Wednesday, June 29, 2011

20 Wonderful Years!

Today I celebrate 20 wonderful years of marriage to my awesome husband, Dennis. I am so glad that he was as flamboyant as he was 33 years ago, or we probably wouldn't have met. Yes, we dated for 13 years before getting married. Here he is in front of his first car, 57 Chevy Nomad wagon. Loved that car! (and his waist length red hair)

I bore you with this story because the project I share today celebrates our 20th anniversary. I thought it would be fun to make a small album for him that chronicled our marriage and dating history. I designed the base pages in Cricut Craft Room (used Mickey Font & George and Basic Shapes carts) exported the file to my Gypsy and then cut it on my Expression. I cut thin card stock for the pages. The book is about 5.5" x 11.5". I cut two copies of each page out of two sided printed card stock from the My Mind's Eye "29th Street Market" line. By cutting two pieces from the same paper, I ended up with one for the front of the page with a pattern, and one for the back of the page that was a coordinated solid color. Lastly I cut out just the letters from the coordinating backsides of the card stock used, inked with the brown CM chalk ink, and adhered these to the front of each page.

If you cannot make out the letters of the pages it spells out "My HEART".  I used each letter to dictate the type of pictures to include in that section.

Happiness and laughter
my Everything

last pages
back of the book
I bound the pages using my Cinch and 1" wires. I used brads, BoBunny Ribbon, pop dots and a few scraps of things to embellish the pages. I found a few charms to add the front. (I may have to stop and look for a few more at my favorite LSS - Scrapbook Garden --while I am out this morning.) Lastly, I added a few dots to each of the letters using Pearl Pens in Kiwi and Cream.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

June is a Hectic Month

June is a crazy month for me. First there are all of the end of the school year activities - report cards and paper work, packing things away for the summer, end of the year celebrations, etc. Then there are the 4 birthdays in our family/friends circle that need to be celebrated. Add to that a high school graduation, our wedding anniversary, and you could say there really is never a dull moment for me this month.

Thankfully, school is over, the graduation ceremony has happened and now we are on to all the celebrations. Today everyone is gathering to officially celebrate the graduation and birthdays. I thought I would share one of the many projects I have been working on for the past week since school got out.

This is a gift for a wonderful lady, Barbara, my friend Jill's Mom. As part of our extended family we love her dearly. All of her children and grandchildren are avid game players. Scrabble is Barbara's specialty. So I used some Timeless Treasures fabrics to make her the following Scrabble set.

It includes a large bag - big enough to carry her Scrabble set, and a few other goodies I put together.

The bag and a notebook to hold her score pad.

Lap sized quilt 46" x  52".
 I made a Lap sized quilt to keep her legs warm for the evening outdoor Scrabble marathons we get into during the summer. 

Gift bag, Card, Quilt, Note Pad, and Bag....

Well, I am off to the party. I can not wait to give it to her. Hope you are all enjoying your summer day.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer SMASH Books at School

Every year I try to find a way to encourage my students to be active in their learning during the summer - reading, writing, math know, all those things that seem to leak out of their brains before the end of summer. Usually this includes some flash cards or other activities. I send post cards to each of my students to encourage letter writing and reading. But I am getting tired of the same ol' thing.

Then we started chatting about SMASH Books on the Cricut Circle MBs. I really want to put one together myself, but as I watched the K & Company video, hopped around the blogs talking about them... I realized these might be just the vehicle I need to make my students have a fun summer but stay engaged in learning.

For the past week we have been preparing our books for summer. Each students started with 30 9"x6" pieces of white construction paper. Using some of the ideas from Strathmore's Visual Journal Workshops, we used our water color paints to paint designs, patterns, or splashes of color on 10 pages.

The next day we used all of my old scrapbook papers, scraps... to decorate 10 more pages.

Third step was to mix these pages with the remaining 10 blank pages, to make the whole book. We used the school's comb binding machine to complete the process.

Next the class spent time digging through magazines to find pictures that told something about themselves, creating a collage on the cover of their books.

Today, I spent some time explaining what a Smash Book is, showing pictures, the K & Company video...I then gave a description of a Smash Book, and a second with the "summer assignment." These we added to the front of our books.

We added envelope pockets to hold little papers for journaling or sketching and a photo of ourselves. Some students actually took it upon themselves to add other writings already. I love the little gal who wrote a description of herself at the school wide Spelling Bee.
and the other that wrote about one of her friends:
I have a few more presummer activities to do in their books to get them started,

but I am really looking forward to what they do with them over the summer.

In the meantime, I need to work on my own Summer Smash Book, since I told my students I would keep one too.

SMASH Books????

So, with all the talk about Smash Books and Visual Journaling on the Cricut Circle Message Boards the past few weeks I thought I would look into both ideas.

What are these ideas? Are they the same...?
As I understand it, a Smash Book is a blank journal where you create a collage one each page, filled with a variety of memorabilia, such as ticket stubs, thoughts, pictures...Kind  of (Journal + Scrapbook) x (shoebox full of various bits of memorabilia) = Smash Book. You can see a quick video explanation of the actual books for sale and ideas of what to do with them here.SMASH Book

A Visual Journal is a collection of thoughts intermingled with the owners own artwork, perhaps doodles, sketches... or even snippets of ideas and things that the Visual Journalist will expand at a later date.
I did think that a combination of these into one book would be a fun
I did think that a combination of these into one book would be a fun. Since I have already started a journal for the year, I will just add these ideas to that one. In the meantime, I can start collecting and creating for another SMASH book or journal.... OOH This could be fun.
Here are two of my past journals. I will save making them for another post.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Addicted to Art Supplies!

Why does the sight of tightly stuffed, slightly mussed up shelves of art supplies makes my heart beat faster? It could be beautiful  specialty or scrapbooking papers, a display of pens, or walls of paint tubes and pallets. It might even be the clean new brushes, or an easel...or perhaps stationary, quilting fabrics and threads. I just love wandering up and down aisles of art tools and supplies. I guess it is like getting a new box of crayons. Do you remember the feeling of infinite possibilities as you gazed at the array of pointed cylinders staring back at you when you opened that box? I love that feeling.

Other than craft projects done in elementary school, the only real art class I have ever taken was a drawing class in college. But the idea of creativity has always appealed to me. I would not say I am the most artistic or creative person I know - that title would go to my mom, Ellen, and my Aunt Susan. But I have fun playing with new ideas and mediums.

Yesterday, I decided to break out some watercolor paints I had purchased. Instead of the hard pan type paints this time I opted for some tubes of paint. I pulled up a small table, my supplies and sat in my big, comfy chair. Of course Stitch, the cat, had to join in as the smell of something new was just too much for him. I did manage to keep him off the work space but as you can see, he REALLY wanted to know what I was doing.

Since I was just messing around and trying to get a feel for the brushes and paint, I figured I would paint what was right in front of me. Or in this case right beside me.

I did not really want to do all of the cat as I was working on small pieces of paper (4.5" square) and thought that trying to get the featheriness of his fur would be a good way to play with my brushes. He always seems to have one black whisker, so I had to put that in.

Then I played with another technique I have picked up over the past several years, Zentangle. I used a sepia pen and then washed the whole tangle in color, just for fun.

Well it is off to work on report cards and play with my paints a bit more. Hope you have a great weekend. Don't forget to do something creative.