Saturday, June 20, 2015

Playing Dress Up Now to Wow

Somebody call for a heat wave? 
Summer is here and while I'm certainly not one to complain about gorgeous weather and an abundance of outdoor activities, all this sunshine can be really distracting! Here I am, selling more cards than ever, and for once I don't have a ready supply of 40+ cards waiting to go to the store, be handed out and or mailed to friends. No, instead of spending my spare moments crafting up a storm of patterned paper and bling, I've been doing the unthinkable: gardening.
You messin' with my broccoli?!?
For most, gardening is an activity that is anticipated with joy- not me. In my life's experience, gardening was best performed under the tutelage of those middle aged people wearing their grubbies, who could then justify both not changing their clothes to go to the store while boasting of tomato sizing as "knowledge." Trust me, my choice when growing up was always going to be, Lay in the yard reading a book, over, Dig weeds and go on a slug hunt. So imagine my surprise when I found myself at the end of the day Tuesday realizing that BY CHOICE I had spent the entire day working amongst my 33 plants varieties. shudder

 Well, I got my dues. That night our neighbors came by and bit down all my most awesome seedlings. There went the last of last year's broccoli, all of the strawberries I've been cultivating, the 20+ flowers from my bean plants just attempting their climb up the fence. My friends, have you ever known the delicacy that is venison? Cause I'm about to go all Daryl Dixon on these leaf eaters!
Okay, maybe more like Katniss Everdean. But I'll keep it EverGREEN lol. Seriously, I've never had a reason to complain about deer and often times laugh at the retelling of their garden prowling audacity. But seriously, I do love venison and I'm really ticked about losing all that hard tilled plant growth. Oh well, lesson learned... get my butt back to the craft table and create flowers with paper in my hands instead of dirt under my nails. After all, the garden surely needs "recovery" time, huh? (And I need time to set up my tree stand!)
Have you ever noticed, even if it's an activity you adore, if you haven't been working at it diligently, the first couple tries at starting up again can make you feel a little rusty. Whenever I'm stumped for inspiration, I turn to some back issues of PaperCrafts or a Creating Keepsakes Magazine, find some images I enjoy, and then shop my stash for items that will help me recreate the look. Sometimes its more about the design; often times I'll notice that I've fallen into a rut as far as placement, so interpreting a design that is abnormal to you is a great way to break into the creative juices we all know you have stored up inside you :-)
If nothing from your inspiration source calls out to you, (or perhaps too many items do) you can always "phone a friend." For this first card, I asked my breakfast tablemates to select one of the four cards shown as my reference, and then searched for like items for the card chosen. Basically the elements were, patterened paper background, distressed tag with large rustic brad, and a sticker and sentiment placed on the tag. Pretty, simple, and yea! a reason to use a tag!
Well, I found a tag and layered on a flower sticker, sentiment sticker, and then a punched sherbet heart. Added hand drawn stitching around the tag, punched that matte bronze brad through and tada! For more attention, I  matted my subtle patterned paper with a dark brown thin cardstock, and then backed it with a superhero blue speckled card base. Hiding the brad backs adds to the overall finished look... I still needed something though, so I went back to the sticker sheets and added part of a border sticker from Basic Grey's Little Black Dress collection. STILL not satisfied, I turned to my favorite embellishment and added tiny rhinestones here and there, taking the card from Now, to WOW!
Here's my second example for garden free gardening. This time I was happy about everything enough to take a picture and text it to a friend after the initial creation phase. One thing that's great about photographing your art is that it allows a different perspective somehow, and what jumped out to me wasn't the sentiment, but that large black space in the top left corner.

The green cardstock is actually a paint sample, so what did I do? I just cut into the next color on the sample card, rounded that corner, added some similar inking, and voila! Now, I loved the addition of that piece instantly. Except...
It still wan't right to me! So, I just played with the background paper and adjusted it until I could say, WOW! The perfect amount of flowers and greenery and no dirty clothes, hands, shoes or face to go with it lol.
I hope you can use some of these dress up tricks on your next project- if something just doesn't seem perfect about what you make, try taking a picture of it. Does an area jump out at you, or do you notice a place that could use some additional fixing? Hey, what's the worse that can happen?
Oh, and just in case you are considering sending me a half birthday present next weekend...




