Tuesday, May 31, 2011

unraveling the sassafras mystery [box]

It seems like most scrapbooking manufacturers have their own version of a warehouse/grab bag/mystery box sale these days. I've seen advertisements from big names such as Maya Road, Piggy Tales, and Webster's Pages all within just the last few weeks! I'm a fairly cautious consumer, though, and I've never bought one of these boxes (often offered at 50-75% off of retail price). I'm just too much of a control freak when it comes to picking out my supplies to let someone else do it for me...until now.

Yup, I finally caved and bought a box from the Sassafras box sale. I did cheat a bit, though- I waited until some of the first customers received their packages and posted photos of the goods (the ad was for $215 worth of product for $49, including shipping) before I made the decision to purchase one for myself.

My box arrived late last week, and, boy, oh boy, am I ever glad I placed an order. The contents are nothing short of amazing! I wanted to share photos of the loot with you guys even though the boxes are sold out now. They have this sort of sale a couple of times a year, so maybe this will help someone decide next time around.

First up, some adorable Felties embellishments and a few Wee Bundle paper pads (Apple Jack, Mix and Mend, and Count Me In).


I got silly excited over these mini alpha stickers (the letters are about the size of my thumbnail) and was please to get so many sheets of them- especially the ledger and burlap patterns!


I may or may not have gone all squeeeeeee (Darren asked me if I'd found treasure) over this gorgeous assortment of blooms- the included everything from vintage brooch styles to colorful patterned paper blossoms.


And then there are the paper lines. Oh, so many (six, actually) completed or nearly complete paper lines. Be still my beating heart!

Count Me In (note the inclusion of decorative, journaling, and banner stickers- I adore their banner stickers!).


Mix and Mend (one of my favorite Sassafras lines in recent memory, and with a bonus set of alpha stickers to boot.


Cherry Delicious.


Indie Girl (I love the colors in this one).


Nerdy Bird (only 5 of the 6 sheets in this one, but who cares- it's so perfect for geeky layouts!).


Paper Crush (again, only 5 of the 6 original patterns, but that doesn't bother me at all).


I'd say that this box is a great bargain for a Sassafras lover like me (their use of bold, bright colors has made them one of my favorite manufacturers ever), especially if you consider that shipping was included in the box price! I will definitely be taking them up on any similar sales they have in the future.

Monday, May 30, 2011

4x6 photo love


I was very excited (the squeaky, ecstatic sort of excited) to have the opportunity to contribute a layout to the May installment of Shimelle Laine's 4x6 Photo Love class at Two Peas in a Bucket.


You see, I've been a fan of Shimelle for quite some time (I've taken almost every class she offers), so having the chance to actually be a part of one of her lessons is quite the treat.

I chose some photos from our trip to Aruba earlier this year for my page.

the climber goes to aruba.jpg

I have so many pictures of Darren climbing things on our vacations, and that was definitely a story I wanted to capture in a layout.



Another cool thing about being part of this month's class? May Flaum is the other guest contributor! I had no idea until the lesson went live at 2Peas this morning, and I just had to grin at seeing the name of one of my friends and scrap heroes on the same page as mine. And somehow we both got the idea to use grey backgrounds on our pages... :)


Hop on over to the class page at 2Peas to see the layouts by Shimelle and May, and also check out Shimelle's great video!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

geek girl | geeking out and taking names

I've been a bad, bad geek girl, and I'll admit it. I don't post random (okay, not-so-random) geekery here as often as I should because, honestly, I've just never been fond of formatting the posts. Yes, that's the entire reason for the lack of nerdiness around here- I'm stumped as to how to present it all. Somehow the long string of random photos and links that I've used previously doesn't do it for me.

In scrapbooking, if something isn't working for you, the usual fix is to walk away for a bit then come back and change it up when you have a fresh eye. I've definitely been away from the geek posts for a while, and now that I'm coming back to them I think it's time for a little shake-up! The shake-up will look very familiar to my regular blog readers, though, as I'm going to try the same format as my Friday Favorites for a little while.

