Monday, 27 July 2015

'Always Believe' Layout
7 Dots Studio Soulmates Collection






Hi everyone!  Back today with a layout to share, that is up on the 7 Dots Studio blog 
HERE today.  It uses one of my favourite collections, Soulmates.  This collection is
 truly so easy to use that I end up reaching for it time & time again.  The colours are 
amazing,soft & feminine & the words & sentiments are always appropriate.  


For this page I focused on utilizing the Soulmates tag sheet as well as the grid of paper
 left over once all the tags have been popped out {the negative area of the paper}.  
This is a great way to not waste any paper & also to add texture & interest.  
As you can see I misted it in a light brown colour so it was not startling 
white, so as to blend well with the soft colour scheme.  


For my mixed media base I used the Soulmates stencil, which is honestly the prettiest 
pattern I have ever seen on a stencil & definitely a must-have in my opinion.  As well 
as white modelling paste I also used shades of brown & black mist plus white acrylic
 paint for some deep, rich colour for the bottom area of my layout.  This grounds the
 top layers onto the paper so it all blends in cohesively.


I also used some 7 Dots Studio stamps, some Soulmates stickers & some dry-wall tape. 
 For my embellishments I used Prima flowers, micro-beads & a lovely, copper wire
 heart embellishment as well as various other bits & bobs.  Yes I went a bit overboard 
with all the adornments but I was in the mood for some shabby romanticism :)


I really enjoyed putting this one together.  I love the tactile look of texture & embellishments 
which is why Clean & Simple is just not something I can achieve very successfully,
 although with mixed media it is certainly a lot easier to do these days as so much 
can be achieved with mediums, yet still be almost completely flat.  BIG plus for
 practical reasons {getting layouts into albums} which after all is pretty important!


Thanks for your visit today.  I would really appreciate you signing up
 as an official follower of my blog HERE if you are a regular reader
 & enjoy my content.  Many thanks & wishing you all 
a wonderful week ahead.  






Sunday, 26 July 2015

6 Simple Ways to Increase your Creative Time






I find that when I get out of being creative it makes me grumpy. Being creative is healthy.
 It's like going to the gym or going to the movies - it's really, really good for you! 
Depending on your personality type it may actually be something you have
 no choice in, something you just have to do.

That's all well & good in an ideal scenario but few of us live in the perfect environment
 so how can we make it happen? How can we get to spend more time each
 & every day doing what we love, that makes us feel so good?

1.  Make it a habit. Do something creative every day
A creative habit can be formed, in just the same way
 we form other habits, through regular doing.

2.  Make it an appointment. Choose a time to meet with yourself,
 that you know you will be able to stick to. It doesn't need to be
 exact but think of your work area like a person who is waiting for you.

3.  Set up a dedicated work space. In other words somewhere where you just create. 
Obviously this one depends hugely on the home you live in & what is available. 
I have a small office/work room that we created by converting the entrance hall
 of our home, so we now enter our house straight through the dining room.

  Just like I did, creating your own special space may mean sacrificing something. 
It may even mean an area of your lounge or bedroom. It doesn't matter where
 you create, as long as you can keep some stuff out & set up at all times
 so there's a place that's calling you - a place to go & be.

4.  Set yourself goals - big &small - written & unwritten, depending on where you are
 in your life at the moment. Right now I am very distracted because I am dealing with
 some massive life issues, but at the end of every day I am still spending a few hours
 in my workspace, which transports me mentally, out of my situation & into one
 which is way less stressful. Give yourself a reason to get into your workspace,
 decide in advance what you will be doing in there & make that your mission.

5.  Cultivate an Obligation to your Stash.  In a lot of countries, like South Africa, 
where I live, art & craft supplies are difficult to get hold of & expensive, so buying 
them means sacrificing somewhere else. This has never been a problem for me
 fortunately as I'm not into anything else in a major way, so it's where I choose to 
spend my money, even though I've never had loads of disposable income, so
 I've always had to be very choosy, given that I import a lot myself & pay huge
 shipping costs & 20% duty on top of that.

. I realised after a few years in my new-found vocation, that I was buying faster than
 I was creating. BIG MISTAKE.  Work out your purchase/create ratio & don't buy 
beyond your needs. Yes really. Don't do it. Don't let anyone tempt you, least of all 
sales. Everything I'm stuck with that I don't like came from a sale & storing it
 ain't cheap! All year I've been in a mission to sort out my storage space & it's
 been a monthly expense.  So be accountable to your stash
Only buy what you have real intention of using, soon.

6. Simplify your work area. This is a whole topic on it's own but the bones of it is
 - keep your stuff organised & accessible. Forget about beautifying your space.
 That comes RIGHT AT THE END. The most important thing is that you can
 find what you need, fast & without frustration. If you can't, the thought of 
getting into your space will be more like going to Hell than going to Heaven!




