Wednesday, November 28, 2007

This week's CT layouts

This week I have two more new kits by Carol Burns of Carol's Crafty Corner (found at SBP) and one from Cathie Alessia (also found at SBP).

Here are two layouts created with Carol's "Purple Passion" which can be found here:

Don't you love these delicate filigree ornaments? And such pretty papers!
In the layout below, I filled the banner with white so my letters would show better & also put a white background behind the photo. I wanted that delicate silver frame to show up well.
Carol calls the kit I used, in the three layouts below, "Josephine 2." It's a very interesting and dramatic kit with three shades in the red family. In the first layout, you will see a deep red that manages to be both similar to dark garnet but also close to deepest orange red. I don't know how to describe it better. Using silver frames and accents with garnet and dark gives a very dramatic look, don't you think? Find the kit here:

The layout that follows features the coppery satin background. Again, put black with it and you've got a look that's both vintage and dramatic. I especially love that bubble frame; it's so art deco!

This final layout with "Josephine 2" shows off a lovely black and white paper and the accents in what I'd call a red red. I took the red bubble frame and expanded it to an oval shape to hold this photo of my grandson at 14 months of age.

Next you'll see three layouts with Cathie's "Friendship 2" found here:
As soon as I saw the red, I knew I had to scrap something with my friend, Wanda, in it. Red is her favorite color and this is a fun it I know she'll love. So here below is a layout recalling one of our annual retreats to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show. The top photo shows me, my friend Sandy (Wanda's younger sister) and Wanda. In photo below that is of my mother and my Aunt Suzy (really Martha but we call her Suzy). This was about the last year Mom was able to go with us.

There are such cute elements to play with in this kit. I had to use the beads; they remind me of all our trips to bead shops and of making jewelry together.

Here's Cathie's kit again. The white paper is blending into my plain background; the paisley to the right side is a border on the paper. There are some beads again and to go with the darling flowers in the kit, I cut flowers from a blue paper to center the vintage photos on.

You've seen this layout before in my brief tribute to Walter. Here the paisleys aren't on the paper but I really like them as a border so added some of the individual paisley forms. The bead wrapped frame really sets off the page, doesn't it?

Next week

Don't know if I'm getting back on Sunday or Monday but when I do, there will be a featured artist of the week article. Next week's artist is Cherrie Webb better known as AfriDigiDiva. Please visit and read about her.

There will be free goodies for you too, I promise.

Free Holiday Printables from Lisa Vollrath

If you've never seen Lisa's countdown to Christmas offerings, you've been missing a good treat. Starting December first, she will post a holiday freebie to download each day until Christmas. Here is her link:

Don't forget to take a look at all the goodies Lisa makes and sells at TenTwoStudios.

Thank you Lisa for your holiday gifts!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Remembering Walter

If you visited on Sunday to read about my featured artist of the week and find a freebie, I disappointed you. Allow me to explain why.

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, our friend, Walter Harris, who had been fighting prostate cancer and complications from diabetes and gout, took a fall at home. He was taken to the emergency room to check for possible broken bones. There were none, but fluid had built up around his heart and in his lungs so he was admitted. Further testing showed that the end was near and on Thanksgiving Day he was moved to hospice care. He died very early on 25 November with his wife at his side.

My husband met him when Walter worked for the local transit authority from which he retired a number of years ago. The Harrises were our friends are well as neighbors. They helped us move into our house, and we often met for meals and chat. Walter was well educated, a former teacher. He had a dry wit and eclectic tastes in reading material - everything from the classics to vampire stories. He rescued abused dogs and often said he found animals more enjoyable than people. It's hard not to imagine picking up the phone to hear his soft spoken mellow tones suggesting we meet for breakfast at "Shonenberger's" as he called Shoney's. His favorite phrase was "Who cares?" delivered in a tone that suggested a deep cynicism but which hid a soft heart.
Walter would be amazed to discover just how many people did care when they heard the news of his demise. He wanted no funeral, no service but later this week friends will gather for a small wake at one of his favorite eateries and lift a glass to his memory. We'll miss him.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A few layouts with me and my family

When my ex-husband and I divorced, we agreed he'd keep the photo albums for our son, who stayed with him to finish his senior year of high school. It seemed reasonable at the time as I was moving back in with my parents until I could find my own place and didn't have a lot of room. I took my son's baby book to keep, only later realizing how few photos it contained. Nearly twenty-five years of my life sort of disappeared. I mention this to explain the layout below.

