Monday, August 25, 2014

Poet Society sneaks

It's sneak time once again at Studio Calico and I'm so pleased with how my summer handbook is shaping up.
I got 7 new spreads, with several inserts, completed with the September Poet Society kits and my album is nearly full! I have a few more pages I'd like to fit in before I call it done, but first, here are a few peeks into what I made this month :
This first one is a Project Life main only spread. Lots of cutting, trimming and stitching new combinations together. That's been a fun way to mix it up and use more product since I've condensed the amount of space I have to fill for each layout.
The second one focuses on a messy grid I made - mostly from the Crate Paper Notes + Things Ephemera Pack in the Yeats add-on. If I had to choose just one extra kit, Yeats would be it.
I also got to play around with the Alex + Ben alpha stamp set this month - super fun! It's a 4x6 set, so the letters themselves are small, but you get the solid background and the line detail for each letter, number and symbol. Here I stamped the solid image in Galaxy Gold Brilliance ink and the lined stamp with Versafine Black Onyx ink.

Want to see more sneaks? Go here. I'll be back on Wednesday to show my spreads in full. Until then, have a great week!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Workspace Wednesday : how I organize my Project Life cards

Last fall, I finally found a perfect + inexpensive box to hold all of my Project Life cards. Not just my 3x4 cards, but all of them. While browsing the aisles of Michaels, I ended up in the aisle were they have unfinished wood boxes and craft supplies. Up on the top shelf, I spotted a photo box for 4x6 photos. I almost smacked my forehead as I had an 'ah-ha' moment right there. Perfect! Add in the 40% off coupon and I was sold.

I've kept my cards in this box for some time now and love having everything in one spot. It's a great size in that I have plenty of room to add more (as I usually add a dozen or so leftover cards each month once I'm done with my Studio Calico kit work) and when it starts getting tight, I can easily purge.

Last month though, I decided it was time to revamp and divide up my cards into more specific categories. I had them loosely organized by manufacturer or designer, but wanted to start separating them by material too. You know, wood veneer, watercolor and of course, letterpress. I also wanted to add a seasonal / holiday section.

Today I want to share a step-by-step photo tutorial on how I did it :
First, consolidate all of your cards. Or at least all of the cards you want to contain in one box. I know a lot of people use a variety of core kits and only keep a portion of them out and available to use. That's cool too.
Start making piles. Each of my 3x4 stacks above are by core kit, manufacturer / designer or paper type. Top row (left to right) : Mayfield, Midnight, Seafoam, Jade, Becky Higgins grid cards. Middle row : Studio Calico, seasonal / holiday, Studio Calico grid cards, letterpress, wood. Bottom row : patterned paper cut down to 3x4, Ali Edwards, LifeLovePaper, watercolor, bags and envelopes. Because I don't have as many 4x6 cards, I divided them a little more loosely and those are only separated into three categories - Becky Higgins, Studio Calico and patterned paper.

While I was at it (and because my piles aren't that extensive), I also organized them by color. ROYGBIV to be exact. When I'm looking for a card, I usually have a color in mind. Having them in this order made sense to me but you can do what works for you. I think it all depends on how large your stash of cards is and how quickly you work on your layouts.
Make a list of these categories. This will be the sheet you reference when making your tabs in the next few steps.
I'm using the tab craft die from this set to create tabs for my dividers. You could also use a tab punch or something like these index tabs. Trim cardstock (I used kraft) to 3" x 3" - just a bit larger than the metal die.
Cut however many you need based on the list you made above. I cut about 20 tabs using my Cuttlebug die cutting machine.
Choose a stamp from the set (I chose the small dot tab stamp) and stamp the tabs you just cut in the color of your choice.
I wanted something subtle against the kraft, as I planned on writing on my tabs too, so I picked Coral Bay from the Color Theory line.
The dots added a nice color and texture to the tab and I decided to stamp them all the same color. You could get really fun here and stamp all of your tabs in different colors.
Next, it's time to label your tabs. You could use small alpha stamps or stickers like I did below :
Or handwrite the descriptions on. I chose the latter because I wanted to write out the full name on the tabs. Once they are all labeled, score the tabs in the center. If you are sitting at a table with a sharp edge, simply line up the center of the tab along the end of the table to help form the score line. You could also use a bone folder and straight edge.
After you are done labeling and folding, cut down some cardstock or thin chipboard to 3x4 and 4x6 to use as dividers. Again, refer to your list to figure out how many of each size you will need.
One at a time, flip the tabs over and add adhesive to the back side.
For the 3x4 dividers, I either lined up the tab all the way to the left, or the right, side of the divider so they will be staggered in my storage box. If you want the cards to be organized in a particular order (Studio Calico, watercolor, wood, letterpress...), plan out the order first so you can stagger these tabs accordingly.
On the 4x6 dividers, since I only had three, I have a left tab, a center tab and a right tab. Easy enough.
Now the fun part - put the cards back in their box! As I placed the 3x4 cards inside, I used a piece of chipboard to separate the two rows. There is just enough room to slip it in so it sits loosely but doesn't move much since the box is pretty full of cards. And now those cards won't mix and mingle and get out of place.
Ah, I think organizing my supplies makes me as happy as actually using them!

Want more tips for organizing your scraproom? Enrollment for Studio Calico's Workspace is still open! You can read more about the class here and get a peek at the digital freebies here. Acrylic stamps, you're next!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Project Life Summer 2014 | 04 Camping at Port Crescent State Park

Over the Fourth of July weekend, we took our annual camping trip to Port Crescent State Park on Lake Huron at the tip of the thumb of Michigan. We've been going there since Parker turned one, so this was our 4th time there!

