30 March 2010

Scrapbooking Friends

I took a quick trip to Nashville last week to watch our daughter's show choir competition. As a bonus, I got to see my friend Connie (who used to teach with me at Memory Bound in Iowa) and meet two of her friends, Lola and Sabrina. I had already met those two online so it was super fun to meet them in real life!

Connie and Sabrina even came to watch part of the show choir competition and now have been fully indoctrinated into the realm of aerosol hairspray and sequins. It was so fun to have them there!

Lola is co-owner of Scrappucino, such a warm and cozy scrapbooking store. I was really excited to get to visit the store and do a little shopping! Lola has been making some gorgeous fabric flowers which were fun to see. She also has some very talented scrapbookers (including Sabrina and Connie!) who have made beautiful samples for the store. I loved seeing their work and chatting about important issues ONLY SCRAPBOOKERS CAN UNDERSTAND, such as adhesive! :-)

And best of all, I got to hear their ADORABLE accents! Goodness me, from the minute I stepped off the plane, I loved hearing those Nashville folks talk! I am working on my accent so that next time I visit, I won't seem like such a northerner! :-)

Thanks, ladies, for the hospitality! Ya'll made me feel very welcome!

29 March 2010

Time for a Change

Alright, I hope no one freaks out at the sight of a new blog template! Yes, the kitties are gone (for now) but I think that is OK. Change can be good, and it just so happened that Blogger is testing a new set of templates, so I thought it might be fun to try a few. Just like a person might try on a new pair of sandals. If one ever actually BOUGHT a new pair of sandals, that is...

Plus, I've heard from some friends (and my daughter, too!) that the previous template (ALTHOUGH QUITE ADORABLE!) was a bit cumbersome because you couldn't see the entire post without clicking on it. That was annoying to me, too, but I liked the grid structure and -- of course -- the kitties, so I thought I'd try it for awhile. You'd be surprised at how few free cat-themed blog templates are out there! Geez -- you'd think they'd be in high demand! If I were smart enough to create my own template featuring Tinsel and Lily, I would certainly do that. Maybe some day...

But for now, I'm content to play around with this new template tool. I'll try not to choose anything too jarring, for those of you who read my blog with your morning coffee!

Crazy, continued...

Things continue to be crazy busy around here due to the fact that a certain graduating senior is in da house. In the midst of all the college audition/acceptance/decision issues, our show choir just returned from a trip to a national competition in Nashville. The kids performed on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. What a treat to perform in such a great facility!

Show choirs from several states (as far away as California) competed and our group came in fifth! This was a big thrill since our kids didn’t even expect to make it to the final round of competition. We also won best show band (YAY, band!) and our two female soloists each received outstanding vocalist awards. The level of talent at this competition was really unbelievable. It was an outstanding end to the show choir season.

This photo is courtesy of a friend who was sitting in the balcony. The circular area on the stage floor was taken from the original Grand Ole Opry stage.

This photo of my daughter and her buddy was taken after the awards ceremony.

So show choir is ending, but somehow life goes on! Notably, our Mock Trial team is headed to state competition this week. This is a first for Team Tinselfrog. (Yes, the team is partly named after our cat, Tinsel. More on that some other day...)

Meanwhile, I’m limping along with the scrapbooking. Here’s a recent layout about Iowa State Honor Choir which was held this past February.

My daughter sang in this choir for the second year, and she also had the opportunity to play congas on one song. This was a neat way for her to use both her vocal and percussion skills.

26 March 2010

25 March 2010

And Now for Something a Little Bit Different...

Continuing in my quest to finish my daughter's scrapbooking in time for graduation (HA!), I have been working on several pages from last year's Madrigal Dinner. She played the part of the queen, so we ended up with lots and lots of pictures and memorabilia. I made eight pages to document the entire event, with some additional 8.5x11 pages to accommodate newspaper articles and so forth. The page below is the first in the series.

Of course I had to abandon my normally streamlined style for something a *little* more elaborate (but not TOO elaborate!) for these pages. I even pulled out my little-used QuicKutz font, Eliza, which worked great for titles. I also used my 4x4 QK flourish dies to add a little flair. The paper is an older CTMH set that I've been holding (aka HOARDING!) for just such an occasion. :-)

*sigh* Madrigal...I will miss you. :-(

23 March 2010

Tabby Tuesday: Get Your Bow On

We knew that Tinsel enjoys wearing collars, but we did not realize until a couple of weeks ago that she REALLY likes bows. Lily, on the other hand, cannot stand collars or bows of any kind. She fusses with them and eventually pulls them off.

