Saturday, August 30, 2008

Digital Scrapping Reference

I created a reference for my personal use that has instructions taken from several websites and rewritten so I can understand and find them all in one document. I was at a crop and ended up teaching a lady something about Photoshop other than adjusting photos. We blended a couple of pages together in different ways, played with inking edges using inner glow and she suddenly felt like she could do something with Photoshop that she could really use. She's got Elements, but since her husband teaches, she could probably scrape up a copy of CS3 at the educator's discount price.

All of the information I showed her, I got from on-line, free sources. Most of it was from Scrap Girls and a little was from a digiscrapping newsletter that I download when I remember. I also pointed her toward a couple of podcasts that I get and watch in small doses.

She taught me something in return. I know more about digital scrapbooking than I think I do and I can do some interesting things with my photos with very little effort. I knew digital scrapbooking wasn't that difficult, but I was stuck in the thought process that I must learn many different techniques before I could do anything at all and that simply is not true.

Armed with my own reference and a few books on Photoshop for photographers that I own, I'm going to try doing a digital crop instead of a paper one next week at Girl's Night Out. I'm kind of looking forward to just carrying a laptop, an extension cord, a couple of CDs and perhaps my external hard drive to a crop. If I'm feeling extravagant, I'll include my mouse rug and USB mouse. That's a lot less than a bulging crop tote and a tool bag.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Trying to work when you are in a bad mood really points out what you don't like in your studio. I don't like my paper stored on horizontal shelves. It doesn't work for me, I can't find what I need unless I pull everything out and shuffle through it. I like the Cropper Hopper vertical storage systems. I need to get more of those and use them instead of the vertical storage.

I can use the vertical storage for other things. I can't turn the storage on its side and put the Cropper Hopper bits inside them. They don't fit, I checked long ago. Or do they? The small ones fit. The large ones do not. I use a lot of the small ones. Hmmm...

I have a reason to be tearing up my scrapping space now, instead of just a fit of bad temper.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Shopping Lists

I have this odd list of things that I keep on a shopping list for crafting stuff. For example, I need Post-it notes, so I can do a bit of masking with the Rosie's Roadshow stamps that I just got. That doesn't usually land on my shopping list. I want to get another box of invitation sized envelopes. I'm using them up more quickly than usual as I send daily notes to my stepson in boot camp. Heaven forbid that I run out! I had to get some 6"x9" envelopes, too.

Ink for two different printers, a storage system for those oddly shaped Color Box Chalk Ink pads with the curved ends and domed tops. (What were they thinking?!) There are all sorts of things on that shopping list. But none of them are things that I need to run out and get tomorrow. I'll manage without them until I run across them somewhere and they fit into the budget.

I really do have a crafting budget. You might not think that I do, but I have one. So far this month, I am not under budget, but I knew I wouldn't be. I rarely am. I need new clothes too. Because I have a choice, I skipped clothes and got stamps.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Crop Expectations

I asked different scrappers what they expected at a crop from the folks running the crop. The answers varied and I expected them to. Most of the more experienced croppers didn't want a lot of intervention or support at a crop unless the purpose of the crop was to teach a new technique. The less experienced croppers and some of the more experienced ones wanted the employees working at the crop to be easily available, wanted to get checked on, and not have to go seeking assistance, each and every time they ran into a problem. Nobody wanted to feel like they were being hovered over, they just wanted to feel like someone was at the least, doing a prairie dog every now and again. It didn't matter how much the crop cost, if they paid to sit in, everyone wanted to feel like someone was paying attention to them at some point during the crop.

Without fail, every single hostess/employee said they did not expect to get any personal cropping done (though guests said it would be OK if the employee/hostess did some cropping) and they felt that it was their responsibility to keep track of what folks were working on, if they were having trouble, or were at a point where praise was appropriate. And that was at both private crops with friends and crops run for profit or for charity.

It might be my opinion, but it is an opinion shared by many.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Swarming and Teaching

A swarm is a group of Cricut owners gathering to use their machines and to learn more about using them. There was a swarm at the LSS and I ran the thing. Well, sort of. They advertised it, they got folks signed up for it and I showed up to teach things during the swarm. I started by asking the ladies what they wanted to learn. They wanted to learn how to use the layered cartridges and they wanted to use the pens. So that's what we focused on. I repeated stuff about layers as I cut a Minnie Mouse until they were just about to get bored, but the pizza came. They drifted away to cut their own projects. The repetition had made it sink in and they could do something with layers on their own.