Thursday, 23 July 2015

Want "someone else" to share your Blog Posts
to Facebook & Twitter? Here's How!





I know "it's easy" to share your own links to your other Social Media Accounts. 
 I've been doing it for years!  BUT it's a hassle.  Just another step, another click,
 another thing on an endless list of "things to do".  Imagine if someone else
 could do that for you.  WOW.  That would be AWESOME!!

I was daydreaming about that a few weeks ago, which led to me visiting my
 trusted friend, Google, to see if he knew of anyone.  He led me to Symphony!

 Symphony is a tool that does just that!  Manages your social media accounts.
  Score!  It automatically shares my blog posts to BOTH my private AND my
 public Facebook pages as well as to my Twitter account.  

I've only been using Symphony for a few weeks & already it is SUCH A PLEASURE
having my own reliable "personal assistant".  I signed up for a one month free trial
& sadly that time has almost come to an end.  Of course I would like to continue but
to do so it's going to cost me $29 a month...or so I thought!!  

However, I received an email from Symphony, saying that if I write an honest
review of their service on my blog I can extend my free trial to a YEAR - well
that is a pretty awesome saving of $348 so who am I to say no to that?!?

I highly recommend Symphony & would like to offer all my readers a FREE TRIAL.

Just click the link HERE to sign up & PLEASE LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS
 if you have/are going to, because it will be interesting for me to see!!  
THANK YOU!!


I haven't spent a lot of time finding out exactly what more Symphony can do for me
 to be honest.  All I really want at this stage is to save myself a few minutes a few
 times a week, by having someone else share the burden of sharing my blog posts
 to my other social media sites, ie Facebook & Twitter.  It seems to be doing that
very efficiently!  In fact I am still pleasantly surprised when I see all my posts
 there & I haven't had to put them there myself.  It's like magic really!!

The only downside I can think of for now is the cost.  $29 a month is R362. 
 For me in South Africa that's a lot of money to spend for saving an hour a month. 
 I think,for businesses using Symphony every day it's okay but for individuals,
 especially ones like me that don't make money out of their blogs, it's too 
expensive to justify it's function.  

If I think in terms of cappuccinos that's 13 cups.  I'd rather share the posts myself
 & be able to afford to drink more coffee!   I would be prepared to pay no more
 than R200 a month for the pleasure of having someone else share to my social
 media for me.  That's $16 a month.  Perhaps that's just me & due to our very 
unfavourable exchange rate!  

Hopefully I'll have more time now that my freetrial will be extended for a year
 to take a good look around the Symphony site HERE & see if there is 
anything else amazing that Symphony has to offer to justify the price.
 
If not I'll just enjoy it & carry on recommending it & hope that by the
 time next year comes round either I'll be richer or it will be cheaper!!



Monday, 20 July 2015

'Chives' Layout - 7 Dots Studio July 'Animals' Challenge






Hi everyone!  Today is the start of a NEW CHALLENGE up at 7 Dots Studio - this time
with the theme of ANIMALS.  Easy!  Even if you do not have your own, perhaps you 
have pictures of when you visited the zoo or something similar?  We have 4 cats, 
all of whom we love dearly & occasionally I scrapbook them too!  This is our
only male cat, Chives, & he is not normally very photogenic so I don't
 have many photos of him at all. See the challenge post HERE.


Remember to link up to the challenge post on the 7 Dots Studio blog 
& also to display this graphic in your post for your entry to be valid,
as well, of course, of using ANY 7 Dots Studio product/s, even just ONE.


Again I used my favourite Soulmates papers, together with all sorts of other bits & pieces from Prima, Webster's Pages & UmWowStudio too, plus 7 Dots Stamps from the Illumination Collection & die-cuts from Nature Walk, so quite a selection here. 


Chives is very much an outside cat.  We have very warm weather here & he enjoys 
spending time outside in the sunshine, so I used insect elements/embellishments 
& nature colours to reinforce this theme, so mainly browns & greens.  


Because he is a boy I used some rugged elements like wooden alphas, staples & metal embellishments although I also used flowers & bling, which I can't resist on any layout!


Plenty of texture from mixed media, dry-wall tape, twine, skeleton leaves & organza ribbon.


Again I used negative areas from the tag sheet here to create additional texture on
 my background, stamping, misting & splattering in shades of brown, black & greens.  


I hope that you will be able to play along with our challenge at 7 Dots this month. 
 The only requirement for your project is to use the theme ANIMALS 
{could be party animals or naughty  as children too I guess!}
as well as a minimum of ONE 7 Dots Studio product.  



The winner is chosen by the Design Team & always receives an awesome prize
 pack of 7 Dots goodies!  Challenge is open for one month starting today!!  



