Monthly Archives: June 2014

2013: Indianapolis Zoo

2013: Indianapolis Zoo

2013: Indianapolis Zoo

Paris ToursMy sister has season passes to the Indianapolis zoo and invited our family to join them for the day. The seals are very near to the entrance to the park and Luca, our exchange student, thought that their barking was very funny.  This was our first introduction to Luca’s contagious laughter – he was so loud in his laughing that the seals started barking even more which made Luca laugh even louder which of course set the seals off even more.

I chose animal print background pages for this spread and then focused on putting as many pictures on the page as I could.  There was a massive “Ice Age” poster and I got a great shot of the boys in front of it with same surprised look as the animal characters.

As usual, I placed the map to the zoo on the outside of the plastic protector so that the viewer can open it to look at it.  On the right hand page I put the stick that we used to feed the parakeets peanut butter – if you look carefully you can still see a peanut butter stain.  I put the stick on top of the Member wristband that we used to get special perks in the park during the day.


2013: Incredible Pizza and Korean Restaurant

2013: Incredible Pizza and Korean Restaurant

2013: Incredible Pizza and Korean Restaurant

This spread is an example of taking two different events and combining them into one spread.  I often have to do this for events or locations that I don’t have enough pictures or ephemera to make a full spread.

These two pages highlight two fun eating locations that we went to in the first few weeks that Luca was with us: Incredible Pizza and Ma Ma’s House Korean Restaurant.

Incredible Pizza is a Family entertainment restaurant:  It has an all you can eat buffet – which includes lots of Pizza – and all kinds of electronic games.  It also has an indoor mini golf course, laser tag arena, bowling, and indoor go-kart. I placed a mini kite that I purchased with my ticket winnings on the page – and you can see that I cut it carefully to partially fit onto the right hand page.  I had to remove the wooden dowel rods from it in order to place it on the page.  On top of the flag I placed my players card and the pictures from the event.

For the right hand page I played off of the red in the chop stick wrapper that also serves as the titling for the page.  It was convenient that the red from the kite also fit over on to this page.  I chose the background paper because I thought it complimented the red and I also felt like the design felt Asian.  I double bordered the chopsticks wrapper and a wooden ice cream spoon from a secondary dessert adventure to help them stand out.

I used a special corner cutter to create the photograph border to hold the picture, and decided to wrap the page up by embellishing the background paper design with some red decorative paper fasteners to add dimension to the page.

Remodelling My Son’s Room – Industrial and Coke

Teen Boy Room: industrial, corrugated steel wainscoting, coke, signs, copper rail, bottle collection

I can hear it now – “This isn’t scrapbooking!” – and you are right – it isn’t.  But it is my blog and I have spent the last week working on transforming my son’s room and I wanted to show it off.  And I need somewhere to put the pictures that I want to put on Pinterest!

This all started when my son put some holes in the wall near his bed in the middle of a dream.  I realized that I needed to put up some kind of protective covering on the wall when repairing the holes, to keep this from happening again.  Originally I thought that I would build an L-shaped headboard that was padded, but after showing my son all of my ideas he liked the idea of putting some kind of wainscoting on the wall instead.  We debated between putting wood floor paneling on the wall or the corrugated steel that we eventually decided upon.  Then the project grew from there – as we were emptying the room for painting I asked my son what he wanted to do with his bottle collection.  I was hoping that he was ready to get rid of it – but he wasn’t – and he said – maybe we could just hang them on the wall – and that is what we did.

So – Here are some more pictures of the project along with a few details of what I did.  Click on the pictures to get larger views:

Teen Boy Room: Corrugated steel wainscoting, industrial, coke, copperSame shot as above, but with the lights on to get a different perspective on the room with more light.  I ordered the corrugated steel in sheets from Lowes cut to the specific height/length that I needed so that I would not have to figure out how to cut it at home.  I then drilled small holes through it and then used screws and rubber washers to fasten it the the wall.  The rubber washers are important as they need to bend to fit the curved form of the corrugation.  the hardest part of this project was cutting out the holes in the sheet metal for the electrical outlets to come through.  I accomplished this by carefully measuring where the cuts needed to be made and then drilling holes in the four corners of the rectangle.  I then used tin snips to cut out the opening.  Once the corrugated steel sheets were on the wall I used an electrical outlet box extender to move the faceplate beyond the corrugated steel.

