Searching for Normalcy

"And finally, above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art…" – Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Still Smashing–Part 2 December 12, 2011

Filed under: Scrapbooking — Lulu @ 6:10 pm

And here is part 2 of my black Smash book pages…


Pretty invite from my friend’s baby shower (do not adjust your monitors; I blurred out the personal info), Hambly owl sticker, a couple of favorite photos and page from one of the Smash pads.


Old Navy 3-D glasses and stickers, a printout of Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” (my absolute favorite poem of all time), tags from some Martha Stewart craft items (love her stuff!), and a little drawing I made playing around one day.


Random photos that I love. A couple are extras that I printed by mistake, The smaller ones are 2”x3” Zink photo stickers I printed in my Dell Wasabi printer.


Business cards from restaurants and shops that I like. Eventually there will be something on the left side, but I don’t know what yet.


Just a page of “Us” photos and random memories. That little orange doodle is my “portrait” of Christian. =)


Cards from my BFF.


More random bits: a photo from my niece’s wedding and the little “thank you” banner that was attached to the wedding favors, Hello Kitty tags, tickets from Miami Heat games.


The hospital bracelet from my birth, the newborn photo (inside the card), some elementary school pics, the card from the Get Well flowers from my family (I had surgery in 2007), a Valentine I made my mom when I was in 2nd grade and another card from my BFF.


Miami book Fair ticket from 2007, pictures of my bookshelves, a business card I like, Mother’s Day photo from 2006 (bad printout = perfect for smashing!), an “About Me” page.


Mexican loteria card, “Lady” cutout from a magazine with a post it explaining an inside joke about the word “lady.” My Playbill cover and ticket from “Wicked.”


Vintage pinup images cut out of the back cover of an old wall calendar, a map of Seattle and a booklet my MIL sent me from Liberty Orchards in Washington.



There are other pages that I didn’t include because they are nowhere near completed. Plus I think this is plenty of photos for now. =)


Peace out, yo!


Still Smashing–Part 1

Filed under: Scrapbooking — Lulu @ 5:04 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve shared some Smash book pages on here so I thought I’d do that today. Some of these pages I’ve shared before, but I’ve added more stuff since then. Since there are so many pictures, I’ve split it into two posts.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’ve been crazy for K&Company’s SMASH collection from the first time I learned of it. The freestyle memory-keeping idea behind it really appealed to me and I loved the design of the books and accessories. The first thing I did was set about collecting all of the available books, one of each style.

These are the unused books tucked into one of the shelves in my desk hutch. Sigh… so pretty…


When I started purchasing the cool accessories that are included in the SMASH collection, I realized that I would need some portable, practical way to keep them all together and easily accessible. Enter this plastic zippered pouch that I got at Office Depot for $1. It’s small enough to be convenient, but large enough to hold everything in one place.


This is my “Smash Kit.” All of these items fit in that little pouch perfectly, including the “tools” (inkpad, tape runner and paper clips) that I use to smash.


So far I’ve only used my original Smash book, the black Mod style. There is so much space to fill in these books! I thought for sure I’d fill this one up in no time at all but it’s been six months and I still have a bunch of empty pages in this one. And trust me, I’m constantly collecting and smashing stuff in here. No restaurant take out menu, movie ticket, Wasabi Zink photo or concert ticket stub is safe!

On this page I used a small paper bag and a sheet of Chinese joss paper to make a pocket that holds takeout menus from some of our favorite restaurants. At the top of the bag I wrote “We love to eat!”  =)


Some truly awful photobooth pictures taken at the Seattle Center, bits of leftover Washi paper, a clothing tag, an embossed card my friend made and a vintage image.


Postcard from an art show and a prayer card from a funeral (I love religious imagery), and a watercolor print I found online.


Just getting some random thoughts down, along with a favorite photo and ampersand print. I’m a total typography nerd.


Tickets and memorabilia from sporting events and other outings.


Movie ticket stubs and smashpad lists of our favorite movies.


