Resistance = Love

Free “Resistance = Love“ digital art protest marchers carrying signs with words of resistance, downloadable freebie for art journaling, digital scrapbooking, planner decorating

Welcome to my stop on the March 2018 Pixel Scrapper “Love Knows No Borders” blog train! As soon as I saw this month’s theme and palette I knew exactly what I wanted to create. I had a vision of a collection of people, created using the wonderful soft colors of the blog train palette, all holding signs with words of love and resistance.

As a scrapbooker, as a designer, and as a human, I feel like I am currently living in two parallel worlds. I feel drawn to making art that is fun and uplifts me, or art that feels poignant and expresses something about my experience in the world whether that is happy or wistful or thoughtful or complex. What I don’t want to do right now is make art about how worried I am, how often that worry slips into terror, or, sometimes even worse, into numbness. I can’t make art about how my heart is breaking seeing my communities devastated in a dozen ways, about how my brain is breaking under all the lies and misdirects, how helpless I feel when a mass shooting, something that once made the whole country reverberate for months and years with shock and mourning, now happens every other day.

I remember the grief I felt after Columbine, after Charleston, after Orlando. I remember how I walked around for days in a haze of shock and pain and disbelief. If I allowed myself to feel that now after every shooting I would be completely non-functional; I would be in a puddle on the floor.

So I scrap about making sushi and hanging out with my family, about celebrating birthdays and my 10 favorite things from the month. I scrap about my best friend and his wonderful boyfriend and how happy I am for them to be getting married soon, not about the tides of hate surging around women, queer people, disabled people, immigrants, and people of color. I scrap about getting older and the unexpected gifts it brings, not about being disabled and in constant dread that I’m about to lose health insurance and life will go back to how things were for me before Obamacare, when for a decade I was brutally ill with zero access to insurance, only this time around I’ll be ten years older…

I think it’s ok that for now my art lives in a separate place. I think it’s ok that, with a few exceptions, a future historian looking back at my memory keeping from this time would have no idea what was going on in the country, or the churn of fear and anxiety going on inside me. It’s good for me to have an outlet that brings me joy and commemorates the sweet parts of life that continue even now. (In fact, wanting to intentionally document moments of sweetness during the hardest of times is how I got into scrapbooking in the first place, back in the years when I was so sick with no health insurance.)

I also think it’s ok that my work as a designer exists in this parallel world. Not everyone who scraps with Scrumptiously designs is living in the middle of a social and political meltdown, and not everyone who lives in the same country I do feels the way I do about what’s happening. I’ve never encountered any scrapbooker who wasn’t a compassionate and open-hearted person, whatever their worldview, and I want my designs to be there to facilitate self-expression for anyone and everyone who wants to use them. (With the obvious exception that I would be sad if someone created something I perceived as hateful using my designs, but, as I said, I’ve never yet met a scrapbooker who didn’t have a huge and kind heart, so that seems pretty inconceivable.)

And, with all that being said, sometimes these two worlds do come together in a way that feels natural and good, and that’s what happened for me when this blog train theme and palette bloomed in my brain. And so I present to you my blog train offering, Resistance = Love. [Download links are down below the second preview.]

Free “Resistance = Love“ digital art protest marchers carrying signs with words of resistance, downloadable freebie for art journaling, digital scrapbooking, planner decorating

This mini-kit comes with seven people, ready to go out and change the world. Each person comes holding a blank sign, and then there’s a pack of 16 sign messages in two fonts each so you can choose what the sign says (and of course you can put your own words on the sign just as easily). There’s even a separate pack of the same messages that come tilted for the person with the scarf and tilted sign. All but one of the seven people also comes in a version without a sign, so these figures can be used for other types of layouts as well. (You’ll notice there are only six people in the previews – there are so many more people I want to make, with different bodies and gender presentations and so on, that I keep working on more, and I finished one more in time to include here. She’s in a wheelchair with shoulder-length light-colored hair, wearing a pink knit hat, shorts, a tank top, and sneakers.) Each figure’s clothing and hair is made using blended art papers, and I am including those papers in this kit as well. Figures and papers are together in one download.

Free “Resistance = Love“ digital art papers, downloadable freebie for art journaling, digital scrapbooking, planner decorating
Both download links are for the SAME materials, you only need to choose one. I provide the Mediafire one just in case the direct download Dropbox link is not available due to high traffic.

Direct download link (may not be available due to bandwidth overage):
Mediafire link:

I hope that you will find a use for this heartfelt offering. I created it to inspire myself, and saw that my art and my worries can intersect, but that sometimes in that intersection I will find hope and strength and resilience.  I share it with you in case it speaks to you, as a way to express some part of your experience right now, or as a set of pretty, dreamy figures and papers for making pretty art about anything.

