Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Layout of the Week - I Love Your SMILE!

I was so excited to see the challenge handed out by the ladies at the Ella Publishing blog. They were looking for layout submissions with the title, "I Love Your Smile." That was the only criteria, just use that title. I think karma brought me to this gleeful photo of Delaney. For the past couple weeks, I've been designing baby layouts for my next beginning scrapbooking class, so I had a pack of photos of Jake when he was first born right there on the table. When I saw this page call, I flipped through the photos to see if any of them fit the title. And boy, this one jumped right out at me. This is THE happiest I have ever seen Delaney in a picture. It was taken, probably by Dave, just after Jake was born. We gave her this great I'm the Big Sister t-shirt and she was so excited, she put it right on. She was over flowing with joy that her little brother, whom she had waited so long for, was finally here! It brings tears to my eyes to look at it, when I think of how happy she was.

Her reaction to the photo, while I was creating this page, cracks me up! She looked at it and asked if it was taken when Jake was born. I said yes and that she was so happy. Being 8 1/2 now and having her brother be almost 2, she said, "I love him, but I don't know if I'm that happy about him now....he did cry a lot and...you know, mom, he's Jake." So that makes this picture that much more special to me, what a beautiful innocent smile, so excited that her baby brother is finally here. Unbeknownst to this sweet little girl are all the things about babies that aren't so fun, the SCREAMING (you have to know Jake to know I'm NOT kidding), the wet & poopy diapers, the hitting, throwing & destroying, etc. Of course she is still the happiest big sister in the world, when her little guy says her name, "Dee Dee, Dee Dee" or when he walks up to her, tilts his head, puckers his lips, closes his eyes, and cranes his neck toward her just hoping for a kiss.

Those are all reasons that this photo makes me a very happy mom! I hope you all create layouts showing something that makes you happy!

As far as the layout, I used the Cricut to cut the circles, placing my matted photo inside the largest circle to draw attention to it. I placed the title around the circle, also in an effort to draw attention to the photo. I chose journal strips for this page because a journal box might draw attention away from my photo. Inside the strips is my jounaling, "a girl was never so happy to have a little brother." I think that all the elements of this page help draw attention to Delaney's photo. I think it's important for her to have some pages in her album commemorating her brother's birth that show her reaction. He will have tons of blue pages showing all the exciting happenings after he was born and big sister needs a little attention too!


Try mixing chipboard styles when creating your titles. The mix will give your layouts a whimsical look.

If you aren't happy with the color of your chipboard, so ahead & paint it. Here I painted chipboard with both paint and glitter glue.

Don't be afraid to add other embellishments to your chipboard. Here I added ribbon, rhinestones & stickers to my chipboard shapes.

Supply List

Basic Grey June Bug collection papers
Admiral: used the back side
Park Bench: used the back side
Picket Fence: used the back side

Prizm light & medium pink textured cardstock

Pink Metallic Ribbon

KaiserCraft Basics: Rhinestones - light & dark pink and Rhinestone strips - pink

Creative Cafe pink chipboard shapes

Circle shapes all cut with the Cricut

"I" - Tim Holtz Grungeboard harlequin alphas

"your" - American Crafts THICKERS hat box plain chipboard

"SMILE" - Die Cuts with a View foil chipchatter uppercase - pink

Mrs. Grossman's casual alphabet stickers

American Crafts Memory Marker pen - soft black

Scrapbook Shades by Li'l Davis Designs - marshmallow

Ranger Adirondack Brights Acrylic Paint Dabber - raspberry

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Finding Inspiration with Photography

After a morning of trying to get some creative work done, but not being able to become inspired, I headed out to my backyard with my camera. I left my steaming cup of coffee on the end table next to my laptop. I had just been reading my bloggy friend Yaya's great blog post about her favorite color, orange. I noticed that the sun was peaking out from behind a cloud shining dappled sun down on my newly orange Japanese maple. I decided to take a photo of it to email to Yaya, her favorite color & all.