When I saw Carol Burns' "Coffee Break" I knew I wanted to do something about my grad school days at Virginia Commonwealth University. When the layout was all but complete, I realized I didn't have any photos from that time! However, my ex-husband had just loaned me our old albums to scan so I went searching through them. Had to extract me from a photo around that time and play with VCU symbols to cover over what was missing but I think it turned out pretty well. You can't read the layout very well here but the notepaper reads: Secrets to surviving graduate school:
Always take a cup of coffee with you when you have to teach 8 o'clock classes
For grading papers late at night, have coffee and chocolate ready,; glance through quickly and put the worst on top to do first.
If no one shows up for office hours, take a coffee break with a friend
Keep emergency chocolate in the office (but hide it from your office mate)

I actually prefer tea to coffee but coffee was more readily available on campus. Four days of the week, I'd leave home at 7 am to teach 8am classes, then rush to my own classes, get a couple hours to rush home and see to my son, fix the family dinner, rush back to campus several nights at week for eveing classes, rush home to study and grade student papers often 'til 2am, then back up again. Fridays were a lighter day class wise so I crammed study and research time and chores in then. Friday night I crashed and was allowed to sleep in until 10:30. Looking back it's hard to believe that in my thirties I survived two graduate programs while teaching and managing family responsibilites! I was tough but I sure loved it and really miss teaching.

Here's Carol Burns' "Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend" kit again. The two couples seen below are really the same - me and my husband. The first photo taken when we dated in high school (we graduated in 1969). It's not a very good photo of John who was tall, dark, and handsome. He was 6'4" tall and clearly Italian (first generation It.Amer. on father's side, several generations in SicilianAmer. on mother's side). I was 5'6" tall and incredibly skinny. I weighed just 86 lbs. in this photo (& no, I was not anorexic or anything like that), pale in comparison (English & Irish background). People always commented on the contrast.
The next photo was taken in 1995 when we got back together again. John's still handsome but has put on some weight. I'm not longer skinny but a normal size (pre fibro!). In love again, we were practically sparkling that day at the German Diner.

This is several years after the photo above. We married in 1996 and about a year later his daughter married. Her son, Tyler Reid Caron, was born October 27, 1998 - our first grandchild. This is Tyler's proud Papa holding him when he was 3 days old. I wish I'd taken better photos so you could see John's expression. He loves children and was overjoyed with his grandson. Still is.

This layout, also made with "Serenity" shows a casual pose of my son taken in 1996 along with his graduation photo. This is typical Jeremy with T-shirt and flannel shirt topper.

That's all the family layouts for the moment.

Layouts With Photos From My Parent's Albums

A few months ago, I borrowed my parents' photo albuns from Dad and have been busily scanning them and making layouts off and on.

The first two layouts here were created with AMB Designz' "Beautiful Honey" available at Scrapbookersplayground (SBP):
This one was taken about 1950. In the top right photo is my father; he used to spell his name with "ie" instead of the usual "y" so I've done the same thing in my layouts. He would have been 22 then and was still very skinny. When I was younger and until about age 26, I could not gain weight no matter what I tried. Dad showed me old photos of himself saying he was so thin my grandmother would have to take in the seams of any pants he bought and the back pockets were pretty much touching. Today my son has the same problem and he's nearly 30.
The yound man in the middle of the layout (right side of photo bottom left) is my father's younger brother, my Uncle Bobby who died earlier this year. Don't know who the friend is with him.

More photos from the same time period. I'm guessing 1949 when my parents married or 1950. That's my parents in the left hand photo and their friends. Mary & Leroy Daniels in the right. Because of the corsages, I think these photos were taken at Easter. They were visiting Norfolk's Zoological Garden in downtown. It has a zoo, play area for children, gardens and greenhouse. It would have been a nice place for them to go for a stroll and chat with friends.
Here are some layouts made with Carol Burns' "Golden Splendor." You can find the kit here:
The one below looks like early summer time and I'm approximating that these were taken prior to my parents' marriage because here my parents were accompanied in their visit to the Hague by Mom's older sister, Agnes Nadine Lowe Jarvis (Dean). I think Aunt Dean was in her early 20's at this time & already married. I suppose her husband, Raymond Jarvis was working at this time as there were no photos of him this day. He was a Norfolk policeman. Mom would have been either 15 0r 16 depending on the month. She turned 16 July 30 and married Dad (he was 21) on August 6 of this year.
I thought this was a pretty photo of Mom. Such a sweet expression. I tinted the photo to go with the paper.

