Friday, September 23, 2011

Now it's this little guy's turn...

As of late, I've shared lots of pictures of our oldest here on the blog -- as he turned one year older and surpassed another milestone into Kindergarten.  But let's not forget our littlest guy who is soon to become a big brother, himself!

Just this past Tuesday, he ventured off to school, as well.  I, of course, couldn't let the occasion pass without capturing the traditional 'first day' picture, on our front door step.  He was happy to pose and thrilled to be sporting the Buzz Lightyear backpack that he inherited from his older brother -- and that's nearly as big as he is!  Look at my big boy, sniff, sniff!

While this week marked his official first day, last week I attended a shortened 'meet the teacher' day with him.  That's where I was able to capture some of these darling photos of him 'in action' at school. 

As I drove him to school on that first day, he told me that he wasn't going to preschool, "I going to Kindergarten-Pschool!".  Oh, well okay then -- I stand corrected! ;)  Then, as we arrived and got out of the car he said, "Mommy you get back in the car, I walk on the street MYself!".  I guess this little guy isn't going to have a rough time with this new transition.  For this mommy, however, seeing her baby move off to a new adventure is always emotional.  Thankfully, I had the added stress of forgetting his backpack and all of the papers I had rushed to complete, to distract me from the tears.  I'm happy to report that his first day went great -- he was bouncing in excitement when I dropped him off and doing the same, when I arrived at his classroom door, two and half hours later, to pick him up.

So, with the return of school still in the air and lots of fun school themed supplies filling the shelves at my local scrap store, I was inspired to scrapbook some of those first day photos.  At the time that I picked up this kit from Simply Scrapbooks, I had just printed TJ's pics, so that's where I started.  Here is the resulting page:

As noted before, I'm always a sucker for school supplies and school themed products, but I really think Fancy Pants did an awesome job with their "Off to School" collection.  The colors are fun, slightly muted and a twist on the traditional primary colors.  Here are close-ups of both pages:

A peek at the journaling.  Aren't those chipboard accents cute?  I especially loved the cute little pencils, and couldn't resist using them both on this page!

A close-up of the title, with more cute chipboard accents:

And I absolutely LOVED that bookplate paper!!!

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You win some, you lose some...

Lately, it seems, I am 'losing' quite a bit when it comes to these design team gigs.  There is certainly some stiff competition out there and some amazing crafters that I am competing against.  I won't lie, it's a bit of a bruise to the ego, to get turned down from opportunities again and again and again.  But then I have to take a step back and remind myself the REAL reason I scrapbook -- for my family!  I know that when my kids are older and look back on these albums, they won't care if I was on a design team or not.  They will instead, relish the memories that I have preserved, the little stories that would otherwise be lost, and be grateful for the time I spent recording their and our families histories!  So, in essence it's all in your viewpoint, right?  I'm not 'losing' because I didn't make it onto a design team, I'm 'winning' because I took the time to carefully document our memories.  WINNING!  Okay, am I getting a little 'Charlie Sheen' for you, with all of this talk of winning?! ;)

Let's move on to the pictures...the eye candy...the fun scrappy stuff.  Okay? 

Bella Blvd announced the newest additions to their design team today, and while my name is not on the list, I walked away with some fun pages that I was eager to add to my albums.  Since they asked for 'never before seen' projects, I can now share them with you today!

This first one was, by far, my favorite of my entry.  I don't know if it's the darling Mr. Boy collection that sold it for me or that sweaty, chubby faced little boy that stole the show! ;)  I'll let you decide...

and closer peek at the journaling and some of the details...

This next page, is actually one I worked on awhile back, but just hadn't gotten around to sharing yet. I LOVE the fun colors in these pictures and how well they coordinated with the Bella papers.

I thought many of the sticker words and phrases added just the right touch to my page:

And, of course,  I had to 'junk it up' a bit with some strategically placed embellishments (and buttons!):

Now, I'm about to do the unthinkable and share a page featuring me and my baby bump, in a bathing suit, nonetheless!  Avert your eyes, if you have to! ;)  Seriously, I'm not so comfortable baring all on the blog, but this picture of my sister and I comparing bumps, was just too cute not to scrap! 

