27 Aug

Interview with Natalie E

Editor Note: today’s post has been created by Natalie May who, some time ago, interviewed Natalie Elphinstone and has been kind enough to be one of our first guest bloggers. Are you interested in being a guest blogger? Make sure you send us a message!

Where do you live?
I’m in Melbourne with my husband and two girls aged 7 and 4.

How long have you been scrapbooking and how did you start?
Like a lot of people, I started soon after the birth of my fist child. I was a stay-at-home-Mum for a while there and used the opportunity to feed my creative appetite for the first time in a long time. It was so therapeutic and so much fun that I haven’t looked back since. I guess that makes it about 6 years now.

Tell us what Design Teams you are on and other scrappy achievements!
I’m currently on the Creative Team for Studio Calico which has got to be one of the biggest achievements I could ever imagine. It’s a dream come true! Other highlights include things like becoming a Scrapbooking Memories Master, being a Jenni Bowlin Ambassador, Guest Designing for American Crafts, being regularly published and teaching at my first retreat earlier this year. It’s all one big exciting scrapping adventure for me at the moment!

Five favourite things to use on a layout?
Features you’ll find on nearly every single one of my layouts… a contrasting coloured background, machine stitching, paper layers, a splash of mist and most importantly, a good amount of journaling.

Do you have a favourite technique?
My favourite techniques change with the seasons. Right now I’m loving working with a colour combination and using it to guide my layers of papers, tags and labels underneath my photo. I’ll add some mixed media touches around the edges and made sure I leave plenty of space for the journaling.

Who are you inspired by?
There are literally 100’s of blogs I subscribe to so definitely too many to start listing. When I need inspiration I turn to 3 sources… my blog roll, my Pinterest boards and the Studio Calico gallery. There’s definitely always something new and interesting to discover.

What is your scrapbooking kryptonite (your biggest challenge)?
Recently I just invested in a dSLR, so I’m slowly challenging myself to take it off the Auto setting and figure out how to use the thing properly! But I know that having a great photo to begin with can be half the battle so I know it’ll be worth it.

What makes you happy?
The freedom that scrapbooking brings. There are no rules, there are no protocols, there are no rights and wrongs. Everyone has a different style … and it’s supposed to be that way! I scrapbook because it makes me happy to create and I get satisfaction from documenting the stories that I think are going to be important for the future. The Design teams and the publications are just perks!

Where and when do you scrap?
I’m lucky to have a dedicated room for all my scrap supplies. My husband likes to refer to this room as his study…. but we all know better than that. It’s really my scrap room! My routine is to get home from my busy day at work, unwind with the family and once the kids are in bed steal an hour or two away to play. It’s very relaxing!

Some recent layouts by Natalie! (and her Studio Calico gallery is here…)

24 Aug

Introducing the 2014 Teachers!

The video says it all. I introduce the teachers for the rest of the 2014 teaching year! We have a class for everybody.

Please note that the video has links that will open up a new window or tab in your browser to take you to related content. The video is available in HD – which I would recommend using. (P.S. Sorry for the lateness of this video.)

20 Aug

In praise of online classes

Editor Note: It is my pleasure to announce that the wonderfully talented Natalie Elphinstone, who wrote today’s blog post, is teaching our November card class! Check out the sneak peak of the project (above) you’ll make during the class.

I’ve recently become a devoted fan of the world of online classes. Oh, I know they’ve been around for years, and I’ve dabbled in the occasional one from time to time (often not finishing them, if I’m being completely honest). But this year I’ve discovered a new love for the ease and convenience of learning a truck-load of interesting skills via online classes. It’s true that the main prompt for this change of heart has been joining the Studio Calico Creative Team. I just never truly appreciated the broad spectrum of completely unique classes they offer there before. Studio Calico continues to debut at least one new class every month, and they’re taught by some of the world’s most well-known scrapbookers.

