Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Quick Vacation Recap

See two posts below for pictures of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the waterfall we hiked to, and downtown Waynesville.

Here's the cabin/house we rented:
Here is our Christmas day photo:

And a picture we took while hiking:
Our gingerbread house:
Trimming the tree (they wouldn't let me put my ornament on):
And tubing. If you look closely, you will notice there is a bunch of snow down the back of my pants. This photo was taken right after I flipped over on the tube, which is why it appears I'm not completely on the tube...:
I hope to get the next installation of my Holiday Album posted soon. Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008


I'm back....traffic on the return trip was horrible. I will start posting again tomorrow.

Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Where's Amanda?

I'm in Waynesville, North Carolina, which is on the east side of Smokey Mountains National Park. It is actually very ironic that I am in Waynesville, N.C. if you know the whole story, so here it is, in a condensed version.

My husband and I have moved all over the country, Missouri, Colorado, Wisconsin, California, and now, Florida. We made the last move to Florida in order to be closer to family and to NOT HAVE TO TRAVEL FOR EVERY HOLIDAY. We moved to Florida in mid-2007.

Not long after we made the move to Florida, BOTH my family AND my husband's family decided it would be nice to do family reunions in 2008, one in June and one over Christmas.

Now, you have to understand, that our families don't know each other. They don't communicate. That aside, somehow Pigeon Forge, T.N. was selected for the location of the family reunion in June and Waynesville, N.C. was selected for the location of the family reunion over Christmas.

Now, for those of you not familiar with the Great Smokey Mountains, these towns are a grand total of 60 MILES apart. One is on the east side of Smokey Mountains National Park, and one is on the west side.

So here's the ironic part. After deciding to move from California to Florida to cut down on family-related travel, our families arrange it so that we have to travel 10 hours, twice, to the same location, during the same year.....

All that being said, we had a blast in June and we're having a fun, albeit colder, time now. Here's some photos so far:

I met these fellows in downtown Waynesville:
The Great Smokey Mountains:

A little bit of natural art:
A small waterfall we hiked to, this is the area above the fall:
And this is the fall from above:
More pictures later. Hope you are enjoying your holiday!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Santa Hats Should be Required....

So today, I wore a Santa hat to work...and I wore it all day.

At one point during the day, someone I was working with on a project did something inappropriate and I got a bit frustrated.

So, I'm walking down the hallway at work, probably stomping more than walking, with a glower on my face...

...when suddenly it occurs to me just how silly I must look stomping down the hallway, with an angry face, all while wearing a Santa hat...

...picturing it made me laugh and I immediately began to take myself less seriously.

I think Santa hats should be required, we could all use a little help taking ourselves less seriously.


With all the preparation for my Christmas vacation, I have not been able to get as far into my Holiday album as I hoped, so I will be posting the next update after Christmas.

I am planning to post pictures of my trip as I go, so stay tuned.

I hope you have a safe and joyous holiday!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Panoramic Christmas Tree

I created this panoramic photo of our 9-foot Christmas tree by taking four separate photos of the top, middle, bottom, and presents and merging them with Photoshop Elements 6. This method allowed me to get more details of the tree in the photo. In order to get the individual photos, I had to play around with my camera's manual settings (for the first time!). It was all trial and error, but I'm pleased with the results. You can click on the image for a larger version.
I like to decorate my Christmas trees with things that "could" actually be found on trees in nature. This year I used poinsettias, ice cicles, rabbits, owls, chipmunks, squirrels, a hedgehog, and pine cones. The one exception, of course, are the lights. We used 700 to light this tree. 5 of the lights are actually little lanterns.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Although not specifically Christmas-y, this one is timely for me because we are in the middle of preparing my gluten-free, dairy-free, mushroom-free, fish-free, yellow dye #5-free Christmas dinner (yes, I have to pre-prepare and travel with all of my food, that's why I looked frustrated in the picture below). I may add some more labels to the right-hand side as I acquire them.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Challenge Layout

I created this layout in response to a challenge at AdThis, a blog that challenges you to create layouts inspired by advertisements. You can see the inspiration ad here.

In addition to using the ad for inspiration, the challenge was to use chipboard (arrows) and a hand-made element (frames, "Me"). I like the way this layout turned out, but, true to form, I'm a little mad at myself because I had planned to add some graphic black rub-ons to the background but then just plain forgot in my eagerness to get everything adhered. Oh Well!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Cards

I apologize in advance to any members of my family who follow my blog (I think there's one, HI MOM!) and wanted your Christmas card to be a surprise :) .

