Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Simple Two-page Layouts

So many of you comment to me "How do you come up with a two-page layout design?" Well for classes it's a little more involved, but for my own books - like the spread here - I follow the KISS principle. "Keep It Simple, Sister"
If you have kids, you have a multitude of photos of the same event and, if you're like me, have trouble choosing which ones to use (because you want to use them all!). In this layout, I selected five photos of my boys playing in the marsh. In order to "Keep It Simple", I employ the following never-fail design principles:
Technique #1. Enlarge one photo in your layout and make it the focal point. Here I made the photo on the far right 6x8. The rest are 3 1/2 x 5.
Technique #2. Use your other photos as supporting photos to draw the eye effortlessly across your layout. Your eye naturally reads from left to right, so your two page layout should take advantage of that. Here I placed the focal photo on the right page and allowed the supporting photos to bring my eye there. I kept the supporting photos in the same relative size. The sizes can vary slightly if you want (keeps things from getting too boring), but something needs to bring them together - color (making the supporting photos all black and white and the focal one color), size, common patterned paper mats, position on the layout- something to harmonize them.
Technique #3. Anchor your focal photo. I typically use an embellishment, title, journaling box, circle of brads or something to anchor the focal photo. It isn't always the far right corner, but it is a lot!
Technique #4. Sex it up! Simple doesn't mean it can't be sexy. Use hand cut pieces from patterned paper, brads, punched embellishments (here I punched dragon flies and inked them), torn layered mats (I have been known to tear and layer the background paper even if it was the same paper!). On this layout, I used long single torn mats and embellished them with the wooden brads with hand cut leaves as "petals". You can also use scraps as an offset mat (as I did with the green paper behind the focal photo on the right). Add photo corners - you can make them yourself easily - cut the length twice the width , e. g. 2" x 1", and fold in the center on a 90 degree angle to make perfect photo corners every time! But remember to keep the design in balance. Too much of anything can throw the design off and make your page look cluttered. Again, keep it simple...
Keep it simple by using these 4 easy techniques and you'll have beautiful two-page layouts every time!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mix - and Match!

I needed to create some journaling boxes for a layout this month. The background paper looked like the old worn wood of a barn, so I pulled some paper from my stash that was a different wood pattern.

I didn't want to use plain black ink because I felt that would be too crisp and clean for this particular layout so I decided to mix my inks.

I started with a Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Tea Dye). It gave me a nice soft edged impression, but it wasn't really strong enough on its own. I then applied a layer of black Stazon ink right on top. It was easy to line it up because my journaling boxes were clear stamps from Autumn Leaves.

The results were better than I expected. I think the combination of these 2 inks make it look like the stamps were burned into, or "branded" onto the wood paper. It really does! Look!

I then added the 3D flowers and fern from Anna Griffin and voila!

NOTE: I have been told to immediately clean my clear stamps if I use Stazon ink so that they don't get "gummy". I do this every time and I have had no problem.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Just a Box

We have all seen those photo boxes around, in fact we probably all have at least one lying around. I did, and I decided it was just not pretty enough so I decided to use my Anna Griffin Sierra line to spice it up a little bit.

I measured out the area that I wanted to cover, which in this case was the box top. I then just pieced my scraps together. Overlapped, tore, cut, moved and moved some more until I got it just the way I wanted it. Because I am a little "odd" would be a nice word to use and I wanted to make sure I had it looking exactly the way I had it laid out, I took a picture of it and then recreated it with adhesive on the box top. You could use any type of adhesive you wanted but I chose to use my altered ATG gun. I didn't do it but I suppose that placing some photos on top and putting Mod Podge over it all would seal in your seams and would be easy to dust off and such.

