Thursday, June 30, 2011

layout | well hello there


Two months ago May Flaum taught her awesome May With May class at Big Picture. Every day she gave us new inspiration- sketches, color palettes, videos, challenges- you name it! One of my favorites was this color palette from Betsy White.

I had just started to seriously tackle the 1600+ photos we took in Aruba and was itching to scrap some of them. The aqua and green mix turned out to be the perfect match for this adorkable little crab picture!


Supplies | Patterned Paper: Crate Paper (Portrait "Bridesmaids"), My Mind's Eye (Fine and Dandy True Blue- 6x6 Pad, Lime Twist Happy Go Lucky 6x6 Pad); Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (Avalanche); Buttons: Papertrey Ink; Ribbon: American Crafts (Dear Lizzy - Butter Rose)Letter Stickers: October Afternoon; Journaling Spot: Becky Higgins (Project Life); Tag: Making Memories (Vintage Findings); Pearls: Kaisercraft; Punch: Martha Stewart Crafts; Date Stamp: Office Supply

If I had to give my journaling style a name, it would have to be "Twitteresque." I like short little blurbs (often snarky, of course), which could be part of the reason I like one or two photo pages so much- it's a lot like a photo that's been posted to Instagram and has a comment or two underneath it- just a little snippet of life.

Oh, and I totally typed my journaling on this page with an actual typewriter. And, yes, I did make a typo. And, yes, I did just type over the incorrect letter several times and keep going. That's just real life. :)


So, the story behind this layout (since as of writing this post I haven't blogged that portion of the Aruba photos yet) goes a bit like this...

Darren and I got up waaaaay before dawn one morning to try to find the natural bridge near Seroe Colorado in Aruba. Why before dawn? Because we wanted to photograph the sunrise under it. So we searched around for the lighthouse that marked the spot where you're supposed to start scrambling down the sea cliffs (again, in the dark), but on this particular morning we couldn't find the silly thing (never fear, we did find it the next day). We settled for watching sunrise over the ocean, past the dunes on the south end of the island, and on our way I walked right by this little crab dude, just hanging out in the sand. He was kind enough to pose for some photos for me (instead of, you know, running away), so he got a scrapbook page of his own.

And if you're concerned that I just typed that whole story out but it's not anywhere on my scrapbook page, never fear! It'll eventually end up either on another page or in one of my divided page protector additions (which I'll start highlighting in a series called The Rest of the Story as I make them). If nothing else, it'll be safe and sound here on the blog (most likely both in this post and on the eventual photo post that it's included on).


One other interesting tidbit about this page? I used a mix of both 12x12 and 6x6 patterned papers. I love 6x6's for both their cost-effectiveness (you can often get 2 sheets of each pattern in a line for around $6 for a pad) and for their smaller scale patterns. You should try them out on your pages some time!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

scrapbook update | mostly cloudy


Good morning (or afternoon, or evening, depending on your time zone) bloggy peeps!! How's the weather where you are today? Any clouds in the sky? How about on your scrapbook pages?

Why do I ask? Because clouds are one of the hottest trends in scrapbooking right now, and my newest article at Scrapbook Update is all about them!


I'll also share a fun layout (sneaky peeks of which are scattered throughout this post) with a festive theme and a fun twist on the trend, so hop on over to learn how much fun it is to have your head in the clouds!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

serving pieces as scrapbook supply storage

I've been on the lookout for the last few weeks for a tiered serving tray or cupcake stand to use as open storage for some of my most-reached-for scrapbooking supplies (especially after reading this post by Maggie Holmes). I originally considered this one from Williams Sonoma, but my local store doesn't have it in stock and I'm too cheap to pay almost $10 just for shipping to get it to me.

I'm really, really glad that they didn't have it in stock, though, because a couple of weekends ago when I was visiting my family for Father's Day I had the chance to wander through HomeGoods for a bit (insert pouty face here because we don't have one in Huntsville), and I found two smaller pieces that are working out better than one large one ever would have.


