Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tutorial : House Guests for Project Life

When the Studio Calico House Guests stamp set came out a few months ago, I seriously gasped. I can't turn down a cute set like this (especially one by LifeLovePaper), but since my primary method of memory keeping is through Project Life, I needed a way to incorporate the set into those smaller pockets.
So I created a 3x4 house cut file (freebie!) and a step-by-step tutorial on how I assembled my little house for this Project Life spread.
Everything is available for download here.
Grab your favorite paper pad or scraps, plus a few ink pads and get decorating! If you use the cut file, I'd love to see it! Tag me in the Studio Calico gallery or on Instagram with username @nicolereaves.
This cut file will also work with the Holiday House stamp set - which I can't wait to get my hands on. It'll be adorable for everything holidays and December. Enjoy!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall Handbook 2014 | Opening Page

Ahh, divided page protectors are my favorite. And by now you probably know I love to use them for my album opening page because they are perfect for adding bits and pieces of your most loved embellishments - and they're just fun. This first page uses this page protector.
I knew I wanted to use the photo of my kids behind the divided page as my first full page. As I rummaged through my stash, I choose lots of kraft, gold, wood and navy for the divided page and kept most of the pockets see-thru so you could get a peek of that photo before turning the page.
Some of the embellishments are adhered right to the top of the page protector (like the breathe badge and the chipboard camera) and others I stitched into the pocket to keep them from falling out. And of course I added a tab to the edge.

Here is the back :
My biggest tip when putting together a page like this is to create the front and back together and don't adhere anything in place until you know what the back will look like too.
Make sure you embellish or cover the backs of stickers, or decorate the backs of labels or tags with more paper or stamping prior to finalizing your page with glue or stitching. Above, I added some repeated date stamping to the top left card. I also used the 'let's get cozy' stamp from this set to the back of the hello banner tag before slipping it in the pocket and machine stitching it in place. For the cork circles in the top right pocket, I adhered them back-to-back to make them double sided so they can float freely inside the pocket with a veneer geotag.

Supplies used : Baker Street add-on (blue label, cork circles, hello banner tag, gold scallop card); Chelsea add-on (breathe badge, veneer pie chart); Poet Society PL Main (blue Fall clip); Studio Calico South of Market collection (white and woodgrain star sequins, phrases stickers); Studio Calico Essentials collection (veneer geotags, chipboard camera); Gum Drop add-on (gold tipped leaves); Scarf stamp set, ink - galaxy gold brilliance and deja blue

You can see all of my Fall Handbook updates here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fall Handbook 2014 | 02 with The Underground

I've got three more Project Life spreads to share today that I made for my fall handbook with The Underground kits.
Enjoy your day
With the kids in school, I'm spending a lot more time with myself. Which means I'll be adding more 'me' and what I'm doing on a regular basis into my album. I'm pretty excited about that.
Life Lately
The veneer pie chart pieces are so cool. I'm kind of sad I used them all. On this spread, I used an Exacto knife to cut it in half and then framed my typed journaling, top and bottom, before adding some zig-zag stitching to attach the veneer to the photo. I used the masking tape in the PL main to fill in the white space under the apple crates at our local cider mill. I love the texture and the slight translucency of that tape. And the roll is huge!

I've also mixed up the last two Studio Calico kits to create an opening page which I need to share soon. You can see all of my Fall Handbook updates here. Thanks so much for looking!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tutorial : Hand Stitching on a Photo

