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.

Friday, April 28, 2017

A little camping trip

My next entry covers a trip Jim and I made to Shenandoah National Park. While our 2nd trip to the area, this one would cover the entire length of Skyline Drive and includes an overnight stay inside the park.

This trip generated several pages so I started off with a single kick-off to introduce the trip (and because my previous layout ended as a one-pager on the left). It's mostly post cards and brochures with the exception of the photo of Jim on an outcropping of rock. The background is from a kit I earned for buying a lot of scrapbook supplies and is nature themed, so it will be featured throughout these layouts.

I am by nature a chronological scrapbooker, but these pages are more thematic based on what we saw. For instance, we saw deer in various places and on multiple days throughout the trip so I put all those photos on one page.

I love a good title, and thought this "Oh Deer" one really worked. You can see I'm using the nature kit again and the journal box matches in a way that almost makes it seem like a vellum overlay. On the right the dark brown paper is also from the same kit. The paper doesn't quite cover the page, but cutting a strip to put the white blank section just off center isn't a bad look for the page.

So technically, we visited 2 parks here--Shenandoah and the Appalachian Trail. Though somehow I neglected to get a unigrid for the AT.

Ah, another good title. The story of Jim mistaking a log for a bear is one of those that is remembered and repeated often. I was thinking about a title for a long time before I realized that "Bear false witness" summed up the story nicely. On these pages I used border strips and corners from the nature pack and accented with just a couple of stickers. I am quite proud of this layout.

The final 2 pages highlight our campsite and our excursion on horseback (which I highly recommend). Each page features a border that I made.

When you look at these pages individually they each work well, but as a 2-page layout it's a little unbalanced. So let's discuss each one separately.

On the left the border should have been placed at the bottom. With the die cut and stickers extending over the top it really pushes the border down the page. But the composition is fairly balanced so not a bad layout.

On the right the border at the top matches the nature page and you almost don't notice the white strip between the border and the photos. Again, the photos and journaling tells the story and the overall look is appealing.

Then when you look at them together you see the problem. The borders are unbalanced and it makes everything seem off kilter. Still, minor problems overall. And it was a great trip--that's what I want to remember.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Oh say can you see?

As you may have guessed from the title, my next park visit is Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Jim and I were celebrating our 10th anniversary that weekend and he lovingly allowed me to include a park stamp experience as part of our celebration.

We watched the movie at the visitor center and then toured the fort. This was 2006 and the video was made....oh maybe in the 70's? It was very old and dated. Still, it got the message across and we enjoyed the tour of the fort. We especially enjoyed finding a crate of ammunition produced in Jim's hometown area.

OK, wallpaper on the left, but a much better balance of photos and pattern than Ben Franklin's birthday pages. Hey, the fort is all about the Star Spangled Banner. Is there any other paper I could have used? I think not. On the right are just simple photo mats and corners which balance the composition nicely.

Also on the right is the admission sticker they gave us when we entered the visitor center. At the end of the tour I saved it by mounting it in the passport and then cutting it out and mounting it on the page. Because this was a white sticker on a white background I outlined the sticker with a marker. These days "chalking ink" which is essentially a lightly inked stamp pad, works better to define the edges. I have always struggled with "staying in the lines" when I color and I can clearly see the corner problem I had with the marker.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Happy Birthday Ben

Well, it's another trip to Philadelphia and I believe that I must by now have discovered the National Park Travelers Club and its wonderful Master List because otherwise I don't think I would have known that there was a stamp at the Franklin Institute. To be honest this only marginally qualifies for the blog because the Ben Franklin National Memorial is an affiliated site and not one of the "proper" National Park units.

During this visit, the Franklin Institute was hosting a presentation of Body Worlds and so Jim joined me and the surgical technology students on our annual journey to see the exhibit. This is as close to a national park as I will get on this trip. 
This is yet another example of "wallpaper" technique. But not a very good one. The print is just too busy for the photos. The matting on the left page actually does help. However, I didn't think I could mat the photos on the right without losing the essence of the photos. Maybe if I had put all three in a row across the middle it would help. I probably decided that the busy paper would REALLY overwhelm the photos then. Or I would consider it dead space even if there is a print. 

