Sunday, September 13, 2009

Crop, er CHAT, till you drop ... and other fun news

I'm slowly sneaking back to the computer after more or less taking today off. Yesterday I woke at 5:45 a.m. with Jacques' hunting alarm and immediately realized that an all-day scrapbooking chat at Designer Digitals was set to start at 6 a.m. Do you think I could go back to sleep knowing that? Nope ... not a chance. So I settled in with a couple hot cups of coffee and chatted away, all the way until 10 p.m. last night.
The last time I did this, I could not figure out how people chatted AND scrapbooked at the same time. But this time, I took little mini breaks from the chat screen and in the process, completed five layouts in response to the various chat challenges. It was tons of fun, even though my eyeballs were sore, sore, sore by the end of the day. Here are the layouts I did for the challenges & a little info about the "rules" of each little contest...
First challenge: Use the word art provided in a layout. Here's what I came up with...

Next: Cassie's 30 Minute Masterpiece Challenge
The rules: 1) Use only one photo; 2) Use at least 3 of the items provided in the freebie download; 3) Use punctuation elements as part of the title; 4) Use a non-frame element as a frame; and 5) Tell a story about the photo ... all in under 30 minutes!!! Here's my result ...
Next challenge: Template challenge
The rules ... use the template provided in the freebie as a starting point for a layout. Here's mine...
Next challenge: Use the word art provided in conjunction with a photo of my hands. This took a little brainstorming first, but here's my page...
The last challenge I did was probably the one I was least excited about the result. The task was to take the template provided and use a scrapbook page by someone else that was based on that as inspiration for my own page. I think by this point in the day, I was too tired to feel very "inspired," ya know? This isn't my favorite layout, but it's okay ... and I do like the photos!!
All in all, it was a fun day and I'm already looking forward to the next all-day chat, which is scheduled for early November.
My other fun news is I have recently been given the opportunity to do something I've been wanting to do for a while now and that is be a member of a digital designer's Creative Team (CT). Even better, I have been asked by not just one, but THREE individual designers to serve on each of their CTs! That means I have full, free access to all of their digital scrapbooking products - including their newest releases before they are made public - in exchange for helping to promote their products by creating scrapbook pages featuring those products and then posting them in various online galleries.
Fun, fun!!! I have spent the last several days downloading lots and lots of goodies. Now I get to poke through my new wonderful stash and make lots of new scrapbook pages to share. I am already enjoying this immensely, as you can imagine. Here are the first couple layouts I did in this new role, creating almost entirely of products by "my" three designers ...
All three designers that I am a CT member for sell their products at Two Peas in a Bucket. Check out their individual products and/or blogs by clicking on their names below...
Mary Ann Wise
Jen Allyson
Carina Gardner
I'm excited about this new opportunity ... and you can expect to see lots more pages here and everywhere else I post as a result!! :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day weekend wrap-up

This weekend ended up being a very productive one for me & a fun one for the campers, judging from just how dirty Skylar was upon their return!! Let's just say candy suckers & lots of dirt are not a great combination for a 3-year-old!!
The crew got home early this afternoon and got busy cleaning up, then it was time to get ready to return to "real" life. Karstin had x-country practice & Kody had flag football practice this evening, so they ended up going back to their dad's a little earlier than usual. Judging from how sleepy Jacques was all evening, there was not much sleeping done on the camping trip and he & the girls hit the sack soon after 9 p.m.
My weekend went well, too. Karstin & I had lots of time to hang out together with Danica. We ended up taking a couple nice walks, one of which was spent getting some nice local photos of the downtown area & the very ripe chokecherry bushes.
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We also watched a movie (17 Again), as well as spent a fair amount of time on the computers chatting with friends & playing around online. With the relative calm in the house this weekend, I also managed to get several pages scrapped, as well as lots of progress on my business planning.
I was thrilled to discover this morning when I checked my inbox that a layout I did yesterday highlighting how Karstin likes to spend his free time was featured at Gallery Standouts. This website picks a handful of pages from around the virtual scrapbooking community to feature for various qualities they think are worthy of mention. Here's the page of mine that was featured (click on the image for a larger version) ...
And here's the link to the page & comments at Gallery Standouts.
I made another exciting decision today regarding my scrapbooking and an opportunity that recently presented itself, but I need to wait a day or two until the details have been worked out. More on that later... :)
Another page I did yesterday was one I've been planning in one way or another all summer. I made a concerted effort to take photos of each type of flower in our yard as they came into bloom. I then featured these photos in this two-page spread...
Now I can't take credit for anything beyond the photos. We are fortunate to have some great perennial gardens that basically came with the house when we bought it five years ago, plus a great flowering crabapple tree & lilac bushes. The few annuals we have were planted & cared for by Jacques, so if anyone gets credit, it would have to be him. I'm just glad I remembered to take photos this year, since I really hadn't done it any of the summers prior to now.
Now I'm thinking about calling it a night, so I can get some "real" work done tomorrow after sending Skylar on her way back to preschool and be ready for another busy week. Karstin has his school open house on Thursday, as well as his second team x-country dinner. Kody's first flag football game of the season is also on Thursday. Kody's busy taking hunter's education classes this week, too, and it's school & team photo time again already... then the annual Chokecherry Festival is next Saturday, as well as an all-day chat at Designer Digitals. Lots of fun on tap ... and lots of memories to scrap!! :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Scrapbooking on the brain

