Thursday, December 10, 2009

Moved... AGAIN!

For the last time! I have been searching for a cute, clever name for my blog, and never found one until now! I am now and forever more Seriously, it's the last time I'm moving because I'm happy with that name. ^_^

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Handy Hubby's Homemade Stamp-a-ma-jig

I went to a Stampin' Up! party a couple of weeks ago and had a LOT of fun and spent too much money. I think Stampin' Up! is good at that--fun and extra money sucking. And I don't bear them any ill will in saying that, either.

The demonstrator did a great job demonstrating a lot of Stampin' Up! products. One of the things she showed was the Stamp-a-ma-jig, which is awesome, and which I had never ever seen demonstrated before. My shunning of rubber stamps for the ease of clear stamps has officially been ended. I can use my rubber stamps with the same kind of creative abandon I was reserving only for my clear stamps.

Storage problems aside, rubber stamps are great. I'm not going to say they're better than clear stamps. I've been over this before, but I'll say it one more time, just to make sure it sinks in: clear stamps are great and produce perfectly clear images if you use pigment or chalk inks. Dye inks coagulate on the surface of the clear stamp itself and causes the clear stamp to produce a blotchy image. You can either not like this or, like me, you can embrace it and LOVE it and use the effect on purpose to achieve an instant aged look to the images you stamp in your project. Try Tim Holtz distress inks (my favorite color is Vintage Photo) with these stamps and you'll really make something impressive and aged looking without any real effort at all.

As bad as it may make me sound, that's my favorite kind of crafty thing--impressive AND effortless. Ahhh... sweet music!

Back to rubber stamps, though... If you're in a hurry and would like a clear, crisp image without worrying about ink smudges from chalk or pigment inks (since they dry so much slower, but could be heated with a heat gun [read: hair dryer, if you don't have a heat gun] to speed drying), then learning to use a tool like the Stamp-a-ma-jig is a must! Especially if you don't want all of your rubber stamps to sit, lonely and unused, in whatever hole you've managed to carve for them in your itsy-teeny (if not non-existant) crafting space.

Because one of the ladies there mentioned that I could get a tool similar to the Stampin' Up! one at Michael's or JoAnn for cheaper with a coupon, I held off on buying the little marvel in favor of more stamps! However, I got home, and it occurred to me that I could do the same thing this tool does if I just had a right angle of some kind. I told my sweet, adoring, and oh-so eager-to-please husband this and asked if he could just make me something out of scrap wood. The little tool in the photos below is the result. It isn't fancy, but it sure as heck works.

The most important thing my Stampin' Up! demonstrator showed with this tool, I thought, was how she used vellum instead of the clear wipeable thingie that came with the tool to show the stamp, and stored the stamped vellum with her sets. Brilliant! But I'm too cheap, so I used tracing paper. I know you're probably thinking, "Gosh, woman, get on with it," (if you even are still reading my ramblings), so I'll get on talking about this thing, and explain all of what I just said in this paragraph since you're probably lost.

Start with your chosen tool.... Purchased or made or, in a pinch, a couple of books held at a right angle. Anything to get you started with this technique. If you like it, go ahead and buy a new tool.

Set your piece of vellum or tracing paper up against the right angle in your tool as shown above. Make sure your paper has a perfect right angle at the place where it's meeting the right angle of the tool. This is important for the accuracy of your tool!

Ink your stamp and, keeping the paper aligned with the tool, stamp with the edges of the stamp against the inside edges of your tool, as shown.

The stamped image... This is the magical part, I think. (I'm still not over it! It's so awesome!) This is now an image of the precise location of the stamp on the underside of the wooden block, as measured against the tool. If you don't understand it yet, you will!

Trim the paper around the stamp, but do NOT trim the top or left edges, no matter how uneven it looks. You need those edges intact as the image was stamped so that you can use this image as a reference image for future stamping with the tool and the stamp.

Here is one of my stamp sets with all of the papers inside. Most of them have a very obvious top and bottom when stamped, but if it doesn't (such as the flower), I draw a little arrow pointing up to show me which is the top.

To use the little reference tool, trim a piece of paper, or get your project out, or whatever. Although I do recommend doing this on scrap first, to get the hang of it. Position the stamped vellum/tracing paper with the reference image exactly where you want the stamped image to be.

Carefully line up the top left corner of the reference paper with the inside corner of your tool. Remove the reference paper without moving the tool and stamp your image with the stamp lined up on the inside of the tool, just like you did when you made your reference image.

You should end up with a stamped image--EXACTLY where you want it! Isn't that COOL!?