The next two layouts contain photos of my parents' local honeymoon. I used J3's "Rose Garden" for these. Find it here:
The papers have a romantic feel and remind me of vintage wallpapers. Being young and not too financially secure, my parents honeymooned in Oceanview in Norfolk. At that time the area was something of a resort with beaches on the Chesapeake Bay, an amusement park with one of the nations tallest roller coasters (then) and nice resort hotels. This was before Virginia Beach and it's resort area was built up. People who lived in downtown Norfolk could ride the trolley car, often driven by my paternal great-grandfather, to Oceanview for a day's swimming or visit to the amusement park. The layout below shows the hotel Mom & Dad stayed in and my father standing in front of a ride at Oceanview.

The one below is a closer view of Dad & one of Mom standing by the sea wall at the park.
Weren't they cute?

Recent Layouts With Kits By Carol Burns

I'm behind in posting layouts here and updating my slideshow. Have just been too busy. Here are some layouts I've done with kits by Carol Burns.

These 2, using vintage photos, were made with "Fudge" which is available at SBP:

Now & Then

Little Beauties
The LO below was created with a new kit called "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend."
Romantic Couple
You'll see another LO with this kit in post with LOs of my family.
Here's another really cute kit by Carol called "Coffee Break." Find it here:

There's another layout too of grad school memories in the post about me and my family.
They All Drink Coffee

The kit I used for the alyouts of Irelans shown below is called "Celtic Knot." Find it here:
Don't you love the blue-green in these papers?

I'll end this post with the Irish prayer. Look for more of Carol's kits soon.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Shop Philosophy That's Good For Everyone

I really need a better title to introduce today’s featured artist, but I am so impressed with her shop philosophy that I am inclined to start there. Today I want to introduce you to Michelle Powell, owner of kutnkudlyskreations and designer for Divine Digital. I first discovered Michelle through Sherah of Skrapper Digitals (you might remember reading about her a few weeks back), who was the first designer Michelle signed up. Visiting kutnkudlyskreations made me curious about Michelle, so I contacted her and she graciously agreed to answer my questions.

Michelle, her husband, two border collies, and one cat reside in southeastern Idaho out on fourteen acres of beautiful property. On the personal level, Michelle is mother to two grown children and grandma to a beautiful one-year-old grand-daughter. She loves the outdoors, enjoying camping, hunting, and fishing, and relaxing with her husband in the hot tub. When she’s indoors, you might find Michelle dancing, or singing karaoke. At all times you’ll find her quick with a joke and comfortable with acting silly. Michelle enjoys making others laugh and likes to spread her "weird" sense of humor everywhere she goes. She even admitted to making up crazy lyrics to popular songs, something I mentioned my husband does all the time and which has begun to rub off on me.

She has always been crafty. Michelle always loved creating gifts for family and, although she took basic art classes in school, she has pretty much taught herself how to create what she wants. She enjoys creating flower gardens, making cards, and hybrid scrapping. It was in 2006 that she discovered digital scrapping. Michele wanted to scrap photos taken on her honeymoon cruise, but there weren’t any scrap booking stores out in the country where she is. She went on-line to look for supplies and found some digital sites. She was instantly hooked on digital scrapping. About a month later, she’d decided that she could create some of the digital products she was seeing for herself. She did and one thing followed another quickly. As a scrap booker, Michelle advises scrap bookers to remember that "these are your memories, your stories, your lives, Do what you want with your layouts so that YOU are happy with them when they are done."

But Michelle is not only a hybrid scrapper; she is a work-at-home-wife who runs her own business. Michelle began her digital design experience with Paintshop Pro then "forced" herself to learn Photoshop CS 2.which she has been using exclusively since. She was at a loss to describe her style but I quickly discovered the reason why. She likes to design according to her mood or need at the time. Sometimes that calls for a grungy look, at others for clean neat lines, sometimes for something cute, and others for a more elegant look. In short, she has an eclectic style in her designs and a wonderfully customer oriented business philosophy.

Prior to opening her digital design site, Michelle used to make and sell gift baskets. Around the time that her domain name was coming up for renewal, she had decided she no longer wanted to make gift baskets; what she wanted to do was design for digital scrap bookers A friend suggested she create a site geared to novice designers and those designers who preferred a site free of many of the requirements imposed by larger sites, and so kutnkudlyskreations was transformed into a digital scrap booking site.