You can imagine that I'm rather excited to discover that Tinsel enjoys bows because now she can be seasonally festive. With a bow, she looks like she is ready for a party to break out. (This never actually happens around here, but we won't tell her that...)

Here is she wearing her St. Patrick's Day bow. She has worn it day and night without complaint since she donned it during spring break.

You can clearly see that wearing a festive bow does not interfere with Tinsel's daily routine!

22 March 2010

Moving Right Along...

I'm continuing on my quest to finish my daughter's layouts in time for graduation, but I'm also trying to work in a few "real life" pages as I go. After all (and I think I've said this before...) life is not just a series of performances and events!

These photos (from 2007) are of our annual gathering with Spouse's high school friends. It's pretty neat that after ALL THESE YEARS (yes, we are old!), he and his friends have stayed close. It's also pretty neat that as spouses came along through the years, they've been "adopted" into the group. For an outsider, it would be really hard to tell who's an original and who's an add-on!

I especially appreciate those lifelong friendships because I haven't been at all good at keeping in touch with people from high school or college. (Okay, I'm not even good at keeping in touch with my family, including those living in this house!) Facebook, by the way, has been great at helping me fix all that.

ANYWAY (I'm imagining my Daughter saying, "MOM, GET TO THE POINT!"), this is a simple layout which will accommodate three (trimmed) horizontal photos. The white "mat" is a full sheet of 8.5x11 cardstock, which makes the page go together very quickly. I've used this design once before and will definitely use it again, since I seem to have an abundance of horizontal photos.

20 March 2010

Got Dance Pictures?

If you have a child in dance, you know how quickly studio pictures accumulate. My daughter participated in dance from age 3 until she was a junior in high school and for most years, we have a set of 5x7 photos for each class...sometimes four sets per year! Holy cow...When I have so much other scrapbooking to do, it sort of boggles the mind!

I needed a quick solution to get these photos scrapbooked in time for graduation.

So I used a simple "formula" concept. I picked a consistent background color, the same title font and embellishments, and a simple strip of color at the bottom of each page. To make things really simple, I cut all like pieces at once and put together the pages assembly line style.

I plan to use this same formula for the remaining years of dance. I don't have a separate dance album so these pages will be incorporated into chronological family albums.

Only 10 more years of dance pictures to go! :-)

19 March 2010

Feline Friday: Nu Hytes!

Ohai! Dis weke mi mommie FINELY taked down da krismus vilegge. (Yes, she is verie slow.) So I askt her nicelie to let mee sit on top of dis verie hy plaice.

And she letted mee! Rite awai I feeled veri powerfull!

Luk at mee! I am Lily In Charj of Ezeriething! Tinsul, dis meens u tu!

I also posed liek a gargoile.

Den I seed dis seramik berd, stuk rite on to da glas dor. An of corse i tride to reech it.

I reeched...

an reeched...

Den at dat exackt momunt -- fur sum stranje reesun -- my mommie taked me down frum da veri hy plaice.


It wuz verie fun wile it lasted.

Luv, Lily
I rited an tiped it all bi myself!

18 March 2010

EXTREME Color Challenge

In yesterday's post, I shared a layout that presented a color challenge.

Here's one that presents a color challenge to the EXTREME! These Mother's Day photos are from 2007. We had two separate celebrations that day in two different places -- and with two different color schemes! Luckily, Daughter was wearing the same thing in three photos, but otherwise, the colors presented a real challenge since I wanted to use all four photos on the same page.

The solution I used in yesterday's post worked well for this set of photos, too. In challenging color situations, I think it is easiest to go with a VERY simple color scheme and not add a lot of color to an already difficult color situation. So I chose a neutral white background as a foundation and added a 2" strip of green across the bottom. (It may be hard to see, but green appears in all of the photos. As a cool color, green is also a good choice in challenging color situations since cool colors recede and don't compete with your photos for attention.)

To tie together the colors, I decided to die cut and punch a flourish and a few flowers in colors to represent the photos. This allowed me to work in the teal color of my MIL's jacket, the pink from the tulips, and the magenta from Daughter's shirt. I would have used actual flowers, but I didn't have flowers in the exact colors to match. (This is the beauty of die cutting...you can get a perfect match every time!) I chose white for the title to set it apart from the flowers, since titles often show up best in a light or bright color.