Be sure to check in with the rest of the stops on the “Love Knows No Borders” blog train, it looks like there are some fantastic treats to be found along the way!

Vintage New Years Cards

While I was hunting for vintage ephemera to include in an upcoming New Year’s themed kit I came across a bunch of wonderful vintage New Year’s cards. I love designs from this era and thought it might be fun to put together a digital collection of these cards. Vintage ephemera adds something special to a scrapbook or art journal layout, looks great tucked into a pocket scrapping pocket, and I could also imagine printing these out as charmingly old-fashioned New Year’s cards to send to family and friends. Mostly I just thought they were cool, so I felt moved to clean them up and share them with you! You can find them at Pixel Scrapper – the full kit is available now and individual cards will become available each day between now and New Year’s Day.
Vintage New Years Cards for digital scrapbooking, art journaling by Scrumptiously at Pixel ScrapperAren’t these fun? I love the mix of whimsy, sentimentality, and occasional outright weirdness that characterizes Victorian greeting cards. (Champagne-swigging babies? We’ve got ’em! Children being hatched from eggs? Yep, we have that, too.) There were way more cards than I could fit in the customary square preview, so at the end of this post I’ve included a preview that shows each card.

Several of these holiday cards are Norwegian and it seems clear that the Norwegians embraced a similar aesthetic during Victorian times (which of course to them weren’t “Victorian” at all; I believe these date from what is known as the Norwegian Neo-Romanticism period). I’ve included two versions of the Norwegian cards, one blank and one with the original Norwegian greeting. I included the originals because some of the lettering is wonderful and perhaps there are some Norwegian scrappers out there who would appreciate the chance to wish someone a vintage “Godt nytt år!”

The work required to digitally restore the cards was primarily technical, which provided a nice little break for the creative part of my brain. I love the look of ephemera when it’s a bit ragged and even grungy, so I left the worn paper edges on some of the cards, but for the most part my intention was to restore these cards to their original lovely appearance. I disappeared dirt and stains, retouched where parts of the image had been torn or worn away, smoothed away scanner artifacts, and often even found myself correcting errant specks and other printing errors from the original card designs. I also edited out the Norwegian greetings and year numbers in the case of cards that already had a specific year on them.

Example of cleaned-up card (in GIF format, flashing from stained and torn to restored) from Vintage New Years Cards for digital scrapbooking, art journaling by Scrumptiously at Pixel Scrapper

“Before” and “After” versions of a restored Vintage New Years Card

The cards are high resolution (300ppi) and sized for printing at their original paper size. They range in size from 8×5 to about 2×4, with most falling somewhere around 4×6. I’ve also included printable PDFs in the download to help streamline the printing process. For your inspirational enjoyment I’ve been collecting layouts that use vintage ephemera in creative ways, you can find some inspiration on Pinterest here. You can find the cards themselves at Pixel Scrapper. I hope you’re able to make use of these fun little treasures from the past, and as always, please let me know what you make!

Preview of all Vintage New Years Cards for digital scrapbooking, art journaling by Scrumptiously at Pixel Scrapper




Bohemian Breeze ~ Pixel Scrapper September Blog Train

It’s about that time – time to say “Goodbye, Summer” and “Hello, Fall.” I took a design hiatus this summer and I think it was much needed. I went into the switch from passionate amateur scrapbook designer to neophyte professional scrapbook designer with a lot of ideas, ambition, and excitement. I have had tremendous support from Marisa & Jordan, owners of Pixel Scrapper, the site I design for, as well as from the other Pixel Scrapper designers and my wonderful creative and uploader teams. And yet just in terms of sheer energy expenditure I ended up getting in over my head. I was tired all the time and worst of all the fatigue led to near-total creative burnout – can you imagine, after designing just a few full kits? It was disappointing to say the least!

Everyone has been so supportive and understanding, I really appreciate them all so much. And when one of the other designers took a design hiatus I realized, “Oh, I can do that, too, instead of feeling guilty every minute that I’m not designing.” I feel super restored after three months away (or mostly away, I did make contributions over the summer to the Good Day and Work Day designer collabs as well as August’s UK-themed blog train) and ready to get back on the design wagon. I do want to make sure to pace myself better this time, though.

How to do that is a puzzle for me right now. When they hired me, Pixel Scrapper asked for a certain rate of contribution, and I, having my chronic illness and another career, asked if I could contribute less frequently. Marisa & Jordan said sure, because they’re awesome, and yet I still managed to burn myself out. So the question now becomes how to balance my desire to show up and support this wonderful community that supports me while still managing my energy carefully so that I don’t dip too low. I thought I had it all figured out – when I agreed to join the PS team I felt like I had tons of extra energy – but clearly there’s more to the equation than I realized at the time.