Kim :)

More "Gilt" and Frames for Heritage Photos

I am simply in awe of the terrific things the DT has done this month with the Anna Griffin Sierra kit that I assembled. Thank you, ladies, for such inspiring ideas!!!
I, too, had a little fun with the "gilt" and with framing - all in the same single page layout.
I had a little gilded resin piece in my kit - a leaf - that I used in combination with a hand-cut flower to accent the framed portrait of my great, great grandmother on her wedding day in 1873. These papers are terrific for vintage/heritage photos. This was an old tin-type that was in my grandmother's collection that I inherited. I certainly wasn't going to glue an "antiquity" like that into a scrapbook, so I took a photograph of it, doctored what I could of the rust spots using Adobe Photoshop, enlarged and printed it in 5x7 format.
The frame was the fun part. I used a technique that is taught in Anna Griffin educational classes. I cut a 5x7 oval frame from a piece of chipboard I had (Scrapbooks Plus always has extra pieces of chipboard you can buy for pennies). I cut a larger oval frame (5 1/2 x 7 1/2 ) from the wood grain paper. I covered the chipboard frame using Glue stick and attached the wood grain paper with a brayer to ensure no air bubbles and complete adherence. I then wrapped the wood grain paper around the back side of the chipboard, cutting the paper every 1/2 inch or so to ensure it had a smooth edge with no buckles - much like when you sew a sleeve on a dress. (I'm sure there is a sewing name for the technique that my mother could tell you that is beyond my vocabulary!)
Anyway - from there I hand cut some flowers and birds and attached them with pop dots here and there. You'll note that they are strategically placed to cover up and distract attention from the rust spots. The rest of the layout is just torn paper, ric-rac, title, and a small tag for journaling and the date.
If you have heritage portraits you want to scrap, this frame (and design) works well. Simple yet elegant, no matter what condition the photograph.

October Kit

With Halloween and Thanksgiving right around the corner, I decided to use Creative Imaginations Trickery line, mixed with some Basic Grey Archaic and My Mind's Eye Nightlight for this month's DT kit. The muted oranges, browns and creams are perfect for the Fall lay out. Included in the kit is some cardstock from Chantilly Lace in black and cream along with a piece of Copper metallic paper from Bazzill. Fall leaves in fabric and as brads, Thickers in brown and epoxy stickers from the Trickery line round out the kit. The kits are ready now for the DT to pick up! Look for the new DT display with the October kit to be posted at ScrapbooksPlus on October 15th!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


One of things I love about this paper is how well it works for the fall months. Granted, fall is just starting, but that didn't stop me from grabbing some fun photos I took last year. Once I settled on my two photos, I went to town arranging everything. Here's how it all went down:

A. I started by using Fiskars Tear Edgar (deckle edge) to tear the burgundy/dotted paper and then inked the edges with Tim Holtz Distress Ink (vintage photo). The finished size is 4x12.
B. Cut out the flowers from one of the patterned pieces of paper. Set aside.
C. Cut your wood paper to 6 3/4x12. Adhere your photos, making sure to leave room for your title.
D. Adhere everything in this order: Burgundy paper, journaling spot followed by wood paper with photos. (Leave a three-inch opening near the bottom for your tag.) Tip: Don't run the tape runner along the edge of the burgundy and wood papers where you'll be sewing. This will keep your needle from getting gummed up.
E. Run through your sewing machine using a zigzag stitch.

Now that everything's in place, you can start arranging your flowers. I had some unused chipboard lying around, so I backed my flowers with that to give them extra dimension. I also added some brads to a few of the flowers for an extra kick.

Then it was on to the title. I ran Tim Holtz Distress Ink (vintage photo) over Basic Grey chipboard letters and heat-set. Paint with Making Memories Shopping Bag and heat-set again. Distress with Basic Grey precision file set, using the slender file. Keep going until you've revealed enough of the vintage photo ink to your liking. Adhere with Terrifically Tacky tape.

Finish up by creating the tag. Cut down kraft paper to 5 x 2 1/2. Stamp on left-hand corner, letting part of the stamp run off the edge. (I used Technique Tuesday's Pocket Full of Posies stamp.) Using coordinating paper, punch a tab and adhere to right side of craft paper. Add an eyelet with your Crop-a-Dile and run hemp through. Slide tag into the three-inch spot you left open along the bark paper.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Unusual things...

