Sunday, January 31, 2010

Product Review - Photo Corner Brads

I recently picked up a clearance marked package of photo corner brads. These were "Spare Parts" by The Paper Studio, a line specifically marketed at Hobby Lobby Stores. I thought they were cute and colorful - bright pink, yellow and green - and would add some interest to my layouts. I finally got around to using some of them yesterday.

I was really disappointed with this product. Take another look at my photo. Because the prongs are short and are positioned on the edges of the brad I found the brads really difficult to use. First, I had a hard time figuring out the placement of the brad. Then, I had to make two incisions into my paper instead one. Finally, when I was done, because the prongs were kind of pulling against each other, I had a hole twice the size of the prong visible on my layout. I was not happy.

I took the brad out and thought about trying to reposition it, but was afraid I'd do irreparable damage to my photo. In the end, I bent the prongs until they popped off, and then I just stuck the brad to my page with some sticky dots. I used four of these photo corners on my layout, pulling the prongs off each one before use. What's worse? They look okay, but they don't really "pop" off the page like I hoped they would - no more so than paper photo corners would, and paper corners would have been a heck of a lot easier and cheaper!

I checked Hobby Lobby's website and found more of photo corner brads, although most of them have prongs in the center of the brad, not off the edges like those that I purchased. Their design does look a little easier to use (one hole vs. two). I might like to try them one day, but I'm in no rush.

Enjoyment? None
Frustration? High
Enhanced Layout? Not enough to outweigh frustration level
Purchase Again? Not those same brads.

Product Reviews?

Okay, so if you read my last post you know that I'm relatively new to this whole scrapbooking thing, but I LOVE it! One other thing that you must know about me is that I am pretty frugal. Now you might be asking yourself, how do I reconcile these two thing things? Can you scrapbook on a dime? I do.

I don't spend a lot of money on my paper and embellishments. I was lucky enough to have some great friends pass on a ton of scrapbook paper to me along with a lot of embellishments. What supplies I do buy I get off a clearance rack or an everything's-a-dollar store, or yard sales. But this post is not about my thrifty crafting. This post is about me potentially writing product reviews.

I'm sure there are others out there like me who either can't or won't spend a lot of money on scrapbook stuff. So when a friend suggested that I write a few product reviews, I started thinking about it. Would anyone care what I thought of a product? Why should they?

In the end, I decided I would try writing a couple reviews primarily because 1) I might save someone a bit of aggravation by identifying an item as a dud and 2) I'm just a regular gal fumbling my way through most of my layouts, and if I can use it and love it, chances are you will too.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Those Women

I have an admission to make.

I was once one of those busy women who didn't have time to scrapbook. I had even previously, dare I say it, poked fun at the whole scrapbook phenomenon - back when supplies were peddled in a friend's living room. I guess I thought it was more important to be out living your life rather than be shut in memorializing it. I just didn't get it. There was no way I was going to become one of those women, those SCRAPBOOKERS.

Then I made a new friend at work. This friend was very unconventional - definitely NOT one of those women, and yet, my friend was a scrapbooker. Stranger still, my friend invited me to a scrapbook conference! Desperate for a weekend away from my screaming kids, I accepted.

So... in the fall of 2007, stocked with borrowed supplies, I scrapbooked for the very first time, alone, stuck in an "intermediate" class, in a room full of those women who it seemed could all trim a 12x12 sheet into 3-inch squares in record time.

And do you know what? I LOVE IT!

Those women, the scrapbookers, were chatty and witty, and if I watched closely I could see a few others who were struggling with the rapid fire directions as much as I was. I had flashbacks to kindergarten when you could cut and paste and make something beautiful that someone would love. All I needed now was the elbow macaroni, and I'd be all set!

I came out of my first class that day with a big smile on my face, and it hasn't left yet. I absolutely adore the time I spend creating layouts for my family to enjoy. It is an easy, creative outlet for me, and I've found that when I'm focused on a page, I forget about all the other stressful events of my day. And scrapbooking doesn't take time away from living my life. If anything, it makes me more conscious - more aware - of those moments that become cherished memories.

My daughters, now 8, both clamor to get their hands on my scrapbook supplies so they can create their own pages, and I have since turn on another friend to the joys of this hobby, and then there's this blog... Listen to me! What have I become? Make fun of me if you must, but, yes, my name is Lea Ann, and I am one of those women. I am a SCRAPBOOKER!

Too Many 2009 Photos!

I'm starting to think I'm never going to finish up my 2009 photos. Ever. Both of these pages are from our Thanksgiving weekend.

On this first page, the "Outdoor Adventure" page, I used up the last of my camo paper (I hope!). I HATE to throw photos away even if they aren't so great, so I wrote a short journal entry on the bottom left paper and then hinged it to hide a couple not-so-hot photos of the kids underneath.
The kids love to explore in the trees just outside of my friend Becky's yard, but they had to wear orange vests because of hunting season. They looked so cute wandering around all decked out in matching vests.

