Monthly Archives: June 2014

We’re going on a scavenger hunt!

We’re going on a scavenger hunt!

Summer is here, and it’s time to play with your camera more. (So many flowers, so little time!)

A scavenger hunt is a fun way to think outside the box when it comes to your photography. It can challenge how you look for photos, and help you improve your photography skills as well.

I don’t know about you, but I love challenges. I think it’s the competitive side of me.

So, for your joy and delight, and so that you can play along with me, here’s a summer scavenger hunt with Sixty Summer Sights. Can you find them all?

A photo scavenger hunt from

Sixty Summer Sights

You can download a copy to print and take with you here: Sixty Summer Sights.

If you want to play along, and share the photos you find on your scavenger hunt, feel free to share them in the No Excuse Scrapbooking Flickr gallery. You can tag them with scavenger hunt and which summer sight it is. I’ll be adding mine as I find them too!

Who’s going to play along with me?


A Crazy Idea

A Crazy Idea

As part of a class I am currently taking, the instructor asked us what our workspaces look like now, and what we would like our workspaces to be. My initial thought was that I am very happy with my workspace, with the possible exception of wanting it to be neater (I’m so not good at the whole putting away thing) and bigger, so I could host crops or classes at home easily.

And then, while going over the rest of the class homework late at night, while everyone in the house slept, an idea came to me, like a bolt out of the blue. What if I switched my bedroom and craft room?

Yep. I went there.

The next day, I asked my husband what he thought of my hare-brained idea. His response? “Well we certainly don’t need a bedroom that big.

Cue a happy dance!

So now I’m waiting for the end of the school year and then I’ll be making a mess of my house again. I’ve measured the current craft room and bedroom furniture, to make sure everything will fit. I’ve made a floor plan for both rooms so I can experiment with furniture arrangement without the heavy lifting. I’m making a list of the things I’ll need to buy in order for the switch to work, and planning the work flow.

craft room plan
I’m sort of excited.

Now, my greatest question is what color should I paint the new craft room? I love the blue I have currently, but the light is different in the other room, so it may not work as well. And, well, this is me and my love of color, do I really want to paint the room the same color?

a few paint ideas
Anyone have any suggestions? I’m not even sure which color family I want to use. I just know I don’t want white. White is boring.

Needless to say, this whole rearranging of rooms will interfere with blogging, but I’ll try to keep you entertained over the summer.

And I’ll definitely share pictures. I’m not afraid of owning up to the mess!

Bringing the old out of retirement

Bringing the old out of retirement

I have a problem. I used to buy lots of things to use as embellishments, and then never actually used them.

Extra wide wired ribbon? Have that. Seasonal stack of themed stickers from DCWV? Yep. Two sets of those. Halloween themed stickers and papers. Sure, how could I resist? Snaps and brads and eyelets in every color of the rainbow? Yes please!

In short, I have a lot of things, cluttering up my storage and my craft room.

What should I do with it all?

To start with, let’s make it easier to get at some of these items. All those little pieces of bling and brads and eyelets? Let’s put them at our finger tips.

One of the ways I look for things is by type: I look for washi tape or brads or wordfetti stickers, rather than something green, or something holiday related. Having similar sorts of things easily accessible in one place makes it more likely I’ll use a variety of them on a page.


I started out trying to use more embellishments by having a selection in my tool caddy. It quickly became clear that wasn’t that helpful, since I ran out of space and a lot of what wanted to use just didn’t fit.

Another way to use up items is to add a selection to a homemade kit. That has helped get more embellishments out of my stash and onto pages, but there is still so much more!

And then, I won this at a scrapbook crop:

embellishment caddy

Now it sits on my work table, filled with embellishments at my finger tips.

And some of these things are really old. Paper butterflies from the local stamp store before it closed. Eyelets from an eyelet setter kit back before the cropodile was introduced. Plastic slide frames that are probably older than my youngest, who’s nine. (Nine! How do these things happen?!)

embellishment top

So far, the ease of access has been helping me get these old items out of my stash. As I use things up, I plan on pulling in more old stash.

embellishment drawer

What are some things you have on hand that you could use to make older, forgotten product easier to access? Maybe an unused cupcake pan or small tool box would work for you. Don’t go out and buy anything. Look around for things you already have that you can re-purpose.