As we know when scrapbooking there are tons of pretty things that we can find specifically used for scrapbooking. Just take a look around Scrapbooks-Plus! However, there are also many things that aren't specifically meant for scrapbooking and card making that can be used as well.

On my card this month I decided to use a piece of a cardboard box. I tore off the "pretty" covering to reveal the guts of the cardboard. I then took a Tim Holtz distressing ink all along the sides and then ran it over all the bumps to give it some color. The goal was to grunge it up as much as I possibly could. It added texture, depth and just a little personality.

What kind of "non-scrapbooking" type of things do you use on your projects?
Kim :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My September Minibook

I also had a piece of "gilt" in my kit - a feather. I used it on the cover of my minibook:

I had a lot of fun making this book. I picked up a set of Zutter's chipboard covers at Scrapbooks Plus and covered them with the Anna Griffin paper from the kit. The wooden letters from Kaisercraft were painted with Adirondack paint daubbers. I then used my Bind-it-all to punch the holes. But instead of using the coils, I took the strip of leather from the kit and threaded it through the book. To keep the binding secure I knotted a button to each end of the leather. With the leather and the paper the book has a rustic feel - perfect for a vacation out to California and Yosemite National forest.

Here's another picture of the spine of the book:

And if you'd like to see the rest of the book, I'm uploading them to my blog here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tutorial: How to make a mitred frame

I wanted to share an easy way to make a neat, mitred frame to a layout or card.

In scrapbooking, we often frame our photos or background to help them stand out, give added impact, or balance our layout. The most common way to frame items is by matting them. Sometimes you may want to add a mat to the edge of an entire layout. That will generally mean that you cut down one portion of your layout and place onto another entire sheet of patterned paper or cardstock, allowing the base paper to peek out on the edges. This takes up a lot of precious paper! Making a frame of paper strips gives a very similar look and takes a lot less paper.

To make a mitred frame, you will need a base paper or cardstock, a craft knife, adhesive, a straight edge/ruler, self-healing mat, and paper to make the frame.

First you will need to cut strips of paper. Here I was making a three-sided frame to reach out on one side of my layout. So I cut three skinny strips. You can make the strips any width you like... it just depends on how wide you want you frame to be. All the strips must be the same width!

Next I laid the strips out on my layout to make sure I was placing them properly. All of the corners need to overlap fully in order for the frame to be complete.

Glue down each strip, leaving the criss-crossed corner portion unglued. A clear ruler helps to keep each strip straight.

Once all the sides of the frame are adhered, place the layout on your self-healing mat, take a straight edge and a craft knife and carefully cut a straight line from the inner corner to the outer corner. It make take a few passes of the knife to get all the way through the paper frame pieces. Be sure to only cut on the paper frame... that way if you cut through a little bit of the background paper it will be covered by the frame.

Remove the loose extra corner pieces and your frame pieces should come together in a perfect seam. Put a little bit of adhesive underneath to hold them in place. Repeat for your other corners.

Here is the finished frame! This frame was place inside the edge of the background paper to help balance the dark color from the right side of the page.

Here is another frame example using scraps I had left of the Scenic Route DT kit from a few months ago. For this layout I only had scraps left of the red dot paper, so I made a mitred frame to get the look of layering I was going for.

I hope this helps inspire you to grab that craft knife and make yourself a mitred frame. If you do, we'd love to see it!



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hey all! This months papers were perfect for my pictures. Parker, my "nephew", just loves Watermellon so I had to use the wonderful Anna Griffin papers to hilight it! By using the Kaiser wood letter and textured papers (the brown) I create some more demention. The wood letters were painted with Making memories paint, but since I couldn't find the right color, I played Chem lab until I got something I liked. Don't be afraid to mix paints! Just don't do it in the bottle, so that you can add or subtract....LOL

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Little "Gilt" Never Hurt Anyone!

