Friday, October 13, 2017

Northwest Adventure Part 1--Itinerary

Unlike kick-off pages, I don't often do itinerary pages, but for a complex trip like this, I did.

This actually covers the entire trip as I didn't realize I would need 2 albums. For each day I list the month and date as well as a basic idea of the events (cruise stops, major visits, etc.). For this page I chose to use stickers as bullet points and tried to find something that would be appropriate for the day. For example, on the day we cruised Glacier Bay I chose a small sticker that says "Park Entrance". The die cuts on the right side of the page help fill in the blank spots. I had to fussy cut the directional sign from a themed piece of paper.

The right hand page became a long journal box. This is one of the Fast to Fabulous pages and since it had the airplane and the trip to get to Alaska was a bit long, I decided to tell all about it. While on a trip I keep a journal of where we go and how long it takes us to get there. On this trip I forgot the usual journal but used my computer to keep a Word document with all the details. I recommend it if there will be a break between the trip and creating the scrapbook pages.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Kicking it....and myself

I completely neglected to get a post ready for last night and with a drive through horrible traffic to my niece's senior night, I just didn't get a chance to post until now. So, since I'm kicking myself let's talk kick-off pages!

I always do a kick-off page for every album, even my chronological albums. It serves 2 purposes--1) I don't have to come up with a reason for a one-page layout, and 2) It can help highlight the theme and bring the reader into focus. For my chronological albums it includes the years or months within the book so it also helps me file the albums. Let's look at a couple of examples:

Above is the kick-off page to my first album for the 2014 NPTC convention trip which was a cruise and then a land vacation in Seattle. I cut the letters with a Cricut and given what I've had to do to "manufacture" a letter when a sticker sheet ran low, I HIGHLY recommend getting one or at least getting access to one (or something similar, I like Cricut but I know there are many other machines out there).
The base to the page is a pre-designed page that came with a travel-themed album from Creative Memories. This album featured a cruise as I said, so the wavy tone to the paper seemed perfect to me, and the letters are in a slightly darker tone so they can be seen on the page. I think I may have made the letters a little too big as they are really crunched in the last line, but it works. A few stickers for the cruise and the wildlife finish the page. (Did I mention this was Alaska!?!).

The opening to volume 2 is above. There were so many pictures that this trip had to be divided to 2 albums which I didn't realize until I was halfway through the project. That's why this kick-off page says "Vol. 2" and the first one doesn't say "Vol. 1". The background here is a fast-to-fabulous page from Creative Memories. It is mostly travel stamps and since this was the transition from cruise to land (and clearing customs in Canada) it also works. Now I didn't have access to a Cricut when creating this page. The one I used in the first album is at a craft retreat house we go to periodically. So, I do own some paper letters in various colors and I felt I had the most letters in green.

By the time I got to "Adventure" I had to manufacture the "n" and "e" by putting other letters together (or turning a "3" upside down). I also was reduced to all lower case for the "vol.". Again, I think it worked fine and only takes a moment of notice from the reader.

I'm going to start jumping ahead chronologically beginning next week as I highlight the other photos from the cruise and Seattle vacation. These books were completed as a special project, not part of the chronological albums because of their number of pages, and I had a chance to photograph the album before most of my supplies were stored for a move! We may even highlight some non-NPS themed pages. Let me know in the comments below if that works for you!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Two Small Stops

In 2011 Eastern National produced the 25th anniversary stamps to commemorate the Passport Program. Since Jim was visiting his family I took the opportunity to make a day trip visiting Monocacy for the first time and revisiting Fort McHenry.

I debated cutting the photo in half and posting  each page separately, but there isn't much unique enough about either experience, and the visits were literally hours apart. In fact, I also visited Catoctin Mountain Park but didn't take any photos. You'll notice that there are just simple photos of each place--the sign without me near it and an establishing shot of the park. In some ways this is the epitome of a "stamp and run" layout.

The left page is another page from Forevermore Scrapbook's civil war papers--just a line of rifles across the bottom. Adding the drum and bugle to the title/unigrid area finishes the decoration. On the right I used 6x6 paper in flag colors as the base for the quintessential story of our flag. The red sticker is my admission proof (they change color every day). On my way home I mounted it on one of the passport pages so I could scrapbook it later. Journaling on that page is a silver/white pen on dark blue paper. I will say it's hard for me to find a suitable pen that writes in a fine tip and in a color light enough to see on dark cardstock. Do you have one to recommend? Comment below!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Inside Gettysburg

For our anniversary in 2011 Jim and I planned a trip to Gettysburg. They had recently renovated the visitor center, park film, and the Cyclorama painting. We spent quite a bit of time indoors seeing everything there was, then went for lunch. After lunch we had planned on taking a Segway tour of the battlefield for something "new". We did get to practice on them indoors but just as it was time to start the tour a thunderstorm rolled in and it had to be cancelled.

This is a layout idea I obtained at a local scrapbook store. In fact, if you are in Gettysburg, check out Forevermore Scrapbook (click here). The paper was purchased there as well, and they have a good supply of various national park themed papers. The layout is one piece of 12x12 paper which is cut at 6". Each half is then mounted on the middle of the page with the remaining mementos surrounding the paper. Because the paper is essentially a giant photo it sets the scene for the story. I didn't end up with many useable photos because I wasn't allowed to photograph the Cyclorama and we didn't get out to the battlefield. But with postcards, brochures and tickets, the day was captured thoroughly.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Would you believe.....Philadelphia?

