Monday, October 26, 2015 August Card Create A Kit!

Wedding cards are always good to have on hand, but it seems like mine always say "Mr. & Mrs." and not much more. This kit from fills the gap in my stash of smoochy supplies with the beautiful Simple Stories collection, The Story of Us. Dreamy!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Crafter's Retreat

I finally used that cork! and those stickers! and it looks
bonding with grammaD and increasing flexibility too

Rainie, my mom, and I were able to attend our first overnight crop together. My friend Lynn from church got me in with this group and this is the second time I've taught at their retreat. Now that my oldest daughter is nearing 5, she's to the point where an all day, 24 hour craft sesh (or two) is not unappealing to her, and with her level of endurance I knew she'd be up for it if the other ladies wouldn't mind her being there. After we got the okay, sent in our reservation fees, and confirmed our plans with dad, it was all she could talk about. In fact she was so excited that it made me excited to go all over again each time the subject came up. The idea of letting grandma make us breakfast while we made cards first thing when we woke up in the morning just delighted her (and I). 

CraftWithAnna TP Roll Mini Album by Barbara

I had also sent out an email offering the recipe for a fun CraftWithAnna class. I kept it a surprise, but it turned out to be Toilet Paper Mini Albums. These are really cute, economical to make, and hey it's fun to save the toilet paper rolls and pretend you're going to do something with them. Rainie would be teaching her first public class, TP roll Owls, made with a variety of circle punches and those same multi-purpose  cardboard tubes.
Her class was a hit, but her favorite students arrived just after it concluded- so she got to do it again! My aunt Lisa and her mom, Ivy made the trek to join us at Valley Camp above North Bend. The scenic location offered us some beautiful fall backdrops and we went on a family photo shoot walk before lunch. All of us out enjoying the brisk breeze as it swirled cascades of autumnal toned maple leaves in every direction. Now that we are all sporting less than shoulder length hair, that didn't bother us too much but Rainie's long strands kept blowing around her face. Coupled with her bright blue eyes and the corduroy jacket she sported, the photos I took are going to be really fun to set on patterned paper. Hmmm, maybe the left overs from the upcoming November 2, double paged layout kit will find a home? I've got pictures in mind for the two pages that directions are provided for, but before I get into November's goodies, I'm going to make some wedding cards with the August 2014 cardmaking kit, which features beautiful black, white, and woodgrains from Simple Stories. I've been doing a fair amount of facebook stalking and unauthorized saving of pictures of my families when they post, and I hope to use that kit's dazzling array of die cuts to embellish a wedding themed mini album for my cousin Lori.
I'm falling behind a bit on my project list as I anticipate an upcoming craft fair I've committed to. Good thing I've got those handy planner pads and note pads from to keep track of my obligations! I finally decided it must be the pressure of having my art judged under holiday wanderers that keeps me from getting anything done... but I was able to create enough cards this weekend that I no longer feel the need to make my products fit witin a 4.25x5.5" perimeter.  After today I'll be focusing on getting the tools part of my display set up, the card rack I've never used, packaging all my cards and stuff like that, so I'll be hard pressed to finish the edit on my kit preview videos. But if you're a subscriber on YouTube, you'll get first rate notification on all my latest releases. So just do yourself a favor and hit that red rectangle next time you're watching a CraftWithAnna video.
I hope to find a few moments to dabble in Mixed Media canvas'... as if my list of to-do's isn't long enough, I want to throw in some modge podging lol. I'd better get started for the 15th time today...Until next time, friends~ Stay Crafty!

We're crafty and we know it!


Here's a paper sampler that's so cute, it's SCARY

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

DIY Door Decorations

Fall is a fun time to decorate your entry way, right?  The Friends of the Key Center Library sponsored a fun, free, Family friendly event last weekend, and we had a blast creating our own door decorations. With the generous donation of supplies from one of my favorite scrapbook suppliers, Queen & Co., we were all set up with patterned papers, twine, and washi tape galore to decorate with.
Just look at these smiles! And imagine my own :-D
My older daughter Rainie was along to assist with any of the younger kids, and we were having quite the time by ourselves, waiting for our first victims er, participants :-)
Soon enough, our first family came in and we all got down to the business of crafting up a storm! Then I had the pleasure of a repeat CraftWithAnna student, and his sweet enthusiasm for repeating back info he'd gleaned from other classes was the cherry on top of a really fun filled afternoon.
I'm always surprised by how unique everyone's projects turn out. Actually, I always hope they will look nothing like my examples, because then I feel like it's really theirs.
The other part of this class that I got a kick out of was using more of those donated Queen & Co. supplies. You'd never know it, but those are all summer papers we're using! So, take a look through your stash and see if there are some "B" sides that can be used throughout the year. You might just make a surprise discovery of a really right now piece that just has to be used tonight... or maybe that's just what I'll be hoping to do myself~ so go ahead, get crafty!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Mixed Media Masters!