Friday, June 12, 2015

June 2015 Completed Kit Share Video!

In case you didn't feel like reading about all the projects made with this month's Scrapbooking Kit from Shelby at and, you can view them in this quick video!
Thanks again for watching! Take a look at the right hand side bar on this website and you'll not only see direct links for BOTH of those incredible craft cruises I'll be teaching on next year, but the little purple instagram link is there too.

Look for our CraftWithAnna team on the Peninsula High School track tonight and tomorrow morning- and by all means feel free to join us!

 If you'd like to support us long distance, consider hitting us up with any of the social media options, especially Facebook Messenger, Twitter and Instagram  under the hashtags #CraftWithAnna & #GHRelayWithAnna.
Now, Go. Get Crafty!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

June Scrap Share

Dad's Day is Coming! 
This week, Poppop and Nana are occupying the "T" -as we call the camping trailer we keep for out of town guests. Working with the June Scrapbooking kit from already had me in a nostalgic, old timey car loving mood, but that feeling is always enhanced when in Bundro company. As a teenager, my older brother painted the image of Ed's truck onto the rig's air filter. Even after the truck was sold we were surprised to see it while filling up at the local "Four Corners" Texaco. One of my clearest memories of my younger brother as a toddler is of him exclaiming "Car-ee" while proudly holding up the decoration off a birthday cake. Needless to say, it was no trouble finding memories that went perfectly with the designs included in this month's kit.
Let's get SCRAPPY!
One thing about memories, though, is that they don't always have tangible photos readily available. That didn't stop me from using up all but 3 die cuts, a few inches of twine, and roughly 4 x 0.5 inches of the papers Shelby assembled for our two, double page scrapbook layouts! The stickers were harder for me to find homes for, just because personally I'm not inspired by "son" stuff- SUN stuff, yes though lol.

Add caption
My daughter's have taken practically every class I've taught, and being the mimics that kids are, a mini cardmaking class was taught to Poppop in the front yard next to our newly created firepit.
Using a group of similiar themed items is a great way to embellish a card or even a scrapbook page. Put them in a grid as my family of crafters chose, or group them with some fibers, brads, and or bling to create a whimsical banner as I did on our second layout created from this month's kit!


Throwback Thursday
My brother's birthday being this week, there was plenty of inspiration for those car themed items. One of my annual goals is to use supplies in my stash that are collecting dust, and acrylic of any sort seems to be the product I can never think to include. I've always liked the look of acrylic cards and decided that a little birthday card/mini album for my bro would be the perfect way to give him photos from that trip we took to Lake Cushman last weekend.
Inside features awesome family camping trip pics

Back Cover closes with a Smile

I love having a pre made album prepped before an event... knowing which shots and even which orientation I need photos for not only makes for a terrific finished product, but helps me seek those shots that make it so. And then, sometimes those candid moments come completely un-staged, like the ones I included of us climbing into photo shoot position and of Ed flexing his guns for his visibly unimpressed son.
For the second layout feaured in the June Scrapbooking kit from, I was really stumped for pictures. I considered doing a layout about my own dad, with a focal/main photo of him holding my girls, and an accompanying page of him through the years with each of my brothers and myself. Alas, as mentioned before in this post, sometimes the images of memory aren't readily available in tangible photo form. Instead, I crafted up a couple lovely cards perfect for Father's Day.
Then, inspiration hit! That title of This Is What Handsome Looks Like brought to mind the hilarious photo Rainies dad sent me of her one day while I was still working full time (at being a part time employee). Our little chub-a-lub was decked out in an ill fitting polo shirt with an accompanying caption of "Isn't he handsome?" We have two daughters, folks!
Anyway, I still crack up thinking about it and decided to give Sunday a few more reasons to resent my scrap-a-licious ways by dedicating that "handsome" decree to images of her first haircut. See how I layered icons that fit my theme to create a banner similar to the one shown in this month's design? This is a super fun way to use a lot of products to create a wow embellishment.

