Sunday, July 8, 2012

Scrapping my U of I years

This blog has been silent for a while, but only because I've been hard at work on scrapping my life like I set out to do last August.

I recently wrapped up a book chronicling my two years finishing my bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Those two years shaped my life in an incredible number of ways, and I felt an intense desire to get the photos out of the sticky-page albums and properly scrapped. While the book isn't as huge as I expected, it's big enough that I can only share a sample of the pages here. I picked some of my favorite layouts as an example of how the book turned out.

I'll start with one of the first layouts, which comes after my opening page (my acceptance letter). I was thrilled to find the perfect place for one of several U of I bumper stickers I've accumulated over the years. The journaling is about the years I spent loving the U of I as a kid and how my dream finally came true when I was accepted and became a student. (At the bottom of the right-hand page is my student ID card.)

I also did lead-in layouts to both academic years. Here's an example:

A big part of my years at U of I was where I lived -- Illini Tower, a certified private housing building near the Quad. I included layouts documenting each of the suites I lived in, and here is the first one I lived in, fall semester of my junior year:

One long-standing U of I tradition is Dad's Day weekend in the fall and Mom's Day weekend in the spring. Dad's weekend revolves around football, while Mom's weekend features a flower show and some other, more "girly" events. Illini Tower held a special brunch for each weekend.

Of course, we made friends with several of our neighbors and floor mates, so I had to do a layout dedicated to them.

Oh, and let's not forget my 21st birthday, at the start of my senior year. One of my favorite memories from that birthday was going to TGI Friday's with our neighbors and being given the entire arch of balloons from the front entryway to take home. It was a good thing my neighbor, Brian, drove us there in his SUV!

One of my favorite U of I memories (and layouts) is having season tickets for Fighting Illini basketball both years. Here's my layout for junior year's season:

Another hugely influential part of my time at U of I was the time I spent attending and singing in the choir at St. John's Catholic Chapel, the U of I's Newman Center. My faith grew by leaps and bounds there; it's where I realized that I was going to pursue my faith for the rest of my life by my own longing rather than at my parents' urging. With the 4:30 Sunday choir, I sang contemporary music that spoke to my soul and spirit, songs that bring back a rush of feelings and memories when I hear them at the contemporary young-adult Mass I attend with my husband now. 

Of course, some of the best college memories come from having family visit, and this layout has pictures from a weekend when my mom brought my grandma and my cousin, who was in a stroller at that point. (My aunt might have been there, too, but she wasn't in any of the pictures. She must have been the one behind the camera!)

This next layout is another of my favorites, although the event itself didn't thrill me much at the time. Illini Tower held a casino night for residents one weekend, and although I'm not a big gambler and never have been, I went along for the ride. I was stumped at first as far as how to decorate the page, but just in the nick of time I remembered a mat pack of travel-themed paper I had packed away in a cabinet of my scrapping room. I hit the jackpot (ha, ha) with some casino-themed paper that worked perfectly.

No U of I book (of mine, at least) would be complete without a layout dedicated to the Quad. It was part of my daily life during the week; there weren't many days during my time at U of I that I didn't cross that grassy courtyard with the criss-crossing sidewalks. And I had classes in many of the buildings surrounding it.

Finally, I did several graduation layouts, including the graduation Mass during which I sang with the choir for the final time; my all-campus commencement at Assembly Hall; my College of Communications ceremony at one of the smaller auditoriums on the Quad; and a layout using some cool U of I paper I found at local scrapbooking store The Paper Boutique. I closed out the book with my congratulations-on-your-graduation letter from the U of I, but I didn't include it because it's nothing too visually exciting - just a 12x12 page with a letter. I love how it brings the book full circle after opening with my acceptance letter, though.

My final Mass singing with the 4:30 choir. 

 All-campus commencement at the Assembly Hall -- 
the moment I'd been waiting for!

 My College of Communications ceremony 
at Foellinger Auditorium 
on the south end of the Quad.

The final graduation layout wrapping up everything -- 
cards, graduation announcement in its cool, U of I case, 
my tassle and a picture of me with my cake.

