Saturday, April 21, 2012

~ in progress ~

I have so many things in progress right now; it's the end of the school year, my graduate class is wrapping up, I've started a few new work projects, I'm continuing with my OLW, and it's spring!  But, the main thing I would like to share today is the progress I've made on the minibook that I am working on.  I am excited about it and learning so much while I do this for the first time!  As mentioned in my last post, I chose a 6x6 format, and I am really happy with that!  Good choice, o.g.! One of the things that I really like about reading other people's blogs is the photographs, so you get photos!  I also like it when people talk about mistakes that they've made along the way -- and how they fix them! So, I will also include some of those.  And finally, I am also going to share the stuff that I learned on this new adventure (I'm certain some of that will overlap with the mistakes)!

The short version:
1.  Made many mistakes, some of which I was able to cover up without much to do, others were a pain in the rear end!
2.  Learned how to stitch in the backy-forthy way, and adjust the tension and length of stitches on my sewing machine.
3.  Decided to use all orange thread with stitching throughout this book; fits with my color scheme, makes me not have to change the thread and bobbin thingy, and it helps that it's my favorite color.
5.  Used mostly Bo Bunny's paper so far -- later you'll see some other patterned papers.
6.  Loving this project.
7.  Doing what I want.

(Keep reading for details and photos - click on any photo to make it bigger)

First of all, I had a difficult time starting this entire mini book because I was trying to figure out how many pages to allow for each outing to the park.  I take way too many photos (and I really stink at making silly, often unimportant in the big scheme of things, decisions)!  I got stressed out enough about it that I even emailed Elise Blaha for advice (I did get many of my "mini" ideas from her BIG mini workshop).  Of course she said exactly what I thought she would say -- it's your book, do what you want!  So I did.

I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to make the cover awesome, so let's start on the inside:

I made the title page first, and then remade it later (one of my learning experiences). First, I printed out the text and punched the right side with this American Crafts Knockout punch.  Then I moved on to the next page because I wasn't sure what I wanted for my title -- but I knew I wanted something along the side! Later,  I settled on "B loves the park" as my title.  I wrote 'B loves' on washi tape (that I purchased at Target and cut in half) used pink (pink for B) alpha stickers (also from Target) for "the park''.   This worked out well because I did make mistakes on this page (described later) -- and fixed the mistakes before I settled on the title text (no wasting the alphas, Yay)!

I discovered if I put the first photo over on the far left of page one and stitched around it, it would be totally cool because it would go around the text on the other side (the title page) perfectly, including the title I eventually put along the side.  So I did that. Enter first oops!  When I stitched the photo onto the page, it looked great -- then I flipped it over.  The stitching on the other side didn't look good at all.  I was right about the placement, but the back side of the stitching itself looked horrible on my title page.  I knew that it was probably something to do with tension or something on my sewing machine, but I know nothing about using the darn thing (proof, and a kinda funny story about that here).  So I started over, new photo, new title page, etc. For the final product, I ended up sewing around the photo before I glued it down.   Then I sewed the title page (also before I glued down the photo on the other side) it looks like I might've known what I was doing, but, I didn't.  Before I could do any of that I had to go to my LSS and pick up more paper (because I also printed it wrong several times, used the punch on the wrong side, and other silly, over-forty-brain issues), so I did the right side of the two page spread first, then went back and fixed my boo boo. Don't even get me started on the journaling!  Let's just say, it took several takes.  I ended up using my handwriting, but I tried it many ways!

For page two (close up on the left) I wanted to highlight my daughter and my one true love -- specifically the way they were looking at each other.  So I used the arrows (I like that part).  I just cut them 'free hand' out of some patterned paper.  Also,  I ended up really wanting to put in three swinging photos, and only two really fit, so I hid one! I used my cricut to cut out the text "just love this" (Opposites Attract cartridge).  To protect the hidden photo a bit, I put it in plastic (found some packaging laying around, cut it to size and sewed around it). 
On we go (and yes we are still on the first visit to the park...but I'm doing what I want).
This is actually a two page spread with a little insert (another way to get in a few more photos of this first day of the park season).  The left side is just an instagram iPhone photo printed 6x6 with an added sticker from one of my scrapbook circle kits.  I used a filter on the photo to make it look older (the filter is called 1977 and its included right in instagram).  I liked this photo because my soul mate threw the ball to B, and I took the photo just in time to catch it in the air.  I think it looks like a red balloon.  The right side is just two more photos from the red slide (she loved it that day).  I sewed on a "play" flash card from October Afternoon (Sidewalks) and some small alpha stickers (from another scrapbook circle kit).

