Friday, July 31, 2015

July's Sunshine Filled Completed Kit Share!

Wow, the I love Sunshine collection pieces included in this month's scrapbooking kit from were so packed full of fun and the warm colors of Summer, I could hardly stop making from it! In fact, after I completed the double page layout featured in our July Scrapbooking kit preview video earlier this month, I went on to create two more scrapbook pages, ten cards, and two beautiful home décor pieces. And I STILL have goodies to play with! Check out this month's scrapbooking kit share video to see just how many stickers, chipboard elements and paper scraps I still have, and don't forget, many of these items should still be available through our favorite online source for papercrafts,
This month Shelby sent us a cool cut-apart sheet from Echo Park's I Love Sunshine collection. The 2x12 inch paper strips can be cut however you like, and in our tutorial video, we did some fussy cutting to create awesome embellishment clusters. For this half of the other double page layout designed for this month, we took the days of the week, and cut around the tabs, stacked them, and wow! Now we have layers that lead us through the week in filo-fax fashion.
 Christmas in July~ Sliding Into Summer at St. Nicholas'
I love to dig into my own stash of stickers, but there were so many pieces to choose from this kit, I could go really go crazy! See how I split a rainbow polka dot chipboard frame to house two different stickers sets? I also added sunglasses, the rest of the rainbow dot border, a chipboard butterfly on top of a few squares from that ultra summery sheet that looks like postage stamps. The reverse pattern is stretched across the page and gives the photos a cohesive background. Another darker blue mat behind the focal photo pops it off the page- and don't those smiles bring a grin your way too?
 I mixed my own alphas and combined them with that large chipboard SUMMER to create a fun title which reads, Sliding Into Summer. If you're ever stuck for a title, hit up Google and search for ___________scrapbook title. I typed in "Summer fun kids scrapbook title" and found one that fit my theme and style.
Relax- Days Like This Make Life Sweet
For the opposite side, I cut a tiny bit off of two sides of my background so there is a bit of white peeking out . I love that offset look. There was a reason for it though- you may have read or heard me say how much I hoard paper, so the background here is actually about five different paper strips, assembled on top of a plain white piece of cardstock. Using paper economically really makes these kits stretch, but even if you follow the clear cutting guide and placement directions included, you'll have lot's of left over paper and embellishments when you're done. Stacking pennant shaped pieces of paper is a terrific way to use up some or all of those scrap papers! Vary the widths and lengths for added interest and dimension. You could even use pop dots or foam adhesive under some of the tips so they appear to wave in the breeze.
A little birdie told me, Be Brave
Instead of one large photo, I chose four smaller photos of my daughter experiencing the glory of the outdoors on that same camping trip you saw photos from in June's scrapbooking tutorial and kit preview video. She loves paper (of course; she IS my teaching assistant), so I included some of my scraps in a little bouquet for that adorable chipboard bird to hold proudly. The wood veneer flag is the only piece on this layout that was pulled from my stash.
I love this photo of her with her dad; when I was a little girl my dad would coax me closer to the edge so I could see those amazing views that my fear of heights would have prohibited. Having my dad there when this picture was taken, well, it just made story come full circle and that is one of the best parts of scrapbooking memories to me. Oh, and yes I did venture close enough to the edge to look over this rock into the pristine blue-green waters of the river flowing behind us- and even snapped a photo (carefully).
Now for the card collection!
Cats are people, too
An associate of mine recently gifted me a large assortment of greeting card fronts, and I put a few of them to use this month. For this cute cat card, I just layered a recycled card front with some washi tape on the bottom. Saved some glue that way, too! For the embellishment at the bottom, I layered a sticker that I didn't think I'd use under the chipboard flower cluster. On a large sticker sheet, it's okay to not like every single icon included. Take a glance a the sticker's shapes; think of how those shapes can be layered behind other pieces, and build up from there. A little bow made from the included baker's twine completes the front, and then I cut a small amount from the side and adhered a border sticker to peek from the inside. A little fun and it pulls all the colors together, too.
No really, it can't get any easier than this!
The next card was made in the same "batch"- I usually create between two and four cards at a go when I'm in the groove. You know, every day lol. Now, printed card bases are another really great option for creating quickly. Here, I've used one with a printed pattern on it- even easier than cutting a piece myself! Then, another card front cut down to size, a butterfly cut from another card, and finally, a foam adhesive backed sticker from our kit which reads, "It can't get any better than This."
 Have you ever had a cool glass of lemonade on a hot summer's day? Well, if you haven't, you should, and if you have, I think you'll agree that there is little else that could be so refreshing this time of year (unless you are 21+ haha). I tried to channel some of that feeling into this Summer Fun card, and grabbed another pre printed card with a tiny black chevron on cream.
Customize your stickers!
Using some alcohol markers and a few big brush pens, I colored in a few of the stripes with cream and two different aquas on the top, and a green line at the bottom to mimic the sky and ground. Then the lemonade stand sticker, and a postage square of color, split in two and layered behind the Summer Fun chipboard piece to create a custom banner for my card front's booth! Tiny knots of the bakers twine at each end of the banner, a stamped pennant waving in the breeze, and a pinwheel sun. How Fun!

