Saturday, April 26, 2014

Today's Tutorial: Printing resist


Here's a very quick tutorial for a colourful background for cards, art journals or scrapbook pages.

I started with book paper, gel medium, stencils, a gelli plate, a brayer, gelatos (gelatos are creamy, water based paint sticks), baby wipes and paper towel.

1. Roll a thin layer of gel medium over your gelli plate and position stencil above it.
2. Put book paper on on top and smooth with your hands. Peel off and let dry. 
3. At this point  remove then stencil and pull another print with the reverse image. This often results in a much more "organic" print, but creates a fantastic textured effect. *This is the benefit of using the gelli plate. You get two pages from one application of gel medium, instead of just the one page you would get from painting directly over top of the stencil and paper.*

4. After the pages are dry, the real fun begins! Scribble lots of yummy gelato colour all over your design. Work in colour groups so the colours don't get muddy. My favourites are red, orange and yellow and blue and purple. Blend colours with a baby wipe, being careful not to rip paper. Alternate using baby wipes with paper towel for different effects. Have fun and experiment!

Here's few of my pages using various stencils (for the last page I rubbed in some Inka-gold to add  some shimmer):

Thanks for stopping by!
Vicki


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A little of this...

Things have been pretty good. Mom has been doing pretty well and seems to be responding to medication and for that I am very thankful. 
I've been creating when I can and even tried out for a design team. I know I do not have a prayer of being accepted  but I enjoyed the challenge of preparing an entry. It was just the thing to get my creative juices flowing. I applied to the design team call at The Crafter's Workshop. If you don't know them they make the most wonderful templates/stencils around. I had a few on hand but picked up a couple more at Bizzy B's and got playing. Here's what I made:



I will probably do some tutorials based on these techniques in the coming weeks but wanted to show a little peek of what I've been up to. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Thank you

I am overwhelmed from all the comments, messages, emails and thoughtful acts of reaching out.
Thank you, it means the world.
Mom is doing okay. We are taking it day by day. She's had cognitive testing, which did not go too well...the hour long wait in a windowless exam room did not help. I found her a nice Medic Alert bracelet and had it engraved with her name, address and my Dad's cell number. (Good idea Dad!)
My Dad discovered some medication issues that have been corrected and has booked appointments with specialists. My brother has been a tremendous help, it warms my heart to think of them spending so much time together, and I know she likes it too. 
We have had a few visits and she seems pretty good. She, along with my Dad, came downtown for my birthday and to visit me at work, she seemed happy and almost like her old self. We speak almost daily on the phone, as I have been working on my genealogy lately and she's excited to learn what I've discovered. She's better when she has stimulation and not alone. This stupid endless winter weather does not help, but it will not last forever. My Dad is doing everything he can for his love and I can't imagine what he must be going through.
So, we carry on as best we can and your kindness has made a little bit easier.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

The day my life changed forever

I have debated in my head multiple times if I should write this post or not. I've come to the conclusion that as with all mental health stigmas, the benefits of posting outweigh the consequences.
My mother is clearly, and now officially, suffering from some kind of dementia.
The signs have been there for a long time. We've had family meetings to discuss what to do. We've seen unusual behaviour and witnessed increasing forgetfulness. We thought we were dealing with it, we thought we'd have more time. We were wrong.