These two new guys were about $16 each, and they're a perfect fit for my Cricut table (not to mention really easily moved for times when I want to, you know, actually use the Cricut).


I love, love, love the turquoise color on this guy, and he holds so much!! All of my baker's twines fit nicely (I ended up winding my stuff from The Twinery around manila tags because the skeins knotted up so easily) in rainbow order with room for a couple of bigger spools and my I-Rock stuff in the back.


I also love that this piece has raised sides to keep my color mist bottles from tipping over and falling off (especially when I move it to, you know, actually use the Cricut). I plan to adhere some white dot stickers to the tops and spray then with the color in each bottle so it's easier to locate the one I need by just looking at the lids.


There's plenty of room for my mist collection to expand, and on the backside of the bottom tray I've also tossed in my stamping stuff (what little of it I have). I prefer to stick to smaller ink pads so they take up less space.


I love the shape of this two-tiered basket (originally for serving bread, maybe?).


The top basket is perfect for all of my decorative tapes. Some of them are small enough to fall through the bottom of the basket, though, so I'm going to cut a piece of chipboard to fit (when I have time) and prevent that in the future.


The bottom corrals my most-used punches. The Martha Stewart butterfly and Fiskars cloud punches will pretty much be permanent residents, and I also have some beachy-themed stuff in there because I'm working on so many vacation pages at the moment. Those will get changed out from time to time.


In the end this setup has two great advantages- it keeps my most-used supplies within easy reach, and the supplies themselves are so pretty that they make great decorations!

I've also got another solution rolling around in my head to keep buttons handy. I might have time to implement it this weekend and will be back to share it super soon if I do!

Monday, June 27, 2011

counterfeit kit blog hop | june 2011


It's that time again! Time to share my project for the Counterfeit Kit design team blog hop, that is. If you arrived here first and would like to start at the beginning of the hop, here's a link to the main page that'll get you where you need to be.


This month our assignment was to pull out the lovely June Kit and make a layout based on this post on Susanne's blog- a list of 12 statements to fill in, all beginning with "I...".


I have to admit that I had a little trouble coming up with answers for some of the blanks, which is probably why I reverted to my ground state of snarky. Writing about yourself is tough business!

Overall I feel like this page is much, much busier than I usually like to make. I think I tried to cram too much stuff on it and overwhelmed the poor little thing. Live and learn, right? I made five other layouts over the weekend that I'm thrilled with, so one dud out of the bunch isn't bad at all...statistically speaking. :)


Thanks for stopping by! Please hop on over to Kim's blog to see the next project we've got in store for you today!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

geek girl | the empire snarks back

Today's Geek Girl post is filled with a bit of everything- Star Wars, Doctor Who, and even a video game...and a calculator? Let's check it all out!


From left to right:
  • Get some awesome Star Wars droid wallpapers for your computer. Warning- they're more than slightly emo. :)
  • Elsie Flanigan (aren't I usually talking about her on my crafty posts?!?!?) made an awesome dress from a piece of Star Wars fabric. Too cool!
  • It's almost a crime to have a Geek Girl post without some sort of confection, so here's your Weighted Companion Cube (along with other gamer-ific cakes at Cake Wrecks) for the week. If you go ahead and eat it now, I won't ask you to incinerate it later...
  • Here's a good paper-crafty project- print the covers to make your very own TARDIS journal, just like River Song's (hey, how about that mid-season ender, guys? Holy Moly!!).
  • After looking at this shirt on Threadless, it's totally obvious, and I'm wondering how I never noticed it before. Dude. Dude.
  • When I hear the words Star Wars wedding, I immediately think of something hokey and Vegas-style. But this wedding? Wow, it actually looks really cool! I LOVE the Stormtroopers in the wedding party!
  • I bought this amazing Darth Vader letterpress card for my Dad for Father's Day. It's a little late for this time around, but you could always pre-buy for next year!
  • Is this baby Weeping Angel not the cutest thing ever? I mean, it has a little concrete diaper and everything! Check it out at Epbot (along with baby Davros and some other cool characters).
  • I cannot believe that I'm going to post a "when I was in school" item...but when I was in school, our graphing calculators were not in color, and they most definitely did not have wifi! I carried my un-connected, monochromatic TI-82 to school for 8 years (through high school and college). And it was uphill. Both ways. In the snow. With no shoes. Kids nowadays, though, have the option to carry the TI Inspire CX color graphing calculator. Spoiled brats.

