Showing posts with label paper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label paper. Show all posts

June 13, 2014

Project Life Plunge

For years, my friend has been showing me her beautiful Project Life layouts. As intrigued as I was by so much fun paper in one package -- I remained reticent to splurge on such a purchase, especially when I had plenty of other stuff to keep me occupied. 

Project Life is pricey. Plus I really like my 8x8" scrapbook albums. 

But months ago I received a gift certificate to an online store and I finally took the plunge. I figured with the Peanut coming soon, I might need an easier incentive to capture the memories, rather than full-on scrapbooking. Besides, I used up the last of my 8x8" albums on this rampage

It worked out that I had just enough pages left to end off that last 8x8" scrapbook on our moving day.

I figured with our fresh start in a new location, it was time to start a new project. Project Life. So this week, I did just that. 

Oddly, I didn't find scrapbooking 'super easy' with Project Life. Don't get me wrong... everything is pretty much laid out for you -- all you do is insert photos and choose the cards to add into the other inserts. 

I just found it a little restrictive in the creativity department. I wanted to add embellishments, flowers, and pieces of string to my page. 

Instead, only having certain sized pieces of paper kind of put a damper in my 'layout' process. 

I ordered an assortment pack of the pages, and it seems like there were a LOT of pages that only had room for one or two photos and then the rest of the spaces were for the small journal cards. I printed a bunch of my photos wallet-sized and used the actual pictures in many places instead of the Project Life Cards.

That being said, it was pretty awesome to whip out nearly a year's worth of events into a book of memories in less than a week. I still have to journal some of the details... but for me that part goes super fast. 

Nevertheless, most of my favorite scrapbook pages have been born out of creative mistakes. I glue something too fast and it looks funny, but instead of ripping it off the page, I work with it. I add pieces here and there to finally make the page stand out, even if I don't have all of the right shapes and sizes to fit into the 'puzzle'. 

So maybe I need to rethink this whole Project Life deal... and get some creative ideas on Pinterest, despite my earlier post about not bothering with that site.

I'm secretly hoping a glue stick is involved somewhere. And in the meantime, I'm keeping an eye out for more 8x8" albums on sale.

February 17, 2014

Decluttering the Craft Supplies

Lately, I've felt the urge to purge my crafting supplies. Maybe I have too much stuff... or maybe it's simply cabin fever from the winter. I think it's a little of both.

Chances are, if you are a regular reader here at Typing Sunflowers, or even if you've just stumbled upon this blog, you're into creating stuff. Most of us who make things regularly have quite the stash of stuff. (See ideas for stash busting your yarn here...) 

I know it's not spring yet... but there are steps you can take to clear the clutter before spring rolls around. After all -- who wants to be inside cleaning when the weather turns nice enough to spend the whole day outdoors? (Although if you want general spring cleaning and decluttering ideas, you can read this post.)

1. Take stock of what you have. 

This may give you a fright. It certainly did me. Last week I hauled out my craft supplies from behind every nook and cranny and I just left everything on the floor, scattered hither and yon (the benefits of having a dedicated office/craft room). The next morning, when I walked into the room to open the blinds, I nearly gave myself a heart attack. I thought someone had ransacked the place while I'd been sleeping. 

It certainly gave me new insight into the amount of junk I had laying around. (Sorry I don't have many photos to show you, but I had a hard time locating my camera in the mayhem. I at least took the button pic before the real ransacking occurred.

2. Clear out stuff that hasn't inspired you in years -- or even months. 

Once you get over the initial shock of how much stuff you have, sort through it and figure out what you actually want to keep. 

Some of the items in my craft arsenal are either dated, or else I purchased bulk supplies and only needed one or two of the 20. Give them away to another crafty friend, donate them to a thrift store, or sell them at a swap. 

Another alternative is to keep a small basket of craft supplies aside for younger guests or even for your own children when they too want to craft. When my nieces were small, I had a bucket of scrap paper, stickers I had no use for and miscellaneous other extras that kept them entertained for hours. Now, I have a small basket that serves the same purpose when guests with children come over. 

Whatever you do: purge. If you've been holding onto stuff for years and you're still not sure what you're going to make with it, then pass it along to someone who may have an idea. 

3. Figure out your method of organization. 

Now that you've cleared out part of the stash, you can get busy actually organizing stuff. Sometimes storage space alone dictates how much stuff you can safely stash. 

For years, I kept my stuff stashed in closets and stored under the sofa. Now that I have more space, I'm trying to put items into clear containers, or at least labeled organized boxes so that I can actually see what I have to work with.

I realized I had all of these great glass containers sitting on a shelf in the dining room with nothing in them. They now live in my craft area, full of buttons and ribbons. And now, instead of searching for the box of ribbon when I have to wrap a gift at the last minute, I know exactly where to go!

If you don't have spare shelf space or if you're not into clear plastic shelving that sits on the floor, there are lots of other fun options to store items. Craft stores sell great baskets and even boxes that look like books and old trunks -- things that look classy enough sitting anywhere in a room. 

Or consider vintage alternatives. Over the years, I've found some neat train cases and vintage sewing boxes to store craft supplies. For the longest time I kept my thread in a small box all jumbled up. Last week I realized I have a great vintage sewing box that is meant for um... sewing supplies!

