Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Roundup and Recap - July 2014



Hello, hello! July is coming to an end... so, I believe it's time for a little R and R. And by that, I mean...





That's right! Welcome to the end-of-month newsletter style post, here at The Mailbox.

This is the time and place where I will share what has caught my eye around the web, things I am loving, what I hope to try soon, and more...

Let's jump right in, shall we?

This month has been all about Camp Scrap. I am loving all of the inspiration and can't stop creating! I am also really enjoying scrapbooking from a sketch. Who woulda thought?!?! I think it helps my "I have an infant and a toddler, plus 2 more and I am tired" brain. It's nice not to think too much about the design of things and to just play with doo dads on a page!

Here are a couple of pages made using the most recent sketch from Camp Scrap, as well as some of my Studio Calico Project Life Kit goodies...



Speaking of sketches, I am having fun participating in the Studio Calico community and one of the ways I am doing that is with their weekly sketch. Here is my take on this week's...

And finally, I had lots of bits leftover on my desk after a scrapping binge and they came together very quickly onto this layout. It's oddly minimal for me, I know. Trust me, I kept trying to put more on the page, but nothing seemed to work. So, I like it and I'm calling it done!

Ah - but the minimalism doesn't seem to be lasting as the current project on my desk is anything but :)

I have been following a lovely french woman's blog and her project life pages are just wonderful! I love the way she incorporates mixed media and stenciling. Her posts are in French and for some reason my Google translate won't work on her blog, but her posts are FULL of lovely images and it is always a wonderful look-see...


I keep pondering the whole "personal style" thing. Plus, that minimal layout has me pondering that even more... I am often asked about this and have thought about doing a series on that very topic. But, I just haven't quite wrapped my brain around how I would organize and approach this vast subject. 

Any requests or ideas of things you would be interested in if I were to do a series about this? I would love some input!

  • I have a couple of VERY exciting things in the works, but I can't share more yet. Let's just say the next several months are going to be fun!!!

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings. Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Where To Next?

Happy Monday! We have a new challenge for you up on the Simon Says Stamp Monday challenge blog.

What is our theme this week?
"J" is for July!

July, journey, jump rings, jewel tones, and journaling. This week we are challenging you to be inspired by the letter J somehow. From jewels to jade ink – there are oh so many possibilities! Be sure to tell us how you’ve been inspired by the letter J this week.
I decided to scrapbook about journeys this week. Specifically, the journeys that my husband's hobby tends to take us on. Here, I have some lovely little Webster's pages goodies, along with my photo...
I don't want to cover up too much of this gorgeous patterned paper, so I am taking a bits and pieces approach to this page...
 It's so fun layering up all of the little chipboard elements in this collection...
Since my husband's hobby is extreme power kiting, it seems completely perfect to use this little "fly" cloud, along with that kite sticker...
Now, for some mixed media fun! I want to add to the clouds, not detract... so, just a light smudging of gesso is perfection...
 Spotting around some yellow watercolor with my finger...
 Now for some texture with a bit of messy stamping...
 And some splatters never hurt either...
 Title and journaling in place...
 And there we have it!

This hobby of his really does take us on some adventures and I knew as soon as I took this picture of the back of his car, complete with his custom kite buggy rack, kiting badges, and location stickers, that it would make a great layout. I love that I now have this story told!

(oh, and in case you are thinking... extreme power kiting? what in the world? kite buggy? huh? He has a Vimeo channel :)

See? Learn something new everyday - HA!

Now it's your turn! I can't wait to see how you interpret this challenge.

Go get crafty and link-up with us! Every week a random winner is chosen to win a $50 spending spree from SimonSaysStamp.com



How awesome is that?


Here is my supply list :)


Thursday, July 24, 2014

I Drank the Kool-Aid...

... the Calico Kool-Aid, to be exact. Oh, and it tastes good!

Let me explain...