I'm already well into my next project -- a scrapbook marking my almost 13 years at The State Journal-Register. My goal is to finish it before I work my last shift on Aug. 24. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chambana reunion scrapping

It took me approximately a week and a half to scrap last April's U of I reunion weekend with my friends Sara, Heather and Stephanie. I was in a scrapping zone and accomplished a lot through the winter. Here are several of the layouts I did for the reunion book:

My title page; the die-cut letters were a little too wide, so I had to push them together along the bottom.

Green Street is the main drag on campus and has changed dramatically since we were in school there, including a fire that happened last year at our favorite restaurant, Zorba's. It was still boarded up when we were in town.

We love the Quad! It was fitting that we reunited in the spring because that's when students cram the Quad to take naps, study and throw Frisbees and Nerf footballs.

No U of I reunion scrapbook is complete without a layout dedicated to the Alma Mater statue. 

We had the chance to tour Illini Tower, where Heather, Sara and I were suitemates during my senior year. It was amazing to see how much things had changed.

We tried a new (off-campus) place for lunch during our visit and had some really outstanding barbecue.

This is my favorite layout of the book. The paper came from Stampin' Up!, and it worked perfectly for documenting my visit back to Gregory Hall, the journalism building where I had many of my classes. The paper, the photos, the journaling -- it all comes together to tell "The Story."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

All's fair

After finishing my butter cow page a couple weeks ago, I was in the mood to continue my Illinois State Fair scrapping and completed two layouts last night. I had spent an evening at the fairgrounds with my friend, Michele, and while wandering around inside the lower level of the Grandstand before the Boyz II Men concert were were attending, we discovered a display area with old characters that were lively and well-known features of the Dairy Building when we were kids: a talking cow and animated milk carton. Both were deactivated in the display, but we could touch them and pose with them for photos, which we did.

I used my other layout to focus on my favorite fair foods: Vose's corn dogs, elephant ears and soft-serve ice cream from the Dairy Building (or a milkshake, as it's called if you buy it from one of the two stands designed to look like giant milk cartons). I was able to have Michele take photos of me with all but an elephant ear (too much food for one night!).

I love the paper I found for the food page -- if you look closely, you may be able to see the Illinois State Fair logo printed on the background. I found it at Paper Boutique, and I was so excited because it's hard to find scrapping materials that are themed that specifically. It was a bit pricy -- I believe it was close to $2 per sheet -- but I couldn't resist the splurge.

I'm looking forward to a day of scrapping this weekend at Paper Boutique. It's been a while since I've had the chance to spend an entire day cropping, and I plan to focus and make some progress. What will I work on? Stay tuned ... :-)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A salute to the dairy heiffer

I was in the mood for a small project last night, and I was overdue to design a one-page homage to the Illinois State Fair butter cow for my Favorite Things scrapbook. I knew I needed to make a butter cow page when I found a sheet of yellow, teal, gray and tan cow-print paper last spring at The Paper Boutique ( Isn't it funny how the supplies you find sometimes determine your projects as much as the reverse? 

I also pulled out my big bag of pre-cut letters, which have been in storage since I got my Sizzix Big Shot a couple years ago and started using it exclusively for lettering. I'm having a big of crank fatigue, though, so I'm feeling the urge to sort through my many incomplete sets of letters and use what I can. Some of my headlines might resemble hostage letters for a while! (Luckily, I only needed a few letters for this page and had all I needed in the same color and style.)

I had printed two pictures of the cow -- I wanted an overall shot and a close-up of the face. I didn't have room to use both, since I had enlarged the overall shot to a 5x7, so to make room for the large headline and journaling block, I cut out the close-up and used my Ranger Liquid Pearls to highlight it. I also used a sponge dauber to add some Stampin' Up! Bermuda Bay ink to the glittery die-cut letters so they would stand out more boldly against the lively background of the cows. I still wish I'd had darker-colored letters, but sometimes it's nice to use up old supplies and clear out space. Cleaning out clutter freshens my imagination and improves my creative process. 

I'm hoping to find more time to scrap this weekend and complete at least one more small-scale project. I might stick with the state fair theme and work on some pages from a night at the fair this past summer when I went to the Boyz II Men concert with my friend Michele. With all the snow and slush outside, it seems like the perfect time to focus on warmer times. 

