Guest Post: Interview with Scrapbook Artist Tracy Carrig

It’s always fun to give a little boost to a new artsy friend! So, today we’re joining in on a little virtual party for scrapbook artist, Tracy Carrig. Our party hostess is Briana Vedsted, author of A Girl Named Cord. I hope you enjoy Briana’s interview with Tracy. You can see more of Tracy’s work on Pinterest or catch up with her via her social links posted below.

Interview by Briana Vedsted

Tracy's Scrapbook PageBriana: So, what is “scrapbooking”?

Tracy: Simply put, scrapbooking is putting beautiful, fun paper, photos, and memorabilia together to tell a story. Think of it as enhancing your photos.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  What if you don’t know what those words are.  Scrapbooking allows you to remember all the stories, jokes, heartfelt moments, and everyday life, and share the memories with family and friends.  Imagine looking at a photo from someone else’s life.  The photo by itself may give you some hints.  Now if the photo were scrapbooked, the story behind the photo would also become clear.  Scrapbooking is a fun way to share and remember your story for years to come.

Briana: And what in the world is Memory Works?

Tracy: I like to call Memory Works the Mary Kay of the scrapbooking world.   Memory Works carries scrapbooking products from all the big names (Fancy Pants, Pink Paislee and BoBunny, to name a few), as well as their own line called Simple Stories.  Memory Works also offers a monthly kit subscription for $29.95 (plus shipping, handling, and sales tax).  Each themed kit is packed with coordinated papers and embellishments from different brand name companies.

In addition, Memory Works offers a Hostess Incentive.  This is a free gift to the party hostess can earn if the party results in an order of $150.00 (before tax).  I like to offer this as well if there is either a single order from a customer of $150, or if there is a group of customers, though not necessarily at a party,  that order enough supplies to meet to required minimum.  The incentive changes every month and can be anything scrapbooking related, from a collection of patterned papers to a stamp set to a few specific items from a brand name collection.

Briana: Is scrapbooking hard to do?

Tracy: Scrapbooking should be fun, so, no– it’s not hard to do.  If you find you’re having difficulty, take a step back.  See where you’re getting stuck.  Are you trying to re-create a technique or layout and it’s not coming together?  Do you not understand the terminology?  Take me for example.  I know this much about knitting and crocheting.  Now I know the terms knit and perl.  Did I spell them right?  No idea.  Can I tell you what they mean?  Nope, sorry.  I learned a lot of the terms from magazines and websites.  And for me, it clicked.  I kept wanting more and more.  So it shouldn’t be hard.  Again, if you’re running into trouble, try to pinpoint what exactly is giving you pause.  Sometimes you need clarification, or to just tell yourself there are no mistakes.  I really enjoy it and I’m always learning something new, so there’s no limit to what you can create.  I’ve found if you love it, you stick with it and your style evolves from there.

Briana: Do you have some examples of what scrapbooking is?

Tracy: Absolutely.  These are some recent layouts (a layout is 1-2 scrapbook pages).  I have lots more on my blog with close up detail photos and info on supplies and techniques I used.

Briana: Can someone teach me how to scrapbook?

Tracy: Absolutely, there are lots of options.  Now, I must confess, I learned by doing.  I never took a class, nor did I know anyone else who scrapbooked.  Heck, I had just learned about it myself.  So I went to my nearest bookstore and bought some scrapbooking magazines.  Then after reading them and devouring them (figuratively speaking, of course), I went to my local craft store and bought some supplies (careful, this hobby is addicting!  in a good way :D).  And I started scrapping!.

However, if my journey sounds scary, you can take a class.  These can be offered anywhere from a religious/spiritual center, your local craft store (big box and small business), library, school, historical society.  If you know someone who is a scrapbooker (the majority of which are women, but there are some VERY talented men out there), you can ask them to teach a class, or just teach you!  There are also numerous blogs online whose author post videos for certain techniques, etc.  And, being in the age of YouTube, there are blogs, magazines, and individual people who have a channel which you can view and/or subscribe to.  One benefit to individual scrapbookers is that they teach techniques that you may not otherwise comes across.  And they give you lots of inspiration and ideas.

Briana: Where can I get scrapbooking supplies?

Tracy: In a sense, anywhere.  However, just because you CAN get it anywhere doesn’t mean you SHOULD.  Office supplies, arts and crafts stores, big chain stores, and local scrapbooking/stamping stores; all of them carry supplies.  I’ve actually found that the big box crafts stores by me do carry some of what I need, but not most of what I’m looking for.  You can also go the online route, which opens up the possibilities tremendously.

Big box general retailers are limited in what they carry because they’re general retailers.  So, see what they carry, check the prices, and think if you’ll actually use it.  Don’t get lured by the clearance sticker of half off and pay $5 for a border punch that you’ll never use.   This is why if you can, purchase your supplies from a crafts store, a scrapbooking store if possible.  If you live out in the middle of nowhere, so to speak, your best options are probably online shopping or a consultant for a scrapbooking supplies company (yes, shameless self-promotion, I had to do a little :P)

Briana: I live in the United States, do you know anyone who I could send my pictures to for them to design a scrapbook for me, because I’m just to busy to do it myself right now.

Tracy: Why, yes I do *wink, wink.* I am happy to design a scrapbook, mini album, etc. for you.  My prices are simple and really reasonable.  I do not want any screaming wallets, thank you 😛  You can look at my blog, myscrapmuseis.wordpress.com, to check out my prices, and e-mail me at tracy . carrig @ gmail . com to get the whole party started (just delete the spaces before hitting send)!

