Tuesday, September 30, 2008

digital scrapbooking

A while back I decided to get into a little bit of digital scrapbooking. It was actually more out of necessity as I was trying to make a photo book for my sisters birthday (a book celebrating her 20th birthday and all the great pictures we have from the past 20 years) and was really frustrated with the limitations of the templates offered by the book publishing companies. I decided that I would learn to use photoshop (something I also wanted to learn in order to design our wedding stationery) and I made jpeg files out of the pages I created so I could just put them in the software as full page images thus giving myself complete control over the creative process. I bought Digital Designs for Scrapbooking 2 so that I could learn some basics and pretty much figured out whatever else I needed as I went along. I then published through blurb.com and the book ended up being 76 pages (counting each side as a page) and it really came out beautifully. I was not trying to do true scrapbooking and really did not use embellishments or anything, just some words and quotes that I felt were relevant and a few decorative elements where I felt them necessary like on backgrounds and such. The color scheme for the book in an attempt to unify is black, white, gray and pink. I thought it would be nice to post a few of these pages that I am really proud of. The pages that I am posting are being displayed for layout and/or design elements, not for the photographs they contain. Of course the photo is always part of making a page good; being able to choose the right photo for a layout or design or vice versa is definitely important, but anyway, here are a few of my favorites:

I really liked the way the quote went with the flowers I put on and I also think the black shadow boxes really brought it together and gave it more depth.

This pages is dedicated to our grandmother who passed away and my sister was especially close to her (their birthdays were only a day apart). I managed to use the lyrics to amazing grace in the background and just emphasized the title words in red to make them stand out. It turned out to be a really nice way to use those lyrics while keeping the focus of the page on the picture.
This was an instance where I decided the background just needed something so I decided on an all over flower pattern with the pink to bring the pictures out and keep them in focus.

Perhaps my favorite thing about making designs is playing with the opacity. I love being able to make things fade into the background a bit and control which elements are more prominent. That is what I did with the year in this one. I thought it was important to preserve what year this particular halloween took place along with the happy halloween message and this seemed the perfect way to include it all.

This is actually what I made for the back cover. I thought it would be nice to reuse one of my favorite pictures of the two of us and try out some special effects the I learned using the digital scrapbooking book. It came out really well and ended up being a perfect back cover page.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

cloth napkins

This week I have been spending some time trying to figure out some crafty Christmas gifts. "Christmas?!?!" you say in shock. Absolutely. I figure if I start now I have much more time to make things and might get it all done. I really like making gifts for people but only if they are practical and I think they will really like them and get good use out of them which sometimes makes it difficult to think of things. Anyway, I got a few things figured out but can't post them for obvious reasons. I am going to have to start gathering coupons for Joann's though and make a trip for some of the little things I need. I also don't really like to make big things. I tend toward projects that won't take me more than a few hours so as to limit the frustration I have time to feel.

Speaking of small projects, recently I purchased the book Bend-the-Rules Sewing, mostly because it has lots of small projects that don't require much fabric and thus, I can use a lot of what I have instead of buying more fabric, a real money saver. I was looking through it last week and discovered the pattern for cloth napkins which are simple and use fabric beautifully! I got very excited but also annoyed at myself at the same time for not having thought of it myself. Had I just stopped to think about it, it would have occurred to me that you just need a piece of fabric and then to fold the sides over and sew. If I had just looked at the cloth napkins I already have I might have noticed. But at any rate, there it was and I decided that I could make some cloth napkins that are all cute and mis-matchy and I could also make some pot holders with the leftover scraps. Genius, pure genius! So that is just what I did this weekend. The potholders are not completed due to the fact that I need to get some batting that won't, ya know, melt when heated thus defeating it's primary purpose. So the fabric pieces are ready to go once I have the rest and the napkins are done and really cute. In fact, they are so cute, I might make more, a gift set perhaps? Only time will tell. So first up are the napkins by themselves. They are about 13x9 or so when opened so the perfect size when folded for a muffin or scone (tea party anyone??) And then we have the napkins with their matching soon-to-be pot holders.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

wedding goodies part I

10 months from today, I will be a Mrs. which really just blows my mind. To honor the countdown and all the hard work I am putting into said wedding, I have decided that every month on the 18th if possible, I will post a wedding craft that I have made. At this point I think I have enough to last me a couple of months so we'll just have to see where the planning takes me by the time I run out, but I'm sure knowing me that I will continue to have things to post.