These days I would use portions of a paper this busy instead of the entire sheet. Border strips, small squares, or even banners and tags would break up the design to something more pleasing to the eye. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Exploring MLK in Atlanta

Breaking out of a rut here--a park not mentioned so far! In December of 2005 I made a trip to Atlanta with my sister Lisa and her daughter Sierra. Although no longer living down there, Lisa still has ties to the area and I had a week long break so it was a win-win. (Except for the music part--this was the trip the Chicago musical CD got stuck in her car's audio system and we could only listen to "Jailhouse Tango" for the entire trip).

While Lisa went into her office for the day I headed out to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. This included the visitor center, the church where he preached (and is buried) and an historic firehouse.

I have broken away from the neutral colored pages and returned to plain white. The borders along the edge are pre-cut strips from a pack. It looks like I chose yellow to compliment the 2 postcards I purchased, and with a little more yellow as photo mats, I find a good deal of balance in the page. The 2 stickers come from the National Parks scrapbook kit and also lend a little decoration to the page.

If you look at the unigrid closely, it is mounted on the page with clear photo mounting corners. If I cannot find pockets for the memorabilia, I do prefer photo corners. It is a little tricky to get the item to mount in a straight line but once you perfect the technique (start with diagonal upper and lower corners) they provide a secure method of mounting to the page with the option to retrieve and review in the future. What sorts of memorabilia do you routinely collect to add to your pages? Share with me in a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

No foolin--this was a trip to the mall!

Well, I just couldn't pass up the pun so I am adding a 2nd installment this weekend in honor of April Fools Day. This layout is another example of a trip to the National Mall which isn't really about the park as much as it is a special event held there. But, there is a photo of the Washington Monument, so I'm going to count it as a park visit.

I found out about the National Book festival because my favorite author, Diana Gabaldon was there to do a reading and sign copies of her new novel "A Breath of Snow and Ashes". Jim and I also got to listen to David McCullough. It was just a day trip, but we made the most of it.

I hesitate to call this layout "wallpaper" technique. The cardstock from Creative Memories was 10x12 (at the time) so they don't really cover the page. I ended up taking a contrasting sheet and using it to cover the open middle. If you look closely you'll notice the torn edges. I don't think I had a tearing tool at the time, it was just a hand rip. The maroon and green color scheme comes from the brochure for the festival, and coordinates nicely with the photos.

The top left and bottom right corners come from a border making class I took once. It was really difficult to keep all those individual strips together so if you look REALLY closely you will probably see the adhesive showing through some of the gaps. Between that and the stickers though, I was able to keep this intact until it found a place on my pages. It has a fall sort of feel to me, so it works pretty well on the layout.

Friday, March 31, 2017

I guess it was a visit...

Jim and I often had date night by taking a trip to a dinner theater, so this trip was focused on attending the Lazy Susan Dinner Theater. I did some research to find a National Park nearby so I could get a stamp and decided on Manassas. We went to the visitor center and saw the maps then bought a tape of the auto tour to listen to as we drove around the battlefield. Unfortunately the map in the unigrid did not match the auto tour numbers and the map that should have been given to us with the tape was missing. We got frustrated pretty quickly because a lot of the drive is on local roads and there was quite a bit of traffic. We felt unsafe making stops in what clearly was not a standard stop. We drove back to the gift shop to demand our money back, skipped the battlefield and headed over to Arlington Cemetery where we walked up to the Marine Corps Memorial. I did save the entrance tickets from Manassas for scrapping and so that is as close to a National Park as I could get for this layout.

This page is another example of wallpaper technique. It's a little hard to make out but this is a pattern paper with cars on it to represent our car ride. Patterned paper can be very useful in setting a tone for a page.