Happy scrapping!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Finished family vacations album!

Finally, after what seemed like a year (but in reality was probably closer to two  months), I have wrapped up the family trips album. Previously, I posted photos of pages I had done of Los Angeles and a high school trip to Washington, D.C. The remaining pages consisted of a D.C. trip in college, for a wedding, and a pair of Colorado vacations that I took with my parents when I was in junior high and early high school. Those particular trips had few photos and little information written on them, so it was hard to determine exactly where they were taken and when, but I patched together a general set of pages with a few memories.

Here are layouts from the second D.C. trip, which, in addition to the wedding, included visits to the Newseum and the National Holocaust Museum:

This intro page shows a few of the D.C. monuments on the left, 
as well as a picture with family members of the wedding party.

Here we have a layout dedicated to the wedding itself.

I wanted to keep my layout for the Holocaust Museum 
dark and simple.

The Newseum had lots of interesting exhibits outside. 
I don't remember if cameras were off-limits inside, 
but the outside pictures were all I had (above and below).

This D.C. trip was by car, and on the way back we stopped in Columbus, Ohio, to visit my best friend and her family. Here is a layout from that overnight excursion:

Finally, here are the pages from the Colorado trip, which I didn't like as much as the other trip layouts because of the lack of content. But hey, at least it's done, right?

A simple lead-in page.

I actually liked this layout because of the paper (Stampin' Up!) 
and these were some of my favorite pictures from Colorado. 
My dad gets credit for the close-up of the deer on the left.

It was the late '80s, early '90s, so I decorated 
the page accordingly. :-)

The last page of Colorado and the last page of the book. 
(I decided not to do this one in chronological order.)

I'm still trying to decide what my next project will be. I'm thinking about doing the reunion trip I took to U of I back in April with my old roommates Sara and Heather and our friend Stephanie. But I also have prints for some smaller projects that I'm tempted to knock out before I start a larger one. (The reunion is enough to fill its own book.) I'm also planning to scrap the photos and memorabilia from our actual college years, but I'm searching for a scrapbook with the U of I seal on the cover. I've seen them, but I'm having trouble tracking one down for some reason. I'm excited to start that project, though. My college memories are some of my fondest, and I absolutely love reliving them. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

D.C. discoveries

It's been a while since I've been able to devote a meaningful amount of time to the family vacations scrapbook, but I have been able to complete, in bits and pieces, the section with photos from a trip I took to Washington, D.C., with my parents in 1994 to attend the Washington Journalism Conference. I was a senior in high school at the time, and I spent about five days at the conference while my parents stayed with friends nearby.

My plan is to create similar lead-in layouts for each trip, and since I have two D.C. trips to scrap, I made the one below as a lead-in for both, similar to the Los Angeles lead-in, then I created one specifically for the '94 trip (see second photo).  

For the remaining layouts, I used a mix of D.C.-themed paper and a few stickers here and there, but for the most part I let the photos and journaling dominate the pages. I'm realizing the further I get into this massive, long-term scrapping project that I'm going to need to simplify my layouts if I want to make steady progress.

On the final layout, I felt the need to try being clever, with the "Quite imPRESSive" headline, putting emphasis on the "press," of course.

I still have two sections remaining -- a 1997 trip to D.C. for a wedding and a pair of Colorado vacations from the early 1990s with only a handful of pictures between the two of them. I don't think it will take long to finish once I have some time to dedicate to working on it. And I'm feeling more motivated and organized after spending my early November staycation stripping photos from all of my old, sticky-page photos albums and sorting them into storage boxes. It took three and a half days to empty the albums, but I feel much more prepared to tackle scrapping projects because I remember what I have in the way of photos, and I've been able to give some thought to how I might want to approach scrapping them. Reliving old times in my life has also fired me up to tell those stories through scrapbooks.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sun sets on L.A. project

The first of my old-photo scrapping projects is officially complete! I wrapped up the Los Angeles section of my family vacations book this afternoon. It spanned about a dozen double-page layouts, which means it's overflowing from the album I put it in. I need to add pages to accomodate it and the three other projects that must fit in that book. For now, though, I'll just share what I've done, minus the two layouts I posted previously: