Friday, August 22, 2014

Covered Bridge Stamp

I don't remember ever seeing Northwoods Rubber Stamps until we were wandering through a scrapbook store in Canada last month and both noticed a display of stamped images that had been colored or painted and then enhanced with glitter. The images were mostly scenery and wildlife, and I immediately wanted to do something similar. Robbie bought me a wonderful scenery stamp with a covered bridge on it, and last week I finally put it to use.

After stamping the image, I filled it in with colored pencils. I know lots of cards makers and stampers use alcohol markers or watercolor pens for these types of images, but I haven't yet invested in those things and am happy to play along with my colored pencils for now. Then I added green glitter for dimension and emphasis on the leaves.

Although my final result doesn't compare to the samples we saw, I'm very pleased with this first effort. I checked out Northwoods Rubber Stamps website and there are tons of great examples there along with some tips for coloring.

I already had plans for this first covered bridge image, so I set to work creating a layout with photos from our May trip to Pennsylvania. This layout will be the companion page to the digital layout I created about Cheri's covered bridge.

I can definitely see myself using this stamp for cards and art journaling, and I'll also be playing around with adding glitter and stickles to more images. Do you use scenery stamps? Have you added glitter to your colored images? Please share inn the comments how you use these stamps and any additional tips you have for adding dimension and interest to colored images.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I've Been Stamping & Coloring

It's been a while since I took time to color a stamped image, but I couldn't resist the cute Lily Rose stamp set that came with Issue 126 of Papercraft Inspirations magazine (which Robbie picked up for me earlier this summer). I stamped the Lily Rose image and filled it in with colored pencils, added a double mat, and used it to create a cute card.

I included the duck and sentiment stamp on the second image and used it on a card as well.

I was having so much FUN, I even stamped & colored on the envelope.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Zoom In/Zoom Out #7 - Along The Way

It's amazing the things you notice along the way when traveling, especially if you're on the lookout for items on a scavenger hunt list or that would make good zoom in/zoom out photos! I'm joining in with Helena today to share photos I snapped last month at a rest stop along the highway somewhere between here and Ohio.

The gardens around the restroom/concessions building were beautiful. This lavender crepe myrtle caught my eye, but as I looked closer . . .

this single blooming rose made me smile!

Do you find that these FUN memes make you more observant in your travels?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Blogging and Scrapbooking

I can't tell you the exact date that I started scrapbooking because it's something I've been doing for as long as I can remember, however I can tell you the date that I started blogging - March 22, 2010. For me, these two activities go hand in hand. Scrapbooking is a way for me to preserve our memories, a place for photos and journaling and memorabilia (and pretty paper and embellishments, too, of course!).

Similarly, I started my blog with this introduction: Hi! I'm Melissa and I've created this blog as a place where I can share what's happening in my life, post photos (including my latest scrapbooking pages), and ramble about books I'm reading, stuff I'm organizing, and fun classes I'm taking. In essence, blogging and scrapbooking are both activities that allow me to share and preserve our stories.

Last week as I was reviewing the materials in Shimelle's Blogging for Scrapbookers class (as part of my goal to review all paid for scrapbook classes), I was also thinking about this recent comment from Ann:
Thanks for sharing. Your blog posts are awesome. I often think I need to blog and then just never seem to find the time. I do have the inspiration that I would love to share but just can't figure out a way to get motivated. Any tips on how you got started and why you blog would be awesome. Thanks again.
I started blogging shortly after I discovered online classes and realized that it would be a great way to share my scrapbook layouts as well as a place I could share about the things going on in my life. I had missed the initial live run of Shimelle's class, but I signed up and worked through the materials on my own and discovered similar blogs through the message boards in that class as well as classes I was taking at BPC.

My best tip for getting started is to simply start. Write a post, publish it, then write another one . . . and have FUN! I wrote 17 posts before I received my first comment, but it didn't matter to me because I was already enjoying the writing and planning and learning (how to upload & format photos, schedule posts, include links, etc) so much that I was hooked. Of course, the social aspect of blogging has been a huge part of why I continue to blog - the relationships and friendships I've developed have enriched my life and enhanced my enjoyment of scrapbooking.

Occasionally,  my motivation to blog wanes, sometimes because life gets busy, sometimes because I'm not inspired to write or don't feel like I have anything to share. In fact, last year I took the entire month of July off from blogging . . . and was ready to jump back in after that break. Sometimes, I pre-plan posts for a little while ahead because I know life is going to be busy, and other times (like this month) I blog every day because there's just so much I want to record and share.

As I contemplated all these things, I came up with a list of reasons why I continue to blog:
(1) I like having a place to record what's happening in my life, share scrapbook pages, review books and online classes, etc . . . the same reasons I set out when I first started blogging!
(2) The friendships formed with other bloggers around the world & the comments left on my blog totally make my day. As an added bonus, I've actually met some of my blog friends in person! The built in interaction between bloggers (writers, readers, comments, emails, etc) is like going to a crop to scrap together with friends.
(3) I enjoy the writing and editing.
(4) I'm a huge proponent of lifelong learning, and with blogging I'm continually learning new things when there are changes to the Blogger platform or I have to set everything up in a new blog reader, for example. I also learn new things from the blogs I read and have a place to share new things I learn.
(5) The blog is a record of my life. At the end of each year, I print my blog posts and bind them into a book.
(6) It's FUN!