Yes! Once more to the big city, this time because the AORN conference was VERY close to home. I traveled down early to be sure to visit some sites. My first stop is just across from the visitor center where they recently added a piece about George Washington's house while he lived in Philadelphia.

The kick-off page features a scrap of patriotic paper on the bottom with a frayed edge and a vintage style sticker border on top. I like my photos on this page very much, even if it is a fairly simple design.

I walked over to re-visit the Poe house and was pleasantly surprised to find that they had added some painted wall coverings to at least give the appearance that this was a lived-in house. I talked to the ranger a bit and he also suggested a biography of Poe that I bought before leaving.

On this layout I again used the decorative paper pack that I believe was either 7x7 or 8x8. On the left I chose the tree and moon to highlight the outside of the house. I added the sticker of a bird under the tree and the journal box with the cat on a fence on top. The rest of the photos simply frame that piece. On the right I used fragments of paper to fill in the background. All of them looked sort of like that full moon on the left so the tone matched. I covered one gap with the crow paper square and another with the unigrid. Nice when it works out like that! I matted the photos in white so they didn't get lost on the page.

My next visit was to the Franklin Court underground museum. I saw the Ranger do a demonstration of the Glass Harmonica--a water based instrument that Franklin invented. I saw quite a few displays but found the place rather dated. The diorama below was supposed to tell the life of Ben Franklin but no longer worked.

For this page I again chose a piece of paper that resembles vintage wallpaper. I found a quote of Ben Franklin's in one of my patriotic paper packs, a left-over sticker from the Philadelphia pack, and pieced the flag heart. This is just the left page because I transitioned to the AORN conference on the next page.

One last visit before leaving town was to Declaration House--a place rarely open when I visit. This is where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and has a museum and recreation of his rooms.

This layout is ALL 8 1/2 x 11 paper! On the left I chose a piece of vellum (same pack as used on the Deschler Morris house page) and a piece of cardstock with the names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. That made a nice base for the journal box and a couple of photos of the entrance signs. On the right I used 2 pages of 8 1/2 x 11 and layered them to fill the bottom portion of the page. The 1" opening at the top is filled with a sticker flag border and a title box.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Traversing the Outer Banks

After leaving Atlantic Beach with Jim's family we planned an extended return by heading to the Outer Banks a little further north. We dropped off Jim's niece just north of Hatteras and headed up the island stopping at Bodie Lighthouse which was under renovation. Since there wasn't much to see there we headed north to Wright Brothers National Memorial.

The left page just has 2 borders as decoration. The borders were made by punching light and dark blue waves with the Creative Memories border maker system. The sand bars come from one rectangular piece of beige paper which I tore diagonally. The stickers are from Creative Memories as well. I scraplifted the idea from a pinterest pin (Dawn Dimock's idea). I think she intended that they border 2 pages for a double layout, but I sort of liked the way they stacked. There is just the one photo of the lighthouse and a unigrid so it helped fill the page nicely. The journaling box is decorated with some remnant seagull stickers I had.

The right page is a pre-made layout. At one point Creative Memories had some pre-designed pages for what they called picfolio albums. Instead of the strap pages they were pre-bound in an album. Unfortunately it wasn't expandable. I did use the album to make a gift but used my own pages as the theme was a bit more tropical. So when I got to these pages, I found the stash and decided the pale blue and beige really looked good with the historic theme and the beach location.

Once we got to Wright Brothers we attended a ranger talk in the visitor center near the replica Wright flyer. This was a great overview to the park. Afterward we walked the grounds and toured the museum.

In the layout above, the left page is a simple wallpaper technique. Beginning with the right side I started using some pre-designed pages that Creative Memories calls "Fast to Fabulous". I bought them because they were on sale. I didn't really think I'd like them but I have to admit--with very little effort a layout comes together QUICKLY. The bottom right rectangle is a pre-designed space. Since I didn't have a photo for that space I looked around for something else to fill in. I found a deck of cards with inspirational sayings that I had won at a crop and thought "Dare to Fly" was quite appropriate for the page! I slipped it onto the page and it was done in a jiffy.

The F2F pages are printed on both sides. One nice thing about that is that you don't have the bulkiness of many layers of card stock on your page. The left page had room for 4 photos. I took one of the pre-arranged photo boxes and added a very large sticker that I had of the Wright Flyer. On these two pages there are just 3 embellishments--the plane sticker, a sun sticker and the word "Fly" that I cut from a sheet of paper travel words. Everything else is F2F,  and a journal box and photo mats made to align with the theme/colors. I didn't even have to trim the photos this time.

If you've tried Fast to Fabulous, let me know your thoughts! Comment below.

Friday, September 1, 2017


Jim's family makes a trip to North Carolina every year and many times we take a trip to or near Cape Lookout as it is only 20 miles from the beach house. This time I wanted to land on the island with the lighthouse and get the stamps available there. I booked a ferry trip from nearby Beaufort and you can see my transport in the photo below. I did NOT expect that the sea spray would completely SOAK me on the ride out and I had not packed a change of clothes. I only stayed a few hours before returning so I could eventually get into something dry.

