Monday, October 31, 2011
Here's another fun Cricut-cut Halloween treat!  It's a cute little Rocket holder made from the "fry box" template, and stamps from the Mischief WOTG.

From the front, full of Rockets

From the front -- see the Random Stamping inside?

From the back, it's a tombstone with a skull perched on top.

Boo! Out comes a ghost.

A spooky message turns the backside of the ghost into a message.

And here's the secret:  attach 2 fry boxes together to create a pocket that the ghost can pop out from!

Just wanted to share these adorable Frankenstein bags I created.  Each piece was cut using the exclusive CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge.  So cute and so easy.  They were inspired by a card I saw on Tina Crocker's blog and thought they'd make great bags too.  Now to figure out how to do something similar for Christmas!

Thursday, October 27, 2011
Everyone has their favourite things to scrap with.  You know, those things you take to every crop, every retreat, every class.  Those things you always stock up on and keep on hand.  And you're pretty much guaranteed to use them, no matter what.

Here is a list of my 10 favourite scrap things and why.  Maybe they are your favourites too and we can compare notes on new ways to use them. Or maybe this list will inspire you to try something new ... and maybe gain a new favourite for yourself.

1.  CTMH 4x6 Flip Flaps:  oh, how I love these.  While I love the look of nice, clean, simple layouts with lots of negative space and "air", that's just not my reality.  I have so many pictures to scrap, and Flip Flaps help me "git 'er done".  I can layer on 2, 4, even 6 extra photos in the space of 1.  I definitely could not have done my first Disney album (actually 2 albums) without them.

2.  Ribbon:  Any ribbon will do, but I love, love, love organdy.  And Stampin' Up's grosgrain ribbon comes in so many gorgeous colours.  Even though I have boys, I simply cannot do without ribbon.  My name is Sheri and I'm a ribbon-aholic.
Yes, I have a lot of ribbon.  A LOT!

3.  Basic metal brads:  bronze, pewter, silver, gold.  Well, gold not so much, but the others are common fixtures on my pages.  They add a little extra zing and can even be embossed to change their colour to match my needs.

4.  Liquid Glass:  good for EVERYTHING.  I've used it on photos and on embellishments.  I've used it to create a water look or to adhere prisma glitter.  I've covered chipboard letters and dotted it on Just Blooms flowers.  I've attached clear plastic shapes and finicky buttons.  And just now, I used it to fix my son's thermos.  What is there NOT to love about Liquid Glass.

5.  Plastic canvas:  I have a 1" wide strip that I carry with me in my tool kit.  I use it to space out embellishments and keep them straight and even.  I also have a plastic canvas circle for aligning embellishments "on the round".  This tool is just so hand and only cost me pennies.

6.  Work in Progress Album: I talked about this in a previous post.  It's a binder-type album that I can carry with me wherever I go.  It helps me keep my pages in order (since I don't scrap in order) and it keeps them protected when I travel with my pages.

7.  Inkssentials White opaque pen:  this is the best white pen I've found, and believe me, I've tried many.  It's not perfect, but when it works, it works amazingly.  Great for journalling on dark papers.

8.  Post-it Notes:  A staple in my tool box.  Handy for masking when you're stamping.  Great for writing notes on or doing rough copies of your journalling.  And ideal for writing yourself notes if you have to remember to look up a date or add an embellishment you forgot at home.

9. Glitz Glitter Gel:  I've been having so much fun adding glitter to my pages and cards.  I especially love the red at this time of year -- I've made so many "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeers" lately!  CTMH only has 4 colours -- so not as many as the Stickles line -- but the basics are covered and I've been able to use them with so many different paper themes.  It comes out clean, dries well and there's so much less mess than my old favourite prisma glitter.

10.  Bath & Body Works Mini Antibacterial hand sanitizer:  these are last, but certainly not least.  I carry one with me everywhere.  They smell soooooo good and are great at getting sticky leftover adhesive or messy ink off your fingers.  Perfect when you're at a crop or retreat and it's time to leave your project for a snack or a meal.  Keeps you clean without having to make a sometimes lengthy trip to the ladies' room.