More random thoughts and pictures, a Celia Cruz postage stamp and a Harajuku Lovers tag from a handbag.


A list of concerts I’ve been to and a few ticket stubs.
(A few days after this picture was taken I also added a picture of Mike Herrera from MxPx, whom we saw perform in Stuart, FL last week, in the top right corner.)


Random collection of tags, an expired Jungle Island annual pass, Starbucks card and cup sleeve.


That’s it for Part 1. Part 2 coming up later.


winner winner, chicken dinner July 29, 2011

Filed under: Scrapbooking — Lulu @ 10:47 pm

I don’t typically enter contests or giveaways, but a couple of weeks ago the Moxie Fab crafts blog was doing one of their weekly sponsor giveaways, for a really cute set of acrylic stamps from a company called WPlus9 Design Studio. I’d never heard of them but the stamps pictured were cute so I thought “what the heck” and left a comment on the post. This was a few days before my birthday and with all the fiascos of that weekend, I had all but forgotten about the giveaway.


A couple of days later I was scrolling through my Google Reader subscriptions and lo and behold, what did I see??


I won! Woo-hoo!!


Listen, I never win anything. And with the trying weekend I’d had, this was the happiest news in the world at that moment. The stamps arrived in the mail this week and they are SO cute!


Yay! I LOVE happy mail! They sent me five – FIVE – full sets of stamps. (Sorry for the poor images; I only had my desk lamp on and didn’t edit the photos prior to posting.)


Design Basics Backgrounds II (this is probably my favorite.)


The Birds & The Bees (that heart-shaped butterfly trail is too cute.)


Postmarked (this is perfect for personalizing birthday cards with the date.)


Mehndi Medallions (this is my second favorite and the round images work well with circle punches.)


Funky Flowers (I love that little owl!)



I read up on the company and found out that it is a home-grown business. WPlus9 Design Studio is independently owned and operated by graphic designer Dawn Woleslagle. From their website:

Our stamps are made of high quality clear photo-polymer and manufactured in the United States exclusively for Wplus9 Design Studio.  They are of exceptional quality which will be obvious from the first impression!

The quality of the stamps is evident. I tested several of them with both fluid chalk and pigment-based inks. The designs are lovely and they stamp beautifully. Even the teeny little sentiments stamped very cleanly with no smudging or “ghost” images along the edges. I’ll be sure to share some pics as soon as I get to make some real projects with them.


That’s all for now. Peace out, yo!


Summer-summer-summertime… July 13, 2011

Filed under: Scrapbooking — Lulu @ 9:44 pm

Now I have this song stuck in my head.


Moving on!


It’s that time of year again! No, not my birthday. Not summer vacation either. Nope. It’s almost time for the most spectacular event of the year…




That’s right! It’s that wonderful, glorious time of the year when all the paper crafts manufacturers debut their new collections for the summer/fall. There have been a lot of lovely sneak peeks into new products but there are a few in particular that have really caught my eye.


Crate Paper Farmhouse Collection

I really love this collection. Crate Paper has become one of my favorite brands due to the variety of designs they offer and the fantastic quality of their products. This collection is just gorgeous and, I was telling the boy today, it’ll be perfect for scrapping about all our new adventures in the country (when we move to Washington. Someday. Hopefully soon.)


American Crafts Amy Tangerine

I love the quirkiness of this collection. It just has a fun, sunny vibe to it.

35559_Amy_FallingForYou 35551_Amy_RoseAve



Echo Park Victoria Gardens

I love the frilly, feminine look and vintage-inspired designs in this collection. It’s just gorgeous.



Pink Paislee Nantucket

This collection makes me think of lighthouses, lobster rolls and fishermen in yellow slickers (like the guy in ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’, but way less psycho killer-y).




And last but not least…



My beloved SMASH books are coming out in three – THREEEEE!!! – brand new, delicious colors for summer.

