Friday, April 22, 2016

Designing the Perfect Scrapbook Layout

Don't you just hate it when you go to the mall and it's so crowded you can't find a parking space?  And there are just too many people crowding you in and the stores have their clothes racks just too close together?

Basic human instinct of survival are just kicking in.  You were hot wired to want to have a place of visual advantage to easily see the path ahead, lots of room to "graze" to your hearts content. and a safe exit strategy.  We just want excitement and something that touches our emotions, but not visual overload or anything too boring.

Well, there are easy design principles you can use to create a scrapbook page that keeps those same basic anxieties at bay, and allow the "star of the show",  your picture to take center stage!  Now, you know there is no such thing as a "perfect" scrapbook layout.  Styles change, moods change, but these simple principles can help you create captivating and timeless layouts.

 Rule of Thirds                                                 
"Memories Captured" VIDEO TUTORIALA very basic rule from the photography world.  Imagine dividing your layout into 9 equal parts just by drawing four lines.  Just like a tic tac toe board.  One of the  four spots where those lines intersect are where your pictures dominant feature should be placed for greatest impact.  One of the best designers at capitalizing on this technique is Gabrielle Polloco.  If you are interested in seeing more of her works, be sure to check out her blog at

 White Space                                                   

Okay, white space isn't really always white.  It is just a clean space for the eye to rest, and the brain to process what it is taking in.  Too little white space, or too much visual clutter and the brain gets agitated and wants to turn away. Today's trend in advertising is lots and lots of white space and make the logo or message clear and  dominant.  The same is true in scrapbooking trends.  See how both ads are selling cleaner.  But one really stands out because of the effective use of white space.  Nope I don't recommend one cleaner over the other, just the use of white space.

A line is the simplest way to have the viewer follow your lead.  A line can be curved or head off in any direction.  But your visual line  should be easy enough for the eye to follow and end in the pot of gold...your picture or message you wanted to show off.    Notice how this gorgeous layout by Ingvild Bolme  from Prima's website use two lines to frame the darling picture.  

Remember the yellow brick road? Yep lots of twists and turns, but they kept to it because it was easy to identify as the way to go and they trusted the payoff at the end would be worth the trip.

It's easy....just try to use any visual image at least 3 times to create a pattern to set a theme.  More than 3? Just keep them odd numbers, it's easier on the brain and will keep it interested.  Many practicers of Fung Sui design principles believe odd numbers of elements create movement.  I love how this BoBunny layout repeats the shades of green and the stamped images.  Really balances the layout!  

This is another great layout from Gabrielle at  It's not only perfect to highlight the effectiveness of repetition, but the richness that adding texture can bring to your scrapbooking story.

Remember the yellow brick road we talked about above?  Well it was filled with excitement, things that made the journey anything but boring.  Well that's where texture comes in on a scrapbook layout. Texture can be created with mixing in metals, fabrics, stenciling with modeling paste, embossing, paints, using pop dots to create raised effects...just have fun and add texture!  It will keep your eye interested in continuing the journey and yet give it some "roses to stop and smell" or fill you with a excitement that will make the trip memorable.


Can't help's science...colors produce feelings and emotions in the viewer.  So use it to it's best advantage by playing with and easy to use color palette builder.  Good old fashioned color wheels are still great for helping inspire you with color mixes. But if you want something a little more new age...try some online color palette generators.  Just like with pattern, it is often more pleasing to use one dominant color, then at least two supporting, one secondary and one accent.  

Two of my favorites color palette sites are 
  • Adobe's Kuler Color Wheel  (even lets you upload an image or picture to suggest palette!)
  • Design Seed  Doesn't let you upload a pic to "match" but man oh man are her images inspiring and very often pull me off the couch and fling me to the craft table just by their pow factor!
Interested in learning a little more about color theory? See my post: 

So when it comes to creating a scrapbook layout that really pops, just remember to follow your own natural instincts.  After all you ARE an artist.  We are all wired that way!

