: Holiday Template #1 - Tiffany Tillman (Simply Tiffany Studios) Everybody loves Christmas papers and elements - Echo Park These moments at Christmas - Elle's Studio Jolly Golly Candy little alpha - Cosmo Cricket Oh Joy - Cosmo Cricket
So, I HAD to try out Nancie Rowe Janitz's Subway Art Workshop when I saw it in her store at CatScrap. How could I not? I love the subway art style, I love Nancie's artwork, I have ALWAYS wanted to learn transfer techniques, and I loved the sentiment of the text. It had to be done. So, last week I took my daughter on a trip to the local craft supply store to gather supplies, just in time for their doozie of a sale. Yippee!
I wasn't able to do the project until this afternoon when I forced myself to face my fears. I get scared when I try new projects. I put my son down for a nap. Gave my preschooler a cookie and told myself to get my butt in gear.
Where to start? Step One: Be Prepared. Step Two: Think you're prepared? Think again. I printed off the artwork. I sent it from my computer to my husband's printer but the cat got to the printer before I did. She swatted the paper until it jammed. A pain but no problem, right? Well, somehow in that jam I missed a page and skipped an important step... uh, painting the canvas!!! Ooops! So I cheated... shhh, don't tell! My 3 year old daughter helped me with some gesso fun! It was after I applied my print outs that I realized my missing step. I would have cared more but I was on a mission to be "chill" about such things. After supper, my husband bathed the kids while I frantically ran around the house raving about my missing spray bottle. Where DID it GO? I gave up on finding that and thought I'd use the bottle I kept from the hospital when I had my son (if you have to ask why they gave it to me, I'm not telling). I spent more time raving about not being able to find THAT bottle too. It was under the kitchen sink. I don't know why. So I got down to the task of revealing the transfer and I WAS IN INSTANT LOVE. So super fabulous!
Now I had to remind myself to be gentle with the paper removal. I have always had a very heavy hand in artwork. Digital art is good for me because I can't smudge, smear, tear and destroy art that was looking oh-so-fine until I took it a step too far. So, I was very nervous I'd screw up this project too. Well, sure I did rub some parts off more than I'd like but overall, I think I did a good job. I added some distressing ink and called it a day. I have this blank spot next to my computer monitor that I've been wondering how to fill and this project is PERFECT for that space. Now I can be continually inspired by the words and art of Nancie. I'll use this technique again and again for sure. Thanks Nancie!
One reason I am really thrilled to have done this project is that I have wanted to get more into my hands-on artwork again. I want to learn mixed media. This felt like a great introduction into that world. When I was a pre-teen I was given a beautiful book on art methods. There was a section on image transfers. I wanted to learn how to do it so badly. I tried and it was feeble. I tried again and then I never tried again. I don't think the instructions were in depth or very good. It only took me nearly 30 years to try again. Unlike that book, Nancie's instruction is detailed, simple to follow, and even relaxing. Made me pine for Bob Ross a bit. Ok, maybe not but I did enjoy her instructional style.
soundtrack while working on project: Christmas playlist on random shuffle with the occasional miscategorized Barenaked Ladies song.
A while back... ok, nearly a year ago, I oohed and aahed over how much I love Nancie's brushes, overlays, and designs in general. She is a fabulously talented artist, designer, instructor, and person. I like her.
Well, I've been trying out her Mixed.3 Madness photoshop series workshop. It's a 16 page pdf with step-by-step instructions (with some of her hard learned secrets) on using her media backgrounds with her masks and brushes. She even includes some brushes and masks (and maybe more??? hint hint)... that alone is worth the generously low price.
I really could have used this workshop when I was first getting into digital scrapbooking. I was so overwhelmed and question marks were constantly flying through my mind as I struggled to figure out how all these cool effects on layouts were created. If only I'd known of Nancie then. If only her workshop had been available.
So what do you get from this?
