Thursday, March 31, 2011

Photo Cards

I've been in a card-making kinda mood... And what better way to use a photograph? Feel free to right click on the image below, save into your own picture file, and print!
Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Learning from Jasmine...

Soaking up a lot of what I heard last night, and wanted to share a few highlights with my bloggers today. Lots to take in and think about--so I hope I do this justice...

First off, Jasmine Star is more beautiful in person than her "commercial" or print ads. Seriously--inside and out--she was amazing. I drove about 45 minutes to Akron for her seminar, but there were at least a few hundred in attendance--and they came from Buffalo, Lexington, KY, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis--all over. She spoke with each person as they arrived, and stayed until the last person was gone. She sought people out and asked them about why they came, and was interested and engaging. I was really impressed.

She only spoke 2-3 minutes about her personal background. UCLA Law School on a full scholarship. Business and marketing undergrad work. Her parents were immigrants and her father didn't learn to read until he was 24. Her mom's illness forced her to examine what she really wanted to do with her life--not what others wanted for her--and she took a leap of faith into a field where she knew nothing. NOTHING. She didn't even own a camera, and she told her husband she wanted to be a wedding photographer because she was so inspired by her own wedding. And rather than be a success at something she hated, she thought she would rather be a failure at something she loved.

She started photography in 2006 as a volunteer and a second shooter at weddings. She took in everything she could, and did so with rented equipment. She started a blog. This is one of her first entries...

She put herself out there. She had the bravery to tell it ALL. No secrets--she wanted people to know her fears and strengths and quirks. She wanted to bring people along in her journey, and a blog was the vehicle for that. She joined facebook, and linked her website to facebook. Then she joined Twitter. She has climbed so quickly in the rankings as a photographer not because she was trained or went to college for it, but because she worked SMART and not just HARD. She has used social media as her main source of advertising, and it has been all for FREE. She aimed to not just ruffle feathers with this one--but to pluck the whole chicken--when she proclaimed that photographers were not all that different, working with the same equipment and the same set of standards that apply to everyone. She then proclaimed, in a room full of professional photographers, that the business end should be about 80% of your workload, and that the photography should only be the other 20%. Standing there was your living proof. I loved it.
She talked briefly about branding and putting yourself out there. She used her first and middle name--partly because she was teased about it in middle school. She spoke of the importance of having YOU in your business, simply because you will stand apart from others.

One of the topics she covered was websites. She firmly believes that a person's website is their handshake, while their blog is their "voice." Let's be real--if you're booking $10K weddings, your website should be stellar, right? The question was brought up about websites vs blogsites (what you're looking at here)--and I loved her response. Your website/blog site should be a reflection of you, and should cater to your client and product. We're dealing with paper and mini books here--nothing here on sale in the hundreds (much less thousands.) In short, I felt validated and satisfied with what I've done here with this blog and business--and I loved that.
She talked about having a selective clientele, and not wanting every customer. She touched on not having a black website with white script lettering like half the websites out there--but to stretch yourself and be different. And in the photog biz, that "different" changes every 2 years or so. She intentionally does not attend bridal shows ("It broadens the funnel for bridezillas, and I don't want those.") She also does not put her phone number on her business cards, but returns calls once someone has contacted her via her website. Loved her reasoning, and I am going to take that one to heart...
She talked about networking and not competing with people who are in your market, but joining them in your journey. And so I formed friendships with Tanya Stafford, Heather Muro and Cassady Porada, other photographer/business women who share a passion. So nice to chat with them...
JD, Jasmine's husband and second shooter. He is completely adorable and he adores his wife. So sweet...
In short, I had a great evening. I don't know how much I'll apply to my own life (sorry--I'm not sold on Twitter even now--I personally think there can be too much "look what I'm doing" and for me--that is where my line is drawn.) It felt good to go out by myself and do something I haven't done in a long time--and that is stretch myself. Hope something here has been of interest to YOU, too.

