Digital scrap items in the header, layouts and sidebar are by Miss Mint at or Jen Wilson at

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Ikea Day

Ikea during a sale on a Saturday with a baby is not as much fun as it sounds. Still, we came away with a TON of new stuff! We bought a new set of cubby shelves for one whole wall of the bead room and a cute floor mat with gray streets & buildings printed on it for driving cars over. Aiden also got a new treasure chest storage bin for his dress up clothes. (Really, I just need some place to put the pirate swords and batman capes until he's older and can play with them!) We picked up some soft white bath mats on sale and a small table & chair set for the playroom. I'm so anxious to get the bead room project done!

Aiden took an extra long nap this morning so I finished a layout while we were waiting for him to wake up so we could leave. This one took a very long time because I recolored every element except for the male sign sticker and the number 9 sticker. I just love how it turned out! I really think the urban stuff is cool. (I know this is pretty artsy so it doesn't offend me if it's not your taste!)

Here's a close-up of the picture I used. (It's also in a frame on the right.) You'd think "screwing up" the coloring of a photo to make it look grungy would be easy. It's so least if you want it to look right!

Aiden was crawling around, blowing raspberries (read: making really loud farting sounds) while I was trying to get some cute pictures. I ended up with a camera full of shots like this. I figured since that's his personality right now, it's a good idea to scrap it - while it's still cute and makes me laugh! LOL! I got some other shots that you'll see in a layout sometime soon!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Your Opinion Please

Every week more of my friends begin digi scrapping and I know the learning curve for Photoshop is pretty steep. I LOVE to talk about scrapping and since this stuff isn't easy, I have been thinking about offering workshops at my house in the late evening, after kids are in bed. Miss Mint is on board and has graciously agreed to allow me to demonstrate with her items and burn a coordinated kit to a CD for workshop goers. (Kit to be announced, we're not decided yet.)

The workshops would be during the evenings for about an hour (possibly longer) per session, split up into two categories:

Beginner: 2 evening sessions that take you from the very beginnings of opening a new workspace in photoshop all the way through adding elements, fast recoloring and proper saving for printing.

Intermediate: 1 evening session dedicated to more advanced techniques like inking, adjusting opacity and more involved recoloring to add unique dimension to your elements plus lots of my other neat scrapping tricks. Review of any Beginner items by request.

I'm gathering interest to see if all the work I would need to put in to making handouts & burning CD's would be worth it. Leave a comment or e-mail me if you'd be interested. (Pricing would be $20-$25, part of which covers the cost of the new scrap goodies/gift card you take home.)

Big Plans

Brian and I decided that for our anniversary tomorrow we're going to have a family day out. Our big day includes lunch somewhere new and then a trip to Ikea to get the new furniture and stuff for the bead room. I'm SOOOO excited! I LOVE Ikea! Any Saturday spent at Ikea makes for a great weekend. Now I have to figure out what I am going to do with all of my paper scrap stuff. I'm not really using it and it's taking up a lot of room in there. Ugh. Got to clean all that out, use what I want for hybrid projects and just sell off the rest.

I went to Michael's and Hobby Lobby yesterday to pick up my hybrid craft supplies and I was so excited to see the Valentines stuff out! I really do like V-day. It's such a cute holiday! Everything turns red & pink and there's candy. It's almost like a red & pink Halloween, isn't it? I think the decorations are the best part. I have begun decorating our front entry for each of the holidays. Yesterday I picked up two cute little decor items I just couldn't pass up. When Hobby Lobby puts them on sale I'll go back and get a few other small things. I have enjoyed coming home to a festive entryway. What will I do when all the holidays are over?

PC News: Start saving your pennies. February is going to be HUGE at the shop. That's all I'm going to say! (Because Miss Mint reads my blog and I don't want to get in trouble! LOL!)

My Picture Fixer:

Kelsey came over to play with my new CS2 software and to show me some things she's recently learned how to do. We opened some of the pictures I took of Aiden last October when we swam at her mom's house. I took them with my camera under the shade of the arbor on a bright sunny day. Unfortunately that combination left me with a very shadowed Aiden on a gorgeous, bright background. I wanted Aiden to be bright, too! My attempts to lighten it were only mediocre. Kels knew exactly what to do to fix it. Here's the dull original photo:

And here is the amazing after photo:

Incredible! This is exactly how he looked in real life when I took the picture. I'm going to have her fix all my pictures! The new one is being printed to replace the darker one in his photo album.