What I love best is that once you sign up you can really take it easy and do the classes at your own pace. You’ll have access to them forever, so there’s no need to get through the lessons today, this week or even this year. There’s always a mixture of videos and PDF lessons, with lots of example projects and input from a host of other contributors apart from the main teacher. For those who are digitally inclined there is access to coordinated printables and cutting files, and for those who are up for a bit of a chat there are lively forums and chatrooms. But the most exciting thing is of course the plethora of new skills and techniques you’ll learn. Can I share with you what I’ve gained through 4 of the (12!!) classes I’ve taken this year already?

Moon-and-BackIn January, I took the “Life | Scripted” class by the amazing Kal Barteski. Kal is perhaps best known in the scrapbooking industry by her brush script writing featured in the Amy Tangerine collection “Plus One”. She let us in on many of her secrets about how to achieve a similar look. I’ve used her techniques on plenty of layouts since, most recently on “To the Moon and Back”.
Life | Scripted has fast become one of Studio Calico’s most popular classes which means they’ve left registration open indefinitely so you can still sign up and take the class today.

Hello-HappyIn March, I took “Color Studio” taught by Lisa Truesdell – the queen of colour matching. Working out great colour combinations has always been a weakness of mine and taking this class has taught me some of the fundamentals of better design. I’m not sure that there’s just one particular layout I can say this class inspired. Every layout I’ve made since then has been influenced by what I’ve learned, and I’m sure you’ll walk away from this class feeling the same way. “Hello Happy” is one example of a interesting colour combination that I might not have tried out beforehand. You can still register for this one too!

Hooray-cardIn April, I not only took the “Mixed Media” Class taught by the awesome duo of Celine Navarro and Anna-Maria Wolniak, but I also contributed to it. If you’ve ever wondered how to use things like gesso, gel medium, texture paste, Gelatos, Neocolours, inks and mists on your scrapbooking pages then this was the class for you. It’s a little bit messy, but a whole lot of fun! I’m a big fan of these techniques and use them quite regularly but I still came away learning a whole lot more from this class. One of my most recent cards “Hooray 4 You” was created from what I’d learned. Registration for this class has unfortunately closed.

BeautifulIn June, I totally stepped out of my comfort zone by taking the “Digital | Beyond the Basics” class taught by Shanna Noel…. and it absolutely rocked my scrapping world! I don’t think I’ll ever consider myself a digital scrapbooker, but I’m now certainly confident enough to dabble in some hybrid layouts. Shanna makes it really easy to follow along with what might be considered quite foreign concepts such as using digital papers, digital stamps, digital templates and more. There are truck-loads of free digital files with this class so you can practice all your new skills. It’s honestly changed the way I approach a lot of my layouts now, and whilst I’m still getting the hang of it, I really love the cleaner look of some of my new hybrid layouts like “Beautiful”. Registration for this class is going to stay open indefinitely since it’s such a foundational skill to add to your scrapbooking arsenal. You can find all the details here.

What’s next you might ask? In September Maggie Holmes will be teaching a mini-book class called “30 Days of Me” which is going to be all about turning the camera around and shining the spotlight on yourself! This class was really popular last time and I think it’s a really important topic so I can’t wait for this one. At the completion of this class Maggie Holmes is actually stepping back from scrapbooking for a while to concentrate on adding baby No.5 to the family, so it might be the last chance to catch her in action for a while!

And after that?…. well I’m not sure exactly. But I am sure it’ll be awesome. Maybe I’ll see you in the classroom this November.

18 Aug

Making actual paper flowers

This post is for my aunt (hi Lesley!) who asked how to make the paper flowers that I posted a couple of weeks ago. The inked paper flowers didn’t have a tutorial on how to make the flowers. However, the video above shows how you can make paper flowers. They’re not quite the same as the ones we posted earlier, but if you ink the tops of the paper before you roll them, you’ll get something really close. (Video’s original source is A Beautiful Mess.)

15 Aug

Stringy backgrounds

This is probably the fifth or sixth blog post about backgrounds. I’m obsessed! I love the idea that you can make your own stamps out of anything you find lying about the house and can create something beautiful. (And apparently, it always has to be blue. I’d love to see it in other colours!) Today, consider pulling out some of that scrap-stash string and using it in a new and interesting way.