Splashing Optional
Here is that same preprinted background you saw earlier, this time I just layered a bunch of the scraps- I got the idea from that rainbow, "Paint Sample" patterned paper from this collection.
A few stickers, including the Cool in the Pool which I layered over a scrap of the blue swirl/postage icons paper. Add three or four different colors and sizes of blue bling, and you'll be ready for a dip! Hey, if you bring this card along, you can write to a friend about how much fun you're having. Even if they are sitting right next to you.

 Here's another card that's "cool." The icons featured in the background all come on one sheet of paper- hmmm, that was hard! Actually, I did find some thinking required, for me anyway, in regards to which icons I wanted to cut solo, and how to keep a block big enough to include on other projects. I dressed up the front by adding blue bling from Queen & Co on top of that small piece of blue. Another little scrap was stretched to appear top to bottom- you can just barely see that peek of aqua, but it really adds a lot and helps to ground the entire card front. I also added tiny blings to the flip flops, the sun, to the pink square at bottom right, and to the O in HOT.

Can you see the shadows created by two different layers of foam adhesive? Bringing dimension to your project may cost more to mail, but the effect is well worth it. The elements seem to jump off the page now! If it's really hot where you are, like it is here this week, I apologize for making that popsicle look so delectable :-)
Now, where is the best place to enjoy the sun besides the pool (or for some, from inside an air conditioned haven)? At the beach, of course! My aunt and uncle were down there playing last weekend and inspired me to use eight more stickers from that large 12x12 sheet in this month's scrapbooking kit. Building a scene like this does take some imaginative planning- or not! Have fun, or if fun is fearful, cut your stickers from their sheets so you can move the elements around freely.
The sun up top is cut from a paper scrap, and the other journaling square, pulled from my stash for it's colorful border, is turned on it's side as a layering base. Speaking of having fun and using your imagination, take a look at my "waves," they are really just the pieces left behind from where I peeled off the border stickers!
Inspired by love <3
My aunt and uncle spent a lot of time downstate at the beach, and since we loved to spend time with them, my family was often camped nearby. I have so many fond memories of doing so, and many of them were stirred up when I saw their family photo up on facebook after their return. My beautiful aunt has set such a strong example for our family as she underwent multiple treatments in her fight against cancer these last few years, and I was happy not just for her returning hair, which looks uber-chic, but for her being in a place she loves, surrounded by the family that remains by her side through thick and thin. You just gotta love LOVE!
It's getting hot in here, so wear a cute swimsuit!
Another friend who just moved into an apartment with a pool inspired this next card- Hot Summer Days should come with some all natural sunscreen, huh? Or an umbrella with comfortable seating, and some rainbows! LOL, I found a place for one of the hundred or so paper clips I've brought home from the corporate world. It just goes to show, with a little pattern and bakers twine, even the simplest of household or office items can be transformed into a cute embellishment cluster.
Sequins + Fair Fun = End of Summer Fun
 Sequins have made a resurgence amongst crafter's supplies, and it's no wonder! They are sparkly, simple to add, and you get A LOT for a little $. I built a little Fair scene on this card front and added gold sequins to the pre-printed background. For this custom stand, I used the chipboard lemonade stand and cut off the top where the lemonade sign sat. Then I used foam adhesive to pop up the Summer Fun banner sticker, and behind that I used some old Echo Park tile letters to allude to the fall fun that's just around the corner. Hmm, I'll have to take a look for my leaf-themed products and start to change my mood to sweater weather...
 But not quite yet! Another friend just took her family for a long needed vacation to Hawaii. As I remembered her expressions of "Why don't moments like that- amazingly good times- last forever!?" my eyes fell on the manufacturer's strips and the little paper collection titles that come on them.
 If you scroll back up to that camping layout I made for Rainier, you'll see I've used a few there as well. Layered over that pink chevron chipboard banner piece with a little splash of green behind that cluster, this tiny scrap of paper brings a simple sentiment to the front of my card. Truthfully, there is an "I" on that pennant, but I didn't want to use it that way! So remember, when you can't think of a way to use an embellishment, take a look at the colors and it's shape, and you may be surprised to find it on your next project after all!
