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Just a quick one today, but a long post tomorrow dealing with a comment from last week about sympathy cards.

There was an interesting post on Frugal Crafter about WHY you should clean up and organize your craft room.  It’s brief but worth a look.  Having spend some time finally sorting out my mountain of scraps, I can see the sense in what she says. What she doesn’t say is that for a time you will keep going back to where the stuff you want WAS until you re-set your brain map to remember where the stuff NOW IS.  But I do agree, a good ‘ole tidy up really can re-energize your crafting and def. bring to the front of your crafting mind stuff you forgot you had.

And just a super quick, super simple, but oh so cute idea for making your own Polaroid-style frame.  I always forget how cute photos look with the old style frame around them, but they do look sweet.

I like how Christine layered the frame OVER the already decorated page in her mini.

Have a great Sunday!



Went to my crop on Saturday, had a blast, as ever, but got not one iota of scrapping done.  I had something to work on that needed working out, but it took most of the day and sharing will have to wait.

But one of my crop mates asked my advice about a layout (well, to be honest I think it was suggested to her to ask me, and I heard the suggestion and rather forced my opinion on her LOL!)  And after commenting on a colour choice that I thought just looked wrong, and then agonizing for ages that I had seriously offended her by doing so, I spent some time trying to explain why it didn’t work for me, and what I thought she might do differently and why I thought THAT would work better. I usually don’t do that, fully aware that MY taste is not everyone’s taste, and recalling asking someone at a crop what they thought I should do with a particular photo, KNOWING the advice was HER style and not even remotely mine, feeling the pressure to take the advice, doing it, and hating the results, and still hating the layout every time I come across it in my album.  We joked quite a bit about the whole situation so I hope it’s all good and she isn’t feeling like I did all those years ago.

I also spent WA A A Y too much time fighting with that damn Do die (and oh at times I wished it WOULD die a horrible and painful death, mangled in any one of the cutting machines I used it in) but darn it I still like the font.

So, on the first I’ll say no more – as they say “what goes on at the crop stays at the crop!” I don’t even know if she makes a habit of reading my blog, but I do know some of the attendees do, so I’ll share this old project as a bit of a joke.  A little book from EONS ago sharing DSs love of orange and my loathing of it.

I still love the little pop-outs and looking back at it makes me want to do another one.

But not this week.  Taking some time to spend time with DD, who is finally out of school, taking in a movie with DS, getting them ready for a weekend at WOMAD, and attacking my box of scraps, which seems, entirely on it’s own mind you, to have morphed into a mountain of scraps, spilling out of the neat little bags and folders all OVER the floor.  You know it takes a lot for me to miss out on a WOYWW, but this week more pressing matters have been grabbing my attention.


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Sunday-someplace-else (silicone gel stamps)

I cam across this post and thought “what fun!”  – followed closely by “OMG! That would take ages!” but the image swayed me into thinking it would probably be a fairly unique stamp, perfectly suited to florals or other botanical images as she has used.

I love the look “inked” with paint and stamped.  So pretty!

I think the rough texture of the silicone looks just perfect for the flower. I think a trip to the DIY store may be in order!


The Star card

I managed to finish this yesterday – I do like it a lot.

I photographed it without all the added bits as it the def. destined for someone who reads my blog.  Can’t have the surprise spoiled, now can we?

Bits from the Que Sera, Sera paper pack that I just love.  Interestingly, the scallop is cut from a bit of Prima packaging (they have such pretty packaging, I use it for all sorts of things) that matched the paper nicely.


I will def. be making more of these.  I love the interactive element.  One caveat is I think it benefits from a day under a heavy book, because if you use heavy card it will want to pop open for a while. esp. if you add a lot of stuff to the middle!  But as mine has to go in the mail I kept the final greeting and the top decorations quite flat.  I’ll be sure to photograph it before I pop it in the mail so I can share it at a later date!

Now, I have confirmation I can get to my crop this Saturday so I really need to get some stuff to work on sorted!



Well, yesterday I got sidetracked from what I WAS working on (a card) by the arrival of the replacement die from DOCraft. So the card is still on my desk in bits:

The whole sad saga of the die that would not release the letters can be seen here.  Anyway, as soon as I opened the package I looked at the depth of the foam and I KNEW the replacement was no better than the original.  And it wasn’t. The letters were still wedged inside the die, tighter than a drum, and teasing them out with a pokey tool left them in a heck of a state.

BUT, I had a few suggestions from various people – first I tried Julia’s suggestion, via a comment on that post, to add a layer of tissue between the die and the paper – not much help, I’m sorry to say.  And I tried cutting multiple layers of paper,  as a few had suggested, but that just seemed to wedge the paper more deeply into the die.

