Wednesday, March 26, 2008

CKU: A recap PLUS a freebie!

OK, so I promised to come back and tell you all about CKU-Chicago.... my report is probably a bit later than many others, huh? :) Well, I don't know... better late than never :) And, I'm warning you.... when I report, I report.... :) But, there's a goodie at the end, so stick with me!

Having never been to CKU before, I can't say whether the new format is any better than the "old" one, but I can say the days just FLEW right on by me. The only wrinkle I personally experienced was the "informal crop" on Wednesday night. The CKU staff relocated the room and I could not, for the life of me, find it. It had a litle bit to do with the layout of the hotel, but a lot to do with the fact that information was not very forthcoming from the CKU staff on Wednesday. After an hour of aimless searching, I finally found the room!!! GRRRRRRRR.... Suffice to say, I could just tell they didn't have their ducks in a row quite yet. Annoying? A little... but I won't dwell on it because the rest of the time was fantastic! :)

Thursday was my inspiration homeroom day - this was very cool. I went to ONE room, sat my rear in a chair, and had teachers come to ME all day long. How cool is that?? During this day, each teacher instructed us towards completing a two-page 6x6 layout for our CKU album, given to us in our registration bag. In all, I loved all but one of the layout lessons (and I won't say which one I didn't love, because I have much love for the teacher, so I forgive Mr. Pickle.... ooops, did I say that out loud?) Thursday night was the opening crop, with Ali delivering a kick-ass speech that really set the mood for the whole weekend. It was about the word "Embrace." Oh, that Ali and her OLW.... she amazes and inspires me :) I don't want to say more than that because she'll be repeating the same opening comments at the next two CKUs this year... I want to leave some surprises!

Friday I had my album track with Jessica Sprague. Now, let me say that making the choice to forgo a whole day with Ali Edwards was very hard for me. And, though I know Ali's class would have been great, I am *so, so glad* I took the leap of faith and invested my time in Jessica's digi album track. I learned a TON. Definitely not an elements whiz kid, yet.... but, I at least learned enough to finally be able to make some templates and get around well enough in the program to kick my CM software to the curb.... I think..... again, did I say that out loud? :) I truly love the "Beautiful Evidence" album we started in class (I didn't have enough time to finish more than half of it, but homework is always fun, too). I can't wait to get it finished up and uploaded to Shutterfly to see it in print. But, without question, the best part of the day was spending time with Jessica. She has got to be one of the most genuine people working for CK. Easy wit, patience, great direction and explanation, humble as all get out.... yeah, I am in love :) In an admiration and respect kind-of-way, you know? She has truly opened up a whole new world for me to explore with my scrapbooking and that is a debt I am not sure I could ever repay her. OK, I could go on all day about Jessica.... before you all yuke on your keyboards, I'll move on :)

Saturday was two 90-minute classes, followed by lunch, then two more 90-minute classes. My day kicked off with Tim..... oh, Tim...... the man does things to my heart! I know, I know - corny! Can't help it. I am completely wowed by his talent and his likability. He's just a cool dood, you know???? :) We made an altered mirror - totally my FAVORITE project of the day. I knew a lot of the stuff he taught because of the awesome Miss Jen Starr....but, I did learn some new grungeboard techniques and they'll be coming to a Poconos workshop soon.... no doubt! I also had a class with Luxe Designs which was good and a class with Michelle Van Etten for Kaiser Crafts which was fun (and I loved the project in her class, too). Sadly.... I have SOOOO much love for Piggy Tales' products, but I was sorely disappointed in my classes with them. The teacher, bless her heart, was very sweet... but in both my Thursday layout class and the Saturday 90-minute class, she failed to "direct" the class well enough to keep it moving forward. Plus, of all their lines, the Saturday class used the papers I like LEAST of all their products.... so, I dunno.... not my favorite thing. But, its all good.... I still have lots of love for them and will STILL buy their products every chance I get! But, should this get back to them, sorry for my brutal honesty - but, I do want you to have the best representation of your product and IMHO, that didn't happen at CKU-Chicago.

OK, this is getting long.... I'm gonna stop soon, I promise. I don't want to make a big deal of all the "stuff" you get, because its just not me to focus on "stuff." But, what I will say is this.... I was OVERWHELMED by all the stuff I got for free. If you've ever doubted the value of CKU, I can tell you the opportunity to be taught by experts is priceless enough that it should convince you.... but, if that's not enough and you are a "stuff" person, I think you'll be pleased! My suitcase weighed 76 pounds coming home and it was filled 80-90% of just CKU stuff - be it from class projects, goodie bags, drawings I won and the little bit of shopping I did in the bookstore. All that is to say..... CKU IS SO WORTH IT!!! GO!!!! NOW!!!!

OK, so here is the layout I made to commemorate my time there.... I kinda like it! It's a digi layout (what else?) and it uses a new kit from BooLand Designs called "Diamond." It's one of the birthstone series kits. If you like this layout and want to purchase the kit, you can find it here.