When the shop opened, Michelle was unable to sell her own designs because of her previous commitment to Divine Digital; that has changed now and her designs are beginning to appear in the shop. She opened with Sherah (Skrapper Digitals as her first designer. Afridigidiva followed, then TwistedWolf, and Fayth Scraps.. The color scheme of the shop is in her favorite color - purple.

Here are two of Michelle's designs. They are wraps for pillar candles. What a cute idea!

Two major things set kutnkudlyskreations apart from other sites. The first is Michelle’s dedication to excellent customer service. She believes the visitor to her shop should find everything running smoothly, and that they should get "good value for their hard-earned dollar." Customers are treated with respect and she really cares about their experience. If there is a problem, she wants to know about it and won’t rest until the problem is resolved. She reminds consumers: make yourself heard when you are unhappy with a purchase. She recommends contacting the designer and letting her know what displeased you (send a copy to the store owner too). After all, the designer might not be aware of a mistake, or that something wasn’t quite as it should be unless you tell her. This helps everyone. You allow the designer to recognize and correct the problem and you save the next buyer disappointment. You also avoid that feeling of resentment that comes from being dissatisfied with a product. If the designer corrects the problem, you’ll be happier and you’ll continue to look at her designs.

The second thing that sets Michelle’s site apart is that it is a site developed with the novice designer in mind. Michelle remembers when she first started trying to sell her designs that many designers were reluctant to share information. It was as if by telling her how to do something, they were afraid they were developing competition for themselves. Having run into a little of this hoarding behavior myself, I understand where Michelle is coming from and agree with her assessment: if your designs are good, helping someone else isn’t going to hurt you. With this in mind, Michelle offers low commission fees, low set-up fees, no requirement to be exclusive to the site, and no obligation to remain at the store for any specified length of time. She describes her shop as a "learning" site and is prepared to mentor the designers who sign with her. Since she works from home, she is able to provide very quick response time. When asked what she finds most difficult about designing, Michelle listed naming kits and creating the previews. We had a nice discussion about our views on the cluttered appearance that results when trying to cram all papers and elements of a large kit into one preview. Michelle’s best solution is an animated preview; it allows buyers to see everything in the kit and more clearly than jamming everything together.

The kit shown here is by TwistedWolf, one of Michelle's designers.

And here is a kit from FaythScraps:

If you are looking for a place to sell your designs, talk to Michelle. She recommends contacting site owners and asking, if they have time, to look at your designs and give you a honest critque. Michelle, for one, will do this for you. But, she reminds, there is "more to digital designing as a business than just creating some pretties, zipping them up and putting them in a store." She suggests you do some research and learn about developing a Terms Of Use document, how to package your designs, how to create those all important previews which are the consumers first view of your product. Research various stores. Ask about their business philosophy, their commission fees, the requirements for designers (what else must you do besides design? And how many products must you supply per month?), advertising/marketing. Can you agree to the terms and still have fun doing it? If so, Michelle says "Find your niche, come up with something original and go for it!"

Additionally, Michelle would like you to know that kutnkuddleyskreations offers beautiful, hardbound custom scrapbooks. If you need scrap booking lessons, look no further; Michelle has teamed up with Christy Haig to offer classes which can be purchased on her site. She can also provide an inexpensive advertising venue. For a site just in it’s infancy, kutnkudlyskreations has a lot to offer. Be sure you check it out and please tell Michelle where you heard about her.

And here is the link to Michelle's freebie:

If you download, please leave her some love.

Sunday Freebie

Is this what you were looking for? Hope you like this quickpage. It's made from my new kit, Let Us Give Thanks which will be in the store (Scrapbookersplayground) tomorrow if all goes well. Some of the papers, like this one are based on art nouveau designs from the 1920's. Not all of the papers are so bold. In total there are 28 papers plus tons of elements. You can download this QP here:

And if you'd like another freebie, check back for the article on Michelle of kutnkudlyskreations because she has a freebie for you too!

Later today . . .

the featured artist of the week article will return. This week my featured artist is Michelle of
kutnkudlyskreations ( ). You'll see some of her designs, learn a little about the woman behind them, and learn about her philosophy as a digital design shop owner. That last is going to be especially interesting for all want-to-be designers. Michelle might even have a surprise for you.

And the Sunday freebie will return too.

Very sorry about the blogging lapse but have had health issues and have also been devoting a good bit of time to learning to use the system that allows me to upload my products to SBP. In truth, Terri and I had a heck of a time getting me installed. Not typical at all and we don't know why. Now that it's working we can laugh about it but there were hours when we were both ready to throw something and sure my computer was jinxed.

