About Me

My photo
A writer by predilection, an aunt by blessing and a friend by choice, Shelley has spent many years journaling before sitting down to draft her first novel. She has a B.A. in English discourse and is currently working on her third romantic-suspense, the title of which will be announced soon pending publication. Shelley is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her RWA state chapter of the Maryland Romance Writers.
"I love story-telling. It's a way to live an experience through the eyes of a character." - Shelley N. Greene

Friday, April 28, 2017

X is for XEROX & HOME PRINTING #AtoZChallenge


Hi again and welcome to my blog. For the month of April I will be posting everyday as part of the A to Z Blog Challenge, my theme: Scrapbooking.

Today’s letter is a different type of scrapbooking technique – X is for XEROX and HOME PRINTING.

Xerox and home printing is the utilization of a printer to add images and quotes to your scrapbook pages.

On the surface this may seem kind of technical way to scrapbook, but I find it most useful.

I’ll be going into more detail with this with tomorrow’s letter (Y is for YEAR IN REVIEW), but the first page in each of my books is called the “Buh-Bye” page, and it’s where I chronicle the previous year major pop-culture and worldly events.

I started doing this early in my scrapbooking because I found dedicating one page to media trends easier than sprinkling them in-between my life events.

Modern-Day Example: A page that's half Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino and half my friend’s wedding.
Yeah – I don’t think my friend will appreciate me adding neon sprinkles to her moment.

So, to keep the sequence and blood sugar in check, I keep the outside world restricted to its own designated area.

This leads to the creative conundrum – How to do compact a year’s worth of happenings into a few 12x12 pages?

Annnnd this is where Xerox and home printing saves the day. I can scale down and control the size of images and text to fit the space I have available.

To start, home printing requires the same equipment seen in the N is for NEGATIVES and PHOTO STORAGE post. There a lot scanner/printer combination machines that you can buy for $80.00, and printer only for around $30.00.

Once installed, I typically copy and paste an image or news story to a blank Word document.
I used the birth of April the giraffe’s long awaited male calf for this example.


Once I have the desired layout in the height and width I need, I simply print, clip, and tape onto the page.

And TA-DA. A baby giraffe (with Unicorn Frap representation underneath J ).
Ink refill cartridges can be a bit pricey, but that is the only real con. Other than those miscellaneous costs, adding images using home printing is fast and easy.
That crosses another letter off our list, and then there was TWO! Please leave a comment if you’d like, I’d love to hear what you think about the post, theme, or an invite to my fellow AtoZers blogs.
This weekend wraps up our blog challenge, so I hope to see you back here tomorrow – Y is for YEAR IN REVIEW.

-         SNG


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

W is for WATERCOLOR #AtoZChallenge


Hi and welcome the home stretch of my A to Z blog challenge!

My theme for the month of April is scrapbooking, and today’s letter offers more “project within a project” fun – W is for WATERCOLOR.



Watercolor is a creative way to create your own card stock. To start, the best paper is the thicker grade kind that is made specifically for watercolor.

I found a few brands that offer watercolor paper in 12x12 size for the same cost as traditional paper.

The next equipment you’ll need is watercolor paints. There are many varieties to choose from but I found that the basic, inexpensive, kid-grade paints work pretty well.

 

You can experiment with color combinations and blending to create a mélange of backgrounds.

I find watercolor to be a relaxing and forgiving art. There are few “mistakes” that you make that can’t be smoothed out, and the water base allows for easy clean up.

If you want to go fancy with your watercolors, there are more professional formulations available that give vibrant, smooth application, as well as offer more designer colors like gold and pearl. 


And just like regular scrapbooking paper, the dried watercolor sheets can be cut for other uses.


Here I use die cuts to make a sun and rainbow from my watercolor art.


Watercolors are a flexible and fun way to add flair to any scrapbook.

Well, our W post was short and sweet, which means we are down to our final THREE letters!  We’re X-Ying it to the Z-end, folks. It’s been a journey. J

As always, please check out my fellow AtoZers posts – I’ve seen some amazing themes out there, so if you're ready for more posts please search the keyword “A to Z Blog Challenge 2017”.

And please stop back by tomorrow for the modern tool that scrapbookers use – X is for Xerox and Home Printing.

-         SNG

V is for VELLUM #AtoZChallenge


Hi and Happy Wednesday!  It’s the final week of the A to Z Blog Challenge and my theme this month is scrapbooking.

You know that we are rounding the end of the alphabet when we hit today’s letter – V is for VELLUM.

Vellum is parchment made from calf skin, as opposed to that from other animals. It is used primarily for writing or printing on, to produce single pages, scrolls, codices or books. (I'm not sure if there is such a thing as "faux vellum" for those of us who are pro-animal rights.)

In scrapbooking, vellum creates a soft opaque overlay to images and paper, which gives a gossamer veil kind of look.
My first example is one that you saw in the R is for RIBBON post.

