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This blog is for sharing a love of paper crafting. You can also check out my Pintrest pages. If you find the ideas here to be helpful, I'd love to hear from you. It is what helps make the time I put into this blog feel worthwhile, and always brightens my day. I love hearing your ideas too!

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Friday, December 31, 2010

Make it Focal - Part 7 - Sweet Spot

While the center of the page draws a fair amount of attention, it can also be a bit boring. A more interesting place for your focal photo is the "sweet spot".  Photographers may be familiar with the "rule of thirds".  Applying this rule to your scrapbook page allows you to find the "sweet spot" for placing a focal photo.

The basic idea is this.  Draw two imaginary horizontal lines dividing your paper into 3rds.  Do the same with vertical lines dividing your paper into 3rds the other way.  To place a photo on the "sweet spot" you would place it where these lines fall.  It is especially effective if you place it where two lines intersect, thus placing it in the "sweet spot" both directions.  Here's an example of this.
While the photo of the pink fish falls a bit to the left of the "sweet spot", the brightest part and face of the fish fall almost directly on it.  That placement along with the bright color of the fish, really help pull the eye to it!

Now that we've discussed several ways of creating a focal point, I suggest you take some time to look at pages you've completed.  I suspect you will find that those you like the best use several of these techniques to mark the focal point -- whether you were aware you were doing that or not.  I also suspect that if you examine pages you have never been as happy with, you will discover several where your focal point is not as clear as it could be.  You may find you can use these focal point tips to fix them so you're happier with them!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cards using your Silhouette or other Die Cut Machine

I LOVE my Silhouette.  It makes great card focals and scrapbook embellishments.  Here's an example of a card I made.
The background was pieced from papers from the DCWV All Dressed Up Matstack.  The butterfly and sentiment were cut on my Silhouette.  The butterfly was cut with black and then backed with pink paper.

My Silhouette can create much more elaborate cards, too.  This card was based on a pattern made by Monica -  
The possibilities are endless!

Monday, December 27, 2010

More Cards from Scraps

Today's cards are more examples of making cards from the leftover scraps from a scrapbook page (see Cards from Scrapbooking).  The first one uses a piece of striped paper and pairs it with the coordinating green paper and blue cardstock to create a quick and easy card.  The flowers are cut using my Big Shot and a Provocraft die.
The second card makes uses of some paper scraps which I paired with purple ribbon, a teacup printed on vellum paper, and a "Dazzles" greeting.
Both the greeting and teacup were from Paper Wishes.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

By the Numbers - 6 photos

With six pictures, I often crop them into some sort of collage.  Here's an example of that.
In this layout, I didn't do the collage thing, but I printed several pictures small enough so they were more like embellishments.
You may notice that I cut around the small photos with special-edged scissors so they almost look like stamps. This helps create the feel of "embellishment".

Friday, December 24, 2010

Make it Focal - Part 6 - Look to the Center

As we've seen, there are a lot of things that can be done to help a photo stand out as your focal point.  Today we're going to look at another - place it in the center of the page.  The center of the page naturally draws attention, so placing the focal picture in that place can help.  Here are a couple examples of this:
Note that I've not relied on position alone to call out these focal pictures.  What other techniques do you see have been used? 

While we're talking about "center", let me just mention another important point. It is best when the subjects of your pictures are looking toward you or toward the center of the page.  When they are looking away from the center of the page, it carries your attention off the page instead of inviting focus on the page itself. Though subtle, it can make a big difference in the way you feel about the layout.

Though the center of the page is important, there is another placement that can be even better. Sometimes called the "sweet spot," it is the focus of next week's Make it Focal.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Another quick Christmas Card

Here's another quick Christmas card:
The background was embossed with my "Big Shot" and a Sizzix Texturz Snowflakes plate.  I cut a "mound of coal" from some handmade paper I had and added a cute snowman printed from and cut out.  The final touch was the greeting - a piece from my PW stash.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Scrapbook Pages with Paper weaving

Christmas is almost here!  Make sure you take lots of pictures for scrapbooking!  For a bit of inspiration, here are some pictures of Christmas layouts using paper folding techniques that look like paper weaving.  While this can be laboriously designed from scratch, Paper Wishes makes it very easy with their Lattice Folds Template.

