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

Monday, February 20, 2017


Do you remember when you were a kid and you happened upon a new hobby?

Maybe it was a TV show, a book, an idea—something new that got you to imagine the plot, dress up as the characters, or draw the themes.

Psychologically the human mind needs exposure to new things, activities that enthralls and encourages you to grow creatively.

I stumbled upon a new something like this recently.

As you know, I’ve been a scrapbooker for decades. I love it, the hobby allows me express myself and my skill of creatively documenting life using paper, words and ink.

However, like any endeavor, when you perform the same process over and over again, it can start to become stale. A review of my scrapbooks for this blog showed me how my style has evolved, but in the same token, it illustrated how little my pattern has changed over the years.

As a strong believer in the power of the Universe, my break from scrapbooking monotony came in the form of a journey. For years I’d go to the same mainstream craft stores, offering the same brands.

The thought finally occurred to me, “If you want your pattern to change, then you need to take a different action.” So, I did. I went in search of new supply stores.

Funny enough, I approached this process the same way I do for finding good coffee places: word of mouth and good online feedback. If you’re tired of Starbucks, you need to research the local small businesses, and I found a gem as a result.

I discovered a fabulous one-location wonder of a scrapbook supply store in Eldersburg, MD. It’s a bit of hike from where I live, but so worth it. They carry unique paper brands, and are very customer service friendly.

As I began visiting the store more frequently, I noticed that they supported all paper crafts, including card making, art coloring, and stamping, and even offered classes.

I’d dabbled in stamping when I was a young teenager, but felt that I wasn’t good at it. But as I watched the ladies at the store classes work on their projects, the technique stirred something in me.

Scrapbooking alone is expensive, and like any good fiscally-minded person, I wasn’t about to delve into a new, costly hobby without some proof of quality results.

Months passed, and the frequency of my store visits increased, and I continued to observe. The cards the store offered contained cool-looking paper cut outs made from metal dies. The stamps and inks were colorful and could be embellished, the result a little work of art.

My curiosity piqued, I went home and took to the internet to learn more. That was the moment when the new hobby enthusiasm was born. My search led me to the good ol’ University of YouTube, and there I found a channel that captured my attention – Jennifer McGuire Ink.

For the record, this woman is a card-making genius. I watched one episode and immediately became captivated. The host was soft-spoken, to the point, and helpful. The pace of the instruction was PERFECT, and all of her ideas were crazy-creative. One 9-minute post became a marathon as I soaked up all the information like a college student going for their PhD. I loved it.

I watched and watched, and soon got the wild idea that I could use the same steps to make pretty cards, too. And the great part about it was that the paper craft technique could easily bridge over to my scrapbooks.

I’ve stated before that Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. I love LOVE in all its forms, and what better day is there to debut my fledgling card-making talents?

I went for it, purchasing some cute clear stamps and paper. I also took the bold step of investing in a compact die-cut machine. I was super excited about having the machine in time to make my cards, however I hit one snag. The retailer had sold out of new machines, so I dared to purchase a refurbished one. Which was a monumental mistake.

The initial machine was faulty and I wasn’t able to use it. The return process took forever, tied up my bank account, and the replacement (new) machine arrived the day before Valentine’s Day.

I rolled with the punches (no pun intended), and made as many non-die cut cards as I could with the materials I had on hand, the result of which was quite adorable:

I made a shaker card (heart confetti) and little, stamped love bird cards.

The outcome wasn’t bad, and the replacement machine came in time to make my immediate family members' cards (the ones that I could hand deliver on the day).

And man, let me tell you – die cuts are FUN.

I felt like that kid, trying out something new and amazing and exciting. I wanted to learn everything – all the techniques, all the ways I could use the dies differently.

The result was phenomenal – to this moment, I’m proud on how they turned out.

My sister’s card especially. (Love this one.)

The practice allowed me to make a honeybee valentine card for my Grandmother (which will be received late, but lovingly so)…

…which I also translated into a scrapbook page.

I acknowledged my new obsession with my die cut machine (we will have to hold a contest to name my new baby), and began to look around for more card and scrapbook page ideas.

I found inspiration for another project in a Valentine’s Day decoration. Years ago, my sister got an adorable 3-deminional “Love Sushi” card that she later had framed.

I fired up my die cut machine, turned on some educational TV programming, and went to work.

My replica of the Love Sushi came out well. The salmon sushi hearts are velvet, (better than glitter paper, I decided), and a fair comparison. My chopsticks aren’t as cute as the original, but not bad.

And, as predicted, the project also became a scrapbook page. J

Note: The red velvet paper is way awesome. I bought some heart dies and put them to good use making card stock. Next year, look out! If you know me, you’re getting maaaiiilll. *evil grin*

So, last year I went all out with love quotes. This year, I discovered a way to build upon my existing skills with paper craft, and I’m so excited to see where this leads.

I’m grateful that there are small businesses like my local scrapbooking store, and people like the web channel personality, who generously send this knowledge out into the world without payment.

Paper crafting is a huge business, but it’s an education, too, and that carries so much value.

In April I’ll be participating in the A-Z Blog challenge, and with these new skills, and their application to scrapbooking, I’m gearing up to make this blog sprint awesome.

I will be posting throughout the rest of February and March with more, but I’m looking forward to sharing all of this creative technique with you in April.

I hope everyone is having a month filled with love, and I’ll see you again soon!

-         SNG

No comments:

Post a Comment