I scraplifted this from a Creative Memories idea sheet (Click here for directions) and while I like it, I think I might have focused too much on the background than the photos. Now, the photos are all good and tell the story of my visit along with the memorabilia (unigrid), but the paper pieced lighthouse I made in the middle sort of draws the eye away and that wasn't my intention. I'd like to hear from others--do you think the page would still sing without that hunk of paper in the middle or does it set the tone? Comment below!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Fossilized Trees

In the summer of 2010 I traveled to Denver for a conference and as my aunt and uncle live just south of the city I made plans to visit them. While I was with them we visited a National Park very close to their house called Florissant Fossil Beds.

This is one of my favorite layouts. The paper and embellishments come from Club Scrap (You can check them out here). While you could sign up for monthly shipments, they also allow people to buy "a la carte" and I've purchased from them several times. I think their National Park themed papers are now sold out, but it's worth checking out their site periodically to see if they do a re-issue or a new similar theme.

This is the layout as shown on the Club Scrap website (click here). You can see that I modified the layout slightly. The backgrounds are the same and I used red card stock to mat the photos but they are laid out slightly differently. Because the backgrounds are busy the mats help make the photos stand out. I made a couple of cutting errors. First, I cut the photos too soon so I had to be creative in arranging them on the page. Next, I cut the mats wrong and the upper right is actually 2 pieces edged together. Still, you have to look closely and there is just a slight difference in matting around the photos.

Friday, August 18, 2017

I have taken a house in Germantown...

And a return to Philadelphia! I hope you aren't tired of these visits as we have a lot more! This is again after my annual student trip to the Mutter museum. This time I made the LONG journey by bus out to the Germantown White House or Deshler Morris House. This is where George Washington stayed as president while trying to escape the rampant disease in the downtown Philly area.

I surprised myself by not having any photos of the interior of the house. I'm sure I was allowed to take them but perhaps they didn't turn out well. So, I did get a shot of the front of the house and the garden in the back. The page was simply made. The confetti look is achieved through an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of vellum with the confetti printed on it. I added a scrap of blue to the right side to close the gap. This also allowed me a place to journal. The stickers are from the same sheet used in the previous Independence Hall page. Looks a little like Martha?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Oh the things I will do for a stamp.....

The next set of layouts is from a day spent in Greeley, CO. It was March and I was in Denver for the AORN national convention. I arrived a day early to do some stamp gathering and decided to take a Greyhound bus to Greeley to pick up a Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area Stamp. Again an affiliated site, but I had few options without a car. My first stop in town was at the museum where the stamp is kept and I walked through all the exhibits.

The opening layout focuses on one of the museum exhibits--a dress made from snake skins. I looked high and low to find a piece of paper that would look something like snake and that became the background. I also had to hunt for snake stickers which surprised me, but I was ultimately successful again. I built the title bar from a piece of contrasting paper so the green snake would not get lost in the details. The right page is more about the city, and I tore a piece of green paper to simulate a grassy slope then accented the upper photos with green mats.

I ended up spending all day in Greeley and walked literally across town. If you look at a Google Map, look for the mall and Meeker House. I walked at least 3 miles. I wish I had been wearing a pedometer. Luckily I could get a bus from the mall back to town.

My second stop of the day is the Meeker house below which is the home of the city's founder. I could not go in but did walk along the grounds. My day lasted a little extra long as the bus to return me to Denver at the end of the day was running late and I spent a few chilly hours waiting outside as there is no proper bus station in town. But, I did end up back in Denver that evening and made it to the conference the next day.

This layout is also wallpaper, and like the snakeskin paper--purposeful. I found the paper in a scrapbook store north of Pittsburgh and knew immediately it would tell the story of walking through town and seeing this historic home. I had to do a little photo adjusting to use only vertical photos but it seemed like my photos knew this ahead of time. I'm quite pleased with how these pages turned out.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Guess who's in Philly again?

If you guessed me, you're right! For my niece's birthday I gave her a certificate for a trip to any National Park with me. She could bring a friend and she also got a souvenir. Sierra chose to go to Independence National Historical Park for New Year's Eve and took her mom. The weather was a bit snowy but we made the trek down successfully. As it is a low visitation time of year you can simply pick up tickets at the visitor center and we essentially walked right onto the next tour. We had time afterward to see the Liberty Bell.

I had bought a piece of 12x12 paper with an image of the Declaration of Independence on it so I thought it the perfect wallpaper for the left side of this layout. On the right I added some decorative stickers but mostly just mounted and framed the photos and memorabilia. I love the patriotic/colonial stickers I found but cannot remember where I got them. That's too bad because I really would like another sheet.

Friday, July 28, 2017

More Than Just a Fort

For my 40th birthday, my parents and Jim and I went to Pittsburgh for a Pirate's game. On Sunday as we left the city, my birthday wish was to visit Fort Necessity. My parents think they either took me there as a child or I went as part of a school trip but I don't really remember going. So, we made a stop! We were in time to see a living history presentation on the life of a soldier at the fort with musket firing demonstration.

