Gypsy

I don’t normally fall prey to the Black Friday frenzy. I don’t like crowds and I don’t like the blatant consumerism that Black Friday represents. However… I do like good deals. I actually read all the eamil adverstisments that came through my email inbox this year. And I found a deal I couldn’t resist. Michaels had the Gypsy on sale for $99. That is the lowest price I have ever seen on it (though I have never checked ebay!). I decided now was the time to break down and get one even though I have qualms about it.

What is a Gypsy you ask? It is a hand-held design tool that goes along with the Cricut electronic die cutting system. I enjoy my Cricut as an addition to my scrapbooking tools but I am not a fanatic like many out there. I find the pros and cons to it. And that goes for the Gypsy as well. The major con of the Gypsy is that it loads your Cricut cutting images from the cartridges and then permanently links those cartridges to that one Gypsy. There is no undo for this process. That means that we can not unlink the cartridge in order to give or sell it  to another crafter when we are tired of it. Everyone gets tired of their scrapping supplies and wants to send then on at some point! This will make it so much harder for someone else to use this cartridge. Yes the cartridge will still work in the Cricut machine itself but that person could never use it with their own Gypsy. I think Provo Craft (maker of both tools) really dropped the ball on this one. I hope that an upgrade to the Gypsy will come at some point in time that will change this closed-minded system.

So, if I dislike that business practice, why did I buy one? Well it has features that I find very useful to my crafting. The Gypsy has a search feature that allows you to look for particular images thought out all cartridges that Provo Craft makes. It has a feature that allows you to turn off certain portions of the cutting image. It allows you to combine images for unique cuts. You can even weld images, such as text, together to create one, new continuous cut. It allows you to design and save cut jobs to use later. It is portable so you can design with your Cricut without having to be right next to it. In short, it is a convenient tool. And I like tools!

Crafting for a cause

There is a lot of buzz in the scrapbooking industry about using our crafting abilities for charity. That could be as simple as donating our scraps to our kids school, to as heart warming as making a scrapbook for a Make-A-Wish child. We all have ways we can help! I’ve decided what two of my charitable contributions will be for the next year.

As a small contribution I will be making lots of handmade cards. I will compile a stack of general occasions cards and donate them to a silent auction for a homeschooling conference that my family attends every year. The silent auction raises money to use as scholarship for families that can’t afford the conference otherwise. This idea started because I have been making cards for challenges, contests and just for fun and now I have some cards I don’t have a specific purpose for. So I made a purpose! It is funny that it took me so long to think of this idea because last year I did donate cards to the silent auction. But it was a last minute idea that I could just pull a bunch of cards that I hadn’t use in a long time to donate. Now I’ll be creating cards on purpose for this function. It should be fun.

The second donation I plan on doing this year is for my local YWCA. The YWCA supports women and children in domestic violence situations (among other things). This is a need that is close to my heart. I’m not sure how my donation will look yet. Will it just be donating supplies to help with emotional healing through crafting? Will it be teaching a class on scrapbooking a personal story? I’m not sure yet. But this idea has been on my mind for a while. I don’t know where it will go, but I know it will help someone, somewhere at some time.

So, what can you do to help? I’d love to hear your comments on causes you have helped or plan to help!

Day 2 of my back-in-action posts

Here are some more older projects that I have worked on. These are from my kids’ calendar scrapbooks. I wrote about this style of scrapping in an earlier post. You can see here how I incorporate my calendar record keeping into a companion page to go with the main layout. In my current calendars the right hand page is always my calendar (blanked out here for privacy).

I have found some things I didn’t like about this approach to my calendars. First, I used too small of a format of calendar for my older kids. I thought I would need less room to record their lives since they aren’t growing and changing as rapidly as the little one. But I ended up really cramming journaling onto a small page. Apparently, I have just as much to say about them! I used a larger calendar for my youngest and now I know I would like this larger size for the older kids as well. Secondly I felt like making an entire companion page for the calendar became boring. I felt like I was wasting supplies just to glue a calendar down to a pretty page. Finally, I did not keep a general family calendar, which I have done in the past and I missed it very much. I missed recording tidbits of life for my husband and I as well as larger family events.

My approach for the coming year is going to be different. I am going to make the larger size calendar for everyone, including a family calendar. I am not going to make companion pages. Instead I am going to build pockets in behind the main layout with a tab at the top to pull out the calendar. This will save materials and space in my albums, but still preserve all the information. I will report back in the new year to see how I like the changes to my system!

Submissions

So I haven’t been working much on projects. All the things I have made lately have been for magazine submissions. I’m new to this and still trying to figure it all out. I know at this point that I can’t share ’em with you! So, sorry I have no eye candy this time.

I’ve submitted one scrapbook layout to Creating Keepsakes magazine. I’ve also submitted 3 card/paper craft projects to Paper Crafts magazine. They are currently having submission calls for their February issue. So in the midst of summer I am working on Valentine’s Day. It is a small, small taste of the magazine world.

Now I don’t know very well how these submissions work. I doubt they take the time to send rejection letters to those they don’t want. And as far as I know they may save projects to use at some point in the future. So I will either get an acceptance correspondence or none at all. Tomorrow is the deadline for the Paper Crafts magazine submissions so I have my fingers crossed for some news. Wish me luck!

