Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Introducing - Jessica Toulmin

Today we introduce Jessica Toulmin onto the Artfull Crafts Christmas Team! Jessica has been joining in our challenges for ages and we love her work. Enjoy finding out more about her.

Hi everyone, I'm Jess, a 20-something mum of a boisterous 5-year-old boy, a fiancĂ©e, a part-time worker, a home maker and a crafter in my spare time. I'm born and bred in rural North Island, but now living in a small West Otago town.

How were you introduced to scrapbooking?
I've been a crafter since I was a little girl, but my introduction to scrapbooking was when my dad bought me a photo album for Christmas in my late teens, but it turned out to be an 8.5" x 11" scrapbooking album. Of course I had to use it, and my love-hate relationship with scrapbooking began! My first layout was very simple and about my kitten, Dave. Within about a year I had moved onto 12" x 12" layouts, my first being about my mum's two kittens.

Here is a layout about my cat Dave (you can see more of this layout on my blog here)

I pulled out this photo and decided I wanted to use matching colours (neutrals). I typically use a white cardstock or Kraft background, but for this one I went with a light patterned paper. I layered a few bits of patterned paper under the photo, as well as embellishments. I curled the edges up a bit for lots of dimension and added interest. I used the cut-off pieces on the bottom of the patterned paper to edge the top and bottom of the layout. I finished it off with a few bits of neutral trim and some alpha stickers.

One reason I love this layout (and a reason why I love lots of other layouts too), is because I love the photo itself. The photo has so much meaning, and it is just such a perfect photo of him. And then I love how all the different neutral coloured, patterned papers have come together so well.

What inspires you?
My main inspiration comes from other crafters, with regular visits to their blogs, such as Paige Evans, Ann-Marie Espinoza, and Maggie Holmes, as well as manufacturers blogs like Studio Calico and general craft blogs like Moxie Fab World. And of course a huge source of inspiration comes from Pinterest - and rather than pinning thousands of images, I regularly visit and purge my Pinterest boards.

What other project types do you like to work on?
My main crafting projects are layouts and cards, however I sometimes also do mini albums, altered projects, sewing, cross stitch, painting (although not for a while now) and the other odd thing from time to time. I'm a crafty person, I love everything!

What is your favourite scrapbook brand?
This is a really hard one for me to answer, as I love lots of different brands for different reasons, but my favourite, although I own very little of it - I love to read their daily blog posts - is Studio Calico. It is very feminine, very modern in both pattern and colour, light, subtle and looks great actually used in projects!

What scrapbooking tools and products can you not do without?
A paper trimmer speeds up the process, as does a tape runner (but I use equal quantities of double sided tape). White cardstock, patterned paper and foam tape are my go to products for every layout and card. From there they can be built up with other embellishments, if you haven't created your own with the patterned paper (eg. with fussy cutting elements from the paper). I don't own a die cutting machine, so I buy a lot of die cut embellishments (like Kaisercrafts 'Collectables' packs, which are big and last a long time), and I have a few different punches which I regularly use as well.

What is your current favourite technique or embellishment?
I have always loved to add a silver rhinestone or two, or white pearls, but I have recently fallen in love with sequins so use them more at moment. I love brads, but currently seem to collect them more than actually use them. And drips of mists (rather than actually spraying them) adds a nice base for a project.

Here's a group of projects I did for the Artfull Crafts September Challenge, using the colour palette (you can see all the projects I did on my blog here). Here are the cards I made (using lots of sequiuns)

I loved the image used for the colour challenge - pink, orange, yellow and taupe - even though they are not colours I am usually drawn to or craft with. So I pulled out supplies I had that were in those four colours and got to work. I had so much fun cutting, punching and stamping in those colours, for my cards and layouts. And using lots of awesome sequins!

I got all the projects done so quickly, as everything was only made with those colours - and I had a fairly limited supply, so not a lot of choice of what I could use, so I couldn't exactly change my mind and go with something else. I love the end result. I think I will have to do more projects using those colours one day soon!

What do you hope to try or improve on this year?
I'm constantly trying new things, and encourage everyone to do this - nothing in particular, just when you look at a project and think 'I haven't done that before', do it! Even if only once. Something I would like to improve on is being faster. I spend so much time on each project, second guessing myself, laying everything out then redoing it. I want to be faster, to actually get more done (and use more of my ever expending stash - I didn't actually buy it just to take up space!)

What advice can you give to people just beginning to enjoy scrapbooking?
Look at lots of pictures (blogs, Pinterest, magazines, etc). There will be something that you can take away from every project you look at, even if you don't like it overall (for example, you might like their design, so give that a go - or realise that their design doesn't flow well, so you shouldn't do that). And secondly, try new things, all the time! It's fun, it gives you more skills, you find what you like and what you're good at.

The last of my favourite projects is another layout (you can read about it on my blog here).

Nothing fancy - which is my style - just some strips of patterned paper, a few splashes of mist, white glitter alphas and machine stitching. I love it because I adore the photo, the Christmas paper is distinctly Christmas without being bright red and bright green, it isn't cluttered with embellishments so you actually take in the patterns and the small details, and the offset top strip adds so much more interest than you would suspect when making it.

So that is me. Thanks for making it all the way to the end of my post! I hope you enjoy my posts in the coming weeks and get some inspiration from them for your own projects. Jessica T


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  2. Lovely projects Jessica my favourite are the frames. Looking forward to seeing more of your creations

  3. Love your layouts. Cant wait to see more of your creations.