Teen Boy Room: industrial, rope border, corrugated steel wainscoting, coke signThis next picture is a closeup of the corrugated steel wainscoting.  Once it was on the wall I realized that the top of the steel was sharp and I felt like it might create a dangerous situation that someone could get cut on.  I thought about putting wood trim across the top of it, but that would have been difficult to do where the shelf was, so I opted to use construction rope instead.  I attached the rope to the wall by drilling drywall screws through it about ever foot or so, and it is holding it in pretty solidly.

Teen Boy Room: bottle collection, copper, border, coke, guitars, industrial The picture to the left is of the bottle collection.  Previously all of the bottles were just stacked on top of the built in shelf. The collection is bottles that my son finds interesting, but consists mostly of Coke bottles.  But now you can see that full bottles are still on the shelf, while empties are hanging from the ceiling border.  I was worried that hanging full bottles would be too heavy and possibly cause the border to fall.

Teen Boy Room: bottle collection, copper, border, coke, industrialThe next picture to the right is a closeup of how the bottles are hung.  I purchased wood trim and cut it to size and then painted it the dark blue.  (My son chose all of the colors in the room by the way – with just a little help from me).  My son helped me to hang the trim right up next to the ceiling and then I put a 2 inch wood screw through at every stud to make sure that it the trim could handle the weight of all of the bottles.  The bottles are hung by the neck with a 1 inch copper bell hanger – which are normally used to hang copper pipes in basements.  These cost about $1.80 a piece, but I was fortunate to buy a bulk lot for about $0.45 each.  Unfortunately I did not buy enough and when I went back to buy more they were out of stock – so – when I need more to finish the border and add to my son’s collection I am going to have to buy the more expensive ones at Lowe’s – unless of course someone can help me find them somewhere cheaper.  So far we have about 80 bottles hanging on the wall and I think we only have about 40% of it done.  I am not disappointed that we could not finish it all the way around, because now it will become a family adventure to collect more bottles on our adventures.

Teen Boy Room: industrial, coke, coca cola, bottles, border, copper bell hanger, copper pipeThis picture shows the other corner of his room.  I had to use short coke bottles above the curtain rod because it was so close to the ceiling.  If you look closely you will see that I placed a copper pipe in the corner of the room.  Teen Boy Room: industrial, coke, coca cola, bottles, border, copper bell hanger, copper pipeI did this to hide the uneven paint lines where the accent wall meets the other wall.  I have never been able to get a perfect paint line in corners like this, so I opted to hid it with the copper pipe – which adds to the industrial feel of the room.  You can see in the picture to the right a closer view of this, and can also see the copper bracket that I used to attach it to the wall.  I had to bend the bracket from a 180 degree attachment to a 90 degree attachment, which was easily accomplished using a pair of pliers.

Teen Boy Room: industrial, corrugated steel wainscoting, copper rail, IKEA, bed ,rope borderDuring the remodeling time frame our town had its annual town yard sale, and we found an IKEA bed frame for sale for $40 which included a night stand.  I had not planned on putting in a bed frame and head board, but for that price I couldn’t resist.  I wanted to convert it some to create an industrial feel so I used copper bell hangers to attach a 1/2 inch copper pipe to the top of the bed frame, and I loved the way that it turned out.  I especially enjoy the reflection of the copper in the corrugated steel wainscoting which you can see in this picture.

Teen Boy Room: industrial, pipe embellishmentI wanted to add something industrial to the side table as well, and this time I opted for steel pipes.  I was able to purchase all the pieces to add this “railing” to the side table without having to have anything cut to make it work.

Teen Boy Room: industrial, copper railing, bottlesAnd speaking of industrial embellishments, I also added a copper pipe to the shelf, again using copper bell hangers to attach the copper pipe.  This was really a last minute decision (I was at Lowe’s three times in one day because I kept thinking of ways to improve the room), but I felt that I needed to do it to keep bottles from falling of the edge of the shelf – which had happened a few times with raucous teenagers in the room.

Teen Boy Room: industrial, diamond plate, light switchTo add to the industrial feel of the room I changed out all the electrical face plates with these diamond plate ones.  There are several places to purchase them on the internet and they are kind of pricey, but I was lucky enough to find a 14 piece set on Ebay which covered everything I needed except for the cable outlet – I think someone was remodeling a room and taking a bunch out – but I figured I save $100 by purchasing used ones and they look great!