Tuesday, 14 July 2015

'Happy' Notebook - Splash it! Collection - Studio 75






Hi everyone!  Sorry if you received this post already, or already checked it out,
as I didn't have it set up correctly & had pre-scheduled it instead of putting it
into Drafts - oops!  So here it is again with the correct information this time!


I created this notebook cover for Studio 75 & it went live today on their blog HERE.
I have quite a few little notebooks lying around my drawers & this year I have opted
for one A5 planner instead, so I decided it was time to give my notebooks away as
gifts, after I had prettied them up of course!


As well as Studio 75 products I used a flower vine that I've had forever as well as some 
metallic thread & a lovely piece of chipboard from Scrapiniec!  See the exact piece 
HERE {I cut it in half & inked it up roughly so some of the base colour showed through}.


I used the new Splash! It collection from Studio 75 - just up my street as you can see!
These papers have some lovely splashes of color on them already but
 because I love playing with inks and added some more as well !!
I used Base paper Splash it! 01 &  7 x 12 "double-sided

Splash it 01


Splash it 05


Do not forget we have a fun challenge going on at the moment, to use in BUTTERFLIES
 on your project.  See it HERE & try to play along! We would love you is join us !!




Sunday, 12 July 2015

Freedom Layout - 7 Dots Studio
Guest Designing at Scrap Around The World!






At last I have something new to share!  
Believe me it is exciting as I really hate to leave my blog dormant too long!!  
However, such is life at times & I have been busy, busy behind the scenes
 & have a whole stack of projects stockpiled for future months.  
Getting ahead is the greatest feeling!!


Today, at Scrap Around The World, some ladies from the Design Team 
at 7 Dots Studio HERE came over for a visit with us as our 
Guest Design Team & shared their wonderful creations on our blog. 
 I was one of them as I am a member of the team at 7 Dots
 & of course SATW too :)  You can see the post up on the 
Scrap Around The World blog HERE.  


So it meant I got to work with our gorgeous July mood board all over again!
No complaints here!!  What a riotous & colourful board.  Such a nice change!!
I used the amazing Soulmates Collection - the base-paper being
 ''The Power of Love" paper HERE.  I also used the 12 inch 
Tag Sheet HERE & the WORD sticker sheet HERE.


I used some lovely beeg Prima flowers with gorgeous feather leaves & gem centres,
from the Epiphany Collection {201405} with some little vines in between, as well as
some awesome new Bella Rouge 'Say it in Crystals' pieces {201408} & of course
we CANNOT forget about the beautiful Finnabair Glass Beads in 'Butter' {961701}


The stamps I used also came from 7 Dots Studio - Illumination Collection HERE.
Probably my FAVOURITE stamps from 7 Dots - a very versatile set!  My
background mixed media work is a combination of gesso, alcohol inks & gold ink.
Nothing beats the saturated colour of alcohol inks, which is often NOT what 
I am looking for due to it's brightness, but of course in this case it was!


The lyrics come from a song my son wrote, which you can listen to HERE,
 which he wrote about my daughter's messy break-up last year.  I combined 
it with a photograph of her in contemplation on the beach, shortly after the 
whole ordeal, so this was also a very meaningful layout for me & signifies
 the positive end to a traumatic experience & a whole new, colourful beginning!



PLEASE SUPPORT US AT SATW BY PLAYING ALONG WITH OUR CURRENT CHALLENGE HERE!   The prize is a large & small collection pack of ALL 3 
OF THEIR VERY BRAND NEW COLLECTIONS!  
Yuletide, Verano Azul & Lost & Found!

Surely that is enough to tempt you all to give it a go?!?

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO JOIN MY BLOG IF YOU
 ENJOY READING IT & ARE NOT ALREADY A 
GOOGLE FRIEND CONNECT FOLLOWER ♥




Monday, 6 July 2015

Scrapbooking 101 - Lesson 1 Part 2 - How to Win
Scrapbooking Challenges & Get onto Design Teams






*Scroll back to previous post for lesson 1. 
 Feel free to link up to me or share this post but as my content 
not your own as my blog content is copy written - thank you*

Well thank you everyone for your feedback!!  I can certainly see from my comments
& blog stats that this is indeed a conversation that interests many! 

 However, this article {Spread over this post & the previous one} are entitled 
"How to Win Scrapbooking Challenges & Get onto Design Teams" for those
 people who want to know, therefore what I'm sharing here is how to do it, 
based on my personal experience & what I have learnt over the 8 years 
that I have been involved in such goings on, not saying that you must do it. 

 By all means feel free not to do it if you can afford to scrap without 
sponsored product & don't thrive on being a part of a team or want
 to be more involved.  Everyone is different.  For me I love what I do
& only wish that real life afforded me more time to pursue it even more.

So let us continue...