Second layout from this month's scrapbooking kit.
By continuing those same icons in embellishment clusters across the two pages, we can easily create a coherent layout! Considering the amount of pictures I had on hand, I could even spread those themes of time, barbershop, and camera across a couple more pages. The top two photos on my page flip up to reveal an additional layer of cute, as well as my personal musings about why in the world I get so emotional about a few snips with the scissors. For now I've housed the remaining photos from this sentimental snapshot in pocket pages. If I forget to come back and scrap them, they will still be on show for viewing, and I can always add a few patterned papers or project life cards and call the story told.

I couldn't help but reflect on how much I ended up enjoying working with both the May card kit and this June scrapbooking kit, both of which featured patterned papers and embellishments from the Jack and Jill collection from Echo Park. Shelby included so much product with each shipment, that I had enough left overs to create over ten additional projects! And, having those smaller patterns left over to add to this kit made it possible for some more wood veneer fun, like the "hello" I adhered with mini glue dots next Sunday smiling with her new hair-do. Hey, justifying an addition to your club membership is certainly something I'm qualified and happy to do! You can find more subscription details at
So what's next for creativity this week? I've got my CraftWithAnna team registered for this weekend's Relay For Life at Peninsula High School where my crafty friends will guide participants through a quick but cute thank you card to send out their supporters. We'll also be creating mini memorial albums, so a lot of fun and memory sharing will be bound to fill my heart with happy. I'll be spreading the word out about my upcoming craft cruises, too- wouldn't want to deny any crafties the vacation of their dreams don'tcha know!
Another card just waiting to happen
Aside from that hub-bub of fab, I've got just a few more scraps to, well, scrap, including this pile which just happened to fall into a card design on it's own... gotta love it when THAT happens! Watch my instagram account @AnnaBradshw to see how it turns out and to catch highlights from this weekend's event.



Monday, June 8, 2015

Into the Great Wide Open

Pure entertainment...
One of my favorite outdoor activities has always been camping with my family. As a little girl, my parents would load up a van or camper and we'd all head to the Nisqually valley where we belonged to a camping club with property on Lost Lake. The thrill of going was never as good as the exhausted glow that would surround our vehicle as we pulled out for I-5 and the traffic blocked drive home.
Pure Water
This weekend we took the girls up to the beautiful Lake Cushman area for some hiking and even a bit of river washing. The crystal clear waters of the Olympic National Rainforest are so pristine, and I couldn't help but think to myself how lucky our kids are to witness this kind of glorious growth with their own eyes.  To be able to say, I climbed inside a tree trunk! -and have photographic proof thanks to mom lol.

Pure Joy
There aren't many places I've been that seem to hold the magic that this forest does- even the Twilight fans have to agree with me on that one! It was easy to picture wolves running amongst the undergrowth, but actually it was the "watch for bears" sign that had me peaking over my shoulder from time to time. Once, a thundering approach actually did nearly frighten the dickens out of me, but when the gruntngly hefty teenager ran past me, I was able to laugh off the close call with a need for new undies.
Sitting Pretty Betweeen Bundros
The best one can hope for in a shared camp space is for good company, and I think this picture says it best; "The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life."-Richard Bach.

Now, to see what I end up doing with all these amazing photos I took you'll want to subscribe to my YouTube CraftWithAnna channel. I'll have a neat mini album to share with you, using the pieces left over from the abundant June 2015 Scrapbooking kit from . Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Now Trending: Craft Beer

 Gotta love a good summer ale, but my heart is still pining for the winter brews of our local Seven Sea's Brewery and their delicious porters. Oh, but their standard year round bottle of Ballz Deep is plenty tasty, and as you can see by this card I made, plenty inspiring!
Remember all those fun bowling and billiards icons from the May cardmaking collection? I took one of the pretty Boy stickers and "oy!" made myself the perfect alpha to take center stage and support those tile stickers. The inside is even funnier; how can one go wrong with a  "The Mustache Made Me Do It" chipboard sticker?!
You'll find this card and more all summer long just up the shopping complex from the Brewery in the Gig Harbor Copy & Mail.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Now Trending: Glamping