After I shot numerous photos of Leafy (Delaney named the tree when we planted it), I glanced around the yard. Although it's a pretty gray day, here in Oregon, the sun would peak out for a few moments here & there. I wandered the yard, purposefully looking at everything I could find. I shot photos of my maples turning on their Fall best. I shot photos of some strange mushrooms growing in the yard. Yes, Dave, I know this is strange, but their color & shape was interesting. I shot the ducks sleeping on the island in the middle of the pond behind our yard. I shot a huge yellow zucchini flower growing through the fence from the neighbor's yard. I shot the swings, lonely & empty, barely moving in the light breeze. I noticed how quiet it was for almost noon. All the neighborhood kids back to school & Jake napping upstairs. I shot my last bright red & orange cherry tomatoes of the year. Then I started to realize that I had just taken a rainbow of photos from around my yard. I was just missing the color blue. I stopped to take one last photo of the blue lobelia, still hanging on in my summer containers. As I shot the photo, I noticed one more harbinger of Fall. There was a Preying Mantis, hanging upside down,from the lobelia, watching me. After shooting her photo (Delaney & I always call them girls), I headed back inside to my now cold cup of coffee.

Who cares about warm coffee, when you can spend half an hour outside with your camera finding the inspiration to create all sorts of wonderful projects. So next time you find yourself needing inspiration, grab your camera & head outside. Shoot photos of whatever interesting things you find. You may find beautiful Fall leaves, white drifts of snow, gray puddles of newly fallen rain or just the shape your boot makes in the mud. But if you look at them with a creative eye, you will find the beauty in the simple creations of nature.

Try it sometime & let me know what you find!

(I wrote this last Monday and have just had the time to attach all these photos to it! Hope you enjoy them!)

By the way, I shot all these with my little Sony Cybershot digital camera, I don't own a DSLR, but it's on my wishlist! Almost all the photos were shot in the "soft snap" setting, where you shoot the subject with a soft background & no flash. Your camera might have a portrait setting, try it for your photos. I love the camera knowing to focus on my subject & then blurring out the background.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Layout of the Week - Our Little Monster

When I first saw the new Monster collection from Reminisce, I just knew I had to use it for a new Jake page. I had just taken some funny photos of him. Our own little monster turns into a tornado every day. The little tornado moves quickly across the living room to the hearth, where we store his toys, grabs things and starts dumping, tossing, throwing them across the room. He plays & plays in the middle of this mess. We reorganize & straighten up his stuff about five times everyday. All the little cars in their container, books stacked nicely, balls in the toy box, etc. And then he wakes up! And it's back to tornado mode! So one day, I decided to take photos of all the little messes he made that day, all over the room. Of course when I looked at the photos, the room didn't really look as messy as I thought it did. But still, picking up the same toys so many times everyday, I guess it just adds up!

I used my new favorite embellishment on these pages! I outline the edges of paper, stickers & photos with the thick end of my black Zig Writer. I love how the black helps make things on my pages stand out.

The pages have so much going on with all the color & pattern of the paper and stickers. And then there is also the size of the stickers to take into consideration. I wanted to add a little more embellishment, so I added a ribbon to the tag sticker on this page. It gives a little more dimension to the page, while not competing with all my other elements.

That day, as I was photographing his disaster, he just stood, leaning against the couch, smirking at me, as if to say, "Look how cute I am! There's no way you can be made at me about this!"

But wait...could he be turning over a new leaf? As I'm writing this, he just brought me the Swiffer Sweeper, out of the coat closet & had me turn it on so he could vacuum...we'll see...


After you finish a layout, add a thick black outline to some of your page elements to help them stand out from a busy background. I use the thick end of a black Zig Writer.

Try adding a thin solid color ribbon to your page, for a little extra dimension that won't take away from your page design.

Don't be afraid to cover up portions of your photos with large scale stickers.

Use a few smaller photos or wallets (as I've done here) grouped together. They give the feeling of one large photo, while telling more of the story than one photo would.