K&Company SMASH Journal - Simple OrangeK&Company SMASH Journal - InternationalK&Company SMASH Journal - Eco Green

Aren’t they gorgeous?? It’s like looking at a carton of Rainbow Sherbert! *sigh*



Alright, that’s all for now. Peace out, yo!


The Island of misfit toys July 6, 2011

Filed under: Scrapbooking — Lulu @ 9:51 pm

You know that 1964 “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” stop-motion animated TV special they show every year around Christmas time?

You know the part where he runs away to the Island of Misfit Toys?

You know when they sing the song about being misfit toys?


Yeah, that’s pretty much what pops into my head every time I look at my pile of incomplete mini-albums.


That “Family” album on the left? That’s from Teresa Collins’ 2008 (I think) releases. It’s decorated, it’s bound, yet there is not a single photo in it. The blue “Friends” album is also Teresa Collins’. I made it during the scrapbook retreat I went to in Sanibel… in 2009. It’s also decorated and bound. And completely empty. The hot pink album is only about 25% done; no photos, no embellishments, just patterned paper. The teeny tiny Urban Rhapsody album? All decorated, no photos.

Ahh, let’s see… Here we have seven – SEVEN! – additional albums that are in various stages of completion. The “Love” album at the bottom right is pretty much done, but – go ahead, guess… Yep, no pictures. Same with the round butterfly album at the top row center and the mini flower album at the bottom row center. The “This Is Me” album was started in 2007 based on this website. I think I did about 8 of the prompts then got bored. The other three have patterned paper on all the pages and… that’s it.


*Sigh*…  I‘m not sure what I’m going to do with these. But I’m telling you, every single time I look at them, I hear this:


SMASH Pages June 15, 2011

Filed under: Scrapbooking — Lulu @ 8:57 pm

As promised, here are some of my completed SMASH book pages for the black book (Mod theme).


The front inside cover and first page (behind the vellum) are just a plain baby blue. It’s not my favorite color so I decided to cover them. On the inside cover (left side) I used a sheet of patterned paper from K&Company’s Urban Rhapsody pad, letter stickers from Webster’s Pages, a Hambly bird sticker and an old photo of me and the boy that didn’t print correctly (the colors weren’t calibrated properly) but I hadn’t thrown away.


I covered the first page with a retro recipe card (recipe printed on the back) that I had received in a Sweet Twee Labs kit about two years ago.


On the backside of the first page I glued a regular paper bag to use as a pocket. I wanted to cover the logo from the store so I used some Chinese joss paper (traditionally used in religious ceremonies such as funerals) and a couple pieces of Japanese washi paper that my friend, Agi, gave me. (The “Oh, Hi!” page is “as is.”)


On the next two pages are a random collection of things I like. (Left) A postcard from a Clinique gift set, a card my friend made using a stamped image and a quote from Picasso, and a printed image of a vintage “sexy” girl. (Right) A sticker of the boy as Mona Lisa (from one of those mall photobooth thingies), a tag from a shirt (I liked that the tag was letterpress on craft paper), a really awful photobooth picture we took at the Seattle Center, and some strips of washi paper that were left over from a project.


On the left of these pages is a postcard from an art fair I attended a couple of years ago. (I love religious imagery as art.) The image on the right is a printout of a pen and ink drawing from artist Yelena James’ website. On these I used Japanese washi tape to attach them to the page. I like that the tapes are low-tack (so the items can be moved if needed) but still hold pretty well.


On the left is that same picture from the front of the book (my fave pic of us… obviously.) and a paper “outfit” that was on a greeting card a received a long time ago. On the right are a little rant from me comparing Washington to Florida (with maps!), and an ampersand print from (I think) Elise Blaha’s site (I love fonts and graphic prints).


On the right is a collection of movie ticket stubs, along with a little list of my Top 5 movies (that came from the “Entertainment” Smash Pad). I actually changed this page after taking the picture. I moved the list to the page on the left and added a second list with the boy’s Top 5 movies as well.