When I opened my kit this month, after drooling over all of the gorgeous Anna Griffin papers, I found that Sharon had thrown in a bit of whimsey for us to play with - mine happened to be a little golden butterfly...and it really affected my choices for my one page layout.

I started by matting the picture...the first mat is only 1/8" bigger than the pic on each edge. The thin line of solid teal cardstock (from Chantilly Lace) is just enough to visually lift the picture from the next layer I had planned. The floral paper for the second mat had such wonderful colors and golden tones that I cut it so there was a generous 3/4" showing on each edge. I added the corrugated Anna Griffin photo corners and then, using pop dots, I set it all on top of one more mat layer of the teal cardstock. Knowing I was going to use the butterfly on the page, I pulled out a gold ink stamp pad and swiped a layer of gilt over the photo corners. It really highlighted the texture!
Next, I selected a blue-grey paper with a subtle plant pattern for the background . I trimmed it to an 11-1/2" square and adhered it to another sheet of the teal cardstock. I dragged the stamp pad around the outer edge of the entire page, and then mounted the photo on the left hand side. I added some clear overlays from Wild Asparagus (the spinner display is in the front of Scrapbooks Plus) above and below the picture. I hand cut a flower from the patterned paper and placed it in the lower right corner.

For the title, I mixed some letters which I cut with my Cricut, with the really cool
wooden letters Sharon had put in the kit. I brushed on some gold metallic
paint and lined them up on the right edge - who says a title has to be horizontal?!? I love the look these dimensional letters give the page.

Finally, the butterfly, which started the whole page. It is on a pop dot and I made the antennae out of some golden ric-rac from the kit. For my journaling, I used a word processor to print on vellum - I know I could have handwritten it, but I just don't like my handwriting! Anyway, I created an incomplete list of adjectives to describe my daughter, my Pride & Joy...and they became the meandering "path" of the butterfly.

When I look at the finished page, I smile. It is a completely different layout than I would have created if Sharon had not included that little golden butterfly from Anna Griffin. I encourage you all to challenge yourselves - there is certainly enough "Gilt" to go around!!! (sorry, I couldn't help myself!)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

September Design Team RAK

I love bookbinding, so when Sharon came out with her lovely September kit, I instantly thought of fall weather, starry nights and comfortable evenings at home. And that led to this star book. The book's simply titled "Home," allowing you to dress it up as much as you want. Add some letter stickers to spell out "Fall at Home," "Our Home," "Thoughts of Home," or whatever catches your fancy. Then fill the inside with your favorite pictures and journaling. Best of all, it's free! Well, there is a caveat. You must reply to this post telling me your favorite fall activities. Do you hike? Do you stargaze? Do you catch every episode of "Bones"? Whatever it is, do tell! I'll pick a winner Oct. 20.

I covered Davey bookboard with paper using PVA, a bookbinder's glue. I then attached those to the front and back of the star structure, again with PVA. The wood letters were painted with Making Memories paint and adhered with Terrifically Tacky tape. The book is bound with waxed linen thread in the long-stitch method.

Good luck!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fall is in the air!


This month's DT kit designed by Sharon is beautiful! The Anna Griffin papers are so inspiring- the browns, reds, greens and blues set the tone for fall. When I got the kit, I was so inspired to distress. The Kraft brown of the papers remind me of all things old. So I broke out my inks and scissors and began to give the edges are nice distressed feel. Now, when I do distressing with ink and scissors I will start with putting a nice layer of ink on the edges of the paper, grab the scissors and rough up the edges then follow it again with more ink. I think it gives it more of an authentic "aged" look. I even distressed the photo corners that I used on the edges of the paper. I even inked up my journaling spot.

Sharon did a beautiful 2 page LO that is for sale at ScrapbooksPlus. Stop by and check it out as well as the DT wall. The wall is pure inspiration!

