Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Favorites - November 29, 2013

This post-Thanksgiving Friday evening finds me just now settling down to take a little breather after a day-long whirlwind of activity. I've organized in the scrap room (and even scrapped a page!), settled in with my work laptop to write some code, and I even went out for a tiny bit of Black Friday shopping, though just at Michaels and Loft and well after the morning crowds had dissipated.

This weekend looks like it'll pretty much have the same agenda, sans the shopping since I'm so done with that for a while. The state of my scrapping table definitely says that Christmas crafting time is here, and I'll be doing some of that this weekend, as well! There are a few Christmas items creeping into the weekly roundups, and hopefully you'll find something inspiring in the mix!

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From the top left:

  • The Style Files posted a roundup of 10 crafty and beautiful advent calendars.
  • Ashli Oliver used up some scraps and made packaging to for her Christmas treats!
  • I love a good sketch, and Write. Click. Scrapbook. has a great post on getting lots of layout ideas from a single sketch. You'll find ideas for changing orientation and placement here and a look at resizing and rotating sketch elements here.
  • This lovely garland at Giochi Di Carta was made using scraps of paper and a few other bits and pieces. Wouldn't a Christmas version be lovely for the holidays?
  • Anabelle O'Malley shared a peek at her crafting space on the Crate Paper blog. I just love how she's dressed up her Cropper Hoppers with gorgeous fabric flowers!
  • You can download and print these free cloud greetings at Oh Happy Day.
  • Learn how to make this fun hexagonal photo decor piece at Photojojo.
  • Ever wonder how Anna-Maria Wolniak gets those lovely watercolor washes on her layouts? Well, wonder no more! She recently shared a step-by-step look at her technique on the October Afternoon blog.
  • Christmas albums are everywhere right now, and I'm especially loving this gorgeous bright mini found on the Bella Blvd. blog.

TTFN!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

This Month in My Scrap Room - November 2013

This Month in My Scrap Room is based a regular series of posts by Sue Althouse, who graciously allowed me to use her idea on my own blog. Each month you'll find me documenting the little (and big) things that I'm working on to make my scrapbooking space more efficient so I can spend less time looking for things and more time playing with paper!

This month (actually, this past Sunday) I made an absolute wreck out of my scrap room- and I couldn't be happier!

In last month's scrap room post I listed out a few projects that I have planned for the winter months, and this weekend my parents drove down to visit, take my little niece Sophie to the Galaxy of Lights, and help me build a monstrously huge Frankentable that, believe it or not, gives me more floor space along with more working space in my scrap room.

Here's a look at the current progress- I still need to paint the top and add horizontal shelves...

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...and here's a look at Frankentable as he was being built. As you can already tell, I don't have a perfectly organized, totally photogenic scrap space. I really make a mess in this room and have it set up more for function than looks.

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It all started with two bookcases that we've had for over a decade. We bought them soon after we were married (you know, the Wal-Mart style build your own type that are so cheap) and used them for years for clothing storage in our bedroom. A few years ago when I bought a pair of 5x5 Expedits to use in their place, they started getting moved to other rooms in the house, and eventually I actually thought about just letting them go.

Then one day I mentioned getting rid of them to Darren, and I was totally shocked when he got this nostalgic look on his face and said, "I remember when we bought those." It's not like him to be sentimental about things, so I decided that I'd find some way to make them useful again and keep them around.

I've actually wanted a stand-up scrapbooking table for a while (I sit at work all day and am kind of tired of it by the time I get home), and I've considered building one using these plans from Ana White, and I also love how Christine Newman's desk came together and thought about going that route. And then one day while surfing Pinterest for craft table ideas I came across this post on IKEA Hackers showing a pair of 2x4 Expedits used horizontally as supports and storage for a huge craft table. Synapses fired, neurons connected, and I quickly hatched a plot to use our two old bookcases as the basis for the crafting table of my dreams.

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We started by clearing everything off of my old scrapping desk, which Mom took home to use as a new sewing table, and then we carried a bunch of stuff out of the room to make space for the big build. We set the two bookcases on their sides (if you're wondering what I'm going to do about shelving with them laying horizontally, I have an idea as how to fix that after reading about this Billy bookcase hack) and measured out how much space to leave between them to accommodate my existing Antonius and Raskog carts. This is definitely one custom build!

I already knew that my top was going to be 48" x 76"- the same as the Ana White desk I almost built and had already measured the room for, so I knew it was a perfect size. We made sure to leave enough space between the bookcases for my carts while still letting the top overhang each edge by a few inches.

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The white board that you see spanning between the bookcases is a small piece of MDF (an off-cut from Lowe's after they cut my table top for me) that we included to help stabilize the bottom and prevent the entire desk from trying to rock back and forth. Obviously at this point we were working on the desk upside down, and the next task was to attach casters. Since my scrap room is also the guest room, I want to be able to roll this behemoth into the corner when we have company!