Here's a card I made with my newly discovered technique. I did the leaves this way, too, determining exactly where I wanted them, and then aligned the tool accordingly. You won't always be looking at it straight. When I was finished, I felt it needed something more, and I did what I had never dared do before--I stamped, with a rubber stamp, the little line of dots underneath the black paper, AFTER the card was put together.

Here is the little tool my hubby made for me. You can see that he simply attached two pieces of wood together with screws. It works great!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Clear Stamp Storage Solution!

This idea is the brain child of three of us at my Riverview JoAnn Scrapbook Social. Barb asked me for ideas about how to store smaller clear stamp sets. I said empty CD cases (which is how I stored them until today). She said she wanted to store them with the rest of her clear stamps in clear page protectors in a 3-ring binder. I said she could, but the problem was that if you try to put more than one set of clear stamps in the page protectors, as in, right on top of each other, they flail around inside the pouch and it makes storage very difficult.

The problem had presented itself in my brain... surely there has to be a way to stop them from sliding all over the place...

Suddenly, I knew the solution! Barb takes quilting classes from Louise, our fun, fabulous, and brilliant quilting teacher (who also just so happens to attend our Scrapbook Social), so I knew she had a sewing machine. I said to measure out what pockets you'd need, sew them up, and cut openings.

Then I thought... how do you cut openings? My plans seemed foiled again until Louise said, "Slip a piece of cardboard in there and cut the openings with an X-acto knife before you sew." AHHHHH!!!!

So, after spending a good chunk of my Sunday afternoon making these thingies (instead of doing the things I SHOULD be doing), I figured I'd post pictures and instructions. This post is dedicated to Barb, who asked the question, and Louise, who helped answer it. I LOVE being connected with other crafty people. We clearly do our best work in groups.

1. Lay your small clear stamp sets on your page protector in whatever pattern you desire and draw around them with a sharpie. Also make marks for any openings you need to cut, as I did above. Don't put them too close together! (I aimed for about 1/4" of space around all sides of each stamp set, so really you're looking at about 1/2" between each set.) It seems like a grid of 9 fits most of the really small sets very nicely.

2. Slip a piece of cardboard/cardstock inside the page protector (I used the cardboard that came IN the pack of page protectors I bought). Using a ruler, cut the lines you drew for your openings.

I cut mine as I drew them--three individual slits (in this example) instead of one long one. It's easier to sew it up that way. Also, remember that you don't need to cut slits for the top pockets because they'll be left open.

3. Sew the lines between your pockets, doing backstitching at the end of each seam so you don't have to worry about unraveling. I just happened to have invisible thread in my sewing machine from my previous craft project. I'm sure any thread would work well. Sewing on plastic is just a tad different from sewing fabric. You have to press and pull it through the machine. After a couple of tries, you'll find the pace you need--not to slow and not too fast.

I sewed my lines from the bottom closed part to the top, then from the sides. I recommend starting, whatever your pocket configuration, from a closed piece of the page protector and going towards the opening. If this isn't possible, just work it out as best you can.

Here is my 9 pocket grid filled with little stamp sets! Cute, huh?

Here are more examples--you can see the different shapes I used. Most of the clear stamp sets store very well side by side, such as the ones from The Paper Studio or Inkadinkadoo, and you won't need to sew pockets for those. However, some of the other stamp set brands out there such as Martha Stewart, Basic Grey (my fave!!!), and others, have weird sizes that don't fit perfectly in the page protectors, or leave a lot of space around. Play around with your stamp sets and see what some of the best arrangements are, then save some space in your binders by sewing your own personalized stamp storage!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Article almost finished, except....

Lately I've been going crazy. I have classes going at two JoAnn stores (which I STILL haven't finished making samples for), I'm running my church ministry, I've been writing an article for Polymer Cafe Magazine which I hope, hope, hope will get published, I've got a jewelry party coming up on the 18th at my friend's house which actually represents the majority of my income for the entire year every year I do it, and somehow I got it into my head to volunteer to do decorations for the ladies' Christmas event at church this year.

I'm sure there's something else. But right now, that's all I'm channeling, because it may be all that my brain can handle right now.

I've gotten my article written and ready except for the final piece pictures. Tonight I'm going to have fun getting my torch out to make some fine silver accent pieces for the polymer clay beads. Tomorrow I'll take the pictures and send the article off. If I get published, it's possible that more than two people will read this blog. LoL. Or I'll chase more people away!