And I have one video to share with you today- Tom Selleck's screen test for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom! Apparently he was first choice for Indy before Harrison Ford, which prompted me to also wonder who could have replaced him as Han Solo in Star Wars. I vote for Bruce Campbell (never mind that he would only have been 18 at the time...)

Until next time, geek out, peeps!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

the hitchhiker's guide to aruba | february 2

So, Aruba. Once upon a while ago I was getting all of my photos from the trip edited and blogged (which for me is Step 1 towards getting them scrapbooked). It's been taking me forever for two reasons. First, almost as soon as we got back I was sent on travel for work for three out of four weeks. While I can edit photos on my MacBook, it's ever so much easier on my big iMac screen. And then work in general got crazy. Second, I didn't realize it at the time, but I had acquired a massive amount of dust in my D3 sensor, and that dust shows up in every blue sky shot.

Do you realize how many blue sky photos I have from Aruba? Yeah, lots. And it takes to use the spot tool to edit all of those out. But I'm persevering, and I think I only have 300 photos (out of the 1650 that I brought back) left to go through, so chances are I'll actually finish them this weekend!!

Now, on to February 2, also known as Day 4 (ish).

Morning breakfast. We brought some trail mix with us in our suitcases, and while we did have dishes in the room for some reason I picked up a coffee filter to use as a bowl instead.


We decided that our first stop of the day would be the Alto Vista Chapel. For some reason I didn't take any photos of it (it wasn't really that interesting, and there was a massive tour group and their alarmingly bright bus right in front of it while we were there) and found this rock with a pool of water inside more intriguing instead. Yes, we're weird.


The view from the hill the chapel sits on is quite gorgeous, covered in brush and cacti.


Very prickly cacti...


Blooming cacti...


And this small, fuzzy cacti that Darren decided to nickname "monkey butt." We're so mature.


We more or less bushwhacked our way across the landscape to the ocean.


I love how all the different beaches have their own type and texture of rock and sand.



Some pretty succulents clinging to life on the rocks.



Instead of hiking the way we came to get back to the chapel (and our car), we decided to follow the road. It turned out to be a really good thing we did, because that car driving away in the photo below?


It had been stuck here only a few minutes earlier! If you look closely, you can see the large pile of mangled cactus. Somehow the driver had bounced off the road and crashed into it!! We came across a small party of people attempting to extricate the car from its predicament, and Darren helped them push it back to the road.


After we retrieved our car from Alto Vista, we drove down the "road" ourselves and figured out how they'd managed to go flying off of it- this thing is bumpy!! We managed to stay on it, but this picture? It was supposed to be straight until we went over a rut just as I pressed the shutter release!


We drove back down the road to the ocean again (don't ask me why, we just enjoy wandering :) ).



And of course Darren found something to climb.


We decided we wanted to go to Arikok, the national park, next, and stopped in Santa Cruz on the way to pick up some water and a few snacks. I couldn't help shooting a few more photos inside the grocery store.


Nizza? Fo shizzle!


Such cool candy packaging.


And such a cool supermarket name - Mundo Nobo. Why can't we have that here? All we have is boring stuff like Kroger and Publix!


I'm so glad I go a shot of this little piece of paper, because I think it ended up getting lost before we got home. It was a page we pulled out of one of the tourist guides with a reference for all the Dutch/European street signs.


We arrived at Arikok's main entrance (the west one near Santa Cruz), where I did buy a t-shirt at the "Logo Shop." I'm not a huge souvenir person, but t-shirts are always good by me.


A quick stop at the Visitor's Center to buy tickets (only $5 each) and take a look at the information displays. Pay close attention to the snake photo- it'll be important in a later post...


