Hexagonal Exploding box – stamped, tongue-in-cheek

I always struggle between naming my posts something silly and catchy or naming it what it is, to make finding it easier. The Librarian in me thinks “card catalog” (or “search database”, as it is the 2000s) but my cheeky side wants to try to pun, or make some other sort of verbal joke with the title. I’ve not reconciled that quite yet.

It’s funny, in any case, how something like this comes together. Working on the UKS Library post on Exploding Boxes for the Home Page today, I realized that I have never made one. I see all the lovely examples and have 100 ideas for making one, but then it all seems to come to nothing in the end. But I was looking at examples and re-reading Voodoo Vixen’s instructions for the octagonal one she did for the UKS Summer Mini-Book event and said, once again, “I really must make one of those!” Then, while I was clearing up some debris from other projects on my desk I was forced into my stamp drawer. Looking at some of the oddball images I have had for years, which rarely work on a scrapbook page, I found many that seemed to be people in tears, or looking upset in some way. I started pulling together images that felt like they “went” together and in the end I had quite a few. Having recently experienced a few cases where people have been less than complimentary about the whole idea of scrapbooking, the seed of an idea began to flower.

I went back to VVs instructions and re-jigged them based on a hexagon. I got the basic shape from the net, just dragging the .jpg into a drawing program and re-sizing it as need be to get it where I wanted it to be. One problem I have had with EBs is they tend to be a bit on the small side, and my stamps were not tiny decorative ones. I based the largest hexagon on one that would give me the size sides I needed (nearly 2.5 inches) and still cut from a single sheet of 12 x 12 cardstock. The inner hexagon (and I went with just the two as I wanted to be able to see the images as clearly as possible when the box opened – three layers obscured more when it “exploded” than it revealed!) images of gossips, busybodies, and rubbernecking crowds, while the inner layer has what might be called despairing family members. The very angry red queen is my nod to the fact we live in the UK LOL!

There are a few bits of text (“Have you heard? She Scraps! NO!” “She does WHAT!?” “She’s got bats in her belfry!” and “What could be more embarrassing?” [yes, I added another R after the photo was taken too!]) and a scattering of popped bats (one has been added to the lady with the net, but you won’t see it on these photos) with some old Scenic Route papers and some coordinating bright scraps from a variety of lines. Cutting the SR surf board paper made it work, which I was pleased with as it would have sat in my stash for years otherwise. Stamped all the images with coloured Staz-on, and edged most edges with Distress Ink and that is about it. It went together faster than I thought it might, but I put that down to excellent instructions

It’s all for me, just my own private joke – it was fun and I am happy because now I can say I made an exploding box, even if it is a very non-traditional version.



If I get around to it I’ll do another photo with the changes incorporated but for now you can at least see what it looks like – sitting on my desk, it just makes me smile!

Happy Monday!


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Looking ahead to Christmas

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us (something will seem so wrong to UK folk, cooking an 11 KG turkey and all the trimmings so close to Christmas but I did it) I am looking forward to Christmas and finalizing some gift-giving projects in preparation to getting them in the mail by the last mailing date to ensure things arrive in the USA by the big day. I am looking at doing some frames for the grandparents but not 100% sure it will be a good idea. If I were hand delivering them there would be no questions, but given the glass, and the long distance, and the rough handling of some past shipped gifts I just can’t make up my mind! I may cop out totally and either send something else then send a “promise” of them to be delivered later via suitcase OR I may do something different. But it was a project I did that I loved, so I’m not willing to write it off totally.

The basic frame is one from a local shop (is it national?) called TIGER and the frames are sold as album-cover framers (as an old LP sleeve fits them perfectly) The layout is built on the back of the glass, with some of the decorative elements on the front, cleverly hiding the adhesive so it all “sticks” in place without the need for the backing. Not great hung over busy wallpaper, but it looks good on a plan coloured painted wall.

I’d like to get a couple of good shots of the kids as they are now (the photo on the sample is very old – DS is taller than I am now LOL!) and make one for each set of grandparents but the thought of sending them off only to have them arrive smashed to bits stops me starting the project. I shall dither for another day or two then either shelve it till later or make them in a flurry.

Now, I am feeling an “explosion” coming on – exploding box, that is. Haven’t made one yet, but doing the UKS library post today gave be a lot of ideas, so I just may have to clear my desk and make a start…..


Sorted – sort of

Well, once it was determined that my monitor was well and truly dead (and not just mis-set, not just a faulty cable, but proper D E A D) and as this is a fairly geeky household, and we have a lot of spare technology, I managed to shift things around and get a spare monitor installed. But it’s bugging me. It’s not the same size as the other original one, can’t move up and down, and it has forced some of my essential items to unfamiliar places. V V annoying.


I added a cookbook under it to raise it up a bit, but it’s just not working for me. What’s worse is it has a different colour profile so everything on the left is darker and grayer while the right is crisp and white. It makes editing photos a hassle as that needs to all be done on the right, where I have always done it on the left (sounds silly when I type it, but we all have our routines, don’t we? any change throws you off for a bit)

and maybe it’s the scrapper in me, but if is like making a two page layout where one page is 12×12 and the other is 8.5×11 Visually it just seems wrong.