This past Thursday was another busy day at work. I decided to check my personal email (which I rarely do) and found a disturbing email from my Dad. My mother had a very bizarre phone conversation with my Dad stating that she didn’t know where she was. He asked where she was and she said she was at the house but didn’t know where she was going because he had moved and she didn’t know where to go. (A little background information: my parents moved about a year and half ago, and my mother has had issues ever since.) A few more conversations followed between my parents and it became clear that she didn't even know the layout of the house or remember where certain rooms were. My dad had an important meeting that night so my brother planned on coming over to be with her and make dinner after work. As I got home I texted my brother (for those who don't know I live in a different city that my parents and brother and don't have a car) to see if everything was okay as I hadn't had any other updates. He texted back that he was with Mom, as was my dad and there had been some more developments. Long story short, my mother had left the house on her own before my brother got there. She wandered her neighbourhood until she was approached by a kindly stranger who asked if she needed help. She said she didn't know where she was but had to get to an appointment. He asked her where she lived and she said she didn't know. Luckily, my mother had my Dad's business card in her purse and the man called my Dad and he walked her home. My dad and brother arrived shortly after.
 Coincidentally, my father had already set up an appointment for my mother with her doctor for the next day (I'm guessing that this is the appointment she thought she was going to). My father and brother both accompanied her  to the doctors. They had a very productive meeting. Cognitive testing, Cat Scans and blood work were ordered. Senior service website are being investigated.Home alarms, her current medications and dosage are being reviewed.
My mother's family has history of dementia. My grandmother was diagnosed with alcohol-related dementia and suffered terribly in the last years of her life. I can't bear to think that my mother will face the same fate. I hope there is an answer. 

Thank you for letting me share this. Just writing the story out has helped me. My shoulders feel a little less tense now. If anyone reading has any thoughts or ideas please share with me.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Photography: Crystal City


Since Toronto is entering yet another deep freeze today it seems fitting to post these photos of the ice storm that we experienced in December.
We were incredibly lucky to only lose power for 10 minutes. Some of my work colleagues lost power for nearly a week. No fun in -30 degree weather!
At least 20% of our beloved trees have been damaged. Many of the parks in our neighbourhood still look like a war zone. Including most of our favourite tobogganing spots.
Oh well spring is just around the corner, right?

Crystal forest from 10 stories up
Frozen vines
Sun peeking through the icy canopy


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Design Tips: Visual Triangles

Visual triangles are one of the easiest design tips to learn and use.


Our brains perceive images in familiar shapes. By placing items on our scrapbook pages in a triangle, it allows our eyes to see the page as a whole rather than being distracted by one or two pieces on the page.

It also gives the eye a natural path on which to travel around the layout so that the viewer can take in all the elements one by one. The visual triangle comes from the idea that the eye responds far better to designs including odd numbers of features rather than even numbers – placing just two of any embellishment or photo tends to leave the eye flitting back and forth between the two rather while missing other less dominant elements on the page.
The examples I've show here use a visual triangle with embellishments (except the top that uses large circle cut out frames), but you can create visual triangles with colours, photos or even text such as your title, date, and journaling. 
You can very the size of the elements used in you triangle, they just need to be similar enough for the eye to recognize that they relate.
Don't be afraid to make more than one visual triangle on your page, as repetition is another eye-pleasing design element.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Today's tutorial: Ombre texture tags

I have a little video tutorial for you today using stencils, gelatos and some Resin Sand medium (it will also work with plain gel medium). So take a peek and enjoy!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Breaking down the page: Ninth Birthday

This a bit of an older page, but I love it and can't remember if I shared it here yet or not. It was in Canadian Scrapbooker last summer.

What works:
-good use of anchoring. Separate elements on the page are linked together in a way that moves the eye across the page.

-title placement. The title stands out due to placement and contrast (font shape, colour and size).

-colour pallette. The colour choices on the page were pretty much a no-brainer since the base paper had a beautiful watercolour design (Amy Tangerine's Sketchbook line).

What doesn't work:
- the journaling. I always regret not journaling in black pen. I remember reading Heidi Swapp's "Love Your Handwriting" years ago and she always uses black pen to journal. It helps the journaling standout and not blend in with the other page elements.

-it's a little busy. In retrospect I would have made the embellishment cluster a little smaller. It looks a bit overwhelming and crowded with the journaling. (I never plan my journaling out in advance...bad habit).

Have a crafty weekend!



Breaking down the page is a new feature on my blog designed to help you improve your scrapbooking. Read more about and other blogging categories here: Blog manifesto

Thursday, January 02, 2014

One Little Word and Holiday Recap!