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Beautiful" Layout - DT project kit for September

As most of you who know me realize, I am a two-page layout kind of gal. So as Designer-of-the-Month this month, I designed a two-page layout using the lovely Sierra line for the project kit. In this kit you will find the papers, photo corners (some kits have white, others blue), felt ribbon, jute and pre-cut journaling tag to make this layout. I have included a cutting diagram and detailed instructions (trust me - this kit is super easy - although you will have to hand cut two birds and two flowers!). In addition, you will receive an entire package of embroidered titles, so if "beautiful" doesn't grab you, you can choose "dream", or "life", or "sunshine", or "breezy". Or you can use those words as titles on other Anna Griffin Sierra creations. The entire kit retails for $12.99. What a deal! Quantities are limited so get yours this weekend at Scrapbooks Plus.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New September DT display and new Sept DT RAK

School is back in session, cooler weather is in the air, and the leaves are turning color and starting to hint at piles to rake. Come visit Scrapbooks Plus for lots of new fall lines, and check out the Design Team display board in the class room for lots of ideas. 

Design Team member Sharon Mozer picked the Anna Griffin Sierra kraft line for this month's DT kit, and the fall-themed layouts, cards, and projects for September are already on display.  As Designer of the Month, Sharon has also designed a special DT Project Kit for sale, featuring her two-page layout you can make from all the papers, embellishments and instructions she's included in the kit.  The Project Kit is at the front counter, along with Sharon's sample layout for you to view.

Using the same Anna Griffin papers, Design Team member Nancy Palm has made a gorgeous handsewn star book for the September Design Team RAK.  Nancy is a handmade book devotee, and you will want to see this book for yourself.  To be eligible to WIN each month's RAK, you simply leave your comment on the RAK post itself.  Winning names will be drawn by the DT member who makes the RAK for you.  Stay tuned for Nancy's RAK post.

We hope you are enjoying the revolving Design Team displays -- and we would appreciate your feedback and questions in the comments section, including on past posts.  The more you encourage us with your questions and suggestions, the happier we'll be.  Want to know exactly how we did something you see on the DT display board? Having trouble with a product? Ask the Design Team !!  

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


And the Winner of the August RAK Exploding Box is.....Sue in Alexandria! Your prize also includes the clear stamp - "Sunshine".
I have the box at home right now, but contact the store before your next visit & I will have it waiting for you.

Keep your eyes open for the September RAK - it is awesome!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Altered - Thickers & Chipboard

My DT kit this month came with a chipboard dragonfly and a chipboard flower...but I needed a butterfly...so a snip here and a snip there and voila - Butterfly! I decided the wings needed a little extra swirl, so I snipped away at one of the Thickers Shape stickers and layered it on top.

The flourish underneath also came from the Thickers Chipboard Shapes pack...a little green acrylic paint and some white polka dots...and then I added a touch of Pearl Ex for a little shine (water pen & Future floor polish technique). Sharon is right - don't be stopped because they are plain white in the pack - they are sooooo easy to alter!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Scraps and Thickers

What do you do with your extra scraps? Why not make a few cards? Here are two that I made with the August American Crafts kit.

To make a card like this, cut two strips of coordinating paper and adhere then to your card. Lucky for me the piece already had scallops, but you can get the same effect by removing the guide on your corner rounder punch and punching in a row or using a border punch. Next, take a complimentary ribbon and tie it over the seams. I used a circular Thickers piece and threaded it through my ribbon for a cool effect. Now, take a small strip of paper, around 1.5", and fold it in half. Adhere it underneath your scalloped paper to make a quick tab. Finally, I used some of the poolside Thickers for a quick sentiment.

And this card's even easier. Just grab a square punch and punch out four different pieces of paper. Add one embellishment in the center of each square. That's it! I had some clear buttons lying around so I backed them with some of the paper then tied a knot in the center before adhering to my card.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More Thickers Versatility

I just love Susie's ideas for expanding the use of Thickers letters. In addition to the Thickers letters in the DT kit, I received a number of white Thickers Chipboard Shape Stickers. White, however, wouldn't work with my "Cousins" layout, so I altered the white pieces in a huge way. I painted the pieces with black acrylic paint (Delta Creamcoat). I then applied a thin coat of liquid adhesive, and sprinkled the pieces with Beetle Black Crushed Velvet Flock from Doodlebug. It sort works like glitter, except you get the soft velvet look instead a bling effect. I used a black velvet ribbon to separate the magenta card stock from the patterned paper that tied the velvet texture across the page.