Seriously, is there really any competition?  Clearly, I am WINNING -- oops, there I go again channeling my inner Charlie Sheen. ;)

I couldn't resist rounding out my entry submission without completing a page featuring Bella's pet themed scrapbooking line.  Poor little Ruby used to be the focus of many of my pages, then well, the kids kind of took over.  Story of her life...

and a close up:

That's all I've got for tonight.  Hope to be back soon with more things to share!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Hello all!  I am still anxiously awaiting the announcement of the Doodlebug design team, for which I sent in an application a couple of weeks back.  So, to say that I have Doodlebug on the brain, may be a bit of an understatement.  I may have checked my email a few hundred times over the last couple of weeks, hoping to hear something from them. However, I'm sure their inbox was flooded with hopeful applicants, and I would be beyond lucky to grab their attention and snag a spot.  Either way, I thought I'd pop on here and share the projects that I submitted for the call.

The first is a page using their recent 'boy' birthday celebration collection.  I just LOVED the primary color scheme they used, and how they mixed it up a bit by adding touches of brown and teal. I knew it would be just right for photos of my favorite guys on their special days.  In fact, it proved to be just the right motivator to get this page idea out of my head and onto paper!  Each year on the boys birthdays, we have a special tradition of making them chocolate chip pancakes, adorning those pancakes with a candle and singing to them.  I, of course, have taken pictures of this tradition over the years and thought it would be fun to compile all of those pictures onto one page for each boy.  Here is the result for TJ's album:

Here's a close up of the vertical banner, which holds both the page title and journaling:

And some details in the upper left corner of the page.  I can't seem to make a page these days, that doesn't have at least one button sewn somewhere on it -- and the Doodlebug ones are my favorite, of course!

One last picture, showing how I 'fancied' up that birthday cake sticker with glitter, rhinestones, stitching and some starburst shaped stickers.

This collection was so fun to work with, I continued on to make a cute card with it.  As you can tell, I had fun dressing up each of the balloon stickers with a different embellishment - glitter, bling, sticker, button, twine, etc, and then attached a long piece of twine to each, to represent the string.  I thought the sentiment was fitting for this little scene, and could easily make the card work for a 'birthday', 'congrats' or a 'just saying hello' type of message.

For the next card, I broke into my stash of Doodlebug holiday goodies to make a 'sweet' Christmas greeting.  The darling little images and touches of glitter that they add to many of their products, just makes them that much cuter, don't you think?

Lastly, they requested that we submit images of a home decor project.  That was just the excuse I needed to snatch up some of their new 'Monster Mania' line and get started on a little wreath to display in our home for the upcoming holiday.  I shared a sneak of this projects a few posts back, and here is the full 'reveal'!:

And close up of the banner message.  I have pinterest to thank for that cute little saying.  It's pretty fitting, sitting next to that scary monster, don't you agree?

I still have plans to put together a little tutorial of how I created and assembled this project, if anyone is interested.  Alas, scrapbook time has been at a premium here lately, unless I'm willing to sacrifice sleep (which usually, I am!). 

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

School, school, school...

As of tomorrow afternoon at 3:32pm, we will have officially completed our first full week on school.  Yes, I realize that it's actually TJ who is attending, but the reason I say we is that mommy has a big role and some added responsibilities in this whole school process too (bigger than I realized!).  So far we've made it out the door on-time, in uniform, hair brushed, backpack on, snack packed and arrived to school at the proper drop off time and place, each day.  Mommy has also kept track of the multiple daily school emails, communicating a variety of things, filled out loads of paperwork for the school fundraiser, signed and returned necessary forms, read and evaluated the numerous volunteer opportunities and signed up for some, and sat down with TJ to complete his first night of homework.  Holy moly -- and this is only Kindergarten.  I'm sure once we settle into the school year and the routine, this will all reach a level of normalcy.  At least I'm hoping so, because right now, with all of the added work, I feel like I'm back in school again!

Speaking of school... I mentioned in several prior posts that I had a some school themed pages to share.  Well, the wait is now over!  I know, the suspense has been killing you, huh?  I recently had the opportunity to work with Basic Grey's new Oxford line.  At first glance, this line looked to be a bit mature for my young boy, but I still thought I could make it work.  I've always liked Basic Grey's collections, but quite honestly, have found them a bit difficult to work with simply because they differ from what I would normally gravitate towards (which is bright and clean patterns and papers, rather than more distressed and muted).  When I spotted the 'school supply' themed paper in this line, though, I just couldn't resist!  That single paper inspired me to create a page documenting the supplies that TJ needed to start Kindergarten this year.

I thought it would be a fun memory for us to look back on -- just exactly what he needed that first year of school, and even included a little pocket with the receipt, so we can remember just what the supplies cost, as well.