My last teaching session, I taught our local Homeschool Association youth the joys of mixed media. I wasn't sure how the lesson was going to go, but I knew we would all enjoy the thrill of a new project... I wasn't wrong. In the first session, a mixed group of ages 4-16, we talked about the colors of fall, what this time of year reminds us of, and how all of that information can be transformed into a piece of home décor.

Teach 'em young and learn in return <3
With that in mind, each kid began with their background. I encouraged them to mix colors, add texture with their paint brush, or even move the paint around with some paper towels crumpled up.
In our second session I was working with the older half of the group. As they entered our classroom, I could sense their excitement and that always makes it more invigorating for the teacher (me). Some of the students had already started building a scene with images from old greeting cards I'd brought along. Others were starting from their backgrounds. Each canvas transformed into works of individual expression- a win for everyone!
Below are some links to media mixing youtubers that I have watched and learned from.
A work of mine still in progress.
After shading with some markers,
this jar will jump off the canvas! Amazing stamping techniques and interactive die cutting. The sweetest guru for all things amazing- and do-able. Inspiration awaits on this site!

Rainier's little canvas surprised us all

Friday, October 16, 2015

New Beginnings

A few weeks ago I decided to rummage through my embellishment storage space and see what the heck was in there. I keep a large amount of stickers available in Cropper Hopper pocketed plastic files, and those are housed in an even bigger clear plastic box. I think it used to be a drawer!
Well, behind the files full of stickers is where I keep my ready made kits. It's also where I store the kits I've received in the mail from So the box is a store-all, which generally speaking in the world of craft storage means I had no idea what all was in there, hence the clean up and refresh for my mind.
There were a lot of partially used kits that I'm no longer needing. I sorted a lot of small and medium sized scraps into their respective drawers and then stared at the mountains of paper piled all around me. I got up to put them away and then sat right back down to create some new combinations. Cause why put it away when I can store it differently!?
One of the fun parts of this project was remembering how Rainie would play with my scrap papers as a toddler. She would come up with these amazing color or pattern combos, and I always marveled at that ability because I was not as experienced with pattern mixing as I've let myself become since. I channeled her enthusiasm for just playing with the papers, but I also kept in mind some of the styles I'll be creating cards for in the next few months.
That led me to creating small kits of tiny bits and pieces that I can use at my next crop. Now there are roughly six little cards waiting to be made; I'll just need some card stock backs and, when you are surrounded by women who don't know how to leave the paper at home, I'm sure I will have a solution for that figured out even if I forget somehow to bring it myself.
Speaking of forgetting, don't ask me where these kits are today... between then and now I've taught three classes and attended a different crop as well, so my things are pretty willy-nilly right now, even though things look tidy. It's a good thing I regularly clean up my desk or I may not have found the laptop!
So tell me friends, do you prefer to sit down with a kit, or a pre planned project? Or is it more your style to just grab and go at random in the midst of a creative whirlwind... there is definitely a happy crafty feeling that comes with both. I do enjoy using a prepared kit because it means I'm traveling with less product. (Translates: room for more, but different products to be brought!) It can feel a bit constrictive though, depending on the materials in the kit. Sometimes I can't figure out what the heck I was thinking when I added such-and-such to the bag. But that same constrictive feeling can stem from an overabundance of choices as well, so like I said, there are pros and cons to both.
I guess as long as we are making something, even if it is just a kit, there's a good reason to play with paper huh? Happy crafting!


Monday, October 12, 2015

Pelican Powered

 This weekend I enjoyed the company of some very scrappy ladies up at Camp Beausite, in the Olympic mountain foothills. A friend we met on the cruise earlier this year, Lani, arranged a crafter's retreat and I could go for a full 24 hours with my other friends, Becca and Daphne. There was plenty of yummy meals provided and at the end of my stay I was completely satisfied... but wanting to create more of course! Which I did have the pleasure of doin yesterday evening but more about that later this week :-*
One of the fun things about having a friend continue to scrap long after you've gone home is that they can send texts of what they continue creating in your absence. I love seeing all of the different styles of memory recording and life sharing that takes place around me at events like this. The mixing of styles and personal preferences on all manner of things adds to my creative fervor and I come with batteries drained and recharged at the same time.
One of the things I realized about myself this weekend is that, just as I enjoy these large gatherings of creative minds, I really embrace the mixing of patterns through paper. Wow, do I ever! Also, layers are an easy way for me to build a background for my photos, jump starting my story's telling and creating a theme for me to enhance with stickers etc. So, with that new eye towards recognizing my distinct style, I've chosen to share with you an example in this page I made about three weeks ago.
Note there are no less than 4 patterns or colors as well as a transparency under the 2 4x6 photos. I love using the manufacturer's strips left over from cutting papers down to size;  there is a quote down there in the bottom right corner, and it is one of those company advertisements as well. Two more are included above the hand writing- kind of a signature inclusion.I'm a fan of adding banner to my outdoor pages, so there is a multi layer pennant made from a journaling card and scraps at top right. Topped with an old postage stamp, some die cuts, and another designer paper's titled "Giddy up"