So, without further ado, here's this weeks geek roundup:

From left to right:
  • I'm totally giggly over this telephone instruction manual for aliens found at the Tumblr blog of Where's the TARDIS. In fact, I'm not sure that tiny little image does it justice, so here's the full pic (see, I'm breaking my own rules already! :) ).

  • I have only one question about this TARDIS lunchbox- is it bigger on the inside?
  • Come along, Pond! It's time for a game of chess. And what better way to play it than on a Doctor Who chess set?
  • This has got to be the weirdest (and creepiest) bit of Doctor Who merchandise I've ever seen- a coffin. Yes, a coffin. ::shudder:: Okay, moving along...
  • This TARDIS blanket is really making me wish I knew how to knit! Or that I had a great-aunt-once-removed who knew how to knit. And liked Doctor Who. Because that would be insanely cool. Like a bowtie. Or a fez.
  • You never know quite where the TARDIS will turn up, such as this appearance in Farmville. Or my backyard (okay, so that's wishful thinking...).
  • Geekery has been the subject of many a cool cupcake, and these Doctor Who specimens are no exception. Definitely some serious awesome-sauce going on there!
  • Speaking of cool cupcakes, check out this batch featuring the crew from Firefly. If you click through the link, you can see Jayne (Adam Baldwin) in his cunning hat. 
  • The answer to the question of exactly why a geek would do something is usually "because they can." I suspect that such is the case with this giant Pac-Man sculpture made of...cans.

    A couple of great videos have popped up on my radar recently, as well.

    I have to admit that I wasn't very excited about Transformers 3 until I got a glimpse of the trailer. It looks to be made of pure win!

    This may be the first time I've included a cage dancing video on my blog. Watch as Adam Savage boogies in a Faraday cage between a pair of Tesla coils playing the Doctor Who theme. And if you don't know who or what Adam Savage, a Faraday cage, Tesla coils, or Doctor Who are, I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry.

    So, what do you guys think of the new format? Like it? Hate it? Miss the stream of full pictures? Don't care? Let me know!

    Saturday, May 28, 2011

    april 2011

    I'm cutting it close on getting April's photo roundup posted before May is over!

    Some April highlights:
    • My first month on the Counterfeit Kit design team- I'm totally loving being a part of this great group!
    • Stuff is blooming everywhere- I especially loved the dogwoods and wisteria this month.
    • A few fun, new things came into the house- the Star Wars craft book, lots of new supplies including Studio Calico's Mister Huey mists and a twine collection from The Twinery, and my new gas stove.
    • We are serious Groupon people now and use them whenever we can- like when I bought one for Baskin Robbins and we went out for ice cream (something we never do).
    • Spending a weekend at Mom and Dad's, then driving up the very next weekend for Beth's birthday party for which Mom made the best salsa ever.
    • Car twin photos with my cousin (we both have del Sols).
    • Cooking Easter dinner at home.
    • The massive tornado outbreak on April 27, and the five subsequent days without power. We spent the time hanging around the house (thank goodness we have a generator), cooking, and working on projects like our Aruba album and a little landscaping.
    Here's looking forward to May! Err...June...

    Friday, May 27, 2011

    counterfeit kit blog hop | may 2011

    Welcome, bloggy peeps! It's hard to believe that May is almost over and that it's time for another Counterfeit Kit Challenge blog hop. This time around the design team has chosen inspiration from some of our favorite manufacturer's blogs to base our projects on, and there are some fantastic projects waiting for you at each stop today!

    I had a hard time choosing a favorite manufacturer. There are just so many that I love, and trying to choose one is like trying to choose a favorite child (not that I know what that's like, but we can speak hypothetically here, right?). Basic Grey, Echo Park, Crate Paper, American Crafs- the list goes on and on- but when I came across this amazing sketch on Sassafras's blog, I was instantly in love and had to use it!

    My May Counterfeit Kit already contained lots of Sassafras, like this block of pink paper...