- Instruction in Photoshop. She is very clear in her instructions so even beginners can follow along. A great way to learn more about Photoshop. If you're more advanced then you'll love the workshop too because it will show you new techniques.
- high-quality products she's included
- an end product you can feel really proud and excited about... gorgeous photo treatments, and your own custom-blended papers. It is pretty cool to be able to customize your papers by learning to blend her overlays together. And might I add, the quality and detail of the texture is quite incredible.
Here are some of my photo treatments that I made while following along with her workshop.
Here is Nancie's workshop. Click on it to see it in her store.
Oh, and just so you know, Nancie didn't put me up to this... I am one of her biggest fans and I want all of you out there in digi-land to find out just how great she is and how you can take your scrapbooking to the next level.
Welcome one and all to yet another stop on the CatScrap Fall Catwalk Blog Hop! You are in luck... I am hosting not one but TWO quick pages created by the talented Bek and Raji who reside on the CatScrap creative team. Before you get to download such lovely goodies, please take a moment to check out all the wonderful Catwalk offerings created by the CatScrap designers:
Here is Bek's Quick Page. Click on it to download:
Supplies used: Trail Map Collection 1 by Roadside Designs and A Measure of My Love by Jazzmin Designs.
Here is Raji's Quick Page. Click on it to download:
We had a lovely weekend at the lake to celebrate Thanksgiving. Here in Canada, we celebrate in October. We were treated to unusually warm and balmy, t-shirt weather. While my kids and husband puttered around the lakefront with their uncle, I joined their aunt for a local walking studio tour. Not that anyone could walk from location to location. A little too rural for that. Our drive was very scenic as the trees have changed from green to various shades of gold, orange, and red. We stopped at our first chosen group of artists: A potter, a stained glass artist, and a cast stone artist. We had made this stop last year and I was enamored with the latter artist's cast stone mushrooms which I bought as gifts along with a cicada. This year I purchased 3 mushrooms and a set of little rectangle pieces with a butterfly, a bee, and a ladybug. I'll have to take photos of these later.
Then we headed down the road some more. Had I known the territory we were about to enter, I'd have brought some Arlo Guthrie to listen to as we drove. Or maybe a little Country Joe and the Fish. I thought we were in rather conservative country folk territory. Not so. Not so. We had entered Hippieville. Who knew all this time I was just a couple of left turns away from some creative free thinkers? We visited a studio displaying the works of 4 artists (a clothes designer, a potter, a jewellery maker, and a printmaker. I enjoyed the clothing designer's artistry the most but I have no desire to buy any clothing right at the moment. So we continued on to what turned out to be the artistic highlight of the trip.
We arrived at the studio of multi-media artist Carol Lee Riley. This woman should be uber-famous. She is soooooo talented I wanted to grab the art off her walls and run away with it. She transforms everyday objects into intricate designs. Most pieces are themed. She'll do a piece that involves only pieces from the kitchen. Or materials related to sewing. My most favourite piece involved a rice bag and so many other little details that made up the piece. I wish I could give her art a better description. I'm in love and I want the art world to know about her. Incredible. Truly. She has a piece with bread tags in it. It might just inspire me to finish my mini kit involving bread tags... we'll see.... Her studio was so big and airy with a huge front porch. She had a whimsical garden of metal. Pots of painted metal resembling flowers. A garden of utensils. Everywhere you turned, there was something new to see. It was at this point in the trip that I began to think there were other artists living in this neck of the woods... perhaps a community even.