As I get a little less busy, I'd like to start posting more projects. I just got "Creating Your Own Antique Jewelry" by cRis Dupouy (not a typo) from the library. There's an updated version of that book out, but this one is the original one I loved--the book that was largely responsible for my second introduction into polymer clay work which turned out to be the introduction that stuck (because I actually got a pasta machine and didn't have to work with only Fimo [shudders]).

All of that to say... I'm feeling a bit nostalgic right now, I suppose. Later tonight I know I'll be sitting with a cup of hot cocoa and flipping through that book for exactly 3.9 seconds (the length of time it will take for me to abandon the book and go MAKE stuff...).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Toothpaste box turned into a pen box

Some pens and markers for scrapping and papercrafting really should be stored flat. Markers or pens with two tips, one on each end, are the main example--storing them flat allows the ink to stay evenly distributed so that both ends keep some ink. Others, such as Sakura glaze pens, should be stored flat because storing them upright can allow air to enter the pen (through the thicker ink, maybe?) and cause it not to write as well.

I am a weird person. (Knowing me only a little bit would seem to make this sentence coming out of my mouth absolutely redundant, but stay with me for a second...) I am notoriously unorganized about pretty much everything, but my craft space is almost always meticulously kept. Virtually everything has a place and when used, an item goes back into its place. I can't stand to have my pens mixed, for instance. I like for all pens of a certain type to be separate from pens of another type so that when I'm reaching for them, I can find them. Throwing the pens and markers that need to be stored flat into a drawer in a big jumble is just not an option for me. I also hate the idea of buying some super expensive organizing tool in a scrapbook store.

Enter this toothpaste box, which I saw last night as I was replacing an empty tube of toothpaste in our master bathroom. I thought... "I wonder if that's long enough to store my glaze pens?..." It was.

1. Cut the flaps off of one end of the box. Sand the box, especially the corners, then age the box with some kind of dye ink.

2. Make a lid for the box. Measure the end piece (in this case, it was 1.25"x1.5") and add 1/2" to each end. Cut a piece of cardstock to match the measurement. Score at the two 1/2" marks to create a lid type shape. Round the corners. Cut each 1/2" section at a slight angle, starting from the middle rectangle piece and going into each rounded corner. You should end up with a roughly rectangular shape with tapering ends. This allows the lid to fit better into the box.

3. For added stability, cut a second piece of cardstock to fit on the underside of the lid. Cut it either 1/8" smaller than the inner rectangle (for 1/16" borders) or 1/4" smaller (for 1/8" angles).

4. Measure the box and cut pieces to fit the sides and bottom. Glue one of the flaps of the lid to the outside of the box, then glue all of the sides in place, gluing one side over the adhered flap of the lid.

5. Decorate as desired. Label as necessary.

Here's my finished box:

I like it a lot! Even I have a hard time believing that it started life as a humble toothpaste box. I made the entire thing using BasicGrey paper and accessories from the Periphery collection. I used Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Vintage Photo and Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive as my glue.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Totally Cute Upcycle

So, in my obsession with being GreenX2 (economic AND ecological), I come up with some pretty weird ideas. I think I've topped myself with this one, though:

Basically, I upcycled the lid of one of my spice jars. I use these empty jars to hold various scrapping supplies after I've destroyed their packages for various projects. I was figuring out all kinds of fun things to do with the jars besides using them to hold stuff (inking the bottoms, for instance, and stamping fun dashed circles), and when staring at one of the lids, I saw a face. Thus, my cutesy skull girl was born.

1. See the face? Sand the top of it. Don't worry, it's not made yet, so it won't hurt.

2. Push the sanded top into a VersaMark embossing pad and sprinkle with white embossing powder. Emboss. Repeat to emboss with 2 layers of white powder.

3. Decide how you will decorate the lid. Place brads or stitch as desired. Cut a circle of cardstock to glue to the inside of the lid so that you can't see through any space that might be left in the holes.

4. Cut a circle to fit the front of the lid. (This required at 1.5" circle.) Cut across the circle at a good point to form bangs. Ink the edges with black ink and doodle hair lines. Adhere to the front of the circle, covering the pour spout.

5. Decorate as you see fit--I added buns, using the bones to attach them to the front of the lid and foam adhesive underneath to hold them up.

I added a little bit of thin foam adhesive to the underside of the lid and also used some glue around the edge when I stuck it to my card. The little outfit is a drawing I colored with markers.

I have to admit to being eager to use up some more of my spices to get more of these. Some of my spice shakers have lids that look like stars which will be scary cute when stitched!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Zipper Pulls, Purse Charms, and Greeting Card Kits

I promised some more images of the non-jewelry beaded items I've been making. Here are a few of the ones I've done recently:

The cell phone charm is the one with the black loop, and it features the "Colors of Faith" design. This charm is looped through a spot on a cell phone. If yours doesn't have one, you can still use these handy findings to create zipper pulls by looping them through the ends of zippers.

