September 19, 2014

A Void At The Center

Right now I'm having a huge crush on Belgian designer Els Brige. She has such an impeccable sense for placement of little embellishing touches and the way she works with shapes is so clever. In particular she has a series of landscape format cards and table-top calendar pages that superbly demonstrates the many interesting variations one can achieve with pattern paper strips and a few choice embellishments.


I adore those but choose to lift this card because I'm intrigued by her use of trapped white space to create a void right in the center of an embellishment cluster. It's a straight lift. I've not given it a twist or done anything remotely clever to it, instead I follow the precise placement of those little enamel dots and stars that she does so implacably.  So I have to give a shout out to Els as the genius of the design is all hers.

Thank you Els for inspiring me with your awesome card and layout designs!

Supplies : American Crafts DIY Shop 6x6 Paper, Wycinanka Hexagon Chipboard, Studio Calico (South of Market Turnip The Beet, Yearbook Tardy, State Fair Guess Your Weight), Echo Park For Your Record Element Sticker, Crate Paper Little Boy Blue Brad, Chic Tags Birthday Cake Mini Tag, Teresa Collins Ty's Star, Jenni Bowlin Rhinestone Stars, MME Kraft FunDay Rhinestones

September 12, 2014

Too Enthusiastic With The Acrylics

It's lovely to be home, able when fancy strikes to cocoon myself in the craft room and scrap away as much as I want. While I was away I filled a design journal with all sorts of ideas and techniques to try. Now that tools and supplies are at hand I've been scrapping up a storm, evident by the index of completed projects listed here. Unfortunately I can't share any of the inside pages of my journal (woops I've misspelled the title on the cover); because in my enthusiasm with acrylics and impatience with allowing for paint to dry, many of the folios are stuck together and can't be prised apart. Lesson learnt : next time I'm away on assignment I'll put the hotel's mini-hairdryer to good use.


I've also been experimenting with how I photograph my pages. Instead of shooting in the open under overcast skies, I've set up my layouts and camera under the shade of the front porch and shooting with bright, indirect sunlight. It's given my photos more contrast and better colour fidelity which I love. However this shoot has taken me much longer than expected because my cat Bun Bun spent the entire time rubbing his head on my legs and, disconcertingly, on the tripod's legs as well. He's not normally given to public displays of affection so I really felt I had to let him carry on.  

Supplies : Lemon Owl Attic Door (Up the Tree, Save the Date, Stars, Old Wardrobe), Webster's Pages (Recorded Mini Bag, Our Travels Out & About). Amy Tangerine Yes Please Perfect, Carta Bella Wildflower Journal Card, Echo Park Capture Life Journaling Card, Heidi Swapp Mixed Company Ephemera, Pink Paislee Color Wash Stickers, Crate Paper Brad, Maya Road Tiny Wood Ruler, wood chip stars

September 05, 2014

Clarity of Structure

One down and one to go : honestly I feel relieved that my first work assignment is completed and signed off by the client. It's good to put my formal training and experience back into practice, delivering some important insights and recommendations to the company in Japan, but I also have to say I found it trying to immerse myself into the rhythm of 9-to-5 work again. There were certain moments in the afternoon when I'm sorely tempted to take a two hour tea-break and relaxingly flip through some fashion magazines. Hopefully like riding a bike, with practice I'll rediscover my knack of sustaining a concentrated pace of work throughout the day in time for my next project. 


Anyway during a couple of long bullet train rides I did go scrapbook inspiration hunting on blogs and galleries. In particular former Garden Girl Wilna Furstenberg's design style intrigued me. She injects massive amounts of fun and excitement into layouts based on classic templates through her use of colour, mixed media techniques and exuberant embellishment clustering. Here I lifted one of her 2Peas layouts, stripping out the watercolour ombre background and going with simple neutral patterns to celebrate the underlying beauty of her page's structure. I love it's eye-catching clarity and the subtle tension created through having areas of compression (around the photos) and release (the soothing flow of lines of journaling).   
Thanks for being such an inspiration Wilna!

Supplies : Dear Lizzy (Daydreamer Love Notes, Polka Dot Party Warm Welcome & Pretty Party Hat), Crate Paper (The Pier Slide Frame, Styleboard Die-Cut Frames), Studio Calico Classic Die-Cut Polaroid Frames, Calico Wycinanka Small Hexagons Chipboard, Heidi Swapp Mixed Compay Buzz Words Glitter Stickers, Queen & Co Twinkle Bloom

August 18, 2014

Working The Spiral

Back from a nice, relaxing time on the beaches of Thailand and have this Citrus Twist August Kit layout to share. I place the two high-contrast, black and white photos of my cousin and his newborn baby boy against a background of glittery gold-star vellum which is anchored at the top by strips of pattern paper.


Arrangement of the main cluster is inspired by the golden spiral which is one of the very first thing I had to understand when I tried to find out how some graphic designers divided their layouts. Here's my interpretation of that classic rule : starting at the top right, spiralling down through the photos (with bits of ephemera tucked underneath for emphasis) and ending up in a tight whirl centered on the number 5 in the title.

It's fun to experiment and try a loose, messier style. I'm intrigued to see if it'll work just as well for cards. In the meantime work is taking priority:  for a couple of months I'm on temporary project assignment and travelling around Asia. So not much crafty time until probably October which might be a good thing as I check out blogs, galleries, magazines to see what the scrapbooking world has been up to and stock up on inspiration for the end of the year. 

Citrus Twist Aug Kits : American Crafts Shimelle (Resnick, Fitzgerald Gold Glitter Thickers), Pebbles Jen Hadfield Number Washi, Studio Calico Brighton Pier Gold Stars Vellum, Crate Paper Notes and Things Ephemera Pack, cardstock. Others : Echo Park This & That Alpha Sticker, Pebbles Jen Hadfield 6x6 Paper

August 01, 2014

The Soap Bubble Tutorial

Anyone who has been following me for a while will know I'm not much into creating with mediums. That's because firstly I don't think I'm any good at being artsy and secondly I worry about messing things up. Well may be that's about to change because I've just found a virtually fool-proof method of creating water-colour backgrounds and being a frugal crafter, I love that it doesn't require expansive tools or supplies. Everything needed can easily be found in your kitchen. So I present to you the soap bubble background technique :


You will need :
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp. of dish washing liquid
  • 3 tbsp. of food colouring
  • drinking straw
  • white cardstock


Mix all the ingredients together - don't worry if the colour seems too dark, it'll lighten up three or four shades after application. Insert the straw and blow in short bursts until layers of bubbles cover the surface. Large bubbles make widely spaced, octagonal-type imprints which are lighter in colour while lots of small bubbles create denser, more intensely coloured patterns.


Now lay the white cardstock across the layers of bubbles. This will cause the bubbles to pop, leaving prints on the paper. One advantage of this technique is that your cardstock doesn't have to be primed with gesso and will not warp because only a minimal amount of liquid from the bubbles is absorbed. If you like you can substitute food-colouring with reinkers, acrylic paint or spray mists, just play around with the proportion of water needed.


And here's a card created featuring my soap bubble background using the Echo Park cut-apart sheet from the July Citrus Twist kit. It'll be a couple of weeks before I share another project on the blog as I'm going on vacation. Off to pack now.

Citrus Twist July Kits : Echo Park Capture Life Journaling Cards, Crate Paper The Open Road Big Sky, Teresa Collins Something Wonderful Enamel Dots, Citrus Twist Stamps, white cardstock