The insert is from after the park.  We went to the orange leaf (a chain, frozen yogurt shop that recently opened on our side of town).  The decor at the store is very modern, and quite rad, if I must say so!  The  ice cream  But I loved all the orange and green (of course).  They have these cute little orange spoons -- I brought one home thinking I might put it in the book.  I tried, but it was just too bulky for my taste, so I took a photo of it, fussy cut around it and used that instead. The other photos are iPhone photos that my better half took.  I printed them to look like they could be from a photo booth.  I stuck the photo strip and the spoon photo in a piece of plastic that I cut from something (packaging I think?), sewed around it, punched it with myWe R Memory Keepers Crop-o-dile  II, and then inserted it between the two pages.

The very first photo I printed out for this mini book was this one:
And I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted it for a two page spread.  Initially, I thought I would write all over it; do all of my journaling on this photo, but then I decided on just a quote.  Another uh-oh happened on this one.  When I stitched the "play" card onto the previous page, it looked horrible on this side.  So I covered it with a sticker and added the date!

Finally on to the second visit; a two page spread with a little something in the middle:

For the photos: I took my favorite photo from this day, made it 6x6 for a whole left page.  Next, the right side is just four photos from the day, made square in photoshop, then placed on the page in a grid.  Then I just machine stitched around it (and the backside looks normal - woot).  I think I might put some text in the middle, even if it's just a word, something similar to this.  But I haven't decided yet.  Any ideas?  I am completely serious when I say leave a suggestion in the comments, I'm currently stumped.

The something in the middle is the story! I cut a 12x12 overlay from Hambly Screen Prints into about 6x3 and then stitched it to my story (doubled sided story, printed using the printer).  THE STITCHING WAS NEW!  I didn't know how to stitch in that crooked, backy-forthy way (I'm sure those are the technical words for it).   While I was busy figuring it out, I also figured out how to fix the tension on my sewing machine!! WOOT!  (Lets just not mention that it was right in front of my face the whole time, and not difficult).  This means that I might actually be able to stitch something and use both sides of the stitch the way normal people do it!  Success!  (high five to me!)

I've been taking photos and writing down notes of the other park visits so far this year.  The hardest part is narrowing down the photos!  I think I'm six or seven visits behind.  I'm not sure if I will put every single one in the minibook.  That's what I set out to do, but I may need to back off on that a bit. It's April, and we've been at least eight or nine times!  If I can, I'd like to limit each visit to a two page spread...uhh..but I'm already eight pages in with only two visits documented, yikes!

Whew!  Congratulations to you if you made it through that long post!

Friday, April 6, 2012

~ park minibook ~

I'm not sure if it's wise or not but I've begun a new project!  A while back I downloaded Elise Blaha Cripe's BIG mini workshop.  Apparently I am obsessed with her stuff.  I've never created my very own mini book from start to finish -- so we'll see how this goes!  Woot!  Go me!

The idea started with a very early spring!  We are four to six weeks ahead of schedule in the weather department. This is really good news if you are B.  Why?  B. LOVES just about anything outside, but especially PARKS! With such beautiful weather, we have already gone to several different parks on multiple occasions. In fact, when I pick her up from daycare some of the first words I hear from her on a regular basis are, "Let's go to the park!".  When we go to the park, I usually have my camera and always have my iPhone, so pictures are taken, often too many.  Some of them are actually kinda good.  I decided I was going to have to do something with all these photos, and the mini book idea was born!

I revisited the BIG mini PDF that I downloaded from Elise and then watched a few of her Vimeo videos. She makes everything look so easy.  If you haven't checked out her blog, her etsy shop, or her workshops, you should give them a looksy.  I also like that she shows how to deal with mistakes.  She's probably almost 20 years younger than me (at least 15), but I could learn a few things from her in the "don't stress about it, just do it" department!

