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October 14, 2011

We are beyond excited to announce our 2012 4Experts. Two of our experts are back and we've added two more to the mix. We hope you'll join us for one or more of these process-based classes that invariably grow into active and exciting communities of sharing. Click here to watch videos explaining the upcoming classes!

Favorite Four Giveaway
We are so thrilled with this line up of instructors and want to celebrate by doing a giveaway! Read about it below.

  • Colorful Sharpies make Stacy happy!
  • Heidi loves Mint Milanos as a treat anytime of the year
  • Lip gloss makes Nic feel pretty and that is why she loves it!
  • Seeing the Everyday magazine is a favorite of Becky’s because it inspires us to appreciate the little things.

Four lucky Big Picture Classes members can win a "fave four box" featuring one  favorite item from each of the four teachers + a $50 BPC gift certificate to use towards one of these classes.

To enter the random drawing giveaway leave a comment below sharing one of your favorite things.

Giveaway closed






Posted by Wendy Smedley  |  Permalink  |  Comments (333)


October 13, 2011

I was looking through the Student Gallery, and when I saw this image I thought "this must be a student in The Good Life with Amy Tan!" And I was right! Thanks for letting me share your project Jennifer!

A note from Jennifer:

I have always loved putting together collages from items I have found in magazines, and the idea of a "vision board" makes sense to me. When these ideas were presented in Amy Tangerine's class "The Good Life", I knew this would be right up my alley. In all honesty, I did procrastinate a bit until I checked out some great collages in the gallery, and I was struck with fresh inspiration! Having just got back from a short vacation to the coast, I used some business cards from places special to me there, and some other ephemera that was meaningful to me (from a collection of office images, to represent communication) as well. The whole time I was putting this together, I kept in mind my One Little Word ("imagine") for even further inspiration. To top off my 'creative adventure', I tried a technique I saw Amy do on her blog with masking and spray mist to create my clouds in the sky on the doily. This was so much fun!




Posted by BrandiH  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)


October 12, 2011

It’s the little tokens of self-expression that make me feel like my best self, like a fun necklace, a cute
headband, or especially a pretty manicure. Nail polish is one of the easiest and most economical ways to
add a little punch of color to my life. But paints, adhesives, stickers, household cleaners, and a bazillion
handwashes throughout the day can give my mani a run for its money. Chipped polish that only lasts a
day or two is no fun. So what’s a girl to do?

Run to your local drug store and pick up some Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail polish strips, that’s what!

They come in a whole bunch of fun patterns and colors and are as easy to apply as a scrapbook sticker.
Seal with a clear topcoat and they’ll last at least a week, sometimes two. Seriously!

Here are a couple of my favorites in action.

I get tons of compliments, and best of all, I feel creative right down to the tips of my fingers.

Posted by Tami Morrison  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)


October 10, 2011

Welcome to the third in a series of seven e-inspirations created just for you by Big Picture teacher Elizabeth Irvine. Who is she? read below and then read her inspiration prompt for today

Elizabeth Irvine is a nationally recognized health living spokesperson, author, former ICU nurse, yoga instructor and mother of three who believes we can create a healthier way of being and raise families who care—about themselves, each other, and about the world around them


Just as the challenge of my son Sam’s illness provided me an opportunity to shift my perspective and live in a new way-- perhaps the biggest problem in your life right now is actually an opportunity, your version of my challenge, just waiting to lead you into a new place.

Think for a moment about something or someone in your life that drives you crazy, something that really makes you nuts or gets right under your skin...

Have you got it?

Know this very issue, this annoyance or problem, is actually your ticket to a better life. This situation is in your life, “in your face” for a reason. The reason is for you to discover, to learn, and to grow. Are you up for the challenge? Use your biggest irritation or problem in life as a catalyst for change. The door is open, it’s up to you to step through.


Learn more about Elizabeth by reading her blog and invest in yourself by purchasing her self-paced class, Just B: Guided Relaxations, here at BPC

 e-inspiration archive

Can YOU be open to wonder?