Supply List

Reminisce Monsters collection papers and 3 different sheets of Monsters self adhesive stickers: words, tags & journal boxes & large monsters

Thin Grosgrain ribbon, navy & orange

Zig Writer, black

Monday, October 19, 2009

Layout of the Week Bonus - Girlfriends

This week I have two layouts to share with you. Today I'm featuring one of my favorite layouts using the American Crafts Teen collection papers. I created this layout for Delaney, as a way to remember a fun day out with her girlfriends. Some moms & I got together and planned a little surprise for the girls. We took them out for lunch and to see the very first showing of the Hannah Montana movie. The girls were lucky enough to be out of school that Friday and they LOVED getting to see the movie before any of their other friends.

I chose to print this photo in black & white because lunch that day was at Red Robin and their restaurant colors didn't coordinate well with my paper choice. This is one of the reasons I love black & white photos...they go with EVERYTHING!

I love the bold papers of the Teen collection and it was fun to combine them with American Crafts' THICKERS vinyl letters and accents. I framed my photo with Prizm cardstock and added black & white floral papers from LUXE and black rhinestones from Kaisercraft.

I know that I have featured this layout before without the photo. I thought it might be fun to have an extra Layout of the Week this week so I could share the finished product with you.

Enjoy your week!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Layout of the Week - Fall Leaves

These pages commemorate one of Delaney's favorite Fall activities, jumping in the leaf piles. Every year, Dave heads out to blow & rake the leaves in our backyard. He piles them up & puts them into the yard debris bin so they can be hauled away and turned into mulch. And it never fails, Delaney runs out into the yard, yelling for him to wait to put them in the bin until she gets a chance to run & jump into the piles. Of course being a mom who is always thinking of the laundry & stains that will be created by her kids' adventures, I remind her to run upstairs & put on some old clothes so I won't have to spend hours getting the wet leaf & dirt stains out. Then I grab my camera & head outside with her. I sit behind the leaf pile shooting tons of photos, so that I'll be sure to get some great action shots.

For the layout, I had a couple things to take into consideration. First, I was given sample sheets of the Shades of Autumn collection from Reminisce to create a sample for the store and I wanted to use as many of the patterns in my layout as I could manage. Next, I wanted to include as many photos as I could and still have the layout look balanced. Since this was one of my first forays into using many mixed patterns on a layout, I chose a neutral background for them. And then chose to use strips of the patterned papers so everyone could see how they worked together. Strips of paper are one of my favorite simple layout techniques. You can adhere them in a jumble manner, like I did here or place them in horizontal or vertical stripes or perpendicular to each other in the corner of your layout. I placed mine in a jumbled way to echo the way leaves fall into piles with colors and shapes all jumbled together.

With so much going on in my layout, I chose to mat my photos in a mix of neutral fall colors pulled from the patterned Reminisce papers. I used stickers from the Shades of Autumn collection on both pages. For a some extra texture, I added ribbons from American Crafts. And for one last embellishment, I placed four square bronze brads on the floral ribbon on the right page and one under the column of stickers on the left page.

For me, this is a fun layout, with a lot going on! And that's just how I feel about Fall, so many fun things going on to enjoy & photograph! So grab that rain jacket & scarf (some of you probably need ski jackets & snow boots too...) and don't forget your camera!


When shooting photos of the kids jumping in the leaves, try sitting down & stabilizing your camera by leaning your arm on something steady, like a tree, rock or even just your leg. If your camera has a setting for action, use it, if not, just use your auto setting. Next, focus the camera on the pile of leaves & send the kids running toward you, pressing the shutter when they reach the leaves. Try this a few times and you should end up with some fun photos.

If you're new at mixing patterns on your layouts, choose a few patterns from one collection and find a neutral that is common among the patterns and use it as your background.

Using strips of the patterns on your layout allows you to showcase a few patterns without having them overwhelm the photos on your page.

For an added embellishment, place brads on your ribbons.