Next stop... the enchanted forest. Well, there you go... my suspicions confirmed. This place was something out of a TV documentary. I think the Barbapapa family may have built this house. I believe it was run on electricity produced by the windmill atop the hill next to their circular yurt-like home. Their tangled garden of plants, mosaic tiles, hidden buddhas, and ornaments was an overload for my senses. Ok, not fair... I already had a migraine impairing my vision. Again I cannot do justice to explaining the construction of their various buildings. I had a friend once in Japan. His name was Daichi. All I could think was how much Daichi would love this place. This of course doesn't help explain the place unless you know Daichi. I can't help you there. Anyway... this place was host to four artists. A fibre artist and photographer who I believe were the inhabitants/builders of the place, a potter and a wood sculptor. The potter was quite talented but I liked the wood sculptures the most. He would take coloured pieces of thin lightweight wood (balsa or something... I'm not a wood expert) and adhere them together and then mould/sculpt them into shapes. Most of the pieces were colourful schools of fish adhered to a piece of coloured wood. Again my description is lacking. Trust me, they were beautiful. I really wanted one but the price tag was not speaking to me. We left the enchanted forest (which was its actual name) and headed to the village of Westport.
We stopped for a quick and late lunch. Then stopped at our final spot on the tour map. It was a beautifully located B&B. If you're ever in Westport looking for a B&B this place looks like quite the find. I'm not one to feel easily at home and I wanted to stay here. Definitely a good sign. The historic stone building has a lake out its back door and another one out its front door. They serve a yummy sounding (and presumably yummy tasting) menu, have beautiful rooms and decor, a wonderful sunroom I want to have transported to my home, and an inground pool. That's all I saw in my brief visit but I'm sure it is even more impressive than that. The owner also quilts fibre art and throws. I wanted one of the throws.... I tried not to drool on the fabric.
Then we headed home for our Thanksgiving meal which we had smartly prepared in our homes the day before: A turkey for the meat eaters; a Tofurky for the veggies; oodles of potatoes and veggies; and a pumpkin pie to finish off the meal. Then off into the nearby foliage we went in search of mystical night creatures. I'm not kidding. Funny how the creatures we found looked remarkably like the stuffed dolls kept at the cottage. My 3 year old caught on but we had fun anyway.
The CatScrap Creative Team is hosting a blog hop with free quick pages to download made with new releases from the CatScrap Designers. Nicole from our creative team is super talented and has made a quick page for you to download. I am lucky to host it here in this post on my blog! Feel free to grab it. Leave a comment... we'd love to hear what you think!
It's been announced. I made the cut. I'm on Simply Tiffany's creative team. Tiffany has created the label "page artist" for her creative team members and it could not be more fitting. Much better than creative team member. I get to play with her scrapbook templates! YIPPEE! I've noticed most of my favourite layouts that I've made are using her templates. Sometimes I rely heavily on them and other time they are a starting point, or guideline. I am so honoured to be on her team. She is such a professional as an artist and as a teacher. I'm definitely one of her biggest fans.
and do I ever have some fabulous and exciting news! I am debuting as a digital designer at CatScrap.com. Yes, it is true!!! Such perfect timing as there is lots of deals and events planned for the International Scrapbook Day!!!
Here is my debut kit called My Little Bento:
This is the paper pack included in My Little Bento or it can be bought separately on its own:
I've needed a tablecloth for quite some time. We moved here nearly three years ago. Soon after we bought a dining room table and chairs. The table is larger than a standard tablecloth. I wasn't concerned as I planned to have the table uncovered most of the time anyway. Until I realized my cat was jumping up on the table and leaving tiny little scratches on the finish. So a tablecloth became necessary. The ones I have gotten only go to the very edge of the table. I really wanted something special so finally one day I did a search on Etsy and came across a store I loved. I decided to treat myself and I'm so happy I did. I found a store called Cake4Breakfast. The seller makes the most beautifully whimsical tablecloths. I contacted her for a custom tablecloth and gave her some photos of my dining room. She came up with a palette and picked out the most loveliest fabrics for it. I enjoyed the whole process as she kept me in the loop with the progress (and photos!). She worked at lightning speed and now I have a handcrafted piece of gorgeousness gracing the surface of my dining room table. The dining room finally has some soul to it. Now I just need to have a dinner party!