This is a perfect example of one of those “random” pages the Smash books are made for. I had a tag from a Lulu brand handbag and a picture that was part of the party favors at my friend’s baby shower. In the “Family” Smash pad there was a page titled “Story of My Nickname”, which happens to be Lulu. I put the three items together so that it all makes sense to me. The “Dr Pepper” tag was the bottom part of a coupon for a free 2-liter we got at Publix this weekend. What better way to note my absolute, undying love of Dr. Pepper?


A simple list of all the bands I’ve seen in concert. (Love this ledger print paper.)


An assortment of things I love: an expired annual pass for Jungle Island, Starbucks cup sleeve and expired gift card, tag from my Crocs slingback mary janes (which have become my favorite shoes), and the tags from my pink ThorMX backpack that I am totally in love with.


(Left) A little list of things that inspire me, a Hambly owl sticker (I love owls), and the invite from my friend’s baby shower (attached with washi tape). (Right) A picture of me and my favorite cousin from his birthday party in 2008, a picture of me and my dad dancing at my sister’s wedding in 1977, and a little questionnaire from the “Family” Smash pad.


I love great quotes. I have a notebook where I write all the quotes I come across that I really like. I decided to add my favorite to these two pages. On the right is an insert from the package of the Chinese joss paper. I just wrote a quote right over the image.


I have a Life Stories paper pad from My Mind’s Eye that includes all these little prompts and questionnaires that you can fill out for scrapbook pages. I cut apart the elements of one of the pages and just arranged them in here. It’s just things like my favorite food, favorite color, birthdate, quirks, etc. The title is made with foam letters from my scrapping stash.


The “GO” tag is from a piece of clothing (from Target, I think). I stuck it to the page then incorporated a little journaling about how I can’t wait to “GO” to Washington permanently. On the right are an illustration from artist Danny Brito (cut from an art show postcard) and a Studio Calico bicycle print index card, on which I wrote about how much I want to get a bicycle at some point.


The Playbill cover and ticket stub from ‘Wicked’, which I saw in 2008. (FYI, AHH-MAZING!!)


The last page and inside back cover were the same baby blue as the front. I covered the right side of the page (which also has a pocket) with another sheet of Urban Rhapsody patterned paper and a Hambly birdcage sticker. On the left I just glued on some 1”x1” pin-up girl images that I had cut out of a 2008 Gil Elvgren wall calendar (I love retro pin-ups; they epitomize femininity and sex appeal to me).


And those are all the pages I’ve done so far.


A few observations:

  • This book has 39 pages (78 if you count front and back), so even though I have completed quite a few, there are still plenty of pages left to fill.
  • The binding allows for the books to expand a bit so you can actually make them pretty nice and thick (who doesn’t love a nice, thick book filled will all kinds of awesome memories?).
  • The pages themselves are heavyweight and very good quality (just a hair thinner than cardstock), so they can hold a lot of heavier items (such as the postcards or Thor tags above) very nicely without ripping or tearing easily.
  • The outer cover is a very sturdy, heavyweight chipboard with fabric covering the spine. It should be able to withstand a lot of wear and tear, and can be altered with paper, paint, or whatever your favorite medium (I’m keeping mine as is because I like the raw chipboard look). The books are covered with a removable clear plastic cover, which I would recommend leaving on until you complete the book, just to keep the cover from getting dirty or scratched while in progress.
  • My only complaint so far is with the glue half of the SMASH sticks that come with each book. Once the glue dries it doesn’t have a lot of “hold” and a few of the items I glued with it peeled right off. I reattached them using either an adhesive runner or washi tape. The pen side of the stick is awesome, though. Fine point, felt-tip, black ink, and it’s archival quality and acid-free. I would rather they eliminate the glue portion altogether and just include a larger ink barrel.

Thankfully, I FINALLY got my SMASH order from today (although three items are still on backorder; arggg!!), so I’m looking forward to incorporating more of the SMASH elements into these books. These are great quality items – with the exception of the glue stick as mentioned above – and a lot of fun to play around with. I’m really enjoying the freeform aspect of these books.


