Saturday, December 30, 2017

Holiday Album? CHECK!

Today, I completed the last of my holiday album pages, until the album was bursting to full. 

Because I had to squeeze the last of the pages into the album,  the documentation halts at the 25th instead of the 31st. Apparently I didn't need to complete a page for every day in December -- if I had, I would have filled this thing halfway through. I really have much preferred to focus on highlights and observations instead. There's very little predictability to the process this way, and each page takes on a life of its own. 
Not only is the dachshund paper on the left is my favorite wrapping paper this year (or maybe ever), but it is also the only roll of wrapping paper that I purchased this year (from Anthropologie -- on sale). I used the last of it here, stitching loops over it (one of the perks of working with small pages). 
Messy (read "charming") stitching appears often in the album, such as over this hilarious card from Paper Issues, which I've been holding on to since November, precisely so that I could add it here. 
Although I spent last night working on pages, it wasn't until this morning that I realized what I had to do before I could say that I was done: paper collages. Lots of paper collages. This is the first of several that I made, using stitched-together scraps -- yet again, my hoarding of scraps is validated. 
Because Z was in Italy for the first part of the month, I documented two different December experiences. Her December kicks my December's butt. 
I also documented December from my dogs' point of view. 
As for the pages dedicated to our Christmas tree, I confess that we didn't make it very far past the lights stage this year. For the past two years, we've just put up lights and a handful of ornaments, and stopped there. Usually, my trees are covered in ornaments. Still, a tree is a tree, and the most important part of it is that amazing smell. 
The highlight of the month for me was finally having Z home. Everything instantly felt merrier with her there to celebrate with us. 
Within days of her return, we were going Christmas shopping and making cookies and fudge with Grandma. Z also tried pizza for the first time since last having it in Italy, and as you might imagine, she wasn't impressed. 

Then suddenly it was Christmas Eve -- which doubled as Thanksgiving for us -- and Christmas Day. 
One last page...
and DONE! 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Lately-ing

Lately, I've been

...wearing Mickey Mouse bandaids on my fingertips, due to a potato-peeling mishap on Christmas morning. My sacrifice to bring a dish of potatoes au gratin into the world was worth it --
though we have had to resort to eating take-out over the past few days.

...waiting for my Christmas present -- a new Silhouette -- to arrive. Santa has been slacking on shipping this year, am I right? For some time now, I've been wanting to replace my now-defunct Silhouette, a relic from the age of yore. When my machine stopped cooperating with me, I thought it would be difficult to live a die-cut-free existence, but really, it wasn't that bad, though I will be happy to have the option of using die-cut titles again.

...scrapbooking relentlessly. It's good to be on break! I've been working on my holiday album as well as on lots of layouts, and I've also been drawing a lot of creative fuel from the prompts and project ideas over at Get It Scrapped. For instance, a recent feature on layouts inspired by gift-wrapping techniques had me -- a notorious gift-wrapping mangler -- actually feeling pretty good about dressing up my photos as "gifts" on the page.

I'm really excited about one of next month's Get It Scrapped features, which kicked my butt creatively, as it forced me to move beyond the usual grid approach that I've been using for years on my review layouts. Here's a peek:
It's also been a bittersweet month for me -- I've been stoked about being the December guest designer at Hip Kit Club, but I've also been dreading saying goodbye to the Elle's Studio team, now that 2017 is at an end.  Elle is wonderful, and I wish her and the members of the 2018 team all the best.

...reading one of the most slow-going books that I have ever encountered.
I'm over a hundred pages in, and I'm still waiting to be drawn in to this book, but it's not happening for me. It's dry, even when seemingly interesting events are occurring. The only reason that I haven't abandoned this book is that it is written -- or so the cover says -- by one of my favorite writers. I tore through all of her other books. Graceling swept me away. So why is this book not working for me?  It may have something to do with the lack of characterization. Even a hundred pages in, the characters (including the main character, Jane) feel like strangers, nebulous forms that vaguely inhabit the pages of the book. I can't visualize them. I don't find any of them -- with the exception of Jasper, a basset hound -- to be intriguing. This is difficult to admit, but in addition to reading this out of loyalty to the writer, I also read it to fall asleep at night.  Five pages or so, and I'm out.  Hopefully it will get better. If it doesn't, at least it functioned successfully as a literary lullaby.

...wearing jeans and sweaters daily. I love the weather at this time of year. The temperature has been fluctuating between the low 50s and the mid-70s, which is typical of a Hawaii "winter," and we've even had some stormy weather lately, though nothing like the real winter storms experienced elsewhere. Basically, it just rains and rains and rains, with some lightning thrown in for kicks, and the result is a slightly muddier, greener winter.  Pretty rough stuff.
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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Holiday Album-in-Progress

Slowly but surely, my holiday album is coming together. I know, it's hard to believe, but the proof is in the pages that I recently put together using the Elle's Studio December kit and extras: 

More details can be found on the Elle's Studio blog

Thanks for stopping by! 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Guesting at Hip Kit Club

Being the December guest designer at Hip Kit Club has meant embracing a very merry/Santa's workshop kind of vibe.  Every project from the HKC team has been holiday-themed, and in between bouts of oohing and aahing at what is being shared on HKC's social media accounts, I've been creating my fair share of holiday projects as well.