Anyway, I would like to kick this off by honoring my girls. When we got engaged, I immediately knew who I wanted by my side and decided that I wanted to make them a little something to show them how much I love and appreciate them. I have a maid of honor and a bridesmaid so we are keeping it small and I made them each (and one for me of course!) a little tote bag with a cute fabric design on them and then put sparkley words on them that said 'bride' 'bridesmaid' or 'maid of honor' so that we can all use them as we run around doing wedding related tasks. They were really so much fun to make and didn't take too much time or money and honestly I want to make more, I just need to find an excuse and some money to do so. I used coloring book-like pages as patterns and cut out the shapes and then folded them under and sewed on that for a clean edge. Doing it that way made the curves a little rough and um...pointy, but I think they came out really well :) I also made cards to ask them, but I think that will be for next month, I love the bags too much and am too excited about them to do the cards first.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

gym bag

So next week I should have some nice new projects to post, but until then here is another one that I did a few months ago. Early in the summer my future mother-in-law bought the book Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt and we decided to go to town. Our big project was a t-shirt wedding dress (oh yeah we did!) made out of 7 white t-shirts (actually a top and a skirt) which I sadly realize now I do not have pictures of, but I will be sure to acquire some. It did take two of us, but it came out pretty cute considering it is a wedding dress made of t-shirts haha. Anyway, I did a number of other projects like a sunglasses case, checkbook cover, and skirt that I also don't have pictures of. As indicated by the title, possibly my favorite project and the one that I do have pictures of, is a gym bag that I made for my sister. On one of our goodwill trips collecting t-shirts to transform I found a shirt that said "the cops just pulled me over for carrying these guns" and I just could not stop laughing about it and thought it would be just perfect for a little gym bag. It came out a bit smaller than intended because I was bound by the size of the t-shirt which also made the strap a bit short, but that's okay, it was fun :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008


It occured to me over this past week that although I have no new projects to post, I certainly have plenty of past projects that deserve some love. Thus, because I seriously miss having a sewing machine, I thought I would honor a few of my sewing projects from the past year. I am starting out with my pillows. I love making pillows! Unfortunately I really don't have space to make too many of them, but that's okay. The first one came about from a pattern I found here and decided that chickens were definitely not going to work for me. And for whatever reason in the fabric shop I was really into brown retro, weird pattern fabric, but somehow it all came together and I love the result. For the record, the back is the same big flowery pattern as the center but I'm only putting up a picture of the front. I also decided on both of them to make ties for the opening so that I can easily take them off and wash them. The red pillow is a cover for a massage pillow that I accidentally ripped when I pulled the tag off and now it is slowly leaking little white round things. Man that sounds gross. Anyway, I needed a cover for it and decided on this pattern as I flipped through my quilting books. The back on that one is the nice red with white polka dots. They were both a lot of fun and to be honest, they are the only sewing projects I have done to date where the seams match up! I was and remain very proud of myself :) And now, pictures of my glorious handiwork!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

yarn love

I recently started a project that unfortunately can not be revealed for many months. (Which is often my problem....I would post a lot more projects if they weren't for people and I wasn't afraid they might see them.) In any case, the point is that I love the yarn I am working with and I thought everyone should know. It is spa yarn from naturallycaron.com and it is a mix of acrylic and bamboo which makes it super soft. I was afraid I wasn't going to like it (we had a little fight in the beginning when I couldn't find the end....resulting in a very long process that involved much untangling) but it is turning out to be great! The first row was rough because it can be quite stringy but once I got into it, it was fine and now I really love working with it. So that's all for now. I actually am not sure when I will have another finished project to show, but hopefully it won't be too long. I should be getting the sewing machine back in 2 weeks and that will expand my possibilities. I have a lot of sewing planned and that generally goes much quicker than knitting, so by the end of the month things should pick up :)

and p.s. thanks for all the bear love, the more I look at it the more I kind of like it and enjoy it's quirks :)