Tap in and feel PEACE


Posted by Elizabeth Irvine  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)


October 08, 2011

You asked for it! Photo Finish is back! Students who took this class had such great things to say about it, and we're so excited to be bringing it back.

I know a photo is worth a thousand words...but sometimes some words are good too! So here's a sneak peek at the syllabus for Photo Finish! Believe me, this class is worth it! Class starts 11/24...registration is open now!

Week 1
RAW vs. Jpeg
Editing RAW files
Making basic edits for color and exposure
Adjusting Curves
Adjusting Levels
Week 2
Adjustment Layers
Layer Masks
Black-and-White Photo Conversions
Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts
Week 3
Removing Blemishes
Whitening Eyes
Whitening Teeth
Making a Person Look Slimmer
Swapping Heads
Installing and Using Actions
Week 4
Adding Texture with Blending Modes
Adding a Frame
Straightening a Picture
Finishing Touches
Creating a Custom Logo/Watermark

Posted by BrandiH  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)


October 07, 2011

Those in Amy Tangerine's The Good Life class are going crazy for t-shirt making using Amy's techniques. Browsing the gallery earilier I was so inspired by all the tee projects that I had to share. 

These two tees made by young BPC student, Tatiana.



Posted by Wendy Smedley  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)


October 06, 2011

Party Perfect Supplies
I have a confession to make.  My name is Heather, and I buy more scrapbooking supplies than I'll ever be able to use. In fact, my friend Gretchen and I created our site Did Someone Say Party pretty much as an excuse to shop for more crafty goodness and explore handmade party ideas using our individual crafty skills (she's a seamstress, I'm a paper crafter!). I have found that parties are the perfect venue to play with my scrapbooking supplies and tools in a new way and am excited to share some ideas with you today.
I recently threw a baby shower for my sister-in-law and had such a great time crafting for it!  We decided early in the planning process that we would have a school theme to the event. With a bit of inspiration via Pinterest, I designed a library card invitation in Photoshop Elements (you can download yours here. I placed the library card (after some corner punch detailing) in a paper pocket. 
Since my selected paper was double sided, the pocket was easy to make. The top of the pocket was finished with a strip of ruler patterned paper. Then I used a stamped circle matted on a larger circle of patterned paper, then matted again on a scallop in a different pattern to add some detail to the pocket. Party invitations are a perfect example of how I can use my paper crafting skills and tools to add a special handmade touch to a celebration.  
Included in the pocket were the library card invitation, a similar sized card with some general information (directions, registry info, etc.) and a hand stamped bookplate. On the invitation we asked guests to provide a new book for the baby's library. They were asked to include this bookplate in the front cover of the book with a handwritten message to baby. These were quickly assembled using some adhesive backed cardstock mats, some scrap patterned paper from the invitations, and a stamped journal block.  
The papers I used for the invitations were a source of inspiration in many other aspects of the party. With a little Mod Podge, I decorated some wooden letters in baby's initials to use as decor on the table where we displayed all the gift books.
I also used some Mod Podge and patterned paper to decorate some simple wooden blocks as well as the frame of a simple chalkboard I found at a craft store. This decorated chalkboard was placed at my entryway to ask guests to write a special note for the guest of honor. I left some blank journaling cards for them to use for their message. These messages were used in an easy mini book I made for my sister-in-law to commemorate the special day!
I made some paper pinwheels with some more of that great patterned paper and buttons. I glued the pinwheels to skewers and placed them in a vase I decorated with pencils. I also used some chipboard letters covered in papers, vintage flashcards, and some yarn to decorate a fun wreath for our front door to great guests and let everyone know the party was inside!
The favors were my favorite paper crafting project for this lovely party. I used this event as an excuse to buy the binding machine I'd been coveting forever! I made simple notebooks with patterned paper for a cover and plain chipboard for the back. I used some loose leaf graph paper cut to size inside. I also created some sweet paper bookmarks based on this lovely bookmark by kr creations.
The bookmark and notebook were presented in a brown paper lunch bag to go with the school theme of the shower. To add a decorative touch, I used my favorite scallop border punch on the opening before I folded it down. I punched two holes in the folded top and closed it with a little baker's twine and a journaling card that was stamped with a message of gratitude. Then the bag was adorned with a handmade felt flower.
By far my favorite tip for throwing a party is to have someone else designated as the photographer. Far too often, we as scrapbookers are missing from our pages. We had my amazingly talented friend Kate from Kate Kintzel Photography document the day as well as take some maternity photos of my sister-in-law. It was the best idea yet!
It is so easy to add handmade flair to any celebration with the supplies and tools you already have on hand (or those you need an excuse to buy!). I'd love to hear how papercrafting has made its way into your latest event! 
Please make sure to visit us at Did Someone Say Party for inspiration for your handmade celebration!  If you'd like more information on this fun baby shower, you can find links to all the other party details here.
Need some amazing ideas for handmade gifts for that next celebration? Kolette Hall's Giving Well 2011 class starts October 20! Head over to Did Someone Say Party for your chance to win a spot in this inspiring class!
P.S. Visit Inside Access for a peek at the mini album I made for my sister-in-law with scraps from all the party paper crafts!




















