Saturday, July 19, 2014

Why Critique a Scrapbook Page

 As many of you know, I am on the creative team at Get It Scrapped/ Masterful Scrapbook Design. The site is devoted to education about scrapbook pages.
Now, some people are saying but your philosophy is that scrapbooking is all about your own fun, Karen. Why would you care how "good" your pages are?
Actually, I think most pages are good enough, but I do enjoy the process of creating nice things. Many times at the site we discuss pages and tell folk that there is nothing they need to change at all but suggestions are made to make the deign stronger or the story more effective.
It's always one's own design and story; so, dictating that it be a certain way is not the point. Many times completely opposite from one another suggestions are given. What those of us, who enjoy the critique classes, like is reviewing the process of giving ourselves a better eye and voice, to learn what others like about our pages and sometimes, to understand what can be done to tell our story better.
Here's a recent page I made and the version I did after the critique session.

Just little changes; but, ones that strengthen my page.

TDF65: quirkyheart - everydaybouquet (kit), dunia - saysomething (alpha), xm2 -xoxo (alpha); PCO Go Bold (alpha); fonts - Garamond, Arial; shadow actions - One Little Bird

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bookends of the Family

Bookends of the family is an unusual thought but it was one I had yesterday. I was feeling a bit down, missing my Mom and then I thought of my daughter, Jeannette who died in 1982. I had been finishing up the obituary for my Mom and editing the photos to be included.
I chose a photo of Mom when she was a young woman and a more recent photo. It came to me then that these photos represented bookends on her life. I reflected that my Mom and little girl were bookends to mine. Unfortunately, Jennie had only a brief time on earth, but her profound spirit of love was a major support; Mom was pretty fragile at her end these last couple of years; but, also a wall of love.
I felt a bit bereft at that point. I do have special friends and family members to help keep me stable on the shelf of life but it was this thought of a disconnect from the edges of my own life that made me sad.
My niece, Danielle, has been a godsend to help in the rough times of moving Mom last year and settling things on her death. Aunt Fran and Aunt Virginia have both been sweet and encouraging, too.
They are the female bookends of my extended family.
My cousin, Aimee, currently in Australia has been so helpful to me. She edited the obituary, correcting my USA spelling to Canadian and, thanks to Facebook, has been a great comfort, despite the miles. My realization was that I am the eldest cousin and Aimee the youngest female cousin. In our own way, we are the female bookends of our generation.
Just some thoughts that were a comfort to me.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Digital Scrapbook Crop

I'm digi scrapbooking these days and even getting LO's done at an on-line crop. It's an event at Debbie Hodge's site at least every other month, sometimes more often. Cool to interact with folk around the globe in a hobby we all love, some paper (or "lumpy" as a medical colleague, George, would say), some digi and some hybrid scrappers. It got pretty quiet late in the day we were all either tired or busy trying to get something done to show for all the time we spent. It's a nice community.

When I went to Victoria, BC I was able to take some great night photos and that inspired this LO.

TDF65: QWS Alchemy, J Labre Somethingness, T Martin Missing You; Karla Dudley Kit for Scrapaneers; Pixels and Co. Dream Kit, Fonts: Zapfino, Avenir

My grandson is always an inspiration and this cute kit made documenting this very easy.

Kit from TDF63 Juno We are family Brush Karla Dudley for Scrapaneers Fonts: Times New Roman, CK Disco, Template Donna Jannuzzi BPC Sketch Solutions

I was willing to share my screen during the Get It Scrapped Get It Scrapped/Masterful Scrapbook Design crop and I'm sure I made it clear that building a page does not happen neatly and cleanly for me. I always envy how easy Debbie Hodge makes it seem.
Still, I have a plan for what I put on a page. Almost always photo, journaling and a bold or multi-font title. I love patterned paper and usually want to use several patterns. In digi, vellum overlays are nice. I like fiber either in string, ribbon or stitching. Texture and dimension are important and I try to make sure there is often some shine as Lisa Dickinson advises in her essential steps for a page. (I like how she revisits old pages and gives them a redesign. It's very inspiring.)
Even when using a template, like I did in Seeing the world through the eyes of Donovan layout, there are a lot of choices to make. Once, I would have just clipped all the photos and papers into the assigned spots and looked for templates with embellishment clusters to help me organize my embellishments. I'm getting pretty confident about editing photos these days, adding strokes and shadows and placing my elements. Odd, how with paper it all seems easier. Of course, I cannot change the size of physical products vs digital's versatility so options are clearer. The character panel is another part of Photoshop that I've been using often, too. Maybe a font class is in my future? 
I'm comfortable with opacity changes but am just getting starting to get familiar with brushes, blend modes and masks. I am a fan of a clean or slightly grungy look but it's always fun to experiment. So, maybe I'll be trying a few of those artsy brushwork pages soon? Then, again,  there is all that paper product to dive into...