 A benefit of adding so many layers to my pages is that the 22 12x12 pages I made are full of movement, the energy of the emotions I feel I want to share, and color symbolism- and my paper stash is considerably lighter. Not that anyone could notice, as I still have oodles of cardstock and patterned papers galore. I'm a paper hoarder too- for example, it looks like those paper strips continue down the length of the page, but they are small pieces cut in half and stuck to the edge of larger pieces.
When I made this page I wasn't sure where in the album it would go, but this is where I decided to house them; next to some bright blue pictures of water on a navy background edged with twined rope. Another signature design I see a lot of in my albums is a square on top of a square with a long block over the top, and that's what I chose to do to balance the chaotic page of the pelicans.
Funny, I just thought of another signature scrap habit of mine- never use what I have the most of or love to think I'll use, i.e. ribbon and overlays. Both are included here though! I love the way the seriousness of the dark navy and the overlays contrast with the fun, bright colors I paired them with. Two hearts punched from yellow cardstock lead the eye into the next scene/page and coincidentally agree with it's color pallet.
Thanks for joining me for a little study in my personal Scrapology theories!

Crazy Beautiful, Seriously Awesome    &    Fort Lauderdale, FL


Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Lesson In Best Intentions

I'm surely not the only person associated with this blog who fails sometimes to live up to our full potential. Not that I'm not super amazing, no friend, that fact does not escape my self assessment; I simply mean that there are many opportunities where I set out to fulfill a vision and fall short.
Take this beautiful card I found while scrolling my inbox. Artist Jennifer Bloomquist of Stampin' Up shared this awesome design which uses the impact of a black matted inset stamped piece layered over four strips of washi tape in different designs. Oh Great, I thought to myself when I saw it. This will be so easy to duplicate, was the continued thought as I quickly located my cardstock, a few stamps, a Close To My Heart ink in Slate, and my treasured tin of tape.
Sitting down at the table with my paper trimmer, gathered supplies and some spare time, my excitement and joy at just the right level of craft-productivity, and this simple but striking design, I imagined sets of four cards in assorted greetings that I could market in the upcoming months. I could even make some Christmas cards!
Or... not.
A simple strategy for mass production: a box of scrap papers + stickers+ bling = awesome!
Do any of these cards look even remotely like the very duplicate-able design I had before me? I didn't think so either! I ended up making 8 cards in one go- nothing to scoff about. But, there is not a singe piece of tape to be found. not one bit of matting. I did manage to get some cardstock in there as the card bases, and amazingly enough there is even some stamping! But friends, you see what I meant at the beginning of this post about not living up to my potential- no set of four similar cards can be made from this grouping lol.
There are a few silver linings to this short lived cloud of dismay; my scrap box is a little lighter! I used quite a few pieces of chipboard! There are some very old stickers that are finally out of my stash in this photo! And, best of all, I was able to Make Something! As I mentioned before, I even did some stamping, which is a tendency that escapes my creative impulses lately.
Another little cherry on this cupcake of intention is that my father-in-law purchased most of these for distribution on the East Coast. Just thinking of that is enough to make me smile- and want to sit down for another session of production. I fully intend to follow my papers as they lead me though the beautiful process of layering pretty on pattern with a side of sentiment. And in that, I will most assuredly not fail... I think lol.

Thanks for joining me today as I muse my way down to Oregon for a three generation road trip of celebration over my mom's last radiation treatment for Breast Cancer. If you haven't heard, it's Breast Cancer Awareness month and you ought to get a mammogram. I had my first medically induced super squeeze at the beginning of the year following my mom's diagnosis. It was an opportunity to put myself in the shoes- or in this case, the bras- of those I know who have had the unexpected reading come back of "further investigation necessary." As in, I needed to go back for further scans, followed by a biopsy of found calcium deposits, followed by a weekend of wondering what the results are, and a few weeks of limited arm movements.  Hmpf. A lot of worry but also a new appreciation for what my family and friends dealing with the disruption of cancer go through, and the renewed understanding that everyday should be lived to it's fullest!
 Today is World Cardmaking day to boot- hmmm, I wonder what we'll be doing tonight !? Check out the social media links on the right and you can see some of most candid camera moments showing up on my Instagram feed.
Happy Crafting! 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Hallo, It's Fall!