It’ll get sorted, I know, but now I have to do the whole “choice” thing – do I buy one like my original? Do I buy one like the replacement one? Do I get a (more expensive but lovely) Mac display or two? Do I buy a massive single screen or two? (DH has a mahooosive monitor but he rotates it, which you can do on a Mac, so it is used portrait, very tall, and I’ve always wanted two tall ones side by side – oh the screen real estate that would provide LOL!) Decisions, decisions – knowing it will (hopefully) be in place for a very long time, it makes sense to take some time and make the RIGHT decision.


Technology decisions make artistic decisions look simple.


Arrrgh! Technology bites.

I use two side by side monitors, linked so they operate as a continuous screen. iPhoto is set to open on the left. The left monitor is dead. It was fine, I was browsing UKS, and popped off to make a cup of tea and when I got back, one big white screen, one perfectly normal screen.

Yes, I did check the connections. Yes, I rebooted. No, nothing helps. Anything set to appear on the left opens but I can’t see it. And since I can’t see it I can’t drag it over onto the working screen.

So while I have quite a lot on my desk at the moment, including a fabric covered birdhouse book inspired by Linda_E’s adorable house here, you won’t be able to see it as nothing I do will let me force that iPhoto window onto the right hand monitor.

UPDATE-ok, so somehow I managed to make iPhoto come over to the working screen (lots of fiddling and 3 re-boots and it finally accepted that there was only one screen, which is madness and the Mac KNEW there was only one since when I asked it it could only detect one!) and I have some WOYWW photos!

The house opens up completely and there will be a minibook inside, eventually. The house is made from fabric covered cardboard – I’ll add more photos as it progresses.


The kind of recipient you want!

We scrappers often come up with little projects to send out to friends and family. It’s often a bit sad for us when the recipient doesn’t seem to care much for the project, tossing it aside saying “Nice” but clearly unaware of the love and attention that has gone in to it. OK, yes, I agree, we all should perhaps consider the recipient before embarking on a major, time consuming or expensive scrap-related gift and be as sure as we can be that they are open to receiving that sort of thing, if for no other reason than because it would save US a lot of time, energy and expense when a bottle of cheap bath salts will be greeted with much more appreciation!

For me, with so much (virtually ALL) of our family 1000s of miles away, and with them all clamouring for photos al the time, making a photo-related project makes good sense. It lets me do something I love doing and gets them a constant supply of photos so the kids aren’t strangers to them when they do meet face to face.

But every once in a while you give to a recipient who really “gets” it, and how. My DHs Auntie is one of them. An artist and creative soul in her own right, she always surprises me with her thoughtfulness and appreciation. I sent here this mini-book, with DH when he went of to CA to a computer conference:

It was one of those projects that I just loved and was actually a little reluctant to let go. I took photos of it so I would have a record but what came back to me from Auntie was a shock. She had received the book, loved it, then spent a lot of time recreating it by photo copying the pages, mounting them on other paper and binding it so I had my own version to keep.

As you can see she clearly both appreciated the effort I made and returned the effort back at me. Amazing.

I would wish EVERY scrapper who casts a project out into the universe could get this sort of return.

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More file folder fun!

I am still trying to get caught up on a lot of projects that seem to have been on my TO DO list for too long! A few years back DH had to go on a business trip to Tokyo. as it was getting close to when DS would no longer qualify as a “kid” we decided he would accompany him. We also arranged for have my in-laws fly over and sent a ticket so they could bring DSs best friend from the US with them. They accompanied the boys around while DH was in his meetings and then they all did a few touristy things for the rest of the time. My MIL took a load of good photos (but oddly, 98% were landscape, which made for some interesting design choices) and I have been meaning to do something special with them for AGES. Well, getting those handy kraft folders gave me a great idea.

Another couple of bits from Staples (like the ACCO fasteners and the plain kraft guide cards) and a bit of luck (compliments of Amy at Willow Tree Crafts – a bunch of the just bigger than 12×12 sheets of cardboard that come in every paper pack to keep the papers flat and nice) and I had almost all of my supplies.

I had a collection pack of Basic Grey BOXER (OK, OK, so BOXER = China and these are Tokyo=Japan, but the papers were the perfect colours and still oriental enough to work so I decided to throw cultural correctness out the window and use them anyway) and used make this 12×12 folder for all the photos. The plan is to use the same trick as with the folded mini-book from last week, and add lined or gridded paper to the back of all the flip-book pages. I thought it would be a fun thing for DS and the in-Laws to fill in recollections of the photos together, in their own words and own writing, rather than me doing my usual computer journaling.

These are the basics for making the folder – I’ve not decorated it or added the photos yet, but that will hopefully get shown here at some point! Oh, and that really should be 10 (TEN) sheets of Boxer paper, not 8!



Hope that makes sense but if not pop a comment on and I’ll try to help. I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t so this with manila folders, or any other style folders, you just need to use the basic idea and have a play – and let me see what you do!


