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Monday, April 26, 2010

Autism Blog Hop - Signs of Autism & Repetitive Behaviors

Thanks for joining the Ideas For Scrapbookers blog hop today.  If you've been hopping along, you just came from Pam's post over at Ideas For Scrapbookers where you learned what Autism Spectrum Disorder is.  If you've just joined the hop, you can get a list of all the participating Artists here.  I'm going to do double duty and share information on the signs of autism as well as some repetitive behaviors that you might see with autism.

Signs of Autism
Early intervention is key to helping persons with developmental impairments. For many children that are at risk for cognitive, social, or emotional delays or disorders, access to well designed intervention can improve their quality of life and their prospects for the future. Knowing what to look for, recognizing the signs and getting an evaluation as soon as possible are critical.

People with Autism Spectrum Disorders may have problems with social, emotional, and communication skills. They might repeat certain behaviors and might not want change in their daily activities. Many people with ASDs also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. ASDs begin during early childhood and last throughout a person’s life.

A child or adult with an ASD might:
  • not play “pretend” games
  • not point at objects to show interest
  • not look at objects when another person points at them
  • have a lack of appropriate eye gaze
  • avoid eye contact and want to be alone
  • have trouble relating to others or not have an interest in other people at all
  • lack warm, joyful expressions
  • have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
  • not share interest or enjoyment with others
  • prefer not to be held or cuddled or might cuddle only when they want to
  • appear to be unaware when other people talk to them but respond to other sounds
  • lack response to their name
  • be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, play, or relate to them
  • repeat or echo words or phrases said to them, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language (echolalia)
  • have unusual prosody in verbal communication (little variation in pitch, odd intonation, irregular rhythm, unusual voice quality)
  • have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions
  • repeat actions over and over again
  • have trouble adapting when a routine changes
  • have unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound
  • lose skills they once had (for instance, stop saying words they had been using, regress in toileting skills)
To learn more, please visit First Signs

Repetitive Behaviors in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Although people with autism usually appear physically normal, odd repetitive motions may set them apart from other children and adults. These behaviors might be extreme and highly apparent or more subtle. Some children and older individuals repeatedly flap their arms or walk on their toes. Some suddenly freeze in a position. Some will hum, some like to rock in a chair, on a swing or on their feet.  These behaviors are referred to as 'self-stimming" behaviors.

As children, individuals with autism might spend hours lining up their cars and trains in a certain way, rather than using them for pretend play. If someone moves one of the toys, the children may be tremendously upset. Many children with autism need, and demand, absolute consistency in their environment. A slight change in routines, such as mealtimes, dressing, taking a bath, and going to school at a certain time or by the same route, can be extremely stressful.

Repetitive behavior sometimes takes the form of a persistent, intense preoccupation. These strong interests may be unusual because of their content (e.g. being interested in fans or toilets) or because of the intensity of the interest (e.g. knowing much more detailed information about Thomas the Tank Engine than peers). For example, a child with autism might be obsessed with learning all about vacuum cleaners, train schedules, or lighthouses. Often older children with autism have a great interest in numbers/letters, symbols, dates or science topics

To learn more, please visit Asperger Syndrome.org

And now some craftiness!
I made the layout shown at the top of this post for Autism Awareness Month using the color scheme of the autism ribbon.  As a gift to you for playing along on the hop, I've created a template that you can download to use either as a sketch, or you can download the layered template to use for creating a digital scrapbook page.

Click here for the sketch

Click here for the layered template.

I've got one more gift for you... a RAK!!!  I'm offering a RAK of crafty supplies to one lucky random winner that leaves a comment on this post.  Please make sure that I have a link to your blog or email so I can contact you.  I'm only able to ship to US addresses at this time (sorry!)  You have until 6am (EST) Friday April 30th to leave your comment.  I'll be announcing the winner later that day.   Good luck!

Next stop on the blog hop is Heather who will be sharing information about the Types of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cupcake with a Cherry on Top!

As soon as I saw the new Hey Cupcake set over at Nitwit Collections, I fell in love! I've got a sweet tooth for cupcakes anyway, but these are really darling!