I'd best run and get things done so I can get back to you in the next couple of hours.


My big anouncement - late!

I've been much too busy lately to make this announcement on my blog, but a lot of my friends already know. On 4 November, I became an exclusive designer for Scrapbookersplayground! I may very pleased to be working with such a great bunch of designers, all of whom have been very kind to me. It's a great family run site; the owners, Kat, her daughter Terri, and family member Diosa have made me feel at home. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Terri for her mentoring. She is patient, understanding, and can always find a way to make me feel better when I do something I think is stupid. Since I'm self-taught, I'm learning something new every day and Terri is a great facilitator.

Below you can see previews of the products I have at SBP currently. We are having a little sale Thanksgiving weekend that you might want to check out too.

Thanks to every one who has helped me along the way!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Check out my Slide Show!

Made with Silvia Romeo's "Metal Essentials- Gold"

A word of explaination for the following layouts. Recently, I borrowed the album of photos from my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary party held in 1968. My parents had thrown the party for my paternal grandparents at their home with Mom doing almost all of the cooking and a little help from her sister, Dean Jarvis who was then head caterer for Giant Open Air Markets here in Norfolk, VA. A professional photographer came in to do a few prtrait like pics of the occassion plus a photo of my brother and me and one of me and a dear friend, Hazel Pollard.

I'd scanned the photos but hadn't yet scrapped them. Then I got an opportunity to work with Silvia Romeo's "Metal Essentials - Gold" as part of my CT duties. I'm a big fan of Silvia's work so I was tickled to do so. While I understand that Silvia never intended this to be a stand-alone kit but rather a kit of metal elements to be used with other kits, I decided to see what might be done using as much of the kit as possible. Initially I thought I'd be adding some roses and lace and such from some of her other kits but, in the end, I did not. I was only going to make the cover layout and maybe one other this way but found myself continuing until I'd scrapped all the photos. See what you think.

Find Silvia's "Metal Essentials - Gold" (also available in silver) here at Scrapbookersplayground:
Hurry and you can get the personal version (also available in commercial version) for only $5.63 through Sunday Nov 11! She's got a 25% off sale going on.

Here's my cover shot: my paternal grandparents, Hunter & Lillian Lambert. Sadly my grandmother died the day before my son was born in December 1977. My grandfather joined her in January 1978. I was very close to Pappy & Nanny Lambert and miss them very much.

Here you can see that I cut some other flowers from Silvia's papers to go with the gold daisy she included. Don't you love her clustered tag? Pappy was teasing Nanny as they got ready to cut the cake. He used to play minor league baseball so grabbed the cake knife as if it were a bat to swing. The guests were suggesting that they plaster each other with cake icing, something Nanny laughed over and which Pappy had enough sense not to try with my always neat-as-a pin grandmother.

Not sure if I like this page as well as the others. I wanted to use the photos of all three of their children on the same page but I feel my layout is boring.

Some times simple is best, especially when you have such a beautiful background to work with.
Here all the grandchild (at that time) lined up with Pappy & Nanny. I'm second oldest, the one on the left end. The senior grand-daughter is my cousin Ann at the right end. She's seen as a teenager in my layouts made with Orangeade. The little guy with glasses here, is my brother, Thom, eight years younger than me.

A layout showing some of the guests and using more cut-out flowers. The lady in blue sitting between my grandparents at top left is my grandfather's sister, Lena (named for their mother, Mary Arlena) who is the mother of Constance, the woman in blue in lower photo.
I made a ribbon with one of Silvia's papers so I could use one of the buckles.

Another simple layout below. Just added the embroidered element from Silvia's kit. Top photo shows two of my grandmother's brothers and their wives. Bottom photp shows my cousin Ann again with her first husband, Gary Blanchard.

The photo below is of me and Thom. I was seventeen when the party took place and Thom would have been nine. The original phot shows a pole lamp that was by the chair and part of some faux painting above it. I guess they didn't do much photo editing bak then - like removing distracting things, At any rate, there was a bad smudge on the original so I played with de-cluttering the background.

The photo below was a last minute thing, suggseted by the photographer. My friend, Hazel Pollard (now Riddlehoover) and I pose against a huge oak that used to be in front of the large picture window in the living room. This one give s you a better idea of how thin I was then - just 86 lbs, and a height of 5'6" Just couldn't gain weight. Don't I wish I could say that now!