Saturday, April 30, 2011

FEATURED DESIGNER: Mandy Harrell!

It is my absolute pleasure today to wrap up the month of April 2011 by bringing you another S:CY Design Team Member Spotlight!

Know what? I love writing these features. It's just a small way I can personally thank the gals for their dedication and work here at the S:CY Blog.  


Today we shine the spotlight on S:CY Designer Mandy Harrell. Let’s get to know her better, OK? Ready, set… go!
S:CY Design Team Member Mandy Harrell
Mandy is a SAHM to 5 kiddos, 4 girls and a boy. She also has 2 dogs and a hamster, and  laughingly says "I think I own a cat too, but she has taken to the fields around my home and lives off the land now, so not sure if I can claim ownership at this point!" (She inserted a big grin in her email to me right there. LOL!)  

Mandy works from home by selling crafts and wall decor that she creates. She told me that her kids all put up with her creative ideas. For example, Mandy’s 2 middle daughters recently participated in a Lord of the Rings photo shoot, led by Mom… The result is one of Mandy’s favourite LOs.
"Beauties" layout created by Designer Mandy Harrell 
 (Photo: Mandy Harrell)
Mandy dressed the girls up in LOTR costumes for the shoot...“We had so much fun!" In commenting on the creation of this page, Mandy adds "I used a water distressing technique for this layout.” 
In terms of scrappin’, Mandy's family is “first and foremost” her main source of inspiration… “and then after that comes my photography.” Mandy said “when I get a great photo from a shoot that I fall in love with, I have to scrap it even if it's not a family member.” Mandy owns a Canon 40D camera, and adds “I am hoping to purchase a Canon 1Ds Mark II this summer. I can't wait!!!” This gal loves to shoot photos, and is dedicated to improving her already-apparent skill in this area. Mandy told me that she loves how “both my hobbies go hand in hand.” (She is SO RIGHT about that!)

A peek at the projects on Mandy’s blog brings to the forefront her ability in beautifully photographing the small things that add such beauty to her creations. The pictures that Mandy takes of her work are delicious in their clarity and inclusion of shots featuring project details. They really are the definition of photographic "eye candy...!" You can easily see proof of this by taking a peek at Mandy’s blog, whimsically entitled: “For Scrapping Out Loud!”


Like many scrapbookers, Mandy describes being a memory-keeper from an early age. She says "as a teen, I always loved taking pics and sticking them in albums."

Mandy started her scrapbooking passion about 17 years ago, because of her eldest daughter Raine's birth. Raine is featured here in another of Mandy’s fave LOs.

"Reach" layout created by Designer Mandy Harrell
(Photo: Mandy Harrell) 
Mandy, aka "Craftysprinkles"  told me that she feels she really started to blossom in this hobby about 2 years ago when she began frequenting online Galleries. Mandy told me awhile back that she is “a big fan of working with sketches,” and that the hand-drawn sketches at S:CY appealed to her.
She says that her style “is best described as distressed and eclectic.” She distresses every page to some degree and says she also uses various brands and embellies on a single page. I asked Mandy for her best design tip, or hint… and she simply said “use layers, layers, and more layers!”

Mandy has a process to her scrappin’, and to decide whether something is done, she “works over every last detail of it.” She reveals that she will usually stand her layouts up. Why?? “So I can see them from straight on…” and then examine them with a critical eye. She said “countless times I have had empty spots in my background that I had to somehow get a layer behind.” Mandy reports that “I've added Stickles or Perfect Pearls for something extra on embellies or paper edges. To sum it up, I usually ask myself, 'where can I add more,' and if a clear answer pops out, then I add to it.”

We all have scrapping tricks that relate to our craft,  and Mandy's trick is connected to her enjoyment of music. She says "I love music... I scrap the best when I have music playing. I am also funny about playing music that fits my layout. So if I go darker I will play my Twilight soundtracks and if I go bright and fun, I go for dance music!!" 

I know you're wondering if I brought it up... The answer is "yes..."  I HAD to ask Mandy a question related to the topic of the dreaded “scrappin’ rut!” We are all familiar with it…those times when ‘Mr Mojo has LEFT the building…’ (Arghhh!!)
Mandy responded that if she falls into a rut, she takes a break… “unless I have no other choice. If I get a loss of mojo then I will set my project down and come back later.” Mandy told me that she really tries not to force the issue…stating that “it always comes back.” You can see evidence of the fact that mojo is never far away for Mandy by checking out her blog or gallery.

We also talked a little bit about the MUCH more FUN (in comparison to loss of mojo...) topic of scrap-supply organization! An interesting tidbit came up when I asked Mandy how she organizes her LOs in albums. She replied "I don't use albums anymore. My pages are far too thick and chunky to stick them in albums, so I place them in page protectors and store them in large bins. When my kids are older they can sort through them all and keep what they want.”
Mandy answered my organizational questions about her small scrappy items, too. She stores her buttons in “cute little jars that sit on my shelf.” For storage of her brads, Mandy uses bead containers.

The question related to paper storage for this S:CY Designer revealed that, like many of us, Mandy has her cardstock sorted by colour. “My patterned paper is always stored by brand.”
Organization and storage of paper scraps is handled in a well-planned way, too. Mandy told me that “when I get scraps left over I keep them in large ziplock bags by color.”

On the topic of handling deadlines, Mandy's sense of humor shines thru…! (Many of us can relate to her response to this issue!) She revealed that "I am awesome at handling deadlines, if they are set by someone else. If I set them, then forget it, lol.” (Thanks for your candor, Mandy! *wink* LOL)

Another of Mandy’s LOs is below. She told me that “This is my all-time favorite layout. The pic is of my youngest daughter and I just love the look on her face.”
"Speechless" layout created by Designer Mandy Harrell
(Photo: Mandy Harrell)

Mandy is currently a member of several Design Teams. In addition to her S:CY Design Team work, she creates for Scraps of Darkness Kit Club, Dusty Attic, Katies Kreations 4 U, Punky Scraps and Urban Swank.

Mandy's work has been published in Scrapbook News and Review Magazine. A side note: while perusing the most recent issue of SNR, I picked out Mandy’s work immediately-- before even looking for the Designer’s name!! That’s how distinctive and special her work is…! Bravo Mandy!

Thanks for helping us get to know you a little bit better as a person and an artist. We appreciate all you do for S:CY.
So very happy to have you designing with us!

 ~ Ali and Ann

11 comments:

  1. Canon 1Ds Mark II is on my wishlist too - enjoy!
    I love all 3 of these pages.
    Tammy

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  2. Great layouts, beautiful photography. Have fun with the Mark II. I love my Canon.

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  3. Wow...this is really a terrific interview. TFS!!!

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  4. WOW....awesome interview and AMAZING layouts!

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  5. What a great showcase of Mandy's work and persona! I love learning more about our team members!

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  6. So great getting to know you better mandy! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your work!!! Stunning!!!!!

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  7. Loved getting to know you Mandy, your work is outstanding!!!

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  8. Great getting to learn more about you, Mandy.
    Stunning artwork!
    I love your organization method for storing your pages.
    Heather

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  9. You ladies are awesome and a big thanks to Ali and Ann for doing such a great write up. I had a ton of fun with your questions :D

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  10. Excellent write up and nice to know a bit more about you Mandy!!

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