Friday, June 16, 2017

Weekend At The Studio: Brush Lettering!

A few weeks ago I spontaneously decided I needed a creative getaway. (You know -- all grown ups, like-minded creatives, and just a little "me time!") Within a couple of hours, I bought a plane ticket, booked a hotel and signed up to attend a brush lettering weekend with the amazingly talented Kelly Klapstein! 

I arrived in Charlotte, NC two days later and was just giddy about meeting Kelly. (If you aren't familiar with her work, she is on Instagram with the username KellyCreates. Incredible hand lettering!) I was also excited about seeing "art friends" who share my love of creating. There's something so wonderful about being with people for an entire weekend who truly get your love of art supplies, creating, and the "latest and greatest" in the art world! 

Well, Kelly was indeed a delight! She had traveled from Canada to teach this class. She does have a lovely accent, and a fabulous sense of humor. And boy can she create some BEAUTIFUL hand lettering, and makes it look EASY!


She had beautiful name tags for each of us that she had made, and an incredible tote bag full of lettering supplies waiting for us on the tables in the studio. Yes, all of us participants were like little kids on Christmas morning! 

So many markers, so little time! I will say, very truthfully, that lettering is much harder than it looks. Kelly stressed to us that we had to practice every single day, and work on our muscle memory. At first it seemed a little overwhelming, but when I watched Kelly effortlessly write each of our names on the overhead projector, and each one looked like an amazing work of art, I knew this was something I must learn!

We spent two full days practicing each letter of the alphabet. We learned up strokes, down strokes, ovals, you name it! It was very interesting to learn how each different marker / brush pen felt in your hand. It was also interesting how that changed over the course of the weekend. (The first day I liked only one pen, but by the end of the second day, I had several favorites.)


Not only did we work on lettering with brush markers, but we also learned to do watercolor lettering. I think this type of lettering was my favorite. I love the way you can blend the colors of paint together, and especially the way you can easily achieve a very thin line with a paint brush.

I can't say enough about Kelly and what a wonderful teacher she is! She has instruction, tips, and worksheets on her website ( and she has a book coming out later this year. You really must check her out if you're interested in brush lettering and calligraphy. She's a lettering genius!

Now I have a plan, thanks to Kelly. She said that if we practice 20 minutes a day for two months, we will be amazed at the improvement we make in our lettering. Well, I accept that challenge! Thanks so much for teaching and inspiring me, Kelly!

I returned home three days later feeling refreshed, excited, and inspired. I so enjoyed hanging out with my art friends and just having a creative break from the everyday. I also enjoyed meeting new people who share my love for making pretty things! I highly recommend a spontaneous creative weekend... go plan one today!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

There are NO wrong ways to preserve your memories!

Something has been on my mind lately... Some people think scrapbooking is that "thing" where you glue your photos down to paper, add a sticker or two and then maybe write down a date. Now for some, that may be the way you scrapbook. For others, it might me where you started scrapbooking and then you moved on to more complex ways of scrapbooking. And for yet others, you may have never glued a picture to paper in your entire life, and document all your memories on your phone or in an art journal. That's the great thing about scrapbooking: you can preserve your memories in SO many different ways, and they're all the right way!

Today's memory keeper has more options than ever when it comes to formats of documenting your life: traditional scrapbooking, digital scrapbooking, traveler's notebooks, planners, photo books, Instagram, Project Life, the Project Life app, Chatbooks, art journals -- you name it! I love that anything goes now in the scrapbooking world. There are no wrong ways to preserve your memories, just do what works for YOU! It can be as simple or as complicated as you want.

I know some people may think of scrapbookers as older people -- you know, stereotypical grandmotherly figures, armed with glue sticks in hand and their deckle scissors at the ready. There is nothing wrong with that at all (and I hope to be a scrapping Grandma one day!) but I personally think that today's memory keepers are super savvy and the "doers" of our generation. They're the world travelers, the foodies, and the app/iPhone experts. They're the busy entrepreneurs, the Super Moms, the decision makers. I think it's the best time ever to be a memory keeper/scrapbooker/documenter! With so much technology readily available, the possibilities are limitless.