ETA: Jasmine is doing a FREE online workshop at CreativeLIVE next week. You can register and check out more details here. Thanks for the reminder, Therese! :)

An Evening with Jasmine Star

I got an email from my all-time favorite blogger, Karen Russell, about a month ago. It was a blast email with a link to Jasmine Star's blog, and specifically her new "commercial." Now, Karen doesn't do this kind of thing--in fact--I've never received an email from her directing me anywhere else--so of course I clicked...

I was sucked into the vortex that is Jasmine Star. Now, I love photography and all, but I have no plans to do any weddings or anything. Not my thing. But...when I heard she was going to be doing a presentation on social media and business in Akron, I signed up on the spot.

I will be posting a few pics and links, along with a few highlights from stuff I took in tonight. Right now, I'll leave you with the link that sucked me in, and a promise that I'll be back with more later on today...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Scrap of This and Scraps of That

I wanted to share a layout I made for Color Combos Galore using lots and lots of scraps. We always wind up with scraps of paper leftover from kits and other items in our stash, so I thought I'd share some ideas for using up these bits and pieces.

Use Punches - Punches are perfect for using up leftover bits of paper. I always have lots of strips of cardstock since I scrap 8 x 8, so I save those for punching borders, like the zig-zag border you can see in my layout above. I also took a circle punch to some scraps, as you can see in the closeup below.

Use Tear Strips - Check out those tear strips--especially Cosmo Cricket--they are helpful for when you want to include hidden journaling. My journaling on the back reads: Christian, you tell the silliest knock-kock jokes, ones that make absolutely no sense and usually include absurd bathroom humor, and then you crack yourself up. The jokes aren't really all that funny, but the fact that you think they're hilarious makes me laugh and laugh!

Use Cardstock bits for Stamping - If you're chicken to stamp directly on your layout, scraps are handy for stamping images, you can also lift up your stamp image with pop dots for added interest and dimension.

Stitch over a scrap - Just adds a little interest to a small piece of paper.

Add bits of patterned paper to open spaces of chipboard pieces - Like I did in the window of the chipboard house.

Use colorful staples on a bit cut out of paper - Adds a bit of unexpected texture.

Fill the centers of letters with bits of patterned paper - To add interest to your title.

Use the leftover piece from the center of the letters as embellishments - Like the centers of the o's and a's and p's. Sprinkle them on your page with brads or eyelets or other circular elements.

Layer and stagger your bits and pieces - Different patterns, with the edges inked, look fun when they're layered.

Tie some baker's twine around a scrap - I tied some onto a frame I trimmed out of a scrap, but it would also be fun to just tie some around a strip or a punched shape.

I hope I've given you some fun ideas for using up those bits and pieces you have leftover from your kits!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Banner

Made a little Spring banner this weekend... I used the free printable ledger papers from Mel Stampz here, and married them with Doodlebug pink glitter alphas and these KI Memories felt puffy stickers...
I printed out one of the ledger papers and punched my pennants using this Marvy punch...
I used a few other punches and stamps, and started to play.
I love the KI felt stickers! Need to get my hands on more of those...

Did you make anything fun this weekend? Do share!

Enjoy your day!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Toscano Soup

Really worth the effort. SO delish...
Tuscano Soup

5-6 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, halved, and sliced in ¼” slices
1 med onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 mild Italian sausage links, removed from casing
2 spicy Italian sausage links, removed from casing
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cans chicken broth
2 cans beef broth
1 to 1 ½ cups frozen spinach
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Half and half
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Break apart the sausage after it’s removed from the casing and put in a stock pot. Drizzle with olive oil. Put on medium to medium high heat and cook. When the sausage is halfway done, add the potatoes, onion, and garlic.

Continue to cook until sausage is no longer pink, and the edges of the potatoes are translucent. Add the cans of broth and frozen spinach. Reduce heat to low and cover with a lid. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. When potatoes are fork tender, the soup is ready to serve.

To serve: Ladle soup into a bowl, filling ¾ of the way up. Add a little half and half and a spoonful of parmesan cheese. If you want your soup a little spicier, sprinkle in some crushed red pepper flakes.