Teen Boy Room: industrial, coke, coca cola, signI find it funny how when you are working on a project you always manage to find things that will make it look better – and you have never noticed them before.  I found these two coke signs in the Hobby Lobby 80% of clearance aisle!  I loved them because they have both Coke and corrugated steel integrated into them – and it is as if they were made for this room!  And the best part was that they were 80% off!  Also, if you look at the top picture – you will see a large Coke sign.  A good friend of mine knew I was working on this project, and texted me a picture of this when he was antique store shopping.  I told him to pick it up for me right away when he told me that all they wanted was $20 for it – a solid metal Coke sign.

Teen Boy Room: industrial, corrugated steel wainscoting, lighting, steel letters, catWhile I was taking pictures of the room to share with you – our cat Joey decided that he wanted to be part of the show – so here he is!  I like this picture because it shows really well two things that I like about the room:  The first is the metal letters which spell my son’s name – purchased at Hobby Lobby, and the second is the under shelf LED lighting which I purchased at IKEA.  It makes for a wonderful reading light over the bed and was very easy to install.

Well, thank you for taking time to look all the way through my project.  I will leave you with a panoramic view of most of the room.  The weird shadows at the top of the border above the Coke sign are shadows from the moving ceiling fan, and not a terrible paint job on my behalf!

Teen Boy Room: panorama view, industrial, corrugated steel wainscoting, coke, signs, copper rail, bottle collection

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2013: Fairmount Historical Museum and Garfield

2013: Fairmount Historical Museum and Garfield

2013: Fairmount Historical Museum and Garfield

This is the second spread of our trip to the Fairmount Historical museum.  The first spread focused on James Dean. This one focuses on Fairmount’s other famous resident – this one is still currently alive – Jim Davis – the creator of Garfield!

I used an orange background paper to highlight Garfield’s color, and the left hand page contains a folder pocket that holds several brochures and documents about Fairmount, James Dean and Garfield.  On top of this folder pocket are two copies of the same brochure so that you can read both sides.  You will noticed that I used torn paper to create borders on this page and tie it into the right hand page.

Tip: Making a pocket in a scrapbook page:  I created the pocket by using my straight line cutter to cut a line across the middle ten inches of the twelve inch page – leaving about one inch on each side of the page that is still connected.  I then turn the page over and put a piece of tape over the inch that is left connected on both sides – this helps to strengthen the paper so that it does not tear.  I then used a piece of cardstock that is about 11 1/2 inches wide and tape it to the back of the page completely  sealing the border so that the brochures will not fall out.

The right hand page focuses on Garfield.  I had fun with this page.  The Garfield sticker which is on the page is from the 1980’s and I purchased in on Ebay still on the original backing.  I peeled it off the backing and put it right in my scrapbook!  The larger Garfield I made myself and am actually pretty proud of it.  The eyes were done on white cardstock and then glued on to the rest of the face which I hand drew on orange cardstock and then cut out.  I then used black markers to strengthen the pencil drawing and an orange marker to add coloring and depth to the cartoon.

2013: James Dean

2013: James Dean

2013: James Dean

8X10 Canvas Print – Just $7.99 – Save $27!We knew that Luca was a big fan of James Dean even before he arrived, so we knew that we would have to make a stop at James Dean’s birthplace and grave site – both of which are not too far from our house.

I must apologize for the picture being out of focus – I didn’t realize that it was out of focus until just now – and now the scrapbook is in Germany :(.

On the left hand page are pictures of Luca at James Dean’s Birthplace.  It is now a parking lot as the building was in very bad shape.  Here is what Wikipedia says about James Dean’s birthplace and early life:

“Dean was born at the Seven Gables apartment house at the corner of 4th Street and McClure Street in Marion, Indiana,[5] the son of Winton Dean (January 17, 1907 – February 21, 1995) and Mildred Wilson (September 15, 1910 – July 14, 1940). Six years after his father had left farming to become a dental technician, Dean and his family moved to Santa Monica, California. He was enrolled at Brentwood Public School in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, but transferred soon afterward to the McKinley Elementary school.[6] The family spent several years there, and by all accounts, young Dean was very close to his mother. According to Michael DeAngelis, she was “the only person capable of understanding him”.[7] In 1938, she was suddenly struck with acute stomach pains and began to lose weight quickly. She died of uterine cancer when Dean was nine years old.[6] Unable to care for his son, Dean’s father sent him to live with his sister Ortense and her husband Marcus Winslow on a farm in Fairmount, Indiana,[8] where he was raised in a Quaker household”

The right hand page has pictures from the Fairmount Historical Museum which houses the James Dean Museum, as well as a picture of James Dean’s grave.  Visiting the grave site is an interesting experience compared to visiting the Rose Hill Cemetary in California where many famous actors are buried.  In Fairmount you almost drive over the grave as you are looking for it, and the way to find it is to look for a gravestone that has lipstick lip impressions on it and cigarettes left on it.  People still leave James cigarettes and the ladies like to kiss the stone!

