May Clique Kits: Breaking a New Kit

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Aloha Friday everyone! Today I am talking about my first layout using a brand new kit that arrived to brighten a very blah week. Why was this week blah? Well, nothing specific- just everyday “adulting” and 3 little letters: I R S. I don’t know anyone who feels excited to be alive on tax day, do you? Even those people getting money back have to face the reality of how much of their hard earned money was sucked up by Uncle Sam over the past year. Anyway, as one of my BFF’s Lacey said the other day, and this quote should really go down in history: “When one is feeling anxious, one should scrapbook I think.”  So true Lacey, so true!

Do you have a routine when a new kit first arrives to “break” the kit by creating your first project with it? I always have a hard time with this. Once I go through everything and sniff that new paper smell and drool over all the pretty stuff I have a hard time deciding what to do first. The arrival of the May Clique Kits Riga kit was no different.

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The Riga kit contains a beautiful selection of papers and they are actually from multiple collections each with its own concept. Even though the papers coordinate with each other the details behind the little phrases give away that they each have something a little different to offer. For example, the papers and embellishments from the Pinkfresh Studio Case of the Blah’s collection are all about being real and expressing the vulnerability we all know is there in being authentic and documenting even when we didn’t wake up and “be amazing.” So it was the concept of this collection that spoke to me the most and I decided to do my first layout focusing on how I was really feeling that day. I had a selfie which was the perfect photo for this layout.

My plan was to use a simple mask/stencil stripe pattern (Stampin’ Up) to create a bold black painted foreground to layer over the gorgeous gray wonky grid like patterned paper that I chose as a background.

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Whenever I get something new, I seem to always want to use it right away and this Wild Hibiscus stamp (Altenew) was on my desk. I stamped a bunch of flowers on some watercolor paper and then used my Kuretake paints to add some of the color palette in Riga so they would work with whatever other embellishments I decided to pull out of the kit. I adhered them in layers at different heights for depth and texture.

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The fabric die cuts included in the kit are really nice- I love having texture but not bulk!

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Now that I completed my first layout, I am feeling inspired to go ahead and kill this kit this month! And I hope that by documenting this selfie with these messages someday my girls will see this and remember they are enough and beautiful as they are, no apologies for imperfections and flaws, and no shame in an ordinary life well lived.

-xGia

 

 

Maggie Holmes Flourish Cards

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The April 2018 Clique Kits “Winter Park” kits featuring Maggie Holmes Flourish collection is so pretty and versatile for any project. I am not usually a card maker, but April is the month my mother and grandmother both celebrate their birthdays, so I was inspired to use scraps from my kits to whip up some fast cards.

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I was a little disappointed though that the photos do not do justice to the texture of the backgrounds which I embossed! The bird card is for my grandmother who turns 100 tomorrow! Wow! 100 years- is amazing. I hope I have her genes.

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This bunny is for my Mom, whose birthday is the 28th.

If you look closely you can see a doily pattern on one and a swiss dots pattern on the other very faintly. I used ephemera from my kit to embellish scraps of paper that I had die cut some leaves out of. I never like to waste paper, so I used both the leaves and the negative space left behind after cutting on my Big Shot, only I used them on a different set of cards-the one shown below as an example!

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This Spring card shows how I used the Maggie Holmes acetate specialty paper as a backing for the geometric planter. I also used those adorable vintage music paper butterfly confetti from the Clique Kits shop.

Here are the other products I used:

The Hero Arts Terrarium Die:

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Kesi-Art Metaliks Leafy:

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It figures that in 2018 after finally giving myself permission to NOT have to make handmade cards (even though I have enough supplies to make cards for the rest of my life) what do I do- I start whipping out some cards. Next I am going to give myself permission to NOT have to lose 10 pounds and see how that works for me.

-xGia

 

 

Take 5 Challenge for Traveler’s Notebook Layouts

Hi everybody! Today I am channeling my inner minimalist in my traveler’s notebook and wanted to share with you my take on a challenge I saw online somewhere-only instead of using it for full size layouts I am applying it to my recent traveler’s notebook spreads. You are probably familiar with some variation of the concept of selecting a handful of things from a list and limiting yourself to just those items in a layout. Yeah…that’s the one. Here are the 5 items I chose!

