Monday, July 31, 2006

CKC - Valley Forge Review (Friday)

One of the benefits of taking so many classes was that you get free entry into the vendor faire and early entry into the vendor faire on Friday morning. So…since my first class on Friday wasn't until 11:00, I was going to take full advantage of the early entry to get some shopping done.

As I drove up to the Convention Center at 10 minutes to 9:00, I saw a mass of women standing outside the building. "Oh no," I thought, "…It's going to be a mad house in there", but honestly, was I expecting anything less? Not really. So, I took the bare essentials, headed towards the doors and who do I see, but Lisa Bearnson (founding editor of CK) signing autographs. I snap a few initial pictures – you didn't really think I'd go without a camera did you... and find the end of the line. No sooner had I done that did I hear that the power was out in the convention center and they had no idea when it would be back on (hence, Lisa was outside signing autographs, which was very nice of her).

Resigned to our "fate", some of us stood in line waiting to meet Lisa, others chatted with their friends and others burned over-priced gasoline sitting in their air conditioned cars. I don't know how long it really took for me to actually meet Lisa, but I'm pretty sure it was at least 45 minutes…and still no power.

So, we continue to "hang out" in the ever-increasing heat and humidity….waiting. I chatted with several different ladies and just took everything in. For so many women being kept from scrapping and/or shopping, not a one was cranky, feisty or in a bad mood. It might have been the free ice cream sandwiches that the folks from
Skinny Cow were handing out. Who can turn down free ice cream at 10:00 AM?!

Another hour passed and they finally let us in. We were all admittedly drained from the heat and giving each other a pass on not being as "flowery" as we would normally be. Given that it was already 11:00, I was headed straight to class as opposed to the vendor faire, but after I got into class, I was so glad to be there, as this was a really cool one.

It's All About You Ruler Book (5 out of 5)… Our instructor was Debbie Hill – lead designer for Junkitz – and she was just plain cool. She had us laughing from the get-go, insisted that we get excited if we won a door prize and took us step-by-step through a GREAT project. It helped that we had two hours to complete it, but my thoughts are that each class should be at least an hour-and-a-half.

In Living Color (5 out of 5)… They warned us that the Bazzill + BasicGrey class was fast-paced, but it was nothing compared to this one. Despite the circumstances, you couldn't help but feel for our instructor… She had just come back from CHA, so she had probably been home for all of two minutes – just enough time to switch the clothes in her suitcase. It took her 22 hours to get from CA to PA and when she arrived the power in the hotel was out, so she had to sleep on a sofa in the lobby. And… to top things off, her new boss provided her with the ideas/supplies for kits, but hadn't bothered to put the kits together. So, her assistants were building them on the fly. The great thing was it somehow worked. As crazy as things seemed, we made six layouts in a little over an hour and all I have to say it keep your eyes out for the new Scrapworks paper because it is BEAUTIFUL!

Accordion Mantle Book (5 out of 5)… When I walked into class, I was exhausted from the day's events, but encouraged to see Debbie from my other Junkitz class was our instructor. Secretly, I was doing jumping jacks as I loved her class from earlier in the day. In this instance, she had asked for some help, so several of us volunteered to get things set-up, which, if asked, I recommend doing because as I quickly determined you get free supplies as "payment".

Despite the crazy start, Friday was by far the best day out of the three and I had to laugh at my appearance by the end of the day. I had somehow managed to get ink all over myself – it was even on my arms – so I resembled the name of the ink we had been using all day – black soot. No worries though, because I had two altered books and six layouts to show for it!

CKC – Valley Forge Review (Thursday)

Having never been to one of these types of events before, I loaded up on classes to get maximum impact and took a total of nine over the three days. I was/am still exhausted from the whole experience, but had a good time, got to create beautiful layouts and mini-books, but more importantly, it forced me to make the trip to Collegeville, PA to visit a town rich in my family's history. I had many questions answered, some still remain and some new ones to research, but that's the beauty of genealogy. Just when you get think you've got it all figured out…a new twist gets added to the fold.

I arrived in Pennsylvania late Wednesday night, so I wouldn't have to rush Thursday morning to make my 10:00 appointment at Ursinus College. And so we begin…

Thursday was almost a blur thanks to the oppressive heat and humidity and the Pennsylvania roads. I will preface what I'm about to say with the fact that I normally don't get lost, in fact, I consider myself quite the "navigator", but someone must have slipped Jack Sparrow's crazy compass into my car, or into Google Maps…, because I ended up everywhere but where I needed to go. I'd turn one way only to find a dead end. I'd think I was back on the right track only to find that the street I thought I could use was one way – in the wrong direction. Let's just say it got to the point where I broke down and made a $12.95 investment in a Metro Philly map, and yet… that didn't even seem to help, so I guess I'll chalk it up to good old O.E. (Operator Error).