For this layout I tried a little creativity and I think I mostly pulled it off. On the left page I used a plain brown border strip and crossed it with the theme paper from the Eastern National pack. Since that paper is 8 1/2 x 11, I must have layered 2 segments but with plain tan blocks holding stickers, it isn't noticeable. This may be a Fast Formula from Creative Memories as the design is very similar to the one I used on the Virgin Island pages.

On the right page the brown border strip is decorated with NPS logos punched from another sheet from the EN pack. I used the Creative Memories Place and Punch with a postage stamp edge so that I could get quite a few blocks to fill the border. A smaller punch was used on the pine cones which is from the same paper. I added a small filler box with some leftover stickers. Brown mats complete the page nicely.

What I didn't know before my visit was that along with the historic aspect of the Fort, the site also commemorates the original highway called the National Road. Stage coaches would regularly stop at a tavern nearby and it has been restored to its original looks.

This layout was a little tricky because there were 2 information sheets I wanted to incorporate and they took up quite a bit of room. I used some of the 8 1/2 x 11 card stock from the EN kit and mounted them sideways. The 1" gap left and right is filled with another set of borders I made with the Creative Memories travel paper and stickers. That left a small gap for journaling next to photos of the building and wagon.

Inside the tavern we listened to a Ranger explain the journey and the purpose of the rooms.

For this layout I again wanted a heritage feel to the pages. I had a sheet of decorative card stock (trimmed as a frame) and cut that in half. I also cut a sheet of floral paper that reminded me of old wall paper in half and sandwiched it on the middle of the pages. A few of my stickers with an "old travel theme" gave a little authenticity to the layout.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Rocky Mountain High

In August 2009, I had to travel to Denver to attend a training session. Jim came along and we spent some extra time seeing the area. Our national park visit was to Rocky Mountain National Park. We started in Estes and drove all the way to the other end of the park, then returned to Denver that night.

The trip generated quite a few pages that are not NPS related, which puts my kick-off page for the park on a right-side page. If you noticed the 6" square technique, congratulations! In fact, this is the same pack I used on the Eisenhower layout. The photo of me at the entrance sign is framed in one of the photo mats from the Eastern National scrapbook kit. The similarities to the photo are striking!

As we drove through the park we decided to try a short hike on the "Tundra Trail". It's in the higher elevation so we needed our coats even though it was a hot August day.

The borders and title block were part of a series I made with the map paper and travel stickers from Creative Memories. I used the green card stock from the border to mat photos and the journal box. The journal box is made from the same Done With One travel page that I used on the Virgin Island pages. I had actually made this several years previously and was waiting to put it on the layout. It actually drove the rest of the page!

In addition to the Mushroom Rocks in the layout above, we saw a yellow bellied marmot and some great flowers. While both of the pages here are wallpaper technique, the results are slightly different. On the left I chose a map/forest theme page which matched the photos well. The National Park sign on the upper right is cut from a page from the Eastern National kit. The camera and film stickers are Creative Memories.

The right page is NOT my photo. It's a 12x12 page paper of a rather twisty mountain road. It was the PERFECT page to tell the story of getting from Rocky Mountain National Park back to Denver. (Because of all the switchbacks, if you looked at the map tracing our car took, it would look like a really bad EKG!) So the only thing I added to the page other than the journal box is a die cut car to enhance the story. I probably should have moved it a little higher on the road so the ratio of car to macadam is appropriate, but it's always one of my favorite layouts.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Once again to Philadelphia

We've arrived at my pages for spring 2009 and even though I feel like I just posted about Philadelphia, it's time for the trip to the city with my students again. This time after we finished the museum and I ate lunch at City Tavern, I walked further south to Gloria Dei Church, also called Old Swede's church. Like the Franklin Memorial, this isn't one of the NPS units--it's an affiliated unit and run in conjunction with Independence National Historical Park. However, since it's the only pictures I took of this visit, I include it here.

This structure is one of the earliest churches built in America and it is still in use. I did take the photos on the outside of the structure and the one of the organ. The view of the main seating area is actually a card I bought while on site.  It's a self-guided tour and I recommend looking through the old graveyard next to the church.

I love the colors I chose on this layout. I don't know that I really matched them to anything in the photos but it just flows. I used 2 sheets of paper and tore them with a wavy tearing tool at about 6 inches. Then I reversed one set of pages and made the 2 complimentary backgrounds. Just enough room for journaling and I didn't really need any more embellishments.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Boston's Freedom Trail

The day after the NPTC convention Jim and I walked the Freedom Trail--a 2 1/2 mile path of history through downtown Boston. It was a good walk and we saw LOTS of great historical buildings. We had to take shelter at one point from a thunderstorm but otherwise had no difficulty getting around. Dedicate an entire day to the event if you attempt it and plan a place for lunch along the route.

Here is my kick-off page for the park. Notice the return of the walking feet! I told you they would be back. I purchased a sheet of stickers from Paper Source that had stickers specifically for Boston and the right border is their sticker of the beginning of the trail. You can see that I also photographed one of the markers. They get a little harder to find as you travel through the city.