Sheesh...I'm hoping the next set of photos I pick up will be a little less challenging!

17 March 2010

Color challenge

Some layouts are challenging because of their content; some for design. Others present color challenges.

I came upon these two photos and wanted to put them on the same page since they represent a time in Daughter's life when she was seemingly on the phone all the time. (Those of you with teenagers can understand this!) But the plaid couch and the periwinkle t-shirt in Photo #1 plus the brown tones in Photo #2 presented a major color issue.
Sometimes the easiest solution is to re-print the photos in black and white, but time is of the essence for me these days, so I decided to try to make the colors work.

In addition to the color problem, one photo was vertical and one was horizontal, presenting a small design challenge.

My first step was to cut both photos to 4x4, which eliminated the design issue and also helped a little bit with the color issue, since most of the maroon pillow in Photo #1 was now gone.

Next, I looked for a color scheme which would somehow link the two photos. One approach I often use in challenging color situations is to rely on neutrals, as I did here with the dark brown background and white mat. I chose two other colors (olive and periwinkle) to work with the brown and represent both photos.

I chose a simple block design in order to incorporate punched circles in two shades of olive and dark brown which tie the color scheme together.

Gosh, life would be so much easier if people would choose clothing to match their surroundings!

15 March 2010

This one will get me in trouble...

These are photos of my daughter three years ago on the day she got her braces. She has really grown up in the time since these photos were taken, so I'm sure she won't be too pleased that I'm posting them! But hey...it's my blog! :-)

This is a super-easy design that I will be repeating, so prepare to see it again at some point! The nice thing about this particular design is that the journaling is printed directly on an 8.5x11 sheet of white cardstock. The cardstock sheet doubles as a mat for the photos and backing for the title. All in one step...can't beat that.

And sure enough, there's a bit of Ki Memories striped paper (Fruit Stripe, specifically!), but the good thing about this layout is that it allows you to CONSERVE your striped paper.

Whew! Good thing I've got that under control.

14 March 2010

Only 1,000 layouts to go!

Here's a layout I finished up recently, based on a Got Sketch sketch I've used a couple of times. If I find a design that works, I have no problem using it again and again.

This sketch works great for three horizontal photos, although the original design calls for two vertical ones. Because of all the music performances we attend, I have mostly horizontal photos. So I adapted the sketch slightly and made it work.

Another layout done...only 1,000 to go!

13 March 2010

Some layouts are harder than others

Plowing through boxes of photos, I tend to skip over those that are hard to handle. I'm not a fan of scrapbooking holidays under any circumstances, but photos of the last holiday season we shared with my mom are really tough for me. Only recently have I been able to look at those photos, let alone scrapbook them.

But now that I'm on a mission to finish a lot of scrapbooking before graduation, I've forced myself to deal with those subjects. And I'm happy to report that I'm finally finishing up this particularly difficult set of Christmas photos. Hard as it is, I'm glad to have the pages finished and put in the album.

My Ki Memories friends will recognize this paper right away as part of the Christmas set from a few years back. This particular stripe is one of my all-time favorites. I bought several sheets of it and (of course!) only use it a little bit at a time! :-)

12 March 2010

Feline Friday: "Feed Me!" Starring Lily

For today's Feline Friday, please enjoy this "digital short" starring Hungry Lily at lunchtime. Be sure to turn up the sound and listen carefully!

Sorry the words go so fast at the end! In case you are wonderi
ng, here's what you missed:

Did you hear me ring the bell? (Lily rings the bag of bells when she's hungry.)
Did you hear me purr?
Thanks for watching!

11 March 2010

Warning: Embellishments!

I'm posting this layout specifically for my scrapbooking friends, who know all too well that I use embellishments very sparingly. A package of chipboard or a jar of flowers will last a LIFETIME at my house.

So, dear friends, try to stay calm when you look at this layout!

I'll invite you to COUNT the embellishments: 2 American Crafts tags, 5 flowers, 4 brads, and a die-cut flourish!

Now pick yourselves up off of your scraproom floors and carry on.

And don't get your hopes up that anything radical -- like paper tearing or PAINTING -- is on the horizon. :-)

10 March 2010

Inspired by CZ

Here's a very simple layout I made last week based on one of Cathy Zielske's digital templates (see it here). There's no reason digital designs can't be created in paper!