From time to time I have pondered joining a kit club. I like the idea of the community... of a bunch of people all working with the same products to create. The possibilities for inspiration in that model are really endless. Plus, what's not to love about a box of scrappy goodness showing up on your doorstep every month? And, I can't forget to mention the amazing Kit-Tastic portion of Camp Scrap that I am participating in.... LOADS of inspiration for using kits!

But, one thing or another has always held me back from going through with a membership...


  • For one, there is the cost. 
  • Then, there is the potential to get a back-up of supplies as I might get things I don't need or like, etc. This is truly horrifying to me. I shudder at the idea of a pile of kit boxes untapped. My wallet doesn't like that idea either. 
  • Plus, there is the whole idea of the community. If I am going to spend my money somewhere and use a company's products, I am going to make the most of all they have to offer. I want to be active on their website, participating in challenges, purchase classes and make the occasional forum post. But, I was already really active on a couple of other websites and the last thing I want to be is an internet busy body.... So....


That brings me to the recent closing of Two Peas. I was very active there. I rarely posted on the forums as things there tended towards the dramatic, but I uploaded to the gallery, I participated in the challenges, I partook in most of their workshops, and I shopped. A lot. Two Peas truly was my online scrapbooking community. 

So, off I went in search of a new home. I perused many websites... stores, blogs, kit clubs, etc...

Here is what I was looking for:

Pretty: 
If I am going to visit a site daily, I really want it to be pretty. Light colors, simple graphics, easy to use.

Style:
I really enjoyed the gallery at Two Peas. I felt it had a nice variety of on-trend and artsy, mixed with clean and simple. Plus, I found the design team SUPER inspiring.

Shopping:
Let's be honest, I like to buy scrapbooking stuff. I like it even better when it comes from a place that I feel "part" of.

And that's where Studio Calico comes in. In my quest to find a place to call "home," I visited various kit club sites, blogs, and storefronts. Studio Calico's is just pretty. Plain and simple. The gallery loads like a Pinterest page. LOVE! The work posted is always inspiring. The DT is incredible. You get the idea. 

They welcome anyone to post and you do not have to be a subscriber to participate. So, I started posting my layouts over there and getting comfortable with the community. Turns out, I really like it! And, I firmly believe that you should support things you like. No, I don't feel obligated. But, I do feel that if I am getting something out of a free service and it is within my means to support it... then, I should! As there are lots of goodies in their shop and kits, it really is not hard to justify :)

Not to mention that they recently posted a deal where you get your first month free. Hello? Yes, please!

Ah - so the big debate began...
WHICH KIT????

I know what you are thinking... "You are a scrapbooker, Ashli. You don't make that many cards and you don't do Project Life. What is there to think about?"

Well, since you asked...

I took quite a while and looked at past kits and projects made with them. I then made sure to read the list of things that come in each kit. From my little research project, here is the list of pros and cons that I compiled:

SCRAPBOOK KIT (current Penny Arcade Kits shown)
$29.50 monthly membership fee

PROS:
  • Full of things to make 12x12 pages with
  • Lovely exclusives
  • Interesting embellishments
  • Nice stamp set
  • Pretty patterned paper
  • Mixed media elements


CONS:
  • Colored cardstock. I don't like it. Don't use it. Ever.
  • Large alpha. I am picky about my Thickers. Plus, I am preferring a smaller alpha these days and I don't like the idea of getting a set of Thickers or something that I don't like.
  • Challenging patterned paper. I like a lot of the patterns I saw in past and present kits, but when I find a paper challenging, I prefer it in a smaller scale pattern.
  • Its a ton of stuff. Good, when you look at the price point, but bad when you are afraid of supplies backing up.

