Saturday, August 29, 2009

Funday Monday - In the Garden

It's time once again for the Funday Monday Challenge at Memories Always - Forever!
This week my challenge for you is to create a layout embellished with some flowers.

Flowers make the perfect accent for most any scrapbook page because they are beautiful - and who doesn't want to have a beautiful scrapbook page? I made this page using a portrait of my pretty daughter-in-law Jenny as I wanted to express how much she means to me. I thought the perfect accent for her photo would be some pretty flowers. Of course, I also used lots of bling, because what girl doesn't love bling?
My challenge to you for Funday Monday is to make a page and use some flower embellies - any flowers you like, but flower-pattern paper does not count. But if you want to know how to make the pretty fan flowers like I added to this page, check my tutorial at the bottom.
Meanwhile, anyone who uploads a flower-embellished page to my challenge at MAF, will be entered to win a package of bling from me, including a pack of beautiful Zva Creative crystals. I've just received a bunch of pretty Zva Creative crystals and they are so stunning!

The challenge runs Aug 31 - Sept 6 at midnight. Good luck and I can't wait to see your creations!

So, let's start making fan flowers! First you will need some strips of paper -this is a great way to use up your leftovers. You can use double-sided paper or one-sided, it is not going to matter which. You will also need a stapler, some Mod Podge and a paint brush. I used Mod Podge because it is a quick-drying glue that gives some shine, but you could use any sort of fast drying glue.

All the strips I used were 12-inches in length. Your paper strips can be any width. A half-inch wide strip will make a one-inch wide flower and a one-inch strip will make a two-inch wide flower, etc.
Once you have your strip, deckle one edge or ink it. Be as creative as you like.

As stated earlier, you can use double-sided paper, but it is not necessary. For this tutorial, I used one-sided paper specifically so that you can see which is the top or bottom of the flower.
Once you have your strip edged to your liking, turn it over so that the back side is up and start pleating the paper towards you.
I folded mine about one-quarter inch wide. You can make yours wider or thinner, but be warned that the thickness of the flower is determined by the size of this pleat. If you are going to put your flower on a scrapbook page, you will want it to be low profile. If it is going on the outside of an album, or on a package, you could of course make it thicker.

Once you have the strip completely pleated, be sure both ends are facing up as pictured here. If you have an end facing the wrong way, trim it off. It won't matter if the paper is a bit shorter at all.

Now, keeping the right side in, bring the two edges together and staple them. I like to put in two staples for stability.

Once the edges are stapled, turn your flower right side out and squish it together so that there is no space showing in the center.

Cut a peice of paper slightly smaller than the flower for the bottom. This will not show, so it will not matter if it is the same paper. I cut a small square and rounded the edges. Cover this bit with Mod Podge and adhere it to the back of your flower.

Now turn your flower over and give it time to dry. I use the Mod Podge bottle to hold my flower in place while it is drying, or else it tends to open up and dry crooked.

Lastly, cover the entire flower with Mod Podge for shine. You can skip this step if you like, it's a personal choice.

Finish your flowers with buttons, brads, punched shapes - whatever you can find! I found that brads were not long enough and had to be glued in place, but no matter - they still made awesome flower centers.

And there you have it - a beautiful accent to your page or packages! Have fun making them and once you are done, I would love to see your work!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Create with Washi Paper Masking Tape

We all know that masking tape is commonly used when we are painting to cover up areas we want to avoid. But recently, I’m drawn to the delicious variety of colors and designs found in the stationery stores around Japan. Soon I was picking up a role of red here and a 3-pack of teal patterns there and in no time at all, I had amassed quite a collection of pretty colors and knew I had to figure out a way to use it on my scrapbook pages.

There are a number of companies that make colorful masking tape, but most of mine seem to come from Kamoi Paper. As I opened the packages of Kamoi's MT masking tape, I was immediately inspired by the gorgeous hues and the soft feel of the tape. This is no ordinary tape; this is made of rice paper! Intrigued, I turned to the company’s website. Using Kamoi’s English Menu, I began to read about the making of washi masking tape and how they came to offer such fabulous colors.

It seems this little company was contacted by a customer who made a little book out of their tape and requested more colors. Kamoi's aim was to please this artistic customer, so a partnership was formed and they set about with a passion to color the rice paper in hues that make a crafter sigh with pleasure! The site not only includes their history, but a fun factory tour where you will learn how they color the rice paper and add the sticky. There is also a gallery where you can see the myriad of uses their customers have found for the rainbow of colors.

Speaking of rainbows, let me share with you my ideas for using washi masking tape in scrapbooking. The first page is inspired by a sketch at Let’s Scrap and created for the rainbow challenge at It is constructed of Bazzill black cardstock, masking tape and Thickers. I’ve include a tutorial below on how to do the washi blossom at the end of this post.