In addition, I've tried to include a pocket style page for each year of school to house: memorabilia, extra photos, artwork, teacher evaluations, etc.  So, again, I used Basic Grey's Oxford line to create a page to do just that, for TJ's preschool year 2010-2011.

and some close-ups (you can click on any of the pictures, for an even larger view):

Well, that's all I've got for tonight.  I've been crafting like crazy most evenings this week, so it might be time to get into bed at a decent hour!  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monster Mania

Did you happen to notice that goofy, but oh so cute, little blue monster that has now made his home over in my blog sidebar?!  He happens to be one of the new little icons featured in Doodlebug Designs newest Halloween line called 'Monster Mania'!  He and the rest of his little monster friends that join him in this new collection have won my heart.  But, if you know me well, that's no surprise -- Doodlebug has been one of my very favorite scrapbook companies and (thankfully!) has been around since I first started scrapbooking many, many years ago. 

Well, the reason I'm bringing this little guy to your attention is not only because I think he's a nice little addition to the blog (hey, he is even color coordinated with the current background - Ha!), but also because I just happened upon this line at my local Archivers store.  I had both of my little guys with me, so my shopping time was limited, but I did manage to grab him and a few of the coordinating pieces!  And what would you guess I was planning to do with these new supplies, with Halloween still a couple of months away?  Well, I thought I might just get a jump start on the upcoming holiday and make up a cute little home decor piece that features these items.  I would LOVE to share my little creation with you, as I am thrilled with how it turned out, however I just submitted it along with a few other projects to be considered for their current design team call.  I will give you a little sneak peek, though. 

And I promise to come back to the blog, when I can give you the full reveal, and even post a little tutorial on how I put this piece together.  Sound fun?  In the meantime, I'll share a fun little page I put together, using Doodlebug's Halloween line from last year, with pictures of my boys from Halloween 2009:

Gosh, I still can't get over how little they look in those pictures!?!  Here's some little treats that I put together for some neighbors (Hi, Jen!) and TJ's teachers, as well:

Are you officially ready to locate some Doodlebug for your own stash, now?  That's a whole lotta cuteness, huh?

Thanks for stopping by!  I'll be back soon, with those school pages I promised last week!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What a week...

It's been quite a busy week here at the Rench household, with the official start of the school year:

And celebrating a big birthday - hey, he now officially needs two hands to show his age:

Somehow, despite all the major milestones, this mama has managed to hold it together (mostly!).  I'm not going to deny that there hasn't been some tears (thank goodness for sunglasses!), but I've done better than I expected!  However, just when I thought I was doing great, I witness a moment like this one, and the tears start flowing again:

Little brother, Justin, was nearly as upset as his mama when we dropped TJ off for his first day.  He had to run back for one last hug, that, as you can see, was happily accepted from his older brother.

Despite all the newness that this week has brought, I managed to squeak out a layout for a design team assignment.  I picked up some pieces from Echo Park's Happy Days collection from Simply Scrapbooks and unearthed some photos from my Dad's surprise 60th birthday bash, that I thought fit the theme and color scheme of theses papers just right.

A closer look at page one:

and page two:

I had so much fun creating that funky border that surrounds the two pages.  It was a great way to use many of the papers I love from this line and tie in more of the colors from the bottle cap paper.  I already have another page in mind to work on with these papers, now I just need to find the time to do it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Echo Park

In my last post, I mentioned that Echo Park Paper Co. has quickly become my favorite new scrapbook brand.  In fact, you can tell just by flipping through my scrapbooks that most of my recent pages are ALL Echo Park!  So, I was thrilled when I found out a few months ago, that they were searching for new 'Fresh Face' designers for their brand, and eager, of course, to throw my own name into the running! 

Admittedly, the hardest part of the whole 'Fresh Face' submission process was narrowing down my favorite Echo Park Pages to feature on my blog today!  But the first I'm going to share, certainly tops the list.  I used the Country Drive collection on this page.  I couldn't resist it's bright fun colors and patterns!  I recently came across this hilarious strip of photobooth photos and needed just the right paper to compliment this happy memory.  I am always a sucker for photobooths, and jumped at the chance to squeeze my new little family into one on our very first vacation!