The left page of the layout is Boston Commons, the 54th Regiment Memorial (we loved the movie Glory). Not sure if you can see that Colonel Shaw's sword was broken off. That seems to happen frequently. The left border is a design I copied from Creative Memories. The stars page is torn using their tearing tool and then layered on striped paper. Gives a good sense of patriotism. On the right is a burial ground with some very famous people buried in it. In trying to use up the sticker letters, I chose only a B and G sticker then hand wrote the remainder of the word. A good use for random leftover letters! The bottom border on the right is from the Creative Memories Border Maker System. I punched the fence in black to emulate the wrought iron around the burial ground and to give a sense of death for the page. But to keep the patriotic elements, I have a couple more embellishments in the stars and stripes motif.

Our next stops were at the Old South Meeting House and Faneuil Hall.  I hadn't mastered indoor photos at this point so the lovely interior of the Meeting House is actually one that I found online and printed on my home printer. The building exteriors also gave me a challenge and so I had to build them with multiple images.

I created the left border with a Creative Memories short cuts strip adding the punched stars and a small title strip from the Boston sticker pack. Just a simple mat on the very white interior photo and a couple other embellishments finish the page. On the right I feature the photo I made Jim take of me getting a stamp. The stripes on my shirt are echoed in the striped banner on the bottom. The paper and banners came from a new patriotic themed paper pad that Creative Memories produced. There are 2 pages of die cuts to add to the papers.

Further along the trail is the Paul Revere House and the Old North Church. I thought it was perfect to scrapbook them together. For the left border I used the shortcuts that framed the border from the previous layout! I loved how on the bottom it mimics rolling hills so all I needed was a sticker of Paul Revere on his midnight ride. The right border was an old sticker of a brick pathway. Putting the Revere statue sticker at the end reflected our progress along the trail.

My final pages are the Navy Yard and Bunker Hill. We were getting tired so I admit we didn't actually step foot on the Constitution. The sailor was controlling the flow of people onto the ship and I liked his costume. The photo of the ship is also one that I downloaded from the internet as I didn't get a good shot of my own. Interestingly, that photo is much more clear when I photograph the layout than in person. I think it turned out rather dark.

The journal box on the left is from a scrapbook calendar I got for Christmas. It is actually the center of a photo mat. On the right I chose a mat for the Bunker Hill Monument that had fireworks. I thought that would symbolize the finale pretty well. The border is part of a pack I bought that has different colored backgrounds and small white stars printed in white. Matches my blue nautical paper on the left fairly well.

Friday, June 30, 2017

My first NPTC convention

Although I had been on the club message boards for quite a while, I had never attended a convention. For 2008 the location was Lowell in Massachusetts, and I thought Jim and I could take a drive to attend. I received a GPS unit for my birthday and purchased my EZ Pass transponder for the tolls so we were set!

We left Thursday night and drove to a hotel in Connecticut then completed the drive on Friday. We went into Boston first and took a whale watching cruise which was fabulous! On Saturday morning we drove into Lowell to see the park. I loved the trolley at the visitor center. Because it was our first time we didn't really know about all the club events. I could have joined a group taking the trolleys as a tour of the city, but didn't know enough to register for it. Still, we had a good time looking at the various buildings and we had lunch at a nearby restaurant. Jim returned to the hotel and I went to register for the meeting.

On the left page I used  an 8 1/2 x 11 page from the Eastern National scrapbook pack as a giant photo mat for the picture of me at the park sign. I didn't realize when I created the page that I had pulled that paper from the DC pack. Still, you have to look very closely to see the error. With the park unigrid and copies of the passport stamps I got at the meeting, that page filled up quickly. On the right page I found a yellow stripe print that helped bring out the colors of the trolleys. I actually pieced together a couple of scraps to cover the page but you have to look very closely to see it. I matted the photos in white to help them pop from the page.

At the meeting, I was greeted by Craig Bailey (I think) who had not only the stamp commemorating this convention, but a new stamp called a "Member Stamp". That's one of the stamps on the page above and it shows me as a member since March 31, 2008.
For some reason I also got a copy dated for the convention, but again I don't really think I knew what I was doing at the time. I was wowed by the meeting. There were speakers from the park and acknowledgement of people who had visited all of the national park units available.

I believe I made the right hand page first and then based the left page off of the color scheme of the right. The right hand page is my interpretation of a page sketch. There are various people and organizations who create sketches. You pick one that matches what you are looking for. Here is the sketch I used for this page. View sketch here. You can see that I went fairly literal on this interpretation, even using circles for the design elements. When you interpret a sketch not only do you get to choose a set of papers to match your photos, you can choose whatever embellishments work for you. I could just as easily have used stars, hexagons, or even stickers there. I also used the sketch in its original direction. You can always tilt the sketch 90 or 180 degrees to make it fit your photos for the layout.

During the meeting, the break was scheduled so that people could walk over to the Boott Cotton Mills to get the stamp available there. I joined a couple of people and took a quick tour before heading back to the meeting.

This became a 1-page layout to finish Lowell. Because it was a vintage set of rooms I chose a paper that reminded me of old-fashioned wall paper. A few sewing notions on the journal box helped with the story of the girls' jobs. Again, all photos were matted in white to help set them apart from the busy background.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Mommy's little helper

If you have cats you will understand that you cannot do ANYTHING without their help. And so it is with photographing my scrapbook albums. Suddenly they are the BEST place to be:

But this post is about the actual pages and we are returning to Philadelphia. Seems like it's been a while though, so a good time to make another visit. Again, this visit takes place just after I've finished a visit to the Mutter museum with my students. My new tradition is to go to City Tavern for lunch. This restaurant is run by the National Park Service and the servers all wear 18th century clothing. The food is served in pewter cups and plates and the food recipes are supposedly all authentic to the time period as well. It's a little pricey, but well worth a trip.After City Tavern I walked over to the Edgar Allan Poe house. That's a pretty good hike, but I was looking forward to visiting the house.

