Friday, March 22, 2013

Happy National Puppy Day!

National Puppy Day

by Jeanette Giancaspro (Mar 22, 2013)
March 23rd is National Puppy Day, which was first established in 2006 to raise awareness about the horrors of puppy mills.  Since the motto of National Puppy Day is "Adopt Instead of Shop," I wanted to share some layouts that I've made about ourdog, Mocha, a rescue dog.
When we adopted Mocha in August of 2009, she was only eight weeks old, and she was one of only three puppies left who hadn't been adopted that morning.  It was love at first sight!  I started taking photos of her the minute we got home, and I haven't stopped taking them since.  Mocha finds her way into many of our family photos and scrapbook pages.  Here are two layouts that I made using some of her puppy pictures.
This is a very simple layout.  In fact, it's one of the layouts that I use to teach scrapbooking to beginners.  I started out with a sheet of kraft cardstock as my base.  I often use a neutral color for my base.  Then I selected a sheet of red cardstock and a sheet of patterned paper that coordinated with my photos.  I used the red cardstock as a large mat for my three photos, which I trimmed down a little bit.  I punched a border strip from the patterned paper and cut a few embellishments with my Cricut, using black and light brown cardstock.  I also die-cut my title.
My journaling took up the fourth quadrant of my photo mat, and I added the title to the top and bottom of this area.  Before layering the mat onto the base cardstock, I adhered the border strip.  Then I added my embellishments and a small strip of the patterned paper for a final detail.
Although this is a two-page layout, it is just as simple to put together as the previous layout.  I've laid out the photos in a similar manner, keeping them close together and touching each other.  The base paper is green instead of kraft, and the size of each page is 8 ½" x 11", as opposed to the 12" x 12" size of the "Puppy Love" layout.   Other than that, the design is very similar, and I used die-cut embellishments and pieces of patterned paper here too.  I added a chipboard title, a stamped image, and some brads to change things up a little.
These layouts are easy to replicate whether you are a beginner or have more experience.  You can add more embellishments, use smaller or larger photos, flip the layout, move the title, or whatever you need to do for your design.
I hope these layouts have given you ideas for scrapbooking your four-legged family members.  If you don't have a dog (or cat) yet, why not celebrate National Puppy Day this year by visiting your local shelter or adoption agency and taking a lovable puppy or adult dog home?  Then you can start documenting the joy and fun that he or she will add to your life.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I'm still working on my December Project Life layout.  I had to make it 4 pages, since I have so many photos.  And those are the pictures that I didn't include on my Christmas layout!  I didn't think I had taken that many pictures, but I guess I did.

Here's a picture that's going on its own layout.  My sister gave me this last month when we visited her.  I'm planning a layout with some of the pictures of the two of us together.  Several years ago, she underwent chemo for ovarian cancer, shortly followed by thyroid cancer.  She is cancer-free (4 years now), and she is an inspiration to me.  I'm planning to write about our relationship when we were younger and how that relationship has become stronger as we've gotten older.  (She's 9 years older than I am.)

I'll post pics of the December PL layout when I finish it, and I'm going to do that by the end of this week.  Thanks for stopping by.  :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Facts and Feelings: The Paperclipping Roundtable

I had an awesome time on The Paperclipping Roundtable today! Noell and Izzy were just terrific, and chatting with Ali Edwards was pretty cool, too.  It was wonderful to share ideas and thoughts about scrapbooking special needs children.  Please click on the above link to listen to the podcast.  This is #151, and I highly recommend listening to the other 150.  They do a great job!  Thanks, guys!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Comparison of Cricut Expression and Cricut Mini

I've been a Cricut owner since 2007, and I currently own four machines:  the original Expression, the Mini, the Cake Mini, and the Gypsy.  My first Cricut was the original "baby Bug," and my most recent addition is the Mini.  Unfortunately, three of the machines that I have are no longer being manufactured.  The original Expression, the Cake machines, and the Gypsy have all been discontinued by ProvoCraft.  They have been replaced by the new Mini and Expression 2.  I was thinking about getting a Mini to take with me to crops and friends' houses; so when I met one of the PC representatives at Maker Faire this past September, I was thrilled when he said that he would like to send me a Mini to review for ScrapJazz!  First I'll compare the two machines, and then I'll give you my opinion on the Mini.

Both machines:
  • are manufactured by ProvoCraft.
  • are electronic.
  • cut in the same manner with a blade assembly that moves along a carriage.
  • require mats to carry your cutting material through the machine.
  • can use cartridges to cut shapes, letters, and numbers.
  • The Expression uses 12" x 12" and 12" x 24" mats; the Mini uses 9" x 12" mats.
  • The Mini (5.5 lbs.)  weighs much less than the Expression (12.6 lbs.), and it is considerably smaller than its larger predecessor.
  • The dimensions of the Expression are:  21.25"W, 7"H, 7.5"D.
  • The dimensions of the Mini are:   16.1" W, 7.3" D, 3.69" H.
  • The Mini is portable, but the Expression was not intended to be a portable machine.
  • The Expression can be used independent of a computer or other device; however, the Mini must be used in conjunction with either a computer or the Cricut Gypsy (which is no longer being manufactured).
  • The speed, pressure, and blade depth can be manually adjusted on the Expression.  With the Mini, the pressure and blade depth can be manually adjusted, but the speed must be set either in Cricut Craft Room (ProvoCraft's online design program) or on the Gypsy.
  • If you are using the Expression as a stand-alone machine, you need to use the keypad overlays with it.  The Mini doesn't have a place for the overlays, because they aren't used with it.
  • The Expression, which is no longer being manufactured, is not compatible with Cricut Craft Room.  The Mini is not compatible with Cricut Design Studio, a program that is essentially a predecessor of Cricut Craft Room.
  • The Expression has been available in other colors, but the Mini is available in only the standard "Cricut white and green."
Although the Mini is much smaller than the Expression, this little machine is a powerhouse.  I found that I was able to cut the same materials that I cut on the Expression with the same precision.  The mini is a little quieter during operation, but not much.  (I don't find the Expression that noisy either.)  It's very lightweight and easy to transport, and its design is sleek and simple.  The 8 ½" x 12" cutting mat is a good size for most projects.
There are some drawbacks to the Mini, though.  First, it doesn't seem to be as sturdy as its larger predecessor. It also squeaks sometimes when it's cutting, which made me a little nervous at first.  The Mini is a little slower than the Expression, and it sounds as if the motor is straining.  That could just be because I'm used to the sounds the Expression makes, but it did take some getting used to.  If you don't have a Gypsy, which, as I mentioned before, has been discontinued, you must use the Mini with a computer.  This could be a hindrance to its portability.
Overall, I think the Cricut Mini is well worth its cost, and I would definitely recommend purchasing it if you want a smaller, portable die-cutting machine.  It will never take the place of my Expression, but it is a welcome addition to my Cricut family.