11.  Follow instructions.  There is nothing more annoying for busy team members
 than coming across entries that are not linked to the actual blog post {scrolling away
 trying to find the correct post} or seeing a beautiful of-the-page project on a site 
that doesn't accept them.  If you can't link up to a challenge correctly & take time
 to read the simple rules companies & online communities put in place to 
streamline the comment & voting process they probably won't have the
 time to spoon-feed you through the process.  
You need to learn this yourself :)

12.  Take the time to learn a simple, free editing program like Picasa,
PicMonkey or Photoscape.  (Or an expensive one like Photoshop
if you like - BTW good luck with that!!) &  come up with your own 
"actions" - in other words - the same editing recipe for each photo.

Make your photos clear, sharp & popping.  That means accentuating the highlights
 & the shadows for something slightly more dramatic than the AUTO mode will 
give you.  It simply results in a more appealing photograph.  It's not cheating
 as you are not altering your creation in any way, you are simply showing
 it off as best as possible, like putting your make-up on before you go 
out on a date - you're going to look a touch improved from when you 
wake up yes?!?  

13.  Straighten your photo & CROP IT LIKE A PRO.  This will give you an
automatic advantage over any other projects not photographed to perfection. 
Practice makes perfect.  I have a link in the top of my right-hand sidebar HERE
for how to take decent photos of your layouts.  I taught myself so so can you!
 Take a decent photo straight on then edit it to pure perfection.  It's all about
 the skill NOT the camera!  In time you will learn how to get it juuuust right,
because THERE IS NOTHING WORSE  THAN OVER-EDITING!!

Before spending any more improving the standard of your scrapbooking 
take time to improve the standard of your photography because 
otherwise you cannot showcase what you do clearly online
 & your lovely work will not be shown off to it's full potential.

14.  Create a separate blog post for your challenge entries.  It's too confusing 
& time-consuming for people judging to have to fiddle about trying to work out
 which entry is for which challenge if there are multiple projects in a post.

15.  Learn to link up to a specific URL not your whole blog!!  GOOGLE IT.

16.  Put your main photo first.  Show close ups but make sure your main 
photo is first & is sized to XL.  That way it's easy to find & easy to see 
without an extra click.

17.  Even if you can enter as many other challenges as you like according
 to the challenge rules don't go crazy trying to increase your chances
 by entering every challenge out there at the same time.  This will just 
make you looklazy & like a chancer rather than someone genuinely
inspired by the challenge & interested in the community.

18.  KEEP IT SHORT, SWEET & TO THE POINT.  People have next to no
 time these days to read scrolls.  Your sick dog is something to share with 
your nearest & dearest & keep out of your opening paragraph. Sure,
 it is fun to know the person behind the blog & their personality but
 not fun to have to read a mountain of literature daily to keep up
 with the scrapbooking artists that inspire you.  

19.  HONOUR YOUR COMMITMENT TO YOUR BLOG.  
Blog at least once a week, even if it is photos of your working space, 
your favourite products etc.  Don't give people an opportunity to delete 
you off their blog roll because they wonder if you'll ever be back :) 
 On the other hand, don't overdo the posting so people dread visiting 
you for fear of how much they will have to catch up!!  
It's all about balance, like everything in life :)

20.  If you win a challenge or get a place remember to say thank you.  
You'd be surprised how many people don't bother & to the administrators
 it's heart-warming & MEMORABLE!!  It shows your character & appreciation
& when DTs are brainstorming over suitable future members could put YOU
on the list!!

21.  Advertise for the manufacturer or challenge site.  You know the saying
 "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have"?  Same goes here - 
act like you're on the DT already if you want to get onto it!  Share their 
challenges & sing their praises, let them & others know that you are a big fan!

22.  ASK!  If you feel you have prepared the way already & done the ground work.  
Send off an email to the owner expressing your interest & linking to your CV.
Keep it short & to the point but friendly & positive. Be bold & go 
confidently in the direction of your dreams! {But don't expect a reply LOL}

23.  Grow a thick skin.  Let rejection wash off you like water off a duck's back,
because unless you are mega-talented & immediately social media savvy
YOU.WILL.FACE.REJECTION.REGULARLY.

24.  Keep a record of your highlights.  ie, any challenges you win, teams
you make, etc, & keep it updated.  This is your CV that you will link up to
when required.  

25.  Be tenacious.  EVERYONE has a lot of NOS & disappointments
that they often don't share.  Make a plan of action & stick to it but
don't count your chickens before they hatch. You may take several 
applications to the same team to get what you want or you may
 decide to change course altogether  & pursue different teams.
Just know that you are in this for the long haul.  You should
be doing this because you love to do it, so that nothing you
expend your energy on will you consider to be a waste.

26.  Stay hungry but keep things in perspective.  Do what
you love because it feeds your soul.  That is what being a true
artist is all about.  Not many of us get to feed our families off it.
Sad truth.  So make it fit into your life & remember it is not the
be all & end all of your existence & you are not defined by it.