So I thought, I don’t have any wax paper (another suggestions via UKScrappers) but maybe freezer paper, with the plastic coating would work – my thought was if the freezer paper got stuck inside the die part (Plastic coated side up) then the cut letters would slide off it. No. The freezer paper just fell out

So I thought what if I cut some foam? Maybe the foam would stay inside the die part? Or maybe if I cut the foam AND the paper at the same time it would work. It didn’t, but I did get perfectly cut, easy to remove foam Thicker-like letters. So adorable! Almost salvaged the die with that ability, even if I couldn’t use it for paper, which is why I bought it.

But then I saw some of my fun foam was sticky backed. And that was the ticket! I peeled off the backing sheet, stuck the sticky side of the foam to the existing foam and ran it thru the machine. ALL of it stuck down into the letters. THEN I cut, as normal, the cardstock.

OMG The letters almost fell out of the die!! Some of the edges are the TINIEST bit ragged (and I mean TINIEST bit) but I think with use they will cut better – the 2nd set is crisper than the first, so maybe as the foam sinks in and compresses it will work better.

Now I had 2 dies to play with, so I thought the unaltered one I would use for cutting foam but then I thought why not give the foam a go with the added-foam die? And guess what? That worked too!
So while I still think the die should have worked perfectly right out of the package, at least now I can make my own foam thickers AND can actually use the die for cardstock.  And I have to spare a little praise for the Do Craft customer service person who sent me the replacement (despite it being not their usual policy, which is take it back to the retailer) – it still didn’t work any better, but having the safety net of two allowed me to experiment and arrive at what I think is a workable solution to the product problem.

Do pop over to Julia’s STAMPING GROUND to see more creative and inspiring work than what’s on my desk this week.


Beautiful card

I was checking out the challenge over at the Stampotique site (flowers this week, any stamps) with an idea to setting aside my digital doings for a day or two, and I spied this card by Valerie – so, so pretty and such a clever interactive one.

I followed her link to this site and then watched the video – thank goodness it included English instructions! AND the original blog is translated.

I just love it and am determined to make one – and do another 4×6 Photo Love layout, if I can find photos in the right orientation.  With just a couple it’s easy to find two, three, or sometimes even four that are all landscape or all portrait, but to find five, six, MORE all the same way is tricky.  I have managed to cobble together a 4 x 6 grouping of photos, but that feels like cheating somehow.

Anyway, I’ve a few things that need sorting so it may be a while till I get around to this today but I will do it – I think I have just the paper scraps to make one.

Have a look – it really isn’t hard, and I figure I can make it and still have time to clean the house.  Here’s hoping…..


Designing digital paper

Oh I have been having so much fun!

I thought I would share one of my methods for making digital paper.  This is not on par with a proper digital designer’s work, but it works for me in terms of getting something I can use, that I like.  I use Photoshop Elements 6 (for the Mac) and most, if not all, of what I need is right in there.

First, I checked out the tutorial on 2Peas by Erica Hernandez.

Then, I went to Color Combo to find a color palette that I liked. I picked this pretty and fruity colour combo to play with:

I saved that image.  The image comes as a .png so handy for opening in PSE.

I opened PSE and created my blank file with a transparent background.  Since I am looking to make paper specifically for the iPad, I did it at 1024 x 768 and 160 dpi.  I made sure the grid was visible.

I also opened the small colour combo image – this will let me pick the colours for the paint bucket easily, without having to jot down the html colour codes.

I made a brush – I made mine about two of the little grid squares wide and the full height of the page.  I then did Edit > Define Brush from Selection.  PSE asks me to name my brush – I named it SIMPLELINE. Your brush will be the active brush when you select the brush tool.

Clicking the little brush in the Tool Options bar at the top will give you your brush options.  The only thing I changed was the SPACING – I made that 500%.  Why, you ask? Well, my colour combo has 5 colours.  I want to use what I learned in the tutorial, to create a full, evenly spaced line of stripes.  500% gives me 5 slots to fill – the first one with my chosen colour, then 4 empty slots for the 4 additional colours.  I’m sure there is some between way to explain this but my play shows me that you want the % to be the same as the number of colours you will use.

OK, so first I selected my starting colour as my foreground colour – with my brush I stamped that at the left edge. Then, as per the tutorial, I moved my brush to the right edge,  held down the SHIFT key and stamped again.

What you will see immediately is that it did not stamp all the way to the right edge.  Don’t worry about this.

Going back to my colour combo image, I changed the foreground colour to the next one – for me, the pink. Lining up the brush right at the edge of the first colour line, stamp, move to the right edge of the page, hold the shift and stamp again. You now have 2 lines of colour.  Simply repeat this process for all but the last colour. Depending on the size of your canvas/page, you may need to fill in a line  with a single brush stamp.  Just keep an eye on your pattern.