(And, no, I’m not being paid or sponsored by K&Company to praise the SMASH collection. I just really, genuinely love these products and I am excited to be able to use them.)


Peace out, yo!


A “Smash”-ing Success! June 10, 2011

Filed under: Scrapbooking — Lulu @ 12:08 am

So all the way back in February I wrote this post where I mentioned how much I was looking forward to the release of K&Company’s SMASH books. Well, they were finally made available for online pre-orders around mid-April. Of course I had to jump on that. And, boy, am I glad I didn’t hesitate because they are currently sold out EVERYWHERE! I ordered all four books (the black and red books directly from K&Company, and the blue and pink books – plus a bunch of the accessories that come with them – from*


The cool thing about these books is that they are not intended for traditional scrapbooking. They are sort of freeform memory books. They are intended to hold random bits and pieces of ephemera, such as ticket stubs, receipts, greeting cards, etc. Basically the kind of sentimental stuff that you would collect and keep in a shoebox, but not necessarily use on a traditional scrapbook page. The difference between these books, and a regular journal or memory book, is that all the interior pages have graphics and/or images on them (and let’s be honest; I’m all about pretty paper). All four books have different themes.


(These images are from the Smash books blog.)  The black book is the Mod theme:


The red book is the Doodle theme:


The blue book is the Retro theme:


The pink book is the Pretty theme:


So, basically, they are pretty notebooks to keep your crap in. =)  For example, I have a box full of stuff I’ve been holding on to, but wasn’t sure what to do with any of it. Things like concert and movie tickets, programs from Heat and Panthers games, postcards from a museum exhibit, our expired passes from Jungle Island…  I love collecting all these things because they remind me of good times that we’ve had, but since they are all just sitting in a box on a shelf, they weren’t really serving any purpose. Now I can stick them in my Smash books, where I’m more prone to look through them and reminisce about fun memories.


I have to admit that since I received my first two books, I have had little to no interest in traditional scrapbooking. Sometimes we lose our mojo and scrapping takes a back seat to other things. I still love it, but it’s much harder to design and put together a 12” by 12” page, with photos and embellishments and journaling, than it is to glue a receipt into a little album at random and scribble a quick note about it. 


I have to confess, I just received my first two books a week and a half ago and I’ve already completed about half of the black book (I decided to focus on completing one book at a time, instead of going back and forth between them)! It really is so much fun to Smash! There’s no rhyme or reason to it; you just go with the flow, which is very freeing and enjoyable. I’ve never really gotten into art journaling, but this I can handle.


In my next post, I’ll share some images of my book pages so far and a few details.


Peace out, yo! 


* I received the order from K&Company last week; the order was placed on 5/20. I’m STILL waiting for the Stop & Scrap order which was placed almost a month prior, on 4/27/11. I don’t think I’ll be ordering from S&S again.


Shimelle’s Challenge #5 May 14, 2011

Filed under: Photography,Scrapbooking — Lulu @ 4:53 pm

Try a new photo edit.


I chose this photo of the BF and I at Ft Myers Beach, FL:



I used Photoscape to convert it to a vintage-y B&W, and added one of the vignetting actions to create a soft frame around the edges. Then I used Photoshop to adjust the curves a bit and do some fine touchups. This is the end result:



Shimelle’s Challenge #4

Filed under: Scrapbooking — Lulu @ 4:02 pm

Create a page with the story behind the photo.


The story: My BF and I attended the first-ever Supercross race in Jacksonville, FL. in 2009. Our seats were in the lower section closest to the track and the camera crew kept panning the people in the stands during the race. When my BF was watching the broadcast of the race on TV later that week, he spotted us in the audience. This is the screenshot he captured of us on TV. Our big debut!


All products are Echo Park “Sweet Summertime”.


Shimelle’s Challenge #3

Filed under: Scrapbooking — Lulu @ 3:54 pm

Add a border between two photos.


All products from Studio Calico “Documentary”. Border punch from Martha Stewart.