2013: Conner Prairie

2013: Conner Prairie

2013: Conner Prairie

One of the first things that we did with Luca was go to Conner Prairie.  Conner Prairie is an interaction history museum.  We got to learn about the history of the area and try our hand at throwing a tomahawk.

One of the best things about Conner Prairie is the museum “actors” who role play various characters within the time frame depicted by the park.  They never come out of character, and when we asked them questions about our present time they acted as if they had no idea what we were talking about.  The stories of all of the characters in the park tie together, so it is fun to hear what they are saying, and try and figure out the relationships of the characters within their own time frame.

For the left hand page I used the paper bag from the museum store as the background, and placed most of the ephemera from the trip on this page:

1. The guest sticker that we had to wear in the park.

2. Some animal hair from a piece of hide that a historical character was tanning.

3. The animal hair is bound by some hand dyed and spun wool given to me by one of the characters.

4. A nail made in the blacksmith shop which I purchased in the museum store.  The small brochure that came with the nail is attached to the outside of the plastic page protector so that the viewer can open it to read it.

The right hand page has a background sheet that came from a recycled paper stack and has two pictures from our days adventures.  I also mounted the map of the park to the outside of the plastic page protector so that the viewer can open and read.

Exchange Student: Album Title Pages

Exchange Student: Album Title Pages

Exchange Student: Album Title Pages

First I must apologize that the picture is so small, but if you click on it you can see the full version. I did this because the larger version was too big for the blog.

These are the three title pages that I made for the three scrapbooks for our exchange student, Luca.  I wanted them to all have the same theme but not to be identical, and because we are in the United States, I felt that they had to have a patriotic theme.

For all three pages I used patriotic background papers and used my Cricut to cut out the lettering and shadows.  It took about two hours to do all the lettering, but was still much faster than cutting them by hand, or by using the old die stamps that I used to use.  I am very thankful for my Cricut machine.

Also on all three pages I used burlap ribbon which I taped to the back of the page, and then secured using brads punched through the burlap and the background paper.

For Volume 1 I put together an Indiana laser cut that I purchased at a local scrapbook store.  For Volume 2 I used a cloth pennant which I attached using brads, and then glued craft store wooden letters to the flag.  I tried to color the letters, but they did not look good on this page, so I used a second set in natural wood.  For Volume 3 I used patriotic 3-dimensional stickers that I purchased at my local craft store.

Overall to create these three spreads it took about 3 hours, but most of that was in cutting and gluing letters and shadows together.

The albums that I put all of the pages in have a window in the front cover to insert a picture, so I took these pages and photographed them and then used a photo editor to make them exactly the right size to fit in the window.  I then had the pictures printed out at my local pharmacy and cut them to fit into the windows perfectly.  So now the window shows what the first page of the scrapbook is going to look like.

Exchange Student: Welcome Luca

Exchange Student: Welcome Luca

Exchange Student: Welcome Luca

Today is a sad day for our family: We are saying goodbye to our German Exchange student, Luca, who is heading home today.  It has been a wonderful year together and I am looking forward to sharing scrapbook pages of our last year together.  I created three albums for him while he was here and sent them back with him.  There are a couple of pages from the last few days and his goodbye party that I will ship to him later in the summer when they are completed.

But, lets start at the beginning by remembering our first day together.  This spread celebrates our first day together.  My son and I headed to the airport with our big German colored welcome sign (made on my Cricut of course!) and our German shirts.  Notice that the theme of the page matches the design of the welcome sign – I used my Cricut to cut the same letters in the same font – just smaller for this page.

The pictures are our first picture together holding the welcome sign, eating at Taco Bell on the way home (Luca hadn’t eaten for quite a while), and opening the gift bag we had for him at home.  We discovered that Luca (the German) did not like Sauerkraut or pickled fish – two German delicacies that we had for him in the gift bag!

I had to put the parking garage stub on the page as it has the date printed on it which serves as journaling for the page.

Overall we had a great year with Luca and are going to miss him terribly.  We are hoping that next summer we will be able to go and visit him – and that or course will make for a wonderful European vacation to scrapbook about next year!