Although the Manassas tickets are red, they accent the page well because red and green are complimentary colors (there's a reason they look good at Christmas time too!) If you haven't picked one up for scrapbooking, investing in a simple color wheel helps find colors to use together. You can take a single color in a variety of tones (monochromatic), two colors opposite each other (complimentary), or three colors evenly spaced around the spectrum (triad). If you try something new, drop me a line below and tell me about it!

Journaling is always important to scrapbooking because it helps tell the story of the pictures. I generally feel like I over journal but given the limited amount I shared above I think shortchanged the reader. I guess I didn't want to sound too harsh to the park in something that will outlive me. What do you think, should I add more detail to the journaling on the page?

Friday, March 24, 2017

New Years Eve in Tennessee

Instead of driving to Atlanta for Christmas 2004, Jim and I met Lisa and her family about halfway in Johnsonville, TN. Jim and I arrived a little earlier so I could visit the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site. Not knowing about the NPTC yet I don't even think it dawned on me that they might have been closed for New Year's Eve or that there was more to see than the visitor center. But we made a thorough tour of the museum at the visitor center and I got a stamp.

This page features a border that I made. I occasionally set aside time to make borders and store them for future use. It is in the vein of "Between the Rails" since there is a line sticker at the top and bottom. I like that I used stickers to create the "i" in trip but I put too many stickers on there. I think a little natural space between the words would be better. Very little other decoration on the page, but that's OK because that header is so busy. Still, perhaps a photo mat or two would be in good taste.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Independence Hall 2005

So, another spring and another class trip to Philadelphia. This year I made plans to get tickets to tour Independence Hall. They have also completed construction on the new Liberty Bell pavilion which includes the museum pieces and x-rays of the bell. There is a much better view of Independence Hall from the Liberty Bell itself but a little tricky to get just yourself in the photo!

The 2-page layout above is an example of the wallpaper technique. This is the Jewel tone Fourth of July set from Creative memories. All I had to do was add a couple of mats to set off some of the lighter toned elements (like the ticket to enter Independence Hall) and the page comes together fairly quickly. Journaling on printed paper is too difficult so I have a plain white journal box. If I HAD to edit the page I might add something fancier to the journal box, like a sticker or 2. Or maybe journal in blue or red ink.

This layout also benefits from my standby scrapbook fodder: postcards. I ALWAYS get a postcard or two when I stop by a new site. They are professional photos that I will most likely NEVER be able to replicate. They really set the scene and provide detail. I tend to mount them like photos unless there is something very unusual on the back (like a good description of an object or area). In that case, I will mount them with photo corners but that's a pretty rare occurrence for me.

This became a 3-page layout which is a little unusual for me. I do a LOT of 2-page layouts except for the last page of an album. The third page was more of the city life page concept then the national park itself. You can see that I incorporated more of the photo stickers on the page. Otherwise it is a simple border piece (pre-cut from a pack from Creative Memories) and a piece of scrap paper also from the jewel tone pack mentioned above.

Would love to hear your comments, so take a moment and drop me a line below!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Another trip to Washington D.C.

Well, I'm on my 2nd snow day thanks to Winter Storm Stella so I thought I'd post another entry. Today I highlight a trip my husband and I made to DC, or at least the NPS portion of it. I am not including a stop we made to the US Postal museum or the Supreme Court because they aren't an official unit of the National Park Service. So if you want to see those pages, you'll have to stop by sometime!

We visited the brand new World War II Memorial just a few days before the official opening ceremony. This was a great visit and especially important to me as my grandfather served in the Army Air Corps during the war as a flight mechanic. I was especially moved by the wall of stars.

I did not digitally merge my photos of the wall of stars, I just took sequential pictures. (My camera does have an option to allow me to line up the pictures but it isn't perfect). I ended up cutting the middle section in half and spreading the image across 2 pages which I really like. I also included photos of the Atlantic operations memorial as that is where my grandfather served. The red, white and blue theme was a sure-fire win but it's still got a lot of blank areas (and that isn't really intentional dead space).