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We used six casters total (they were on sale at Harbor Freight- woohoo!) and used carriage bolts to attach them and two more layers of MDF (in the form of small blocks) to the new "bottoms" of the bookcases. The extra MDF was to the raise the height of the table up since I wanted it to be about 36" tall, and Darren suggested the use of carriage bolts both for stability and because it would make it easier to disassemble the table should we ever need to move it out of the room.

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Once the casters were on, Dad and Darren flipped the assembly over and settled the MDF top over it, securing it with metal corner braces in several spots. And with that, my new Frankentable was ready to be used!

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The photo above is what it looks like after I've been working on it for a few days. Please excuse the power cords hanging down from the ceiling- they're a side effect of the studio lighting I use for filming vidoes. I considered clearing everything off of it and making it pretty but, really, this is what it will look like most of the time (though, like I said earlier, I do plan on painting the top and adding some long shelves). I have lots of room to spread out, and you can see that I have stacks for lots of ongoing projects out right now, including three years' worth of Christmas journals that I'm working on (yes, all at once) along with a Christmas layout for Two Peas, my most recent vacation album, and the December kits from Citrus Twist. I'm so happy to have space to have multiple projects out at once!

I also love that I finally have room to use my tripod to shoot video- it's more stable and more portable than some of the other solutions that I've been using, and I'm much less likely to get my head in the picture this way.

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The Raskog and Antonius carts fit very nicely in each end, and I have easy access to their contents now.

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There's even a bit of storage space in the middle for some smaller, lighter boxes! It's like the TARDIS table...bigger on the inside. :)

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I'm so pleased with how much floor space this has opened up, and it really is easy to roll around. And I'm totally happy that all I had to purchase were casters, some hardware, and a sheet of MDF!

In the course of building the table we also stumbled across my old pegboard! Dad was moving one of the white bookcases away from the wall and I heard something shift behind it, and when I looked, there it was! I'd been searching the house for it for weeks- I knew we'd brought it with us when we moved from our old home, but for the life of me I couldn't recall what "safe" spot I'd put it in. It's now hanging on the back of the scrap room door, and I'm thinking that I'll use it for washi tape storage (similar to this idea).

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Last month I listed out my project plans for the scrap room this winter, and so far this is how it stands:
  • Build a new stand-up scrapping table using two bookcases and a sheet of MDF (that I already have!). Just need to paint the top and fix the shelves!
  • Build a dedicated computer desk separate from my scrapping table (no more mist splatters on the iMac screen!).
  • Install pegboard on the back of the scrap room door to hold washi tape, markers, and other items. Pegboard installed, now to hang stuff up!
  • Clear out all the "decorative" items, including the tissue paper pom poms (you can see those here) to freshen up the look of the whole space.
  • New paint, mist, Distress Stain, and embossing powder storage (also using existing stuff- yeah, baby!).
I'm also doing a fair amount of getting rid of stuff (mostly giving it away to friends and family) as I go, and I'm already down one Alex cart and one bookcase, with still more to go. I'm finding things that I bought before I really understood what kinds of supplies that I like to use, and I'm happy to find new homes for items that I know I won't use.

I'm so grateful that my family all pitched in and helped make Frankentable a reality. I know I'm going to love using this desk for years to come!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Project Life at Two Peas - November 2013

Warning- photo heavy post!

On Saturday it was my turn again to host Two Peas weekly Project Life video series, and in this installment I tackled two weeks in my album that I've not quite known how to handle- the weeks we were road tripping around the country. We took thousands of photos in a 15 day time period, and while I don't have them all edited yet (by a long shot), I did sit down and print out just enough of them to complete my Project Life pages for those weeks.


Supplies:


I got really ambitious with this video and put together two layouts at once, flipping back and forth between them on camera until they were both finished. They turned out not to be my favorite Project Life layouts, but they are finished and in the book, and in a huge album like this, that's what really counts.

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I also put together a pair of inserts- one for each week- as a fun way to document the states that we visited on our trip using some Studio Calico wood veneer pieces. The page protectors are meant for slides, but you can find similar styles that are used by coin collectors, too, including this set on Amazon.

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While putting these layouts together, I didn't worry about getting every photo I liked or telling the story of the entire trip from start to finish (that's what this album is for). Instead, I simply included a few favorite highlights as a sort of overview knowing that I'll be scrapping many other layouts from these photos in the future. Project Life is not the place to stress over being complete and including every little detail- just get it done, move on to the next, and enjoy the journey!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Geek Girl - November 24, 2014

After an unexpected trip out of town yesterday and an awesome (pre-planned) visit by my parents today to help me build the most awesome craft desk ever, Darren and I finally had the chance to settle in and watch the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special. I won't post an spoilers here, but I did happen across this tiny deleted scene on YouTube that shouldn't give any of the plot away.


In a few weeks, once the iTunes and DVR crowd (that I'm definitely part of) has a chance to catch up, I'll definitely let loose with some G----------------------..errr, wait, I can't say that just yet! But here's a roundup of things that I can talk about- enjoy!