 Happy New Year!! (a day late!)
 I hope everyone had  wonderful holiday. We were quite busy around our household. For the first time in seven years Sean had Christmas off. In fact he had Christmas eve and even a few days after Christmas off too. It was quite a treat let me tell you! We celebrated the day at home in the morning to open presents and then went to my parents in Oakville for brunch, more presents and dinner. Here's a few of my favourite photos from the day:
Christmas Eve at Flo's Diner
Chas doing his monkey face
Sidney and Alexi by the tree

My lovely Momma!

Are you participating in One little Word? For those who have no idea what I'm taking about One Little Word is project started by Ali Edwards where one picks a word as a theme for the coming year. Here's a link that explains how it works: One Little Word

Mother Daughter OLW necklaces made by us!
This year, I chose "Care" and Sidney is once again participating with the word "responsibility".
Sid is learning what it means to be responsible for her words and actions, to take ownership of her mistakes and reactions. She's learning to correct her own misbehavior and make amends where necessary. I am very proud of this initiative.
I chose "Care" since I really need to devote some time to looking after myself (not to mention my home, family etc, etc.) My health is not what it should be and I'm coming up with doable plan to get me back in shape. I attempted 40 before 40 last year and failed miserably, but I know what I can do that works for me...I just have to do it! (EASIER SAID THAN DONE!)
Let me know if your choosing a word this year, I'd love to read all about it!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Daily Life: Ballerinas

 Sidney recently had her year end class at her ballet school and the parents were invited to watch. I am always astonished to see how much these girls have progressed and grown as dancers. This time however, I think all the parents where shocked to see how much these girls are growing into beautiful young women and confident dancers. 
(Even though darling Sid still tucks her lips in when she's concentrating!)




Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Today's Tutorial: Photographing layouts and the importance of white balance

Editing your layouts after photographing them can be tedious, but it's an important step in prepping your layouts for submitting to magazines and posting them online. As good as your camera is, editing after photographing will make them look their best. There are two major issues I correct. I will show you a quick and easy way to fix the colour in your layouts today. The other issue I usually fix is the perspective, we'll save that for another day.

Step 1: Open your layout in Photoshop Elements (I use the ancient Photoshop Elements 5 but this probably works in most programs!) Open the "levels" window (CRTL-L). Locate the three droppers and click on the WHITE dropper (see first image):


Click to see larger image



Step 2: Click on a white section on your project (or one section that should be white). This tool sets the white balance in your image. Sometimes the result can be overexposed and blown out. Simply click "reset" and try again. You may need to do it a couple times to get the correct exposure. (see second image):


Way too bright! (click to see larger image)




True to life colours! (click to see larger)


Step 3: Once your happy with your image click "OK". That's it! I find that 95% of the time this is all the lighting/colour correction my projects need. I used to spend so much time adjust colours and running actions but this is  much simpler.



You might be thinking: "That's great but what if my project doesn't have any white in it?" That's a good question. I  add just a little piece of white paper to the edge of my image. I can use it to set the white balance and crop it out after:


I hope you've enjoyed this little tutorial!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Today's Tutorial: Painting on metal


Metal elements are hot in Scrapbooking these days and I am addicted to painting them. My current favourite technique is to paint them a nice silvery colour with some blue and green patina style accents. It's super easy.

 I like to use Distress Paint in Brushed pewter as a base coat (especially nice if your metal is too dark for your project). Then I let it dry, you can heat it with a heat too but keep it well above the metal as it will bubble and leave a bumpy texture. Next, I apply Glimmer Glaze in the colour "All That Jazz", it's nice brilliant blue and looks great over the metallic Distress paint. Finally a few drops of Glimmer Glaze in "Sea Kelp" provides a nice contrast, this colour is really dark so I usually add just a few drops and spread it with a dry brush. (Glimmer Glaze is a sticky, translucent enamelish paint, reminiscent of nail polish. Use with good ventilation.)
Here's a few examples of some I have done in the past: (click on image to it larger)

I


I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial! Thanks for reading!!