With the final colour, what you may find is that unless you were SUPER precise, the method you have been using won’t work perfectly – you may have a line of blank pixels between.   As you can maybe see I wasn’t precise, but it isn’t going to matter.  Trust me.

So for the last colour, create a NEW LAYER, fill it with the last colour, and put it under your striped layer.  This will fill in the empty spaces with your last colour in one step!

OK, now click LAYER > Merge Visible.

Next we are going to make it look a whole lot less flat. Find a free texture, or use a photo of a texture you took yourself.  I’ve had this one for a long time – so long I forget where I got it.  But any sort of paper texture will work. Open it and resize it if necessary so it is at least as big as your canvas. Drag it onto your stripey paper and then drag it below in your LAYERS window.

Click the BLENDING MODE drop down menu (where you see Normal above) – I changed it to LINEAR BURN but you can play around with the options to find one you like.

Just a word about the old paper – I would tend to use the paper with the sepia tone for papers with a warm colour cast, but change it to B&W for ones with cooler tones.  Just be on the paper layer, then click ENHANCE > CONVERT TO B&W and OK.  Just quickly, here is the difference:

Now that is a little too grungy, so be on your old paper layer and play around with the OPACITY slider, till you like it.  I took it down to about 53%.

MERGE VISIBLE again. That groups your old paper with your striped paper.

Now I ran the TEXTURIZER – click FILTER > Texturizer.  Canvas or Sandstone are my go-to textures.  You can play around with the sliders for scale and relief till you like it.

I watched this tutorial for inking edges.  I know this is MUCH easier in full Photoshop, but it works well enough in PSE this way.

Select the entire page. Now at the top, click SELECT > MODIFY > CONTRACT – I did 8 pixels. Now do the same but SELECT > FEATHER and I set mine to 10 pixels.  Now click SELECT > INVERSE.  This will select JUST the area from the edge of the page to the inner selection line.  For the next step you will be working JUST on this area so you can be reckless with your brush! I selected a colour, a sepia brown, and then picked my distressing brush.  I used DRY MEDIA BRUSHES #36 – Soft Oil Pastel.  As per the tutorial you are now going to pub this along the edge of the paper.  What I found was if I set the FEATHER to greater than the contracted selections (in this case 8 was the selection and 10 was the feather) the brushed on “ink” fades from the selection line to the feather line.  To me it looks better than a feather LESS than the contracted selection. If you REALLY want a great, varied inked edge, either do parts of it then change the contraction and the feather and fill in the uninked areas or change to a different brush.

Can you see the smeary edges?

And another note – look at the corners – see how they are rounded?  I suspect you can simply do these steps and delete the inverted selection to get a nice rounded corner piece of paper.

DESELECT and save your paper!


So there is my paper.  How ever did we manage without the internet and all the helpful people out there who share their knowledge?  A couple of tutorials, a few hours playing with PSE, and I made a paper that may not be perfect, but is miles away better than the usual flat lifeless ones I’ve made in the past.

Sorry to all the paper scrappers who visited me today – this may bore you to tears but I was so excited to learn something new I had to share. And if you are a digi person – please tell me where I have gone badly wrong with this, or if there is a way to do it better or easier.

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Sunday-someplace-else (digi tutorials)

As you may know, my DH is an app developer.  He’s been working on a few major things (not that you are likely to see his name associated with them) and one of them required my help.  It isn’t scrapbooking but shares elements with it in the sense that the “art” is scrap-like, if that makes sense.

So while I am not a digital scrapper, although I have made digital layouts – at best I am a hybrid scrapper, using digital bits and techniques on my paper pages – I needed to figure out how to do a few things.  And I decided that, given how old my full Photoshop version is, I needed to do so in PSE, which is pretty up to date.  And quite annoyingly in order to access my full font library in  my old PS7 I have to disable 1000s of font to get past about H as the version I have, for whatever reason, will only load something like 400 fonts and I have like 5000. So I went looking for tutorials for PSE.  Now, there are LOTS of tuts for digital SCRAPPING (ie how to construct a page, how to use a template) there is precious little for making digital elements from scratch – and that was what I was looking for.  I was particularly confuddled by making a scallop.  Brushes are not something I ever really used, but it turns out they are the magic key to making a perfectly lined up row of circles (or squares on point to create a ric rak like line) and it takes seconds.

A couple of the best, clearest tutorials I found are here:

I am stunned it is so amazingly simple.

I also found the inked-edges tutorial helpful,  although I did have to follow a few links to find a PSE version on YouTube. This post on 2Peas was a great one for learning how to use brushes to create digital papers!

