Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Scrapping with Sylvia

Since today is my friend Sylvia's birthday, I thought I would make her blush with a set of pages I scrapped about our (sniff!) one and only meeting.  She lives in Colorado (I'm in Wisconsin in case you don't know), and we were lucky to get to meet at all.  This happened almost two years ago, and I just now got around to scrapping the event.  I'm so far behind!

Now all you scrappers, don't throw tomatoes at your computer screen.  I know that 2 years behind is nothing in comparison to most people, but I'm only counting since Steve and I got together.  I have many, many years to get out of un-archival-safe albums or boxes and onto nice pretty pages.  The other reason to not throw tomatoes at your computer screen?  Very difficult to clean up, and I'm not gonna come do it for you.

I'm hoping that I got all the details of our get together right in the journaling.  This is why you should write everything down right after it happens and squirrel it away somewhere safe like Evernote.  Of course, you should have a backup on your computer in case Evernote disappears without warning, and your 10 years of journaling is - poof! - gone.  You'll cry, I'll cry, then we'll have to try to remember things again.

Or maybe we should scrap regularly so we don't have to worry about remembering what happened when we finally get around to putting pictures to paper.

Okay - now that we've all had a good laugh, let's get to the pages:


In the first picture Sylvia's petting my cat, Simoon.  This is quite rare - Simoon is very discerning with who pets her.  In the second picture, Sylvia is getting acquainted with my Gypsy.  On the second page, we have a layered shape she cut out, and, uh, she was cutting something else out in the next picture.  Yeah, that must be it!  I would never have anything out of chronological order!  Heavens, no!  And the last picture proves I was there, too.

Since we're Cricut people, I used the Cricut Everyday cartridge that was one of the Cricut Circle cartridges in its inaugural year.  It comes with a number of Cricut/Provo Craft related shapes, a font, and a number of cute scrap-related sayings like, "Caught the Bug", "Eat Sleep Scrap", "Love my E", "I need a 12x12 step program", "Scrap 'til you fall, then scrap on the floor", and one of my favorites, "Be nice or I'll crop you out!"

Alas, there was no cute Cricut-head border.  The main reason I wanted the Gypsy handheld design tool was so I could weld shapes together, so I made it myself!  I was scrapping with another Cricut friend, Jackie, and she liked the border so much that she cut a few of her own plus some other shapes from this cartridge.

Instead of trying to take pictures of the pages, I scanned them using my new Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner that my mother and step-father gave me for Christmas.  It's pretty cool in that you can take it anywhere ("Mobile"), can scan things ("Scanner") and for large pieces you can take off the cover, turn it over ("Flip") and see what you're scanning.  ("Pal" must mean that it's now my friend.)  The scan bed itself is about 4"x6".  There's a stitching program that's included with the scanner for larger scanning projects, which is really neat.  You have to have considerable overlap so the program knows what's supposed to go where, so each page above took 12 scans.  I'm still new at it, so it took a few tries to get the first page right.  I got lucky on the second page.

You're supposed to be able to scan right in the album without taking the pages out, but I tried that and found that there was a little bit of a glare in spots.  My pages don't lie completely flat in the albums, so that's probably why.  Much better to take the page out, scan it, and put it back in.  I intend on scanning all of my scrapbook pages so I have a digital copy of them.  It will take quite some time (especially if I keep screwing up), but I think it'll be worth it!

Happy birthday, Sylvia!  I hope you like the pages.  If not, well, you'll have to come back, and we'll make new pages together.  (Please?  Simoon misses you, and so do I.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Coupon binder strap solution

Okay, this one isn't going to be about beading or scrapping or knitting or crocheting.  I had a problem, I fixed it by doing something I think is cool, and now I'm forcing you to read about it.  :)  Perhaps you have a similar problem that needs a similar solution.

