Friday, January 31, 2014

february faves: a new photo challenge!

we've got a fun new challenge over at get it scrapped! for the month of february.  we've compiled a list of "favorites" we can chat about, photograph, and document.  you're welcome to join us!

february favorites

childhood memories:
1. toy (or stuffed animal)
2. candy
3. cartoon (or cartoon character)
4. book
5. game (board, video, sport, etc)
6. pet (or animal)
7. memory

the hipster vibe:
8. photo of you in your 20's
9. song (singer, group, music, etc)
10. movie (or tv show)
11. drink
12. place to shop
13. shoes (or clothing)
14. friday night fun (or decade)

these times:
15. number
16. holiday
17. way to relax (time waster or guilty pleasure)
18. weather
19. month
20. season (or time in life)
21. time of day (or day of week)

the happiness project:
22. flower (or scent)
23. food (comfort, snack, restaurant, etc)
24. vacation (past or future)
25. quote
26. color
27. scrappy supply
28. knick knack (sound or something someone has said about you)

i'll be instagramming mine (i'm dorissander on instagram and will be using the hashtag #getitscrappedfebfaves), chatting about them on the gis message board, and housing them in this little mini-album.  the cover is a new wood veneer set from jenni bowlin studio.  i inked it with chewing gum ink and then did a little embossing on the cover with copper glitter embossing powder.  i'm not sure about the insides or binding yet, but i'm sure something will come to me.  looking forward to getting started!  i'm needing a fun challenge to get me through the winter blahs.

photography club: natural lighting techniques

It is no secret that I love the warmth of the sun.  Sometime in the last year or so I became obsessed with capturing it in my photos.  I've learned all sorts of fun techniques and terminology on the topic, strictly on an amateur basis.  Here are a few of the natural lighting tips I shared with the high school photography club this semester.  You've probably seen most of the photos on my blog at some point or another, but i think pretty pictures are always worth a second glance.
sun flare is my absolute favorite.  i feel like i can actually see teh sun in this photo.  and look at those sweet prismatic rainbows on my kitty.  wow.  the sun adds so much personality and emotion to this shot.

sun flare is easiest to capture in the morning or evening when the sun is closer to the horizon.  i just place the sun at the top edge of my photo and tilt the lens till i see the sun leaking across the image.  this photo was taken in the early morning.  it was a foggy day too which played up the drama of the sunbeams breaking the dawn.

a bit of evening sun flare, shadowplay, and a crazy cool green and red spot of light on the lawn.

our cub scouts playing football before dinner at the fall campout.  i love everything about this one.  the sun has added so much drama and intensity.

sun flare can also be captured at high noon.  you just have to look for places where the sunlight is leaking around the edge of another object.  standing under a tree and looking up through the leaves is a surefire way to capture it during this time of day.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.  i can't wait for spring!

redbuds and sunshine.  makes my heart skip a beat.

backlighting is when the light is behind the subject.  i love this for flowers and leaves.  the interplay of light and shadows through the transparent foilage is just lovely.

backlighting can also product a nice halo effect like the one here highlighting the frost edging this fallen leaf.

shining on these two sweeties (also love the sparkles leaking in the railing).

the same cutie brunette from above with her wild baby curls.  and enough light in the foreground to still get catchlights.

and if there's not enough light in the foreground, the color starts leaching out of the shot, producing a backlit silhouette.  this one was created because i was under the pier.

this one in the early eveing as the light was fading.

and not much light at all here as my niece holds her baby on the fourth of july.

bokah results from a shallow depth of field that causes the background to blur.  any little light reflectors in that background will then put on a sparkly show.  in this pic, the sparkles are causes by blurred water droplets.

here the bokah is from fall leaves on the trees.

and here jsut a touch from sunlight reflecting on the leaves reflected in the window.

and finally, a little blow out.  blow out, like most of the naturally lighting techniques here, is often considered a photography nuisance.  like here there is too much light coming in from the window to the right.  it's reflecting off the white fur and causing the photo to lose definition around the nose area.

but blow out isn't all bad.  love the etherial look it created here.  this was a late afternoon photo taken while i was laying in the grass.  the neighbors must think i'm crazy.

early morning light.

and blow out at the beach with all that light reflecting off the white sand.  what?  you didn't realize there's a beach behind him?  yep.  but i love this shot.  i don't always want the sand and surf to fade away, but in this case, oh my.  look at that tan skin and adorable cheeks as he smiles at his mama who's reflected in his lenses. 

