Wednesday, April 29, 2015

MME's Hello World: Vicksburg

Another city, another travel page! These photos are from a quick visit to Vicksburg, MS. I was there for work and had a little time after dinner to drive along the scenic riverfront before dark. Even in the fading light, I was able to snap a few pictures. Three of those photos are featured on this page, created with the colorful Hello World collection from My Mind's Eye:

I used one 4x4 and two wallet sized photos on the page, slightly overlapping the smaller pictures:

The Hello World collection is full of pretty prints and a plethora of embellishments: brads, die cuts, journal cards, stickers, transparency pieces, chipboard, wood veneer and more. The many bits and pieces make it easy to create interesting little clusters like the one surrounding my title:

This collection from My Mind's Eye may be labeled a "travel" collection, but you don't need to go far to use these papers. In fact, most of these prints (arrows, florals, stripes, and triangles) are so versatile, you needn't go further than your own backyard.

SUPPLIES from the ScraptasticClub STORE-Patterned Paper: (My Minds' Eye Hello World collectionAll Aboard Suitcases PaperAll Aboard We Are Here PaperBeauty In Flight PaperBeauty Bonjour PaperDiscovery Here & There PaperDiscovery Flowers Paper) (October Afternoon Saturday Mornings Bacon Paper), Embellishments: (My Mind's Eye Hello World collection-Adventure Decorative BradsMixed Bag (die-cuts), Hello World Stickers, Adventure Chipboard Stickers, and Adventure Journal Cards).

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Scraptastic Store: Map Background Tutorial with MME's Hello World

This tutorial was created for and shared on the Scraptastic Club blog. I hope you like it, and I also hope these instructions translate well for those of you with newer die-cutting machines and photo-editing programs. ;)

When I had the idea of creating a patterned paper map background, I wasn't exactly sure how it would turn out, so I plugged away without taking photos or screenshots of anything. Once complete, and not a disaster, I knew I wanted to share how it was done. So back in I went, retracing my steps for the tutorial below.

Here's the finished page with a photo taken on a leisurely lunchtime drive through Jackson, MS.

I centered the map and gave it a large border with room for a title, journaling, and embellishments:

And now, here are the steps for creating an amazing custom map background of your own. If you give it a try, I'd love to see your page!

Map Background Tutorial

1.) In google maps, locate and zoom in on the area that you want to use for your background. I was originally was going to use this idea for a photo taken in another city, but the streets were too grid-like. The irregularity of this location was more appealing, so Jackson it was. I also made sure to include the exact spot where my photo was shot, so that I could mark the finished page with a geotag, as seen below.

2.) Using a screen capture tool,  save the desired area of the map and open it up in your photo-editing program.  I use Photoshop Elements 6.0. Yes, it's old, but it gets the job done!

3.) With a brush tool set wide enough to span the streets and cover up their names, carefully trace all of the streets in white. I wasn’t concerned with being perfect. The slight waviness and imperfections give it charm. For any big mistakes, there was always the option to undo and try again!

When all the streets are finished, there may be a few spots that need to be fixed, where landmark names or other designations that are written over the map as shown below:

4.) Use a clone tool or brush tool set to grey and paint over the undesired words and symbols.

5.) Next, use the paint bucket fill tool to change each of the grey and green areas to black. Avoiding the streets, carefully clicked on each section of the map, one by one. My end result was this:

6.)With the image complete, you can now trace, resize, and cut  your background with a digital cutting machine.  

7.) Finally, the fun part! Back each opening with a mix of colorful patterned papers. The easy way to accomplish this was to lay the die cut map onto a backing paper and trace the openings, then fill the traced sections with papers cut ever so slightly larger. The die-cut map section should fit over this perfectly. (As you are adhering patterned papers, check every so often correct alignment.)

Do you recognize this section of the map from the image above? Cool, huh?!

The end result was truly worth the effort, as I now had a unique city street background for my page! 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Rube Goldberg Silver Bell Delivery System

Have you heard of Rube Goldberg? He was a cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor. His name has become synonymous with overly complex systems that work via chain-reaction to perform otherwise simple tasks! It, in essence, A Rube Goldberg machine makes performing a task a lot more difficult than it should be, but in a fun sort of way! In the 80's movie, PeeWee's Big Adventure, PeeWee's breakfast maker does just that, cooking up a pancake and eggs breakfast via all sorts of linked up contraptions.

There are Rube Goldberg contests at schools and universities across the country, but one of my favorite examples is the massive Rube Goldberg machine in this OK Go video, This Too Shall Pass:

What is really remarkable is that this video is seamlessly filmed, not cut and spliced! 
I wonder how many takes were required to get it so perfect!?