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Grape Course for Bloggers

Sacramento Bloggers is a group I’ve been interested in for a while. I’ve not been able to attend any of the events until recently. 

On June 21, Mirassou hosted an event for Sacramento Bloggers at the Hilton Doubletree, not far from my house. That particular evening, fortunately, I could attend. The menu was a bit dairy intensive; but, we do know how well wine pairs with cheese. The wine suggestions,though, extended to a a comprehensive menu. 

David Mirassou was at the event to impart information on the history of the Mirassou vineyard and give us a good grounding in wine and food pairings.

Now my “crafty” friends The Craft Ladies, would tell me that wine pairs with anything and especially crafts. Check the link to their site if you like a little humor and a focus on wine, above all else, in process videos. I'd have to say the process is mostly getting tipsy. (“Karen” and “Jane” you are invited to come along to any future wine tastings I attend or host). As usual, I’ve wandered off topic, sorry folks.

Back to the event - Mirassou has an area on their website with great tools for an at home wine tasting. The education section features delcious recipes, and printables featuring an informative place mat, a wine pairing chart, and wine tasting scoring sheets.
Look for this great info on their site at

The photos are of the event and note that they did eventually get some Pinot Noir into that empty glass in front of me. Their Pinot is very popular. High ratings and a very reasonable price are likely the reasons for Mirassou Pinot Noir’s success. I liked all the wines we were served. The tasting was the excellent Pinot, a fine Chardonnay, a very palatable blend called Sunset Red and a delightful Moscato. I thought all were very good and I also enjoyed a  lovely Riesling with my cheesecake dessert. 

The evening also was highlighted with excellent blogging education provided by The SITSgirls. It was a mini version of their “Women Get Social” event. Do visit their site for lots of good tips, if you are a blogger, too.

With all the great information on blogging, meeting other bloggers, and having been well wined and dined, you know I will be looking to attend the next Sacramento Bloggers event. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Double Page Layout Template for you

Double page layout templates, I know a lot of scrapbook makers are always looking for these digi templates or sketches for their pages.
I, also, know that many scrapbookers have a lot of digi or pocket page cards (Project Life, WRMK, etc.) in their stash and not all of them do much pocket page scrapping.
I, too, am one of those so I came up with this grid using a number of cards I had from a mini kit of pocket cards.  I use Kim Watson for inspiration on placing my embellishments. Please check Kim out at
Just love Kim!
I decided to make a layered template of my page for any of you who are inspired to try this.
Here is a downloadable file for your pleasure. I had planned to perfect this template to get the card sizes a bit better but unfortunately my mother unexpectedly died this week and I have been a bit overwhelmed. Still, I have used this template and liked the LO I made with it. Click photo below for full image. Click link for file.

You can see here my original double page paper layout as featured at Get It Scrapped

I have had fun using my template with digi pocket card kits. Because of digi scrap TOA restrictions, I've not posted any of them here on my site but will put the LO's into galleries where there are no ads. Not all cards will fit as clipped images without slight adjustments, so just use them like you clip paper scraps and enlarge or shrink as needed. For some of you that may be a mild annoyance, but just remember I'm providing the template for free and I did this for fun! I did not find anything too annoying when I was using it. Then again, I'm pretty much a digi scrap newbie.  Obviously, I made a paper page in the original design and adapted it as a layered template as an educational experience.
You all know how much I love learning new stuff! Playing with things like templates gave me excuses to go shopping for some of those pocket card kits and other collections. That's a fun thing, too!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Love of Travel, appreciation for cultural differences