Image result for crisp autumn air quotes
Yep, it's time... 
Yesterday marked the beginning of fall for our house. I know it technically started towards the end of September, but since the bread winner of our home spends the majority of his work week outside, under a horse, we tend to hold to our summer-time vibe and indoor/outdoor decorations right up until the beginning of October. Which is now. Hence, the welcome of  Fall to our home!
I haven't had taken time to disperse my collection of PartyLite pumpkins throughout the house, because I've been busy keeping the card racks in Gig Harbor full of my "CraftWithAnna: Handmade from the Heart" line of greeting cards! So, now that October is here, I can use up my existing Halloween stash in anticipation of the discounted purchase-ables that will soon fill the aisles of my favorite craft supply stores. Favorite, as in All. :-)
Jeff Probst, torch snuffer extraordinaire
Do you have a favorite thing about this season? Some of my favorites include boots and sweaters, the crackle of leaves underfoot, the splendor of the changing tree-scape, and the smell, sound, and warmth of burning in our home's wood stove. I love that the boldest nightlight in the sky can be called a Harvest Moon. I love that the clouds release the rain our state is known for, and the resulting replenishment of our aquifers- drinking well water helps me remember what a privilege water rights are. I love the return of CBS's Survivor and it's host Jeff Probst- and his dimples- to our Wednesday nights. And our mantle. What, you don't have a J.P. bobble head doll?! For shame!
Yes, friends, I'm sorry, but I have to admit: I love it that there are more days where it's best to just sit inside and be cozy! There are so many beautiful summer days that I'm not fully participating in because my heart longs to be creating in a venue that does not include wind! Time in the garden is enjoyable but in such a different way- and takes so much longer to produce well, produce. Dirt is certainly not a first choice medium of mine; I'd much rather play with paper than seedlings!
All not-really-joking aside, this year's garden will be marked in our scrapbooks as the first one where I really did enjoy the thrill of growing. From planning my beds, weeding early and often, selecting seeds, transplanting seedlings... I even read books (okay, I started one book) about the subject! The beautiful thing about gardening is that it actually is very rewarding. As I remarked to my father, an avid gardener of tomatoes, peppers, peaches and super sized corn, "When you've grown something start to finish, it almost becomes a part of you." With food, that really does go full circle lol. Depending on where you get your fertilizer, it can go in an even fuller size circle hahaha.
I was pleasantly surprised to have found the evening's routing of sprinkler rotations soothing. Getting up early in the morning to turn the timer on for the soaker hose allowed me to walk softly with bare feet in the morning's dew on the warm lawn. I gazed adoringly over my squash blossom's bold bursts of golden yellow and exclaimed with joy as my tomato "babies" arrived. There were moments when I needed a few minutes to myself and found the respite of garden tending to be just what I needed to reset my attitude and return to my family with renewed cheer and gratitude at what I can do for them. Seeing how my plants thrived under my care became a very bold way to interpret my influence in our family as well.
Despite the interference of our flock of chickens repeatedly unearthing any area that had plants growing in it, I successfully harvested a handful of tiny sugar pumpkins that just may become a pie at month's end. Not wanting the memorable fresh taste of just picked lettuce to wither away from boxed salad replenishment, I even started a new set of garden boxes with seed towards the beginning of August. It will be interesting to see what else grows to maturity before the cold weather sets in. I'm even toying with the idea of creating a green house environment for next years season.
One of these cards is not like the others...
Of course, those thoughts of gardening and it's joys are easily forgotten in the ongoing make and take atmosphere of my creative mind. (Lol, I make a lot of cards and then take them to Gig Harbor.) After the frivolity of Halloween's costuming dressing up my card fronts, I'll be on to the sweet sentiments of family gatherings and thankful thoughts of Thankgiving before releasing my Winter/Holiday greetings into the community. I signed up for the Vaughn Civic Center's Winter Warm up in November and have only, oh, 150 + cards to create and keep in stock up before then. I'm no squirrel, but yes, it IS a little nuts to take on an endeavor like that... ah well, I've always enjoyed these self imposed challenges, and  there's no better weather to be creating in than the crisp autumn days between then and now! As this wood veneer card proclaims, "Live Life", right? (Live Life Right. Live. Life, Right? you get the picture...) Happy Friday, friends <3