One thing I know for sure, that I’ve mentioned here on the blog before, is that the admin tasks associated with this job really kill me. The designing is one thing, but it’s the organizing, renaming, uploading, tagging, and so on that always cause a rush and a slog at the end of every project. That’s the part that led to two (TWO!) consecutive all-nighters when I released Already There (yep, the kit about resting and not pushing, oh the irony). I wonder if I am going about it wrong in some ways because I never hear anyone else complain about that part!

Ok! Enough of me babbling on – I just wanted to fill you in on where I’ve been and what’s coming next. If anyone has any tips or advice about how to design more efficiently, I am all ears!

This month’s blog train palette is so pretty – I feel like it’s perfectly on the border between summer and fall. The palette is so delicious part of me wishes I could have made more with it, but as it is officially still summer I am officially still on hiatus. 🙂 The theme is great, too – Bohemian Breeze conjures up images for me of lots of scarves and funky jewelry and wandering wherever the wind may take you. (And, of course, people dying in garrets of tuberculosis.) It seemed like a perfect pairing for my “painty bits” style, and I sure do love making painty bits! They add an instant art journal quality to any page.

I did want to be cautious as I worked with this theme to avoid cultural appropriation – some of the imagery conjured by the name took me too far into the “tribal” or “gypsy” realms. If you’re unfamiliar with the issue of cultural appropriation, please check out these links on the appropriation of Native American tribal symbols and sacred regalia and why “gypsy” is considered by many Romani to be a slur and the romanticization of the Romani lifestyle can be deeply problematic. I just started reading about a week ago about the appropriation of Native war bonnets by fashion, photographers, and festival-goers, and I was kind of blown away by how popular it seems to be to throw a war bonnet (an item of sacred regalia created with specific intention and prayers and worn only by certain honored individuals) on a naked or near-naked girl, often with “war paint” added on as well. Yikes.

At any rate! I made some pretty things. Please download them, and use them to make your own pretty things! The Bohemian Breeze Painty Bits Flowers and Bohemian Breeze Painty Bits Borders will be available for download here on the blog through the end of September, and after that they can be found at Pixel Scrapper.

Put together a giant coordinating bundle for yourself with the fabulous contributions from all the other blog train designers – find them all here in this thread at Pixel Scrapper.

Blog train freebie links only stay up for the month of the blog train (though you can still find older blog train goodies if you explore the blog). My Bohemian Breeze Flowers and Bohemian Breeze Borders are no longer available here on the blog – you can now find them at Pixel Scrapper.

Bohemian Breeze Painty Bits Flowers for digital scrapbooking, art journaling by Scrumptiously at Pixel Scrapper

Bohemian Breeze Art Journal Page Border Overlays for digital scrapbooking, art journaling by Scrumptiously at Pixel Scrapper

Anarchy in the UK! Pixel Scrapper June Blog Train

“I…. wanna be…. ANARCHY!” Okay, so not really, anarchy sounds pretty chaotic (by definition, in fact), but nonetheless I do have a huge soft spot for the Sex Pistols, who penned those lyrics for their first single, “Anarchy in the UK.” Formed in London in 1975, they took Britain and the world by storm, kicked off the British punk movement in both fashion and music, and have remained hugely influential to this day.

The real story of the Sex Pistols is tragic, violent, and drug-infused. Sid Vicious, the bassist, died at 21 from a heroin overdose. I don’t glorify their history, at all, but there’s something about the music that really moves me. Sid’s slurred, screamed version of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” is at once both crass and utterly sincere. It’s the anthem of a generation trying to find their way out from under the shadow of their parents’ “greatest generation” legacy, trying to find a place for themselves during a time of strikes and recession and chaotic upheaval of standards and mores, trying to piss off the greatest number of people possible with as much flash and drama as possible, all just to prove how much they “don’t care.”

I’ve talked about (for the Vintage-themed blog train) how much I appreciate Christian Dior’s “New Look” fashion style that marked a giant transition from the privations of World War II to the post-war era. I think my fondness for the Sex Pistols comes from a similar place – this is music that demarcates a boundary line, art that captures a moment in time when everything was in flux, after which things would never be the same.

anarchy - Brenda H

“Anarchy” by creative team member Brenda Hollingsworth

This month’s Pixel Scrapper blog train had the theme of “England.” I wasn’t feeling too inspired until somehow I suddenly decided to make a punk kit and then it came together in a matter of days. Punks dressed in black leather and Royal Stewart Tartan (irony in fashion before irony in fashion was fashionable) with outrageous hairstyles are still a prime tourist attraction in London, so this kit would be perfect for scrapping any of those photos. Otherwise I’m curious to see what you make of it. You could combine bits of it with pieces from the rest of the Pixel Scrapper England Blog Train. Maybe you’ve got your own punk rock rebel kid at home, or maybe you have an art journal page waiting to emerge about your own experience with the counterculture sweetness of punk rock love.