    ...and this sweet pennant banner sticker...


    ...and also a bit of red paper and a yellow border sticker. It's safe to say that I'm smitten with almost everything they do. It's all so bright and colorful and cheery!


    The punchy palette was perfect for this photo of my niece, miss Sophie Clare, who is currently teething and nomming like a Lolcat on everything in sight (such as the tray of her stroller here). Such a great opportunity to include a little snark on a page!


    Supplies | Patterned Paper: Cosmo Cricket (DeLovely), Sassafras (Paper Crush), Die Cuts with a View (Mango Frost); Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (Avalanche); Buttons: Papertrey Ink; Banner Stickers: Sassafras (Paper Crush); Mist: Studio Calico (Barnwood); Letter Stickers: October Afternoon; Journaling Spot: Elle's Studio (Handmade Layers) Cabochon: Etsy; Die Cuts: Cosmo Cricket; Bakers Twine: The Twinery; Date Stamp, Tag: Office Supply; Pen: Zig Millenium

    Heee heee, I'm so grateful that Beth and Jon had Sophie- she's such a great subject for my scrapbook pages. Which, you know, is exactly what they were thinking when she was born...ahem. :)

    I'm so very glad that you stopped by today! Sherri is waiting at the next stop to welcome and wow you with her project. Have a very scrappy day, and a safe holiday weekend!

    Thursday, May 26, 2011

    friday favorites on thursday (again!)

    Since the Counterfeit Kit blog hop is scheduled for tomorrow, I thought I'd bring you this week's Friday Favorites a bit early! You guys don't mind, right? :)

    I've got lots of fun stuff to share today, ranging from the organizational to the creative to the philosophical. Let's get started, shall we?

    From left to right:
    • Jennifer Johner gives us a peek into her gorgeous scrap space. She has everything set up so beautifully!
    • Learn to make this adorable hot air balloon decoration (using a honeycomb ball, no less!) at KI Memories.
    • Elise Blaha shares a few pages of her summer mini album. I need to get started on mine soon! Come to think of it, I also need to finish last year's...
    • Sassafras shows you how to go from color inspiration to layout with a great post by design team member Megan.
    • Moon Ko has an absolutely fabulous post on photos at Write.Click.Scrapbook. My favorite part? She doesn't push (and actually discourages) deleting bad/duplicate/blurry photos!! Seriously, when all I seem to hear is "delete, delete, delete" your extra digital photos, it's so refreshing for someone to come along and agree with me (who never deletes anything) for a change!
    • How About Orange shares a tutorial for making this cute little bookcase cover.
    • And, since How About Orange has been so very awesome lately, here's another tutorial from them showing how to use washi tape in home decor.
    • Check out this fun, colorful mini album at Crate Paper.
    • Shimelle Laine has a great post on using sketches for scrapbooking that explores literal and creative interpretations. Good stuff!
    Have a scrappy day, and be sure to drop back by tomorrow for all kinds of blog-hoppy goodness with the Counterfeit Kit design team!

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

    layout | i was here


    This is one of my absolute favorite photos from our trip to Aruba, so of course it gets a special layout of its very own. That's the great thing about using just a photo or two on a page- it lets me really highlight the ones that are important to me.


    Supplies | Patterned Paper: Cosmo Cricket (Salt Air), Studio Calico (Documentary); Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (Avalanche); Charm, Sequins, Buttons: Making Memories; Ribbon: American Crafts (Dear Lizzy); Chipboard: My Mind's Eye; Letter Stickers: American Crafts; Punch: Fiskars; Date Stamp: Office Supply; Pen: Zig Millenium

    Cosmo Cricket's Salt Air line is the perfect complement to all of these photos. The tropical colors and slightly weathered texture really capture the feel of Aruba.


    I had a lot of fun playing with bits and pieces on this one. Some of them, like the sequins and charm, have been waiting in my stash for almost two years, looking for a home on just the right layout. Some of them, like that scrumptious ribbon, just arrived within the last few weeks. I love mixing it all up.