This is the first item that I made. A super cute card. Complete with cupcake and cherry on top!

I've also got a little announcement for you.  On Monday April 26 the Artists at Ideas For Scrapbookers will be holding a blog hop!  Some spots on the hop will be offering RAK's too!!  There will be lots of info and craftiness to be shared.  So be certain to stop back on Monday for the hop!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Glass Flowers

It’s Blog Hop time! The Sassy Blinging Babes circle of friends is having a blog hop this week. If you are hopping along, then you just came from Candace's blog. Doesn't she have some beautiful creations?  If you landed here and would like to follow the hop, you can start at the Sassy Blinging Babes blog or you can just start here and skip along to the next blog! I've got a list of all the participants with links to their blogs at the end of this post.

I’m sharing a tutorial with you as my contribution to the hop. I’m going to show you how to create some glass flowers using your papers!

What you'll need to make these flowers:
Cardstock or patterned paper
Flower punches or dies
Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (UTEE)
Melting Pot
Non-stick surface
Heat Gun
Glossy Accents
Inks, glitter, embellishments as desired

You can punch or cut the flower shapes and sizes that you desire for you project.  Ink edges, spray with glittering mists and shape the individual flower cuts if desired. Don't assemble your flowers just yet.  Manipulate them as you would up to the point of assembling them. Set aside each individual piece.

Melt some clear UTEE in the melting pot.  Once it is liquid, you'll use the tweezers to dip each flower piece into the UTEE individually.  Be certain to cover the top of the flower piece with UTEE and then place on a non-stick surface.  If you've not worked with melted UTEE before, it will cool and harden very quickly.  It's OK if it is not a perfect glass look at this point, we're going to clean it up in a bit.

After you've coated your flower pieces with the UTEE and they have cooled, use small sharp scissors to trim any excess UTEE and use your heat embossing gun to clean up any blemishes or imperfections. If your flowers need a bit of reshaping, you can gently do so while they are still warm.

You should now have a nice consistent shiny glass look to your pieces.  And if you don't, not to worry, you can return them to the melting pot to melt the UTEE and reapply a new coat!

Once you have your flower pieces nicely coated, you can assemble or layer your flowers. Use some Glossy Accents to adhere the layers together.  You can also heat them slightly with your embossing gun if you'd like. This will melt the UTEE and help bond the layers.  Just be certain not to overheat at this point as the UTEE might drip from one layer to the next.

Now you can apply any glitter, Stickles, beads, pearls or gems to embellish your flowers. You can add them to your projects and enjoy!

I've created some "glass" roses from paper. I think I might make up a vase full as a Mother's Day gift!

The next blog in the hop is Shannon, stop by to see what she is sharing in the hop.  Be sure to check out what each of the Babes has to share, there is a lot of great talent in this group!

Here is a list of all the Babes that are on the hop:

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

GCD Studios Feature

Over at Ideas For Scrapbookers, we got to feature some projects using the GCD Studios Lydia papers.  It was really fun to work with this paper line.  I really liked that they were adaptable to both "girl" and "boy" pages.  The papers are gorgeous with bright colors. They have some embossing, bling, flocking and texture to them as well. They are also double sided and very sturdy so they lend themselves well to altered projects too!

Here is what I made:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Make Your Own Paper from Scraps

What do you do with scraps?  How about making some paper??!!!

I keep a drawer filled with the scraps from projects that I finish.  I try to only keep pieces that are at least as big as the palm on my hand.  And while I try to remember to visit my scrap drawer first, I often forget and end up cutting a new sheet of paper when I only need a small piece.

Then all those beautiful scraps sit in that scrap drawer not getting used!  So today I am going to share a tutorial on how you can make paper from those scraps!!

This is really simple and quite fun.  All you need for this are a bunch of scraps and a sheet of plain cardstock and some adhesive.  The scraps can be plain or printed papers and cardstock, vellum, mesh, embossed or flocked papers, tissue paper, mulberry papers, whatever scraps you've got.  You can use papers that coordinate by colors or patterns. 