I had to share these thoughts... I love being the documenter in our family and feel renewed and excited by all the many options out there, and wanted to share my excitement with you! :)

Here are some traditional, and some not so traditional, ways that I document my memories:

Instagram photo, using PicFrame app

Photo of my backyard, turned into a lovely watercolor using the Waterlogue App

Project Life layout using the Project Life App

Wall Gallery with my photos

Instagram photos to make a 4x4 scrapbook

I hope this blog post has inspired you to go take that photo, record that video, jot down that story TODAY, using any tool you desire! Don't stress over what format, just document your story while it's fresh in your memory.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Art Journaling: Instant Happiness

So how many of you art journal? Do you art journal AND scrapbook -- or do you prefer one over the other? I used to view art journaling as something I just didn't have time for. I would admire the work of others, but felt like it wasn't a necessary thing. (I viewed my scrapbooks as necessary, and frankly didn't have any extra time left for other hobbies.)

Over the last year or two, I have drastically changed my opinion of art journaling. I view it totally as a necessity now! You know why? It's so fun! It's therapeutic, it's quick, and there is an end to each page that I complete. There is absolutely no pressure with art journaling. Each page is a mini-canvas that can be light and whimsical, or really deep and serious -- whatever fits at that moment. It can be messy and liberating (or not) and hey, it's a great place to experiment with new art supplies and techniques. There's no need to have a set color theme, an album topic (think school album, baby album, etc.) No pressure or big commitment. It's a joy to sit down and make art that speaks to you in a nice little compact journal. AND you can carry it anywhere!

I have to thank the talented Donna Downey for introducing me to art journaling a few years back at her legendary art event called Inspired. At the time I took Donna's class on art journaling, I was strictly a scrapbooker (for the most part) and thought her thick, colorful art journal was the most gorgeous, interesting thing that I'd ever seen! Being amazingly artistic, she made it look so easy. The thing I love most about Donna's philosophy with art and art journaling is that she really doesn't have any rules. She just does her thing! I found that very freeing and refreshing as I watched her create. Check out Donna at

The next group of people that I need to thank for getting me more into art journaling is my Art Sisters (you know who you are!) We all met at a workshop at Donna's Studio in North Carolina. We've known each other now for several years and we are the best of friends. They are there for me always, and are constantly inspiring and challenging me creatively. We check in with each other almost nightly, share art we've made, talk about our day, and we're even planning an art retreat at the beach at the end of the Summer! I feel so lucky to have found these amazing group of ladies.

Last year they told me about an art journal project they participated in each year called the DLP. (Documented Life Project.) It is a free class offered by Art To The 5th -- an AMAZING group of artists! My friend Christine, in particular, really shared her enthusiasm about the project and her work that she did in her art journal last year. It's GORGEOUS and it instantly inspired me!(Maybe I should see if Christine would share some of her art journaling here on my blog? Hint, hint, Christine!) I started with the DLP class in January and couldn't be more pleased with the results and the journey. It is such an enjoyable class -- I highly recommend checking it out at

I'd like to share with you some of the art journaling I've done so far in 2015. This is the cover of my DLP journal. We're using a Dylusions art journal and the first assignment was to decorate our cover. (It comes in kraft brown.) This was so fun to do!

Another art journaling class that I'm really enjoying, which is more technique driven, is Donna Downey's Inspiration Wednesday. Every other Wednesday she posts a video showing a new art journal technique. (You can find out more information on Inspiration Wednesday on her website.) I don't always get around to doing the latest technique right away, since life can get busy, but it's a great treat knowing that it's there for me to do all throughout the year. The thing that is interesting about Inspiration Wednesday is that Donna pushes me outside of my creative box. These pages are a bit more messy that what I usually do -- and I love it! Such a learning experience! (Note: the cloth journals shown at the very top of this blogpost are actual journals that you can order from Donna's website, and just start painting in them when they arrive. They're so stinking cute!)