    Tonight I'm really wishing I was back there again!

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    public service announcement

    This book (the first non-prequel, non-comic Star Wars book since last December) was released today and has already taken up residence on my iPad.

    I may be slightly worthless after I get home from work tonight...

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    layout | go, sophie, go! (and some exciting news)


    Go. My parents used to say it was my middle name- Melissa Go. And as an adult I still find it hard to sit still (I will literally walk laps around the floor of my office building in the middle of the day). I love my home, but I love to travel and adventure, too- put me on a plane to somewhere fun, and I'm the happiest of happy campers.


    Today I excitedly confirmed travel plans for an entirely new adventure- I'm going to CHA Summer!!!! Yup, little me has the opportunity to cover CHA as press for Scrapbook Update. No longer will I be a spectator with my nose pressed up against the virtual glass- I'll get to see it all in person!! I'm already hatching evil (in the cutest sense of the word) little plots about how I can best cover everything so that you guys can follow along with the whole experience. Watch this space and my Twitter feed as we get closer to show time for more details (and I'll definitely be asking you for input!).


    Now, on to another girl in my family who seems to have the go gene- my adorbz nieceling, miss Sophie Clare. This li'l chica is crawling and cruising like crazy these days and is loads of fun to watch!!


    Supplies | Patterned Paper: My Mind's Eye (Lime Twist), Fancy Pants; Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (Avalanche); Metal Sign: Making Memories; Letter Stickers: Studio Calico (yellow), American Crafts (blue); Buttons: Papertrey Ink; Cabachons: Etsy; Tape: Hambly Screen Prints; Punch: Martha Stewart Crafts; Date Stamp: Office Supply; Pen: Zig Millenium

    Speaking of loads of fun, how awesome is this color palette from The Sweetest Occasion? It had just the perfect hues to pair up with this photo. Throw in a great sketch from Studio Calico, and half the work for the layout was already done!

    Do any of you have any favorite go-to sites for color inspiration? Feel free to share in the comments!

    Sunday, May 22, 2011

    in which i can finally talk about the book!

    Some secrets are easy to keep, and then there are some that bounce around inside of you, just bursting to come out. Today I get to finally tell one of those secrets!!!

    Last December May Flaum contacted me and asked if I'd like to be part of a book she was putting together for F+W publishing.


    In a book.

    I remember clearly that I was sitting in my cubicle at work when the email came in, and I seriously think I looked behind me to make sure that she wasn't actually talking to someone else.


    I gathered my wits about me and quickly replied with a, "heck, yeah!!!!" before she could change her mind.

    And that, my friends, is the story of how I now have two layouts and a step-by-step technique being published in this book.

    May emailed all the contributors yesterday to let us know that the book is on Amazon now (it's a preorder and should ship in August) and that it was okay to finally talk about it. And Oh.My.Gosh are there some amazing contributors in here!! I know of just a few of the names, and I have to say that I'm truly honored to be included with this fantastic group.

    May will be giving more information on the other contributors in the coming months, so be sure to subscribe to her blog to get all the juicy details!

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    friday favorites | it's good to be home

    It's so good to be back home after a long week of working "on the road" so to speak. Even though there was very little road and mostly runway...you get the point, right? :) I love, love, love to travel, but I also love to come back to my sweet little casa and chill between rounds of jet-setting about.

    I'm also back in my crafty zone today and will even be attending a crop at church tonight. Imagine that- me, getting to go to a crop! I hope to get crazy bunches of pages done (though honestly I will probably only finish 3-4) and have them ready to share with you soon!

    What are your crafty plans this weekend? Spending some time in your scrap space? Going on an outing like me? Come on, spill it!! And if you're in need of some inspiration to get the old mojo going, I've got a lovely list of links for you below. So let's get started!