The flowers in the center of the round scallop frame is actually a photograph I took of the morning glories blooming next to the spot where the kids were sitting. I thought it made a nice embellishment when framed by the flocked Thickers shape and mounted on a small frame cut from some extra Hambly I had in my scrap box. I love to make embellishments from photographs like this. It allows you to display a great photo that you might not ordinarily scrap. With Autumn around the corner, photos of the turning leaves are great for making these kinds of embellishments.

The Thickers Chipboard shapes come in all colors and are available at Scrapbooks Plus. But don't feel limited by the color they come in. You can easily change them with a little acrylic paint and cover them with glitter, flock UTEE or epoxy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"Poolside" Thickers - Love these Letters!

The August kit came with a pack of Thickers that I just love! The style of the letter is "Poolside". Why am I in love with them? The designer of this particular style was very clever because of how versatile the letters are.
I am sure that everyone, at some point, has had the same problem I ran into with my 2 page layout for this month...not enough of one particular letter. My title "baby brian's bouncy butt-erfly chair" meant that I needed 5 of the letter "B" but the pack only came with 3. Not a problem! Take a close look at the title below and you will see that the "B" in "brian's" and "butt-erfly" are actually the letter "G" turned upside down...

Still not impressed? Want another example? Take a look at one of my cards from this month...

Only the "H" and the "A" are really an "H" and an "A"...can you tell what letters I used for the "P" and the "Y"? If you guessed "D" and "H"...you are correct! (I actually had enough of the letter "P" but at this point I wanted to change it out just for the fun of it...and I found I like the flow of these letters a little better - the real "P" was a lot more square.)

And just look at the possibilities with the "M" amd the "W" ...oh, and the "F"... and does anybody else think the "L" looks a lot like a bracket?

I will be honest and tell you one little thing I generally do not like about Thickers. I have problems with the adhesive. The letters just don't stick very well. Of course, that is not usually an issue, because most scrapbook pages go directly into a protective sleeve and lay flat most of the time. Mine have to go up on the Design Team Wall, and gravity takes its ugly toll (grin). I am not ready to give up such a great product (I just love the texture Thickers add to my projects!) so I have already figured out a fix for the next time. I will just run them through my Xyron to add a litte more adhesive and I think that will take care of it!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Are you ready for a CHALLENGE?

Vacation is over, the kids are back in school, and maybe (just maybe?) you have a little time on your hands for a scrapping challenge?? And how about a prize to help motivate you further!
For the month of September the DT team is playing with Anna Griffin's Sierra line of papers. So while we play with Sierra, let's see what our customers can do with Dorothy, or Caroline, or Blythe or any other Anna Griffin paper!

My challenge to you is this: Create anything with Anna Griffin papers - it can be a layout, a card, and altered project, whatever your heart desires. Photograph or scan it in a jpeg file and email it to me. I'll post it on the blog, the DT will give you some great feedback on your work, and at the end of the month (September 30), we'll decide who has the most creative entry. The winner will receive the Sierra 12x12 card stock collection pack - beautiful double sided kraft card stock that retails for $24.99 at Scrapbooks-Plus. Yours for free if it is your art that rocks our world!

What a better way to show your stuff and have a chance for a great prize!
The only rules are that you cannot submit something that was created in an Anna Griffin Educational Class (that would be cheating). Also, the majority of the entry should utilize Anna Griffin product. You can submit as many entries as you would like. DT members can post any of their other Anna creations (as motivation of course) but are ineligible to win the prize.
My email address is sharonvirts@aol.com. Please send your JPEG file as an attachment (and don't send more than one file at a time - AOL gets funky about the number and sizes of documents)
I'll post your work on this blog and we'll give you feedback and kudos (plus a little publicity!)
I can't wait to see your art!!