  1. Ephemera
  2. Washi Tape
  3. Stickers
  4. Stamp Sets
  5. Patterned paper pads

I did not “count” things that I consider to be staple supplies like something to write with, adhesive, and ink for the stamp sets, but otherwise I was fully compliant!

So first up I have a “divider” spread where I used washi tape to add a vellum page to serve as my marker for a new section ( and also because of its general prettiness.)

 

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I tend to be all over the spectrum from minimalist to maximalist in style depending on the day and the mood on my layouts but it never ceases to amaze me that when I do the simplest things to just get the memory documented I realize how much time is spent adding extra stuff to the essentials- a great photo, a caption or title, and a little bit of color to make it pop.

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This spread is shown pre- handwritten journaling- and did not end up quite this sparse but almost.

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And this last one only uses paper and one sticker, and yet I still love how it looks and how it conveys the memory perfectly. I mean, I will always know who, what, and when this memory happened. And that is the truly the essential part of scrapbooking.

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My overall assessment of this challenge and what I learned:

I love to strip back to the essentials sometimes because it gives me a chance to really focus on the overall design of the layout. You know those elements and principles of design we use all the time but sometimes we are not as intentional about?  Thinking about things like unity, rhythm, balance, proportion, variety, emphasis, and movement. Simple exercises like this help to practice, practice practice design.

I learned that sometimes I am so focused on how a page looks that I forget to record the crucial little details that will prompt the memory 10 or 20 years from now. (Trust me, I thought I would not need those things until I started looking back at layouts from 20 years ago and really wanted to kick myself!)

So what’s the down side? At this rate I will never go through even a tiny fraction of my stash by the end of the year. How will I possibly justify buying all the new pretty stuff that comes out? First world problems, I know.

-xGia

 

 

April Kits Combined= Lovely

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Hi there! I have another layout to share using the April Winter Park Clique Kits and this time I used both the main kit and actually mostly the Travelers Notebook kit together. I personally use them together more often than not. And its not because I couldn’t easily knock out five or six layouts with either one kit by itself. It is more because I love the way the products complement one another. For April, both kits featured the same collection which is often the case. But not true of every single month for variety- and sometimes due to product availability there are months where the TN kit features a completely different collection. Nonetheless I love using them together as they always work so well this way for  me.

This time I have beautiful Maui photo taken last summer and I searched the Silhouette Design store for a cut file with a Hawaiian motif. This hibiscus cluster outline was just right!

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This layout is also shared on the Clique Kits blog and I hope you will stop by there too as there is always fresh inspiration daily from the wonderful Clique Kits design team!

-Gia

Clique Kits Limited Edition: This is Us

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Today I am really excited to share the Clique Kits Limited Edition “This is Us” kit and collection designed by yours truly! This kit features a combination of bold black and white patterns juxtaposed with fun, eclectic, pastel colored designs. Of course there are some cute elements like the sweetest little sloth and a happy bunny and lots of pretty doodled hearts! The pastel color range includes the Clique Kits brand colors in various shades and tints plus bits of green, pink, and peach.  Why a sloth, you ask? I say…why not a sloth? Sloths are totally my spirit animal! Is there anything better than chilling all day in a tree branch? The bold black stripes and other B & W patterns are designed with Erica in mind though I know there are many, many fans of this pattern. But did they paint it on a wall in their kitchen, like Erica? (LOL- yes Erica recently had an accent wall in her kitchen painted in black and white stripes and I love it!) Like Clique Kits style, there are elements that are bold, colorful, cute, fun, eclectic, sweet, pretty, and trendy.

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This collection is available in the shop as a limited edition physical kit, a digital collection, and a physical paper pack. The kit includes a few surprises not shown in the photos here but we know you will love them as much as we do. The kits includes some exclusive flair and an add on flair set is also available!

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This sleek polka dot washi tape and adorable sloth felty are included in the physical kit along with an exclusive color cast designs acrylic piece!

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Here is a my very first layout using only the digital designs printed on my home printer. I added a couple of vellum ephemera from Cocoa Vanilla Studios Bohemian Dream collection which were in the past January Clique Kit called Rhapsody (unfortunately sold out) and a lavender colored acrylic piece from my stash that coordinated perfectly! I fussy cut the watercolor wreath  and splattered some black ink and some watered down Shimmerz Dazzlers I Lilac You paint available in the shop (Hint: This color is perfect with this kit!). I used some of the pastel patterned papers to back my photo as well as a tag that I monoprinted using a stencil, acrylic paint, and my Gelli Arts gelli plate.