Our walk around town included a stop at the Old Post Office Tower and we went up to take a look and get the stamp.

Here is another lesson in what to do with 8 1/2 x 11 paper in a 12x12 scrapbook. Cut it into strips and spread it across the page! I actually own a template which sizes the strips appropriately but you can work with just about any size that is effective. On the right is a Creative Memories pocket page. I used that to include the unigrids for the various parks. I only put the name of the city at the top, but I probably could add some decoration to the page as well.

Here is the other side of the pocket page and the beginning of our special Mall experience. You'll notice that the letters I chose for the title are all different shades. It was my attempt to not have to manufacture letters. One problem with sticker sheets is that there are limited letters and once you spell out your first title you are sometimes stuck missing a key vowel to complete the second or third use. I actually like the effect as it becomes sort of an ombre look and goes well with the "wallpaper" I chose to mount the photos.

We were in town for several days as I was there for a conference, so we had evenings and then the weekend to explore the city. It was our second visit to the Mall when we discovered that to enhance the WWII memorial opening, they held an encampment of WWII memorabilia, reenactments, and displays. The stickers used on this page actually came from one of the displays at the event. I carried the green theme through from the prior page but just as accents along the borders. There was quite a bit of green from the grass and vehicles though so not much more was required.

It's nice to know that you can return to a park and see it in a different way over and over again.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Back to Petersburg

My early trips show a very limited exposure to the various parks in the system don't they? Well, at this point even though I had purchased the passport book I hadn't yet found the National Park Travelers Club (NPTC). So this visit is a return to Petersburg. That isn't too surprising because I mentioned our previous visit was for Jim to get ideas for a book. This time the book is in full production and he arranged to spend time in the archives as well as tour the battlefield and Crater sites.

Very little technique on these pages, but I've tried to add some ivy as a nod to the heritage/historical aspects of the place. Not sure the "Remember When" sticker is enough of a title and there is plenty of space to put one on the left upper corner. The journal mat is an odd choice. Perhaps I didn't notice the swirls in the background as I journaled.

The photo mats show some promise as I purposely arranged them to get the most of the NPS arrowhead paper around the edge. The kit is available at many gift shops and online at the Eastern National store. Unfortunately it includes 8 1/2 x 11 paper, not 12x12.

So this is the first lesson in what to do with non-12x12 paper--use it for photo mats!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Scrapbooking without pictures

This page is a one-page layout of a trip Jim and I made to Cape Lookout. Or more precisely, Harker's Island which is where the visitor center is for the lighthouse. You have to take a ferry to the lighthouse which we didn't feel like doing that day. We just looked through the view finder lenses. We had visited the lighthouse previously during a boat trip. It landed us on the beach side of the island where we swam and looked for shells. That was of course prior to my learning about the stamps. I remember the visitor center at Harker's Island was not that impressive but I did buy a postcard and that and the unigrid became the focus of the page.
This turned out to be a very simple layout but I got lucky by having the large and small diamond border stickers. They perfectly matched the design on the light house, and really that's all that was needed. Looks like I used another photo holder for the unigrid and if I get a chance I will probably replace it. Just remember, it's about the story (journaling) so don't worry if you only have memorabilia to make a page!

Friday, February 24, 2017

My First Little Blue Book

My next entry is a single page from Independence. I took my Surgical Technology class to Philadelphia to see the Mutter Museum. After the museum I walked down to Independence National Historical Park and was able to see the Liberty Bell. If you examine the photos closely you'll see that the space between the visitor center and Independence Hall is rather undeveloped. The Liberty Bell is off to the side in a small building and there was no museum of information--just the bell. The grass isn't even mowed much in the park space.