The chain and cross charm piece is meant to be a purse charm. Basically, there's a length of about 5" of chain with a dangly cluster charm attached. The chain is meant to go around a purse strap. This little creation already has a designated future home--on the purse of one of my good friends at church who pretty much never wears ANY jewelry, but still appreciates shiny, pretty things.

The little skull piece is another style of zipper pull which you hook with the lobster claw clasp onto the end of a zipper. Make sure that if you're using one like this, you're not actually pulling on the charm itself, but still using the actual zipper piece to open the zipper.

The funnest part about this little skull design, I have to say, is the fact that it's not a real charm. I feel embarrassed admitting it, almost, but it's actually a leftover from a set of press on nails I got a while back. I had to have them because I adore cutesy skulls and just couldn't bear to throw the extras away. Basically, I just used a drill with a 1/16" bit to drill a hole near the top of the nail, which I then slipped a jump ring through so that I could use it as a charm. I've made pairs of earrings like this, too. I'm almost out of my little nails, though. :( I have to try and find some more and use the entire set as charms this time around. ^_~

AND my funnest thing from today--the BasicGrey greeting card kit I put together! I LOVE this! I got the Marrakech card kit for my birthday (because I love everything BasicGrey, but I love NOTHING more than I love anything Marrakech from BasicGrey) and opened it up when I got it to see that it had all of these pieces designated for certain cards, with little included instructions for making them all. Well, at first I must admit to being somewhat of a little art snob. Me make something from a kit? *sniff, sniff*

I intended to save all of the pieces and make my own designs later, but today I thought, "What the heck?" Teaching paper crafts at TWO stores and freaking out over producing samples and such (which I still haven't finished yet) might do that to you. And all of us need a kick in the pants now and then to release us from our inner snobs. (We all have one somewhere, and if you're utterly convinced that you don't--there it is!)

My favorite online papercrafting store right now is It's a Tuscon based company, so all of you people located in the Phoenix area are thrilled, I'm sure, to know that you get really fast shipping. I love their selection of BasicGrey items, and I HIGHLY recommend these card kits to anyone looking for something different, or to anyone looking for a present for people you know who love to make cards. You learn a lot of great ideas, too, because you're actually putting the designs together instead of just seeing them in some magazine, you know? And once you know how they're constructed, you can duplicate the techniques in your own work.

Here is the Nook and Pantry card kit (one of their newest collections) $11.25:

AND the Indian Summer card kit $11.25:

AND (I can't believe it!) the Wassail collection Christmas card kit for only $10.99!:

Each of these kits makes 8 cards. It includes all of the supplies AND envelopes. I have almost an entire sheet of rubons left from my Marrakech kit that just weren't used in the cards. I would assume that they include this in case you don't want to put a particular message on one card so that you could change it if you would like, or add extra embellishment as you see fit.

I'm probably getting the Wassail one next. I just drool over how beautiful they all are. I mean, I know some people out there probably don't see it. LoL. But BasicGrey is my love and my adoration amongst all scrapbooking supplies. I encourage you, if you're so inclined, to check out the kits. They'll give you great ideas for your own creations and a fun, mindless afternoon of completely no-pressure crafting.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Clay Guild Beads

These are the beads I made today at the Arizona Polymer Clay Guild meeting. I'm thinking about submitting the instructions for making them to Polymer Cafe magazine.

The image above shows both sides of the smaller beads (which are almost identical). Below is the side of the larger bead.

Anyway, these are all made completely by hand using various techniques (which I can't share, of course, in case I do decide to submit instructions to a magazine), and it's really fun and I hope I can get published. ^_~

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wine Glass/Mug Charms

The first beading-not-jewelry project I'll be showing is for the wine glass/mug charms. I'm going to be referring to much of this jewelry terminology under the assumption that you know what you're doing as far as jewelry construction goes. If terms such as "simple loop" and "wrapped loop" mystify you, or if you are unsure how to properly open and close jump rings (or if you weren't aware of the fact that there IS a "proper" way to do that!), go to or to get some basic jewelry instructionals. Actually, I learned virtually ALL of my basics from almost 9 years ago when I first started making jewelry. Tammy's got a soft place in my heart because of it. ^_~

Here's what you'll need to make charmies like mine:

-Silver plated chain of any kind with holes big enough to add bead charms (I'm using chain that lies flat which I picked up at JoAnn or Michael's)
-Jump rings, preferably 18 gauge, about 5-5.5 mm O.D. (outer diameter) (I get mine from these are silver plated)
-2.5mm silver plated beads
-Silver plated headpins
-Various beads (at least enough different ones to make all of the charms different since the point of these is to be able to tell drinks apart--they CAN'T be the same!)
-Basic Jewelry Tools (flat nose, round nose, needle nose pliers, wire cutters)

On the charms below, I made sure that each of the large, bottom beads were different from one another, then I filled in the rest as I desired to do so.