Have fun and be fearless!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Be Inspired - Playing with Printables

I grew up in a generation born without computers.  Heck we didn't even have remotes for TV's when I was a child.  Fax machines didn't come to my work until I was in my mid-twenties.  I was captivated with what technology could bring.  AND then computers!!!!  Oh my Heaven's, they had me at hello.

I am having a ball, everyday, learning something new about playing with art and color and design on the computer.  There is a saying..."Never measure your start by someone else's middle."

I remind myself that every time I get giddy with excitement when I learn something new about Photoshop Elements.  Keep going, you haven't even gotten close to reaching your middle... I keep telling myself.  But I am light years ahead of where I was yesterday.

Creating printables was something I wanted to learn to do.  I love typefaces, I love color, I love art, I love home only seemed to make sense that I needed to learn to make printables.  Plus, I could play and play with my digital supplies and never have to worry about making a mess on my desk.  A mess on my computer, trying to organize files and keep track of digital files, yes.  But at least my desktop and craft room were none the worse for wear.

I recently went to a fabulous crop with over 200 women present.  The creative juices were flowing like wine.  I was so very blessed to be sitting across from a dear friend and very very gifted artist, Belinda Keller.  She was working on an idea she had for art inspired by the theme of the crop - Willy Wonka.  Belinda decided she  wanted to play up on the Good Egg scene from the movie.

Well, Belinda created this incredible piece of watercolor art in shades of blues and greens.  She shared she wanted to use it as a photo frame for her scrapbook layout.  Amazing!

But she didn't care for the color she had painted the "GOOD" egg.  It was a gorgeous fuchsia that was one of the colors in the eggs and pictures we took.  So lucky lucky me!  She recolored another egg for herself.  Right there...on the spot...made another gorgeous egg.  And I got to use, steal, take the fuchsia one.

Then I asked her if I could play with making myself some digital printables with it.  So I scanned a copy in.  Opened it in Adobe's Photoshop Elements and played with recoloring it to match the title.

On Photoshop Elements it's as easy as:
Hitting the drop down button for "Enhance".
Then select "adjust color".
Then "adjust hue/saturation".  Now just slide the hue bar til you find a color combo you like.

Inspirational Printables | On Sutton PlaceNow the easy peesy printable I made from Belinda's incredible watercolor artwork makes me so proud of how I am learning to play with printables. I have gained courage and artistic inspiration from so many places.

One of the most inspiring blog sites I have ever stumbled upon was
On Sutton Place Printables.

She is an amazing artist. Her site is one of my go-to places to be inspired.  She shares dozens of seasonal and inspirational printables.

Kiss from a Rose digital kitHow would I ever be able to create anything more beautiful than those?  I may never be, but I can learn to create things I like.  Things that come from me.  And that's the fun of it.  

Photoshop Elements 14 is the software I use to play with.  I find beautiful digital supplies from dozens of sites, free and for purchase on the web. One of my favorites is   It's an online store featuring dozens of talented digital artist.  They have a wonderful offering that fits every taste.  And tutorials that I found immensely helpful in learning how to create on a computer. It turned this hardware into a beautiful palette.  My computer now holds many times more happy scrappy supplies than would ever fit in my scraproom.

Another artist that is so inspiring is Katie Pertiet.  She has an outstanding blog, where she sometimes offers incredible freebies. Her designs are offered for sale at Designer Digitals.

3x4 free project life printable

Of course  Pinterest is an unending treasure trove for printables, freebies and for purchase.  And the overwhelming inspiration can be crippling.  I have had to discipline myself to disconnect from Pinterest before I have spent the whole day filling my soul with inspiration.  I want to create.  I want to learn.  And the only way to do that is just to do!

So while I feel like I am approaching the middle...I still take such pleasure from playing with printables and learning something new as often as I can.

Enjoy, play and have fun creating!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Be Inspired - Playing with Watercolors

How often do we tell ourselves..."I am not an artist"?  I have done that terrible deed to myself for decades.  It was only in recent years that I  have started to face my self doubts and go for it.