Right out of the visitor's center we figured out that we were in trouble. You may recall one of the photos of our tiny little rental car from an earlier post. A rental car that was most decidedly not a four wheel drive. We had originally planned to drive the big loop road around Arikok and started out with great plans to spend quality time both out walking around and driving in our air-conditioned car.

Except the roads didn't cooperate. Less than half a mile from the visitor's center the "groomed" road ended and became a rutted, rocky, impassable (for our car) mess. So we backtracked to the head of one of the hiking paths that we could get to and decided to walk around for a while.


Definitely some cool plants around here.


And that big cavern behind the tree?


Yeah, Darren climbed into it. :)


And also up a rock.






For some reason, at this point we were feeling adventurous (well, more so than usual) and decided to drive as close to Conchi (the natural pool) as we could get and then hike the rest of the way.


This "road" was almost the end of the drivable part (for our car).


And then we got out somewhere around here and started hiking down, having no clue how far we had to go. Luckily, we met some people who were hiking back up from Conchi who said that it was an hour and a half just to get there, and they'd been a bit underwhelmed. Also? They looked exhausted. So we decided then and there that we would just leave Conchi for the next time we were in Aruba (because we are so definitely going back) and make sure that we had a four wheel drive for the trip.


What Darren doesn't know yet about that day (and we'll see how long it takes him to find this post and read it :) ) is that I was already tired, plus it was hot outside. I usually don't mind hot, but for some reason that day it was getting to me (probably because I was tired), and I was trying very hard not to turn into Melissa von Crankypants. Because, really, it's just bad form to do that on vacation, especially in Aruba. So when Darren decided that he didn't really feel like making that hike...I didn't argue much at all. :)


I did enjoy the gorgeous view, though.


And, of course, the monkey butt.


We made the collapsed natural bridge the next stop on our itinerary, but I just had to get Darren to stop the car along the way to get a picture of this grocery store sign.

Wai Fat? Oh, my.


I present to you Exhibit A in the argument against being a typical tourist. "Lots Of Mix Drinks And Snacks" does not appeal to me, especially in combination with a "Wonder Of Nature." Also? Calling it a "Tourist Attraction" is just...wrong! Or perhaps just annoying.


We took our time getting there, and we made tons of stops along the way to explore other (smaller) collapsed natural bridge sites and interesting sea cliffs.


To give you a sense of scale, that tiny little figure standing out on the rock is me.


And this one is from even farther out.


And then I took possession of the camera and shot it from the other side.


And then scrambled down to take some shots from below.


And to play in tidepools.


Lots of tidepools.



We continued the driving/hiking/scrambling adventure for several miles (by this time Melissa von Crankypants had completely disappeared- I think all she really needed was to sit in the car for a little while and eat a snack).


Remember how I said we kept making up our own names for things? This was the "Harry Potter Rock" because it looks so much like the one near the end of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.


Do I even need to point out the climbing?





We finally arrived at the main collapse site, and I didn't even take the big camera with me (just the little point and shoot). It was just so built up and...touristy...and not nearly as cool as everything we'd seen on the way there.

We did climb down to the bottom to explore, where Darren found something new to climb up. The crazy thing? There were tons of people up at the top looking around, but hardly anyone ventured down the stone staircase (I mean, geez, could it have been any easier?) to see the view from the bottom.


The Gold Smelters' ruins were on Darren's list of must-see places during the trip, and a have to admit that I totally dug all the stonework.

February 2, 2011


And Darren totally dug the climbing.




If you haven't been able to tell already, I love texture shots. I found this cracked and dried mud to be especially photogenic.


Lots of little cairns everywhere.



I couldn't help stopping to take a few more photos of signs on the way back to the hotel.


Fofo? Fofo?!?!


We'd passed this place several times while we were out and about, and decided to try it this evening instead of having dinner in the room.



Darren ordered the goat (which I did not try) and I had this yummy dish of some sort of barbeque totally covered in cheese. Awesome!!


I'm just going to warn you now- the next Aruba post will be short, but the one after that will be all kinds of insanely long. :)