Regardless of the source of inspiration, one thing is for sure: art journaling is MOST enjoyable! You can spend a few hours in your studio and complete something you just love. Try it! :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Does your space INSPIRE you?

When you think of a craft room, do you just think of a space in your home that houses all of your paints, paper, fabrics and stamps? (Or other hobbies - like quilting, crocheting, or beading?) So often we think of storage in a craft room, and creating in that room (in my case, lots of art journaling and scrapbooking!) but do you decorate the room in a way that inspires you? When you look around your space, do you see things that you love? I think surrounding yourself with inspiration really makes you much more creative. Also, it becomes your true happy place. :)

Although I've had four craft rooms in the last five years (yes, we move a lot!) there is one thing that is a constant in my creative space: artwork from friends, family members and great artists that I've met in my creative travels. Daily, these works inspire me! It makes me so happy to walk into my craft room and see this:

Over the years, I've collected all these lovely pieces. Some were from workshops I've attended, some were sent to me by friends, and some were made by my own kiddos. (I especially treasure these meaningful works of art!)

I'm so fortunate to also have fabulous creative friends who have sent me lovely creations, like this one from my incredibly talented friend, artist Kirsten Reed (Kirsten Reed Designs):

Believe it or not, my own art is even up there! (Yes, you can be inspired by your own work!)This girl was definitely inspired by the talented Christy Tomlinson's She Art class:

I've also been really blessed to be able to take classes with some amazing artists over the years. Here are some of the class goodies we were given and that made the class extra special:

This gorgeous flag mixed media piece was made by artist Sue Pelletier, teacher at Art Is You (*look for her new mixed media book coming out in May!)

This fun little note from the amazing artist, Junelle Jacobsen

And this darling name tag handmade by Ellen Legare from Art Is You Retreats.

All these works of art are so special to me, and inspire me each and every day! They make my room a very happy space.

Please check out these amazingly talented artists! Not only are they fabulously creative, but they're also women that truly inspire.

Thank you so much for visiting me here at The Scrappy Girl Next Door!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Home Is {Truly} Where the Heart Is...

So who else is ready for SPRING? Eagerly raising my hand here! After seven days of snow and ice, I've been looking for ways to bring Spring into my home. I keep buying fresh flowers every time I go grocery shopping. When my kids complain about Winter weather, I keep reminding them that it's actually "Early Spring." They just roll their eyes at me!

Well, as I've been sprucing things up in my house, anticipating warmer weather and fun family time, it got me thinking about how one's creativity really carries over to their home. Is there any such thing as a super creative person who has a boring, bland kind of home? I highly doubt it. I think there are so many ways to use your creativity to make your house a real home. A home full of character, and warmth and comfort.

As the only female in our home, I'm pretty much the only one that even thinks about things like this - ha! I joke that if decorating a home were up to my husband, we'd have beds, a super-sized flatscreen, and a couple of Lazy Boy recliners! (Thank heavens that isn't the case.) I love my home and I love making it nice for my family. I love entertaining and really enjoy having friends over. I think it's truly rewarding, and is hopefully making for really happy memories for my kids.

On this snowy and frigid evening in Tennessee, I thought I'd share some of my favorite spaces in my home. (I did have to include a few photos from the Summer, with greenery and sunshine -- it gives me hope!) I hope this blogpost inspires you and reminds you that it's not where you live, but who you share your home with, that truly matters.

Stay warm, my friends, and remember that Spring is only 22 days away!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Scrapbooking Really IS Therapeutic! Now get busy...

Today's blog post is about something that I do indeed love: Scrapbooking, and how therapeutic it can be -- if you let it!

Lately we've had a lot going on in our family. A lot of good things, some quite worrisome things (health issues, which are never fun) and just a lot of activity in general. (With a house full of kids, a lot of activity is definitely the norm!) It's easy to put fun hobbies on the back burner when you're busy with life, but I've learned that it's a very good thing to embrace the things you really enjoy when you're going through a rough patch. It's good for the soul...

