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It’s time for a change around these parts

I work with WordPress themes all the time, and the themes and designs available these days are just mind-blowingly beautiful and modern. When I looked at my website this week (like, really looked at it) I thought, “This is so 2011! What’s up with that?” So, here’s a heads-up that things are going to change around here, because this place is long overdue for a redesign and upgrade

PS: I’m also having a baby next week (!!!), so this process may or may not be due to the strange and uncontrollable phenomenon called “Nesting Syndrome“, and may or may not take several weeks to complete thanks to the new bundle of joy/spit/poo that’s coming my way with the certainty of a freight train.

UPDATE 19 FEB: I did it! I updated the look & feel and started updating older posts with large header images to suite the theme, but I’ll probably only go back ±15 posts okay? Okay.

Welcome to my “new” home 😉

Header for My Beautiful Girl Scrapbook Page

My beautiful girl (scrapbook page)

Wow, two scrapbook pages in a row! We’re in for some weird weather 😉
Scrapbook page of Linnae Apr2014

This page was inspired by Cathy Zielske after reading her book Clean And Simple Scrapbooking for the hundredth time. Cathy is a graphic designer and it shows; her clean and simple style is striking and inspiring. Add to that her verbose journalling full of heart and humour, and it’s no wonder that I’m a fan girl.. groupie… thing (but without the ridiculous screaming. Usually). This layout came to be after I decided to try and “channel my inner Cathy” so to speak, by using a grid layout and conversation-style journalling from the heart, and otherwise just keeping it simple.

Close-up of beautiful scrapbook page Apr2014Boy oh boy, did I surprise myself! I managed to do the page in a day while still keeping true to my own style, and I love how it turned out!

Cathy also reminded me why we do what we do: that it’s about leaving something of value behind. If it’s pretty, it’s a bonus, but it’s our stories, our memories, that should take precedence. I will be channelling my inner Cathy more regularly from now on — thanks to her, my little girl now knows a little bit more about herself at 8 months, and how much I adore her.

So, thank you Cathy Zielske, for being a rock star and writing a book* that has helped me see past the blank page and paralysing fear of failure, to the obvious heart of the matter: design isn’t hard, it’s actually easy, but it’s the message that matters, so we should make it count.

—–

* She actually wrote another book as well, and I own and love — and devour on a regular basis — both her books.

Supplies:

Cardstock (Bazzill) • Pattern Paper (K&Company) • Clear alphabet letters (Heidi Swapp) • Brads (Keiser Kraft) • Alcohol Inks (Ranger) • Glossy Accents (Ranger)

Header for Daddy's Girl scrapbook page

Hallo Beautiful! Scrapbook page

Digital scrapbook page titled Daddy's Girl

Say hello to my beautiful little girl Linnae! She’s 6 months old in these photos, and she’s the most precious, lovely, sweetest little baby on the planet, hands down. No, don’t argue, I know what I’m talking about: I’m the mother.

Speaking of beautiful, isn’t this digital kit pretty? I discovered a very nice online digital scrapbook shop, Pixels and Company, where I bought this kit called “Happy Days” and I love it! I’m a long time Shabby Princess fan and has a lot of her stuff, but the other day when I needed my digital scrapbook supplies, I couldn’t find the external hard drive I store it on so I had to look for alternatives. Well, I love this, although I’m still a Shabby Princess gal – her stuff is just top notch. Even her free stuff are better than a lot of the kits you have to pay good money for.

Recipe:

Cute and easy digital brag book

A few months ago we travelled to the other side of the country to visit my parents, because my sister came all the way from Australia with her little boy to visit and we just had to meet Connor for the first time. To commemorate that special occasion, I decided to make a Brag Book for my parents, since these are their only two grandchildren.

Click on any image to browse as a gallery. Supplies at end of post.

I wanted to put it together quickly, so I:

  1. reused the page templates for the boy and girl sections by simply swapping out the papers and elements,
  2. didn’t add any journalling or descriptions, and
  3. made the album jumbo size (4×6″ / 10×15 cm) which is a standard photo size and thus simple to print anywhere.