Since I'm trying to be all extreme with my couponing (yes, I watch Extreme Couponing and read lots of stuff online), I bought a zip-up binder and trading card pages where I can keep all coupons organized, secure, and professional-looking.  Here's what it looked like before I attacked it this morning:

I know.  Very exciting.  Wow - you can't even see the background, at least as I'm writing this.  It almost looks like one of those high-falutin' professional shots!  Anyway.  There's a nice pocket on the front for... I haven't figured that out yet.  On the inside there are some pockets which are perfect for store flyers, a large area for the trading card pages and pricing sheets, another pocket for a calculator and a pair of scissors, places for pens...  It's a great binder.

Except.  There's no strap.  When you're carrying it into the store, you have to carry it in your arms.  While this is not a great hardship, it's a little unwieldly.  I want to just throw it over my shoulder and go.

So I grabbed my handy dandy Crop-A-Dile made by We R Memory Keepers (this link is the exact one I have, except I didn't pay near this much - watch for sales) to see if it would punch a hole in one of the ends.  The cover is a little larger than the zipper part, so there was space to punch a hole:

The uncertain part was if the Crop-A-Dile would do it.  It's supposed to be made for things like this - holes in chipboard, thick materials, and even CDs.  It's supposed to, but would it?  Yes!  It did!  I then set an eyelet, and that worked, too.

By this time I thought it'd make a good blog, so I grabbed my camera for the other side.  Here's a pic of the Crop-A-Dile getting ready to punch a hole.  I used the larger of the two hole puncher-outers and inserted the tool all the way into the binder, eyeing where the center would be.

I squeezed, and it worked!  I must admit I was a little surprised.  How often do things work when you're documenting them?

I then placed an eyelet in the hole and used the other part of the Crop-A-Dile to set it:

Here's the inside:

I then looked at my ribbon stash for something that would be sturdy but also cool so Steve wouldn't be embarrassed to carry it around.  I found the perfect ribbon and threaded it through the hole and tied a few knots in it:

Yes, you read that right.  It's a Guitar Hero ribbon that came with pajamas I bought for Steve a while back. I bought them on clearance, I hasten to add, although we do have two Guitar Hero guitars.  You can see what I did to mine in this blog post.  I saved the ribbon for scrapping purposes, of course.  It's perfect for this, though!  I then did an approximate measurement to where it'd be comfortable for over my shoulder and made sure the ribbon wasn't twisted as I threaded it into the other hole (that I punched and eyeleted off screen).  I added some more and cut.  Still have some leftover for scrapping - woo hoo!

I tied two knots in the other end, and here's how it looks "on":

(Yes, I took the picture in the bathroom mirror - I didn't want to wait until Steve got home!)

I then headed out to the grocery store, and it works like a charm!  I'm planning on checking the knots every once in a while and, of course, making sure that the binder is zipped before I sling it over my shoulder.

Now.... what else can I poke holes in?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Inspiration staring me in the face

Hold the phone!  Stop the presses!  Traci is posting TWO blogs in a week!  I hope you're sitting down.

A few days before a beading party at a friend's house I was looking for something new to do.  It's not that I don't have a huge backlog of projects like everyone else does, but I just wanted something new.  Something inspiring.  Something slightly different but well within what I'm capable of and would be capable of at a bead party.

So I was sitting here at my desk, and I looked up at the shelf above the desk and found....

Before I tell you what I found, let me first remind you of my room.  I posted about it early in my blog "career", and you can (re)acquaint yourself with it here.  The room has changed a bit since that post.  The bookshelves and cart are still there, but when I got my new Cricut Expression (you can read about it here), the Cricut station had to change.  I moved in a folding table which has ended up being an extra dumping space more than a Cricut station.  I did use it as such yesterday, but that was the first time.  Our dining room table has been a Cricut station more.

Another change is that the more I've gotten into jewelry, the more room I need.  We moved all of the scrapbooks into the spare room to give me more room for jewelry books, magazines, and supplies.  I'm so far behind on my scrapping.  I'm going to a crop this Saturday - hopefully I'll get more than one or two layouts done.