The amazing Paige Evans designed this really fun background Silhouette cut file for the Studio Calico The Underground kits and when I was working on my layouts this month, I knew I had to incorporate it somehow. I had several spreads with these big 6x8 photos and my first thought was to try to cut out the design on my photo. Nah - it needed something more, like texture.
After sleeping on it, I decided to experiment with using the file as a stitching template and it is so very easy. Let me show you how.
1. Open Photoshop. I'm using Photoshop Elements 9. You can download a free 30-day trial of version 13 here.
2. Open the photo you want to stitch on and do any necessary or desired editing. Mine was in the vertical orientation so I sized it down to 6" wide x 8" high for my Handbook. If you are using this particular background file, there are four sizes included - 12x12, 8.5x11, 6x8 and 4x6.
3. Next, open the .PNG of the background cut file in the same size as your photo. If you want to use the design as is (where the cross/plus pattern fills the entire page), move on to the next step. Otherwise, you can alter it here like I did. I used the Eraser Tool (the little pink eraser in the toolbar), set the brush size to 250 px and erased three diamonds in the lower portion of the design.
4. Toggle back to your photo. From the Project Bin, I dragged the .PNG up to the active window (my photo) to place the .PNG over the photo. In the Layers panel on the right, the background should be first, and your photo second. You'll see the .PNG looks like it is stamped over your photo. Next, with this design selected in the Layers panel, turn the opacity down (I went down to 73% to tone down the black background). The embroidery floss will be covering the design, but I wanted it to be just dark enough to pierce.
5. Print and trim your photo and collect your supplies. I'm using a paper piercer, a cutting mat to protect my work surface from all of the holes I'm going to make, a needle and embroidery floss in the color of your choice (I used gold) and scissors.
6. With your paper piercer, start making holes in your photo at the end of each (+) plus. Top, bottom, left and right until you get them all.
On my photo, it's easier to see the completed piercing from the backside.
7. Thread your needle with embroidery floss and start stitching. I usually begin with a pattern I want to follow. You can start from any end of each (+) plus - just be consistent. On my photo, I started on the underside, poked my needle UP through the right side of the (+) plus, then back DOWN through the left side, UP through the bottom hole, the DOWN through the top.
I had a few slip ups, but for the most part, the vertical stitch is over the horizontal stitch on each (+) plus. Keep stitching each (+) of the diamonds on your photo.
8. Keep going! This is a great project to work on while watching a movie since it takes a bit of time, but it's also easy to stop and start again if you need to.
I think it took me about 1.5 hours to complete all of the stitching on this photo. Not too bad considering I'm a novice hand stitcher. And I love the results. It's subtle. It added some awesome texture to this cozy fall photo. And well, it's gold.
Such a fun project for any season, any photo and any color stitching. I'd love to try this with a black and white photo and a bold (maybe neon?) floss. Oh, the wheels are turning now.

Here is my completed project. You can see a full supply list here.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fall Handbook 2014 | 01 with The Underground

New season = a new Handbook and Studio Calico's The Underground kits could not have been more fitting. It's reveal day and today I'm sharing the first half of six spreads I made with the October kits. Clicking on the photos will take you to my gallery where you can see the layouts + closeups a bit larger than here on the blog.

Please note : at the time of this posting, links to kits and coordinating items will only work for Studio Calico subscribers. The Underground will be available to the general public at 12 midnight EST tonight, the evening of September 27th. 
Morgan's first day of 1st grade
The center insert is a 4 pocket page protector cut in half vertically.
Parker's first day of preschool
I went big with the kids first day of school spreads. A 6x8 photo plus a clipping from some artwork they brought home during those first few days were the base of each layout.
Staying In
This spread ended up being one of my favorites ever. On the large 6x8 photo, I used Paige's background cut file as a stitching template over this photo I snapped of my first PSL of the season. The gold embroidery floss ended up being the perfect subtle touch for this enlargement and it balanced the gold on the opposite side. I'll be sharing a start to finish tutorial here on my blog on Monday of how I did this.

So, that's the first three spreads. I'll share the rest next week, but until then you can see them all here in the Creative Team gallery. And since it's also time to shop, these are my favorites this month, as well as what I snagged to be bundled with my scrapbook kit subscription :
  • King's Cross add-on : I love the stamp set and bits of pink in this one. I have a mini album I'm going to start next month and the colors in this embellishment add on will be perfect. And of course, if you're a fan of LifeLovePaper and Hello Forever, this kit is a must.
  • Scarf stamp set : I've already used bits of this one on a page I'll share soon and the interchangeable pieces are awesome. This set is going to get a lot of action in the coming months. So cute.
  • Here + There Craft Die : I think this die would be perfect for any travel album and I love that these dies are separate. Cool font and I love the ampersand as well. Perfect for any paper scraps you have on hand, or a 4x6 paper pad.
  • Halloween Cards : Love love love. I've already set mine aside to document Halloween next month - trick or treating, as well as the kids classroom parties.
  • more 12x12 vellum

Happy shopping + enjoy the rest of your weekend!