I also shared a few tricks I know about general cropping skills. I even taught the owner of the store something!

I realized that the lady who usually runs the crops hasn't realized that she needs to answer questions that have not been asked. Many times folks are using some technique because it is the only way that they know, not because they think it is the best way. If you show them a different way and teach them how to use that way, they have options and feel more skilled. A good teacher will work the room, moving around, checking on the students and making sure that they are successful in what they are trying to do. They will stop them in the middle of using a clumsy technique, teach them a different technique and help them be successful with the new skill. If the new technique requires that they purchase something that the shop sells, so what? It's good for everyone involved.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Watercolor Pencils

Thanks to a podcast on Scrap Time, I got a lot better at managing my watercolor shading. Two tips: with water brushes it is difficult to control how dry the brush gets. Work from the white/pale, towards the color in a circular movement and you get good blending.

But then I was looking at my set of 36 watercolor pencils and thinking that I needed a better range of reds. The question was, how to move from a set of 36 to a set of 72 without having an extra 36 pencils? Order them individually. Dick Blick will allow you to do that, so I did. Shipping is a bear, but not absolutely horrible, when you consider that I could not find individual pencils anywhere local. The only problem is going to be that I don't have a case that will hold 72 pencils. I have a case that will hold 36. Drat.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Disney Parade Stuff

It took me forever to update my blog, because I've been slogging away at these two pages for far too long. There are eighteen photos on these two pages. The two flip files have nine each. It wasn't printing the photos that took forever. It wasn't the flip files that took forever, nor was it finding the right orange striped paper, or dealing with a poorly cut sticker sheet or shopping for rick-rack, or running out of 1/4" redline tape. It was each of those steps added on to the last step that made this page so time consuming.

It is almost done. Why almost? I still have to cut eight correctly spaced slots in my page protectors so the photos in the flip files will stick out and you can turn the pages and look at all eighteen photos without having to take the pages out of the album.

Do I like these pages? I like them a lot. They are taken from the Recollections Disney Scrapbook in a Day class that I have the directions for. I didn't design this page myself! Some of my favorite parade photos are on these pages. I put the particular Minnie photo on the front, because it cracks me up.

Beauty queens on parade floats are told to wave using an 'elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist, pearls' pattern. Minnie is in the 'pearls' step in that photo.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Scraproom Progress

I went to Loewe's yesterday and got a storage cabinet. It took three trips, because some of the hardware was missing or damaged, but I ended up with the right hardware, and plenty of it at no cost other than two more trips to Loewe's. The cabinet is 70 inches tall, 36 inches wide and can hold things that are 20 inches deep. There are shelves and a center divider inside. I currently have it filled with things that came off the bookcase that I'm painting, so I didn't take a photo of the interior. It's a fake pine covering.

I decided on a cabinet instead of a shelving unit because I don't like to have my stuff out in the open. I think things look cluttered that way and I'd rather have my stuff hidden behind doors that I can close. The cabinet is already placed in the room where it will stay. I measured from the corner, so when my big tables move downstairs, they will fit.

On the floor, you can see three shelves that I'm painting white. That's a part of my sewing storage and will end up in the opposite corner of the room. I have a white sewing table already and I wanted the bookcase to match it. I like white furniture for my craft space, what can I say?

The craft space re-do is going slowly. I'm thinking a lot about each purchase and addition before I make it. I want to have most of my placement of objects planned out in advance, and not higgeldy-piggeldy, put things in locations that don't work for me. My scrapping space will be a large L, with the short section to my right and behind me. When I sit in the corner of the L and face the window, I want to be able to easily reach a lot of my supplies without straining for them.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


I cannot create in a mess. I cannot create in a mess. I really, truly cannot create in a mess.

I'd been bemoaning my lack of productivity recently and then I couldn't find postage stamps. Meaning to mail a letter, not rubber stamps. I started digging through my things, straightening as I went along, because that would also help me know where I'd looked and were I hadn't. I ended up doing a significant amount of tidying up in my scrapping/stamping space. I found the stamps, in the place where I usually keep them, but some tall cards had gotten tucked in front.

The end result was that I had a much neater and cleaner space in which to work than I'd had in quite some time. I was able to complete two small projects and start again on a more complicated project. I feel productive again.