The Anarchy in the UK mini-kit was available here for free through July 1st, and now it can be found at Pixel Scrapper.


Whoops! I only realized I’d somehow left her out of the Credits page after I’d already uploaded the kit to three different places, so a special shout-out here to the Graphics Fairy for the adorable vintage couple showing their “true colors” in this kit.

Pixel Scrapper October Blog Train ~ Autumn Art

Greetings, blog train passengers! Have you been enjoying the ride so far? It’s been a while since I felt inspired to hop on the train myself as a designer, and I’m pretty excited about what I have for you today. My offering is broken up into three parts which you’ll find interspersed throughout this post.

I posted earlier about my recent foray into the world of art journaling, and this month’s blog train theme, Autumn Art, and its rich, vibrant color palette were a perfect fit. I am particularly smitten with my Painty Bits, which were inspired by the work of designer Lynne-Marie, whose artsy designs I’ve been creating with lately. I experimented and came up with a bunch of new techniques I’d never tried before, which is always a fulfilling process. The Painty Bits download also includes a stencil, and a tutorial on how to use it to turn any patterned paper into your own beautiful falling-leaf painty bit.

Blog train freebie links only stay up for a limited time (though you can still find older blog train goodies if you explore the blog). My Autumn Art kit is no longer available here on the blog but you can check out my other designs (with an option to download things for free!)  at Pixel Scrapper.

Free digital painted elements from Scrumptiously for the Pixel Scrapper October 2014 Blog Train

Free digital painted elements from Scrumptiously for the Pixel Scrapper October 2014 Blog Train

I’m in sort of an awkward period right now as a designer. I was approached by someone I really respect about designing things for sale (super flattering!), but I feel like I currently rely too heavily on other people’s commercial use products to qualify as “real” designer. There’s a popular “computer generated” look to many digital design materials that just isn’t my cup of tea, and so then we’re in the realm of extractions of real-life objects, and of Illustrator and Photoshop and just plain artistic skills I don’t (yet) possess.

I recently had the opportunity to beta-test a class for beginning designers offered by Marisa Lerin at Pixel Scrapper. I thought this could be a perfect chance to start honing these skills, and the papers I have for you today were indeed generated as assignments for the class (still using some CU resources for textures, etc.). But when I got to the elements portion of the class… well… it turns out that it’s not just about skills. There’s a big dollop of patience required to fiddle endlessly with layer style adjustments, trying to find the exact bevel height and angle and shading to make something look “real.” And it kind of bores me. I want to be making the things I see in my head, and when the fastest way to do that is to be a “magpie,” pulling resources together from here and there, that’s what I’m inclined to do. My thinking for now is that I’m making stuff to give to people for free – I want it to look awesome, I can allow myself to not be worried about some kind of professional pride.

Free digital arty papers from Scrumptiously for the Pixel Scrapper October 2014 Blog Train

Free digital arty papers from Scrumptiously for the Pixel Scrapper October 2014 Blog Train

Maybe when I have more time, when I’m not doing grad school and practicum and chronic illness and house-caught-on-fire all at once, I’ll have the spaciousness required to get to this next level of design-independence. And I don’t want to sell myself short – I am always learning and gaining new skills. This month I made my first-ever flair and I’m pretty proud of how it turned out. The wooden leaves and gear were new forays for me as well. (Lesson learned from wooden leaves: something looks “off” and computer generated? Slap some paint on it! I think they turned out pretty well in the end.;))

Free digital autumn elements from Scrumptiously for the Pixel Scrapper October 2014 Blog Train

Free digital autumn elements from Scrumptiously for the Pixel Scrapper October 2014 Blog Train

Thanks, as always, for reading (I’ve been wordy as usual) and for downloading. I love knowing my designs are being enjoyed! (Does anyone actually scrap with these things, or just enjoy the deliciousness of the download? The sheer pleasure of the digital hoarding is totally legit, but I find I’m so curious – have any of you made anything with a design you downloaded from me? Let me know in the comments!) (Edited to add: I am absolutely not trying to imply there’s shame in hoarding, I use the term affectionately to describe the great pleasure I get from collecting, unpacking, and organizing my mountains of digital supplies. It’s a different aspect of the hobby, but one I think is a ton of fun!)