While rummaging around in the woods behind one of our property's outbuildings, I discovered an authentically rustic ladder surrounded by discarded hanging basket flower pots... instant inspiration  (or perhaps a back log of mentally stored Pinterest images) hit, and I knew that my summer angst over watering those beautiful baskets of the past would not be repeated again this year! I dragged the ladder out from the bushes, piled the plastic pots into my wheelbarrow and the kids and I went in to call their dad and ask him to bring home flat of flowers.
Well, almost a week of waiting went by and still no flowers arrived, so on my way out to work at Michael's I inquired what the flower budget ought to be. Three hanging baskets per year at roughly $20 a piece computed to a $60 allowance... hmfp! I can honestly only recall feeling compelled to purchase flowers that need to be planted at one other time in my life, so I had no idea if this was a good, reasonable budget or not, but a trip to Home Depot would surely get me some knowledge on the subject.

Except, I never made it the Home Depot.

See, I work with incredibly creative people over there at the Uptown Michael's in Gig Harbor, and when you are walking around putting things away, or assisting customers, you can't hardly help but peruse the items in other departments! So after the fourth or fifth trip past the floral department and chatting with customers about how we are now offering floral arrangement classes, it suddenly dawned on me that I'd be able to get a lot more bang for my buck if the bang didn't have to be biodegradable material!
Pinterest Worthy Projects! 
$60 worth of assorted varieties of 60% clearance spring flowers and a few garlands of greenery and I couldn't wait to attack that ladder set-up. The girls and I enjoyed putting all the different groupings together, and I even left my pruners out for a few days for effect. The project turned out fabulously and everyone who's come to visit absolutely loves the look.
Yep, we've had a couple weeks now of out of town visitors staying in the travel trailer we keep for guests, and for the fifth spring since I've lived here I've found myself remembering the bonfire nights of my youth; how fun it is to just throw a couple logs on the fire, drink a few beers and relax in front of "Flame-TV." This activity doesn't have to be reserved for the weekend solo cuppers, either! Some of the best stories are shared around those spur of the moment, I've-got-a-lot-more-paper-garbage-here-to-burn-up-might-as-well-throw-on-these-branches-I-cut-the-otherday fires!

Who says Trailers are Trashy?!?

While my family toured the surrounding area, I pretended to dig a fire pit. Wait a minute, what I meant was, I pretended I was on Survivor, making a fire pit. Or just a pit. Well, I was digging! Hmmm, is that a flag/bag of puzzle pieces/ immunity idol? No, just another rock! Lol, each time I took a break from the blazing afternoon sun, I realized how poorly I'd really do on a show like that :-) I had the enthusiasm, but not a lot else haha. But I couldn't wait for everyone to get back so I could show off what my efforts had created.
I had a lot of solitary time out there, not having the forethought (or during thought or even considering) that I could have had some tunes blasting. Instead, I reflected on some of my favorite fire pits, some that I've seen built and some just seen burning. Thought about camping trips and either being cuddled as a kid or cuddling my own kids while entranced by the flickering orange and reds. How waiting for the coals to die down for s'mores always seemed to take until after bed time...
And, I thought a lot about my friend Jon and all the pallets we must have burned, hanging out with our buddies and drinking a whole lot of Busch Light. It seemed like every weekend he'd have a lot of his friends over, or somehow or another a crowd would appear around late afternoon and who knew when the night would end once the big propane torch came out. I remembered the long, early morning talks held on the front steps of the single wide trailer he lived during the time that we were really close.
Unfortunately, I'm not able to call him up on the phone to let him know I've got a pit to break in; while enough time has passed that our soured friendship could be overlooked in favor of a rager, Jon lost his life in a car accident almost ten years ago.
I'll have to be content with the pleasure I had building this addition to my little side yard trailer park. I look forward to all of those things I reminisced about becoming memories of my own daughters'. Ended up making the front yard a little prettier for our family that comes all the way out to the Key Peninsula to visit us. Spent time with a friend I haven't seen in a long time, even if it was only spiritual. And he won't even make fun of the fact that my little hand dug fire pit is slightly heart shaped in his honor.
Thanks for all the awesome memories, dude. And thanks for allowing me to share a few of them with you, dear reader.