The next page is inspired by a sketch by LG challenge at MAF.

So let's get on with the tutorial. I was inspired to make this flower out of washi tape after viewing Helen Croft's beautiful page at To begin, you will need washi tape in the color or colors of your choice, a ruler, a small pair of scissors, a pencil, a glue stick, and some rough-cut circles. My biggest circle is about 2 inches across.

Start by covering a few of your circles with washi tape, trim off the excess tape and glue the circles together with the smallest on top.

Now choose a color of washi tape and cut it about six inches long. Lay it printed side down on the table - the sticky side will be up.

Take another piece of washi tape in the same color and lay it down on top of your six-inch strip - sticky sides together. Trim this peice off the role about a half to 3/4 inch longer than the first strip. Trim the other end so that there is no sticky showing at all.

Now, turn your circles over and attach the end with the 1/2 inch of sticky showing to the back of the circle. Flip it back right side up and wrap the long end around a pencil until your flower petals are the length you would like.

Now cut a tiny square of matching washi and lay it part way on the roll and part way on the longer part of the flower petal. This will hold the roll in place. I left mine sticking up a bit so you could see it, but you will want to smooth down the edges.

And there you have it - a pretty flower to add to your scrapbook pages!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Funday Monday Bubble Wrap Challenge Winner!

Congratulations to Kathy Williams! Check out her beautiful page!

Thanks to all who participated in the Funday Monday Bubble Wrap Challenge at Memories Always - Forever - there sure were some wonderful pages completed! The challenge was to use bubble wrap on your page and make your LO about something you love. Look how Kathy used the bubble wrap as if she were unpacking her Christmas decorations. So Kathy, you win the set of beautiful storage baskets from Dining Rooms Direct.
I hope you all got the opportunity to check out our sponsor's beautiful dining room furniture.Please be sure to join me in my next Funday Monday Challenge beginning Sept 7. Windy Joell of Stampin 'Up is sponsoring a wonderful prize for us in this challenge. Stay tuned to see what the challenge will be!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bon Odori Festivals

It is a fabulous time of year in Japan with the summer festivals in full swing. Obon, a sort of festival of the dead, is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one's ancestors. It is meant to be a joyful celebration, bringing families together, and celebrating rather than mourning the lives of the dearly departed. These festivals are held every summer, in every district, in every city.

I'd like to share with you some of the festivities that my husband I have been taking part in. First, two videos and then two scrapbook pages I made of our experiences. There is just nothing like being in Japan during Obon!

In the first video, taken at NAF Atsugi, you can hear the addictive beat of the music that the people dance to in order to welcome their ancestor's souls. Many participants wear colorful, light cotton kimono called a Yukata. Men and children may also wear a shorts set called a Jinbei. With the taiko drummers pounding out the beat, one can't help moving in unison with the graceful dancers. Similar to a Country Line Dance, each tune has particular moves; the difference being that you move in a circle. Various dance teams are showcased on the tower to lead each dance. Anyone else who wishes to dance, whether you are in your yukata, jinbei or street clothes, follows along moving in a circular pattern around the tower. The Bon Dance is held at night because Japanese people believe that ancestors' souls come back in the night.

The second video is an Awa Adori parade. Much like an American parade, there is a point in the parade where the dancers can stop and perform a stationary dance. (just so you know, that is not me screaming in the background)

This year, my husband learned the dances for the first time. Now he can Tanko Bushi, Soran Bushi, Don Pan Bushi, Sakura Ondo, Sagami Ondo and Tokyo Ondo along with everyone else. I made this page of him dancing for Heidi's Techniques Challenge over at MAF .

This second page was one I made last year of myself and my girlfriends dancing around the Bon Tower at Camp Zama. I wrote a haiku for this page. It says:

Dancers loop the tower

Graceful in summer kimono

-- like thunder, drums pound!

These festivities have probably changed little in hundreds of years as Japanese people continue their wonderful Obon traditions to welcome and respect their ancestor's souls every summer. My husband and I love to dance in our base festivals, but when we hear the sound of the drums being carried on the evening breeze, we jump in our car and let the drums lead us to the local festivals where we join the circle once again. We sure love our time in Japan, especially during Obon!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Circle of Friends Award

I have been blessed by Heidi of ARTiQL8 with the Circle of Friends Blog Award.

For those of you who may not know Heidi, she is a fellow Design Team Member at MAF who is a technique guru. Her designs are amazing and if you want to know how to do something, just check out her blog as she has probably already thought to tell you. She loves to teach and she loves to share and she simply has a wealth of embellie knowledge to dish out.

