//Scrapbook Layout / {joshua]

This layout was something that was inspired by the events of this week. My boyfriend, Josh, was away from Tuesday to Thursday to visit his family and it was the first time we've been away from each other like that in almost four months. After spending most of the summer commuting to and from home with each other four days a week, you could say that we had gotten into a routine. Being apart threw that routine off for the both of us. Also, at the risk of sounding SUPER cheeseball, we just miss each other when we're apart for even a night. Anyway, being that I was in a particular mood the past couple of days, I decided to make a layout focusing on my boyfriend and my current thoughts and feelings.

The photo I used was taken on his birthday that was celebrated just a week ago. We were at one of our favorite local restaurants and, sitting across from each other, I thought about how crazy I am for this guy and I started snapping photos. I happened to have a few photos that I love because of that and I decided to use this one in particular as the focus. I printed it twice on a sheet of thick vellum and after cutting them out, I used a punch to round the corners. I layered them in a manner that would resemble a double exposure in film photography and, while it took a little bit to play around with the placement, I am beyond happy with how the final result turned out.

I knew I really, really wanted to use the wood veneer sequins from Studio Calico, so I centered my color palette around that. I chose a green because it's a favorite color of the both of ours and also knew I wanted to use a resin heart charm that came in my Penny Arcade Project Life kit. Going off of this, I chose some heart brads to create a visual triangle. I love to work with these because to me, it makes the final layout achieve a sense of balance. Combined with the fact that I like to work in odd numbers when possible (for example, having three or five of an embellishment rather than two or four), this works extremely well for me. So after choosing my colors, I went through my stash of Project Life cards for anything that would coordinate. I layered those over and under my photos but not before I sprayed the white background with Mister Huey's in Gold. Be sure to allow the spray to dry completely before trying to adhere anything on top of it because, depending on the adhesive you use (in my case, I used a tape gun) your elements will not stick together at all.

Next, I chose a few choice bits of journaling to print on white card stock and cut those out, using some wood accents to embellish them. I placed them in the corners of the "main element," which at this point was the layered arrangement of photos and Project Life cards.

I used a chipboard alphabet to create my title, substituting a resin element from that same Penny Arcade Project Life kit for the letter "O" in his name. I liked the white on white of the alphabet and background paper, but whenever I layer items I attempt to have them overlap in some way. This is why I chose to have the title cover the background paper, Project Life card, and photo.

I used a few torn pieces of kraft card stock on the side of the photo element, along with some washi tape to accent and mimic the shape of the card stock strips. Going off of the resin heart piece, I incorporated some heart brads to make yet ANOTHER visual triangle (you're going to get sick of me saying "visual triangle"...or you might be already). I added a green diagonal striped tab sticker to the photo element and called it a day on that bit.

Next I put those sequins I mentioned earlier to use. I placed some in the general shape I was looking for but knowing that I wanted a more "random" look, I took a pinch of sequins and dropped them on the page. I then tried to mimic the result by adhering the sequins to the page with glue dots.

Finally, in the original (very!) rough sketch I made of this layout, I knew I wanted some focus on the bottom of the page. I took my Color Theory ink pad in Emerald City and swiped it a few times, creating a randomized "block" of green color. I couldn't exactly write my journaling directly on this spot because I don't have a white pen, so I used another Project Life card, journaled on that, trimmed it, and adhered it over the ink. I finished it off with a cork sticker element from the Office Hours Project Life kit by Studio Calico.

This layout was all about limiting the color you work to three (not including the white paper) and printing your photo(s) on vellum. Most importantly, it was about scrapbooking something or someone you really love and capturing your thoughts and feelings--which, when you really stop to think about it, is the whole point of scrapbooking, right? :)

//Adventures in Gardening

I will be the first to admit that I lack a green thumb. I have tried to grow strawberries at least half a dozen times, using seed, seedlings, FULL PLANTS, and they've all died. So lo and behold my utter amazement that I was able to produce vegetables with my own two hands!

This may not seem like much (and really, it's not) but this tiny tomato has given me hope that perhaps I can actually grow those darned strawberries one day. Let them eat (short)cake!

Have any of you ever tried growing your own food? Were you successful? Do you have any awesome tips or tricks? Please share in the comments!

//Scrapbook Layout / My Greatest Adventure

I managed to do my first offish scrapbook layout in what seems like forever. I've been art journaling lately more than anything because most of my supplies were away in storage, so it feels good to be back in the saddle.

I posted this layout just recently on my Studio Calico member gallery page in response to a challenge by Studio Calico member Brooke in which we were to use washi tape as the main design element on our layout. For those who don't know, washi is decorative paper tape and I've used it in the past to adhere photos or other elements to my pages and I especially used in all throughout my art journal. Despite this, I've never really considered how to use it in a big way.