In 6th grade, Kevin's assignment in science class was to create a Rube Goldberg-inspired contraption using at least three different types of simple machines. His contraption begins with five metal marbles spinning, dropping, and rolling into a cup, which is attached to a pulley via a lever. When the cup is heavy enough, it drops, pulling on the string which moves the lever. The lever pushes a baseball off its perch, and the ball rolls down the ramp and bumps into the skateboard, sending it rolling across the room...all to deliver a silver bell! It was really cool, so of course I snapped a picture and I've finally got it scrapped:

Except for the addition of white cardstock for my background, and the mix of chipboard lettering for the Rube Goldberg title, all supplies are from the Scraptastic I Lived kit and add-on, quite possibly my favorite kit to date!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Waiting To Swim

The waiting and waiting used to be so boring. He would swim one event, and then we would have an hour or so with nothing to do. It's not so painful now that we have i-phones. Texting, games, Facebook, email, Instagram, etc. keep both kids AND adults entertained. Here's Kevin, engrossed in a game, waiting to swim again.

Today's page begins with a die-cut background. I used my Cricut to cut five elongated triangles from white cardstock and backed each opening with a different patterned paper, but you could get much the same look by adhering five triangles on top of the cardstock. I opted for the Cricut as it enabled me to play with the width, length, and placement of my triangles before committing anything to paper!

My picture, itself rather colorful, needed a bit of separation from some of the busy papers, so when I adhered it, I tucked in a slightly skewed matt behind it. As you can see, the journaling block doesn't contain any journaling, but was used more as a grounding element, a resting place for flair, stickers, die-cuts.

The green leaf cluster, another product of my Cricut, adds a little something by balancing out the green triangle on the opposite side of the page. I seem to do that a lot. Notice the blue triangle, heavy at the top, is balanced out with the title at the bottom. A bright yellow sticker on the right side of the page accompanies the yellow triangle on the left. It's one of those things that I do automatically, without thought, and it works.

Aside from the white cardstock background, everything on the page is from Scraptastic's I Lived kit and add-on. Can you say colorful?!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Jazz Fest NOLA

This month's I Lived kit (my Scraptastic kit choice for April) is one of the most colorful happy kits ever, so I had to use it to document one of the most colorful and happy events in my city. You might be thinking Mardi Gras, but nope, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is what immediately came to mind. 

I don't go every year, and this year will be a miss, but when I attend, it's a a feast for all the senses. Good food, great music, and joyful crowds everywhere. I had hoped to see Elton John this year, but we will be watching a certain son walk across the stage in Tuscaloosa on that day. Oh well! Here's what the crowd looked like at a recent fest, a menagerie of hats, flags, and umbrellas.

The grid on this Pebbles' Happy Day collection paper helped me to neatly arrange the elements of this page. Squares and rectangles cut from some of the other kit papers were overlaid with stickers, enamel dots, and die-cuts from the Simple Stories documented collection. A few squares were left without patterned paper and the embellishments applied directly to the page. 

What a happy, happy day!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Everyday 'Jacks

Funny, but I remember scrapping our pancake routine about 8 or 9 year ago! Kevin was standing on a chair by the counter, lending his expertise ;), perhaps participating in the mixing, and I snapped a few pictures. At the time pancakes were not the everyday. Now they are. "Everyday 'Jacks" as in flapjacks, pancakes, golden brown orbs soaked in maple syrup...and sprinkled with chocolate chips. Yep, gotta have the chocolate.

It's always been like this. Once Kevin discovers a favorite breakfast food, he eats it Every. Single. Day. until he tires of it, and then it's on to the next big thing. It's been pancakes for a few years now! It makes our breakfast routine pretty snappy without the indecision and "waffling" back and forth about what to eat. Hahaha...get it? Waffling?! Aunt Jemima complete makes it super easy, as I never have to worry about running out of eggs, and I keep an extra box of mix in the pantry at all times since we go through them so quickly!

It was a no-brainer that I chose October Afternoon's Saturday Mornings papers for this layout, with its many references to morning, breakfast, and of course, pancakes. Great colors and perfect accents!

I had all intentions of using chipboard letters for the second part of my title, but after I matted the pancake-imaged patterned paper on brown chevron paper and trimmed the sides, I had these little brown "sticks" that wanted to stay on the page. I cut more and formed letters! Kinda quirky, kinda fun.

After layering all my papers and photos, I tucked in a couple of journaling cards, and topped them off with stickers, enamel dots, and flair. Order up!  This page is done!

I think my next use for this collection will be to document our current binge watch obsession. Kevin, my two girls and I sit down together to watch Parenthood on Netflix. None of us had ever seen the show, but after all the hoop-la about it's final season, we decided to give it a try, and love it. All but the last season is available, so if we take our time, maybe we can get caught up before Netflix releases those final episodes. Oh, the drama!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Oh Yeah: A 30-Minute Page

Last Thursday we had a "timely" challenge on the Scraptastic Club blog. Jill and I, both self-professed slowpokes, were challenged to create a 30-minute scrapbook page. And we did it!