Free digital stencil from Scrumptiously for the Pixel Scrapper October 2014 Blog Train

Free digital stencil from Scrumptiously for the Pixel Scrapper October 2014 Blog Train

Finally, here’s a look at the stencil that is included in the Painty Bits download. It’s based on a cool set of brushes from Lileya and will allow you to turn a patterned paper into a pretty falling-leaf design (could be great to use on other interesting papers from this blog train that catch your eye). (Edited to add: The tutorial included with the stencil walks through how to use the stencil in Photoshop. If anyone uses it in a different program, leave us a comment here so others know they’ll be able to use it, too. I imagine it will be usable in most.)

Alright, blog trainers, thanks again for stopping by and now, onward! To find the whole list of Pixel Scrapper Autumn Art blog train goodies, check out this thread at Pixel Scrapper.

Trying something new

I’ve mostly stopped taking pictures. I’ve completely stopped Project Life-ing (although I am still making desultory movement towards getting something done for 2012 and 2013 – mostly learning Lightroom so I can wrangle my photos before PL-ing them). I’ve felt mostly too busy with school and practicum and house stuff (only now really starting to recover from the fire) to design for blog trains. Plus being tired all the time puts a damper on creative inspiration.

So when I saw buzz going around about a mysterious new art-journal-ish project that was starting up at digital scrapbooking store The Lilypad I followed with interest but no real idea that I’d participate. I don’t have a lot of disposable income, and I pretty much only spend digital-designs money on commercial use products so I can keep making more & varied freebies for y’all. 🙂 But I am super interested in digital art journaling and was looking for something to give me motivation and structure to make things again, so when the big reveal came and it turned out to be a subscription to a monthly mixed-media/art journal style kit made by four of the most creative, high-quality designers in the biz, and that the project would be supported by a private forum with weekly challenges and a community of people sharing their creations, I decided to try it out for a few months. (I’m not trying to be an ad for this, but I’m also not trying to be cryptic; if you want more info you can find it here on one of the designers’ blogs.)


It worked!! I have been making pages again! I’m still pretty new to making pages that aren’t pocket-scrap style, but I’ve been having a ton of fun. Art journaling is compelling to me because it traditionally allows for expression of the full spectrum of emotion, introspection as well as celebration. Some of the pages I’ve made are too personal to post, but I wanted to share a few here. Each of these was made for a particular challenge in the M3 forum.


This one might need a little explication. I’ve been intrigued by a new layout style Sissy Sparrows has introduced, called Pocket Journals. You make your whole layout on an 8.5×11 page, print it, and then fold it so it becomes a little physical booklet. So cool! (A brief sidebar here – I love Sissy Sparrows so much, I collect their freebies avidly, and I’ve been inspired by them in my own creations many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually bought anything from them. I was feeling kind of bad about that until it turned out they make throw pillows! I had over a dozen I needed to replace from the fire so I am now the proud owner of this awesome owl pillow and my guilt has been assuaged.) The above version is how I laid it out to print, with the back and front covers over on the bottom left. I’ve rearranged the pages below in case you want to actually read stuff that’s not upside down. Incidentally, another reason I love art journaling is that I feel like I’m allowed to say things like “when I lost you I lost a piece of my heart” which I would never normally say due to aversion to cheeziness and melodrama. 🙂


I am apparently full of feelings once the art journaling gets rolling:


What If?
All materials except those listed below are from Mixed Media Monthly ~ August 2014 (Just Jaimee, Quirky Heart, Lynne-Marie, and Little Butterfly Wings).
Papers and elements were used from main kit, Lynne-Marie ~ Artsy Bits add-on, and Mixed Media Monthly Sampler.
Template, incl. stitching: Captivated Visions ~ Yes You Can
Brushes: Captivated Visions ~ Mishmash stamp stash, Marisa Lerin ~ Gesso
Confetti: Crafty Button Designs ~ Feminine Touch Mini
Vines: Idees De Christine ~ Mixing It Up
Photo filter: Sparklestock ~ Instant Hipster Retro Actions (Hudson)
Lyrics: Fidelity by Regina Spektor
Pocket Journal
All materials except those listed below are from Mixed Media Monthly ~ August 2014 (Just Jaimee, Quirky Heart, Lynne-Marie, and Little Butterfly Wings). Papers and elements were used from main kit and Lynne-Marie ~ Artsy Bits add-on.
Book binding by Mercurycode on Deviantart.
Very Quiet
All materials except those listed below from the Mixed Media Monthly M3 August collab by Just Jaimee, Quirky Heart, Lynne-Marie, & Little Butterfly Wings.
Materials used from main M3 August kit and Lynne-Marie ~ Artsy Bits.
Raindrops: Maya de Groot ~ Zen & the Art of April Showers, Just Jaimee ~ Painted Newsprint
Fonts: Special Elite, Edwardian Script

Pixel Scrapper October Blog Train ~ Thankful

You know that thing where you write a word over and over and at some point it starts to look like it’s spelled wrong, and then eventually it doesn’t even look like a word anymore? Well, my brain thinks “thankful” is just about the strangest collection of letters it has ever beheld! I’m looking forward to having a little distance so I can get back to appreciating the word, which does express, after all, one of my most beloved concepts.