I started this layout by choosing the photos I wanted to work with. I don't generally keep a lot of prints lying around, and those I do are often of my dog...don't judge me. However, I had these prints of my boyfriend, Josh, and I from Easter of this year. I knew that eventually wanted to create a layout with them but I didn't want it to be Easter-themed (I don't know how successful I was in that given that the colors ended up being quite "Easter-y," but hey) so I figured this was as good a layout to use them on as any. I also knew I wanted to work with this star paper by Bella Blvd and given the yellow of my sweater in the photos it made an obvious choice. I took Mister Huey spray in gold to add a very subtle gold sheen to the paper.

I took a 4" x 6" Project Life card and used a punch to round the corners before layering it with my photos to create a vertical line that draws the eye. I chose mainly to work with pinks/corals, mint green, and yellow, so on the PL card I added a yellow sticker that says "You Are My Greatest Adventure"and a few pink gemstones. To finish it off, I took a wood veneer phrase banner (from Studio Calico's Penny Arcade Project Life kit) that says "Darling Dear," tied some embroidery floss through the hole at the end, and mounted it above the sticker on the card with some adhesive foam.

I put that element aside and went to work on the main design element the challenge called for--the washi tape banner I had finally decided on. This took some time, but it was a task I completed while watching TV, so it doesn't exactly call for intense focus or anything.

I began by taking the three washi tapes I chose to use on the page and tearing off strips that were a couple of inches long. I also took a strand of white embroidery floss about 18" in length and--while keeping the floss taut--folding each piece of washi tape in half over the floss, essentially creating little flags. I tried to get the tape as straight as I could while folding it over the floss and didn't think too much about which colors went where because I wanted to avoid creating a patter with the washi designs. After I was done putting the flags on the floss, I used scissors to cut a small "V" into bottom which created a more interesting design on the tail of each flag.

I used crepe paper fringe (from the Penny Arcade Scrapbook Kit) and the banners across the middle of my page and placed the photo element that I had earlier set aside right on top, adhering everything down with a tape gun. I also used the same washi tapes in strips of varying lengths behind the bottom photo to add additional interest to the layout.

Once the main portions of my page were completed, I moved on to the smaller design elements. I received small wooden chips in my Hello, Hello Scrapbook Kit from Studio Calico. When I had first opened my kit and saw these wooden discs, I really didn't know how I would use them but I was intrigued and knew that I had to try and incorporate them somehow, so you can imagine how pumped I was to actually find a use for them! Anyway, I used a Dear Lizzy roller stamp and my Color Theory ink pad in Well Red to stamp the message "I Love You Lots" multiple times on the wooden disc. I personally like the look of partial stamping and faded stamping with this technique because it reminds me of library cards and as a giant bookworm nerd, that hits me right in the feels. I finished off the disc with a couple of hearts I punched out of patterned paper and gemstones, coloring the left edges of the hearts with the Well Red ink pad to give the hearts some dimension. I adhered that over the bottom photo and tucked in a small flag that gave some detail of the photos (and which I also embellished with more washi tape because in reality, can you really have too much washi? No. The answer is always no.).

To finish the page, I used sequins to create a puddle of sparkle using the Color Theory sequin pack in Coral Bay, randomly layering the three different sequin shapes/sizes that are provided until I was satisfied. I still felt the page wasn't done so I took a wood veneer deer (also from the Penny Arcade Project Life kit) and, not wanting it to stand out too much from the sequins, used Tim Holtz Distress Ink reinker in Spun Sugar to "dye" the wood veneer and then adhered it on top of the sequins.

In the end, I think I met the challenge by using the washi tape as a banner (and in other little places) while still allowing the layout to flow in a pleasant direction. The eye is drawn horizontally across the page with the banner, but also vertically with the photos. Then there are the visual triangles (something I try to keep in mind while working on layouts) that were created with the use of sparkle (from the sequins and gemstones) as well as the wooden pieces.

//Project Life Layout / This and That

This Project Life spread was made with miscellaneous Instagram prints I had lying around (printed using Postal Pix) that I didn't find a use for. Even the prints that look like patterned paper are images I found online and then printed in a 4" x 4" size so I could intersperse them with my other photos. This particular layout involved a page that had only 4x4 spots and I used nine different prints, all embellished somehow with brads, rhinestones, stickers, or washi tape. All of the prints are random imagery, but the use of similar filters on the photos gave the layout a cohesive feel which I believe made the spread work.

