Circle Inspiration

Circle Inspiration

While switching craft rooms this summer, I came across a couple old catalogs from The Angel Company. Back in the day, I was a demonstrator with them, before they went out of business. If anyone is interested in a copy of the catalog, leave a comment below. I have two left that I’d gladly give away. While you can no longer get the supplies, it is a great source of inspiration.

On the cover of the catalog there’s a lovely scrapbook page that made fun use of a circle in the design. “Oooh, circles,” I thought, “let’s talk about circles on the blog!”

Little did I realize how rarely I use circles when I make pages.

In looking through previously made pages, there seemed to be three types of pages where I used circles. The first group were all inspired and based upon sketches and page lifts. There were a decent number of those. Another group of pages were obviously inspired by the paper itself, where it had a strong circular motif. The last group, and there were decidedly fewer of these, was story and theme based. Let’s take a look at the last group:

crafty vacay ||

This is one of my more recent pages, where the subject matter–my son’s desire to make art like Jackson Pollack– inspired the use of circles and art inspired pieces. After all if you’re going to make a page that references the master of the paint splatter, shouldn’t you include paint and messy artsy stuff on it?

A little further back in time, we’ve got this page that uses motion to show my son’s reaction to a late arriving birthday present:

Is that? ||

This looks like a photo, matted on the blue graph paper, but is actually a window cut into the blue paper, revealing the photo underneath. When you turn the circle you get this:

It's a kindle ||

You know how sometimes you capture a moment perfectly, and want to relive it over and over again? Turning this page into a spinning wheel helped me recapture some of that surprise and excitement. Plus, it was so fun to make.

One last circle inspired page for you:

donut entertainment ||

This is a really old page, inspired, of course, by donuts. The title was computer generated, then cut out using circle punches and an exacto knife. Yes, entertainment is cut by hand. The donut itself was cut by tracing a plate, and then cutting that by hand as well. A bit of color stippling to try to make the donut look more dimensional, and some stickles to bring to mind sugar crystals, and the page was done. Ugly, but done. I can’t help but love this page, because it makes me laugh every time I read the journaling.

Do you use circles to communicate a theme or story? Feel free to share your circle enhanced pages!



For New England Scrappers

For New England Scrappers

This summer, we went on a family vacation to Mystic, Connecticut. While there, we found a wonderful little scrapbook store called Scrapbook Cove.

Of course, I neglected to bring my camera with me, so I can’t show you how bright and lovely the store is, but I did manage to take a picture of what I brought home with me.

Scrapbook Cove haul ||

This isn’t all I bought, since I also got supplies so my niece could make her own mini album, but this is what came home to my stash. I am trying to not bring a lot into my space, because I have so much already.

I loved the patterned paper selection, and they had a nice selection of Bazzill solids to choose from. Lots of lovely embellishments, from pre-cut die cuts to bling to washi. They also carried stamps and cutting dies, in reasonable amounts for general paper crafters. (Not enough for die-hard stampers, but more than enough for the average scrapbooker.)

As for the lines they carried, they concentrated on consistent favorites as well as smaller and less common manufacturers, so as not to have to compete with big box stores. The items I picked up were from SEI, Queen & Co., Bo Bunny, Bazzill, Lawn Fawn, My Mind’s Eye, Echo Park, Canvas Corp., Fancy Pants, Crafts n’ Craftin’, and Glitz Designs.

Prices were reasonable for an independent store, and most of the product was USA made. They had a small amount of discounted items, which bodes well for the owners, since that means they understand that they need to get old product sold before bringing new product in, and they seem to have a good grasp of the kinds of things their clientele would be looking for.

The space was bright, and filled with light, and there was room for about 12 scrappers to crop in the back, on lovely, antique style, large sturdy tables.

The owners were pleasant, and friendly, and willing to chat, which is very important for encouraging new customers to become repeat customers.

In short, I loved the store. I wish I lived closer so I could go on a regular basis.

Short and Sweet

Short and Sweet

Somewhere along the way from learning there is this amazing hobby called scrapbooking, to actually calling yourself a scrapbooker, a lot of people pick up the idea that they must journal, and it must be deep and profound.

While pages with that type of journaling are a great way to provide context and emotion to your scrapbooks, not every page needs that kind of thought and energy.

