Thursday, November 27, 2014

Fall Handbook 2014 | 04 with Park Ave

Happy Thanksgiving + Happy Reveal Day! Presale for Park Ave is going on now at Studio Calico and it's a beauty. If you are a Project Lifer that loves embellishments, I think you are going to be very pleased with the kits this month. Clicking on the photos will take you to my gallery where you can see the layouts + closeups a bit larger than here on the blog.

Please note : at the time of this posting, links to kits and coordinating items will only work for Studio Calico subscribers. Park Ave will be available to the general public at 12 midnight EST tonight, the evening of November 27th. 
Spread 01 (my favorite this month) // Park Ave Project Life main kit only
Spread 02 is all about my kiddos // Park Ave Project Life main kit only
Spread 04 // Grand Central + Lenox Hill add-ons
Spread (well, insert...) 06 // Kids Valentine stamp set + 4x6 paper pad

My shopping list this month is short, but I'm majorly crushing over the card kit.
I love the stamp set and those gold glitter bags would fit perfect in my December album. And that masking tape? How cute would that be on holiday gifts or card envelopes? That kit is totally going in my cart.

A couple of favorites this month are the Mad Libs card and stamp set and the Upcoming Year card set. I've been thinking a lot about Project Life in 2015 and hope to add some cohesive elements like those scratch off cards each month. But first, I need to wrap up 2014. This weekend is also your last chance to enroll in 25 Days as well as the Mini Book Library.

If you're staying home for Black Friday (or plan on being back home mid-morning), Studio Calico is have a mystery kit and grab bag sale tomorrow at 10am EST. If you've ever gotten an SC grab bag, you know this is a sale not to be missed. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

December Album 2014 : Preparing and Organizing

Planning and preparing and organizing a big project like this is my favorite. When you've done something like this over + over, you learn pretty quickly what works and what doesn't work for you. I've created December albums in a variety of formats over the years - using beautifully curated kits + trying to create my own. Finishing just days after December ended, or several months later. Printing at home, or sending it to a printer. I love each and every album I've created, but more importantly, I cherish the memories I documented in those pages. I'm so ready to do that again this year. Today I'm sharing how I'm getting ready to fill my fifth December album.

Preparing to Prepare : A couple months ago when I was thinking about what format I wanted my December album to be, I couldn't stop thinking small. I love the 4x4 size (in particular, Jamaica's 2012 album) and was also intrigued with the We R Memory Keepers 4x4 albums (gold of course). As I looked through my past albums, and the direction of my photos, I thought it would be best to keep them in the vertical or portrait orientation. 4x6 quickly became my decision on size.
Making the Album Covers : Back in 2011, I experimented with aircraft plywood. These thin sheets of plywood are available at most hobby shops as they are typically used for building model airplanes. I had some scrap wood left over from that year and decided to use it this year. After doing this layout back in September, I fell in love with stitching and chose to stitch a simple holiday graphic onto my cover - a stick Christmas tree.
I sketched out my tree and then laid it on the plywood near the center. Using a paper piercer, I pressed a hole into the ends of each branch and at the top and bottom of the tree trunk. After hand drilling the holes just larger than the eye of my needle, I stitched with kelly green embroidery floss, doubling up on each "line" to make them thicker and making sure to be aware of what the back, or inside, would look like since I wasn't planning on covering it up. Other than a couple of knots, it looks the same as the front. Add some binder rings (note to self : buy 2" rings) and the cover was complete.
Interior Page Options : The majority of my inside pages are just patterned paper. Some from my small holiday stash and past December Daily albums. Some from the Pine Hill add-on. Some from the Gossamer Blue Get Happy collection. I also added some kraft cardstock, chipboard, printables, envelopes + pockets, large tags, lots of vellum + transparencies (purchased and handmade). I also plan on making a few letterpress pages when I get those supplies out to make Christmas cards. Overall I have 35-40 page options to choose from. I only plan on making one 2-page spread each day so, combined with my daily photo, this selection should be plenty over the 31 days of December.
Embellishments : In an effort to stay simple this year, I've kept the embellishment collection to a minimum. Most of them are flat (except the badges. I can't fight my addiction to badges) or will be paper based, like punched shapes, printables or Silhouette cuts. When I cut down the paper for my interior pages, I added a second piece to "cut up" with punches, dies and scissors. Other embellishments I've collected include a small stash of washi, a fair amount of veneer and likely way too many alpha stickers. I also plan on pulling out my red and gold thread for my sewing machine to add a festive touch.
Digital Supplies : I love that you can never "run out" of digital items. The files I've purchased + collected over the years are ones I'll use again + again. The printables, the labels, the Silhouette cuts, and especially the digital brushes and stamps. I've scoured my computer for files from the past 25 Days classes, past Studio Calico December digital items and holiday stuff I've purchased from Designer Digitals when Ali Edwards was designing for them. Having it all in one folder is so helpful during this time of year when you're getting ready to dive into this project.
Getting Organized : Last weekend after I finished my Studio Calico Park Avenue layouts, I cleared off my desk and started containing all of my December album supplies. With my desk all set up, I filmed a little video of how I organized it all. Everything has a home which should make it fairly easy to work and clean up as I go.