-Cut a length of chain. I made mine 3 links long. Attach a jump ring to the top of the chain. Attach a large bead to the bottom link with a wrapped loop, slipping a silver plated bead to the bottom of the headpin if your bead hole seems to large for the end of the headpin. (I do this quite often, even if I'm just a bit worried.) This keeps the bead on, but also gives the look of the expensive ball end headpins without the expense!

-In the image above, you can see the middle green charm is the one I'm working on. I circled the other charms I made around so that you could see how I arranged beads for different charms. Basically, I put the largest bead on the bottom and arrange the extra beads in pleasing combinations (I hope!) from biggest to smallest up towards the top. I also arranged the top layer of beads relative to the inner layer of beads, meaning the smaller bead of the top row went on top of the smaller bead on the middle row and vice versa. This gives a nice drape to the cluster. Taking the time to play with and arrange your beads before you start attaching them really saves you creative frustration later.

-Attach the two lower beads to the middle link of the chain with wrapped loops as shown.

-Attach the final two beads to the top link of the chain with wrapped loops as shown.

Making the Wine Glass Charm Rings

I hunted all over (at two stores, and called a third, which is usually about the extent of my "all over" when I'm hunting, since I have to carry my 3 year old along with me) and couldn't find ANY premade wine glass charm rings. The closest I found was at Michael's with premade earring hoops, but they were sold in packages of 60 with varying sizes and I didn't want that because some were too big, and some were too small and only a few were just right.

I didn't check Fire Mountain Gems, which probably has them (because they have EVERYTHING!) mainly because I was in the mood to make them TODAY and didn't want to wait to get something shipped.

So, I just sort of came up with how to make these on my own. I'm sure that I'm not the first person to do this (VERY sure, in fact... Tammy might even have a better tutorial somewhere over at, but here goes. I also tried to use stuff you'd probably have around your house. So any jewelry snobs who want to criticize my technique and say I should have used a ring mandrel because it's the PROPER tool (*sniff, sniff*)--to you, I say, "BLAH!" I DO have a ring mandrel, but decided to use a highlighter, because the average jewelry hobbyist doesn't have a steel ring mandrel sitting around.

You'll need...

-20 gauge wire (I used silver colored craft wire)
-Thick thingie to wrap the wire around (either a big highlighter or one of those big dry erase markers or permanent markers will work pretty much perfectly)
-Basic jewelry tools (flat nose, round nose, needle nose pliers, wire cutters)

-Cut as many 3" lengths of wire as you need. I recommend doing your very first ring with a 6" length of wire. Complete it according to the steps I'm laying out, then measure what you have left over. Subtract that length from the original 6" and you have the measurement you need to make a complete ring. Always add at least 1/4" to that for variations, and to give you room to complete final steps.

-Make a simple loop at the end of your wires, as shown above.

-Here's the big highlighter I used to make these. For ease of typing, I'm going to call this the "mandrel" from now on. Wrap your looped wire all the way around the mandrel. Lay the loop itself flat against the mandrel, then pull the wire tail all the way around, curling it all the way to the end. Do it as tightly as you can, but don't hurt yourself. Let go of the ring. It will spring back a bit, but that's okay.

-Grip the tail of the ring with your pliers as shown above. Let the edge of your pliers rest against the end of the loop. Don't be stretching the ring open. If your tail is all short like this one, grip it with another pair of pliers and bend it straight up so that you don't hurt your fingers.

-When you do this, your ring should look like the above picture. Clip the tail close, but not TOO close, to the ring. Leave about 1/8" of wire bent above the ring, like the picture below. Allowing the bend to be at the end of the loop rather than perfectly centered lets the ring stay closed when you close it because the tension of the wire keeps it pulling against the loop, which keeps it closed.

Here is one completed set of Wine Glass/Mug Charms... Some lucky relative is getting these for Christmas. (Sorry if I just spoiled it for anyone...)

If you're feeling lazy/don't like as fancy of a look, make your charmies like the ones below, using a single large bead instead of clusters. Just attach the wrapped loop component with a jump ring to the rings.