I really enjoyed working on this layout because it was quick and gave me a lot of freedom thanks to the randomness of the photos. I simply grabbed a couple of brads, some stickers, gems, and sequins and decorated each photo just a little to give it that extra "something." The top left photo also includes a couple of different phrase stamps to add to that spontaneity theme by saying "This & That" and "Here & There."

As I mentioned, this spread took me all of ten minutes to complete. I laid my photos out on top of the page protector in the order that I found most appealing. I then took some stickers and embellishments at random, choosing ones that were fairly generic and that wouldn't detract from the photos. After all, the photos were already quite busy and made a statement, so I didn't really need much to punch up the page. On the other hand, I can't leave it well enough alone so I wanted to add something.

Overall, I had a lot of colors I could use in this layout without it seeming out of place and I was grateful for that. If you notice, I had a red heart brad, green washi tape, and blue sequins and it all comes together quite nicely. The key is keeping the embellishments all rather small so they become small touches of "bling" rather than becoming a distraction. Even the "larger" embellishments, like the phrase sticker, the washi, or the cloud sticker with key manage to blend because of the colors used as well as the horizontal placement to keep the eye moving across the page.

If you're interested in trying out pocket scrapbooking yourself, be sure to read this post where I cover some of the basics and provide you with some good resources.

//Pocket Scrapbooking / What Is It & How Do I Get Started?

All righty, folks! Today we are going to delve into the world of pocket scrapbooking. And by "delve," I mean we are going to dip our toes in the water because I don't have enough hours in the day to talk about every nuance of this hobby. While the term "pocket scrapbooking" may sound folksy and juvenile, I promise that it's actually really fun and perfect for anyone, whether they're advanced scrapbookers or entirely new to the concept!

I have been scrapbooking since I was about 12 or 13 (my layouts from back then are so horrifyingly amateur and dorky that I cringe whenever I look at them...I think I may have "accidentally" destroyed some, too), so I have seen a wide variety of trends in the craft. I remember seeing people take a standard 12" x 12" page protector and sew pockets directly on it, but those pockets were often used to house loose embellishments, such as glitter or sequins. This, however, is very different from that.

So what is pocket scrapbooking?
Quite frankly, it's just as it sounds. You have pockets in your page protector that are usually intended to fit either 4x6, 4x4, 3x4, 6x6, or 12x12 photos and/or ephemera.

//an example of just some pocket page options//

Most of us have 4x6 photos, but if you're looking for 4x4 prints (like those from Instagram, for example) you can have them printed as a 4x6 and trim the outside edges or use a service like Postal Pix--which I personally use--to print photos that size. Easy peasy.

There are a few companies that offer products designed for this kind of memory-keeping, but the two big ones are Project Life by Becky Higgins and Albums Made Easy by We R Memory Keepers. I use a combination of products from both lines, as I find that some products are more affordable than similar products in the other line and both product lines are interchangeable (something I LOVE about these systems!). I'm not here to tell you which is the better one because I think that is something for one to determine on their own after checking out the products and taking their budget into consideration, so don't be afraid to play around!

Who would this be good for?
Literally anyone who is interested in memory keeping. Whether you're a novice or a pro, this system is designed to be entirely customized depending on your own needs. As I mentioned, we all have 4x6 prints, so if you find yourself wanting to scrapbook those more than anything else then purchase layouts with more 4x6 spaces than other sizes. You can stick to just the kits available for purchase and slip everything in right out of the box, or you can customize the cards to your liking, or even MAKE your own cards by printing them out or by trimming down patterned paper.

You can make each album dedicated to a certain individual, like each of your children, or to a certain period of time, like a month or year. This system is "intended" to document the everyday moments in your life, so many people like to make each layout dedicated to a certain week or day (something I'm trying to work on). But you can do whatever you want with it! The majority of layouts I see are filled with photos and just a few journaling cards to highlight certain memories, phrases, or plans.

What do I need?
If you already scrapbook or art journal, odds are you have many of the supplies necessary! You can easily get away with the following:
  • Binder or album
  • Pocket page protectors (try doing a search on Amazon or just stop by your local craft store)
  • Photos
That's it. Seriously. If you want to be super basic, that's all there is. I know, I know, if that's all you're working with you might as well just put your photos in a photo album and call it a day. And you're right! Which is why I also recommend the following to spruce up your layouts:
  • Cardstock and/or patterned paper
  • Embellishments (stickers, gem stones, sequins, buttons, etc)
  • 3x4 and 4x6 pocket scrapbooking cards
That last one is, in my opinion, the whole point of doing this system in the first place! You can buy them in coordinated packs from either Project Life, which offers Core Kits or Mini Kits (which contain fewer cards) or Albums Made Easy, which offers Journaling Cards, and you can use the cards as-is without any alteration and just slide them into the appropriately-sized pockets along with your photos, add some journaling on one/some of the cards and hooray! You've made a pocket page layout!