Posted by Wendy Smedley  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)


October 05, 2011

This month I remembered something random: it’s been 11 years since I ran my first race. It was a 5k, and while my finishing time is lost to the vagaries of memory, I haven’t yet forgotten how nervous I was at the starting line, and the satisfaction of running through the finish line. I’m not an especially fast runner, but I’ve learned that doesn’t really matter; the person you compete against is just yourself. And quite often, that “competing against yourself” thing translates into “competing against all the 1,729 other things I have to do today.” In fact, one of the most common question people ask me, when they find out I’m a runner, is “how do you fit it in?”

Here they are, my secrets for fitting running (or any kind of exercise, really) into a busy life:

Making Time
• Get your family involved. When I first started running, my oldest daughter would say “Oh, no, Mom! You’re not going running again are you?” Over time, though, that’s evolved into all of my kids asking me “Mom, did you go running today? How was it?” Explain to your family why this is important to you and they’ll become your greatest supporters.
• If you have small children, join a gym with a good daycare. I don’t say that lightly—there were many years in my life when this was a painful expense for me. But it’s the very cost that keeps you going back, because you don’t want to waste it. Your kids will make new friends while you’re counting miles on the treadmill.
• Go in the morning, as early as you can stand it. Another thing I don’t say lightly, because I hate getting out of bed. I think it’s physically painful to open my eyes at the abrupt sound of the alarm clock. But if you do it early, it’s done for the day.
• Go in the evening. Say you’ve tried all day to squeeze your run in, but stuff just kept you from it. Don’t hesitate to put your shoes on at 8:30 and hit the road for a half hour. This is why I have a headlamp with all my other running gear.
• Go at any opportunity. Around the soccer field during your son’s practice, in the neighborhoods around the mall while your daughter is shopping with friends, or while you’re waiting for your husband to finish up at work. Be willing to take advantage of spare time and you’ll be surprised what you can fit in.
• Write it on your calendar (whatever form “calendar” takes for you!). This is the easiest thing to do and I believe the one that will help you the most. Writing it down helps you remember to do it, but it also makes it more important. You probably keep track of everything else your family members do—why are you less important?

• Get some exercise clothes that you love. Slipping on something that’s cute and functional will make you more excited about your workout.
• Listen to something. I have a small, inexpensive, and seemingly-impervious (it was once thrown into a glass of cold milk!) MP3 player that I take on every run. It’s not fancy, but it keeps my mind entertained and my pace fast. You’ll have to play around a bit to discover what sort of music works for you; my perfect combination are songs that have both an upbeat tempo and some sort of personal connection to my history. Don’t limit yourself to just music, however. Audio books are great running companions!
• Sign up for a race. Knowing that in five weeks you will be running 6.2 miles will help you stick to your schedule. Plus, trust me: once you’ve run a race or two, you’ll get slightly addicted to them. There’s an energy that you don’t get running on your own.
• Subscribe to a magazine about your sport. Runner’s World is my favorite magazine about running, but there are publications for hiking, biking, weight lifting, and yoga. Having that monthly infusion of information helps keep your feelings about exercising fresh.
• Keep track of your progress. I use www.mapmyrun.com to find my running routes and record my workouts. It has a monthly summary of all the workouts I’ve logged, and seeing the miles add up keeps me motivated to add more. One caveat with the record-keeping: don’t get too obsessed with jumping on the scale. Weigh yourself at most once a week; that way, your daily fluctuations won’t leave you feeling discouraged, and then weekly number will be bigger (and more motivating) than the daily one.