Since contributing a few pages of my holiday album to the Hip Kit Club blog hop, I've created three more layouts.  The first features a photo that recently came into my possession, thanks to the kindness of my paternal aunt. It brought back some amusing memories of my grandmother and her approach to the holidays.
The second of my layouts is also a holiday page of sorts. My daughter has always wanted to visit Disneyland during a holiday season, and while in Europe, she finally made that dream a reality when she spent a few days with a friend at Disneyland Paris, where Christmas came a few weeks early for her. 
I will admit to slightly seething with jealousy while creating this layout, but it was the next one -- featuring a series of photos taken in Florence, Italy a few weeks ago -- that really sent me over the edge. 
At least I can share in my daughter's adventures indirectly, as I scrapbook her photos and stories. 

I have yet another layout in progress (using the beautiful December kits from HKC), so I'll have more to share soon. 

Thanks for visiting! 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Elle's Studio December Reveal

It's December 10 -- time for the reveal of the monthly kit and extras at Elle's Studio!
Did you notice the new chipboard shapes? More, please! I used a few of them, plus the "Counting Steps" stamp set and one of the wood veneer words on the following page: 

Yes, there is a lot of green here. 'Tis the season, right? 
Actually, this isn't a Christmas page at all. It's more of a year-ender, the kind of page that comes about when I start thinking about where I am and where I hope to be. I love my life, but that doesn't mean I can't still have goals -- in fact, I have goals precisely because I love my life and want to make the most of it. 

I began the layout by painting a sheet of cardstock with various hues of green and aqua. I then stamped the word "goals" in a large circle using green and white ink. I hand-cut the cardstock into large circle and then used watermark ink and embossing powder over parts of it.  Then I added my journaling over that and stitched around the circle multiple times.  

Be sure to check out the blogs of the other team members as well as the Elle's Studio blog, for more project ideas.  

Thanks for stopping by! 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Hip Kit Club's 12 Days of Giving Blog Hop

For the first twelve days in December, Hip Kit Club is gifting twelve crafty freebies on its blog, including cut files and printables galore!  In addition, for each of those days, the design team is giving the gift of sharing projects created with each of the giveaways. 

Lucky me -- as the guest designer for the month, I'm joining in the Day 3 fun, which means that I have the pleasure of playing with today's printable along with talented team members Tanya Hubbard (first in line during today's hop) and Ashley Fowler  (whose blog you probably just visited).  

To get your hands on the festive four above, follow this link to the Hip Kit Club website. Log in to your account and look for the "Downloads" tab. You will find a subheading, "12 Days of Giving," where you will find all of the 12 Days of Giveaways. Please download them and enjoy! Happy Holidays from everyone at Hip Kit Club!

A few of these cards found happy homes in my holiday album (and yes, I did just hear you gasp in disbelief that I really am doing the album thing this year). The December card follows the title page in my album, and has the important job of prefacing the month ahead. 
This card is the cutest, no? It was lonely and needed some company on the page, though, so I stitched together accents from the Hip Kit Club November kits, and then the card really found its purpose. I love it so. Apologies for the darkish stars -- they should be radiant gold, but it's been storming here, so the glimmer effect has been elusive.

On the opposite page, I added some journaling -- which is really a note to self/pep talk/word of caution/binding agreement. 
Oh, but I didn't stop there. I added even more pages (I just heard another gasp.)

Instead of organizing the album based on a basic Dec.1, Dec. 2, Dec. 3, etc. approach, I've decided to make room for moments that aren't necessarily limited to specific days. The next few pages are focused on a period of time when the holidays -- that is, the feeling of the holidays -- really began for me this year.
 
I used the November kits once again for these pages. Heck, I even used packaging from the kits here (the stripes hail from a package of Crate Paper accents). 
And yes, the pink stripes you see behind this page are indeed from one of the printable cards from today's giveaway. Instead of using the entire card, I opened up the printable file in Photoshop, selected only the striped area and cropped it to the size of an album page, typed my journaling directly on the striped pattern, and then printed the resulting page. 
To create the gathering of trees on the opposite page, I cut several of the zillion Christmas trees found in the November kits (which I love!) and stitched them together in two layers -- first the back row, and then the front. Stitching tree lines in my holiday albums is must. It's tradition.
I'm fairly confident that this album would still be sitting empty and untouched had it not been for this printable and the November kits coming into my life when they did. Kismet, I say! 

Now, on to the business of hopping. If you've already visited Tanya and Ashley's blogs (see links at the top of this post), then it's back to the Hip Kit Club blog for you -- if not now, then tomorrow, which brings Day 4 of The Twelve Days of Giving, yet another freebie, and even more ideas from the team. 

Thanks for stopping by today! 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

People, We Have a Title Page.

My holiday album exists! Whoa.
I'm using a mint Instax album (the one I set out to use last year and never actually did).
And there's even more than this title page. Stop by tomorrow for the proof.