Craft Store Haul

I stopped by my local Craft Warehouse this week on a whim. And they were having a “fill the bag get 20% off” sale. I decided to pick up a few things like buttons and plastic crystals. I found some American Crafts thickers that I have been drooling over in projects I’ve seen. Then I found the Tim Holtz embossing folders for Sizzix and had to have one of them. Best of all though, as I was getting ready to leave I found the rack of Martha Stewart punches and found 2 punches I have been looking for for months! Sure I’ve found the punches online but never both in one place at the same time! Into my cart went those. And I added in another punch that I recently fell in love with from a project in Paper Crafts Magazine. Fun stuff. Can’t wait to play with it all.

Free summer scrap “parties”

I am a fan of Big Picture Scrapbooking as well as Creating Keepsakes Magazine. Both of these companies are offering a free summer “party.” Both places will require you to register an account for their sites, but registration is free. And you may find other benefits you enjoy about each of their sites. BPS has other free classes that you can take and a variety of pay-for offerings as well. CK’s summer camp is run through their online community Club CK.

Each party will include tips, ideas, prizes and more. The BPS party runs Aug 12-24. CK’s is July 12-16. I encourage you to check them out! Maybe I’ll “see” you there.

National Scrapbooking Day (NSD)

Saturday May 1st, 2010 is National Scrapbooking Day. Every year in May scrapbookers and crafters celebrate the hobby. Many online sites have activities to follow along with for the day. I’ll be playing along with My Pink Stamper and Club Creating Keepsakes with their activities. I will also be having a couple of friends over for some in-home scrapping fun. And, I will be posting challenges and my project to match the challenge throughout the day on Saturday. I have 8 challenges planned, so I hope there are readers out there who would like to play along. If you decide to do a project based on my challenge, I’d love to see it. Post it to a gallery such as Flickr, Picasa, Club CK or another favorite and leave a comment on the challenge post with a link to your gallery.

Do you have a favorite online site that is hosting NSD challenges? I’d love to know about it. Leave a comment on this post and let me know about it!

Online class

I’ve known about Big Picture Scrapbooking for a couple of years now. I took some classes last year and really enjoyed them. When I got their newsletter recently I saw a class that I just had to join. And I am making my kids do it with me. The class is called Everyday Adventures and it is based on the book How to be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith. It is supposed to be exercises in seeing the extraordinary hidden in the ordinary. I’m curious to see where it leads us.

Our pre-class assignment was to make Goggles of Enhanced Perception. So here we are decked out in our goggles.

We created our own journals to record our findings for the 20 exercises throughout the class. The kids decorated small spiral bound notebooks. I made mine from scratch using brown cardstock, white & black markers and watercolor pencils from Stampin’ Up. The chipboard accents are from my stash, covered with white embossing powder and inked with alcohol ink (Tim Holtz).

And here is my Day 1 exploration. The assignment was to sit and make a list of 10 things you hadn’t previously noticed about the place when you first sat down. I sat in my doorway and did the assignment while watching my kids ride bikes. I decided to draw all my decorations instead of using the basic scrapbook supplies I thought I would use. I am not a skillful drawer but I think it turned out very pretty anyway. I may just keep up the hand drawn accents throughout the journal.

Inspiration lingers

I have been reading Creating Keepsakes magazine for years now. I started by reading back issues from the library and when those ran out I broke down and got my own subscription. This magazines, other magazines and blogs are filled with inspiration. Sometimes I find I am spending more time reading than scrapping. But all that time is not wasted. Ideas are being logged by my brain, sometimes without my even knowing it. For example I just created this layout.

Popcorn Layout

I had fun cutting out cardstock in the vague shape of popcorn for the background, inking edges to mimic butter and adding a fun title. Now here is where the lingering inspiration comes in.

I created the title using Liquid Applique by Marvy. This is a glue like substance that you smear over your project, in this case letters I had cut out with my Cricut (Opposites Attract cartridge). Let the applique dry over night and then heat with a heat gun. The product then gets puffy and, well, popcorn like!

Puffy title created with Liquid Applique by Marvy.

I was pretty excited that I had come up with my very own technique! Well, the more I thought about it, the more I became sure that I had seen something almost exactly like this in a Creating Keepsakes issue. So it wasn’t an original idea, but it turned out to be a good idea!

If you ever feel like you are “wasting time” reading about your hobby more than doing your hobby, don’t worry! All that data is going into your brain, swirling around, combining with other ideas and it will eventually come out somewhere in your work. So you have my permission to pick up a magazine and go read.

My scrapping style

Over the years I have learned that any paring of memories and photos means scrapbooking to me. I bet there are tons of people out there who don’t even know they are scrapbookers by that definition! It just goes to show that there are a lot of ways to preserve our personal histories. I just so happen to really enjoy the design aspect of making layouts and playing with interesting papers and other goodies. My style may not be your style. But I think we can learn from each other anyway.

I tend to create very clean and simple layouts. I like when things match well. I am fairly literal with my embellishments. If the page is about swimming then you better bet there will be waves on my page. I like symmetry. When I am feeling wild I may tilt a photo on it side. Now that is adventurous! LOL. But it works for me.

It is funny that I am such a clean and simple girl since many of the layouts I am attracted to are more artsy and layered. For a while I tried to make layouts that resembled the ones that I drooled over in magazines. And it didn’t really work! Somehow, I realized that I shouldn’t be doing that. I should let my art take its own path and be okay with that. Yet I don’t let my style keep me in a box. I am able to play with techniques and products and not feel like I HAVE to create something amazing. I can allow myself to just play and see where the process takes me. And when something less “me” comes out I am amazed and fascinated by that process.

What is your style? What styles are you drawn to? How has your style changed over time? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear about your process!