I did make it to Ursinus, but with just enough time to walk across campus to the library, where I was to meet with the school historian to go over some of my ancestor's records. The experience was amazing. To quote Jack Nicholson, reading about my great-great grandfather, "…makes me want to be a better man", or in my case, woman. He had an amazing, though short, life and made such a contribution to his community. It made me think seriously about what I could do to "make a difference", if even just to one person, so we'll see where that takes me, but for now I'll concentrate on my two little buddies. Despite all the information I was able to gather from the school records, a few inconsistencies remain, so my search continues.

By the time I had finished in Collegeville, I had a little extra time, so I headed towards Valley Forge, hoping that the hotel would let me check in early – they did. I only had two classes on Thursday evening….CK's Block Party and Monogram Madness.

CK's Block Party (3 out of 5)… I can only describe the instructor for this class as the Energizer Bunny on a sugar high. I don't know if she was nervous, or just wasn't a good instructor, but she was talking so fast and taking breaths so infrequently, that I felt out of breath by the time our class was over.

Out of all the classes, this was the most design based and focused on how you can use squares and rectangles in your layouts to create movements and symmetry. The layout was pretty cool, but we got so wrapped around the proverbial axle (at all the wrong points) that we never got very far, though we did have the instructions, so I am in the process of finishing it up.

Tips from class - You can use the index prints from your developed film as additional space fillers/embellishments on your layouts. Also, you can stamp an image on a square piece of paper, cut it into four pieces and then used glossy accents over top of each piece to make them look like tiles – very cool effect.

Monogram Madness (2 out of 5)… This class was slightly misleading. I figured we'd be making one of those super-cool chipboard monograms that are embellished to the hilt, but alas, this class focused on stamps and we spent the first 10-15 minutes cutting out stamped images. The layout that we made was OK, but I found the most beneficial information came in the form of some cool tips that our instructor shared with us. For those of you that stamp a lot, this was probably obvious to you, but to a "non-stampers" they were some pretty neat tricks.

For example, to add a pattern to stamp, you do the following:

  • Ink up your primary stamp (like a letter stamp).
  • Ink up a portion of a patterned stamp (like a script block) in a different colored ink.
  • Then, apply the patterned stamp to the primary stamp.
  • Finally, stamp your image.

  • You can "kick this up a notch" and add a border around your image by taking a dark marker and coloring the edges of the stamp (kind of like you would do to a piece of paper and an ink pad).

    Who knew stamps could be so versatile?!

    Friday started with a bang…literally – courtesy of Mother Nature. A line of violent storms came charging through Valley Forge during the VERY early morning hours on Friday. It woke me up and, as I would find out later than morning, knocked out power to the convention center and adjoining hotels. Let's just say we were all a little worn out by the time the day actually started.

    More to follow…

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    A Trip Back in Time

    Tonight I'm off.... Off to "touch and feel" some of the results of my genealogical research and to enjoy a weekend away at a scrapbook convention.

    My Destination: SE Pennsylvania (more specifically...Collegeville and Valley Forge)

    The former to visit Ursinus College and have some fun digging in the archives to learn some more tidbits about my ancestors. The latter to go to the Creating Keepsakes Conventions - three days, nine classes and more scrapbook supplies than any woman should be allowed near with a credit card. :-)

    I haven't finished packing, but that's OK...that's normal. I've packed for a week long trip to Germany in less than an hour before, so I should be fine, as long as I don't forget my glue dots!!

    More to follow....

    Sunday, July 23, 2006

    Wedding Anniversary Journaling Checklist

    Whether it's your first, fifth or fiftieth wedding anniversary, you can get so caught up with the day-to-day activities that you don't realize how much actually changes in your lives.

    So, why not make a "Then and Now" scrapbook layout and use the following questions to spark your journaling (and see just how much has transpired, since you both said, "I do"):

  • What jobs did you have then and what jobs do you have now? You may still be with the same company, but has your position title changed?

  • How has your family "structure" changed? What pets (if any) did you have when you got married? What (if any) do you have now? Do you have children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren?

  • Where did you live then? Where do you live now (and how many moves were there in between)?

  • Take a trip through the history books and compare the events of the past to current world events. For example someone married during the height of the Cold War would have been hard pressed to go along with the idea that "The Wall" would ever come down and yet…here we are.

    NOTE: Don't limit your trip through time to political events, but look at businesses that were around when you were married or your hometown sports teams. When the Senators left Washington, D.C., no one thought baseball would ever return, but again…here we are.

  • What were your favorites (music, movies, food, etc.) then and what are your favorites now?

  • Happy Scrapping!!