This is not only the first year I've MADE Christmas cards, this will be the first year I am SENDING Christmas cards.
Here's a close up view. I created this card using my Cricut Joys of the Season cartridge (for the card background), my Sizzix Sparrow die (for the bird), Prima flowers, Autumn Leaves stamps, Gold Stickles from Ranger, gold metallic paper, and Bazzill cardstock in two colors.

Now all I have to do is locate everyone's address....

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holiday 2008 Album - Update 1

Here is my Holiday 2008 Album...thus far:

I am still planning to add something to the back of the front cover. In addition, I think I may add a travel schedule page and a November opening page (like the one I created for December, see last photo in this post) to the front of the album.

On this first page I journaled about our search for the "perfect" artificial tree. I am planning to journal our complete abject failure in this endeavor on a later page...
On the back of the first page I added a photo of me working on creating the Holiday 2008 album. I journaled and added the date for this photo on the facing page.

On the back of page 2 I journaled about my husband's and my favorite Christmas carols. On the facing page is a picture of me practicing one of these carols on the piano.
On the back of the third page is a picture of all the ornaments I've purchased this season. On the fourth page is a picture from my Grandmother's house on Thanksgiving day.
The back of the fourth page is a photo from Black Friday. The front of the fifth page is also a photo from Black Friday with journaling for both photos.
On the back of the fifth page I created a pocket with a piece of Rusty Pickle patterned paper. The pocket holds tags with our families' Christmas lists for this year. The sixth page is simply a divider page between the November and December entries.
I'm hoping to post the next update before I start my vacation. I'll post the final update after the new year.
Hope you have a great week!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

What's Next

This month, December, is my last month serving on the Scrapbooking From the Inside Out Design Team. While I've learned a great deal about myself and my style over the last six months while serving on the design team, I'm ready to move on. I am looking forward to working on the projects I WANT to work on instead of the projects I NEED to work on.

That being said, I want to share with you some of my plans for 2009. I am planning a new technique series. Each month I will pick one media (paint, ink, tissue paper, etc.) or one tool (the Crop-a-Dile, digital, etc.) and present 3-4 techniques using that media/tool over the month. Currently, I am planning to present these techniques on ATCs or perhaps 4x6 cardstock. This is because I envision creating a "Technique Reference Carousel" using the 7-Gypsies ATC Holder or 7-Gypsies Photo Holder. Just imagine, up to 48 techniques available at your finger tips, with reference information on the back. Right now I am working on techniques for "Water Color Paper", "Tissue Paper", "Acrylic Paint", and "Digital" so you might see some of these technique series early in 2009.

Are you excited!?! I know I am.....bring on 2009!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

December SFTIO Altered Item

December's SFTIO theme is "regret". This mini-book is about all those moments you wish you had photos of, but for some reason or another, don't. I used photos of related or similar events and heavy journaling to create this book. I kept the embellishments to a minimum.

Don't forget you can click on the pictures for larger versions, in order to read the journaling.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December SFTIO Layouts

December's SFTIO theme is "regret". Here are the layouts I created with this month's kit. Remember, you can click on the photos for larger versions.

The first two layouts shown below are my favorites from this month's design team submission.

"Intuition" - The photo on this layout was created using a digital technique in Adobe Elements 6.
"On the Outside Looking in" - This layout is based on lyrics by the group Staind.
"Know" - So here's another "regret" for you. After visiting my grandmother's over Thanksgiving and looking at old family photos with her, I realized that the person shown in the photo below is not the person I thought. Oh well, the sentiment is the same *shrug*.

"Tragedy Strikes" - The obituary in this layout is blurred to protect the privacy of the family.
"Few Regrets" - I wasn't really happy with the way this layout turned out, it still needs something.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy December!!!

Hard to believe it's December 1st, especially here in Florida where it's 70 degrees and sunny.

I'm working on HAND MADE Christmas cards, a first for me. Will be posting these soon.

Also, working on filling up my Holiday "Daily" album.

In addition to these holiday projects, I'm contemplating a new technique series for the new year (more on that later) and several new mixed media pieces and layouts.