If all else fails, and I realize I am never going to use something I’ve had on hand for ages, there’s always the donation pile or the circular file. It’s hard, but sometimes you have to let things go.


Stuck on Grids

Stuck on Grids

Design doesn’t have to be hard. Why is it, that as scrapbookers we try to make our hobby more complicated than it needs to be?

One of the simplest designs to use, that works over and over again, is the grid design.

It works because it gives your page very strong structure, with lots of implied and even visible line. It works because you don’t trap white space, and have consistent margins throughout your layout. In some cases, it even helps you include the rule of thirds on your page. (The rule of thirds, in case anyone is interested, is the theory that if you picture a tic tac toe frame superimposed over your photograph or page design, the focal point should be at one of the places where the lines intersect. This helps make your photo or page more interesting and dynamic.)

How about, rather than telling you all about how wonderful grids are, we just look at some examples, shall we?

DYL title page ||

This was created for the first online class I took–Cathy Zielske’s Design Your Life class over at Big Picture Classes. (Life changing class by the way. If design confuses you or overwhelms you, you need to take CZ’s class. It’s excellent!) Simple nine square grid. Very strong structure, no trapped white space, and even margins. The flower and quote become a focal point because they are closest to one of the intersecting grid lines.

fabulous 5 ||

You don’t necessarily need to have a photo or piece of patterned paper in each square to be a grid. This page lets the center square be the focal point, and the lack of actual squares doesn’t make the structure any weaker.

joy ||

You also don’t have to have a nine square grid. You could have a four square grid, or even a 49 square grid. What makes a grid so flexible is that the basic structure is so strong. The rule of thirds is more likely to be used when you aren’t using a nine square grid. Above, you’ll notice the eyes for both kids is about where the imagined tic tac toe grid lines intersect, and the title of the page below is also partially on one of those imagined line intersections.

so many reasons ||

Your grid doesn’t even have to cover the entire page.

Mom will you help me build ||

A partial grid can be a great way to get a lot of photos on a page, and still have a strong design.

sand people ||

A grid also doesn’t have to be straight. Give it a little twist, and you’ve added a whole new batch of fun to your layout.

Don’t you just love how versatile a grid based design is on your scrapbook pages? It really does give your layouts a strong foundation, while giving you room for creativity.

How often do you use grids? Have any you’d like to share?

Techniques to Play With

Techniques to Play With

This past April, there was another True Stamp event, with lots of information about techniques you can use when stamping. Now all the classes are available for sale individually, and are discounted for the month of June!

One of my favorites was the class from Raisin Boat, where they used a bunch of products to add texture to their stamped images. Raisin-Boat-Sneak-Peek-labeled

I loved their use of new to me products as well as their innovative ways to use items I already have in my stash. Now I’m definitely going to be adding pearl pens and puff pens to my repertoire! Techniques from this class will definitely be showing up when card month comes around again this fall. (In November, I make cards all month long, and then send them out to my mailing list. You should definitely be on my mailing list if you like getting snail mail.)

Another must watch class is the class sponsored by Paper Smooches.Paper-Smooches-Sneak-Peek-labeled

Not only is it filled with fun techniques, but it’s a great lesson in how to practice. The most important thing in any creative endeavor is the willingness to experiment and make mistakes. Kim’s class is a great example of learning through experimentation. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

The rest of the classes are similarly wonderful, and I’ll tell you more about them as the month goes by.

Now, a few details about the sale for you. These classes usually go for $12.95 a piece. For the month of June, they are on sale for $9 each. Plus, if you decide to get all six classes, you can get them for an additional 33% off! That’s right. 6 classes for $39. That works out to what? $6.50 a class? That’s awesome. Seriously.

So head on over to the True Stamp sales page, and get yourself a deal!