But what is most important about this trip is this is when I finally decided to purchase the National Parks Passport and I got my first stamp. Just one. I also bought the sticker pack and thought that I was supposed to stamp across the sticker so it's really hard to read the bottom. I quickly deduced that was a mistake and haven't done it since :)

Here is that first stamp:

I like the border I made though my spacing is a bit off. That is a pack of stickers available at the Visitor Center gift shop and I think they help balance out my photographic inabilities. I think at the time that I was convinced I didn't need photo mats but looking back I think they would have helped the page a bit.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The First Layout with a Unigrid

My next recorded visit is a double page about Fort Sumter. Jim and I traveled to Charleston, SC for a conference and took a bit of time to site see before returning home. This is one of the places I distinctly remember picking up the little blue passport book, and putting it down again without buying it.

What is this "Unigrid" I mention in the title? It's the brochure on the bottom right page. When opened there is information on the park and often a map of the unit.

There are not a lot of photos in this layout, but the key ones are there: 1) photos of us with the sign, and 2) cannons. I used more of a "patriotic" feel with this layout as Civil War materials are hard to come by. The borders are part of a tablet of borders that I bought and have a red background with white stars. The 2 photo mats I chose are from a calendar that my sister-in-law gave me for Christmas. Each day was a mat and many of them have additional art in the middle under the photo.

I probably could have matted the photo of Jim since it's the only thing not touching paper. I'm not crazy about the sleeve for the unigrid--it's open on both ends so I think it could easily fall out. Unfortunately my favorite storage for those have been discontinued and I'm afraid if I take the photo sleeve off the page I'll end up with damage.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The First Double Double

My next set of National Park layouts is this pair of pairs from Petersburg. Jim and I were at the end of a very long drive back from Atlanta where we stopped at a variety of military museums. This was mostly a "Jim" trip, but don't worry I get back at him later. 😁

I wonder where I got that Civil War paper. This is something that I'm going to struggle with a LOT as there are many Civil War era national park units and a shortage of papers and stickers for that theme.

So obviously the left page is "wallpaper" technique. The right side is a bit bare. I should have matted some of the photos I think. Or perhaps used a split page for that one piece of Civil War themed paper.

Here is the 2nd set of layout pages. What is a bit unusual is that the "Title" ends up on the 2nd of the 2 layouts. I think that is because this was the real focus of our visit. Jim is planning to write about the Crater and this will provide some background for his book.

I rather like the alternating square border on the right and that I seem to have coordinated colors a bit better, pulling the red/brown from the left photo and using that to mat photos and choose the squares.  In this phase of my scrapbooking history I'm using the "natural" colored pages from Creative Memories and it does seem to deaden the title letters. Perhaps I should outline them with a dark marker.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

A slight retraction

As I continue through my scrapbooks in search of layouts for this blog, I came across this 2-page layout which is sort of Shenandoah National Park. Now in a previous blog post I mentioned that my first set of NP layouts was Gettysburg. Which chronologically is true. However, what I realized as I took the photo of this spread is that this was the first layout I actually made about a national park.

When my niece was born in 2000, my sister decided we should learn to scrapbook. I had toyed with the idea a bit but didn't really understand it. However, I bought a scrapbook album kit and went to a crop at her friend's house. The consultant said I should start with the photos that I had most recently taken and that would include a weekend trip to Virginia for Memorial Day Weekend. We walked through Luray Caverns and then chose to drive along Skyline Drive. We did not understand how long it would take to see everything while making all the scenic overlook stops so we probably saw about 1/3rd of the road during this trip before heading home.

Technically, the only national park photos are the ones on the right page as the cloud formations were taken from our hotel room in New Market. I'm actually pleased with the composition of the photos considering how early this was in my scrapbooking life. The scrapbooking technique used here is called "wallpaper"--you simply use 2 background papers as the backdrop for all the photos. I chose this pale blue to represent the sky, and between that and the clouds, I think the top turned out fairly well. I wish I had matched the flowers on the left and right pages. I do like symmetry. Also, if I had to do it over, I would do something to stretch out the grass and place them more evenly across the 2 pages.

The page looks unusual because I ended up tearing the first scrapbook apart and using Creative Memories pages. The original CM pages were not quite 12x12, but the paper was. So there is a bit of paper overlapping the CM page edges and that's where the edges are getting worn even with a page protector.