I used two Shabby Princess digital kits: HopScotch for the boy pages, and The Penelope Collection for the girlie side. I really love Shabby Princess kits! They are beautiful and their attention to detail always leaves me giddy — I love working with digital supplies that look “real”.

Tim Holtz in SA again? Oh happy day!

Image

It feels like just the other day that Tim came to South Africa. I can’t believe how quickly 3 years have flown by! I only heard of the event a few weeks ago, and the first thing I did was a happy dance when my DH encouraged me to go and even volunteered for baby duty. That is a HUGE deal, since I’m still breastfeeding, and it would basically confine him to the venue for the duration of the event so I can feed her between classes. Isn’t he just wonderful? YES HE IS!! I totally swore off any and all events until she was at least a year old and somewhat more independent, but how can I not go to a Tim Holtz workshop? (← Rhetorical question)

Inspirational pregnancy album by Kayla Renee

I found the most inspirational Project Life-style pregnancy album, created by Kayla Renee. She documented her pregnancy using Simple Stories and the result is awe inspiring!

Pregnancy album by Kayla Renee.

Pregnancy album by Kayla Renee. Click to view (on her blog).

Last time I posted, I mentioned Project Life and my goal to go about it digitally when I found out I was pregnant. Well, it’s been 6 months since my daughter, Linnae, was born (can you believe that?!?) and I rarely get a chance to open my computer, never mind doing some sensible memory keeping. (At least we take photos all the time, and I keep some notebooks around where I write down memorable things. When I remember…) But one has to make time for the important things in life, and this is right up there with breathing and brushing your teeth.

Pages from pregnancy album by Kayla Renee

Pages from pregnancy album by Kayla Renee. Click to view (on her blog).

This is what I want to leave Linnae, the perfect combination of heartfelt honesty and aesthetic pleasure, and this beautiful album gave me just the right amount of “kick in the butt” I needed. Now it’s time to get off said butt and do something about it. Thank you Kayla!

Header image for scrapbook page

Jumping back into the scrapbooking pool

It’s been aeons since I posted something crafty, and for that I apologize. I’ve made a card or two on occasion (mostly to keep teenagers busy), but it’s been too long since I’ve posted about it, or ventured beyond the “quick indulgence” of a card.

That’s about to change. My life recently took an unexpected turn, and suddenly memory keeping has moved to the top of my priorities. Note that I’m saying memory keeping, and not scrapbooking. See, for me scrapbooking has always been about the creative process: the nice papers and drool-worthy embellishments, those addictive gadgets and beautiful design. That’s why I eventually moved onto cards – less time-consuming, no pressure to perform, and I get to use the same lovely products while getting complete creative satisfaction without the ulcers.

Before I go into the how’s and why’s of this sudden change, here’s the first page I’ve made in… (*gasp!*) 5 years.

An all-digital page, celebrating one of our more random moments.

An all-digital page, celebrating one of our more random moments.

I wasn’t going for eloquent or designer-of-the-year with this one; the sole purpose was purely to see if I could make something in GIMP , the so-called “free Photoshop alternative”. I speak Photoshop quite fluently but I don’t own a copy (how do you justify the US$699 (± R6 500) price tag for something that won’t generate income for me?), so I’ve tried—and failed miserably—to switch to GIMP numerous times over the past few years.

But now I had incentive. And I think I managed quite nicely, thank you very much. Okay, so I used an already beautiful digital kit from Shabby Princess meaning I didn’t design a thing from scratch, and I based the layout on a template meaning I just had to mask and slap everything together, and I probably spent more time on YouTube searching for “how to” videos, but still. It looks impressive, and it wasn’t too hard. Mission accomplished.

Now on to why this was so important.

I’m embarking on an adventure (cue dramatic music). (Hehe, couldn’t resist.) But seriously, I realized that I’ve badly neglected the important task of recording life, and making something meaningful and lasting that would have value to my family and kids one day. Scrapbooking has failed me (although that is mostly my own fault), but at its core I still believe scrapbooking is the answer, so I’ve searched the globe far and wide for a solution.