On the left page, I commemorated my visit with a postcard and brochure from the restaurant. No food photos yet, but that will happen later. Very simple decorations including my paper piecing Uncle Sam. He is from an 8 1/2 x 11 paper pad that featured patriotic designs. I had to cut out all the pieces and assemble them. I don't really like "fussy cutting", though I do it when I have to, but I think he turned out fairly well. The yellow background piece is also from that paper pad. I needed something to make the brochure pop from the white page and the yellow ties in the food on the brochure with the orange tones from the Poe page.

The right page is a wall paper technique. The paper is from the Creative Memories heritage papers--nice and dark with swirly designs. Very creepy, just like you would expect from Poe. The corners are a new punch I bought called a tag maker. On the right it does resemble the tombstone and works well. I think I should have trimmed the left one to get rid of the "bump" but it frames the fence nicely. This is a play on the fence around the grounds which you can see in the photo with the raven. As it's my first visit there are not a lot of photos of the inside. I was rather disappointed in the house because it is just a bunch of rooms of peeling paint. Rangers describe Poe's life in the house and city and illustrate with some hand held drawings. Unfortunately this part of Independence NHS doesn't get a large share of the funding and repairs have been put off for many years.

The next layout is not technically part of the National Park. Carpenter's Hall is still held in private hands, but it is such a part of the patriotic theme that I'm going to include it here. This is the site of the FIRST continental congress which brought the grievances together to present to the king. I think I probably visited here BEFORE going to the Poe house as it is in between there and City Tavern but since it made a nice 2-page spread I wanted to keep the 2 pages together.

I bought the title as a die-cut. I seem to have had difficulty placing it in a straight line however. Very simple page highlights. I do like the double mat on the brochure on the left page. Those colors are duplicated in the corners (and truthfully I think they are cut from the same photo mat). The plain stars are punched from red and blue paper. The remaining pieces are stickers from the Eastern National scrapbook kit I've mentioned before. They do a good job of filling up the dead space on the right.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Hampton House

No, we didn't go to the Hamptons, Hampton House is a National Park unit just north of Baltimore, so very close to home. It commemorates plantation life in the area from the late 18th century through the early 20th century.

In spring 2008 Jim and I made a day trip during my Spring Break at college (yes, even professors enjoy having that week off!) This was March so still very chilly. Even though there is a great number of farm buildings to look at we mainly viewed the house and immediate surrounding grounds before heading home.

The technique I used on this page is called Window Pane technique. Given that I'm inside the house on most photos I think this works well because you feel like you are looking at a window in time. I also chose antique stickers for the decoration.

To make the window panes, identify your largest sticker and create a square on white cardstock. Layer your stickers but do try to get at least one to cross over into a second section (look at the lamp on the left and the trunk on the right). fill the other corners with smaller stickers. Next, choose a contrasting color cardstock and cut it 1/2" wider than your white block. For example, if you cut a 3" square of white cardstock, cut a 3 1/2" square of the colored cardstock. Cut the white square into 4 equal pieces and mount with  a bit of space between on the contrast block. Then mount to your page.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Repositioning Cruise Part 2--Puerto Rico

Jumping to the end of our journey, our cruise ship docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Our flight was not leaving until the evening and we had to exit the ship in the morning so we booked one final excursion of a city tour. Unfortunately Jim and I got separated from our parents. While we were searching for the last piece of luggage they boarded a bus being told that all the buses went to the same places. They did but it turned out in a different order. While we went downtown our parents went to the Bacardi Rum Factory. When we arrived there they were leaving for downtown.

I was a bit disconcerted on the tour but pleasantly surprised to see our bus pulling in to Castillo San Cristobal.  I hadn't realized it was included and was happy to be able to check another national park off my list.

This layout is fairly straightforward. Similar to the 2nd set of layouts from Eisenhower farm, I took 6" squares and mounted them in opposite corners as a background decoration. These are actually from the Creative Memories Fluffy and Fido stack pack, but the print reminds me of the stonework found in an old structure. The only difference here is that there is white in the remaining 2 corners.

I created the border by taking a sticker from the National Parks Scrapbook kit. I have mentioned it a few times so here is the link for anyone who wants to purchase one: Scrapbook Kit (many times they are also available in gift shops at the national parks). I was using some red elements from another Creative Memories Kit (I think it is called Tiki and was a thank you gift from a consultant) so I mounted the sticker on red cardstock then trimmed around it by hand. The orange border and journal box was also part of the tropical feel.

As I mentioned above, we ended our tour at the Bacardi Rum factory  and the free mojito helped to settle my nerves a bit!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Repositioning Cruise Part 1--the Virgin Islands

For a family vacation, Jim and I booked a 10-day cruise which left from Philadelphia and ended in Puerto Rico. This is called a repositioning cruise because the ship is changing routes from the summer Philly to Bermuda route to the fall/winter Caribbean route. Both pairs of parents joined us for the adventure which was a tour of Bermuda, the US Virgin Islands, St. Martin/St. Maarten, and Puerto Rico. This entry covers our first national park visit in the US Virgin Islands.

