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To be Mom

Being a mother is the biggest gift God and life have given me. It’s also the biggest luxury I have ever allowed myself… Career, money, trips – it’s all so little compared to the wealth and discoveries that my kids allow me to do. Nothing in the world is more important than the happiness and well-being of a child. And like Stephanie Milot said in her book (paraphrased title- How to handle stress better: change your state of mind): “Creating good around us equals creating good to ourselves…”. Isn’t that the biggest wealth that one can ever have?

The miracle of carrying, giving birth and nursing them will forever remain for me life’s biggest mystery. Before becoming a mom, I couldn’t imagine a love to intense. A love without boundaries, without questions, without hesitations. That such huge emotions could ever felt…

Before coming a mom, I couldn’t imagine asking myself, and being asked, thousands of questions in a single day, and shockingly finding the answers to them, becoming even stronger than ever but at the same time more vulnerable, more tired… but so happy and constantly filled with happiness, worrying all the time and being so proud!

What an amazing world I’ve discovered when I became a mom. The world of childhood… where the slightest thing is a huge discovery and where each day is happy. I have found the child in me again. And when Isee my kids grow up, it fills the voids of my own childhood, I unconsciously cure complexes that were anchored in me and I become a balanced adult.

Time is measured differently now: by seasons, by the biggest steps of their lives: first smiles, first teeth, first words, first steps, etc… Things that used to be important before (movies, going out, nocturnal life, trips, etc) are replaced by a more balanced life, more simple and healthy.

Kids have taught me to appreciate, to understand and to get closer to my own mother, to everything she has ever done, of everything she has invested, of everything she has sacrificed to help me be who I am today. Thank you, Mom!

Being a mother has helped me discover the artist in me. The imagination that children bring out in us knows no boundaries. Starting with the “gagagoos” when we want to see them smile or calm their tears. Not to mention all the costumes we create, all the games we make up to help them grow, building snowmen, carving pumpkins, cakes, cocktails, vegetables disguised so they’ll eat them, planes, princess dresses, and so on. All those holidays that kids make magical by their natural wonder.

I am not even talking about scrapbooking, that most of us have discovered to forever keep these precious moments of our family life, and most importantly out children’s lives.

I could talk for hours on end about everything being a mother has brought to my life. Most of you already know all of this. For those who haven’t known the joys of motherhood yet, I whole-heartedly wish you this joy, even though it’s not always easy.

But I’m convinced that there’s nothing, really nothing, in the world that could compared to the joy, the love and the intensity of live and emotions of becoming a mom and seeing our children grow up.

Happy Mother’s Day!

"Various Mediums" by Chantal Laliberté

There are a lot of products offered in the scrapbooking market, and it’s not always easy to see clearly through it all.

Here’s a guide to help you out. It is certainly not exhaustive, but it’s a good starting point. Of course, it’s also my personal opinion, it engages only me, and obviously I don’t know everything that is being done… and I’m not listing everything, I just want to share a few of my discoveries.

*** If there are manufacturers reading this, please know that you can send us your products, it will be our pleasure to test them out!!!

Seriously, know that the best person to advise you is… yourself! Do your own tests, it is certain that my preferences will not be yours…

1- My favourite medium is acrylic paint.

There are a lot of techniques in decorative painting that can be adapted and applied to our scrapbooking pages.

Here I need to specific that it’s not mandatory to use the acrylic paints created by scrapbooking manufacturers, any acrylic paint will do. As in everything, there are different qualities and different personal tastes, do your own experiences.

What I like about acrylic paint in particular is its versatility. You can apply it on nearly every surface (paper, cardstock, chipboard, plastic embellishments, metal, ribbon, fabric, etc)

Personnally, I don’t apply a coat of varnish on my acrylic paint, since my pages are already in plastic page protectors, neatly stored in my albums. But here again, it’s all a matter of taste!

Discovery : The Lil Davis paint is really awesome for all the times you want a certain transparency. As its name evokes, “shade”, this paint is destined to created shadows or transparency. For examplace, if we use paint with a foam stamp, we will see the stamp’s design, but also the background paper’s design. Very useful for collages, and the best thing about this paint is that there’s no need to add gel or glaze, one single application and you’re done. Oooh, we like that, it’s not complicated!