In the past I've made a separate mini album of our camping trips, but since I'm already in Handbook-mode for my Project Life this summer (and I really don't need to add another project to my list), I decided to just add a few spreads to document highlights from our trip.
The first spread features a calendar card from the Wanderlust line and photos from around our campsite. We were right on Lake Huron / Saginaw Bay and had an amazing view. The kids had plenty of room to play too - which is always a good thing.
This card is one of my favorites. I simply punched a 2" circle from vellum and added some Crate Paper Open Road Thickers over it. Tiny attached on my photo (with the center going through the horizon) and done.
The We R Memory Keepers 4x4 page protectors fit perfectly in a Handbook with no additional hole punching! I added one above with a printable tab on top. The pink heart sunglasses are from the Crate Paper Open Road Ephemera Pack.
The backside holds part of a brochure from the farmers market. On the right, I used the attachers die to include our camping permit.
I used several of the cards from the July 4th set that was available last month. The gold star card above is one of them and I attached the GO banner I handcut from some old-ish Pebbles patterned paper (included in my favorite Studio Calico add-on ever, Navy Pier). Most of the other embellishments are from the Crate Paper Open Road Ephemera Pack.
More July 4th cards on the next spread (which was July 4th). It was a perfect day - hiking in the morning, beach in the afternoon, campfire + s'mores + fireworks in the evening.
For this album size, I like to cut down a page protector to make a mini insert. I used the tab die included in this set along with a July 4th journaling card to make a tab on the side.
I printed a couple of my favorite photos full size (6x8) and love them big! One from the beginning of our hike (above).
And our last sunset.
I have about half of our of summer done and my Handbook is half full. I'm loving this format! I'll share our trip to Chicago next week.

You can see all of my Summer Handbook blog updates here.

My Summer Project Life Essentials : Studio Calico Handbook / assorted page protectors / Studio Calico Project Life kits / corner rounder / tiny attacher / journaling pens / Alte Haas Grotesk font 

Friday, August 8, 2014

5 for Friday : Chicago edition

Mark and I had a mini getaway earlier this week and spent 48 hours in Chicago. We've been downtown several times but never in the summer, so this trip was memorable for that reason alone. 

Despite the short amount of time, we ventured out a bit and explored areas of the city we had never been too. These were our five faves :
  1. The Godfrey Hotel : Awesome River North location and close to Michigan Avenue, this fab boutique hotel is one of Chicago's newest hotels. The Godfrey is slick and modern (check plus if you know us), plus they have an amazing indoor-outdoor rooftop lounge with views of the city. Our room on the 12th floor provided a much needed escape from the action around us when we were looking to rest. It was quiet and cozy and perfect.
  2. Chicago Q : Mark and I were looking for something different on our last night. Not Italian or Japanese or American / bar food. When I mentioned BBQ, Mark agreed and we headed north to Chicago Q. After we ordered they brought out some fantastic bread + butter pickles with our drinks (mint julep for me) and I tried my best to share. I got the baby back ribs and Mark had chicken. The sauces were yummy and we were both impressed with how moist the meat was. I was eyeing the dutch apple pie for dessert but I didn't have any room! Stuffed.
  3. Heritage Bicycles : The atmosphere of this little bike shop + cafe was our absolute favorite. Mark has built a couple of bikes over the last few years so stopping in this store was a must for him. He loved chatting it up with the employees and showing them his latest bike project and I loved that they sell coffee. Awesome people + awesome vibe. We didn't want to leave!
  4. Old Town : Something I was looking forward to doing was exploring the surrounding neighborhoods and Old Town was my favorite from this visit. Lots of cute shops and restaurants, and just big enough to spend a couple hours there. I spent the most time inside Greer, a fun little stationery store on the north end of town.
  5. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams : We weren't exactly close to Jeni's when I suggested going to get a mid-day treat but thanks to the L, we were there in no time. And boy was it worth it. We each got a trio, or three scoops, in a waffle cone. I got goat cheese with red cherries, black coffee and Askinosie Dark Milk Chocolate. I thought the cupcakes at Sprinkles were going to be hard to beat, but Jeni's was the best. Now I'm on the lookout for it locally.
Thank you Chicago. We can't wait to come back.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tutorial : Watercolor Ice Cream Cones

While our summer has been wonderful so far, it's been rather cool in my opinion. Kind of a bummer when we've been so looking forward to going to the beach and splash pad to cool off. It's just not as fun when it's only in the 70's. The lack of heat has not stopped us from consuming our share of ice cream though!

Morgan and Parker especially love Superman ice cream.* Sweet and colorful swirls of pink, yellow and blue ice cream is their go-to flavor. I can't blame them. My sister and I loved it as kids too. Ah, memories.

When I got a hold of the Sandlot Cut Files from In A Creative Bubble, I was inspired to experiment with my Neocolor crayons and recreate the Superman look for a card in my Project Life. 
I love playing with these crayons. Even if I'm not always sure what direction to take, what look I'm hoping for, or what the "right way" to do it is. I say, just start.

I've put together a step-by-step tutorial with photos on how I created this watercolor background and it's available for download here. I love when experiments are successful and I hope you'll give it a try too!
Supplies used : watercolor paper, kraft cardstock, Sandlot Cut File by In A Creative Bubble, water brush (or small paint brush and cup of water), neocolors (raspberry red, lemon yellow and turquoise blue), paper towel.


*I only recently found out that this flavor is not widely available! I've lived in Michigan my entire life and have known about Superman ice cream almost as long, so I was shocked when I read that this flavor isn't as popular as I thought. Hmm, you're missing out. If you're ever in my neck of the woods, I'll buy you a scoop. :)