Here's a link to her great video:

So I wanted to share some of artists and trends I find inspiring.  After all, I spend more than a forty hour "work" week on watching videos and reading blogs.  And I thought it might be fun to share the links and posts that most inspire me.

Thank Heaven above for the inspiring artists that so generously share their time and talents with us on YouTube.  I watch everyday, looking for a new idea, a new trick, a new trend that I can play with.  And that's what finally what I had to tell!  No one will see if you make a "mistake".  And just turn that mistake into a happy accident, and play. 

Now I haven't gone as far as creating an art journal for myself.  Still haven't overcome the fear of someone stumbling upon  it (and so what if they did?) , or me reminding myself of the boo boo's.  So I create little snippets.  Try new things and what the heck.  If I don't like what I see, I keep going and recreate it or throw it away.  And for me, that's saying something. 

This week I wanted to play with watercolors.  My favorite go to gal for inspiration is Jennifer McGuire.  Now she is not a watercolor artist by trade, she is a card maker blogger extrairdinaire!   And recently she shared a technique for coloring outside the box.  Sounded like it was meant for me.

I recently received a new stamp set from Hot off the Press and thought the flowers in it would be great to try this gorgeous new technique.

 I pulled out some of  my Strathmore Mixed Media and Watercolor paper scraps I have been hoarding.  I know, I know, I can't throw anything out and couldn't bear the thought of wasting a whole new page.   And what fun it was to start to play.

Here's my project, warts and all.  Thank you Jennifer!  I am such a huge fan of yours!!! Now that was fun...what's next?

Plus!  here's a link to another quick and easy video from Prairie Paper and Ink  I think you would enjoy!  Looks so quick and easy!

Be Inspired - Playing with Watercolor

P.S. Click the link above to watch my video for close up of these cards and a couple of tips on organization you might enjoy!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2016 New Year Freebie Stickers for Happy Planner

Well I couldn't decide!  I was making a new cover and stickers for my MAMBI Happy Planner and I just couldn't decide.  Bright with watercolor fun or gardens of pink and cream flowers?  So of course I did both.

Here are the stickers I made, and wanted to share.  Please feel free to copy and print for your personal use.  (Just  click on the photo, and save to your favorite file or print to use now.)

So I think you can see, I was completely in two very different moods when I created these stickers.

Which brings me to my true dilemma.  I am trying to set my goals for 2016 and just can't seem to focus in on just one, two or even three.  It seems I have a certifiable case of crafting attention deficit disorder.  But isn't that the real beauty of crafting?   Creating something that expresses how you feel, at that moment.   

Well, anywho, back to my Happy Planner. Along with the stickers, I made two different covers. 

For the watercolor one, I downloaded some graphic artwork from Dress your Tech which I found on Pinterest.  Wowzer they have great looking graphics. Intended for use on phones, tablets and computers, but hey why now use as craft designer paper too!  

For the beautiful shabby chic pink one, I scanned a sheet of pinkpaislee paper I had stashed away years ago, then "transformed" the size in Photoshop elements 14.  Then I "erased" the wording they had in the white frame and replaced with the year.

I made several "insert" sheets to coordinate with the watercolor cover, as well as two other sticker sheets, using great artwork I downloaded from Pinterest.  Here's a peek at the two other sheets. Head over to my Pinterest boards, Planners and Journaling Printables and Printables and Digital Fun, to see pins from the original pinners.

I will be posting a video later, showing my planner, these stickers and extra insert pages I made to coordinate with the watercolor cover as soon as I can.  But for now, I am just having fun playing with all these pretty things!

Happiest of New Years to you!
Have fun creating,

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

New Christmas Tags for 2015

Well was that fun or what?  I just spent the morning creating nine new tags to celebrate this Christmas season.  

I am on a mission to use up as much of my bits and pieces of scrips  and scraps that I have been hoarding for the last several years and thought making tags would let me use some of the itty bitty pieces I couldn't use on layout.  