(Supplies: all from the Country Drive Collection: Apron Strings, Border Strip and Little Ladies patterned papers and  Elements Stickers, foam adhesive, buttons, Doodlebug letter stickers, Making Memories chipboard hearts and decorative stick pin, machine stitching)

To create this page, I started with a kraft background and cut four 1/2" strips of the 'apron strings' patterned paper to create a border for framing the remainder of the page.  Next, I adhered and sewed through the center of each strip, continuing all the way around the page.  I adhered my photo strip to the right, center of the page and typed my journaling on a scrap of kraft cardstock, which I adhered to the left and bottom third of the photo strip.  I measured and cut a piece of the 'little ladies' paper to fill in the space above my journaling.  Before adhering this rectangle of patterned paper, I distressed the edges with my scissors and sewed around the border.  I used some glittery letter stickers for my title and to fill in the space below my journaling block.  Then, of course, it was time for the fun part - embellishing!  I covered a large and small chipboard heart in 'border strip' and 'apron strings' and pulled just about all of the hearts from the sticker sheet for added fun.  Some of the hearts were popped up with foam adhesive and others were stuck directly to the page.  Finally, I used some additional stickers from the 'elements' sticker sheet to dress up the rectangle of patterned paper and top and bottom page borders.  Here are a couple close up shots of some of the page details:

The second page I'm sharing, includes some pictures I waited a long time to scrapbook.  Maybe I was waiting for just the right paper to use for these pictures or it could just be that scrapbooking wedding pictures quite honestly scares me a bit!  Regardless, I'm glad I waited because Echo Park's Victoria Gardens proved to be just the right style and color scheme to fit my little sister's wedding photos.

(Supplies:  all from Victoria Garden collection: Garden Gate, Cheerful Words, Rose and Journaling Cards patterned papers and Elements stickers, chipboard letter 'B', Making Memories ribbon, Doodlebug button, Queen and Co, adhesive pearls, foam adhesive, machine stitching)

A close up of page one:

and of page two:

To create these pages, I started off with a medium pink cardstock background that would ultimately serve as a border, to frame out the whole two page spread.  There were just so many of the papers in this collection that I LOVED, I wanted to find a way to incorporate as many of them onto the page as I could.  So, I trimmed 2 7/8" squares of the A and B sides of: 'garden gate', 'cheerful words', 'rose' and 'journaling cards' papers and interspersed them along the entire 12 x 24 page border, randomly alternating them with my photos.  I stitched along the edge of each of the patterned paper squares for some added interest (and because I just can't resist adding some machine stiching!) before permanently adhering them to the page.  Next, I cut a light pink cardstock to fill in the middle of the bordering grid on both pages.  On page one, I used the light pink cardstock to highlight my focal point photo and page title.  For the title, I layered many of the floral stickers from the 'elements' sticker sheet and used foam adhesive to adhere one of the journaling cards over top.  Before adhering the journaling card, I ran it through my printer to add my sister and her new husband's names and wedding date, along with a chipboard letter that I covered in some of the leftover patterned paper.  I used ribbon, a button, adhesive pearls and a border sticker from the the elements sticker sheet to finish off the title block.  I knew I had a lot of journaling I wanted to add to the second page, since I had saved my matron of honor speech from that day.  The center block served as the perfect spot for my lengthy journaling and a few additional elements stickers and adhesive pearls.  I finished off the two pages by adding some additional stickers to a few of the patterned paper squares, embellishing them with adhesive pearls, and adding sticker 'photo corner's to the top left of the first page and bottom right of the second page.  A few additional close-ups of the details:

The final project I'm sharing today, uses my most favorite Echo Park line, to date: Little BoyWith two little guys of my own, I'm always on the hunt for boy themed papers and embellishments.  In my opinion, none have quite captured the essence of my guys quite like Echo Park did in this fun line -- they simply knocked it out of the park!  In fact, this is one of the many pages I have made, using this collection.

(Supplies: all from the Little Boy collection: Awesome Dots, Cool Stripe, In the Clouds, Little Boy Borders and Journaling Cards patterned papers, Doodlebug buttons, Tim Holz mini paper clips, 7 gypsies photo turn, jumbo brad, machine stiching)

To create this page, I started with one of the coordinating solids of the Little Boy line, to create the base of my page.  Next I cut a 10" square piece of cream colored cardstock and centered it on the background.  Then I layered varying widths of: 'awesome dots', 'cool stripe', 'in the clouds' and 'little boy borders' on top of the cream base, leaving an 1/8' border around the perimeter.  I then, sewed along the horizontal edge of some of the paper strips.  Next, I placed my photo and journaling block, which I had pre-printed on the ledger looking side of 'little boy borders', toward the bottom half of the page.  Then, I went to town cutting up many of the journaling cards for additional text and to tuck in and embellish various parts of the page.  I finished off the look with some 3D details including: buttons, mini paperclips, an arrow photo turn and clear star.

I think it's easy to see why Echo Park has won my heart!  Their beautiful collections have inspired me to capture some wonderful memories and perfectly showcase some of my favorite photos.  I know I will be reaching for this brand over and over again!