The Southwestern United States enjoys a rich mix of Hispanic, American Indian and Old West cultures. Pam James of Ventura, Calif., lets this heritage shine in her scrapbook page (shown here) about her American Indian ancestor. Once you’ve researched your own Southwestern roots, add these touches to your layouts:
• Borrow your palette from desert sunsets. Think red-brown, golden yellow, peach, coral and turquoise.
• Arrange punched shapes — triangles, diamonds, squares — to create geometric borders and corner decorations.
• Add motifs such as cacti, dunes, red-rock buttes, chili peppers, cattle brands or (if you don’t mind reptiles) lizards and snakes.
• Beads and feather charms reflect American Indian culture. Remember to use color copies or reprints of your photos with three-dimensional decorations.
• Go rustic with papers that are patterned with the textures of weathered wood, worn leather, stucco or rusted metal.
• Incorporate facts and images from the place your ancestors called home. The American Southwest Web site <www.americansouthwest.net> has photos and information on national parks and historic landmarks.
Scrap Speak: Vellum
This translucent paper, available in white or in colors and patterns, lends delicate softness to your pages. There’s no definitive test for its safeness, so keep even acid-free, lignin-free vellum away from the fronts of photos. The paper shouldn’t bleed when wet, and journaling on vellum may need extra drying time.
Pick Up and Move
If you think changing your mind is a scrapbooker’s prerogative, try Therm-O-Web’s repositionable-adhesive Memory Tape Runner. The double-sided tape rolls on smoothly straight or in curves. You can press on and peel up photos and embellishments several times — damage-free — and they’ll still stick securely when you finally make up your mind. The tape runner costs $4.59; 275-inch refills cost $3.19. (800) 323-0799, <www.thermoweb.com>
Are WWII photographs, citations and letters from the front languishing in your waiting-to-be-scrapbooked file? Enhance them with Memories in Uniform’s World War II- themed acid-free laser cuts. The 36 historically accurate designs include insignia, military equipment, the 48-star US flag, a telegram and a ration book. Some easy snipping and gluing is required. Prices are about $1.50 to $5 each. (757) 228-7395, <www.memoriesinuniform.com>
Layouts in Distress
Do your cherished old photographs call for equally aged embellishments? You can add old-fashioned character to your brand-new-looking background papers, mats and decorations, as we did for the storybook illustrations (from The Vintage Workshop <www.thevintageworkshop.com> Storybook Collection CD-ROM) on the layout at left. Some things get better with age!
First, mist the paper with water and gently crumple it into a ball. Then carefully spread out the paper and set it aside to dry. Iron the paper flat, covering it with a pressing cloth to prevent scorching. Emphasize the creases if you want by using a cosmetic sponge to dab on brown rubber-stamping ink or decorative chalk.
To give a stark white paper piece an aged-parchment look (as on the journaling plaque above), dust its edges with brown chalk and blend well. Another distressing method is to lightly sand the paper first in one direction, then another, for a mellowed surface with crisscross scratches. Check your progress frequently so you don’t overdo it — then be sure to brush off all sanding dust before adhering the piece to your page.
— Kari Hansen-Daffin
Look Who’s Talking
Let your scrapbook pages speak for themselves with Say It With Stickers from SRM. Each themed sticker page has titles, definitions, quotations and tags, so it’s easy to create coordinated layouts. We especially like the city stickers shown here. Baby, wedding, family and sports themes also are available. The acid-free stickers have clear backgrounds and cost $1 to $1.75 for each sheet. (800) 323-9589, <www.srmpress.com>
From the August 2004 issue of Family Tree Magazine.