Here are a couple of pictures of these babies in use. Man, I want to keep them now and use them for my party on the 24th!

And one last note on using these: Don't open the loops wide to slide them onto something. Just allow them to open, then gently press against the object you're slipping them onto (the thinnest part of the wine glass/SIDE of the mug handle) and allow the opening to just slide open and then closed again, then latch them. Oh, really one more thing... This works out best (ESPECIALLY on the mugs) if you're doing it when the cups are empty. I just figured it out for the photos. I'm so glad I didn't do this at a party or something and spill hot chocolate or tea everywhere. I'd say have them on the glasses/mugs already when your guests arrive to save time.

Alright, that's it... I'm on to more Christmas presents. I've made two sets of charms and one purse charm so far. But I'll post on that tomorrow or the next day. After all of this typing and photo editing, I'm ready to not be on the computer for a while. ^_~

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Beading for people who don't wear jewelry...

Well, first of all, I'm happy to be posting my very first post on my NEW blog which will cover the entire spectrum of my crafts. Because I do so much more than just one thing, I figured I'd have a big melting pot to showcase all of my work and ideas.

Please, if you enjoy my blog, make sure to start following it. And make absolutely sure to leave some comments. I'd love to hear from people who are helped by what I post!

My first posted topic for this blog (all the posts previous to this one were imported from my old blog which was all about scrapbooking and paper crafting) is about jewelrymaking. All in all, it's a very fun craft to get into. But it can get frustrating when Christmas and birthdays roll around and you realize that you have several people on your list who just don't wear jewelry. What to do!?

I've begun brainstorming for just this situation--I've come up with a list of things to make for people who are not jewelry friendly. I'm going to make these projects, too, and I'll post them later with pictures.

-Purse charms
-Napkin rings
-Wine glass/mug charms
-Cell phone charms (which are great, but I discover, much to my chagrin, that virtually NO cellphones are still made with a little place to hook these little lanyard type charms to, which brings me to my next idea...)
-Zipper pulls

That's what I have so far... The mug charm was a stroke of brilliance, I thought, because I was going to make a set of wine glass charms for some relatives who like wine, but then it occurred to me that the little charmies would work just as well hooked to the handle of a mug or tea cup, and they'd serve the same function at parties where coffee and tea are the main offerings, rather than wine (which, I must admit, are the kinds of parties I throw/attend most often... I'm not really in any kind of sophisticated circles).

So... what do you all think? (All 2 of you who'll read this... lol...) Do you have any other ideas for non-jewelry beaded items?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New digital stuff/Digital paper freebie

Well, I got a Bamboo Fun tablet for my early birthday present and I have been having TOO much fun with it. It came with Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 and I have been having some fun exploring the options I have with that over the 2.0 that I've been using for all of this time. There are a few things (like the quick selection brush) that I am just drooling over (this is how I'm making most of my fun new elements for digiscrapping now), and all in all it's turning out really well!

Here's a page I made that I am so proud of. All of the digital elements were made by me. I am doing so much with sequins lately. Sequins, sequins, sequins... Everything I'm making seems to have sequins all over it. I'm especially having fun creating little digital elements with sequins because it's a lot easier than using tweezers and glue. ^_~

And, just because I feel like it, here's a freebie. It's a .jpeg image, sized at 12x12 at 300 dpi for you to use in your own digiscrapping. Please respect the source, as in, don't claim it as your own, and if you use it in something and post it somewhere, please credit me (Kathy Canuel) as a designer. I wish I could figure out how to upload .png images somewhere for downloading because then I'd share some of my other fun elements.

Basically, click on this image and then right click on it when it opens up in the new window. Click "save picture as" and save it to your computer. I think it's about 7 megabytes.

Happy scrapping! ^_^

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Good find for digiscrappers... or not??? Also... newest digiscrapping site discovery!

I just got back from one of the most torturous shopping expeditions of my life. Excuse my vent there. 3 stores with a 3 year old doesn't seem to be a very good idea AND I didn't get one of the main things I went out for because they didn't have it! Urgh!

Again, again, pardon the vent...

Anyway, I found some Dover electronic clip art books at Barnes and Noble. Apparently you just put this CD-ROM in your drive and you can use the images from there in your favorite software program. I'm going to try and use some of these images to create a nice paper for digital scrapping.