Briana: What is your favorite thing to make?

Tracy: So far, layouts, either one of two pages.  I just finished a two-page layout for my little person’s first birthday.  I’ve start making cards, which I sell on my Etsy shop, called ScrapMusings.  And I’m starting to get into altered art, mixed media, and mini albums.  I’m loving getting messy, and I love layers.

Briana: I want to find out more about this art called scrapbooking! Show me more! Are you online? Twitter? Facebook? Pinterest? Got a blog?

Tracy: Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.  Here’s my stuff:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScrapMuse (ScrapMuse)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scrap-Musings/141917992518574  (or search for Tracy Carrig (you should see a pic of me and my munchkin))

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ScrapbookMuse/boards/ (or look up Tracy Carrig / ScrapbookMuse, or you can just find me from Briana’s page ;P)

Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ScrapMusings (shop name: ScrapMusings)Scrapbook art by Tracy Carrig

Blog: myscrapmuseis.wordpress.co

Homemade Clay: Recipe Comparison

Homemade Clay BeadsWith so many clay products available on the market why would you want to make your own clay? Well, beyond the usual arguments of being non-toxic, affordable, and available on a whim (via your kitchen pantry), homemade clay adds a special charm. Having never made clay before, I narrowed my search down to two recipes and decided to do a comparison.

Recipe #1:  School Glue Clay. I found this recipe demonstrated on YouTube by Hectanooga 1.

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon white school glue

1 teaspoon water

1 cup flour (approx.) added 1 tablespoon at a time.

Coloring—food coloring or acrylic paint (optional)

In a small cup stir the water into the school glue to blend. Add your choice of coloring until the mixture reaches your desired hue. Add 1 tablespoon of flour and mix well. Continue adding flour a little at a time. Once the dough begins to stiffen you can take it out of the bowl and work it with your hands.

Continue kneading flour into the dough until the dough is no longer sticky, then work the dough until smooth and no longer “grainy.” Wrap the dough in plastic to rest–about one hour. Once rested, knead again to condition the clay. (You can view a demonstration of this recipe on YouTube.) Homemade Glue Clay

Air-dry your finished pieces for about an hour before baking. Bake at 200-225 for 15-20 min. Turn off oven and let them sit for a few minutes.

(I used acrylic paint for coloring. My items air dried for 90 min and baked on center rack for 20 min.)

Recipe #2: Salt & Flour Clay. This recipe is from Anne Marie Helenstine, PhD at Chemistry.com. Anne offers six recipes; this one stated it was good for hardened sculptures, jewelry, and ornaments.

Ingredients:

4 cup flour

1 cup salt

1 ½ cup water

In a large bowl combine the flour and salt. Slowly mix the water into the dough until dough is ready to knead. Knead until all flour is combined. Bake Homemade Flour Clay in Gallon Bagfinished pieces on non-stick pan at 350 for 1 hour.

(My items air dried for 45 min. and baked for 30 min. I removed them early as they were turning brown)

Comparison:

Clay #1 made small, hand-sized batches. It took some time to knead in enough flour so that dough was no longer sticky. The consistency while kneading was somewhere between Playdoh and Silly Putty. It had a bit of elasticity. I found that moistening my fingers while working helped combine colors (for caning). You could probably sculpt small items with this clay, it’s pretty sturdy.

The “Glue Clay” held color after baking, even the batch made with metallic paint. Right out of the oven it offered a smooth, finished look. This recipe is good if you only want to make small batches, if you want the clay to have a base color, or if you want to skip painting altogether.

Clay #2 makes a big batch—think pizza dough! It took a bit of work to knead in all the flour. This one is rather grainy and doesn’t smooth out as well when working. Although you can make beads and pendants with this clay I don’t recommend it for sculpting unless you have an underlying support–it tends to sag while you’re working. Some of the items began to “puff” up while baking. Once removed from the oven the items resembled crackers.

After baking, the “Salt & Flour” clay retained a rough textured, rustic appearance. I like the way some of the pieces look aged or worn—sort of a funky vintage look. Some of the pieces began to get a little “gummy” while painting but firmed back up when the paint dried.

The second recipe is perfect for a rainy day with kids! Just make a big batch, roll it out, and let the kids use your cookie cutters. You won’t have to worry if they feed some to the dog (or themselves).

Homemade Clay Beads FinishedOnce baked the finished items from both recipe are surprisingly durable. I used an emery board to sand any rough edges, applied paint to a few items, and sealed all pieces with an acrylic sealer.

Have you ever made your own clay? Do you have any clay recipes to share?

The Sirens Gear Up for October

sirens2Planning any party takes time, so it’s no surprise that many of us are already gearing up for holiday crafts and treats. Online parties require planning as well…and early invitations. After all, it takes time for word-of-mouth (or click of mouse) to go around. So, consider yourself officially invited to The Samhain Sirens’ October Extravaganza!

For those of you new to the world of The Sirens, they host an annual Halloween soiree at Samhain Sirens. It’s a month long party with recipes, craft ideas, and gifts. As I excitedly announced awhile back, I’ll be participating in this years celebration with some craft DIYs and gift items! There is still planning to do, but if you want to get a taste of the upcoming fun just pop on over to their blog–there is a little party-launch going on complete with tasty recipes and gift giveaways!