The top area of the 12x12 page is pink and cream patterned, and then the ribbon transitions the paper into a muted vellum.

To give a second example, I pulled out my beloved die cut machine.
I cut a solid vellum heart and open frame, as well as coordinating hearts from velvet and Valentine patterned paper stock.
The velvet on vellum gave a textured look to the misty backdrop.

The vellum frame also created a neat “coming into focus” effect with the pattern on the cardstock.

Both of these embellishments would look great on a 12x12 love themed page.

Vellum cuts outs also work well over photos.

Here the frame makes the subject the center of attention.

Or, a solid vellum shape can act as an accent.

Anyway way you use it, vellum is a cool way to add impact to your scrapbook page.

Okay, guys – we’re counting it down. Only FOUR letters left to go!

If you have the chance, please leave a comment, and check out the awesome V-posts of my fellow AtoZ Blogsters.

And please come back tomorrow for more scrapbooking madness – W is for WATERCOLOR.

See you soon!

-         SNG


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U is for UPCYCLING #AtoZChallenge


Hi and welcome to the final week of my A to Z Blog Challenge – Scrapbooking Edition!

This blog sprint has been a challenge in many ways. I’ve been drafting the posts sequentially, but there have been moments where I’ve wanted to cheat and go out of order. That happened last weekend. I was supposed to working on the T is for TEARING post (a technique that is new to me), but I kept working on pages for the following letter.

It is evidence that I’ve been subconsciously looking forward to today’s letter – U is for UPCYCLING.

Upcycling is the reuse of discarded objects or material in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original.

Upcycling is great because there are materials and inspiration everywhere you turn.

Multi-media and marketing make pop culture images available at your local grocery store in the form of facial tissue and cereal boxes, which gives you a dual purpose for your money.

I’ve even seen new movies promoted on tea containers.

I used this BEAUTY AND THE BEAST image on my movie page.

I like to save the little spiritual messages that come as tags on my tea (as seen in the P is for PUNCHES post).

These beautiful Nutcracker Suite-esque ballerinas came off of a Godiva chocolate package. I’m looking forward to using them on a Holiday page in the future.

As an avid recycler and tree-hugger, I love saving objects from the trash bin and giving them a new home in my scrapbook pages.

One way I utilized upcycling recently is with a perfume page. I’d mentioned in my K is for KEEPSAKES post how I scrapbook the clippings from magazines for beauty products. Every decade or so I come across new make-up and fragrances.
Recently I’d come across an advertisement for a London based perfume company which offers a line of natural scents, and I made a plan to check them out.


(It’s funny, just when I don’t think I’m not that girly, my Libra-ness kicks in.)

I made a jaunt to mall and sampled the product line. A sales lady helped me peruse, and the marketing for the perfume included little square cards that listed the scent’s name on the front and the fragrance’s notes (the ingredients: i.e. lavender, mint etc.) on the back.

They gave me little paper promos to take home! You know I was tickled pink by this. This company knows how to sell to scrapbookers, to say the least. J

One technique that I hadn’t illustrated but I use frequently is the hinging of paper using packing tape. I do this to adhere dual-sided paper elements and to create pull-to-open areas. Any clear packing tape works, but I particularly like the kind they sell at the post office. It’s inexpensive, thick and durable, and stays clear when adhered.

I cut the tape to the width of the paper square and position it where it’s spaced properly (able to be opened in coordination with the other page pieces). Once in place, I add a clear corner to hold the square closed.

I then included parts of the magazine ad, and the company name from the paper test strip.

In addition to using the squares, I added a green bow that came off a bag of mini-scones from Panera. (Note: Neither the bow nor the pastries went to waste during the drafting of this post.)

After I got all of my elements in place, I added my upcycled bow to the corner.

I’m proud of how the page turned out. I even included a little pearl next the scent I liked best, although the Red Rose layered with Grapefruit (the saleslady’s suggestion) smelled heavenly, too.



Used gift cards and fancy boxes also make great upcycling materials. The cardstock is pretty and perfect for frames and die cuts.


Images from flyers and leftover tissue paper works well, too.

I warned you that I was going to go nuts with this letter, right? Lol. I thank you for hanging with me throughout my exploration of UPCYCLING.

We’ve posted on twenty-one letters so far, which leaves only five left to go. It’s been a challenging-exciting-educational blog sprint, and I can’t thank you enough for going on this journey with me. As always, if you’d like to leave a comment, please do so. I get a little busy mid-week, but I so appreciate you taking the time to comment, and I strive to reply each one.

I’ve met fellow AtoZ bloggers with fun, entertaining themes, so if you are so inclined, please check out their pages, you can find them with the search word “A to Z Blog Challenge.”

And if you are able to stop back by tomorrow I will have another letter waiting for you – V is for VELLUM.

See you soon!