Blog train color palette

This month’s Pixel Scrapper blog train is quite dear to my heart for several reasons. For the first time, I proposed a potential color palette, and when we voted it was the one chosen, which was very exciting! I love the richness of the colors, and the way they evoke harvest and bounty without screaming “Thanksgiving.” We wanted to create a collection that honored the theme of the holiday while still being useful for everyone who doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. I’m glad about that because thankfulness is so much bigger than a single holiday (not even getting into the issues with historical distortion and whitewashing that accompany our American Thanksgiving). Gratitude is such a core concept in my life. When I manage to connect to my sense of all that is right in my world, either through happenstance or through deliberate manifestation with mindfulness or prayer, I find my life is infinitely sweeter and less stressful. Right now I’m feeling grateful to have had the opportunity to make all these pretty things for you!


I’m continuing my habit of breaking up my contribution into separate pieces. The advantages for me are that I like knowing you can take the things you want and not have a bunch of stuff you’re not interested in that you have to then remember to delete later (yes, journal card junkies, I’m looking at you!), and that doing it this way allows me to see what types of materials you like best (because I can track the number of downloads for each piece). A potential disadvantage I can see for people who do want everything is that then they have multiple folders, palettes, previews, and TOUs they’ll have to delete if they want everything all tidy and streamlined. If you have a strong feeling either way (all one big download or separated by type) let me know in the comments!

Up first are a set of papers, frames, and mists. There are four papers that would make good starting points for art journal pages and four frames that will add an arty touch to any page. All the materials I used are credited in the kit, but I have to give a special shout-out here to Cajoline Studios, who made and then generously gave away the gorgeous frame templates. They fit so perfectly with the sort of dreamy, swirly look I was going for here. The frames are actually quite a bit larger than they appear in the preview. I like to have things large and then shrink them down as needed, since you can’t ever upsize design materials. The five mists are pretty fun – they’re 12×12 overlays that will “stencil” a misted pattern onto whatever is below them. I used the diamond patterned mist to make one of the journal cards below – check it out! [Click preview to download.]


Then there are two sets of journal cards; each set is a separate download. There are some fun simple cards with gratitude words on them, and an assortment of various more elaborate designs. I even threw in the flower I made for one of the journal cards (in a larger size, of course). I’m not much of an element-maker, but I figured since this one was already made I might as well add it to the mix. I’m sorry there’s not much in this month’s kit that’s okay for Commercial Use – I have too much fun playing with all my CU materials that are only for making PU stuff – the simple wordy journal cards are the only things that can be used for CU. [Click previews to download.]


Finally, I present to you my first-ever word art. I’m not really a word art person – I tend to make my own titles, quotes, etc. so I don’t find much use for premade ones. But the topic was so inspiring to me I thought I’d try my hand at bringing a few of my favorite gratitude quotes to life. I had fun with these; I like the Oprah Winfrey quote with its ransom-note-like lettering – it makes me imagine the person saying “thank you for that experience” through slightly gritted teeth! And the gorgeous wings evoke so much for me around this theme – the sense of being borne up by a power greater than myself, and the image of my own gratitude soaring out into the Universe. They’re not technically word art, more… “image worth a thousand words” art. 🙂 [Click preview to download.]


The blog train is huge this month! Over 30 contributors at last count – there’s sure to be something for everyone. You can find previews and links for the rest of the train at Pixel Scrapper.

So, please enjoy! I’ll be so delighted if anything I made can contribute to your expressions of gratitude and thankfulness. If you do end up making something using any of my designs, do let me know, I would love to see it!

Pixel Scrapper August Blog Train ~ At the Beach

Hey there, hope you’re having a good summer! Welcome to another edition of “What can I make for a blog train in a single day?” Of course I ended up spending a few more days finishing everything up and making the preview, but my life has been so slammed lately that it was do it in a strictly time-regimented way or not do it at all. The nice thing about designing for a blog train is I don’t have to worry about making a complete kit with one of everything – I’m making bits and pieces you can combine with all the other wonderful offerings from my fellow Pixel Scrappers. This time around our theme was “At the Beach,” with an interesting summery palette of blues, green, tan, and orange.