The second most-common running-related question people ask me: “How do you do it?” I usually give some vague answer, but in my head my answer is always “how do you not?” I literally cannot imagine myself without running, and the truth is that it has almost nothing to do with the physical benefits. Sure, I run because it means my heart is healthy and my lungs strong and my legs not as jiggly as they could be. Running means I can eat an occasional cheeseburger and fries without feeling guilty.

But really, I run because it keeps me mentally healthy. The 45 minutes or so of solitude give me time to think. While I’m running, I’m also figuring things out. The argument I had with my husband two days ago falls into perspective; my teenagers’ heartaches become easier to understand; solutions to whatever problem I might have rise to the surface. My anxieties and issues settle down. My creativity also swells—I can’t count how much inspiration for scrapbook layouts and quilting projects and blog posts I’ve discovered during a run.

Perhaps most important, though, is how running (or hiking or biking or even my occasional attempts at swimming) keeps self-doubt at bay. You can’t keep up an hour’s worth of exercise if your internal mantra is negative. You have to keep up a mental conversation with yourself that is full of positives: you can do this, you can do this, you can do this.

Once you figure out what your inspiration for exercise is—the real, non-cosmetic, deeper-that-the-obvious reason—you’ll find it so much easier to fit into your day. It doesn’t ever become easy. But as it becomes essential, it also becomes inherent. You won’t be able to imagine yourself without it either!

If you’d like to learn how I incorporate text onto my layouts, make sure to check out my Textuality class. It starts next month!

Or, to learn more about my running and other exploits, check out my blog.


Posted by Amy Sorensen  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)


October 03, 2011

Tap into your intuitive natural core of strength? How do we do that?

Today, allow yourself to “FEEL” more of what is around you. Notice smells, sights, sounds, conversations--how do they make you feel?

When you begin to “read between the lines,” perhaps you will get your first taste of feeling less tense and more relaxed and at ease. Noticing is the first step. This experience you are about to embark on will gently take you by the hand and allow you to step into a new place. A space that is comfortable, peaceful, easy, and most importantly doable. It will teach you how to look at life with fresh eyes, empowering you to change the way you respond to your environment.

Just for a moment, instead of a tornado of responsibilities, stress, mayhem, imagine instead a deliciously calm sense of quiet. A whisper of grace. A space of serene, tranquility. Peace of mind. Stillness. Freedom. Strength. This is what a moment's peace feels like. This can be yours everyday.
Anytime you feel stress today-- take yourself to this place.

Learn more about Elizabeth by listening to her podcasts and invest in yourself by purchasing her self-paced class, Just B: Guided Relaxations, here at BPC

e-inspiration archive

1. Can YOU Be Open to Wonder?



Posted by Elizabeth Irvine  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)


October 01, 2011

I don't know about you, but I just LOVE learning a new craft. I've tried just about everything, but this was new to me. I've heard of felting, but wasn't really sure what it was. After editing just one handout for Fabulous Felting, I had to run out and by some rovings (don't worry if you have NO idea what that is...I didn't) and try out felting for myself. I have to tell you, it's fun and addictive!

This class is coming at the perfect time...just in time to learn to felt and make some great Christmas gifts (and decorations!) I'm planning on making a garland out of felted beads (and you'll learn how to make these in class!).

Don't miss out on all the fun! Class starts October 27th. Register now!

Posted by BrandiH  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)


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