//example of layout using only unaltered journaling cards and photos//

If you want to get more advanced, this is where the embellishments come in. Some things you can do are:
  • Embellish the cards before putting them in pockets
  • Embellish directly on the photo before putting them in pockets
  • Put sequins, buttons, etc into pockets and stitch the top closed
  • Embellish directly on top of the page protector after placing in your photos/cards
  • Put a journaling card behind a photo with a pull tab for a sneaky bit of journaling

//examples of more embellished spreads//

There is also a great punch offered by We R Memory Keepers, offered in a round corner shape and a square corner shape, that cuts out papers/photos down to a 3x4 size that I love because I can buy 6x6-sized paper pads and punch out my own cards. If you find your layout to be heavily photo-based, then a pack of journaling cards--whether store-bought or ones you made yourself--will last you a long while. With this punch I can easily make stacks of journaling cards for a fraction of the cost in the long run.

I can't afford all that stuff!
Fret not, dear friends! There are many, many resources online to help you by providing you with free files to print your own 3x4 and 4x6 cards. Just print them out on card stock, trim them, and you're good to go!

Some good places to find these would be Becky Higgins's site, or just doing a search on Pinterest or Deviant Art. I find I have the best luck using "Project Life" as a search term. The pocket scrapbooking community is a wonderful one and by doing a Google search of "pocket scrapbooking" or "Project Life," you can find numerous message boards where scrapbookers swap tips and exchange resources. Get connected and you'll find that you'll become an expert in no time!

Also, I would recommend that you not go out and buy an entire core kit and oodles of supplies before giving this system a try on a smaller scale. You might find yourself spending a lot of money, and if you end up not liking this system then you're stuck. Instead, buy the page protectors and perhaps a small pack of journaling cards, or even trim patterned paper down to size yourself. See if you like playing around with the pockets. You may think of this style as too limited or not offering enough freedom, and that's okay!

I have found that I really enjoy this method of memory keeping. There are so many options that I don't feel too restricted and I intersperse my pocket page layouts with my more traditional scrapbook layout in the same album to provide variety and interest.

If you're interested, keep an eye on this blog because I'll be posting pocket page layouts from time to time.

Give it a shot and see what you think. If you decide to give pocket scrapbooking a go, leave a comment below and tell me about it!

//Product Review / Studio Calico Art Theory Ink

Hello, there! In this post I will be doing a quick review of the Color Theory ink pads by Studio Calico. I have really come to love Studio Calico lately and actually began a subscription to both their scrapbooking kits and their Project Life kits, but I'll be making a separate post about that later! Check back for more of that goodness and, if you're a scrapping nerd like I am, you'll find yourself making a mental shopping list in no time.

These ink pads are the first SC products I've ever purchased and, for those who don't want to read this whole thing, just know that I love them. Love them love them. Why, you ask? Good question, invisible and hypothetical enquirer. Keep reading!

There are twelve shades currently available in the Color Theory line, all with pun names that I can't help but dig. I bought eight of those, choosing a range that I think will take me a long way on my layouts, art journaling, and card making. Below is a photo of all the shades I have stamped onto white paper with the names beside each shade. Overall, the colors are really nice and basically what I expected when looking at the packaging.

Speaking of packaging, there are labels you can also purchase to stick on the ink pads to quickly identify the color because the pads also have the awesome feature of being stackable. That's great for me because I don't need any special storage thingamajobby for them and I can save some space by stacking them the way that ink pads should be stored (horizontally). Woohoo!

I found that the ink dried really fast, which is a must if you're a hectic scrapper like I can be. I put some pages together so quickly that the glue hasn't even had a chance to dry before I'm done, so you can imagine how stoked I was with these ink pads.

Okay, so you may be wondering why I'm geeking out hardcore over some ink pads. Well, for one thing, at five bucks a pop they're affordable and I like that for obvious reasons. More importantly, however, is the fact that the Color Theory line is meant to be coordinated. So you have your inks, papers, and various embellishments all meshing well together, further making the scrapbooking process a little easier for most. And frankly, I love the colors! The mint and coral might just be my favorite. Oh, and did I mentioned how great I think the color names are? Well Red? Clean Slate? Okay, Studio Calico, you win again.

I'm excited to use these ink on my upcoming projects, which I'll be sure to sure to share with you guys! If you're interested in checking out the Color Theory ink pads yourself, go ahead and click this link right here. And if you're down to check out the entire Color Theory line, click THIS link.