So there you have it.  My top 10 must haves or toolbox basics.  My favourite things.  Do you agree with my favourites?  What are are your faves?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Last week, I organized my albums and got caught up on putting my layouts away.  This week, I sorted, organized and planned more layouts to do.  I have 3 crops in the next 3 weeks, so by getting my stuff together, I hope to get a lot accomplished.

Everyone has a different system for getting ready for a crop.  I start by sorting my photos and finding a layout that inspires me and fits those photos.  These layouts can come from magazines, website sketches, challenge blogs, or how-to books like CTMH's Cherish, Imagine and Magic.  I write down the reference info for the layout I want to use on a slip of paper.

Then I choose the papers I want to use.  I always add extra, including White Daisy or Colonial White as background or support paper.

Then I sort through my collection of embellishments and pull out those goodies that go with the layout.  This also includes the stamps I want to use.

Here's what my supplies could look like:

Then I bundle it all together.  I have special folders that I use, but you can also use 12x12 ziploc baggies that your CTMH papers used to come in, or that you can get at Zellers.

It's really amazing how much you can get done with a little pre-planning.  And it's really not that hard.  I prepped and organized close to 30 layouts in two evenings while I was watching TV.
How do you get ready for a crop?  Do you have any tips or tricks up your sleeve?  Please share in the comments below.

Thank you, thank you Karen for giving me this special award.  Karen's works is simply stunning, so I'm especially honoured to be chosen by her.  Check out her artwork for yourself!

And now it's my turn to pass on the award to 5 other talented people (with fewer than 200 followers).  So here we go:

Tina Crocker: a card-maker extraordinnaire, Tina's cards are cute and detailed and inspiring!

Melanie Logan: I've admired her work for as long as I've known her.  She creates some gorgeous layouts.

Alanna Moses: We've never met but I love the work that she does.  Her cards are simple and clean and stunning.

Jenn Joncas: a great gal I've "virtually met" thru the CTMH network but never met in person.  She does some beautiful work and we share a love of House Mouse stamps. 

And last, but definitely not least:
Kim Mathers:  not a scrapbooker but a fellow writer.  And what a sense of humour she has!  Check out her Loathe Letters and have a great laugh.

Ladies, to accept this award, please:
1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all, have fun!

Thanks again, Karen, for recognizing my blog.  Happy blog hopping everyone!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I like to be organized.  And I'm known in my family for my organizational skills (or anal retentiveness, depends on who you talk too!).  Being organized gives me a sense of peace and definitely reduces stress.  But since starting to work from home, I have not been as organized or as methodical as I would normally like.  I'm trying to change that this month.  I promise you.  And I promise myself!

So last week, when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed with what was on my plate, I took on the monster task of organizing and loading my scrapbook albums with the HUGE pile of completed layouts waiting for just such a day.  And it did take ALL DAY.  But boy, was it worth it!

Here are my nicely organized and labelled albums:

And here is my Close to my Heart Work In Progress album.  It's got the L/Os from 2010 and 2011 (I'm still catching up!) because I don't have enough albums yet.

I love it because it's got the binder clips that lets me put L/Os in and take them out so easily.  So I can do the pages as I feel like it (I'm not a chronological scrapper) and get them ready for the albums even before the album is ready.  It gives great protection for my completed work when I'm away at a crop or retreat.

In the process of organizing, I found out I had two sets of duplicates.  I have 2 layouts using the same Halloween pictures in 2008.  And I did 2 layouts of my niece Alexandra in her Snow White costume with the Snow White doll we gave her.  I had searched HIGH and LOW for those pictures after I printed them, only to go and print them again.  I had completely forgotten that I had scrapped them already.  But I love both layouts!

I also rediscovered some of my favourite moments and favourite layouts.  Here are 3 of them:

My Cute Charlie

Sam and his Big Catch

The boys at Dad's Barber Shop

It was a lot of hard work and I hope to not let it get to this point again where I have so many pages NOT in albums.  But it was so worth it.  And I loved looking at all the precious work I've done over the years.

So I'm organized now.  Well, my albums are organized.  Next step, organize my time.  ;)

Close to my Heart

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If you are inspired and would like to scraplift any of my work for your PERSONAL use, go ahead. We can all learn from each other. However, if you post somewhere, please give credit where it is due. Please DO NOT use or copy my ideas for contests, publication or selling purposes. All images are protected under Canadian Copyright.

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