A good friend of mine who has a child with a very serious illness once told me, "When I get bad news, I allow myself 24 hours to wallow in my own self pity -- then I know it's time to move on." This coming from someone with a child that has a usually fatal illness...? Wow. She is indeed an inspiration. Okay, so this tells me, "Get on with your life already; stop wallowing; do something you ENJOY, and remember, Power = Knowledge." That's where I am right now... it's time to get moving (and CREATING.)

A lot of things change over time, but the one thing that is a constant with me is how therapeutic I find art, crafting and scrapbooking. It's a great way to pass time (especially when you're waiting!) and it's a great treat to look through happy pictures and reflect on the little details that would be forgotten if they weren't documented in photography. Most of the time I put the emphasis on my family when scrapbooking, especially my children's big milestones (think Birthdays, awards day at school, Christmas, etc.) but sometimes you just need to scrap whatever it is you feel like scrapping! It doesn't matter if it's insignificant in the long run, or if it's something that only you will find super interesting when flipping through your album. (Case in point: my husband will one day look through this album and grimace when he gets to the page with the Luke Bryan concert ticket on it -- and after he sighs, he will then think, "Thank God she went with her girlfriends!")

A great album format for scrapping just the little things is the SMASH book. (You can now find these at Target, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, etc.) Not only are these albums easy to find and inexpensive, they are graphically interesting and spiral bound. Even if you don't want to go to the trouble of shopping for one, you can make your own little happy album with a plain spiral notebook that you probably already have laying around...You can make it your very own album, and fill it chock-full of things that YOU find interesting, or little bits of memorabilia that simply make you smile!

I sat down today planning to scrapbook. I looked through Christmas photos (yes, I'm not a current scrapper) and then Spring Break photos. I frankly felt too much pressure when I looked at such important photos. I wasn't in the mood to over-think the layouts, or to write some amazing journaling that my boys would read (and hopefully re-read) one day when they have children of their own. Instead, I just wanted to enjoy the creative process, see pics that made me HAPPY, and reflect on really good times. I did just that -- and had a blast! Not only was the process fun, but I now really like the pages I did, and thoroughly enjoyed the trip down memory lane.

I think everyone should have their own little notebook -- scrapbooker or not. It can hold all kinds of things: poems that inspire you, paint chips of your home color scheme (yes, I've made one of those for my purse!) Pinterest ideas, or your own little book of memories and inspiration. (Mine falls into many of these categories, and that's why I like it!)

Here's a little peak of what I accomplished today:

In life we may not have all the answers, especially when we definitely crave them, but we need to remember to enjoy the little things, and most importantly, to have Faith. I enjoyed some "me time" today here at my desk, just as much as some others may enjoy a good massage, a nice run (I cannot relate to that, ha!) or even a little mini-vacation. The important thing is to just get busy, and to do what you love!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Celebrate National Scrapbook Day This Saturday!

This Saturday is National Scrapbook Day! Are any of you doing anything scrappy? Maybe scrapbooking all weekend, or going to a crop? Well, if you don't have anything planned yet, I invite you to join me (and thousands others!) over at Big Picture Classes for a true NSD celebration! On May 3, the fun begins at 9am pacific time. There will be classes, and techniques, shown for 10 straight hours -- and lots of prizes!

There are many advantages to online NSD celebrations/crops:

1. You don't have to pack up all of your craft supplies and haul them somewhere!

2. You get instant inspiration from all the great scrapbooking talent, all at one place!

3. You can meet all kinds of interesting people who share the same passion for scrapbooking as you do!

4. You don't have to get out of your pajamas all day! :)

If you are not familiar with Big Picture Classes, please click the link here. It will take you to their website, and all you have to do is spend about a minute signing up for the crop and celebration! Best of all -- it's totally FREE!

I hope to see you there this weekend, and remember to tell your friends about it! I am in no way affiliated with Big Picture Classes, but I'm always amazed at the layouts I do at one of their online crops! It's extremely inspiring to be with like-minded individuals who share your love of cardstock, stickers -- and all things scrappy! :)

PS - If you participate, please come back here and let us know if you got a lot of layouts done! I truly believe that seeing others succeed in scrapbooking helps motivate us to get creative ourselves!