Now, with all this colorful summer fun going on in my craft room (and sometimes in front of our picture window at the dining room table), I thought it would be great to pair a pop or two of color with some black and white and cream for a striking ensemble. Adding a bit of sparkle wouldn't hurt, either, huh? I used some of Heidi Swapp's gold & silver foiled calendar inserts for this card- just a few squares of your paper stash would work just as well, though, don't you think? This card was so easy to make, I thought the chipboard sentiment, Lazy Day was more than appropriate.
Have you ever stopped to think about how many crafters you've had the pleasure of sharing creative space or ideas with, be it online or in person~ sometimes those people you watch on YouTube are almost like family! I tend to think of designers that same way, and my heart really went out to the Swapp family last week as they mourned the sudden loss of Heidi's son.
All because two people fell in love...
Unfortunate happenings like that can be a reminder to cherish loudly the ones we love ourselves. With a lot of realizations and positive changes in our relationships the last few months, I felt our family would benefit from an affirmation list of sorts. It just so happened that the last free class I taught at Michael's was going to be a Tim Holz inspired mixed media piece of home décor- perfect!
Taking an old frame picked up garage sale whose glass had broken, I layered more Heidi Swapp papers under and to the backs of a few acrylic tags. Another of her calendar cards made a place for my statements, and then I used one of her wood veneer pieces at the bottom. So why is this project included in this list of things made from our July scrapbooking kit? Because if you look closely, you'll see another tiny bow made from the baker's twine from this month!
Love This!
And what did I bring to class to use in my in-class demo? More of that kit lol- I was able to use up the rest of those rhinestones, more stickers, and even some of the postage paper icons and some chipboard. Now that's what I call a sunshine filled piece of art!
Thanks for joining me in a review of the many projects I've created so far from the July Scrapbooking kit from There is plenty more Echo Park to shop from at, so if you'd like to recreate your own focal point for the home, your album, or to send to a friend, click on those links and send some happy to your home.
Next month I'll be scrapbooking and more with one of the Alternative kits... hint, hint, it's a heritage theme! So start looking through your stash (or just apply a few aging app filters) for your favorite family photos, and be prepared for an onslaught of memory preserving momentum coming your way :-)
Happy Scrapping!


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Friendly Lessons in Key Center

An Alpha Artist Attacks An Alphabet
 With my lovely assistants in tow, we returned to the Red Barn to teach some more paper crafting fun to the teens who came in. We brought along plenty of TWAA's colored cardstock, already cut to standard card size, as well as a heap of coordinating envelopes. This time, I had made the examples for class with more time to spare- at least a few hours more anyway :-)
With those samples on the table, there was an atmosphere of excitement as I described how to assemble each card with the majority of the kids. Just like adults, there were a couple who were more inclined to take creativity into their own hands- this was highly encouraged by their teacher! And just like classes I've taught to adults; when given a choice about whether to do the card everyone else was working on or venturing solo on a card they'd rather start with, there were a few takers for that too. Hey, maker's gotta make!
Even within the standard format of the design, there was plenty of room for personalization. A few of the tips shown here: if your stamp doesn't work perfectly at first, consider markering over those imperfect impressions to form an alphabet style all your own! Even if you don't have a friend in mind, make the card anyway, and by the time you're done, you may have made a friend to give your card too :-)  Personalize your card with a special sentiment inside- smiley faces share your excitement! Even if you don't consider yourself an artist, you can always surprise yourself (and your teacher)!  Embellish to your heart's content. And this was a favorite tip that I rarely implement: Take your time. Don't feel obligated to create yours the same way you've been shown, or how everyone else does theirs. Okay, that last one I don't have any trouble with at all lol.

Now, To Find A Friend to Befriend
Partay Harday Everyday- Doi!



Do I look like an Artist?! (YES!)
Take Pride In Your Creativity and Shine!