Cathy is my very favorite scrapbooker. I admire her skill as a graphic designer, her consistently minimalist style, and her unique way with words. Her designs are practical and timeless. And if you're not reading her blog, you should be!

09 March 2010

Christmas in March: Wall-Hanging

Here's another one of my projects from the 2009 Better Homes and Gardens Christmas from the Heart book. I shared a some other projects here and here.

This is a wall hanging which I made using a frame purchased at Michael's. I had the mat custom-cut at an art store to fit the frame, then I created the design to fit inside the opening of the mat.

I used patterned paper, rub-ons, and QuicKutz die-cut ornaments to fill the left side of the opening. On the right, I used large die-cut letters were cut with the "Typewriter" Accu-Cut font.

I especially enjoyed this project. I may have to re-create it someday to hang in our house!

08 March 2010

Deer in the headlights

On Saturday, we made a three-hour drive to northern Iowa to watch one of our daughter's last show choir competitions. By the time we arrived back home, it was around 1:30 AM. As we approached our house, we saw a deer walking through the snow on our boulevard.

We suspected there might be more in the vicinity and sure enough, as we pulled into our driveway, we spotted three more deer standing in our backyard under the evergreens! This must be a regular late-night deer hangout spot, as I've seen them on more than one occasion near our trees in the middle of the night.

We pulled the SUV around and let the lights shine into the backyard.The deer stood very still for the longest time and looked right at us. I remarked to Spouse that they had that "deer in the headlights" look. (Somehow he failed to appreciate my wit at 1:30 in the morning!) One of the smaller deer even came forward curiously. Since we had been at a show choir competition, we had the camera handy and grabbed a couple of shots.

We occasionally see deer in our neighborhood, especially at night, but this was a very special treat!
With the harsh winter we've had, I've been worried about the deer. It was very fun to see them up close!

06 March 2010

A whole lot of crazy (and not much scrapbooking)

Maybe it's typical of life with a graduating senior in the house, but things around here are suddenly crazy. It's all good and wonderful stuff...there's just a LOT of it happening at once. Between show choir competitions, Mock Trial competition, college music auditions, last minute applications, and the minor detail that oh, she STILL HAS TO ACTUALLY ATTEND SCHOOL, things are really hopping. And we only have one child. It's a good thing, too, because I'd never keep up with the activities, let alone the scrapbooking.


Somewhere in the past couple of weeks of CRAZY, I went from being a Goal-Driven (if somewhat delusional) Scrapbooking Mom to a What's Scrapbooking? Mom. Each day brings a new event (sometimes two!) and each event concludes with the uploading of 74 more pictures, putting me even further behind than I was that morning.

Reality set in this week when Daughter brought home her box of printed graduation invitations from school. Barring any unexpected catastrophes, it would appear that she is actually going to graduate. Which means that I am actually going to have to get quite a bit more scrapbooking done. LIKE SOON.

Back in February (the last time I scrapbooked), I actually accomplished quite a bit. Here's a rare "everyday" kind of page depicting a snowy afternoon back in 2007.
(Click to biggify and read the journaling, so you'll know what the heck was happening in these photos and won't think our kitchen looks like this all the time or that we routinely bury teenagers in the snow.) I do so much "event" scrapbooking that I think it's important to do some everyday kinds of layouts once in awhile.

Because (even though it seems like it right now), life is not just a series of events.

05 March 2010

Feline Friday: Easy Rider

Whenever she gets the opportunity, Lily catches a ride on Daughter's shoulders. She happily drapes her furry body around Daughter's neck and rides along, presumably enjoying the view from this higher-than-normal vantage point.

Three bonus points to anyone who can spot Tinsel in this photo. :-)

02 March 2010

Even Easier

You already know that I'm a simple scrapbooker. But right now, I'm a simple scrapbooker living under the pressure of graduation, so I'm looking for ways to further simplify my already-simple approach without sacrificing design or content.

Wide-format printer to the rescue! For this layout, I printed a 10.5" square text box (with an overlayed title text box) directly on my 12" page. It made the perfect "frame" for 2 photos, a journaling box, and some of my favorite Ki Memories striped paper.

Nothing fancy, but I like the simplicity of this sort of design. Better yet, it's one more memory captured.