I used this technique with a double-sided paper to make the borders on these pages.  You'll notice that to frame a couple of the pictures, I cut the border right down the middle to form two pieces that I put on either side of the photo.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fun with Scraps

In the past I've posted about using scraps from scrapbooking to create your cards.  Of course, scraps from ANYTHING can be useful - for cards AND for scrapbook pages.  Here are a couple of examples - a card and a scrapbook page - using scraps I had on hand.
 If you look closely, you can see that I framed the bottom photo and the sides of the bottom journaling with the SCRAPS from using the punch to frame the items on the rest of the page!  From time to time I find I am running out of a particular color of paper that I've been using and that really inspires me to make use of every scrap!
This card was made using strips of scraps to create the background.  The small gingerbread paper is actually the base card I used, but I obviously covered quite a bit of it with scraps from other papers.  I can't remember where everything came from, but I know the larger gingerbread cookies came from one of my favorite sites -

Sunday, December 19, 2010

By The Numbers - Five Photos

With five photos, layouts once again often have one focal photo and the others grouped together in some way.  Here are a couple of examples of this.

Another interesting, if a bit more challenging layout is where where I cropped the photos to different sizes to create this mosaic effect.
I love the way gray outlines these pictures.  Since I didn't have a lot of the gray cardstock, rather than try to mat everything, I cut thin gray strips and glued them!  It was certainly more challenging, but gave me the look I wanted!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Make it Focal - Part 5 - What's your Angle?

Another way to call attention to a focal picture is by its orientation.  If all the other pictures are oriented horizontally, put it vertically.  This was seen in the bird layout in Make it Focal - Part 2.  The focal picture there is vertical when the rest are horizontal.  Another easy way to use orientation to call out the focal picture is to tilt it to an angle as seen in this layout.
Here all the photos are the same size and there are quite a few of them. The focal photo has a wider mat out of a slightly different color and colorful corner treatments, but another reason it stands out is that it is at a slight angle.  If you look back through the previous posts, you'll find several layouts where the focal is at an angle.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More Quick Christmas Cards

Here are a couple more quick Christmas cards using PW base cards with some of their punchouts.
 These snowpeople are so great with the snowpeople background.  I bordered the card with blue cardstock edged in blue ribbon.  Then I added a couple of word elements from my PW stash.  The one at the bottom is a transparency.
Isn't this little guy cute?  Since he's holding a candy cane, he goes great with the background of the card base.  White lacy paper using Martha Stewart's doily punch sets things off nicely.  The greeting was cut from several colors of paper with my Silhouette.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Matting Your Pictures

To help get us in the mood for scrapbooking our Christmas memories, here's a Christmas page I made about my newborn nephew who seemed to always be sleeping.
It also shows some variations for matting your pictures.  The focal photo is matted 5 times!  It was super easy -- I just used a paper cutter and cut the rectangles so they increased in size by 1/4" each time -- thus giving an 1/8" border around each one.  Using the variety of colors helped pull the colors from the page together with the color of the shirt in the picture. Note the way the smaller pictures are arranged on a border - which is is also matted.  To get the scalloped effect, I traced around a scalloped ruler I have and then cut along the lines. Remember - multiple matting can be a great way to tie in a variety of colors in your layouts.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Stamp Your Christmas Cards