I will save that process and tutorial for another day. For now, I hope you like this layout! And I hope you will head over to Clique Kits to pick up some of this collection. Use my coupon code GIA10 to save 10% on your purchase!

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-xGia

 

But first coffee…chatting about cultivating daily habits

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I like to write posts sometimes about different eclectic topics and I think of them as time to chat with a friend over a cup of coffee. That is why I call these posts “But first coffee…” I don’t know what I would do without this scrapbooking community and I wish you guys really could stop by for a cup of joe someday! That would be awesome. Anyway…

I shared this layout last week on the Clique Kits blog. My post was all about how I got it scrapped in 15 minutes! That doesn’t happen every day. I have been trying to build creating into my daily routine though so that even when I don’t start and finish a layout a day I still put that 15 minutes in just as surely as I brush my teeth. This is a concept I learned from listening to the Scrap Gals podcast conversation with Becky Higgins. Now I will let you in on a little secret…sometimes when I am at work in my office doing paperwork I put my headphones on and listen to scrapbooking podcasts. It’s called multi-tasking and we women do it extremely well!

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Here is a close up of another die cut on my page (sorry for the weird angle) because I wanted to make a point that I have a pile of cut files on my desk that I cut during my daily craft time but didn’t necessarily get to use. I just liked them and thought I would probably find a use for them someday and I usually do!

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This is the Clique Kits main kit for April which I used to create this layout. It features the Crate Paper Maggie Holmes Flourish collection! I also used one of the monthly cut files available for subscribers designed by Maryam Perez this month.

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Having a kit delivered to my door every month does make it easier to follow through with my goal of establishing a daily creating habit. On weekends it is not as much of a problem and I remain flexible about when I fit it in depending on the family schedule. But weekdays I have found that I have to go straight to my craft room right after work and use my 15 minutes. Whatever I get done before dinner is what I get done. This means starting some cut files, picking out papers that go with my photo, and sometimes just organizing  so that my next 15 minutes is even more productive.

I also established a rule for myself that my daily 15 has to be hands on creating time. Scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest don’t count. Don’t get me wrong- just like listening to Podcasts or watching you tube videos, these inspiration seeking activities have their own value. But if I fit them in to my day it has to be after my hands on time.  After all, I have spent many years of my life thinking about, hoarding and shopping for supplies, and talking about scrapbooking more than actually doing it.

Another epiphany for me that has helped immensely has to do with some of the things I have decided to let go of. I have definitely purged a lot in the past 5 years.  I am finally at a point where I know exactly what I have, where it is, and why I am keeping it. Using the Konmari method of figuring out what sparks joy for me has helped quite a bit. But I have also let go of the need to try to do every possible genre of papercrafting. I am not a project life documenter, I am not a card maker, and I don’t decorate my planner. I love doing layouts. It doesn’t matter if they are in 8 1/2 x 11, 12 x 12, or travelers notebook format. Layouts work for me because I need the freedom to document memories out of order and depending on what my priorities are at the time. If I were to try to keep up with daily or even weekly life it would become a chore for me.  Letting go of what doesn’t work for me is incredibly freeing and also limits the impact of impulse shopping especially every time new fads arise.

I know a lot of people are on their own journey sorting through these things too. Definitely hit me up with any comments or just to chat about your own creative journey!

-xGia

 

Using Tim Holtz Dies on a Layout

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Have you noticed that even with the popularity of electronic/digital die cutting machines and software like Silhouette there are still so many gorgeous dies being created by more and more new companies? Even the oldest company that I am aware of making dies- Sizzix- continues to evolve with the trends producing more interesting dies all the time. I used to think that dies were something used more by card makers than scrapbookers only because the scale of dies is smaller.

For this layout about our outing to a beautiful lavender farm on Maui I picked out this Tim Holtz wildflower die set.  When I went to look for a link for you I realized it was on sale on Amazon for only $11.99.

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Another tidbit about this layout…I had already pretty much killed my March kit from Clique Kits but decided to use the Traveler’s Notebook kit to create this layout. While the papers are from the same collection, I used the 6×6 pad and things like washi tape and rub ons from the TN kit on this layout. The versatility of both kits is something I truly love!

-Gia