here are some great articles i found on the various topics i mentioned here.  these are written by professionals with a gift for putting their thoughts in terms that laymen can understand.


backlighting silhouetttes


blow out

sun flare

Thursday, January 30, 2014

project life: florida in october

here are the pages from our most recent trip to florida.  i tried to take my time with these and do a good job since i loved them so much.  pictures taken out in the warm sunshine are always so pretty.

this first page is a little peek at the february jbs mercantile kits that will go live at midnight cst tomorrow night.  it's not really a good representation of the color palette of the kit, however.  there was really no intention for orange with this one, but i somehow managed to find the tiniest bits (plus a little help from my washi tape stash, of course) to add to this october page.  i mean, the intro page to october really demands orange, doesn't it?

now this is a serendipitous occurance.  i mentioned earlier that i've started keeping my project life pages and my layouts all in the same albums.  and i've also started choosing which photos i want to make layouts for and which i want to slot in project life all at the same time.  i just stash them in the appropriate page protectors until i'm ready to work with them.  now i've never minded at all whether my facing pages match or not, but i have to say that these look rather pretty together.  i did this spread and the following ones all from the january jbs mercantile kits over the course of a couple weeks.  since they're all from the same trip, it's really quite nice that they blend so well.  i love it!  (you can see a larger version and read more details about the layout on the right HERE).

the little clam here, the frog on the first page, and gator on the last page are all from my stash.  it's a box of chipboard animals from k&co that i've been hoarding for a very long time.  they are so cute that they always make the cut when i do a big purge.  i'm glad i've found a place to use some of them.

i just wrote about this layout in my previous post.  the same exact thing goes for the page to it's right.  there was some major piecing together of little bits of paper to make that page work too.  (the german foil fish is leftover from the august mini-album kit).

 i really like the way the postcard turned out cut in half like that.  these were such fun pages to do.

jbs mercantile january: sting ray!

this is a classic example of why i like to keep all the little tiny scraps of patterned paper until the very end of kit creating.  this was the third layout that i made from the january kits.  it was also made after i did those 12 project life pages and all the one little word pages.  there wasn't much left.   i was still able to create a fun patchwork effect though!  if you look closely, the aquas all blend nicely, but they're not the same papers at all.  on the left is a scrap of the vellum, on the top right are a couple snippets of patterned paper, and on the bottom right is the sliver of amy tan stitched pocket that i had cut down to make it fit in my project life album.  i brought in some washi tape from my stash that perfectly matched my son's faded red shirt.  i've even got a couple words off some of the bar strips from the patterned paper on this one!  saving the trash pile till the end is good stuff; i'm telling you!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

get it scrapped!: haiku

the latest blog post over at get it scrapped! is all about the haiku, and you know how much i love the haiku.  i decided to play along and create a layout about one of the haiku i've written this fall.  the design is a little starker than i would normally create, but i think it works well with the whole idea of haiku.  my favorite part is the snowflake that i hand cut (the old-fashioned way!) from a piece of vellum.  it looks quite icy, doesn't it?

i seem to have a little blowout in my photos.  the haiku reads:

late fall blossoms
trimmed in winter white
sparkle on, summer, sparkle on

menu plan: beef stew

i decided to let the menu plan slide last week.  i made a plan for this week, but it seems to be sliding again anyway.  oh well.  i think i have the january blues.  good thing february is around the corner.  i sure hope that groundhog doesn't see his shadow this weekend.  i can't take much more of this single digit stuff.  shiver.  beef stew does help though.  do you have a favorite beef stew recipe?  this is what i dump into the crock pot . . .

beef stew:
potatoes (i boil them a little first as i don't like how the crock pot cooks them)
carrots (i usually throw these in the potato boil too)
stew beef (i used 2 packages - about 2 pounds)
salt and pepper to taste
1 package onion soup mix
1/2 bag frozen diced onion (or 1 medium onion, diced)
1 can creamed corn
3 small cans of V8 juice (about 24 ounces)
1/2 stick butter

and now i am wondering why i brought tuna and carrot sticks for lunch today.  tuna and carrot sticks are not cold weather food.  grumble grumble.

6 word memoir: his kitty

he is his first best friend

the fourth installment of my january photo challenge, six word memoirs.  on to february's challenge!