One of my favorite train cases houses paper travel paraphernalia (I'm partial to old postcards and letters, plus the Sailor gives me his boarding passes from flights to and from his ships. These come in handy when I try to be cheap about scrapbooking.)

Even if you don't have a lot of space to work with, at least try to give yourself a shelf in the closet, or a corner in a room where you can keep everything together.  This last part is important... if your stuff isn't together -- you may not be as inclined to actually work on things (or you'll be like me... hunting for that ribbon at the last minute!)

4. Stop Feeding the Stash!

When all else fails, and when you don't have the time or inclination to purge, at least resist the temptation to add to the stash until you've had a chance to use up some of it. Don't even walk into a craft store and if you do, stay away from the clearance rack. It only leads to more serious stash busting later! 

When I first started this blog, I made myself use up a hefty amount of my yarn stash before I was allowed to buy any new yarn.  A few months later, I rewarded myself by making up a few new yarn rules, which I still adhere to. As lovely as that yarn looks on sale, unless I know exactly what I'm going to make with it, it's staying on the shop shelf.

Now go forth and declutter that craft stash. Blue skies are going to be here before you know it and it's far easier to take your crafting outdoors if it's all organized and you can find it!

April 11, 2013

Handmade Wedding Invitations

I promised you a little tutorial on how I made my wedding invitations here.

I knew I wanted to make my invitations from the start. I have always enjoyed working with paper (and as obsessive as I am about yarn... paper and I go way back. I think it's still my favorite. Just don't tell that basket of wool sitting next to the stack of scrapbooking supplies.) 

I didn't get married that long ago... but Pinterest wasn't around for ideas when the Sailor and I finally tied the knot. Thankfully, Michaels and and other craft stores were. Nowadays, there seems to be no shortage of places to purchase supplies -- at least here in America. (For those of you who don't live near massive chain stores... I do still believe that sometimes the most creative projects blossom with using only what's on hand! I also believe in Etsy... and how easy it is to order something from across the globe.)

Nevertheless, I did have an arsenal of craft supplies at my ready. Because I married a sailor, and since we met on a ship, I wanted to somehow incorporate a sea theme into the invitations. I also knew that many people wouldn't make the wedding due to travel, so I spent extra time and money on the invitations. I wanted to give the people who couldn't make it, their own little keepsake of our day. 

I started by scratching out some ideas in my notebook. I find that some people are afraid to even sketch ideas -- like they will mess up. Impossible, I say... that's why you sketch the idea. 

Most of the time, my finished product only resembles the sketches in one small way. In this case, I took away the concept of putting the info on handmade luggage tags. The Sailor and I traveled a lot in our dating years, and we still do today, so I wanted that to be part of the theme. 

I knew I wanted to put all of the info on the luggage tags -- I've always loved scrapbooks and invitations that are very hands on. I thought it would be fun for people to pull out each tag for the information. 

Once I found the blue paper, it all kind of fell into place.

Each tag held various bits of essential information: 

Shore leave: I used a printed map of South Africa on the front, and on the back, listed the nearest transportation hubs.  

Navigation: The Sailor acquired some old navigation charts for me to use on the front of these. On the back, more specific details of where the wedding would be held and how to book rooms at the location.

Port History: The photo on the front is one of the Anastasis Mercy Ship -- where we met. You can see from the photo below, I listed the port cities we traveled to together. I also found small silver beads and tied them onto the hemp on this tag -- they reminded me of miniature wedding rings.

SOS: Life-ring on the front; RSVP contact info on the back.

Once I got the luggage tags together, I still needed a way to keep them all together with the invitation. A friend of mine helped and we came up with the idea to use a flap, and then we hammered little brads in to keep the flap from falling apart. 

I wrote the actual invitation by hand on the inside of the invitation, and the flap held all of the tags. I chose a Bible verse that seemed particularly applicable to our situation, and put the first half on the front, and the second half on the flap.  

For half of our dating life, and now our marriage, 
we have been separated by a sea.
"Many waters cannot quench love, rivers cannot wash it away..." 
Song of Songs 8:7

I tied everything together with hemp (I love using hemp for all kinds of projects, but this time, it looked a little like mooring lines) and I found little anchor trinkets to put on the front. I also used necklace clasps on the hemp -- I searched until I found ones that looked a little like a life-ring.  

I also tied the bottom of the invitation together with a little hemp knot -- you can see the brad, but I've already untied the bottom. 

Our wedding was on a serious budget. The Sailor was in navigation school right before we married, and I was working as a volunteer with various non-profits. I decided to splurge though on the invitations, but in the end, to make and mail 60 of them (many of them internationally), only cost about $200. 

I never bothered to price what it would have cost to have someone else print them for me, but I don't think it would have been much cheaper. Plus, I love how they turned out.

After the wedding, I ended up using the same luggage tag and blue theme for my scrapbook to showcase a few photos. 

Like the invitation, I used the tags to write info on the back. For these 'style' shots, I wrote stories of when and where I got various bits of my wedding ensemble. 

I also used the tags and leftover anchors as part of my thank you notes. 

I think overall, people 'got' the sea and traveling theme, and they felt included in the day, even if they couldn't make it.
Have you previously made, or are you currently creating invitations for anything by hand? I'd love to hear your ideas.