I have to share our funny story first. At dinner only the 6 of our family showed up for several days. On the 4th or 5th night the last couple assigned to our table showed up which is apparently when they realized the ship was NOT returning to Philadelphia. I'm not sure what they had thought was going to happen after we got to Puerto Rico but they had to make emergency plans while on board to get flights to return to Philly.

Although the ship docked at St. Thomas in Red Hook Bay, we took a ferry to St. John where we met up with our tour guide "Thunderhawk". I am not making that up. He is one of the most interesting men you'll ever meet and if you can tour with him, by all means do so. He led our group along the Lind Point trail and down to Honeymoon Beach. If you do take the excursion through the cruise ship, remember to wear a swimsuit under your clothes as there is nowhere to change at the beach and he'll want to take you out into the water to show you some more interesting things. Only 2 people knew to do this on our tour (and it wasn't Jim and I) so we all missed out on this part of the tour.

Below are 3 photos of essentially the same layouts. I wanted to show them all to give you an idea of how I arrange my materials. When on a cruise I always save the daily calendars delivered to the staterooms and place them in page protectors within the day to day photos. That caused a problem showing the layout, though.

Photo 1: left layout page and front of Cruise compass
 Photo 2: right layout page and back of Cruise compass

A little more about the storage of the Cruise papers. Creative Memories made 8x10 portrait sleeves and while they are great in 8x10 albums, the straps also fit the 12x12 albums (the only size I work in currently). The sleeves come in black or white which is the colored edge along the left. I've found that the color generally doesn't matter so even a black edge will look OK in a set of white pages. Each also comes with a piece of cardstock inside. If you have a very thin paper or want to use these for mounting additional photos I would suggest leaving it in place. I normally remove them and slide the Cruise Compass into the slot and then mount between the pages. I've used these for other materials as well.

When you have a large item that would take up most of a page, sliding it into one of these sleeves helps with space issues. Since Creative Memories doesn't make them any longer you may be able to find them on other sites such as Ebay or on some of the Facebook sell groups. Creative Memories is currently making a 12x12 sleeve which might work in a pinch but will leave a lot of white space along the edge and will totally obscure the opposite page of the layout.

Photo 3: I digitally edited the photos to create a seamless (or nearly so) look at the pages.

This is a fairly simple layout. other than the 2 borders there is just a little matting. The left border is modified (or "scraplifted") from a pattern I liked. I filled the squares with hiking paraphernalia and a "passport" sticker that is to resemble to Park Stamp passport. The ranger sticker on this page and the arrowhead sticker on the right page are both from the National Parks scrapbook kit.

On the right page the border is from the Creative Memories "Done with One" die cut pack. I just had to add the title sticker to complete the theme. I also added some tropical flowers around the photo mat to bring in the essence of our hike. The journal square came pre-printed with the remaining hiking icons and looked fairly close to the border on the left page that I thought it tied the 2 together nicely.

My final 2 pages of this hike definitely include the tropical notes begun on the previous page. The border on the left page is another die cut from the Done with One kit, and augmented with stickers and a few triangles almost gives a nautical feel.

On the right I fussy cut some images from an 8 1/2 x 11 page from the National Parks scrapbook kit as well as the flowers (from a Creative Memories decorative paper). That creates a nice anchor in the middle of the page. Although it is a little odd to end the layout with the trail head, it is in fact the order in which we took the photos as Thunderhawk wanted to get moving as soon as we disembarked from the ferry. We caught this photo before returning to the ship.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Generally speaking...

If you've been to Gettysburg you probably noticed that the visitor center also serves as the starting point for the Eisenhower National Historic Site. In October, 2007 Jim and I made a visit during my fall break. It was nice traveling on a Monday because there were no crowds to deal with. We did take time to walk through the museum at the visitor center (I have NEVER seen so many Civil War rifles in one cabinet before or since!) But the focus was really to visit a new park and to see the Eisenhower Farm.

This layout was made during my first "Virtual Crop" with Creative Memories. Using a Facebook page and their blog, Creative Memories would post a "challenge" and while working at home on my own I would create a page that fit the challenge and then upload a photo to their site.

The challenge was to copy one of their Design Team layouts. The company has changed websites and the original is gone, but a similar layout can be seen here: Click here to see the inspiration. To be thrifty I saved those punched out bits and used them to mount the title letters. I've said before that after a few uses, a sheet of sticker letters gets difficult to use because you are missing key letters. On this page I tried to use a salvage technique where I cut out around the outline of the remaining image on the sheet, mounted it on similar colored cardstock and then "fussy cut" around the letter before mounting it on the stamp. It was successful but I don't like the look of the residual white bits it generates.

The bottom right corner features a memorabilia pocket. Similar to the large ones I love for the brochures, this medium size one holds the ticket stub for our bus trip and tour. If you have an item that you are worried about putting in contact with your scrapbook pages, the pocket helps mitigate any acid that may leach to surrounding paper and photos.

I really enjoyed the house tour but didn't feel like we had enough time to see the grounds. The bus returns periodically and you are supposed to return on the next run but you would have to choose a later bus if you wanted to see more of the farm and the visitor center.