     From left to right:
    • Learn to make the sweet paper flowers adorning this cake at Hostess with the Mostess.
    • How fun are these multi-colored, ruffled paper streamers?!?? And they're so easy to make! Get the scoop at Dana Made It.
    • This lovely, colorful mini album can be found on the Crate Paper blog as part of their monthly color challenge.
    • It's definitely past Mother's Day, but these adorable DIY tissue paper flower kits would be great to include in almost any card for any occasion- or for no occasion at all!
    • Dive into a lovely craft studio re-do at Nest Decorating. I just love browsing other people's craft rooms to get ideas for my own.
    • These sweet paper flags would make such adorable cupcake toppers. Learn to make your own at 100 Layer Cake.
    • Photojojo shares a really cool photography project- one hill was photographed over the course of time during different seasons and events. It's a totally unique perspective on the photo-a-day concept that's so popular with scrapbookers right now.
    • The teal banner on this card looks letterpressed, doesn't it? What if I told you it was made with a wood veneer embellishment, some ink, and a standard manual die cut machine? It's true, and Pink Paislee has a post spilling all the cool details.
    • How about one more scrap room to round things out? Francine Clouden posts about how she's come to embrace the "artful clutter" of her studio. I love her attitude, and her space is so sweet!
    Have a scrappy weekend!

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    style reboot | the rest of the story

    I keep hinting that while I've happily settled in to a scrapbooking style that normally uses just one or two photos per page, I have grand plans for all those "other" photos that I want to make sure are in my albums.

    You see, I'm this weirdo who develops serious guilt issues if I don't include a photo of Every.Single.Person who was at an event on my layouts. Do you have any idea what that does to page design mojo? It kills it!! Not because I don't want to include everyone, but because it seriously cramps my page making style to have to put eleventy billion pictures on a page. I feel like there's no room for the page to breathe when it's so full, and oxygen deprivation is just soooo not cool.

    So now I pick just one or two photos that I really want to scrap, like I did for the layout below (that I shared earlier this week)...


    ...and the rest...

    ...are you ready for this....because it's really (not) earth-shattering...

    ...go in divided page protectors.


    Yup, that's my whole grand plan. The big scheme. The rest of the story, as it were. And that last bit can be taken literally, because not only are divided page protectors a really fast, easy way to include more photos, but they give me more space to include longer journaling if I want to.


    They also give me more space to add some quickly-cut chunks of patterned paper in the empty spots along with a few embellishments (totally optional) if I feel like adding them. Then I just plop the page(s) down in my albums right next to the layout it goes with, and everything coordinates beautifully.

    The divided page protector idea isn't anything new or earth-shattering. In fact, it's not even original- I've admired Ali Edwards' use of them for several years now, they're an integral part of what makes Becky Higgins Project Life album so accessible, and May Flaum's post about her Disney photos from last year really are what got me thinking seriously about using them.

    A really awesome thing about using divided protectors is that these days they come in all kinds of configurations. My favorites are the ones that hold different numbers of horizontal and vertical 4x6 photos, like the this one that I used for the page above. Being able to print just a couple of odd-sized photos for the actual layout and then ordering the rest as standard 4x6 prints saves so much editing, resizing, and cropping time that I used to spend in Photoshop. And later if I decide I want to scrapbook a layout using a photo in a divided protector, the image file is still there in Lightroom where I can export and print it at any size, and it's a mere 13 cents at my local Sam's Club to have a 4x6 processed (or I can use my 4x6 printer at home), so that's just something that I'm not even going to freak out over.

    I think that this will also help me to get more photos into albums more quickly and not just keep them on my computer. Even if they're not "scrapbooked" per se, they're still in there and visible with all the rest of my memories (because goodness knows that I take waaaaaay too many photos to ever scrapbook them all, anyway).

    So there you have the new "secret weapon" in my scrapbooking arsenal. And now I'm curious to know- do any of you guys scrap with divided page protectors? Do you have pages you can share? If so, link them up in the comments so we can all see!!

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    layout | raiders of the lost snark


    I don't know what's happened to me lately, but I seem to have turned into an all-business, snarkless little bore. If you know me at all, you know that a day without snark is like a day without sunshine, and I need plenty of both to keep going!