CARD KIT (current Penny Arcade Kits shown)
$24.50 monthly membership fee

PROS:
  • 6x6 papers. I am more of a bits and pieces kind of scrapbooker, so this excites me.
  • Cute embellishments.
  • Ribbon. This is both a pro and a con. I will tell you, the ribbon in this kit, combined with a card Maggie Holmes made was just about enough to seal the deal on this! But, I have a really hard time incorporating ribbons in my work.
  • Price. Less than the scrapbooking kit :)


CONS:
  • Colored cardstock. Once again...I don't like it. Don't use it. Ever.
  • Seldom do you get an alpha. While I am picky about alphas, I do still want one.
  • Ribbon. (see above)
  • Stamps. They are adorable. But, I wouldn't use them enough to justify a monthly addition of a large set to my stash.
  • Buttons. I don't like the look of buttons on my projects unless their holes are threaded. I am usually too lazy to thread them. Case-in-point.
PROJECT LIFE KIT (current Penny Arcade Kits shown)
$19.99 monthly membership fee

PROS:
  • Variety of small patterns. Seriously! Look at all those cards full of patterns. Love it! And, since I am a bits and pieces kind of scrapper, cutting up little cards would work great. Plus, some of the patterns that looked more challenging in the scrapbooking kit, are repeated here in smaller versions. YAY!
  • Lovely exclusives.
  • Small set of stamps. Not only are the words relative to scrapbooking, but they won't overrun my stash.
  • Title cards. These are perfect for page titles. Love that.
  • Plenty of embellishments. Even though this is for PL, there is still a nice variety. Look at the resin pieces and the wood shapes! The deer! Swoon. Past kits had a nice variety as well.
  • Mixed media elements. Look! There is a mask. No, every kit won't have a mask. And in fact, I don't really care for this one. However, it tells me that the people putting this kit together are thinking along those lines and I like that.
  • The alpha. It's small. Its pink. Enough said.
  • Price. The cheapest!


CONS:
  • Not one sheet of 12x12 paper. Not a one. 
  • Only a very small amount of a favorite pattern will be available.
Once I had my brain wrapped around all of this, I emailed a bloggy friend who I knew was a subscriber. Niru subscribes to all three kits, and was able to give me some great advice. The long and short of which is that I should go for....

drum-roll, please.........

THE PROJECT LIFE KIT! 
(too dramatic? sorry.... I was quite excited!)

So, let's see what happened when I got it...

It's here! Thanks for packing it, Meagan :)
Look at those gorgeous resin pieces! The color is so pretty and they have a great weight to them. They don't feel cheap, but they aren't too heavy either.
 There is that perfect little alpha!
 And one of those title cards I was mentioning...
Look at the cute little feathers! If I had the large sheet of this, I would have trouble. I really like the feathers in a smaller size...
 The perfect size stamp set!
I should also mention how THICK these cards are. They feel much thicker than the standard project life cards...
 Yes! It does make me happy...
 So, what better way to break my supplies in than with Studio Calico's sketch of the week?
And there it is! I tried to keep this at 8 1/2 by 11. But, in the end, I had to go bigger. I am a 12x12 girl at heart...
As you can see, this sketch was perfect for cutting up all those lovely cards into bits of pattern paper pieces...
JOY indeed! This page will be added to my "Love from Mom" album and is all about how I hope my girls can always find joy, even when life is hard...
Hearts and feathers and stars... LOVE! Some bits and pieces from my stash made their way in here as well, but not a lot. Most of this is indeed the kit.
I was having lots of fun, so I had to carry on with another layout. And, I wanted to challenge myself to use a completely different color scheme to see what variety I could get out of this one kit...

I combined some lovely (and free) printables from Anna-Maria...
To scrap this page all about my family's recent adventures in "real" food...
FUN! Pretty cool to see two totally different looks out of the same kit, huh?

So, what about the cons of this kit? Well, I will continue on as a happy customer of Simon Says Stamp, Paper Issues, and Blue Moon for my other paper crafting needs.

Combined with that... this kit will be perfect for me!

Now, are you wondering what I am going to do about all that pre-sale madness that Studio Calico is famous for? Log-in and refresh the page like a mad woman in hopes that I get the coveted add-on? Nope. My budget doesn't allow for it, so that takes care of that. In the event that I REALLY like the look of one of the other main kits and we are able to fit it in, I will add that to my order. After all, a girl has to have her fun :)
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