So here are the rules for this award according to Heidi:

  1. To pick up the Circle of Friends Blog Award cut and paste the award logo and use it on your own blog.

  2. Nominate 5 other bloggers you feel have become part of your circle of friends.

  3. Link to your nominees within your blog post. Include these instructions on how to pick up the award in your blog post.

  4. Link back to the person who gave you the award in your blog post, to show your appreciation.

  5. Comment on their blogs to let them know they've received the award.
So, in the spirit of friendship I give this award to...

  • Jessica at Zacca Life who has inspiring new craft projects or recipes posted every week.
  • Groovy Deborah at If It's Groovy who is always thinking outside the box and is, of course, extremely groovy!
  • Lynn B (aka Foamy) at Pretty Paper Swirls who has great graphic style -her titles are always so beautiful.
  • L. Grace Lauer at Graces' Scrap Attic who makes the most beautiful pages.
  • Yuko Abe at Scrap In Japan who showcases great scrap designers from around the globe.

Thanks, Friends, for the great inspiration and for giving me the chance to get to know you all through your blogs and your wonderful designs.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

It's Funday Monday at MAF!

It's been so hot lately here in Japan. I really miss my pool at home in Florida. Just looking at my pool photos makes me feel more refreshed. So, in honor of the fact that I love my pool, finish this sentence and make a layout for the Funday Monday challenge at Memories Always - Forever:

I love my …

What is the one thing you own that you really appreciate? Make a layout about something that you value -- a prized possession that you would really rather not do without -- something that you've either purchased or acquired: a piece of jewelry; a book; a home; a figurine; etc., and journal about why you love it. It’s OK to have people in your photos, but the journaling must be about the ‘thing.’

There is a twist to this challenge - your page must include the use of bubble wrap! That’s right, bubble wrap. Stamp with it, cut it into shapes, paint it or use it as a photo mat. The ideas are endless. (Follow my tutorial at the end of this blog post for bubble wrap ideas.) Then post the finished page to the gallery in Memories Always - Forever.

The winner of this challenge will win this set of 4 Winsome- Capri Foldable Fabric Baskets in Beige courtesy of our sponsor

This is a $50 value! Each fabric basket is a generous 9" H x 10.97" W x 10.06" D. These baskets offer an attractive way to store your scrapbook supplies.
Please check out our sponsor and their many other storage options and their beautiful Dining Room Furniture.

Contest ends on Aug 16 at midnight EST.

So onto the tutorial. You know you can create beautiful scrapbooking pages with all kinds of material and there are so many ways to decorate your scrapbook page with bubble wrap. I've listed 5 ways here:

1. The most simple way is to add it directly to your page. I cut some bubble wrap into strips and stapled the strips to my page. I used a Fastenater, but you could use any kind of stapler. Or you could stitch it, or glue it.

2. Stamp directly onto your page with it. First, take an ink pad and blot it all over the bubble wrap. Turn the bubble wrap over and stamp it directly onto your paper. Some people like to wrap the bubble wrap around a wooden or acrylic stamp block, but I find it is easy just to stamp the bubble wrap down on the paper. Brayer over it for a more smudgy effect. I cut my bubble wrap into shapes first, then inked them and stamped them onto my journaling block.

3. Heat Emboss with it. First, blot the bubble wrap with a VersaMark pad. Stamp the bubble wrap onto your paper, pour embossing powder on the image, tap off the excess powder and heat the image with a craft heat gun. This will give you lots of nice shine!

4. Cut the bubble wrap into shapes. I made a template which I drew freehand on scrap paper, then traced onto the bubble wrap. You can then paint your shapes, spray with glimmer mist, or both! Then add them as embellies to your page.

5. Color on the bubbles. Using some markers, color in the bubbles to make a shape, then stamp the bubble wrap on the paper to make your design.

Bubble wrap stamping is fun, easy and inexpensive. There is so much you can do and I can't wait to see what you come up with. And don't forget to show me your creations to win the awesome storage baskets from our sponsor!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Blog Hop RAK Winner!

Thanks to everyone who played along with the Memories Always - Forever Blog Hop. We all had so much fun, met many knew faces, and I can just tell that I am going to have so many new friends at MAF.

Meanwhile, those who posted their favorite memories on my blog are waiting to see who won my RAK, right? Well, drum roll please ...

The winner is:

"Loree said...
I like the differences in your pages. I
choose colors and shades and styles based on the content, so it's nice to see
that others choose varied styles and colors. I love the grids. I tend to take
pictures when I travel, so I plan to try the technique you showed with the
gridding.Favorite memories...reading with my children..."

Congratulations Loree! Send me a PM on MAF with your address and I'll get your prize in the mail!

On August 10 I'll be hosting Monday Funday at MAF, so everyone please be sure to drop by and join the challenge!