Another implied rule that scrapbookers pick up along the way is that they must use their handwriting (and it must be beautiful) or they must have gorgeously designed computer generated journaling.

Again, while those things are nice, they are not must-haves in order to create wonderful scrapbook pages.

What do you need to have a scrapbook page?

Just words and pictures.

In other words, keep it simple!

Case in point: this little album I created about myself as a 10-year-old, at 10 ||

To start off, I looked through the photos I had, and jotted down any memory the photos triggered. These were not deep, meaningful thoughts, but simple “what’s in the photos and why should anyone care” recollections.

pg 2 me at 10 ||

I used a font that appealed to me at the time, and created little blocks of text. Oh, and in case you were wondering about my opinion regarding “good” fonts, if you want to use comic sans, or papyrus, or ariel, or any other font that you love but that font geeks love to hate, use it! The only time you should worry about whether the font you are using is cool and hip is if you are doing graphic design. You’re making a scrapbook! Make it to please yourself, not the arbitrators of fashion. The only caveat? Make sure the font you choose is easy to read.

pg 3 me at 10 ||

Don’t feel like you have to tell every story inspired by your photos, but do share things that make you laugh, or smile, or sigh. Include details about things that have changed, and things that have stayed the same.

pg 14 me at 10 ||

Journaling doesn’t have to be hard. Keep it short and sweet, and you’ll have a scrapbook to cherish.

If you want to see the full album, you can find it in my Flickr gallery here.

The virtues of the unposed shot

The virtues of the unposed shot

Did your family make you pose for pictures when you were young? Did it always feel like it took hours to get a good shot to you? Although some of my favorite photos are posed shots, so many more of them are candids that I rarely bother with trying to make my family pose anymore.

Maybe it’s the sneaky side of me, but snagging photos of my kids when they are engrossed in something and completely unaware of me has netted some of the best story telling photos.

sneaky shot 1 ||

Now this is not a perfect photo. It’s dark and grainy and the focus isn’t what it could be. But it tells a story, of a boy engrossed in toys he hasn’t played with in too long, because they’ve been packed away.

sneaky shot 2 ||

It can be hard getting a picture without them noticing, but when you manage it, you get photos that show more of your subject’s personality and idiosyncrasies — like the holey socks and the messy hair, and the improbable seating here.

Of course, sometimes they know you have the camera ready, but that doesn’t mean you need to make them stop and pose. Catch them in the act, and you may end up with some of your favorite pictures.

sneaky shot 3 ||

Sometimes a photo opportunity can be used to entertain while waiting in line, or you can sneak a picture by not obviously looking through your viewfinder/screen. Here, I had just used the camera to take a picture of our feet all together, and rather than turning it off right away, I snapped some pictures from waist high while the boys weren’t paying attention.

sneaky shot 4 ||

Of course if you feel you absolutely must make your family pose, rather than stiff photos of everyone grouped together, try taking some poses that help tell a story. Here, we’re crossing the international boundary line between the US and Canada. My son thought it was important and cool, so we stopped and posed on the bridge.

In short, while posed shots are wonderful, unposed shots are opportunities for visual storytelling. Don’t worry about getting a perfect shot, just aim for something that helps you tell a story. You’ll be glad you did.


Summer’s Not Over Yet!

Summer’s Not Over Yet!

Who’s still playing along with the Sixty Summer Sights photo scavenger hunt? I know Labor Day weekend starts today in the US, but technically, we’ve got three more weeks of summer!

Ah. Pedanticism. We’re fine examples of that in this house.

If you’re wondering what the Sixty Summer Sights photo challenge is, the aim is to try to find all the items on this list:

A photo scavenger hunt from

You don’t have to do it in order, nor do you have to find them all. The goal behind it is to make you more aware of your surroundings, and to help you take more story oriented photos. Using the prompts to practice your technical photography skills is a bonus.

I’ve found 35 summer sights so far. You can find them in the No Excuse Scrapbooking Flickr gallery. Have you been playing along? Make sure to share what you’ve captured!

My favorite so far?

I think it may be this one, taken surreptitiously with the camera resting on the table:

36. smiles #sixtysummersights ||

Share your favorites! I can’t wait to see what you’ve found!