    Friday, July 14, 2006

    Starter Tips for Photoshop Elements

    You've been saving up for a copy of Photoshop Elements (PSE), so you can dabble in a little digital scrapbooking, but you open it up and have no clue where to begin. You're probably wondering... What is a layer? What is a filter? And how do I do something as simple as changing a photo to black and white?

    As the process of learning PSE can be daunting, we thought we'd share a few tips with you to get you going.

    To resize an image, you can use Alt+Ctrl+I or go to the Image Menu, select Resize and then Image Size. The same dialog box will appear with either option, it just depends on whether you like to use Shortcut keys or not. You then have the choice of resizing your image by percent, inches, centimeters, etc.

    To change your photo to black and white, go to the Enhance menu, select Adjust Color and then Adjust Hue/Saturation (or Ctrl+U). You then want to pull the Saturation setting all the way to the left (so it equals -100).

    To create a sepia-toned photo, you open the Adjust Hue/Saturation dialog box (Ctrl+U) and click on the colorize checkbox. Then, drag the hue slider from left to right until you find the color you like. For a brown tone, the hue value should be around 40. To create a deeper or lighter tone, just adjust the saturation slider until you get the effect you like.

    NOTE: These effects will change the actual pixels of the image. If you just want to create a layer, that will leave the original image intact, you can create an adjustment layer that will create the same effect (Layer Menu --> New Adjustment Layer or click on the half-black/half-white circle in your layer window and select Adjust Hue/Saturation).

    Happy (Digital) Scrapping!!

    Come Join Us at Flickr!

    We have set up a layout gallery on Flickr and we'd love for you to stop by for a visit!!

    Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    The Main (Scrapbooking) Event

    Creating Keepsakes has just unveiled a centralized website for all of their events - conventions, name it, it's there. They will even be providing online eduction opportunities starting this August.

    Happy Scrapping!!

    Monday, July 10, 2006

    There's Nothing Basic about Bazzill Basics Cardstock!!

    Do you love BasicGrey Patterned Paper?! Do you spend way too much time in your LSS finding cardstock that matches perfectly? Great news… Bazzill has done all the work for you and come up with a list of coordinating cardstock to BasicGrey's wonderfully wild paper.


  • Blitzen: grenadine, ruby slipper, pear, dark olive, hillary, avalanche, powder blue, jet stream, waterfall, lakeshore

  • Color Me Silly: candy apple, red devil, butterfly, sunshine, bumble bee, limeaide, icy blue, true teal, mardi gras, brocade

  • Fusion: piglet, strawberry, gumbo, orange crush, burnt ember, cocoa butter, canteen, wild pansy, mardi gras, pansy

  • Hang 10: yam, lemonade, pickle, salsa verde, anchor, dock, dark denim, light house, buttercup, hershey

  • Lollipop Shoppe: chablis, red hot, maraschino, dandelion, green tea, pistachio, teal op, true teal, raindrop, lavender twilight

  • Lucky: rose, hot pink, watermelon, pomegranate, dandelion, macintosh, guacamole, starlight, pearberry, concord

  • Oh Baby-Boy: tropicana, squash, dark tangerine, apricot, limeaide, apple green, grass green, wave, sparrow, jacaranda

  • Oh Baby-Girl: pollen, squash, melon, apricot, light rosey, dark rosey, ruby red, bubble blue, katydid, heather

  • Phresh and Phunky: mauve ice, petunia, cucumber, fern, ivy, waterfall, jacaranda, stonewash, lighthouse

  • Skate Shoppe: cream puff, limeaide, sea breeze, pistachio, turquoise mist, icy blue, artesian pool, starlight, mocha divine, dark chocolate

  • Urban Couture: firehearts, watermelon, red hot, sunbeam, green tea, breathtaking, rain drop, iced cocoa, mocha divine

  • Vagabond: yukon gold, curry spice, honeycomb, buttercup, leapfrog, fern, dark taupe, windy, sapphire, nightmist
  • For more information on selecting colors for your scrapbook layouts, check out our article on color!

    Tuesday, July 04, 2006

    Free Digital Scrapbook Download - Yellow Ribbon

    Free Download - Yellow RibbonAs we all prepare to celebrate America's birthday, we know there are more than a few family's out there with a son, daughter, husband or wife who is serving our Country in the name of freedom. For you, and anyone else that is working on a digital scrapbook layout for their Soldier, please feel free to download this yellow ribbon for use in your layouts.

    There is no charge to you and you can download as many times as you need to. Just right click on the picture, select "Save Picture As" and save it to your hard drive. The *.png file is only about 29 KB, but is saved at 300 ppi and the background is transparent (despite it's appearance here on the website).

    We here at Choubox Scrapbook Design wish you and your family a very happy and safe Independence Day!