I was noticing how much Aiden has changed since October. Gone are those buttery soft rolls of baby fat. Now that he's crawling, he's a bit slimmer and a lot more solid. So sad - my sweet little newborn is growing up way, way, way too fast. (I had to hold Aiden still for this picture so he wouldn't fall off the table. THAT has not changed! He's still an active little boy with no fear of heights!)

Funny, I LOVE winter and the cold weather but looking at this picture makes me excited for swimming again this summer! I can never stay sad for long about how quickly he's growing because there is always something new and exciting to look forward to!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hybrid Addict

I finished two more hybrid projects today! These are so much fun, especially since they make my house look more decorated! You can't beat custom, one-of-a-kind decor. So here's what I got done:

I posted them in the gallery at PC so people can do the same crafts. I'm always flattered when someone leaves a comment or e-mails me saying they did a hybrid just like mine.

What Else Is New: I am sticking to my non-resolution and focusing on each day as it occurs. I have gotten lots of little chores done - like lemon oiling my antique table and packing away the baby items Aiden no longer uses. It's been hard to drag myself away from photoshop, especially with such a cool kit like After Midnight fresh-out, but I have done it! Now I just need some new pictures of Aiden to scrap....Kelsey, don't you have ANY free weekends in January?!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Years, New Beginnings & New STUFF!

Brian had a surprise for me. Our 7 year anniversary will be on January 5th but I got my gift today. It was waiting on my computer for me this morning. Usually I leave photoshop open all the time so when I sat down this morning and Photoshop was up, I didn't think a thing of it. But when I looked a little closer I noticed the buttons looked different. Larger. Sleeker. NEWER. This wasn't my archaic Photoshop 6 version. THIS WAS CS2!! Brian had upgraded my photoshop!

I have been playing with my new software off and on all day. If you haven't hit the shop for the new stuff and the freebie, hurry up and get there! Here is my New Year's Resolution layout I did using the free kit (and a few other elements):

Seriously, this year I resolve to not make a big resolution and instead focus on each day. There are lots of things I would like to improve. (Brian has a list of his own going, too.) I think in the end the goals I want to reach or the changes I want to make begin one day at a time. For now, it's the bead room I am wanting to tackle and finally turn into an organized hobby room & play room for Aiden. Currently under way is our goal to get Aiden sleeping through the night and then weaned. Each night is getting progressively better. We're down to waking up twice but only crying for a few minutes. Aiden has nearly weaned himself since he suddenly developed a taste for formula. He's only nursing first thing in the morning and then right before bed. He seems ready to skip the bedtime nursing - a surprise to me, that's unusual - but the morning nursing we both need. He's usually a little dehydrated & thirsty from crying the night before and my boobs are usually starting to hurt from being too full. I have a feeling we're only a couple weeks away from being done!

We have some big plans for the bead room and I am hoping to find the time to get it all done before we go to San Antonio on the 24th. I'll post pictures whenever we finish it. In fact, I think I'll start cleaning out some clutter right now before I get distracted and start playing in photoshop again!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Layouts & Scrap Stuff

This is one of the Christmas template layouts I did. Aiden was so cute on Christmas morning! I really should do a LO about how he kept trying to get Molly's pink & purple toys that Santa left for her!

Okay, I seem to always have people asking me what my favorite or most-used products from PC are so I decided to make a list. I know a few of my friends are new to digiscrapping and probably wonder what to buy. I'm putting the things I would buy all over again in a heartbeat in bold as a MUST-HAVE. Here is my list:

Best $2 Coordinated Kits:

I use the Playground Pop kit the very most. I LOVE the paper stars in this kit and it has lots of boyish elements that I love. If you're going to scrap for a boy, I would consider this a must-have.

Party Pants is another that I use year-round. It is gender-neutral and great for scrapping anything. No matter what type of pages you are scrapping, this kit is a MUST-HAVE. I would spend my first $2 on this kit.

I have been surprised by how much I have used the Twinkle Toes kit on Aiden's baby pages. Again, this would be a great kit to have if you're scrapping baby boy pages but I know most of you already have it. The lime green paper swirls in this kit are great and they recolor easily, too.

If I was scrapping girl pages, Foxy Lady would be the girl kit I couldn't live without. I use the white paper heart on every other layout it seems. (See it in my blog header, under the purple binder clip?) This should top your buying list if you plan on doing girlie pages. (A close second would be Sweet Easter . The bright colors are gorgeous and the bows & doodle stickers will be used on countless pages!)