PixelScrapper collective Pinterest board for blog train inspiration

Here’s what I made for you. In all, this bundle of joy is 5 papers, 2 full size (12 inch across) wave borders, 6 vintage souvenir cards (4 letterpress, 2 full color), 2 transparent graphic elements, 1 doily mat, 1 seashell frame in 4 colors. [Click preview to download.]


Because the papers got completely buried in the preview, and I always like to see what I’m getting when I’m deciding whether to download something, I decided to give you a quick preview of each paper. I’m a little all over the place with these, but I tried to keep things mostly pretty simple.

paper1_web paper2_web paper3_web paper4_web paper5_web

Previews and links for all parts of the blog train can be found at this post on Pixel Scrapper. There are so many fun designs, in all kinds of styles, from classy to cute to vintage to art journal. Enjoy!

And as always, if you do end up making something using any of my designs, do let me know, I would love to see it!

Pixel Scrapper April Blog Train ~ The Birds & the Bees


Pinterest inspiration board for the blog train

I thought I wasn’t going to be able to make anything for this round of the Pixel Scrapper blog train. I started working on February’s offering way back in the beginning of December, and it took me the full two months to get everything made. I’ve been incredibly busy lately because of school & the fire & being ill & general life busyness. I also don’t love the color palette for this round, and while the theme is fun – “The birds and the bees” – it felt much more abstract than “retro kitchen” in terms of generating ideas. I’m also really not into “cute” stuff, just a personal preference, and I wasn’t sure how to pull together this palette and theme into something I would personally want to scrap with.

Palette for the blog train

Palette for the blog train

But then the gals over at Pixel Scrapper did a little preview of coming attractions a week or so ago, with people posting previews of what they’d made. Everything was so fun and interesting, with so much variety, and I started to get excited about the possibility of making something. I sat down that weekend and the creativity started flowing, and I ended up having a great time!

I made my first art journal page a couple of weeks ago. So for this blog train I decided to try making my first art journal materials. I drew inspiration from a couple of my art journal design heroes – Christine Smith, who designed the mini I used for my first art journal page, and Sissy Sparrows, two sisters who have an aesthetic that just knocks my socks off when it comes to art journal design. Take a look at Christine’s Brighter Days Ahead minikit (which is free on her blog!) and Sissy Sparrows’ Glitter & Glue Overlays and it will be quite obvious how much inspiration I drew from studying the work of these talented designers. Christine’s Spray Mist Brushes and spray mist stencil tutorial were also invaluable. A final source of art journal inspiration was the talented Andrea Boyer of Lifescapes, which I think may have gone out of business.  (Her “Botanica” kit directly inspired one of my art journal papers.)

I did all kinds of stuff I’ve never done before, both in terms of the kinds of materials I made and the techniques I used to make them. I was gratified at how quickly it still came together, though. Last time was a 2-month slog, this time I was basically finished in 2 days. Most of that I attribute to how much I’ve learned. My Photoshop skills are leaps and bounds above where they were at the end of 2012.


But there was another factor that helped me move faster this time. Last time I made sure all my final products were okay for commercial use. That meant all the commercial use products I used (brushes, textures, overlays, graphics, etc.) had to be “CU4CU” – not only okay to use commercially in making these freebies for you, but also okay for you to then go on to use the freebies however you wanted to. This is actually fairly uncommon, especially among free CU products. So I spent a lot of those two months tracking down resources that would fit the bill, or arduously making things myself to use. This time I wanted to focus on being creative and having a wonderful time. So I didn’t even worry about whether things were plain old CU or CU4CU, and I think this helped me go a lot faster.

So the way it worked out is that some of the things I made for you – the glitter styles, which I made from scratch, the glitter overlays, and the collage bird elements – I can offer to you under a CU license, and you can go off and make whatever you want with them. The rest – the papers, the borders, and the art overlays – incorporate some resources that limit the license I can offer to personal use only. I’ve put them in separate downloads because I know some of the blog train “shoppers” from Pixel Scrapper only download stuff with a CU license. I feel okay about how this worked out, because the things that would be most useful to reuse in your own designs, like the styles and overlays, are CU.

Up first are the PERSONAL USE ONLY materials. This zip file includes 5 art journaling papers/backgrounds, 3 page borders (including a fun one made of feathers!) and 1 small border, and 5 glittery, doodled art overlays to fancy up your art journal pages. Where do you stand on having words included in your art-journal collage-y designs? I think it looks cool, but that it also makes the designs much less versatile. So for those of you who feel the same way, I’ve put versions of the art overlays without the typed words on them in a separate zip file.