PVA GLUE : It’s a white paint when applied, that becomes transparent after. Even when dry, it still is slightly tacky to the touch, which is excellent when you’re using, for example, aluminum papers from Stix2. This type of glue is perfect with glitter, micro-beads, jewels…

Here’s a technique I particularly love when I’m using my little bottles of paint: crackling

To create this, you will need a crackling medium. Personnally, I use the one produced by FolkArt, as well as 2 different colours of acrylic paint. Right from the start you need to determine which colour will be your crackling (base colour) and which will be your top colour.

1st step: apply an even coat of paint on your project. This will become the colour of the “cracks”. Leave to dry.

2nd step: Apply the crackling medium in a thick coat. Leave to dry. It must not be tacky to the touch.

3rd step: Apply one last coat of paint. Here, it’s very important that you do NOT pass on the same spot twice. The 2nd coat you give would prevent the crackling effect from happening, you therefore need to avoid this.

You leave to dry and you will see cracks forming. The more your crackling medium is thick, the bigger, larger the cracks will be.

2- Transparent mediums

You will find several « transparent » type products that work as glues and/or transparent mediums (varnish) with dimension. I’m thinking about Diamond Glaze, Gloo, Mod Podge, Golden Gel, etc. Also, certain mediums have specific particularities, for example Sepia, Accent 3D and Crackle, all from Ranger.

Diamond Glaze: A very versatile product, you can use it as a glue, but this product is also very interesting to create embellishments with volume, since it adds dimension! Once dry, the glaze looks like a very thick and shiny varnish, perfect for your chipboard… You can add a bit of glitter for a star look on your lettering. You can use it to glue your micro-beads, glitter, jewels, vellum… It’s perfect to mimic anything ‘wet’, like water drops.

Personally, I don’t have Diamond Glaze, I use GLOO which is created by KI Memories and is a similar product. I know that Stampin Up also offers a similar product.

Mod Podge: In my decoupage days, I used a lot of Mod Podge (oh the memories! My litte pottery cats that I used to cover in tissue paper!!!), but now I mostly use it for its protective side, on my mini albums. Mod Podge comes in a variety of finished, matte, glossy or semi-glossy. It’s up to you to decide what you prefer. The only thing you need to make sure is that it’s approved “acid-free”.

Golden Gel : It’s a product I like a lot! I use it as a glue, but it’s also very useful with acrylic paint, to creat collages, and of course very useful for image transfers!

Sepia by Ranger: Mimics the sepia, vintage look. It’s a beige medium that we apply directly from the bottle on which there’s a tip to facilitate the task. You need to let the medium flow to the tip and eliminate the air bubbles before application. If an air bubble forms when you apply the product, you will need to poke it with a needle to eliminate it. You need to apply a thick coat and don’t forget the edges. A single step and you have a sepia look!

Crackel, by Ranger.

It’s a product that we use straight from the bottle once again. You need to let the medium flow to the tip and eliminate the air bubbles before application. If an air bubble forms when you apply the product, you will need to poke it with a needle to eliminate it.

This medium is completely different than the crackling medium to use with acrylic paints. Crackel by Ranger has the texture of a transparent varnish and once dry, it shrivels and creates a lot of cracks… you don’t need to apply any acrylic paint with this medium. It’s complete in and of itself. One single application, one single step. It can be used on any porous surface and gives a glossy effect.


"Transparencies" by Marina Simakova

Transparencies have been around, in the scrapbooking world, for a few years, if not from the very beginning. Vellum, acetate – we often used them to embellish our pages, write our journaling or create embellishments.

Creative Imaginations, K&Company, KI Memories, Karen Foster, EK Success, American Traditional Design, American Craft, Scenic Route Paper, SEI, and now Autumn Leaves, Making Memories, Rusty Pickle and other companies still produce them, and it’s always fun to use them. When I started scrapbooking, I immediately adopted them. It’s like transparencies developped my creativity even more. But we didn’t see them too often and sometimes we didn’t know what to do with those papers.