I started with a base of the Julie Nutting for Prima paper tags.  They have a wonderul vintage feel to them and I love the size.  I sprayed each one with different combinations of my Lindys Stamp Gang sprays in tones of creme brulee, golds and other metallics.

While I was in a bling it up type frame of mind, I tore into my flower stash, found several I thought might work for the holidays, and sprayed some of them and added glitter and gilding to the rest.  

Then it was just a matter of gluing on all the little treasure pieces I had laid out in front of me.  And while it should have been oh so easy, I found I spent hours laying each one out and agonizing over the placement of each piece. 

Even deciding on the ribbons to use was such fun.  And made me feel so justified in having spent a small fortune over time building up this hoard of scrappy happy supplies.

The happiness of making these little charmers was even made all the merrier when I realized I had actually made a small dent in the holiday stash and might now have a little room to put away some of the new things I got delivered today.  

Sigh.....  Oh well, back to stash busting for me!  

I am wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas and happiest of New Years.  Now I am off to make some 12 x 12 layouts.  

Here's the video of these cuties:


Monday, December 14, 2015

Make It Merry Mini Album and Die Storage idea from Tim H

Just wanted to share this oh so merry little Christmas mini album I just finished. It features the October Afternoon collection, Make it Merry.  I love the sweet retro look of the collection and the cheery feel of it.  

The album is constructed using medium weight chipboard as the base for each page.  I cut the rop papers for each page  7.5" tall by 6" wide.   Then I cut the papers to cover the pages just about a half to 3/4 of an inch bigger to give me room to "wrap" the papers around the edges. 

Once I had wrapped those around, I cut the papers to cover the back of each page just  1/4" smaller in each direction to glue on the back.  Be sure to check out my video for closeups of each page.  

Plus, I share in this video how I am storing my dies now,  ( I have a picture below of how it came out in my craft room so far).

Borrowed the idea after watching a Tim Holtz video where he mentioned this idea. Couldn't wait to give it a try, and I love it. 

Once I was inspired by all the dies I had forgotten I owned, I played a little bit with cutting the edges of my pockets and a few decorative pieces to add to this little mini.  Some of the newest dies I have are the Heartfelt Creations Ornaet Borders and Regal Borders and Pockets sets.  So pretty!  Just love the intricate styles and versatility of them!

Well, I hope this inspires you to take a new look at all of your olders supplies and have fun crafting!  


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Easy Christmas Shaker Ornament Tutorial Share

Wanted to share this oh so easy Christmas Shaker Ornament tutorial I found. The link to xannero1's wonderful tutorial is on my video where I showed the ornaments I made from the inspiration. 

Couldn't resist taking advantage of the great weekend sales and am just loving using some of the super buys I found.  Two of my favorite new items are the Sizzix Precision Base plate.  Was amazed at the detail cuts I got from even tiny, intricate dies!  

Product Details
And the great buy on Stick it adhesive sheets I found on Blitsy!  (They had the best After Thanksgiving sale ever! While these might not still be available, it's always fun to check them out for great savings on crafting favorites!)  

Plus, I have a link to the Cricut Explore Cutting files I made...just remember you may have to pay a small fee if you don't have the monthly Cricut subscription or own the images I used to make these. 

I cut two pf each layer, to make matching fronts and backs. I used clear acrylic sheet to cut ovals to cover windows. Then I traced outline onto craft foam to cutout a spacer layer, cutting ithe a little smaller so it wouldn't  peek out of the sides.  Wished I had used a few more sequins, but will on next ones.  Can'the wait to make more.

Gold Ornament Cricut Cutting File ( this really is the one I used for the gold ornament, even though I picked silver colors for pic...sorry)

Silver Ornament Cricut Cutting File (and this really is the file I used for the silver ornament, even though I picked yellow colors for this pic...jeesh...)

Well I hope you have fun crafting and again, Merry Christmas and happiest of holidays to you and yours!