Blog train freebie links only stay up for a limited time (though you can still find older blog train goodies if you explore the blog). My The Birds & the Bees kit is no longer available here on the blog – however it may soon be available at Pixel Scrapper.


Next up are the COMMERCIAL USE items. I’m totally in love with the collage birds, this is just exactly the kind of thing that grabs my attention when I’m browsing designs. I don’t even want to admit how long I spent looking for the perfect book page scan to use in the swallow collage, finally finding a great scan from a book about birds at The Vintage Moth. The vintage map was a great find, too – I didn’t need to recolor it at all, and it complements the blog train palette perfectly. The glitter styles come in two varieties for each color. There is one that’s more chunky, and one that’s more fine. The fine glitter style doesn’t look very glittery in the preview, but it really shines (ha!) when applied to very small/fine items (like the smaller honeycomb pattern of the glitter overlays). I feel like I still have a ways to go on learning to make glitter (I made these following tutorials at Pixel Scrapper and Pugly Pixel) but hopefully these will still be useful to you as you make your fabulous art journal pages! (Glitter styles come in .asl form only, apologies to everyone who can’t use .asl styles, I just didn’t have it in me to make other versions.) As for the glitter overlays (which are not black, they are just the glittery parts and the rest is see-through), you can place them over a paper, of course – they’re 12×12 – but I think they also look really cool clipped to a messy mask that fades out at the edges, like the gold honeycomb in the art overlay above. Very art-journal-y! (Direct download links below the previews.)


Preview_glitter copy


As always, if you use any of these for any purpose, I would be thrilled to get an email or a comment with a link to where I can check out your work. Thanks!

You can find the rest of the blog train here, back at the PixelScrappers forums. Have fun!

My first art journaling page

I don’t really ever scrapbook outside of my Project Life pages. I’ve done a few experiments here and there, but just doing PL I’m barely keeping up (okay, I’m not keeping up at all, if you want to get technical). But I’ve been intrigued for a long time by art journaling, on paper before I knew about digital scrapbooking, and now in digi form. So when I realized I had a LOT to say about the practicum application process I’ve been entrenched in for two months, more than I could comfortably squeeze into some little 3×4 journaling spots during my regular weekly layouts, I decided to devote a full page to my thoughts. I could have scrapped it pocket-style, I suppose, but I chose instead to use this as an opportunity to try something new.


I recently downloaded a gorgeous art-journal style mini from Christine Smith (an incredible art journaler) as part of DigiShopTalk’s most recent blog train. I also came across Mon Bijoux, a delightful quirky font that just screamed “art journal me!” Inspired, I set out learning how to make an art journal page. I read through some of a great blog series on art journaling over at Captivated Visions and watched a video of her making a page step by step (although I’ll confess, I stopped watching in the middle because I was so excited and full of ideas, and just went and made my page).

This page only took me an evening. Still several hours, but it was really fun to be doing something new. It was also an opportunity to appreciate how much I’ve learned in the last year, since I started this whole digital odyssey. I remember being confused and intimidated by brushes and layer masks and blending modes – even downloading and installing fonts was pretty stressful for me when I began. The facility that I have now pleases me so much – the sheer number of techniques I know dazzles me when I remember how much I despaired of ever remembering the things I would have to repeatedly google and follow tutorials to learn.

I’m a little bummed to be presenting this page with so much blurred out. Unlike the PL pages I do think that it really breaks up the visual flow. But this is a pretty detailed personal tale and I do like to retain the illusion of a little privacy when posting online. I’m also trying out not sharpening my layout jpgs before posting them online (inspired by this thread at PixelScrapper). I think this looks kinda blurry! Let me know what you think?

UPDATE: I decided to hold off on posting this page ’til I got the news from my school clinics. I heard this morning that I wasn’t accepted to either of the clinics I applied to. I’m pretty bummed. I do trust that the Universe has put me where I will benefit most and be of most benefit to the world, but it still stings. To be rejected, to watch some of my classmates move on to an opportunity together without me, and most especially to have the magical feeling of connection I experienced turn out to have been one-sided.

Everything unless specified is Christine Smith ~ Brighter Days Ahead Blog Train Freebie
Paint border: HG Designs ~ Frames
Christine Smith ~ Spray Mist Brushes
Just Jaimee ~ INSD Mixed Media Prints Brushes Freebie
Doodles: Yellow Butterfly ~ Neon Love Kit Freebie
Newspaper stamp: Sissy Sparrows ~ March Freebie
Stenciled numbers: Photoshop Tutorials ~ Market Stencil Brushes
Paint: CathyK Designs ~ Bright Days Ahead Blog Train Freebie
Fonts: Mon Bijou, Batik Regular, Sketchy