What is most interesting to me is the fact that I layered photos. This is something I still struggle with today as I inherently want everything to be distinct. (I also don't like food touching on my plate so perhaps there is a correlation there). A couple weekends ago I participated in a scrapbook challenge to put more than 8 pictures on one page or more than 12 on 2 pages. I ended with a 2-page spread of 14 photos. After struggling with placement I realized I would need to stack the photos and it was as strange to me today after years of experience as ever. So I guess my take away is that everyone has room for growth.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Back to the Mall

Another trip to DC. This one is with my husband Jim. It was an extremely cold weekend and I'm surprised we got to see so many things outdoors. This is our first look at the Korean War Veterans Memorial and though you can't see it in the photos below, when we arrived it was foggy. You really felt like part of the patrol.

On the left page I made a border with what I think is a "Fast Formulas" design from Creative Memories. The red accents really work with the photos but I think I could do a better job with the title. As I noted earlier--more footprints! I had several pages of these so I know I used them on a lot of pages.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Taste of the Big Apple

Time for my next installment which is a one-page layout of a trip my mom, sister Sue and I took to New York City in May 1998. This would have been a birthday trip as my mom and Sue share the same birthday in May. Unfortunately it rained ALL DAY and we had no other plans but to walk around the city. We started with a ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty. You can tell this is pre-9/11 because there was no security and no need for tickets as I recall. We simply got in line and waited our turn to walk up the statue. As you can see, we are all pretty wet. Still, it was a fun day.

In terms of the layout, there isn't much "technique" here other than some rain stickers--ok, a LOT of rain stickers. The blue accents bring out the chill of the day, so that worked well. It sort of looks like I stole a piece of the photo mat to make the title and in hindsight the photo would probably look better with a full mat. Additionally, I think I could improve the title strip a little--but overall I'm still happy with this layout.

Next up--a return to DC!

Monday, January 9, 2017

A couple of "firsts"

I have researched my scrapbooks and my first page of a National Park visit is this 2-page layout to Gettysburg in 1988. My Uncle Larry and his family came to visit from Texas, and we took a family trip. This is not my first ever visit to a national park--I know that my family took a trip to DC in 1976, but I don't seem to have any photos of that trip.

What I like about this layout is the fence I created out of paper strips. I also like the ivy letters (and I think I still have a few to use). I do wish that I had been better at placing the letters in a straight line though. Like many layouts from this era (and I'm guessing I created this around 2000-2002) there is a lot of white on the page. I think I could have put a little more paper behind the photos. But overall the composition is pleasing.

A couple of pages later, I found this layout from a trip to DC (which I am including here in order to tie in my first visit to any national park). My brother and I went specifically to see something at the art museum though I don't remember what. We also walked over to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and I remember buying a poster of the wall. We parked outside the city and rode the Red Line from Shady Grove. I still remember the sound of the conductor reciting "This is the Red Line to Shady Grove" on the way back to the car. I wish I could record that sound here--probably the one drawback to scrapbooking.
The technique I used here is called "Between the Lines". I created a double border with design lines top and bottom and then filled the middle with small decorative stickers. The title sticker worked well for this technique and then I matched the stars and stripes along the bottom. This may be the first use of the footprint path, but definitely will not be the last.

Overall I like this page though again I think I could have used more paper under the photos.

So that's my first entry. Stay tuned to see how my scrapbooking progresses!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Changing directions

So to begin 2017 I thought I would take the blog in a new direction. I don't really have that many culinary epiphanies and I DO love to scrapbook and visit national parks. So what is going to start happening soon (within the first few weeks anyway) is this blog is going to be a place for me to post my scrapbook pages of my national park trips. I will start by going back to the archives of my scrapbooks done in the early 2000s. I hope to describe the trip and any important points about the construction of the scrapbook pages. For the early ones it may be "if I did it over I would....". So I hope you join me on my journey and let me know your thoughts!