Many of you are doubtless much better than I am at stamping.  I'm still new to this technique.  However, I love the acrylic stamps.  It really helps to be able to see where I am placing my stamp.  I like to use stamps to create a fake ribbon look on cards.  Here's one I did that says "Happy Holidays".
It works especially well to make sure to stamp partially off the paper. This gives the illusion of pre-printed paper or ribbon.  This card is mostly from Paper Wishes supplies.  I think I bought the acrylic stamp at Joannes, but the globe was a paper cut-out and the ornament & sentiment was a transparency from Paper Wishes.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

By the Numbers - Four Photos

Today we'll look at some four photo layouts.  Here is one way to place four photos on a page.
Note that I varied the sizes of the photos so one stands out as focal.  This effect could also be achieved through the use of mats of various sizes. It might also be nice to have the focal photo placed at an angle to add a bit more interest. In this example, titles of each picture serve as minimal page embellishments.

Another common layout for four photos is comprised of variations on the following:
Here we have three smaller photos grouped together and one large photo in a different part of the page.  This can be a very effective way of presenting four photos because it arranges them into two groups of odd numbers of photos, and also breaks the page into thirds - an eye-pleasing arrangement.  Note the trick that I used here.  Rather than fighting to find a green that went well with all my photos, I blew up a portion of the grass in one of the photos and printed it to use for borders & lettering.

The final layout today is one that is a less common layout and thus adds interest. 
Two photos have been printed small so they almost serve as embellishments to the other photos.  I do think this page would have looked a bit better if the picture with the wide expanse of green had been brought to the foreground to help support it's role as focal photo (the green naturally draws the eye anyway).  Note how the journaling in one corner, balances the title in another, and the border helps tie it all together.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Make it Focal - Part 4 - Shape

In addition to size, another easy way to make a photo stand out is with shape. In this layout, I HAVE used size to emphasize the focal photo - it is larger and it has a wider mat than the other photos.  However, what REALLY makes the photo stand out is its oval shape.  Notice that the oval feel is repeated in the swirls behind the photo as well.
Can you spot some other tricks I've used to help call out the focal photo?

Using SHAPE to draw attention to the focal doesn't just have to mean cutting the photo into a different shape.   Consider this layout:
Note how the use of little heart treatments in the corners of the focal picture help draw the eye to it and create the illusion of a more oval picture.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More Sewing for Christmas!

Here are a couple more Christmas cards with sewn stickers for focals:

I especially like this blue one.  The word "joy" is a cut-out from a cardmaking kit I got from Paper Wishes.  The base cards are also from Paper Wishes.  The addition of ribbon sets everything off nicely.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Suede Paper Is Great!

I love the texture of the suede paper I got through Paper Wishes!  Today I've got a great card and some lovely embellishments for a scrapbook layout - made with suede paper.
 I love the way the red suede sets off the rest of this card.  In real life, it feels so luxurious!
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the suede paper cuts very well on my Silhouette.  Here I made some embellishments for a swap I was in - using the green suede paper and some Fancy Work Stickers. I cut the tree from the suede paper, outlined it with a silver paper, and decorated it with the stickers.  Similarly I cut the words from the suede paper, outlined them with the silver paper, and decorated them with a few stickers.  The bell is a fancy work sticker stitched with thread and highlighted with a metallic pen.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Stitch in Time for Christmas Cards!

Do you make LOTS of Christmas cards?  I sure do.  I love to make focals for my cards using stitched stickers.  One brand of these is Dazzles by Paper Wishes (Hot Off the Press).  I made these samples with stickers I got from Paper Wishes, though they are not the Dazzles brand.

The technique is pretty simple. Peel the sticker off the backing and place it on a piece of paper or cardstock.  Poke through the stitching holes with a paper piercer. Stitch using thread and design of your choice.  These focals are especially nice when mounted with the 3-d foam tape.