I've made some decisions (I know, hard to believe)!  I decided on a 6x6 mini book so that I can use 4x6 photos easily in both landscape and portrait form.  I also like the idea of a square mini book because I've become a bit addicted to Instagram, (easily follow me here) and most of my iPhone photos will be square, which works. I've also decided on a color scheme.  Orange (of course), pink (for B.), green (for my one true love), and I will likely throw in a bit of blue now and again.  I'm contemplating a chipboard cover, with funness inspired by this post by Elizabeth Kartchner.

I took a bit of time today to sort through my stash, gather and cut some papers to size, and I began the process of putting the papers together.  I also started looking through my photos and picking out my favorites.  I've even learned a few new things in photoshop, helping me get a few ready to print on the printer that I bought last month, when odd sizes are required.  I've only begun to think about the other photos that will be 4x6 and easily sent out for printing.  Because this is an ongoing project, lasting until the snow flies again, I imagine, it is going to be difficult to keep from making it too fat!  I think it may also be difficult to not get boring (there are only so many things at parks)!  To help with that, I decided (look at me, decisions all around!) that I will also include photos that I take of nature (and other stuff) while we are playing at these beautiful parks.

I have something rolling around in my head that I would love advice on, if someone is actually reading this!  Does anyone else worry about the fact that the mini book isn't really protected?  My traditional scrapbook layouts have plastic page protectors over each page.  But mini books seem so vulnerable!  Thoughts?  What do you do?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

~ OLW April 1st Blog Hop ~

Welcome my place!  It's One Little Word April Blog Hop time.  If you stopped here from  Janet's place, you have arrived at your destination (for now).  I hope you enjoy your visit!  There is a complete list of blog hop participants at the end of this post, please take a moment to spread your love!!  
I have no process items to share with you this month like I have in past months.  I'm sorry about that, and I expect to share later in the month.  Today I will just share my stories.  :-)
Ali asked is to connect with our word this month by doing or acting on our word.  I'm lucky, I've been acting since the beginning!  One thing that Ali asked us to do was set a goal to help us with our action.  I had a difficult time deciding (cuz I always have a difficult time deciding) on which goal to really document!  Visit my family more?  Create more?  Work more?  Play more?  How could I ever pick just one???  There are so many things to {balance}!  That's why I my word chose me!  So, I finally just picked one, about mid-month, that I thought would be easy to accomplish.  My goal was to jog more this month than last month!  I thought it would be an easy one because I only started back into jogging recently, and how could I not jog more this month than last?  But guess what?  I failed!  I will say, that I probably could've met my goal, but I also had a lot working against me this month, and many choices to make to maintain {balance}!
A couple of weeks ago, we got a phone call from My One True Love's father.  He didn't have good news.  C's mom had fallen down the stairs, hard, and was in the hospital.  What a whirlwind of a week!  I'm happy to report that after a week in the hospital, and one return visit, she is on the mend!  Get well soon, K!
Have I mentioned that I am feeling quite old lately?  I'm not really that old (41), but I'm feeling it!  Most recently, I believe that I have Planter's Fasciitis!!!  It is difficult to jog with that!  So that is my excuse.  I probably could've done it anyway, and I'm not going to let it keep me down, but I'm using it as my excuse, for now!  :-)  I have purchased some inserts for my shoes, and I'm going to buy new running shoes, specifically helpful for my issue (so I hear), and I will jog again soon!
A few other items have kept me from getting 'er done (the actual pages in my album), but mostly I know that I will complete it within the next week or so.  I'm not worried.  In fact, it's totally OK that I didn't meet my goal or complete the pages.  Why?  Well, because I'm doing the real work.  Those things had to go, temporarily, because the balances had to shift.  In the post that I introduced my word I mentioned that I don't believe {balance} means equal.  This past month I had to shift my focus often to feel sane, keep the main thing the main thing, and maintain a feeling of {balance} in my life.  That's the real work, right?
So, that's all I have for you this month.  I will post within the next couple of weeks with photographs of my OLW documentation.  Stop back if you get a chance!  
Next stop Amanda!

Orange Gearle  <----- this is me!
Melissa S