//Beauty Review / Chanel Vitalumière Aqua

Hey, all! So recently, I ran out of liquid foundation and decided it would be a good opportunity to try something different. I have tried tons of brands so I knew generally what worked and what didn't, but I'm always up for experimenting and finding a new favorite (and also I am addicted to buying makeup...anyone else have about six or seven lip products in their purse at any given moment?). I did some research and heard a lot about a Chanel foundation called Vitalumière Aqua, though their Vitalumière received a lot of rave reviews, as well. As soon as I got my paycheck, I placed an order and eagerly awaited my new (hopefully wonderful) foundation.

The first morning I used this, I applied moisturizer about 10 minutes beforehand like I normally do. I'm telling you, people, if you do nothing else as far as skincare is concerned, apply moisturizer one to two times a day. You'll thank me when you're 40. Moving on, I saw several videos on YouTube reviewing and demoing this product and a common tip given was to shake the bottle a little before squeezing out the foundation. I generally do this with liquid foundation anyway in case the pigment settles or whatever. 
I applied the foundation by squeezing an amount a little smaller than dime-sized onto the back of my hand and applying it with my fingers. The first layer was sheer and a tiny bit opaque, but the second layer made a huge difference. Again, I used an amount slightly smaller than a dime in size for the second layer. You may end up using more or less, but I was happy with that amount for each layer (by the way, is it "layer" or "coat" or...? What is it when you're talking about foundation? Dollop?? Hmm...).
It feels light and looks natural. I dotted it in a couple of spots where I have blemishes as a sort of concealer and that worked nicely. My skin can get a little oily in the summer, so the next day I set the foundation with a powder to prevent shine but that is more due to my skin than the actual product. I also used a flat kabuki brush to apply the foundation the second time around, buffing it into my skin evenly.
The transfer is minimal, at least in my opinion. I used a super scientific method that involved me sticking a piece of white paper against my forehead and seeing how much color came off. SCIENCE!
I used 30 Beige, which is the perfect shade for me. There is a limited range of shades in this product, however, which could mean there are some people who won't be able to wear this product. Definitely go to a store that sells this product and see if a shade matches you before ordering if you have any doubts about the shade choices.
Overall, I'm really pleased with this foundation because it gives me a makeup-free appearance and blends in seamlessly. With the shade I chose, I didn't have to worry about a makeup line around my jaw or anything. If you're looking for something that gives more of an airbrushed look or something that is more heavy-duty for, say, a night of dancing or something, I highly recommend Kat von D's Lockit Foundation. It comes in a ton of shades and is very thick. I apply it with a brush and buff it out, sometimes thinning it out with a tiny bit of moisturizer if I want to minimize the coverage a little.
So there you go. If you want a foundation that looks natural and blends really well while hiding any blemishes or discoloration, I would go for this. An added bonus is that it contains sunscreen (and has a bit of that sunscreen smell. It's not overwhelming, but it's there, so if you don't like that don't get this foundation).

//$45.00 on Nordstrom.com//

*very natural look
*coverage you can build
*felt very light and like I didn't have on any makeup


*limited range of shades
*may not be suitable for extreme discoloration of skin due to its lighter coverage

//Bookworm Beat / Snow in August by Pete Hamill

 I'll be honest, this book was tough for me to get into. I picked up a used copy after a recommendation from my boyfriend's sister's mother-in-law (did that even make any sense?) during our Florida vacation and, being a complete book-buying fiend, figured I'd give it a shot. I commute on a train for almost three hours for four days a week, so having something to read during the ride is definitely something I'm interested in and I threw this book in my bag. I opened it in the morning and after about twenty pages, I closed it and left it in my bag for about two weeks. I even read another book instead, choosing to ignore this one for the time being. But then I figured I'd give it another chance and I'm glad I did.

This novel is set shortly after World War II in Brooklyn where an eleven-year-old Michael Devlin, the son of working class Irish immigrants, loves comic books, the Dodgers, and his friends. Then he befriends a rabbi and his life is forever changed. We then follow Michael and Rabbi Hirsch as they forge a tight bond, learn from each other, deal with neighborhood animosity and violence, and do their best to be good people. 

What I enjoyed about this book was you slowly learn more and more about these characters and you begin to feel as though they're real people whose lives have been recorded for you to read. Also, I liked that it was an emotional tale that made me feel enraged at some of the actions in the book. But mostly I loved following Michael Devlin around and seeing the awe and wonder that he saw all around.

This book is about faith and friendship, love and loyalty. Above all, this book is about magic--in all its forms.

//Purchase this book on Amazon//