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From the top left:


And, if the lead-up to the 50th anniversary special wasn't enough, the BBC has also released the first peek at the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas special- Matt Smith's last adventure at the helm of the TARDIS.


MTFBWY!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Favorites - November 22, 2013

It's the last Friday before Thanksgiving, and I've filled this week's favorites with lots of ideas and printables to help celebrate the day. We're really looking forward to being with family next week, and the emails are currently flying as we try to decide where to order the big meal from. My brother and his wife are hosting, and with a brand new home and a brand new baby in the mix, we all want things to be as easy as possible for them...meaning that someone else will do the cooking this year. :)

If I have time, I'll be getting a little crafty with placecards, maybe using one of the ideas from today's picks. Enjoy, and a happy early Turkey Day to you all!

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From the top left:
  • Shanna Noel has provided lots of free printables and digital elements as she works on her Gratitude Documented project.
  • You'll find a great roundup of Thanksgiving printables at Vale Design.
  • Want even more printables? There's also a set of cute Thanksgiving tags at Tomkat Studio.
  • Jenni Bowlin design team member Leah Farquharson has put together a simply fabulous gratitude album.
  • Bella Blvd. owner Stephanie Hunt put together a free printable Thanksgiving journal two years ago, and this year she's following it up with another set of free downloads.
  • If you have some extra crafty time on your hands, these accordion paper pumpkins from Minted would be adorable as place cards!
  • Learn how to make these super cute glittered acorns and felt pinecones at Punk Projects.
  • Megan Klauer's Capture Life post at Elle's Studio this month is a fantastic way to document your family's current favorites.
  • Ever wonder how a busy scrapper fits it all in? Ashli Oliver wrote a post sharing how she creates her layouts just a few minutes at a time.
TTFN!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Few (Tech-y) Favorites

Lately I've found some awesome apps, fonts, and other fun things that have been both making me more productive and helping me have more creative fun, and I thought I'd round up a few of them here tonight just in case they help someone else, too!

Favorite Fonts

Anything Typwriter

I really only use fonts in scrapbooking when I print my journaling, and ever since I started printing my Project Life journaling cards on my computer (I did a video on that for Two Peas earlier this year), typewriter fonts have been my go-to. I've been using a mix of (mostly) Traveling Typewriter and (a little) American Typewriter (it came with my Mac), but I've also been wishing for a script typewriter font, as well. After a little searching I came across Script 12 Pitch, but with a $25 price tag I just wasn't quite ready to pull the trigger on the purchase. Then I magically stumbled upon this site filled with vintage typewriter fonts, all free!

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See that Olympia Script font? It's my new favorite! The others are all gorgeous, too, and all made by typing on actual vintage typewriters, then scanning the results in and creating a font.

Favorite Apps

VSCO Cam 

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I thought that Pic Tap Go was my favorite photo editing app until I discovered VSCO Cam! If you're getting a bit bored with the filters in Instagram, then you'll definitely want to check out this little gem. It's free and comes with a basic set of filters and a full editing suite, and you can purchase more filter packs in-app. The best deal there is the $5.99 pack that gives you all of them in one shot- I think that offer is for a limited time, but I'm not sure how long.

Mint

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Keshet Starr linked this one up on her blog several months ago, and every day I could just hug her for it! I was using an old and clunky version of Microsoft Money before this, but now I don't have to remember a million passwords for my accounts, and all of my bank, credit card, and retirement transactions are downloaded automatically. The app (and its web counterpart) also has budgeting features, bill reminders, and so many other great financial tools built right in. This one is also free, though it would be worth downloading even if it were a paid app!

30/30

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Before this app I often used the timer on my iPhone to set a certain amount of time to work on a task. With 30/30, though, I can plan out a whole series of tasks, or even a few tasks that rotate on a continuous loop, and the app will alert me when the time is up for each and prompt me to start on the next one. My favorite right now is to set the timer for 45 minutes of housework and then 15 minutes of scrapbooking (or vice versa if I have a lot of assignments to finish) and let it run for the whole day when I'm home on the weekends. I'm always amazed at how much more I get done, and I love that it reminds me to take little breaks here and there from the big tasks.

Wunderlist

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Hand in hand with a good productivity timer is an organized to-do list. Wunderlist (which also has a web component that syncs with the app) is both pretty and totally useful at the same time. You can have many different lists, assign due dates and sub-tasks easily, schedule repeating tasks, and the star the most important items on each list and filter just to see those items all in one spot. So much functionality- and this one is free, too!

Favorite Photo Editing Tool

VSCO Film for Lightroom

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Lightroom is still my favorite photo editor ever, and the VSCO Film presets (from the same company that makes the VSCO Cam app) make it even better! They work in much the same way as the Replichrome presets that I fell in love with a couple of months ago, except that VSCO has a much broader range of films available, including some instant and slide films that I've fallen in love with. I love the ease of the digital camera, but I've always been partial to the color, contrast, and depth that film photos have. VSCO Film brings that loveliness to digital photography, and I adore it!

And now I want to know- what are some of your tech-y favorites lately?