I got the "Authentic Art Nouveau Designs" CD-ROM and book. It was $16.95, but with my member discount and the recent 15% off coupon Barnes and Noble just sent to their subscribers, it was cheaper. Barnes and Noble is one of those ones you can subscribe to and it will actually do you some good sometimes. ^_^

My new site for digiscrapping elements that I LOVE is I thought I'd never find one I love as much as, but I think they're about equal in my esteem now. They have me so desiring to get my Bamboo tablet and create my own designs!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New contact paper project!

So I promised to post pics when I did something in my house using the contact paper instead of Cricut Vinyl. Here is the wall behind my kitchen table before:

And here it is after:

Here is a clearer shot of the wall art, straight on. I saw this mug in my Graphically Speaking cartridge and KNEW I had to put it on my wall somewhere. I'm not one of those people who loves coffee or loves tea exclusively--I love them BOTH, and they're really a big part of my life. The quote comes from an old song, I'm sure most of you can hum it.

Cartridges used: Graphically Speaking (mine) and Opposites Attract (borrowed from my very generous neighbor--thank you!)

-I cut the letters at 3 3/4", using the upright option on the Opposites Attract Cartridge.
-I did a fit to page on a 12x12" sheet of the contact paper for the mug and it came out at 8 1/2", I believe. The steam was 5 1/2". The "delicious" jumble was cut at 4".

The mug was, by far, the most ridiculous part of this entire thing. I tried to do the very bottom first and then stuck the rest on very, very slowly. You can reposition the contact paper as needed.

I did a lot of measuring and drawing on the wall with my pencil before putting the letters up. I had everything laid out before starting (you can see this a bit on the table in the first picture), and I took measurements of how wide the phrase was, then centered everything and marked the edges of the phrase where it should go. I worked from the outside in, placing "coffee" first along the line I drew, then "me", then "&" on either side, etc.

All in all, this took way longer than I thought it would. (Probably because I'm using the contact paper and therefore didn't have the ability to just wipe all of the pieces onto the wall at the same time like you can with the Cricut vinyl when you use the stabilizer paper stuff they sell.) But I think it was still WAY worth the extra time. (I screwed up an entire sheet of cutouts and didn't have to cry about it, lol.)

So, hopefully your imaginations are getting fueled! And thanks to Nicole for Tweeting my last post! LoL. Maybe I'll get some more followers and start to look important. ^_~

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Alternative to Cricut Vinyl--Contact Paper!

So I have to admit to some envy over here as I have salivated at the mouth and had pretty intense chest palpitations over the sheer gorgeousness of things created with the Cricut vinyl. I mean, I have a Cricut Expressions, but I never got around to making anything with the vinyl for several reasons, some of which I will list:

1. Cricut vinyl is way expensive. ($9.99 for a package containing two 12x24" sheets)
a. It never goes on sale.
b. You can't EVER use coupons on it. (All craft store coupons exempt Cricut products.)
2. You actually ALSO need to buy stabilizer in addition to the vinyl in order to do good wall layouts. I think this is so that you can apply the entire piece as one sticker, which helps with your layout.
3. I could never come up with an idea for using the vinyl. (Probably primarily due to concern number 1)

Enter the glorious online community, which came to my rescue. I wish I could remember who it was and where in the Cricut forum I saw a person who said she just used contact paper for her wall art. I wish I could credit her and douse her with kisses but, alas, I cannot. All I can do is share the tip!

Instead of using the Cricut vinyl for your wall art, I recommend contact paper! I got a roll of beautiful black faux leather contact paper at my local Home Depot for about $7.00. It's 18" wide and 15' long. I think it's a good investment!

The other cool thing I was unaware of is the fact that the back of the contact paper is marked with 1/2" grid lines so you can easily cut yourself a piece of 12x12" (or 6x12" or 12x24", depending on your mat size) to work with on your machine.

Using Contact Paper instead of Cricut Vinyl with your Machine

Contact paper (shown in the picture below)
Cricut Machine
Cricut Cartridge of choice
Cutting mat

1. Cut your contact paper to the desired size. Don't pull it away from the release paper. Stick it to your mat contact paper side down. You should be staring at the grid marks after sticking the piece to your mat.

2. Make sure your FLIP option is selected. Any text you cut MUST be flipped or it will come out backwards on your wall. Proceed to cut your shapes and text, always making sure you have the flip option on. If you're desiring to cut, say, a flower that's facing left in the cartridge book, and you want it facing right on your wall, cut it without the flip option on.

3. Peel off the individual shapes once everything is cut. Follow the directions you got with your paper for adhering it to things. (Mainly make sure your surface is clean before peeling the backs away and adhering the cut pieces.) Here are the names I did for my sons on their bedroom doors. I should have cleaned the bottoms of the doors before taking a picture. Funny how you only notice these things after you show a ton of people how dirty your house is.