Hosting a Foreign Exchange Student

I just want to put a little plug here for serving as a host family for a Foreign Exchange student. We had a wonderful time doing it during our second year.  My son loved having a brother and learning about new places, and it makes our home a little more active 🙂

We used International Student Exchange for our agency and we had a great experience. I encourage you to go to their website ( and consider serving in this way.

2009: Chicago: Museum of Science and Industry: Trip 2: U-505 Submarine

2009: Chicago: Museum of Science and Industry: Trip 2: U-505 Submarine

2009: Chicago: Museum of Science and Industry: Trip 2: U-505 Submarine

CraftsyWhile on this second trip to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago we took time to see the U-505 submarine which is housed at the museum.  Here is what Wikipedia has to say about U-505:

U-505 is a German Type IXC U-boat built for service in Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was captured on 4 June 1944 by United States Navy Task Group 22.3 (TG 22.3). Her codebooks, Enigma machine, and other secret materials found on board assisted Allied code breaking operations. All but one of U-505s crew were rescued by the Navy task group. The submarine was towed to Bermuda in secret and her crew was interned at a US prisoner of war camp where they were denied access to International Red Cross visits. The Navy classified the capture as top secret and prevented its discovery by the Germans. In 1954, U-505 was donated to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois and is now a museum ship.”

We had a lot of fun viewing this exhibit, and I had a lot of fun creating this spread.  I chose diamond plate and riveted steel background papers to mimic the texture of the submarine.

On the left hand page I carefully used my Crop-A-Dile Big Bite Punch to punch holes in the corners of the pictures, and then used the same tool to carefully place rivets in the corners of the pictures.  When I placed these on the diamond plate background page it looks like they are being held to the page by the rivets – but they aren’t – I just used regular sticky tabs to affix the pictures.  I also placed the pictures in a pinwheel format to mimic the propellers of the submarine.

On the right hand page I placed the professional photo that was taken at the exhibit so that it could be opened.

2009: Chicago: Museum of Science and Industry: Trip 2: U-505 Submarine: Open

2009: Chicago: Museum of Science and Industry: Trip 2: U-505 Submarine: Open

In this view you can see what the folder looks like open.  I carefully cut a slit in the plastic page protector for the folder to slide through so that the picture of us with is still under plastic.  I did this by:

  1. Placing the background paper inside the plastic protector
  2. Placing the picture folder on top of the plastic protector where I wanted it to be
  3. Sliding the picture folder to the right about 1/4 of an inch, so that the fold of the picture folder would overlap the plastic a little on the left side.  This keeps the plastic protector from tearing when people are viewing the page.
  4. Using an Exacto knife to carefully score the plastic.
  5. Using a pair of sharp pointed scissors to carefully cut along the scored line.
  6. Putting sticky tabs on the back of the picture folder and sliding it through the cut in the plastic and then pushing down on the plastic and picture folder to secure it in place.

Museum Hint: I will end this post by saying that if you are going to visit the Museum of Science and Industry that the U-505 is one of the things you must do while visiting the museum.  The Museum is so big that there is no way to see everything in one trip , especially if you have small children with you.  But, if you want to take the tour of the inside of the submarine you must buy extra tickets for it and you should do it early in the morning when you buy your tickets for the museum, the tour times usually fill up very quickly.  In fact, if you know your time frames for the day, order them online ahead of time.

2009: Chicago: Museum of Science and Industry: Trip 2

2009: Chicago: Museum of Science and Industry: Trip 2

2009: Chicago: Museum of Science and Industry: Trip 2

This apparently was the year to visit the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago – because we made a second trip over the 4th of July weekend to visit the Smart Home Exhibit. We took the train again, but this time my parents went along with us.  That’s my dad in one of the clown pictures – see if you can figure out which one is him!

I chose a green background for this spread to recognize the “green” nature of the smart home which is showcased on the left hand page.  The home was very modern and square so I made sure that the arrangement of the photographs reflected the squareness.  I also though used green cutouts (using my Cricut machine) to highlight the soft contours of nature that surrounded the design of the house.

The right hand page shows several fun pictures of my son and father from the day, and they were placed in pinwheel formation to play off of the circus clowns and the energy of the day.  As always I had to include the tickets from the day.  I like to do this because it often serves as a title and date reminder for the event, since I do not like to journal much on my pages.

Notice that on the right hand page I created a border using the same color paper as the cut outs on the left hand page – I did this to create interest on the spread, but also to tie the two pages together since they had dissimilar themed pictures.

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