I used a multi-square block technique on the left page. I took a pack of 7"x7" paper I owned and cut an inch from two sides to create 6" squares. The 4 squares were mounted next to each other to create a background. Because my cuts weren't perfect there was a gap in the middle which I covered with a circle punch. It sort of looks like a sofa cushion button and I thought it worked well.  The other technique I like on this page is the journaling. I used a strip of plain cardstock, wrote out the journaling, and then cut it into strips and mounted it.

Again, being thrifty (and after all it IS called SCRAPbooking), I took one of the page remnants from the 7" papers to create the mounting square on the right page for the stickers and under one of the photos. Because of the memorabilia (house guide) taking up so much room on the page there wasn't room for much embellishment, but the stickers help revive that 50s-60s era feel.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Returning to my stomping grounds

This next layout is also from very close to my home town. Allegheny Portage National Historic Site is about 30 minutes north east of where I grew up. I'm guessing I probably went there on a school trip but I don't really remember it. I had stayed in the area for a state nurses meeting and chose to make the visit before heading back to Harrisburg.

The visitor center has a very small display area but I did like the steam engine that is reminiscent of one that pulled the canal boats to the top of the mountain. I walked the boardwalk to the Lemon House before heading home.

Although there is little decoration on this page (the only mat is under the journaling box and there is 1 corner triangle) I really like the layout. The "train track" on the bottom left page was made by taking 2 of the Creative Memories rick rack strips and turning them toward each other.

In this layout I took photos of the information signs about the 2 structures and included them on the page. More often I take photos so that I have the information to be able to scrapbook the page but it decreased how much I had to write here.

I like the addition of the USNPS stickers to the journaling box. Those are from the Eastern National scrapbook kit.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Some NPS sites are sadder than others.

This entry looks at a layout from my first visit to the Flight 93 Memorial in 2007. My mom and brother joined Jim and I for a Pirates game in Pittsburgh. My brother Joe left the next morning for his cross-country solo road trip while Jim, my mom and I headed back to Harrisburg. On the way I wanted to stop at the site not only because it is a National Park but because I grew up just north of here in South Fork. This is the literal representation of the phrase "Hitting close to home".

The site is a small red barn and a fence. Like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, people leave tributes and memorabilia at the fence which the rangers collect and categorize. They have the transcripts of the black box recorder and reading it is incredibly saddening. We stayed to hear a volunteer talk about the flight events. All of the benches have the names of the victims engraved along the backs. One of them had the last name of Corrigan (no relation that I know of).

This was a more difficult layout to create. Although it is patriotic it also had to be subdued so the background of dark red with a light stripe worked well to bring out the dark memorial stones.

In this layout I finally figured out what to do with the large tag stickers that Creative Memories created. In previous layouts I had tried to write on them but being glossy, the ink just wiped away. The words "Pride and Honor" were all on one line in a sticker but I cut them into 3 parts and attached them to the tag and voila--a mini title. Similarly, I used the "Home of the Brave" to begin the title box. I really brought the emotion out. Simple stickers of hearts and stars finish the detail.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

National Scrapbook Day!

Well, I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention that today is national scrapbook day. I hope you are working on NPS pages for NSD and if so I would like to see them. In that respect, I'll post another layout for this weekend. Here is a day trip Jim and I made to Assateague and Chincoteague Island.

Instead of heading to Atlantic Beach, NC for the family vacation, Jim's folks decided to stay closer to home in Ocean City MD. Jim and I took a day to get away and drove down to see the ponies. Not that we actually saw any, given our luck with wildlife.

Assateague Island is the National Park, Chincoteague is a National Wildlife Refuge but they share a unigrid. We only stopped at the Maryland side to get the stamps at the entrance center and spent most of our time at the Virginia side.

It's a fairly straightforward layout. The stripes on the top edges are simple design lines in red to help bring out the brickwork of the lighthouse. I purchased the die cut on the left and mounted it on blue not only to mimic the photo I took but because the white would have gotten lost on the page. This was a page done quite a few years ago and today I might have used chalking ink to dust the edges with a little color to help set it off from the page.

On the right the beach and pony stickers are from the National Parks scrapbook pack and really fill that space nicely. Sure more photo mats would make the page pop a bit but it's still a good composition.

Friday, May 5, 2017

This will take a little explaining

OK, so the next entry deals with a trip Jim and I made to the Poconos in March 2007. As you would expect, there was quite a bit of snow on the ground and to prove it, I'm going to include 2 layouts that illustrate this without actually including the national park entity. Here I am all bundled up at the sledding run across from our hotel.

The border on the right was from a class I took early on and I was happy to be able to use it finally. I don't get a lot of snow photos so I have plenty of decorations in stock ready to be deployed.

Below is another layout with us on the tubing run. Again the paper and border waited for me quite a while!

So, there's the proof that it was snowing. Here is the actual material from the National Park:

Well, I did say you can scrapbook without photos, just memorabilia. The postcards I picked up just didn't work with a snowy background so I chose a very rustic background paper in order to match the tone a little better.

We did drive through the park but with the weather (fresh snow falling) we didn't get to do much more than tour a visitor center. It's definitely a reason to go back. And maybe next time we'll go when it isn't snowing.