Now after almost 4 1/2 years and close to 1000 posts, I still blog for the same reasons as when I started . . . and after almost 40 years of scrapbooking, I still enjoy adhering pictures and memorabilia onto paper! There have been changes to the way I scrapbook and preserve my memories (no more acidic scrapbooks and lots more patterned paper!), however I'm happy and willing to adapt and try new things because my motivation remains the same.

I'd appreciate it if you'd share in the comments about when you started blogging and/or scrapbooking and what motivates you to continue. And if you have an extra minute, stop by and read Ann's first blog post as she joins the world of blogging!

Monday, August 18, 2014


As I was strolling through the Oscar de la Renta Five Decades of Style exhibit last week, I enjoyed the wide variety of styles and color combinations that represented the range of fashions created by Mr. de la Renta throughout his career. I didn't once stop and think that the diverse displays seemed mismatched or incompatible or uncoordinated. It was simply a wonderful representation of wide-ranging styles created over a period of many years influenced by an assortment of inspiration.

And that's exactly how I think of my scrapbooks. It doesn't matter to me if my pages are not all coordinated or if two layouts that are side by side in the album have contrasting colors. The pages are meant to be a representation of our life and memories, our wide-ranging activities with a myriad of stories in the mix. This selection of layouts that I created last week definitely showcases that type of variety. These layouts complete the Jamaica section of our 10th Anniversary Cruise Album.

It is so much FUN to scrapbook with lots of colors and patterns and embellishments to create unique and varied layouts! And I doubt anyone flipping through my albums will be bothered by the fact that none of them match.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

An Inspirational Outing

I'd seen several ads for a special exhibit at the George W. Bush Presidential Center and thought it would make a great inspiration outing, so last Tuesday morning I headed into Dallas to check it out.

The exhibit showcased designs by Oscar de la Renta over the past five decades. Since I had arrived early, there was plenty of time to read all the signs and take lots of photos. The exhibit began with a welcome video from former First Lady Laura Bush and  a display with two of her outfits designed by Mr. de la Renta. I enjoyed seeing the photos that accompanied the displays and was reminded of the exhibit of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy's outfits during the presidential years that I saw in New York years ago (but that's a story for another day).

There was a nice variety of designs and various quotes from Oscar de la Renta about what inspires him throughout the exhibit.

The thing I appreciated most about seeing these outfits in person was noting all the detailing and texture on each one. I think when we only view these creations on TV, these niceties are often hard to see.

I doubt I'll be inspired to begin designing and creating my own clothes, however I think lots of the color and texture combinations would make great scrapbook papers!

It was also interesting to see a few of the original sketches with pieces of sample materials attached.

However, my favorite part of the exhibit was the room that showcased outfits worn by three former First Ladies - Laura Bush,

Hillary Clinton,

and Nancy Reagan (who's worn Oscar de la Renta creations since the 1960s).

I thoroughly enjoyed this exhibit and came away with the feeling that Mr. de la Renta has spent his life doing something he not only excels at but that he also truly enjoys.

I was definitely inspired to get back into my craft room after this outing and completed several layouts last week, including this digital two page spread about the exhibit.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Book Review - The Reivers

This is the final post in a series of six daily posts where I've shared book reviews. I regularly share reviews of the books I read, however so far this year I've mainly only been sharing reviews of the Pulitzer prize winners and the free books (I receive in exchange for an honest review) that I've completed. This week I'm catching up with reviews so I'll have a review for each book I've read. Check out my Books Read page to see a list of the books I've read, and click on any book title to check out my review.

This year one of my goals is to read the Pulitzer Prize winners in fiction and review them here on my blog. So far, I've completed 9 of the 60 books on the list.

The Reivers by William Faulkner, the 1963 winner, was another very slow read for me. The story is told from the point of view of Lucius Priest, looking back to the time he was 11-years-old in 1905. He and Boon (who works in the Priest's livery stable) and Ned (the family's black coachman) borrow steal his grandfather's brand new automobile and take a trip to Memphis. The stream of consciousness format made this difficult to follow at times as he is telling the story to his son, talking about his grandfather (which would have been the son's great-grandfather), interrupting himself to explain who individuals are and how things are now as compared to then. There are lots of supposedly funny parts to the story, but the fact that they start out in Memphis in a house of ill repute where Boon's friend lives/works obviously adds some rather questionable content to the story. When Ned trades the grandfather's car for a horse, it leads to horse racing, betting, racist remarks, arrests, etc.

This is definitely not a book I'll be reading again and not one I would recommend. Here's an example of the writing style - this is ONE sentence describing the time they were trying to get the car out of a mud hole.

Not nightmarish: just dreamlike - the peaceful, quiet, remote, sylvan, almost primeval setting of ooze and slime and jungle growth and heat in which the very mules themselves, peacefully swishing and stamping at the teeming infinitesimal invisible myriad life which was the actual air we moved and breathed in, were not only unalien but in fact curiously appropriate, being themselves biological dead ends and hence already obsolete before they were born; the automobile: the expensive useless mechanical toy rated in power and strength by the dozens of horses, yet held helpless and impotent in the almost infantile clutch of a few inches of the temporary confederation of two mild and pacific elements - earth and water - which the frailest integers and units of motion as produced by the ancient unmechanical methods, had coped with for countless generations without really having noticed it; the three of us, three forked identical and now unrecognizable mud-colored creatures engaged in a life-and-death struggle with it, the progress - if any - of which had to be computed in dreadful and glacier-like inches.

Have any of you read this book? Please share your thoughts in the comments. (Click here to see all my book reviews.)