Monday, January 27, 2014

a studio tour, january remains, and a february peek

hi friends!  i just posted a tour of my scrappy space over on the jbs inspiration blog if you'd like to take a peek.  there are several photos and some thoughts about a few of my vintage storage solutions.

i also thought it would be fun to share with you the remains of my january jbs mercantile kits.  it was a good month.  excellent, really.  i haven't been this productive in ages.  i made 30 items with my kits (3 layouts, 14 project life pages, 12 one little word mini-album pages, and 1 card).  THIRTY!  can you believe that?  these little piles represent the remains.  the first piles is mostly tools and alphas that will be used several more times.  the second pile is paper leftovers that i'm keeping.  most is vintage as i always keep the vintage.  then some of the patterned paper.  i'm more discriminating about that.  i figure after i've made this many things with it already then i should only keep what i LOVE love.

this, then, is the giveaway pile (way smaller than usual) and the tiny scraps for the trash bin.  i keep all the tiny scraps to the end as you never know when a hint of this color or a touch of that pattern will come in useful.  but tiny things like this are just too hard for me to keep long term. 

and then there on the end is a patchwork card i made to finish out (i was hovering at 29 projects and 30 seemed so much better).

now i feel so good having a clean tray to work with.  on to february scrappiness!  (aka this is a peek of the february jbs mercantile kits.  watch for the full reveal this friday at midnight cst!).  :)

quality literature: little bee

i want to say that i loved this book.  there are, indeed, many things to love about it.  it's very well written in the stream of consciousness style that i enjoy.  chris cleave takes a long time in developing the characters and it is easy to become involved with the main character, little bee, and her story.  it's a novel that brings a cultural and social awareness.  thumbs up for that.  in the end, though, i felt like little bee's story stopped just as it was getting started.  the conclusion was too abrupt for me.  i also have hang ups about adultery and this one weaves this into the story line a little too lightly for my tastes.  "little bee" is a good read, but not my favorite.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

get it scrapped!: stripes

i love stripes!  i wear them horizontally all the time, whether i should or not.  striped patterned paper is usually a favorite too.  i especially like to use it for journaling.  on this layout, i used stripes to bookend my design area and to create the feeling of an event located on a timeline.  the layout is about my son being away from me for 12 days when his father took him to honduras to visit his grandparents. that was SO hard!  luckily, we were able to communicate several times each day via facetime, but I was still overwhelmed with love and gratitude when I picked him up at the airport at the end of his trip.  the stripes on the left are bold and stark to reflect the separation. On the right they are much softer and stitched to the page to show the relief and connection of being together once more.  i love my sweet potato SO much!

you can find more stripe inspiration HERE on the get it scrapped! blog.  another great read!

disclaimer:  i broke a lot of rules on this one.  i'll be chatting about that next month at masterful scrapbook design if you want to sign on and listen in. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

crochet: dishclothes

to say that i am quite pleased with myself would be putting it mildly.  aren't these cute!!!  squeal!  i mentioned earlier this month that it's my plan to stay in the christmas crafting mode, making gifts, decorations, and holiday pages all year long. hot off the hook, a set of crocheted dishclothes for my niece.  the only problem with christmas crafting in january is that it is a long way till december.  no way can i hold on to these for 11 months.  i think i will have to send them to her for her birthday in april.  ha!

this was the perfect little pattern (mine started with a chain of 33) to work on mindlessly during basketball practice.  so simple and easy!  and it makes this great nubby texture that i was going for.  i knew my niece liked grey, but i wanted to jazz them up a bit.  the pink one was my first and i used this pin for color inspiration.  in my first attempt, i tried to single crochet around the entire thing.  i guess you can imagine that with the high contrast between the hot pink and grey, this showed off every little imperfection down the sides in dramatic technicolor.  i ripped that out and then decided to go with the "dipped" look that is so popular now.  much better results.

i must admit that my first dishcloth attempt met with poor results.  actually, i would say that i was traumatized.  i had bought a tunesian crochet hook and was attempting to learn this style of crochet.  i had to take out the base chain six times. SIX.  i'm a fan of tight tidy crochet stitches with a small hook.  the tunesian crochet hook was way fat and i had to make a way loose chain stitch to be able to come back in for the foundation row.  ugh.  i hated it.  (and swore profusely in my mind.  how wrong is that?  crochet is supposed to be relaxing!).  then after i FINALLY got the first set of rows done, it had curled in on itself like a dead centipede. the chain stitch was still too tight compared to the huge stitches that tunesian crochet hook was making me make.  ugh.  i took it all out. again. sigh. and then i made the messiest sloppiest chain i could muster. and tried one more time. and ew.  all i have to say is it's a good thing i'm working on a purging the house and sending the unwanted/unneeded items to goodwill. good-bye tunesian crochet hook.

this.  is much more my style.