Myanmar 2013
 I love to travel. Experiencing new cultures is so fascinating. I'm envying members of my family who are off on trips from Spain to Thailand. Not that I'm going to sit at home all year. A visit to Victoria, BC and a visit to Atlanta are part of my future plans and I'm sure those trips would be plenty exotic enough for many. I believe I may have a new way of looking at them, too; because, right now, I'm learning about cultural anthropology. It's fascinating how strongly people hold their own cultural expectations. I know that being objective and not judging another culture that differs from my own isn't particularly easy. On the other hand, being aware that one has cultural biases is half the battle.
I think I may look at my future trips to other towns and cities in North America with eyes more wide open after studying this subject.
As someone raised in Canada, I already am aware of a lot of uniquely American ideas and how I have adapted to USA culture. In fact, it was at a visit to my old high school, many years ago, when former classmates remarked on how I thought like an American, that I decided to become a citizen of the USA, rather than just have a green card.
Yet, the differences seem slight and can easily be overlooked on just casual inspection. Also, having been raised in Canada, I'm always surprised when I notice that something seems different. Brand names may be the same but hamburgers taste different at McDonald's and Cheerios probably have a slightly different recipe in Canada. I have to smile that I'm always looking for the nonexistent toilet seat covers in public restrooms when I go to visit there. "Chips", that is, "french fries" for folk in "the States", like in England, are accompanied with vinegar. You ask the waiter for an extra serviette, not a napkin. Food and food service are areas where we often notice cultural differences. After all, people must eat; so, that part of a culture we observe frequently when we travel.
Some things one does not understand can be confusing when visiting a new place. My husband was shocked at how our son was treated on a trip years ago in Greece. He did not understand why this teenager was given the best seat at the table, why everyone fussed over him, why the cook brought out and peeled figs for the boy. The valued place of "the son" in a Greek family was a new concept.
In fact, I have dozens of stories from our travels.
I just do not look for differences as often in areas close to home; yet, even the suburbs have different cultural patterns than the city.
I appreciate authors who notice details. They make their stories ring true when they get the subtleties correct.
As for me, I am pretty sure I miss a lot of clues and end up with my foot in my mouth or other such faux pas on many an occasion. Humankind the world over tends to have a sense of humor, though, and I hope my ability to laugh at myself eases a lot of the tension.
At any rate, I hope to keep looking at what makes us different and interesting. Maybe a keen eye will provide fodder for future scrapbook pages and blog posts.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Scrapbook layout projects

 I've been making a lot of scrapbook pages lately and some have recently posted to the blog at Debbie Hodge's Get It Scrapped site.
Of course, I wouldn't be making these if I didn't enjoy the process of creating scrapbook pages. That's really a key behind my being on the Creative team over at GIS.
 I love paper and scrapbook products. Traditional page making remains a lot of fun for me. I adore being surrounded by all the pattern, color and texture that physical scrapbook products provide. Digital scrapbooking has been more of a quest for knowledge and skills. I have a thrill with each "Aha!" moment when I master something new. I get thrills doing paper pages, too and it seems to be related to figuring things out there, too; an example: when I've altered an embellishment to work perfectly on a page or I remember a technique or product that I've not used for a while.
You've caught a glimpse of this first page on my blog before as it's in the portrait of me in the top right corner of my web page. It features one of my favorite subjects for scrapbooking, my grandson.

I used a recent Cocoa Daisy kit, Quick Quotes: Powder Puff Inks Liquitex: Light modeling paste, Scrapbook Adhesives, Colorbok: embellishment, Stash: stencil, flair

This next page features a collab kit from Pixels and Co., that I find I'm using a lot. I think grandkids are a definite theme I have going!

P&Co. Be Bold or Go Home collar kit, font Traveling Typewriter, page sketch from Criss Cross class at Debbie Hodge's get It Scrapped

Here's another of my digi play layout's. (It indirectly features grandkids, as visiting them was the reason for the trip).

Sketch from the Stretch Your Sketch class at BPC and the kit is Karla Dudley at Scrapaneers. Fonts: Karla Dudley, Avenir and Traveling Typewriter and the "by" is a CK font but I do not remember which one

So, having a little fun these days at some of my favorite scrappy web sites. Hmm, I think I have a subject for a future blog post. LOL!