Crafty Kids: I really like this next page, and I didn't expect to. I had a difficult time trying to figure out how to combine these photos of my kids and the stepping stones they made for "Auntie" Becky's garden. In the end, I trimmed down two of the photos to fit them in and finished it off with some little gem embellishments to mimic the glass beads in their stepping stones. I think this page has a lot of visual interest, and it captures the excitement of their craft project. It also uses seven photos so it fulfills the requirements of my S2L weekly challenge for this week. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday = Scrap Day

More of our Thanksgiving weekend festivities. On this purple layout I decided to add some bling by using some adhesive rhinestones my daughter gave me.

Pumpkin Day Downtime. I'm trying to get creative and use up odd letters. If anyone knows of any great ideas for using up leftover letters and numbers, I'd love to hear/see them!

Hayride layout. I matted my photos on tissue paper that I aged by crumpling and inking. I think I like it.

Scrap to Lose Weekly Challenge - Food

Do pumpkins, squash and apples on my Thanksgiving Day layout count?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rare One Photo Layout

I rarely get to complete a one photo layout because I'm a bit snap happy with my camera, but I actually did one the other day. I'm a bit disappointed with this photo. The colors are much prettier in person, for instance, the velvet ribbon looks almost black in the photo, but it is a maroon that is an exact match to the flowers on the paper. I made a little pocket behind the photo for a journal card and other memorabilia.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I just finished my first accordion book layout. The accordion book was a gift from one of my former students. She had decorated the book with a cat stamp on the cover. I've been holding on to this book a couple of years, waiting for the right time to use it. Rosie, my husband's cat of 17 years passed away last year (she'd been with him a lot longer than I have). It hit him pretty hard. When I recently ran across photos of her, I remembered the accordion book and, well, the rest is history!

I purchased a little package of cat embellishments (stickers and ribbon) by Miss Elizabeth's Scrapbook Accessories at the Dollar Tree , used some coordinating scrap paper and finished it off with a little silver crown sticker atop Rosie's head. I think the book turned out cute, and my husband loves his little memory book.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Final K.C. Photos

Whew! I finally finished our Kansas City trip photos that I started in my last post. Pictured below are the pages I've completed in the past two days. I did 8 in one day and you can tell that I was sort of running out of steam because they lack a lot of embellishment. I got to that point where I just wanted them done. Do you know what I mean?

I like the colors and the layout of this first one. I trimmed the corners of the photos with scalloped scissors and matted the photos, so they look like I've used photo corners on them. That gave me the idea to cut the corners for the page. Then I got lucky and found some coordinating scrap ribbon. I think this page is my favorite of the bunch.

For the wildlife preserve layout I tried to cut out little hoof prints for the bison and the elk. I think it works.

These next two pages are kind of strange. The first one includes photos of my kids on a spinning seat from a park we visited hence the title "You Spin Me Round" and the busy circle paper. I used the same paper to show my son first big catch. Those two photos were taken with a cell phone camera and are a little out of focus, but it was such a big event I decided to use them anyway. They are not my favorites, but there are elements on each page that I like.

T-Rex Cafe. What can I say. The papers don't quite coordinate, the color scheme is strange. It was late in the day.

We went to the Cabella's store. My husband wanted to compare it to Bass Pro. Anyway, again, papers just don't quite work together. I tried to pull them together with the use of more of that camouflage paper, but... I do like the little cloth sleeping bag and camp cabin stickers. They help.

My last hurrah here. Some random photos that I just decided to throw onto a page together. No real design here. Again, it was late in the day, and I was ready to move on to something else. lol

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I recently got several, and I mean several, photos developed from a family trip this past summer. We went to Kansas City to visit a relative. As usual, I took WAY too many photos. Here are the pages I've completed so far.

First, our trip to Bass Pro Shops. I used some camping themed stickers, and I found one piece of camouflage paper that I thought was kind of fun. I tried to use it in a way that would stretch across several related pages. More will turn up later.

Then I did a group of campsite photos. I needed a segue from the pumpkin color I used with the Bass Pro photos to some upcoming blue paper, so I went with this pumpkin/aqua color scheme. I like it better than I thought I would.

So then on to the lake pictures. I had a ton of very similar photos, but I wanted to use them all, so I trimmed them down to fit on just a few pages.

More later!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

First Pages of the New Year

These two pages are a layout I completed for my daughter's year in first grade. During the summer I complete similar pages for my other two children, but I ran out of steam before I finished Sophie's. What I try to do is combine some of their school work (stories, poems, pictures) along with class photos, school portraits, notes from the teacher, etc. into a two page collage. I use scraps of notebook paper for journaling and throw on a few embellishments. What I end up with is kind of busy, but I think it's cute.


This blog was created for the purpose of sharing my scrapbook pages with others. Where it goes from here is anyone's guess.