For my example, I'm using some scraps that I had after making some Easter cards.  I noticed that the colors and patterns looked really nice together and I wanted to use them for an Easter layout.

Next you get to rip those scraps into smaller scraps! I made mine about .5 to 1 inch in size.  Go ahead and have fun with this, rip to your hearts content! Take out your aggressions!! Rip, rip, rip!  Make the pieces different shapes and sizes.  If you are scrapping with your kids, this is a really fun task for them to help with. 

Now you've got this pile of ripped up pieces.  You'll be adhering them to the cardstock.  I then ran my torn pieces through my Xyron to apply adhesive. You could also use a glue stick. You then start applying the pieces to your plain cardstock sheet. I used an 8.5x11 sheet.  Depending on how many scraps you are using and how much paper you are creating, you can use a smaller or larger sheet. Just be certain that the edges of your pieces are glued well. You can overlap them slightly, you can leave some of the bare cardstock showing through if you like as well.  Allow the scrap pieces to over-hang the edge of your plain cardstock.  You can trim this later.  You can see in my picture below the scraps overhanging the paper edge as I was applying them.

I started from the center of the paper and worked out from there. You can start from anywhere on the paper, you can create a pattern by repeating colors or printed papers in a particular order.  Be creative! Continue applying your scrap pieces until you fill up the cardstock or have enough of your "new" paper to use for your project.  Now you can stamp on your paper, emboss it, cut it, use it for your project as you would any paper.  I used punches and dies to cut my paper into flowers and the butterfly that I used on this layout.

Here is a close up view of the flowers.

Hope you've enjoyed learning this technique.
Happy  scrapping!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Designer Showcase: Autism Palette

Want to see some more layouts using the Autism Ribbon Palette as inspiration?  Hop on over to Ideas For Scrapbookers where we are sharing a Designer Showcase using the Autism Colors.

Monday, April 5, 2010


April is Autism Awareness Month.  I created this layout using the colors in the Autism ribbon.  My two oldest sons are both on the Autism Spectrum.  When you spend time with them and experience how very different they are, you grow in the appreciation that Autism is a spectral disorder. I don't really like the word "disorder". I don't like disability or handicap either.  That's only due to the derogatory meanings that people apply to them. But I digress!

I used some of the autism ribbon fabric on the layout.  I used Fundamentals by Technique Tuesday to trace the puzzle pieces on cardstock and then cut them out. I then laid them out and cut them into a heart shape.  I stitched the heart and the ribbon on to the layout.

The journaling reads: "The two of you are so very different. You are both diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Chris with Asperger's & Kevin with autism. That's where the similarities end. Learning about ASD has been like piecing together a puzzle. You have each taught me that "normal" is just a setting on a washing machine, that we can do more than we think we can, and that you can not define a person by a diagnosis."

I have truly learned a great deal over the years since the first of  my sons was diagnosed. Mainly I have learned how very blessed I am. I have been able to see with new eyes and have experienced a world that I once knew very little about.  It has been and continues to be, a wonderful journey!

I hope you find some inspiration here. If you'd like to learn more about autism, check out some of the links that I have here on my blog or send me an email.  It is a topic I'm very passionate about!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Today we did some letterboxing. (If you want to learn more about that, you can read this post here.)  It was just me and my two oldest sons.  It was great to get out today. We've been stuck indoors with so much rain lately.  The ground was quite soggy. Actually it was very muddy. I think that increased the fun-factor for the boys!  It made me thankful for the vinyl floor mats I have in the car!

So there we are hiking around the grounds of a former mansion and it's gardens.  The setting was exquisitely picturesque.  And really great for photography the guys.  There were the awesome stone walls that wore the wear and tear of many years.  They were edgy and defined.  A great backdrop for a photo.

And what was I without?  The one thing I *usually* have with me everywhere.... my camera!!!!!!  I popped a picture of them with my phone.  Not even the highest quality phone camera out there.  I came back home and played a bit in Photoshop.  Found a great action for this type of photo. It's called Urban Acid by Steven Almas. You can snag it over at ATN Central.

Here's a before and after of my photo applying this action.

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