My Pick on Paper Packs:

There are some papers that I just can't scrap without. Cardboard Grunge is one of them. My boy pages have never looked better because of this pack. (I would recommend the Holiday Mix Cardboard Grunge for girl pages, if you like the look & texture of the papers.)

I always like scrapping with holiday papers but I find myself returning to the same paper packs frequently. They are:

Pop Rock Graffiti - I used two of the papers from this pack in the layout above. I really like the bright colored stripes, the splatter paint paper, the perfect lime green dot paper and the piece of cardboard. I would list this as another MUST-HAVE, well worth the $3 price.

Oopsy Doodle - I use this a lot on boy pages. It's a great paper pack that I keep coming back to over and over. I've easily gotten my money's worth out of it.

October Rust - This is a fairly new collection but I have loved - and used - every single sheet at least twice. This is a MUST HAVE if you want to do any hybrid projects for your house. (It's also great for family pages.) The papers can be recolored and they have the most fabulous textures. Plus, you get 8 papers for $3.50, which makes the price per sheet less than other packs.

Sugar Dollhouse - The truth is I never use this paper pack because it is so darn girlie! But if that's what you're scrapping, then I would say this is a must-have. (When you view the product page, click on the pink link to see a layout using that kit. Is that not the cutest girl page ever?!!)

My Favortie Element Sets

You will notice some of these don't match up with my favorite paper packs. I like to mix elements from several different kits (unless I am scrapping to deliberately showcase new products.) These are the element packs I use the most:

Rebel One - BY FAR the coolest boy set I have ever found online. I use this stuff all the time! If you like a bit of grunge in your boy pages, I would suggest this set.

October Rust - This has all the leaves & things to make great fall pages. I used it to death in October & November and I still use the grungy frames & tags out of it.

Recycling Bin Bits - This is Miss Mint's best selling element set for a reason. It has lots of great basics: a staple, safety pin, binder clip, index cards for journaling, notebook paper, metal rings, a piece of ripped's a great element set.

Pop Rock Graffiti - I will be honest and say that I over-use the paint rings & splatters and masking tape pieces from this set and not much else. I do like the newspaper hearts & stars but I always seem to forget about them and use a Rebel One star instead. Still, I think this kit has great pieces for any layout and the paint smears alone make it a MUST-HAVE in my book!

The Best Embellishments

I am an embellishment junkie. This is where I spent the bulk of my money before I was on the CT. There are some that just make your pages look awesome. Here are the ones I absolutely cannot scrap without:

Paint Box - This may seem so random and I did skip over it once or twice before I bought it. Then I started putting the paint smears behind photos and titles (see the pictures off to the side.) Now I use these in nearly every layout. If you like how the paint smudges look, buy these! They're my number one MUST-HAVE! (Note: If you're buying the Pop Rock Graffiti Element Set, you might be able to skip this.....until you get tired of the same old paint smears and want some new ones!)

Mintage Frames - This is my favorite frame set. I like the vintage look. Pick them up if you love them, if not, keep reading!

Ultimate Frames - Once you get started scrapping you'll discover you need more frames. The $2 kits usually come with one but you don't want to use the same one for 10 layouts! This is the best mix of frames you can buy. There are tons to choose from and they come with straight or scalloped edges and with or without a cool, curled up drop-shadow effect. This element is a MUST-HAVE.

Felt Hearts - They seem so simple and boring, yet they're the perfect element. I use these a LOT. They recolor the easiest of any element and once you have them, you'll use them a hundred times over. (I like the felt stars, too, but since lots of kits come with stars in them, the heart set is the one you'll want to pick up first.)

Bead Factory 2 - Love these beads! I like set 2 because of the brighter colors. These really add depth to your pages and are gorgeous on girl pages. Some of the kits, like Sweet Easter, come with a strand of beads you can try out first. If you love them, buy the factory sets.

Doodle Arrows - Still kind of surprised by how often I use the arrows! These are handy if you like to journal a lot in your LO's and you want to point to specific, subtle things.

Rollie Ribbons - I thought these were silly at first, until I saw them in use. Now I add them to pages frequently. If you like the look I think you'll enjoy having them.

Rainbow Rhinestones - They're glittery and cool. I'm listing these as a girl page MUST-HAVE.