I found that after I removed the sticker the backing paper showed indentations where the stitching holes were, so I could take the outline of the sticker and the "innies" that remained and create a second stitched focal, using the backing paper to show me where I needed to poke the holes.  Here's an example of that.
So, there you have it - two for the price of one!  Several of the companies that make this type of sticker sell "transfer paper" that you can use to transfer the outlines and "innies" to your paper.  I found that I could use the blue "painter's tape" (like you get in the home improvement stores) to transfer these bits, though I had to go slow enough to make sure the tape was picking up all the bits.  If some bits weren't coming, I just rubbed a bit more or used my fingernail to ensure that the tape picked everything up.  It worked great!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

By the Numbers - Three Photos

Today we'll look at some 3 photo layouts.  I think these are some of the easiest for me because the eye naturally likes odd numbers and it's usually pretty easy to fit 3 photos on a page.  Like I mentioned with the two-photo layouts, it can be fun to use oversized photos on a page.  Here's a layout where I did that.
I especially like the way the circular architecture in the large picture adds interest to the page without needing a bunch of embellishments.

This page shows photos of different, though more standard, sizes.
I like the single mat for all three photos. The focal point is still very clear.  I also like the torn edges and multiple mats of the journaling.  It adds interest without a lot of fuss.

The last one I'll show today uses standard size photos.  I like the color-block or patchwork look of this page.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Make it Focal - Part 3 - Size

In both of the previous posts, the examples demonstrate another valuable feature for creating a focal point - size.  The physical size of the photo matters.  If there is a picture that is larger than the others on the page, it will often draw the eye and can be a very easy way of helping to create a focal point.
However, the picture itself doesn't HAVE to be larger than the others to make use of size to create a focal point!  Look at this example.
The focal picture is actually the same size as another one on the page, but it is matted to make it appear larger. If you go back and look at the layout in the post "Make it Focal - Part 1" you will see that I used this technique there.  In fact, I used an extra large mat with added journaling and really increased the appearance of size for the focal picture.

Often when thinking about creating a focal point, the more techniques used the better.  While size is important and can make or break a focal, I've found that I must be particularly careful about relying on size alone to create a focal point.  I must think about other things too.  For instance, bright colors will draw the eye, as will people in the picture.  If the smaller photo has bright colors and people and the larger one doesn't, you may discover that the larger picture is NOT the one that draws the eye!

Toward the end of this series, I'll show you a page where the smaller of two pictures is actually the focal point. In the meantime what, besides size, can you see that helped create the focal point in these pictures?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gingerbread Christmas Cards

No, this post is NOT about creating Christmas cards from gingerbread cookies (though that might not be a bad idea - looking at these cards makes me HUNGRY!).  It is about gingerbread cookie themed Christmas Cards.  These were quick and easy to make using base cards from Paper Wishes, along with some decorative elements I got in a couple of punch-out books from them. Here are the cards with a brief description for each.
 I thought these gingerbread cutouts made a nice focal for the gingerbread background. I put a rounded border at the top to look a bit like a candy shop awning. I stamped the word "believe" and the border below. The bottom border and top "awning" were edged with ribbon.  Then I scattered some snowflakes punched from white paper on both the "awning" and the bottom border.
 This gingerbread cookie holding the sentiment had a candy cane attached, so it fit right in with the candy background.  The larger candy pieces were also cutouts.  A bit of striped paper and ribbon finish the card.
Here I edged the card with green paper, red ribbon and a gingerbread border (cutouts from PW).  The gingerbread cookie focal fits the theme of the background perfectly!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More Cards using Dimensional Paint

Today I've got some more cards using dimensional paint.  This technique is great for Christmas cards, but also good for other occasions.
For this Christmas card I used a metal stencil with white dimensional paint on a green background. I cut the green cardstock with decorative scissors, and glued it to my card base, along with narrow strips along the edges.  The border is a border stamp inked in green and stamped on the white card background.
This card is made with a base card from Hot Off the Press. The flowered border was made using dimensional paint and a stencil from The Stencil Collection.  The greeting is stamped with black ink, the border is punched with Martha Stewart's Doily punch, and the butterflies are stickers from my stash.