6 word memoir: my kitty

i am her one and only.

to finish up my final two 6 word memoirs for the month, I thought I'd pay tribute to our kitties.  this sweet thing is mine and she loves me.  (find out more about the 6 word memoir here).

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

quality literature: dawn by elie wiesel

since reading "night" by elie wiesel, i have been haunted and consumed with a need to read his happy ending.  when i picked up "dawn," i mistakenly thought it would at least be a start in that direction.  i was so wrong.  "dawn" is a disturbing read.  the words are beautifully written, but i was stunned when it ended abruptly with such violence and emptiness.  it took me a few days to come to terms with this and to begin to make sense of it.  i intend to read "day," the final installment in this trilogy, but i think i will never find in his writings the happy ending that i was seeking for him.  the sad truth is that happy endings tend to make us forget and elie does not want us to forget.

i did, however, glimpse much of the meaning and purpose he has found in life through reading his nobel peace prize acceptance speech.  here are a couple excerpts that spoke to me, but i would highly recommend reading it in its entirety.

"And now the boy is turning to me. "Tell me," he asks, "what have you done with my future, what have you done with your life?" And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices."

"This is what I say to the young Jewish boy wondering what I have done with his years. It is in his name that I speak to you and that I express to you my deepest gratitude as one who has emerged from the Kingdom of Night. We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them." 

Monday, January 20, 2014

one little word: dream

i've been adding pages to my 2014 one little word album all month.  one idea i've had is to highlight the holidays.  martin luther king's birthday is one deserving of respect.  a few weeks ago, i actually overheard an english teacher at my school comment that this speech was overused and students' eyes would glaze over in class when it was played.  she even alluded to her own eyes glazing over as well.  really?  really?  i was appalled.  and so very sad.  as an educator, i feel it's my job to expose my students to greatness (whether they like it or not).  our world is so much better because this man lived and died.  listen.  again and again and again.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

project life: the embellishing essentials

all my september pages are scrapped!  and i'm super happy with the results.  this was the second month of doing the photo challenge at get it scrapped!; the topics were very inspiring and the weather was warm, so i got lots of great pictures.  i wanted to take my time and do a good job with them.  this is actually one of the things i like most about project life; i love that it's the perfect place to put all my random pretty pictures.  there are several of these sets that i could have made layouts with, but i'd say that 75% off them would have stayed on a computer hard drive.  now they are in the album to enjoy.  happiness.

i completed all of these pages with the january jbs mercantile kits plus a little help from my stash.  as i've gotten more proficient at knocking out project life pages, i've found that there is a small set of embellishments that i grab on almost ever page.  these are:

1. washi tape
2. small bits (most often enamel dots, but also rhinestones, sequins, buttons, and brads)
3. label stickers
4. flatbacks/flair

you'll see these four things scattered on all these pages.

i find  the washi tape really helpful in organizing my pages.  for example, on this spread, i've used it to divide my photos into four columns of related ideas/events.  the fuschia column is plants, the green column is me and the critters outdoors, the black column is g sleeping, and the orange column is g playing basketball.  admittedly, i was worried for a while that i'd gone a little crazypants with the color and washi on this one, but in the end i love the way it turned out.  i think the vibrant hues match the photos well.

i was also excited to finally use the stitched journaling cards from the historian add-on.  they were my favorite, but it took me a long time to find the perfect place for them.  i used two of them to frame photos on this side (one i trimmed out to make a real frame while the other just has the photo laid over it).  on the page above, i added a little coloring to the stitching and then used it as inspiration to do a little stitching of my own to the arrows.

this spread and the one below are of a 12x12 page protector paired with a 6x12 page protector.  these spreads are both events rather than a random assortment of things, so i found that this size nicely held the amount of photos i wanted to include.

i used several bits from the antiquarian add-on for this one.  they added a nice woodsy feel.  i noticed this page is also very photocentric.  i like that.  since it is one event, i didn't necessarily need to say a lot about each photo (there's a tag with journaling behind the thread card).  i actually like adding just a little writing and embellishing directly onto the photo.  also, more photos in less space is usually a good thing.

and here are the last few random pics from september and the photo challenge.  on to october!