    I mean, what's up with me? Just a couple of weeks ago I made this layout, snickering madly to myself the entire time (and snickering even more when Darren came up with the brilliant title for this post- little did I know at the time how true it would be).


    But now? My Style Reboot series sounds so cut-and-dry when I read back over it. I'm just not sure that it's conveying the excitement that I feel over all these changes in how I scrapbook- how much more I enjoy it now, and how much fun it is again!

    See? That last sentence bores even me, and you know you're in trouble when you bore yourself! It's not that I'm feeling bad, or depressed, or sad, I'm just not feeling witty (does that make me witless?) in any way, shape, form, or fashion.


    I think that the only cure for this is to completely immerse myself in snarkiness tonight. I foresee much Monty Python (Netflix has the entire Flying Circus series in their streaming catalog, bless their souls), I Can Haz Cheezburger (there's nothing like a good LOLcat to make you stop taking yourself so seriously), and maybe even some Stargate:Atlantis (because if anyone can snark things up in any situation, it's this guy).

    Oh, and if you're dying to know what that layout was all about, go check out this post in which I recount the tale of Darren going all Indiana Jones/Daniel Jackson right in the middle of our living room/dining room/home theater. Good times, indeed! Nazis and Goa'uld not invited...

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    confessions of a counterfeiting addict

    I just couldn't help it. As soon as I got a peek at the Studio Calico kits for May, I knew I just had to counterfeit them! I always fall in love with the great selection of color, patterns, and embellishments in their kits, and I think I'm not alone since they seem to sell out every month!

    This month's kit is called Lawn Party and has an awesome palette of earthy (but not drab) oranges, greens, and browns. Here's a peek at the original kit:

    And my counterfeit of it:


    I always seem to add more embellishments than the original kit has, but I like to have a variety to choose from in my kits. Most of the time now when I'm scrapping I just grab one of my kits and go to town with it, and it's nice to not have to pull everything out every time I want to make a page. This way I'm only pulling everything out when I'm making kits (and, boy, does my scrap room turn into a major mess when I'm making one!).

     I also counterfeited the four add-on kits, starting with Paper Lanterns (how incredibly sweet is that name?!?!). Here's Studio Calico's original:

    And my version:


    It turns out that I actually had three of the sheets of paper and the letter stickers from this kit already in my stash. It was so easy to put together that it almost felt like cheating!!

    Pink Lemonade is a sweet, feminine add-on with lots of pink in it. I'm not really a sweet, feminine, pink-ish sort of person, but I copied it anyway thinking I could scrap some photos of my niece. If not, it all came from my stash and can go right back into it without costing me a dime.

    The Studio Calico kit:

    And my copy:


    I added some of the Making Memories Vintage finding packets that I found on clearance at Michaels quite a while back. They fit in perfectly with the look and feel of this add-on.

    Are you seeing a common theme with my letter stickers? Almost none of them are full sheets and have been used on layouts prior to being added to these kits. There's absolutely nothing wrong with pulling half-used packs of stuff out of your stash to use in your kits- you might even finish using it up that way!

    Rope Swing was the most difficult for me to counterfeit- for some reason the blue/pink color scheme and that heavily patterned piece of paper on the top right gave me trouble.

    Here's the original add-on:

    And my take on it:


    I think I drifted more toward the blue with this one than the original did, but it has the same feel to me. I'm normally not going for a perfect match, anyway, so it's all good.

    The Clear Skies add-on brings some punchy reds and yellows into the mix, as you can see in the original Studio Calico kit:

    And also in my lift of it:


    I pulled in some cute umbrellas and clouds just for fun, and I discovered that I actually had the sheet of Crate Paper border stickers from the original kit already in my stash!

    If you're wondering why I'm so crazy for kits lately, it's because they've become a very important part of the scrapbooking process changes that have come along as a result of my Style Reboot. In a later post I'll cover those changes in more detail and show exactly how all of these kits fit into the big picture.

    See you then!