I've been waking up ... or more accurately, not sleeping ... because of all the scrapbooking-related stuff buzzing through my brain these days. Maybe it's because school has started again and I have a little more time to scrap since our schedule is a bit more regular. Or maybe it's because I've recently given myself permission to venture outside my normal virtual hangouts to explore some new designers, both of pages and products. Perhaps it's because I just found out this week that one of my layouts has been chosen by Creating Keepsakes magazine for publication in their January 2010 issue (yay!!). It might be because the online class I signed up for a couple months ago in which we create an all-about-me type of scrapbook finally started this week. Or it could possibly be because I believe I have finally hit upon the right combination of scrapbooking, writing, web & other skills in my most recent business brainstorm. Whatever the reason - probably a combination of all of the above - I've been rather consumed lately with thinking, playing, shopping, wandering & designing in the scrapbook realm.
I plan to do more of this over this nice long weekend. Jacques, Kody, Skylar & our neighbor Kevin left this morning for Esther Lake for a weekend of hunting & fishing with Kody's brand new compound bow. That leaves Karstin, Danica & me home alone for a few days of relative peace & quiet. I've already had a chance to do a little scrapping this morning, finishing up a layout I started last night about Kody's transition from cute "little piggy" days to one filled with "big boy toys."
While I'm on the subject of recent scrapbooking, I've also done a handful of pages highlighting Skylar's venture into preschool. She is thrilled to be going to Head Start and has made the transition quite easily so far. She will get to attend for two years and then, believe it or not, it will be time for kindgergarten already! Hard to believe ...
The whole transition to preschool got me thinking about how grown up Skylar is getting, but at the same time how she refuses to let go of some of her more baby-like ways, such as insisting on keeping that dang binkie in her mouth. So I woke up Thursday thinking about how I could document the irony of it all, which led to this...
This type of layout is an example of my favorite type of scrapbooking - telling the stories of the lives of myself & my family. It is this type of scrapbooking that is the basis of my newest business plan. I'm not ready to share details, but I will say this - I do not plan to actually scrapbook for other people for pay or design digital supplies for scrapbookers. Instead, I plan to provide some unique resources that hopefully will help all types of scrapbookers share their stories and ideally, allow me to make a career of this hobby that I love. More details to follow, once I'm ready to launch... :)
I do occasionally do a layout just for the sake of making a pretty page, especially if I have a photo I particularly like. This is one of my recent examples...
I took that photo while Danica & I were in San Antonio last month. She was wandering around the rock courtyard in front of the Alamo in her bare feet. Isn't she a cutie??
I have tons of other pages on my mind right now that I'd like to get done ... Karstin just started high school, as well as his first year on the boys x-country team - both of which I plan to document. I also have the entire month of July to somehow record, though it's a bit overwhelming because I took over 1,000 photos that month and I'm not sure what I want to pull out and scrapbook. I did a 4th of July album highlighting the Rutten family reunion, which you can view here. We also spent a week at Pelican Lake, which accounts for about half of the photos for the month...
Part of the reason I didn't document much of July is I was so busy last month putting together my San Antonio album, which you can see here. I also realized one day about a week ago just GOOD things have been going lately. So I documented that with this...
One of the things hinted at on the above layouts warranted a page all its own ... my neighbor & I decided about a month ago that we wanted to get to know our neighbors a bit better, especially since several of them have young kids and are relatively new to our neighborhood. So, we planned a "Summer's End East Broadway BBQ" block party. It was a big hit and we've had several people thanking us afterward for putting it together. The moms on the block even went out for margaritas after the BBQ, which was tons of fun. Hopefully we'll continue to get together, now that the ice has been broken. Here's the page I did about the BBQ...
This past month I also did a page about Danica that I like ... I've gotten in the habit of calling her "doodlebug" for some reason. Not sure why, but it fits her...
I want to do another page about her soon, documenting all the cute new things she's learning & doing right now. For example, she now waves bye-bye, says "boo" when playing peek-a-boo while changing her diaper, points & says "that," can make a ride-on toy go forward by walking her feet along the ground, sleeps through the night all alone in a crib by herself, has finally started napping in a crib instead of the laundry basket, and lots of other adorable things like that.
Speaking of my sweet baby, she is now demanding my attention after playing very nicely while I've been writing this post. That's my cue to wrap it up... one last thing - a quick thank you to everyone who voted for my entry in the Designer Digitals "Summer's End" contest. I didn't win, but I think I had the 4th or 5th highest number of votes, which is cool. Here's the page I finally entered ...
More updates on all of the above coming soon ... I hope!! :)

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