-         SNG

Sunday, April 23, 2017

T is for TEARING #AtoZChallenge


Hi and Happy Monday everyone!

Today starts the final week of our A to Z Blog Challenge!

This week is also special because with the way the dates fell on the April calendar this year, the last post will be this Sunday. That means a full 7-day week of posts for this last leg of the blog sprint.

It’s going to be exciting and chock-full of Scrapbooking know-how.

Are you ready? I'm READY!

"Light me!"


Let’s get the party started with today’s letter – T is for TEARING.

Tearing is the utilization of ripped paper on your scrapbook pages. This is another one of those “haven’t tried much” topics, but I put myself to the test creating the examples, so I hope they do justice to the subject.

I experimented with my first example. I tore an ad for a face cream out of a magazine, and bordered it with torn beauty-themed paper.

The teared edges gives a fun, ripped-from-the-headlines effect; a perfect add-on to a scrapbook page.

I liked out how the ad turned out, but I figured that I needed to go more in-depth with my second example (both these projects are my first attempts at tearing).

For the next try, I went with a Halloween theme.

I first cut out a pumpkin and Jack-O-Lantern face using dies cuts.

I actually made two pumpkins: The one you see has a cut out face, while the second one I glued the pieces of his face on individually. The nose was the TINIEST thing ever.

Footnote to save your sanity: Don’t glue the pieces on one by one – cut the faces out.

Sorry – rant over, moving on.

I tore up a bunch of black paper and adhered my masked pumpkin onto one larger square piece.


The next step required me to break out the Mod Podge (a glue-sealant that goes on white and dries clear and smooth to the touch). The opportunity to create using ripped paper felt like a reward – I didn’t have time to make a Mosaic for my M post, so I got to make up for lost projects. (*Woot*)

Using a sponge applicator, I spread out a generous layer of Mod Podge.


I arranged the ripped pieces of paper, applying layers of Mod Podge to merge and seal.
After it all dried, I added the pumpkin square.

The finished product came out super cute.

I’m thinking this would look great as an anchor in the corner of a 12x12 Halloween colored (orange/black/green/brown) plaid page.

Tearing also makes for a great contrast between textures and patterns of paper.

The raw edges could also give a journalistic and real-world feel to text boxes. Tearing is an eye-catching way to add dimension and appeal to your scrapbook pages.

And that’s another letter down, only six left to go. I can’t thank you enough for stopping by to read my post. If you have tips about tearing, general feedback about my scrapbooking theme, or just want to say “Hi”, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

If you would like to check out other awesome T posts, please check out my fellow AtoZ blogsters by searching the keyword “A to Z Blog Challenge” or the #AtoZChallenge.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a letter that’s a personal favorite – U is for UPCYCLING.

See you then!

-         SNG

Saturday, April 22, 2017

S is for SEQUENCE & STORY PROGRESSION #AtoZChallenge


Hi everyone! Thank you for checking out my blog. Throughout the month of April I will be posting each day with a letter of the alphabet that pertains to my theme of Scrapbooking.

This sunny Saturday morning's letter is an important part of both writing and scrapbooking - S is for SEQUENCE & STORY PROGRESSION.


Sequence is the pattern in which you layout your photos, images, and page elements in order to best tell a story. This applies mainly to pictures, but it can include any visual that plays into your theme.

The concept really speaks to the author side of my brain – it asks the question, “What order of photos/images/symbols would best illustrate this event?”

The most commonly used sequence is linear. A straight timeline of images.

This was a visit with my friend’s son. The photos are in order and sequential, the little boy sharing his hat.

The layout is simple but clearly conveys the fun of the moment.

Sequence can follow other patterns as well, the images can be placed in a meandering or in a diagonal order. I’ll go into more detail with this in my final post – Z is for ZONES, but any arrangement that utilizes image placement contributes to the sequence of your page.  

The second part of our S - Story Progression - goes hand-in-hand with sequence because it moves the reader through “steps” of the story.

This page is of a trail ride I took with a group. (I enjoyed revisiting this memory.)


Here is a field trip to Philadelphia. As you see, the photos don’t have to be in a solid timeline, but like step-stones, they still transition from one image to the next.


My last example is a favorite. Every spring the farm near my home lets the sheep out to graze in the front pastures where the passersbys can see the baby lambs.



I love the two little ones lying next to their momma in the upper-left. That brings a smile to my face every time I see it. It reminds me of the expression, "Two shakes of a lamb's tail," which means, "quick."  J

In this example there is no definitive timeline, but the layout allows the viewer to move through the nuances of the moment.

Images are powerful, and the sequence adds to their impact.

And that wraps up week three of our challenge. I appreciate you checking out my posts! Tomorrow is a break day, but next week marks a seven day countdown of the last of our letters.

I have more Scrapbooking know-how in store, so please come back on Monday – T is for TEARING.

See you then!

-         SNG