I have been collecting these links for digi-stuff, and learning lots to create bits and bobs.  I need to now figure out how to bring my newly-found knowledge to my regular paper scrapping.  And it has certainly given me an increased respect for the digi-designers who make kit after kit.  I’m sure that there is a method to save elements that you can then alter and re-use (like a standard scallop) but I’m just not that organized yet.  While I still maintain I am unlikely to abandon my paper and glue for a fully digital life, I do see the appeal and enjoy the process.


Concertina revisited

OK I’ve managed to do a PDF for the concertina album, using the old photos from the You Tube video.  I did my sidebar links in a weird way so I have to sort out if I can move the one there to the PDF section and then have an odd number of images (not sure about the HTML table with uneven rows) or if I need to add something that I didn’t think worth featuring when sorting the sidebar.

And I had said I had an idea for one with larger pages, but never made it.  Well, I did yesterday.  It was a bit of a struggle getting it to work out, figuring where the cuts went, then getting it slotted together (which was a LOT more difficult than the original – a trade off in that the original has very thin pages for the photos, unless you split them down the middle, but the bigger page on is a bear to assemble) but I love how it looks.

Here it is  – I still love Basic Grey and Lime Rickey has to be one of my faves.

You’ll notice that I made use of the printed sheet that displays the kit contents on the cover, and on some of the tabs. A great solution for using a lot of the patterns without cutting into a 12×12 sheet.

The “pages” take 3 x 6 photos and I like the bigger size.  Like the original, you have to pick it up and turn your head left and right to glimpse the photos clearly and the pages don’t so much turn as fan out. Which doesn’t bother me at all.

I organized it so all the left pages are DD and all the right ones are DS.  The song lyrics are printed on both sides of the tab.  It was a perfect choice for a lot of not great, face-making or goofy expression photos that I unearthed while sorting for the 4×6 Photo Love class I have mentioned a gazillion times in the past week LOL!

The spine, even though the pages are all identical in size, and the slits exactly measured and all the same, seems to result in back accordions that alternate slightly larger, slightly smaller.  No idea why.

You can sort of see that this way.  Actually, with 3×6 photo in landscape, this would be a cute way to display it, all fanned out.  But oh, the dust that would collect in it would be a nightmare.  I mean, I hate dusting on a good day, those surfaces I have to dust –  I don’t really think I want to add dusting the pages of a mini book in to that as well.

I did photo the process, but to be honest I’m just not sure if the end result is anything more than a novelty.  Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but I just don’t know how many people would bother.  It really is more about the photos, as you can’t really embellish inside. For so many people, minis are all about the cute. They are about embellished pages, lots of stuff, and the photos become almost an afterthought.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done that too, but now, more often the embellishments take a back seat to the photos.  Other than the cover, there are no embellishments other than the colourful tabs.

Which brings me to a question – I’m American, although we have lived here for 17 of the last 20 years. The lyrics are COLOR, in the American way.  But I spelled it COLOUR, because that is how I write it NOW so Brits don’t think I just can’t spell, or am lazy, and my kids spell it that way, so it makes sense.  So, true to how it is spelled, or true to how your viewers would spell?

In any case, here is the PDF for the original concertina. I’ll have a think and decide if doing one for this version is worth the time.



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Another layout

Not quite done with the PDF, but hopefully today.  Here is another layout – this one is from 4×6 Photo love and is the February sketch.  I am imposing a few rules for myself – first, obviously, 4 x 6 photos no cropping if I can help it.  Next, where possible, I have to use scraps, other than the background.  Next, if possible, I need to use a stamp, old supplies, and finally I need to try to use my handwriting.

This ticks all the boxes LOL!

The paper is leftover from a magazine article, all still in a bag, and I think it was the bits for the step-by-step photos.  The ribbon and the star paper I have had for yonks.  The stamp is … maybe Fancy Pants?  The tile letters I brought over with me, so at least 10 years old.  Astonishing that I actually had all the letters needed to spell the word I wanted!  The red chipboard I bought when Scrapmagic was closing and I think I used maybe two or three of them. I am trying to absorb the commentary as well, when watching the 4×6 videos – While I feel I know, more or less, how to balance  layout, I appreciate the reason why I would choose to put something in a certain place, and the explanations Shim offers, about intersecting papers, reading in a Z,  blah, blah, blah, makes sense of some of the things am aware of, from reading about scrapping for years, but that I do almost without thinking.  This will all help me with future layouts  – it’ll be interesting to look at the layout at the end (or perhaps before I commit to it, before I stick it all down) to check and see if I’ve taken everything in to consideration.  Sometimes, I do like to fly in the face of known design principles, and sometimes it even works, but overall the basics of placement and grouping things, and Zs and triangles are all things that I am glad to be reminded of, especially as I have been scrapping so little.  My mojo isn’t gone so much as a little rusty from disuse.

Now I really must wrap up the PDF and finish the other version of the concertina, do something for DH (which is a little bit crafty and computer-y) and a few other things.