The best classes I've taught have been the one's where I get to learn something too, and in this class I was fortunate to be invited to learn more about a student's home life. Our final cards were dedicated to the idea of Grandparent's Day, and M____ here lit up at the idea of a personalized, handmade thank you for his grandparents, who had just gifted him a new pair of desperately needed tennis shoes. At first, I just made the usual non-committal, non-intrusive responses that most adults give, but something about his sweet voice and the enthusiasm of his heartfelt appreciation gave me reason to pause cleaning the table and sit down to give him my full attention. How often does that happen, huh? Our sharing resulted in a nice reminder to me how important an adults attention can be; whether it is an off hand remark to our children meant to "inspire" them (sometimes the opposite is the result), or how just a simple, I Believe In Your Potential from an advisor can influence an already bright kid to continue reaching for the stars... heavy stuff for an afternoon of fun!
The next time we go back for crafting with teens at Key Center's Red Barn for Youth, we'll have our scissors and patterned papers in tow, and maybe even our gardening gloves- you never know what chef Susan's going to pluck from the garden for our taste buds to relish! If you're interested in donating your time or funding to this community treasure trove of young minds, check out their website,

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Last Minute Examples

This week I was invited to teach at our local Youth Center, Key Center's Red Barn on the Key Peninsula. This building came about as the result of a lot of hard work and community support. Out here in the boonies, there isn't a lot for a young kid to do other than get in trouble- or at least that's the way it seemed for my friends and I during those formative years.
At the Red Bard, kids from middle school through high school can come to get homework assistance during the school year, as well as hang with their buddies playing foosball, table tennis, pool, or just sitting on a cool bar stool waiting to watch the cooking show in the kitchen. During the summer, the director, Laura, has partnered with the Two Waters Art Alliance to bring art classes in on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Civic Shade Seekers
Enter Teacher Anna (and her capable assistants, Rainie and Sunny). Being a teacher of papercrafts can be so rewarding, and I was fortunate to impact other children in our area during the school year teaching at our library for the homeschooled group out here. What is so rewarding for me is that I am guiding the kids towards capturing their stories, whether its through collage, a home for their family pictures and legends, or even by exposing them to that old fashioned way of writing, snail mail.
My completed Summer Home Page
After a quick trip to the supply cabinet housed in the Civic Center, my girls and I enjoyed a picnic lunch outside on the playground. Well, they enjoyed lunch, and I put together my sample for the class I'd be teaching, My Personal Homepage Scrapbooking. Basically, this is a scrapbook style page of any size which represents where you are Right Now. Are you loving summer? Dealing with ongoing personal issues? Missing your friends or family? There are apps for that! No, really, there are lol. In this class I asked the kids (and you of course, can ask yourself), what are you loving right now. Like, what are you really in to?
After compiling a list of ideas, words that summarized what we love, we thought of icons that could represent those ideas, and searched for representations amongst the magazines, newspapers, and a donated stash of summer fun from my friends at Queen & Co. The kids had fun searching for pictures that "spoke to them."

If you search for them, images will appear...
We then thought a little more about the design of our home page. For instance, when you look at your Google app on your smartphone, you don't just see a link to open your browser for searching, there are often other icons included under that heading, such as your GMail, YouTube, and Google+. We did the same thing, for a subject like Sports, we would include all things sports. How did we do this? With my favorite element of fun- the FlipFlap! Take an element, add some more awesome Queen & Co. tape, and voila! You have an interactive element to contain more information/pictures/journaling on your page.

One of my students even thought of branding his page and elements with the first initial of his name: I. I love that he let his sister add her art beneath his hidden flip flap at the top left.
Jade and Olivia are in the middle of crafting up a storm
I also love that each student created a page that was uniquely their own- exactly the purpose of the class :-)

 One of the goals was also to allow them to decide which size project they wanted to create. I personally wondered about this because even when I attempt to create 8.5x11 inch pages for my albums, I usually end up backing that completed page with a sheet of 12x12... don't know why, but I'm working on it! WELL, the outcome was that 3 out of 4 kids decided to go with the standard, suggested size of the full sheet as a background. But then there was that ONE who decided not to. The funny part was that this young lady was probably the most experienced scrapbooker in the room- or at least she, like many of us, had all the supplies she'd ever need and had not used most of them. I know, I know, they will be used someday, right? Her example was very detailed and included some trendy items I picked up on discount from Michael's a month ago. Her page measured approximately the same size as my Samsung Note3-  Tres Chic!
Interested in attempting a project like this? Go for it! Think about your background picture/ home screen. The subjects you spend the most time with would perhaps be the largest icons. Under those icons you may have additional images to represent the deeper meaning. You may decided on fonts that represent your style, or convey the feel of your subjects. Its a fun way to explore yourself from a topical standpoint.
I hope you enjoyed this project share! I'll be back at the Barn next week to teach some awesome cardmaking to the youth who arrive, so watch for that post, and if you are at all inclined to want to help an incredible organization that serves our community's youth, consider volunteering your time (or funds) in that direction. More information can be found online at