Once I clean things up I'll post updated pictures.  It seems that any time I clean off one thing, everything else gets messy, then I start a new project, and all bets are off.

In the last picture on my craft room blog post you can see my desk.  I love this desk.  It's sleek, it's smooth, it generally has a cat (or two) on it, and it has a shelf above it.

Here's a closer-up picture of the shelf in all of its messy glory:

The little ledge on top has a "t" stamp (I love monograms, especially stamps!), a metal page border I Staz-Oned purple, an eraser, a pedometer, a bunch of little knick-knacks, a thumb drive, a small piece of art I got out of a vending machine here in Milwaukee from a Waukeganite artist (Peter Bullock - www.art-hounds.com), and another monogram.

The lower ledge is much more of a mish-mash.  To the extreme left is hand sanitizer.  I'll not name everything, but the highlights are: clear nail polish (for earring wires, not nails), a baby anvil, a decoupaged rock one of my cousins in Germany gave me, sushi erasers, a binder with examples of my punches, my favorite picture of Mom and me at my wedding, a book where I've written some of my favorite quotes with stamped embellishments, a bunch of resin bottles and sealers, a few more thumb drives, some alcohol ink, more little knick-knacks, at least one monogram, a picture of my first cat (Perin - he's been gone 7 years now), a little vial I made in a Christi Friesen polymer clay class, some soul candy, and a lot of dust.

But wait, are any of those things the inspiration for the new piece?  Well, you should know I'd save the best for last.  A number of years ago I frequented a shop where there were crystals, Reiki, fairies, beautiful jewelry, and neat music.  I was friends with the owner.  One day I saw a dark purple pyramid with a Goddess symbol on it, and I just fell in love with it:

It's been close to me ever since - on my bedside table when I lived in Waukegan and now practically right in front of me at eye level.  No, I'm not super into Goddesses, but it spoke to me of the glorification of the female form.  Besides, it's purple (duh!).

Here's what's inside:

A few crystals, rose quartz, a slightly heart-shaped rock, and my favorite poem.

So that night, when I was looking up at my shelf, my eyes fell on my beloved pyramid and I really looked at it.  Then I did some research.  Come to find out that this symbol is the triple moon goddess.  There's also a simpler symbol where there are just the three moons - waxing, full, and waning - right next to each other.  If you're interested in seeing that picture plus a number of other ones plus a bunch of information, please click here.  I remembered that I have dark blue moon beads, and my mind started spinning.

I was wondering if I could design a peyote pattern to represent this.  I found an image somewhere with a spiral for her coochy instead of a circle, so I did that instead, plus added a few other spirals.  It was a bit difficult because you can't easily do curves in peyote, but I'm happy with what I came up with.

There is a neat free program called EasyBeadPatterns that I frequently use for these designs.  It's a quick download with a pretty easy interface.  You can design loom beading, peyote, two drop peyote, and more - check it out!

It took quite a while to bead, and Steve and my friends were teasing me that it looked more like a spider or alien than a Goddess.  They relented once it was done, however.

After ALL that lead-in, you've either left or are dying to see the piece.  In case it's the latter, here it is:

I incorporated the simpler triple moon goddess symbol twice on the necklace and once at the bottom of the focal piece.

Here's a closer look at the focal:

Since I didn't want to go to the store, I picked blues that I thought would work well with each other and with the moons.  The Goddess herself is done with silver beads, and she shimmers nicely against the light gray background.

I've been finding that I can put together some nice color schemes when I try to use what I have instead of hot-footing it to the store.  Don't tell the bead stores that, though - I spend enough there as it is!  :)

My friend Maggie Roschyk just had a book published that's all about getting inspiration from things around you.  It's called Artistic Seed Bead Jewelry: Ideas and Techniques for Original Designs.  You can check it out here on Amazon.