My Alpha Pics

Miss Mint would probably die if she heard this but I would suggest using the alphas in the element sets before you bought very many to see if you like using them. Some people just don't have the time to use alphas. I am often that way. I'd rather use the type tool and do one word in an alpha. Nevertheless, I love how alphas make a page look. Here are my favorites:

Grunge Stamp Alpha - Hands-down my favorite. I love how it looks. It's more stamped than it is grungy but it's definately great for boy pages. This is a must-have for me.

Scribbled Alpha - I don't use this as much just because everyone else uses it! It's adorable on boy and girl pages. I really like how cute it is. This one is a MUST-HAVE alpha in my book!

Mintage Alpha - This is my favorite alpha for monograms. I love to staple the letter A from this set on Aiden's pictures. It's a great all-around alpha that matches the mintage frames. If you like the look, get it!

Cut-Up Alpha - I should probably put this higher on the list because I really do like this one. It's so cool! Great for boy pages. I can't wait to use this on Aiden's pages as he gets older, too. Very teen-ish alpha.

Newsy Schmoozy - This one is brand new but I can't stop using it! I like how it looks. Don't know why, I just do. I think it will be great for school pages when Aiden gets there. For now, it's popping up in a lot of my layouts.

Scribble Sticker Alpha - This one is cute and looks good on lots of pages. I LOVE how it recolors.

Stamps & Brushes I Like

Stamped Hearts - I have started using these a lot and I really like them. I use them in place of the felt hearts when I want something light and subtle to go behind a picture or title. I have started using them instead of paint box smudges in some layouts. Because you can enlarge some of them enough to make a frame or a frame mat, these are a MUST-HAVE!

Complete Classic Date Stamps - These are easy to overlook but I use them a lot. They are the digital version of those library card date stamps they stamp checked-out books with. I really like to "stamp" these on a tag in a layout or in a corner, so I can date everything. They look pretty cool! I would say these are a MUST-HAVE if you are as anal about dating pages as I am!

Painted Brush Strokes - Really, I just love the paint smears. I have every single one available. I actually use this set often but I think Paint Box is the best buy for the casual scrapper. Unless you're as addicted to the paint as I am and want these!

There you have it, my favorites list! If you only bought the items with the bold must-have tag, I think you would have a great start on digi scrapping supplies.

A word to the wise: Miss Mint was a graphic designer before she began her website and has YEARS of experience over most of the other designers. There are other sites that sell digital scrapping supplies but be careful and look at example images closely before you buy. You'll find most people's items are slightly blurry, more plain and/or not as realistic or detailed as Miss Mint's. I have been spoiled using the best scrap supplies that are out there, which is why I scrap almost exclusively with her products. They are very high quality and are reasonably priced! (Most other people sell elements & items that aren't near as crisp at $3.75 or $3.99 price points.) I know I'm a little biased but there is nothing more frustrating than working hard on a layout and discovering it's not going to print crisp because of the digital scrap products you used. I have had lots of things printed and Miss Mint's items always come out sharp and attractive. Trust me, you're using the best stuff money can buy! Now let's go shopping!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Props To Kelsey

This layout uses one of Miss Mint's storyboard-type templates. It reminded me of a model portfolio so that's how I themed the page. All these pictures were from Aiden's last photo shoot with Kelsey. He was being SUCH a stinker! BUT LOOK AT THESE PICTURES! Could his eyes be any more stunning?

Kelsey, you impress me. Even when my kiddo is being a total handful, you manage to get the most breathtaking shots. I had the one in the upper left corner printed for MaryAnn's house. You should see it on the shelf - it really captures your eye. I wish I had your super expensive camera. I love how creamy & smooth his skin looks and how glassy and clear his eyes photograph. Oh, well, I'm just going to have to keep coming back for more!

I didn't mention it before but the templates are going to be sold in a set of 4 so you can do lots of pages. And everything in the template is moveable, so you can change them around a bit and use them over & over!

Click the above image to go straight to the new tip, my digi scrapping friends! How cool is Miss Mint? She sent me this graphic yesterday just for my blog!

Scoll down to her previous blog post to see a sneak peek of the template sets. (The storyboard & holiday sets aren't shown.)

We Can Post!

THIS is what the new templates look like in use! It was ridiculously easy. Layouts usually take me about an hour but template layouts are done in 30 minutes. These babies can cut your scrapping time in half!

So, for those of you that have figured out there seems to be a "system", we were cleared for posting layouts today which means new products will be available at the shop within 3 days and the new freebie will probably be available for downloading by Friday.