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Sunday post – Hello my name is Heather

As usual, on Sundays, I am posting a link to someone else. I just love Heather Bailey’s blog Hello my name is Heather – it’s a feast for the eyes and has some nice freebies. I love the paper globes (under free patterns on the right) but even without the freebies the colour and the inspiration makes it one of my at least weekly stops. I am wishing DS was still young enough to love all things Harry Potter as the Butterbeer recipe looks yum, and the little broomsticks would make cute scrapbook embellishments as well as adorable stirrers.

Check her out. If you love fabric and felt, you will love her site!


Easier accordion for a Card Keeper

On my WOYWW I noted there was a rather dark photo of a card keeper, made from the instructions here. I think the instructions are very good, clear and easy to follow, but I just wasn’t keen on the way the accordions at the side were attached, which involves threading a piece of twine thru punched holes then thru the front and back. This leaves a fairly thick piece of twine on the front and back which makes it hard to adhere patterned paper smoothly over the top. The designer overcame this by adhering the paper with pop dots, but I didn’t really want the paper popped over the surface. First I though about doing it exactly the same but with flat ribbon but that still left me needing to decorate the box when it was 3D rather than flat. So I cam up with this alternative, which I am pretty pleased with.

Your final accordion should measure 5 1/4 inches high by 2 1/2 inches wide. These are specific to the original box dimensions, so if your box is some other size, you will need to match the measurements to your project!

What I like about doing it this way is I can decorate the outside of the box while it is flat (always easier!) and the papers covering the box will lie flat with no need for pop dots. I can then add the accordion as a final step by simply adding a strip of double sided tape to the accordion sides and sticking them to the box, which only THEN becomes 3D. {smile}

I made a ton of fast, easy cards from leftover scrapping stuff to fill two boxes (nothing so inspired it requires sharing tho’ LOL!) and that is two gifties out of the way!


Kraft folder book

This was just so easy to do and a perfect little gift for an Auntie and Uncle – just enough space for a few photos and journaling (or space for the kids to write a little note on the back.

Basically, it is the standard file-folder mini-album, which you can see lots of places (this one is clear enough and the final product is very pretty), although the size of the UK ones are obviously different to the US letter size folders. I’ll try to post the specifics for the UK A4 size folders tomorrow, but honestly you may waste one folder having a play but you would soon quickly figure it out (the words “granny” and “suck eggs” spring to mind, but I am happy to save you even the one wasted folder if I can find time to do it)

All the papers are Cosmo Cricket and these are the Early Bird range.

Here is the cover:

and here are some inside shots:

I cut one of the 12×12 border strips (“Start the day with a song”) to fit – luckily the break between the words was just abut perfect for the size of the tags. I am planning to add a round pull tab to them, which only came to me as a good idea as I was photographing it LOL! It’s hard to see in the smallish photo but I used the great Fiskars ribbon slot punch to punch a border on the top of the fold up after I decorated it with patterned paper (the red&white dotty one) then threaded the ribbon thru. I made a small slit in the front and back covers too so the ribbon threaded thru that and became both the decorative element and the way to tie the booklet closed. The grid paper on the back is actually from a grid paper notebook (I got mine from the local Tiger shop but a £ store will have something similar I bet) lightly edged with Antique Linen Distress ink.

All in all a quick, satisfying project. I like that you can get a great look from the Cosmo Cricket papers and elements sheets without the need to add a lot of dimension. For things that you want to mail, that is a good thing!


WOYWW – on Wednesday!

Well, I finally managed it LOL!

Every week I miss posting WOYW on W but I was determined not to let another W slip by undocumented. Not a fun day as between the grocery shopping and a long drive to collect DD for an eye doctor appointment I will actually have little time to finish up my projects.

Let’s see – what can you see? The very dark project top left is the card keeper – I’ve made variations of this before, turning it into an “album” of sorts, with divider cards decorated and slipped inside, but I found this version which adds a little string to hold the accordions in place (much, much easier than my own version, although this has just a big open pocket in the middle rather than sub-divided sections) and will house a selection of cards {shudder} – yes, I will have to just bite the bullet and make some – as a Christmas gift. It went together fairly easily and seems relatively sturdy (especially as I added a strip of cardboard to the bottom, covered with cardstock.


You can see one of my experiments too, a double CD case box, made a while ago, that has stamps in it – part of my attempt to actually USE some of the many stamps I have but that tend t be the last thing I think of when scrapping or papercrafting. I can’t really recall how it differs from the standard CD case box but it worked.

The big pile of papers is something I am rather excited about – I have been longing for manila folders. They are abundant in the USA but seem to be rather hard to find here. Well, I went to Staples yesterday to get some envelopes and a new desk chair and found THESE:

They are much thinner in weight than manila folders, but with a couple of layers of cardstock and patterned paper covering them they are sturdy enough to turn into an album. Hopefully I’ll manage to finish it in the next day or so and can share. But I already have 10 ideas for these folder, at least, so I suspect I’ll be playing about with them for a while.

But first, I have to clear a place to work on that desk, which is going to take too long. I may just shift it all on to the floor and craft down there! So technically that will then make this a WOYFW post !