Here are some photos I took after I picked up the parcel from the post office. I was so excited I put it right on the table. I hadn't even ironed it yet.
Oh, and the tablecloth has a quote sewn onto the back. I forgot to take a photo of it. It says:
Happiness, not in another place, but this place.... not for another hour, but this hour. Walt Whitman The seller selected some quotes for me to choose from and I liked this one the best. I think it is a good reminder to live in the moment and enjoy life, especially at a dinner table with friends and family. I'm so happy I decided to make this happen! :)
So beautifully packaged!
A surprise gift! I love the added touches. A little corn tassel!
So I wandered on over to One Little Bird Design's blog and decided to participate in her New52 project. Every week you try new things and then document them in some form. Check out her blog and you'll see what I'm getting at. She does a better job of explaining and her posts are very entertaining. Oh, did I mention I got to be on her creative team as a guest member for February? It was really an honour... I keep meaning to post about it... and show my layouts. It's coming...
In the meantime, I will tell you what her post inspired me to do today. I got two big boxes out of the basement and spent my son's naptime sorting through the contents with my 3-year-old daughter. She had a blast with all the crap I've collected over the years. Why is this "new"sworthy? HA... sorry, couldn't help myself!
1.Well, I've been putting off this task for nearly three years since we moved here. Before that, all the crap was in various places piling up for years and years and possibly eons.
2. I FINALLY threw out a bunch of stuff I've held onto since I was in grade school. I mean, really, do I need 30 BOP posters of Alyssa Milano from when I was 10? Uh, I haven't even respected her since I was 12! HAAA! I admit it was hard throwing out the page with Ricky Schroder on it... I mean, er, uh, THE RICKER!!! Now him I respect.
3. I got a HUGE, FANFLIPPIN'TASTIC reward for doing this task. I FOUND one of my MOST prized possessions I thought I'd LOST FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, it is worth all those points of exclamation. I found photos of my grandparents from when they were dating. I was heartbroken thinking I'd lost them. YAY!!!!!!!!
Well, I was so jazzed (I'm grinning because I just typed "jazzed") I dressed up as Liza Minnelli and performed a showtune in head to toe sequins. No, I didn't. I was so jazzed I decided to make Seitan from scratch. That's just nuts!!! Actually it is flour. Wheat gluten to be exact. Have you ever made Seitan before? Don't. Well, you can if you want but it makes a mess, takes some elbow grease, and an hour of your life will pass by. You basically knead dough in water until the water is clear. Then you slow cook it in a broth for 6 hours. Then you let it cool. Then you use it in a recipe. Then you eat it. Then you digest it... and so on. Then you begin the whole process again when you have an hour to waste. Something like that. I didn't get pictures of this. Flour was everywhere. Water was everywhere. I'm a messy cook.
I can't remember what else I wanted to say so I'll end here. Thanks for reading!
Oh, and last Saturday I took my son for his first hair cut. He got freaked out by the scissors so the hairdresser wouldn't cut his hair. Totally understandable! It wasn't a waste of a trip to the mall. I got some new glasses finally. I asked the sales person for help because I am horrible for choosing flattering frames (not to mention I can't see when I'm trying on pairs). I trusted her and I like what I'm now wearing. YAY, gotta love glasses in an hour! Got some sunglasses too!
I'm on the creative team for the monthly magazine, The Artisan Notebook, which is published by Digital Scrapbook Artisan Guild. Each month I create a layout for the Making Headlines section. Today I went to download the March Issue and was quite surprised to see my layout gracing the cover. Yippee, this is a first for me!!! I am so honoured. I was also delighted to see this issue's store spotlight is CatScrap where I am also on the creative team. It is a wonderful digital scrapbooking store. Such wonderful designers, who by the way, provided freebies for the aforementioned March Issue of The Artisan Notebook. I also have a second layout in this issue which I did for Creashen's kit. She is this month's featured designer and her designs rock my world!