Sometimes it just makes sense to streamline the process. April is one of those times, as the 15th looms closer and closer. Yes, I have yet to finish up my taxes! So there I was on Tuesday night, scrapping on the clock, using 30 minutes and only 30 minutes. This is what I came up with:

The title was quick and easy, with the "Oh Yeah" sticker. Still, precious minutes were lost because I had to waffle back and forth a bit about where I wanted it! Indecisiveness...a time killer! As the clock ticked down, I added a few little details-star stickers and die-cut, flair, arrows, and enamel dots. Ding! Done...just in time! Here's a closeup of the journaling:

Pretty cool that my son had the opportunity to be in this commercial. It was his 15 minutes (actually more like 3 seconds) of fame. ;)

How long does it take to complete your typical page? Is a 30-minute page a challenge for you?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Look Out World!

I thought I had a bit longer, but when I overheard another mom with a son in my child's grade talking, I realized I didn't. She was talking about registering her son for Driver's Ed. It doesn't seem possible! Wasn't it just a little while ago that he was in this car at Epcot, barely peering over the window, feet dangling far above the floorboard of the car?! 

I chose Studio Tekturek's One Way Ticket collection to set off my photos. The paper airplanes and deep blue celestial print are favorite patterns, with wonderful blues and greens, colors much welcomed when creating boy pages.

Various patterned papers from the collection were cut into squares, then triangles, and finally combined to form a geometric design on the left hand side of the page:

A few mustard yellow accents (stickers, star, enamel dots, a brad and banner of washi tape) bring it all together:

At the time these photos were taken, I couldn't have imagined this day would be here so soon. I'm kinda hoping he's not in such a hurry. In any case: Look out world!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Hoppy Easter!

When I took photos that Easter Sunday many years ago, I had forgotten that I had a black and white roll of film in the old camera, and was quite disappointed when I realized it. Oh no! All the pretty colors of Easter were washed away and replaced with grey. I suppose that's why this photo sat un-scrapped for so long. But now I can happily put the color back into the day with the pretty pastel pink and yellow patterned papers from Scraptastic's Good Day Sunshine kit. Sweet!

Here are a few closeups:

The large Easter egg above was pieced from strips of patterned papers in clean lines, but the smaller eggs below were created in the constructed/deconstructed fashion. Small pieces, torn strips, and tiny sections of punched papers were layered over a yellow polka dot base before being cut apart again into individual egg shapes.

And there's my little Easter bunny friend, admiring his handiwork. ;)

Happy Easter everyone!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Just DO It!

When Kevin began swimming a few short years ago, there were things he never thought he'd accomplish: flip turns, diving head first, and swimming a legal butterfly! Hee-hee. Well now he's done all these and more. At a meet late last year, he swam the 100 fly and cut time twice in one day! I happened to catch him mid-stroke during his swim and used the photo, along with a larger one of the LSU facility, on the page below. I LOVE the colors in this collection, especially the deep blue chevron and aqua dot prints, perfect for pool pics! 

Pebbles' Happy Day collection has a few journal cards and stickers that refer to typical weekend activities (or lack thereof, i.e. sleeping in and relaxing). They had me thinking about OUR typical weekend, and swim meets naturally came to mind. No, we don't get to sleep in. In fact, it's just the opposite with early morning warm ups! It's our get up and go weekend activity. 

The arrows below are not just a decorative element. They represent all the laps my son swims, day in and day out at practice. They could also represent the 100 fly, the event he is seen swimming in the small photo at the bottom of the page. 

A fun element, purely decorative, is the cluster of overlapping banners: 

An arrow sticker is strategically positioned over the small photo, pointing to my swimmer:

Finally, journaling and title work together to tell the rest of the story:

I'm so glad that Kevin continues to love and work hard at his swimming. It's fun to see his progress!

These supplies, most from the Pebbles Happy Day Collection, can be found in the Scraptastic STORE: Patterned Paper: (Pebbles Happy Day- Fresh Air Paper, Game Night PaperPick-Me Up Paper, Puzzled Paper, Sunday Paper Paper, and Thinking of You Paper) Embellishments: (Pebbles Happy Day-6x12 Phrases & Labels), Alphabets: (Bella Blvd-Sophisticates-Sienna Chipboard Alphabet-Pickle Juice).

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spongebob Forever

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
SpongeBob, of course!
SpongeBob Squarepants, to be exact.

How familiar are you with Bikini Bottom, the Krusty Krab, Squidward, Patrick and the rest of the SpongeBob cartoon crew? Do you have a favorite character? Best loved quote? Evidently, it's a bit of a cult classic for today's teens, as I've overheard the high school students in my carpool discussing their favorite episodes of the show! I asked Kevin to to help me with this page by recanting a few of his favorite quotes. Somehow, most are spoken by Patrick, SpongeBob's less than sharp best friend. Tee-hee.

Scraptastic's Good Day Sunshine kit and add-on were used exclusively for this layout, and again I stuck with a scheme of yellow, black, white, and yellow. The design of the page closely follows Scraptastic's March sketch, created by Susan Stringfellow. It is evidently a popular one, judging by the many beautiful and varied interpretations in Scraptastic's Sketchy Thursday blog post...14 in all!

And now I can't get that cartoon theme song out of my head....