4. I obviously didn't get them as straight as I could. (This is probably where that Cricut vinyl stabilizer stuff comes in handy.) If you were maybe NOT in a rush like I was to see if this would work, I'd recommend lightly penciling a line across where you'll be putting text or images. Make some sort of markings to get yourself centered and straight. (These letters were cut at 5.5", by the way.)

5. You could also cut small images. The letters above were cut with my Storybook Cartridge using the Tall option. They're 1.5". The swirlies you see were also cut using the Storybook Cartridge (shift 7), at 2.5".

As soon as I get more fun wall art finished, I'll be posting pics of it. ^_^ Hopefully someone out there can use this idea and have some fun! I can't wait to get some new colors, actually, so that I can do some layered designs.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Storage Solution/Party Bag Show off and project!

Recently while wand'ring aimlessly through the aisles of my local JoAnn (which I do quite often because I teach there and like to wander and find new stuff), I came across these little beauties in the jewelry section:

As far as I remember, these things are usually $6.99 (but were 40% off when I bought them!). There are 30 tiny little vials which are PERFECT for storing small items such as brads, buttons, eyelets, clips, jewels, etc... I just absolutely love them. They make storing all of this stuff quite compact, too.
Also, I bought a different storage set with 12 large vials inside which I was using at first to store larger embellishments. I still have it, but also got another one because I realized that they were about the same size as my embossing powder jars which I was having trouble storing in my space. I emptied the embossing powder into those larger jars and now have a nice, compact, portable way of carting them all around (which is probably more important for me as a teacher than it would be for you if you're a stationary paper crafter, but I still felt it was cool enough to share!).

Also... I know that a little while ago I promised a series on projects you could do with the Storybook Cartridge on the Cricut. However, I may do a series on projects using only the Plantin Schoolbook and Accent Essentials cartridges which come with the Cricut Expressions machine. I was almost forced to do this the other night because I sat to make the bags for Elliott's birthday party on Sunday (turning 3... I can't believe it!) and I realized that my neighbor is borrowing my Tags, Bags, Boxes, and More cartridge. She just recently went out and bought a Cricut Expressions because she really liked it when she saw me using it at my most recent paper party (and I might just have one more husband who isn't speaking to me, lol...), but I digress... Anyhow, as it often happens for those of us with munchkins and other time consuming daily responsibilities (which is probably all of us), I was crafting late at night and knew I couldn't just call her and ask to get it back. I remembered that the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge has bags in it, and to my great joy, I saw that the Roly Poly option would create a nice square bag the kind that I was looking for. So here is the party bag design I made for my sweet boy's birthday party! These are what the kids will take their treats home in.

Goodie Bag (A Plantin Schoolbook Cricut Cartridge Project):

1. Hit the roly poly option, then the bag. Set your size to 5 1/2". This size will cut two bags on one 12x12 piece of cardstock even though if you try to cut a quantity of 2, it will tell you it doesn't fit. The machine is just being weird on this, I suppose. Cut the image, hit the line return button, then repeat last, and cut the same exact image again. My cardstock is kind of a dark brownish gray. I can't quite describe the color. It was from an earthtone textured cardstock package I picked up at Walmart.

These are the pieces I cut:
Star: 1 plain (blue), 1 shadow (black), both at 2 1/2"
Circle: 1 plain (red), 1 shadow (black), both at 2 1/4"

-In case you're not quite familiar with the Cricut, using the shadow option cuts an image slightly bigger than the size you select. You don't need to set your size larger to get that larger size when using the shadow button. In fact, trying to create this shadowed effect by just using a larger size doesn't always work--especially in letters.

-When choosing your sizes, remember that your chosen measurement is how tall your finished image will be. (Think of the fact that cutting a 2" letter A yields a 2" tall letter A.)

2. Glue and layer your pieces as shown below.

Here is the finished goodie bag without any extra embellishment:

3. Embellish with chosen items. I used a stamped, embossed, colored, and cut image from the Cupcakes clear stamp collection from The Paper Company.

Finished bags:

I've decided not to put El's name or stats (such as a 3 or whatever) on these bags because I would like for them to be reuseable. I really like how this turned out (and I was just as surprised as anyone else at just how cute these are, lol). You know, I think these could work as a small bag for a teenager, or as a super cute way to give a gift card to someone.

I'm feeling really kind of pushed to start figuring out more uses for these two cartridges now! I'll be posting more projects as I come up with them. (Likely a birthday banner pretty soon.)