My "Daily" Plan : While I plan to document one topic or story each day during the entire month of December, I am not necessarily going to work on my physical album every day. If history repeats itself, I intend on working on 2-3 spreads every 2-3 days. In between, I may binge on editing my photo(s) from that day while adding typed journaling prior to printing. I may sit and print a week's worth of photos while watching a movie. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my big "creative" days, as both kids are in school, so I will probably use those as my catch-up days if I need them. I'm feeling pretty realistic about my plans to work on my album, especially since I'm going the small + simple route this year.

Sharing : I will sharing my daily pages here on the blog and in the Studio Calico gallery as I complete them, however I will only be sharing Days 1-5 in the 25 Days classroom. I'll probably be over-sharing on Instagram too. 

What about Project Life? Unlike past years, I've decided not to do Project Life along with my December album. For the past two seasons of 2014, I've been working with Studio Calico Handbooks for my Project Life (you can see my summer pages here + fall pages here) and after 3 months, they were packed. Rather than start a new album just for one month, I'm going to start fresh in 2015 with a 12x12 album. Consider this a one month break from Project Life to regroup + figure out how I want to approach it for my fourth year (wow).

Looking for some inspiration + motivation to get your December album done? The 25 Days class has already begun and Stephanie has shared a ton of content so far, including her album cover + foundation pages, plus eight videos! In December, Stephanie + the contributors will be sharing their pages throughout the month. You can see more details about the class here. Registration ends soon!

Want a peek at my past albums? Here you go : 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

Monday, November 24, 2014

Park Ave sneaks

Where has this month gone? Even my mom was wondering why I've been so quiet here. :) It wasn't intentional, but I have been getting plenty done. Today I'd like to share a few Park Ave Project Life sneaks.

I'm wrapping up my Fall Handbook with this kit and got a lot of mileage out of the Project Life main kit. The first three photos here are all main only.
I love the yellows and that skyline crepe paper is fabulous!
And the chipboard stars. I'm surprised I have any left. :)
Among my favorite products are Kelly Purkey's sticky notes (see left side above). Oh, and another star.
Above is a small peek into the PL add-ons, Grand Central and Lenox Hill. Seeing clips, especially shaped clips, in the kits always make me happy.
My last full spread features some of the printables this month. And I love love love the scripty font of the veneer above. You can find that in the Lenox Hill add-on.
When I got my kits this month, this Kid Valentine stamp set was the first thing I opened up and used. I'm a sucker for a cute stamp set and Morgan has already expressed her interest in doing handmade Valentine's last year with this set. Twist my arm!

Reveal falls on Thanksgiving here in the US this month and it's still carrying on as usual - including chats and presale. I'm going to try to pop in to the subscriber chat at 11am EST before joining my family for the rest of the day. Plus I have a few things I want to add to my scrapbook kit box. What's on your wish list this month?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tutorial : Misted Leaves Background

The Studio Calico Color Theory line continues to grow, and one of the newest items available in the shop are coordinating mini mists.
The changing fall colors in a photo I took while on a hike on our local trails last month inspired me to recreate the look with the Sunny Day + Mint Hint mists along with one of the leaf digital stamps from the Walden card brushes to design a 2-page layout for my Fall Handbook.
I'm sharing a step-by-step tutorial on the Studio Calico blog today. You check it out here.
Grab your favorite mists + I'll show you how to create a misted background with any digital stamp brush. Of course, you could cut out of a few steps and use any Silhouette cut file as well.
I love how the gradient color looks with the photo. This layout couldn't be more simple + I think that's why I like it so much. I hope you'll give this technique a try!
Supplies: Walden Project Life kitwhite cardstockWalden Card Kit Stamp (digital stamp brush), Sunny Day Mini MistMint Hint Mini Mist, Leaf Green Mister Huey's, foam circles. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

on my mind : December Daily 2014

It's November and I'm feeling a little better about saying that I'm starting to work on my December Daily album for this year. I've been brainstorming for a couple weeks and just started making some serious notes about how I want to approach my album this time around.
I'm so excited to be a contributor for Studio Calico's upcoming 25 Days class! Stephanie Bryan is leading us this year with ideas + prompts, getting our supplies organized and several videos during the next two months - as well as lots of other goodies including printables, digital templates and an adorable class kit (while supplies last). You can read more details about the class + sign up here.
This will be my 5th December Daily and I'm anxious to get started. I spent some time last weekend going through my previous four albums and making note of what I liked and didn't like, as well as reminders of what I want to capture this year.
My approach for 2014 is to stay small + simple. I've chosen not to purchase a full kit this year and instead will be using the leftovers I kept from the last two December Daily kits I've used, plus the Pine Hill + Garland Road add-on's along with the 25 Days class kit, to assemble my own kit. I'm really looking forward to changing it up this time. My focus will be to include a photo and/or a story each day during the month of December and that's it. If I can work on it every day, awesome. If not, that's cool too. I've always tried to do a little creative work each day, but it doesn't always happen. Especially in December. If history repeats itself, I will probably work on a few days worth of my album, every few days.

I'll be sharing the start of my album here on the blog in the next couple weeks, but I, and the other 25 Days contributors, will be sharing some of our completed pages only in the class. This week, I plan on pulling together items - cover materials, papers, embellishments, etc. - a little each day before spreading it all out and forming a cohesive kit. Then I'll post what I'll be working with here.
One other decision I've made for this year is to not document December in my Project Life album. By the end of November, my fall Handbook will probably be full. Rather than start a new Project Life album at the beginning of December, I'll just wait and begin my 2015 album in January.

I love this project so much + am so looking forward to seeing what other people are making. Hope to see you in class!