*Special thanks to Karen Fernkorn and Jennifer Schreiner for this recipe!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Six Things

In no order, these five things are bringing a big smile to my face these days. Hello Spring!
These enormous utensils from Pier 1 Imports are up on my wall and I love them. You gotta love a sale plus a coupon!
The Lilac Blossom candle from Bath and Body Works is the perfect scent to fill our home right about now. March is a long, grey month here in Ohio, and the smell of flowers is filling my kitchen as I type. Love!

I found these Peanuts chipboard pieces from Pat Catan's locally. This isn't a good photo of them, but they're really cool and I need to come up with a cute idea using them for Teacher Appreciation week (the first week in May.) Any ideas out there?

These new Rold Gold Everything Bagel pretzels are DE-LISH. They're the perfect shape for so many edible projects, too! Wheels turning...

And this new Martha Rose Window punch will be mine. I borrowed a friend's this past weekend at a crop and fell in love. It is one of her new "anywhere" punches that work with the magnetic grip, and I was surprisingly pleased with how it lined up perfectly without any problems. These will be used in the upcoming May Project kit.
By the way, if you're on the fence about subscribing, now would be a good time. I don't normally say that, but the next couple of months with the kits (especially the projects) are going to go quickly. I got a lot of email about the kits selling out so quickly this past month--and subscribers get first dibs on Project and Add-On kits each month. I have increased the amount of kits I make this month, but to be honest, it is impossible to guage unless you have a sub. I'm SO excited to show you all I've been working on. Lots of creative juices flowing--it feels good.

What is catching your eye this Spring? Do share!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Finishing projects

If your like me you start out the year with the best plans. Taking on many different projects with the best of intentions, but somehow life happens and things just get pushed to the side and we don't get back to them.

This year I decided to change that. I decided that no matter how long it took to finish a project, I was going to finish it.
So here we are nearing the end of March and I'm keeping to my promise to myself of finishing projects.

Remember my 28 days album?

Here's some pictures of my almost finished album
(still waiting on some prints)
Hopefully I will continue finishing projects throughout the year! How about you?

Pinterest Enabling.

I've had a lot of email regarding Pinterest, so I wanted to take a moment to explain a few things today, in an attempt to clear up any confusion, and enable those who are on the fence. :)

Pinterest is a free site that stores photos and links to your favorite things. I used to rely on my "bookmark" setting on my toolbar. This is SO much better! My favorite feature is that if you see an image and click on it, it links you to the original place it is located online (or it will provide a link to its origin.) I've likened it to an online magazine of your favorite things that has no end.

You sign in via facebook or twitter. Its major drawback is that you have to be "invited"--and if you need one, please email me at and I'll be happy to send you one.

Once you're on, you create your own "boards." A board is a group of your favorite things. You can have as many as you like. I have eleven right now. If you see something you like--anything--you "Pin" it or "Repin" it from someone else. A pin/repin is simply a tag to put it on your board.

If you like someone and their style, you can "follow" them. Each time you log in, a viewing of the people you follow and their latest pins will come up for your viewing pleasure. Simple as that!

My son's First Communion is right around the corner. My first source for inspiration? My "Entertaining Ideas I Love" board.
This pillow from is under "Felt I Love." Yes, I have an entire category dedicated to my favorite textile. It's a beautiful thing.

Owl cookies is listed under "Foodie Stuff I Love"...

My new clock is under "House Stuff I Love."

Robert Redford. Swoon. He and many other beautiful men are found on my board, "He Makes My Toes Curl."

I love words. I've been a quote whore for a long time. I have had bits of paper with quotes on them all over my desk for years as inspiration. They all have a home here on Pinterest, under "Words I Love."

You know I love a cute favor or treat...

I think this cake would be doable for Easter, as long as I could make that bunny's bottom. SO cute!
So you get my point. I think this place is the bee's knees. I hope this clears up any confusion and encourages you to join!