Be sure to check out Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas . Not only are the techniques awesome, but the giveaways aren't half bad either!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I was visiting my grandmother for Thanksgiving. Since she doesn't have internet access, she had never seen my blog, and didn't have a clear idea of what it is that I do, scrap-wise at least. After seeing my blog she mentioned she had a whole trunk full of old family photos and asked if I might be interested. WOULD I?!?

My mother and I were only able to sort through about a third of the photos my grandmother had during this trip. And this is only a small portion of them. I am planning to scan and restore them, and then I have some mixed-media applications in mind, so you'll likely be seeing some of these photos again.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I just wanted to leave a quick note on this most thankful of days...

...to let you all know how thankful I am for your patronage...

...and all the comments you leave (they leave happy feelings, like really rich chocolate with a gooey center, but for bloggers)...

...and to wish you all a safe and happy holiday.

Now go eat too much!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A quick tip for Cricut users...

I recently noticed that the negative space between my Cricut-cut curly brackets looked like a really cool label. Here is an example using Plantain Schoolbook:
I simply trimmed the negative shape from the background paper:

Here's an example where I used the label shape in my Holiday Daily Album:
Happy pre-turkey Tuesday!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

December Daily Album Cover Technique

Okay, I need to start this post off by saying that this technique is very hard to photograph. So I apologize in advance for the poor quality photos.

I created a frosted mirrored surface for the covers of my December daily album. Here's a look at the finished product (I haven't put them on the album yet because the Stickles are still wet). Here are the products I used for this technique:
(1) 8x10 inch, 0.08-inch thick acrylic from Lowe's (it's in the glass cutting section).
(2) Valspar "Frosting" spray paint. I bought mine at Michaels. Krylon also makes a frosting spray paint. The results look like faux etched glass when used on acrylic.
(3) Grafix Silver Metallic Film. Here is where I bought mine.

Step 1: Wash both sides of your acrylic with a mild, grease-cutting dish soap. If you have grease on the acrylic from your fingers, the spray paint will not adhere evenly. Hold the edges of your acrylic while rinsing. After thoroughly rinsing the acrylic, lay each piece on paper towels to dry the bottom side and dry the top side with a coffee filter. Leaving the acrylic pieces on the paper towels (to avoid touching them) carry them to your work surface. You may want to consider marking which piece is the front and which is the back (I marked the paper towels). Step 2: Decide what design you want to create on your acrylic pieces. Anything you add to your acrylic pieces at this point will act as a mask to the frosting spray paint. You will be able to see through these shapes to the mirrored surface behind the acrylic. I created a design inspired by the Inkadinkado stamps shown here. I created my design using a Heidi Swapp bird sticker and shapes cut with my Cricut and the Joys of the Season and Christmas Cheer cartridges. I ran the Cricut shapes through my Xyron with a repositionable cartridge. (The front cover is on the right and the back cover is on the left.) Step 3: Carry your acrylic pieces (on the paper towels) to an area you can spray paint in. Carefully remove the pieces from the paper towels and place them on newspapers. Following the instructions on the spray paint can, apply two heavy coats of frosting spray paint. I applied my coats about 30 minutes apart. Here's what the pieces looked like immediately after applying the first and second coats. Note the spray paint becomes more opaque as it dries.

Here's what the pieces looked like after an hour of drying time:
Step 4. Apply a small bead of Glossy Accents on the back of each acrylic piece, around the entire edge, and place on the foil film. Use a brayer on both the front and back of the pieces to ensure good contact between the acrylic and the film. Because of the frosted surface, the Glossy Accents is barely visible as long as you use a brayer or a heavy object to get good contact and allow the Glossy Accents to dry before going further. I tried other adhesives and did not achieve as good of a result.
Step 5: Use a craft knife to trim off the excess film.
Step 6: Stamp any swirls or other images that you want to appear to fall behind the mirrored images. Use Staz-On ink. At this point the masks are still in place, we are simply taking advantage and using them as stamping masks as well. Note that Staz-On ink remover will also remove the frosting paint from the surface, so be careful.
Step 7: Remove the masks. Use Un-du Scrapper's Solution to remove any residual adhesive. The Un-du will not hurt the frosted surface.
Here's a closer (although dustier) view:
Step 8: Add additional stamped images or other embellishments, as desired. I added Xmas Red Stickles and stamped "2008" within the swirls. Note: rub-ons will NOT stick to the frosted surface.
I love the way this technique turned out, the pictures honestly do not do it justice.
Hope you enjoyed this technique. Wishing you and yours a happy and safe Thanksgiving.