That’s how I found Project Life. It’s basically scrapbooking without the baggage. The moment I saw it I thought, hey, I can do that! The system is sheer brilliance, but after looking at all the options, once again I just couldn’t justify the starting price of R1 099 for a basic kit, which comes down to an album with the basic elements, enough to finish one album. And since I like variation, I can’t settle for just the basics, so I’d need to buy additional Pocket Pages designs, and I want to make an additional “School of Life” album as well for our daughter (and each subsequent kid), which leaves me close to R3 000 just to get started and suddenly that’s a lot of money for a scrapbook system, even if it does work.

But I can do digital. Hell, I’m a designer. I SPEAK PHOTOSHOP, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! So, I looked into the digital options, and although they are definitely appealing, I couldn’t help but wonder if I could do better. Not to mention, it’s all in English. I love English, don’t get me wrong, but I believe language is an integral part of heritage, and I’m Afrikaans. If this is going to work, it would have to be in Afrikaans (or at least a large part of it). That right there was enough reason to go my own route, and I plan to do this thing right, so there you have it.

Hence, I’m embarking on an adventure. I want to do Project Life—the no baggage, low pressure, memory keeping part of it—while designing my own supplies as I go, replicating a system that has been in development for many years now, by designers who do it as a full time job.

Yeah.

It wouldn’t be my adventure if I didn’t try to make it at least a little bit more complicated, right?

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

Elmi

View supplies list

Tim Holtz workshop: The Artful Journal

Guess what I did this weekend? Okay, that subtle title probably didn’t leave much to the imagination, but it’s only because I still have an afterglow from the event! That, stained nails, and this crazy desire to shut myself in my studio and create-create-create!

Aaaanyway… I have to warn you in advance, I may not be able to resist the excessive use of superlatives or pointless panegyrics, but considering the super awesomeness of it, if you know you are prone to brain explosions caused by bad sentence structure or excessive rambling, SKIP THIS POST.

Everyone else, I HAVE GOT TO SHOW YOU the cool stuff we made!

The Artful Journal by Tim Holtz

The Artful Journal sample made by Tim.

Inside cover of the Artful Journal by Tim Holtz

The inside cover.

Pages of the Artful Journal by Tim Holtz

Some of the pages.

Tim has blogged about his Jo’burg adventure. Apparently he likes our food. So do we Tim, so do we 😉 BTW, I had to smile while reading about his fondness for the South African saying “see you now now” (which can mean “see you now” or “see you later”, basically “see you when I see you”). One tends to forget that one’s ‘culture’ – those everyday things that are simply part of life – are strange and wonderful and unconventional to people from other places.

Of course, it wasn’t just a one man show – Margie Romney-Aslett from The Girls’ Paperie also taught some classes: a mini-album, and a double-page scrapbook layout. She has also blogged about the Jo’burg event, with some lovely photos to go with it.

Here’s what we made in her class:

Double-spread scrapbook pages made by Margie

Margie's double-spread scrapbook layout

Mini-album by Margie

The mini-album by Margie.

I must admit, I’ve never made an album on a stick before. Must be an American thing… 😛

Here are all the photo’s I took (well, most of them). I elaborate a lot on the photos in the photo gallery, so click on the first thumbnail to view the gallery 🙂

About The Event

In case you’re still reading, this was SA‘s International Scrapbook Convention (ISC)’s annual one-day event (there’s also a two-day event in September) where hundreds of women get an opportunity to attend classes by international scrapbooking teachers. We’ve had some high profile teachers over the years, like Stacy Julian, Donna Downey, Heidi Swapp, Tim Holtz, as well as some well-known Making Memories teachers.

While I have the opportunity, may I just say thank you to Glenda and all the people who have made it such a success over the years! I have been attending ISC since 2007 and it has been consistently well organized, with excellent workshops, great teachers, and exceptional value for money.

Wow, if anyone is still with me after all that, I must commend you. No, I must reward you! Anyone up for a give-away? I’ll give away some crafting goodies to the first person who leaves me a commend about the give-away!