Other credits include: bottom circle mat (Melissa Bennett); fonts: CK Ali's Writing and VTPortableRemington; and the journaling labels which are from Katie Pertiet. Oh, and both the template and layout are based on a Pencil Lines sketch... nearly forgot that's where I started six hours ago! (like I said, definitely NOT an Elements whiz kid just yet!)

And now, for all you SUPER patient folks who are still reading! This is a template, made available to you for FREE so you can create a page like the one above :) I don't know if my clipping masks are technically correct, but I can tell you that as long as all your photos are in order in the layers palette, once you merge them down, they will clip to the circle correctly! Took a bit of playing for me to figure that one out! OK, enough rambling from me.... click the preview for your download, and please be sure to leave me a comment here or there. I'm new to the freebie world, but I can tell you it sure does suck to have people take your stuff for free and not even say thank you! Keep that in mind as you wander the net, trolling for freebies, okay? :) Have a great day! Y Tracy

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Easter Layout & Freebie

Hi again.... I've got a lot to catch you up on... CKU was an absolute BLAST! I still have projects to finish up, but I hope to post some more about it here on my blog, soon.

In the meantime, I have a new layout to share and this one is a double-pager! These are some photos of my family, just after we finished enjoying our Easter brunch. This kit was created using a kit from BooLand Designs called Lilac Smiles. It's a great big kit filled with 25 papers, over 60 elements, a complete alpha AND a set of four quickpages. It's very soft and pretty and I just love how this layout turned out :)

Now, even better news for my readers! I turned this double page layout into a template, just for you all. And yep, its FREE! Click on the preview to download it, and please be sure to leave some love if you take it! That's all from me, for now... I'll be back later this week with more news! Y Tracy

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Heading off to CKU!!!

Well, I'm headed off to CKU Chicago tomorrow morning and I have to say... I'm really getting excited! Of course, I am crazy behind schedule.... trying to catch up with all my deadlines and such before leaving... AND I still need to pack.... AAAHHH!!!

So, I am going to try and check-in during the evenings from my hotel room, but I may be absent a lot until I return home next week. In the meantime, I wanted to leave you with this layout I did for the March page challenge over at The challenge was to construct a page about Luck without using the color green. So, I relied on the color blue and this fab picture of my dear hubby and used this as an occasion to tell him how much I love him and how lucky he makes me!

Credits are: Background paper: my creation
Blue papers & Blue alpha; Photo Frame; Stitching; Blue button & tied Ribbon: BooLand It's a Man's World Blue
Journaling: CK Ali's Writing and it reads: I often have to pinch myself, trying to make sure that my wonderful life with you is real & that it isn't a dream. As a little girl, when I dreamed of my future husband, he was just like you... handsome, funny, caring, hard working, so smart, genuine, down-to-earth, gentle, tough, determined, confident, slightly insecure, devoted to family & loyal. I thank God every single day for you, Erick. You are the love of my life, my greatest & most precious blessing!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Lucky Me Quickpage Freebie

I turned my layout from Wednesday into a Quickpage Freebie for all to enjoy - click on the preview to download and please leave me some love when you download! Have a great weekend! Y Tracy

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Raspberry Girls Challenge Layout

Hi again! Had a chance to finish up my layout for this month's Raspberry Girls challenge "Lucky Me." You can read more about it in my prior post here.

This layout uses the following items from Raspberry Road Designs: from the Lucky Me collection: Papers & Frame; Swirls; Flowers; Postage Stamp (resized and clipped from a Lucky Me paper); ribbon with slide; buttons
Lace trim - Legacy collection; Slotted frame - Oceans Apart collection; Flowers/Swirl stamp - Moving Day collection (recolored)

Font: CK Ali's Writing

The journaling reads: When I look back over the last seven years, I can hardly believe all the things that have changed. I met a wonderful guy, got married, & moved into a house I love in the Poconos. Diamond & Lucy became ours & have helped filled the hole in my heart where I had hoped children would be. And now, I look forward to the next seven years, hoping I'll continue to be LUCKY ME!

OK, I'm off to bed! Have a good night :) Y Tracy

Free Template

I liked my page from yesterday well enough to turn it into a template for those who might like to have it. Click on the preview to download it. If you take it, please be sure to say thank you! Y Tracy

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

March SAS Color Challenge

Good evening.... or almost "good morning" in these parts :) Have a layout to share with you... I created this one for the March Color Challenge over at Stone Accent Studios. This is my hubster, proudly riding around on his new John Deere tractor for the first time.... when I saw the colors in the kit, I knew it was perfect for these photos! :)

This layout was comprised mainly of the challenge kit, "Those Irish Eyes." I also used some stitching and a paper curl from Scrap Girls and based the layout on a sketch found on Page Maps.

You, too, can be the proud owner of this freebie digi kit, designed by Boo Silva, one of my favorite designers. OK, I work for her, so I have to say that... but I would anyway, because I just love her and her work! :) You can download the kit via the Color Challenge forum posting at SAS ... and, while you are at it, why not create your own layout and submit it to the challenge? There is a free posting bonus kit waiting for you, plus, you just might win the color challenge!

Hope you're having a great week so far! Y Tracy