Supply List

Shades of Autumn paper collection from Reminisce
dark brown cardstock from Prizm
ribbons from American Crafts
bronze square brads from unknown source

Monday, October 5, 2009

JulieChats Wins Blog of the Week Award from Scrapbooking.com Magazine

I am so excited to be chosen to receive this honor! To read the announcement & description of the blog in this week's newsletter, click HERE. Please check out Scrapbooking.com Magazine! Their weekly newsletter is filled with great ideas that you can use to create wonderful new projects. Every week a new blog is featured as blog of the week. So be sure to sign up to receive their magazine in your inbox and meet a new scrapbooking blogger every week!

Scrapbooking.com magazine has also asked to feature my HOME project in an article next month. It's exciting for me to see that people are reading my Layout of the Week features. I'll let everyone know when the article will be published. It includes a special bonus project I created using the scraps left over from my original HOME project.

So stay tuned to JulieChats & send all your scrapbooking friends my way, I've got all sorts of fun projects in the works to share with you in the next few weeks!

Layout of the Week Basic Grey June Bug

The bright colors & bold patterns of June Bug jumped right off the shelf & into my basket. At first, I wasn't sure what type of layout I would design with them, but I knew I had to have them. When I set the papers out on the table in my studio, I moved them around thought about their patterns. After some thought I decided that these great bold patterns deserved a bold layout.

I chose Cabana, the navy paper with the white plaid design as my background. Next I wanted to use some of the large flowers from the Fresco print. I decided to use the flowers in two corners of the paper. And instead of cutting a strip or square from this paper, I chose to trim around the flowers and leaves, to help them stand out from the background.

With all of the patterns in this layout, I wanted to include a nice solid that would help divert some of the attention to the photos and away from the design of the page. The June Bug collection didn't have the paper I was looking for, so I decided on Lime Cooler from the Lemonade collection. I used Lime Cooler as journaling strips and the first mat behind my photos. Photo mats are typically created in the shape of the photo set on them. I kept with this idea for the second mats behind my photos, although I mounted these mats and twisted them a bit. Then I veered away from the idea of a traditional photo mat when I included the circles behind my first two layers of photo mats. I liked the idea of using the circle pattern of the Chicken Pox paper, cut into a circle as my non-traditional spin on a photo mat.

When I finished this layout, I was happy with how it turned out. But I really thought it was still missing something. Normally, at this point, I would wander around the store or dig through the stash in my studio to find the perfect embellishment to finish a layout. This time I felt that the strong graphic colors, pattern and design could easily stand on their own. And I really liked the idea of creating a great layout on a budget (5 sheets of paper), without the addition of pricier designer brads, rub ons or stickers. I had used the thin end of my Zig Writer to journal on the strips and realized that its thick end would create the perfect final embellishment for my page. I used the Zig Writer's thick end to draw an edge around my trimmed flowers and non traditional photo mats. After creating this edge, I was very excited with my final product.

This was a fun layout to create and lead to a long list of tips that will help others create similar layouts! I can't wait to use my idea of outlining a layout with a pen on another project soon!

Oh, and I forgot to mention the story shown in the layout. These photos are from Delaney's very first gymnastics performance. She was nervous, but very excited to perform with her team before our local professional soccer team's game this summer. I only have these two photos because I was video taping the performance with my camera. It was important for me to create a memorable layout for this memorable occasion.


If you're nervous about mixing patterns on one layout, try using patterns gathered from one collection.

Remember to include at least one solid in the mix to use as a mat for your photos. You want people to pay attention to both your design and your photos.

When adding a bold pattern to your layout, use just a portion, trimming around the items you want to include.

Use small strips of your solid as journal strips. This is especially helpful when you want to include a little journaling, but don't have a "book" to write for the page.

Add some non traditional shapes to your mats for an original look.

Save money, by using a thick black pen to outline portions of the graphic papers in your layout. You can choose which items to draw attention to, and let others fall into the background.

Supply List

Basic Grey, June Bug collection
Chicken Pox
Tea Party

Basic Grey, Lemonade collection
Lime Cooler

Zig Writer pen, black


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