Saturday, July 11, 2015

My 275th Blog Post and a NEW Scrapbooking Kit Preview from!

Hey There Crafty Friends~ It's time for another Preview video! This month's scrapbooking kit features bright and cheerful "I Love Sunshine" pieces from Echo Park; chipboard stickers, a full sticker sheet, twine, AND bling, as well as beautiful tones of color filled patterned papers.
We're working with a cut-apart sheet this month for our title and embellishment clusters are accented with stickers that just scream SUMMER! I loved playing with this kit and I know you will too.

Here's a look at that CraftWithAnna tutorial layout from this month's Kit Preview video
 When It comes time for you to cut your layout apart, you may become more aware of that seam than you were while creating... so if this is a concern of yours (or perhaps a lesson learned from a previous experience), try adhering all your paper strips, and then your chipboard and sticker accents. Your standard paper trimmer won't be thrilled about trying to saw through your thicker elements while you curse from above!

If you are not already subscribing to my YouTube channel, I encourage you to do so- I'm nearing another personal milestone of having 75+ YouTube fans, and want to give a prize out to one of the 6 people new subscribers I need to hit my goal something fancy -and fabulously summery!
Feel free to share this post and the video links, and if you happen to leave a comment on YouTube or here, I'll put your name in as well :-) HEY that means there's more than one way to win people!

Thanks for watching, and check out the completed kit share video and post coming out next week~ until then, Happy Crafting!

P.S. On a much less happy note, my condolences go out to an industry favorite of mine, Mrs. Heidi Swapp and her family, who suffered a loss in their family this week. Perhaps this is a good time to send a greeting to someone you know who may be missing their favorite summer sidekick this month...

Friday, July 3, 2015

Crafts vs. "Real" Art...

I had never considered the art of papercrafting to be a very deep subject, until I started developing my Scrapology class series... As I considered the topics I felt passionate about covering; the thought process involved in the creation of those beautiful stories on paper, and the amount of energy which goes into selecting all of the elements that combine to share our musings, I realized that I in fact do feel very strongly that what I do is ART.
You know, I didn't go to college to earn a degree, with subjects such as Card Creasing 101, (prerequisite class being Cardstock: Fiber to Fascinating), Photography 101(more like-10,001), and Album Management. No, I learned those through time and by playing. A LOT! lol
I've brushed up on skills through the years through a wealth of online You-niveristy courses, interacted with fellow artists at annual conventions, and my subscriptions to various printed resources are (prohibited from meeting the garbage can) all stored up for easy access. Debated with confidence the pros and cons of certain styles, compared fussy cut images to those manufactured with the aid of a machine, and yes, I've been openly critical of both my own paper backed projects and those of my peers.
And yet, when I entered these beautiful, framed scrapbook pages highlighting the memorable occasion of our second daughter's birth, and that fun greeting card above, which says little but expresses so much of my impression of a life changing event, to a local juried art show this spring, I was informed that my submissions did not qualify as Art and are instead to be categorized as Crafts.
Say What?! (imagine coffee spraying from my astounded pursed lips)

So what are your thoughts, dear reader? Does an Artist's Trading Card created with talent and tiny found objects deserve any less consideration than an 8x10 canvas splattered in no apparent pattern by various colors of paint? Can you think of pieces you've seen hanging in museums and thought to yourself, huh, I could totally do that! Seen any of the beautiful reclaimed art pieces and wanted to dig in your own burn bin for well distressed compressed fiber blocks (i.e. fence posts)? Well, you may be an artist!
Thanks for taking the time to ponder with me as we head into the fireworks of Fourth of July. Let the oohs and ahhs around you and in your heart inspire some fantastic works of art for this month's sharing... Watch for my next summer scrapbooking kit review and Tutorial video coming soon, and Stay crafty!