In 2005, Creative Imaginations published a book called “Totally Transparent”, which became a reference and inspiration for me, when working with these types of papers. Karen Russell, Nichol Magouirk, Julie Scattaregia, Allison Strine, Karen Burniston, Mary Larson, Anita Matejka and Shannon Watt taught us a lot of tricks and techniques to use. If you like transparencies, I highly recommend that book, you will find a lot of interesting things to look at.

But I think that with the arrival of the new company “Hambly Screen Prints”, there is a surge in the popularity of transparencies. I fell in love with these papers instantly because of their choice of colours, their versatility, possibilities and incredible designs.

I’m extremely proud of being the first in Quebec, possibly in Canada, to have them in my kits (correct me if I’m wrong). I think they complete my kits wonderfully and they have even become my trademark.
Allison, Rose! Thank you for having faith in me and always being so open to what I had to say! I love working with you!

In this article, I will talk about my own experience and my own tricks and techniques when working with the Hambly Screen transparencies, since these papers are in most of my kits.

The first question that we ask is how to attach them?
In the Creative Imaginations “Totally Transparent” book, they show us 18 ways:

1. Spray Adhesive
2. Brads
3. Photo Turns
4. Conchos
5. Sewing
6. Index Tabs
7. Weave Ribbon
8. Wet Paint
9. Crystal Lacquer
10. Photo Corners
11. Glue
12. Eyelets
13. Stitching
14. Staples
15. Paperclips
16. Stickers over Edge
17. Hide the Adhesive
18. Tie It On

Actually, you can attach them with any embellishment: with chipboard, for example, with lettering, flowers, buttons, glitter, as well as placing them under a photo. And the good thing about Hambly Screen transparencies is that they are so thick that you can glue them with the adhesive you normally use for scrapbooking (not in the middle, as much as possible, but on the sides).

There’s no limit to what you can do with transparencies. It’s really up to your imagination, so let it guide you. Dare, try, and most of all, don’t be afraid to cut them. There’s a lot of doodling in these transparencies and you’re not obligated to cut out every little detail, just follow a curve. It’s transparent, so even if you cut it slightly crooked (as it happens to me), it’s okay, it won’t even show.

You can use the transparency in whole. I did a layout using one as a base. At the end, I painted the edges with acrylic paint. It gives an unbelievable effect, but it’s hard to photograph if to show you.

You can use it for a separate, independent page in your album. By doing this, your page will transform your album each time you will turn the page.

By placing the transparency directly on the photo, you can showcase the little details.

You can use it to frame. On our older photos, there sometimes is a date in the corner which is very annoying, and the transparency is an ideal way of hiding it. The transparency included in the May kit is a good example.

I love the round transparencies and you saw them in the “Pink” and “Quebec, the romantic one” kits. You can use them as embellishments by putting them on paper, or you can use them as a frame for your photos.

On the transparencies, you can put : Rub-ons, flowers, lettering, whatever you want.

You can handwrite your text on a transparency. I use the Uniball Signo white pen, or the Sakura gel pen. Sometimes you have to trace over it a second time so that it’s thicker.

You can write under the transparency, as well as print on it.

The transparency gives the effect of volume, which we all love, without making the page look too heavy.

The transparency with doodles, like the one in the “Love Letters” kit, you can use them as frames or even to embellish the ends of a photo, which is impossible to do with rub-ons because it wouldn’t give a unified look.

You can also use a transparency with ribbons and sometimes even with very thick ribbons as embellishments.

Here, I used a transparency to cover the “O”, which allowed me to use another embellishment on top of it.

You can create a little enveloppe, tags of even lettering by cutting out your title and placing it on your photo. You can layer it and it will give a nice effect.

For a while now, the company Autumn Leaves has offered us transparencies that I call “transparencies for dummies”. Sometimes we just want our imagination to rest and we want to create a layout without wracking our brains. Here is the solution- those transparencies are already prepared and designed for you. You only need to place the photo, the background paper and you’re good to go. There’s a good example of that type of transparency in the “Venice Carnival” kit and you can see the layout that Chantal Laliberté created with it in the February Gallery.

Let your imagination be your guide! With transparencies, everything is possible!

Copyright © , Marina Simakova & Scrapmagie. All rights reserved. Reproduction of part or all the contents in any form is prohibited other than for individual and non-commercial use only and may not be reproduced, recopied and shared in any manner whatsoever with a third party.

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