500th post

I mentioned in my WOYWW post this week that I thought my 500th post should be epic.  This probably isn’t {grin} but I did think I might take the time to go back and mention a few posts that stick in my mind, for whatever reason.  That is partly because the thing I am working on, that I hoped I might share for my 500th post, is all over the desk and floor at the moment.  It’s only “epic” in the sense that it is turning into much more than I thought it would be.  I suspect not too may people will look at it and say Hey!  I’ll do that! because frankly I’m only maybe 1/3 of the way done and I am losing the will to live.  There are other versions of this type of project that will take far less time.  But I am stubborn – having had the idea I feel like I really need to see it thru to completion.  My goal is to finish it by next WOYWW but we’ll see.  I may hate it in the end, or feel it doesn’t do the job  as elegantly as some similar things.

Is that cryptic enough? LOL!

My first blog post on 16/10/2009 was just a bit before Scrapbook Inspirations ceased publication.  We knew it was coming but the formal announcement hadn’t been made.  I’m not sure I would have begun blogging had that not happened.  I liked the writing about my projects, and the sharing, and wanted someplace that was uniquely my own where I could share them in whatever format I chose.

The first real post was about a bit of software I used to create this layout with a mosaic of one of our Christmas ornaments using photos from my iPhoto gallery.

I still like it a lot and the post has links to the freebie software if you fancy giving it a go. Mine is a Mac version but there is a PC version linked too.

Seems at first I did smaller photos and added titles.  I gave that up pretty quick LOL!

My review of my blog littered with things I said I was going to do then didn’t for whatever reason. This photo has appeared more than once, I think, where I threatened to scrap it.  The layout is still awaiting my attention.  Maybe some day.  Maybe not, but I refuse to stress about it. I still miss that mouse, as I had to replace mine recently, went looking for the same brand and find they no longer make them.  Poo.

One happy result of having a blog is my sister reads it, and often emails or calls me after a post.  She had a lot to say about my use of what she calls “the creepy people” and what you and I know as the Stampotique range.  I still love them but my recent re-connection with all things scrappy has moved me away from cards so I don’t find the time for the challenges at the Designer’s blog so much anymore.  I really must go back to that as I found it quite fun, and….well, challenging LOL! This was one of my favourite projects using the stamps:

I did a YouTube slideshow of more of my favourite projects (and the music is loud so be warned)

This is a card that I made for one of the challenges, still one of my all time favourites, and in response to her comment about the fact I never use cute images.  Somehow, I now this wasn’t what she expected.  I find all the no-mouth “cute” stamps as creepy as she finds the Stampotique ones. We agree to  disagree on that.

My first WOYWW post, that I actually managed to post on a Wednesday, was in November of 2009.  I still do that and really enjoy looking at what everyone is working on each week – I like a lot less the fact that I seem to have to hop around from device to device, to comment.  And often I find my comments won’t post no matter what I do.  Annoying.

And on the subject of annoying, I occasionally get the odd comment that gets my back up.  The one in this post asking if I was perhaps inspired by another scrapper (who is one I admire – she does lovely work) sent me into a fit of dithering – should I delete it?  Should I comment?  In the end I did comment, because I knew that the commenter simply didn’t actually look at the dates of my post or video to see that I had posted more than a year before the person she seemed to be implying I had copied.  But if she did that, then others might too.  Better to comment and draw a line.

I did my first YouTube video about 6 months before I started blogging – and I say video, using the term very loosely, as I don’t have a video camera I like using so mine are more like slightly animated slide shows.  That prompted me to make accompanying PDFs for some of my projects, because slide shows don’t allow all the detail needed for a complicated project, unless you have screen after screen of explanatory text.  I did this for SI, so not sure if I ever actually had the video on here.  The original has something like 39,000 hits, but I think the redo, with a newer version of iMovie and at a higher resolution, is clearer

I struggled with sorting out how to use the WordPress-hosted blog format and sidebar widgets to be able to add little photos and links to my various projects.  Lordy that was a challenge and it may not be hugely elegant, but it seems to work.  Someday I’ll maybe move to a self-hosted blog and have more freedom to organize things how I want..

The first digital element  I shared, a Bingo card that I made for use on an SI layout, was alos in 2009.  I think it turned out OK, and I have used it many times, just changing the word at the top. I’ve done a lot more printable elements since then and I hope they are getting better and more usable the more practice I get. This post, on the virtues of hybrid scrapping, is one of my favourites and the layout made using my own printables is another favourite.

If there is ONE post that I am perhaps best known for, it would have to be the Faux Baker’s Twine post.  OMG.  That has been linked all over the place and I still get hits virtually every day on that post.   I remember, at the time, that I thought it was one of my more “throwaway” posts.  I was sitting at my desk, working on a layout, and I wanted some Baker’s twine to add thru a button.  I didn’t have any.  I was looking at some on a UK site (one where the twine was not cotton and had food starch added to it) and the idea for how to make my own just came to me.  Literally it was 20 minutes from idea to loading the video.  I have some real twine now, but I still make my own because I never seem to have JUST the right colour and it takes seconds to make a yard or two and costs me nothing.

So there you have it.  A handful of some of my favourite stuff over the last two years of blogging and 500 posts.  How long will I last?  I don’t know.  But as Bill Hicks said:

It’s just a ride.

and for now I am enjoying the ride.  If I stop enjoying it, it’ll be time to get off.

Have a great day!  (said in my perkiest  American accent) – I have crop pot luck cooking and packing still to do….


WOYWW 121 – crop prep

WOYWW 121 and my 499th post.

Quite excited that we have come around to another 12 hour crop on Saturday. I always enjoy the extended time but I have to be very prepared or I will run out of things to do! So the mess on my desk is a mass of photos, some pre-prepared paper packs that I hope will go with those photos, and the remnants of the hybrid bits from yesterday. My crop bag is just there, to the right – note it says “my bag” on it LOL! Did you read Julia’s post on the Clearly Better stamp pads?  I am hoping I can give Shopkeeper Gal a call and see about getting one, and the shop is often a crop outing.

Life has been ever so chaotic lately – I thought things would settle down a bit with DS gone but it really hasn’t.  My WOYWW post have not been exactly inspiring – week after week it’s just mess and chaos and nothing really interesting.

It would have been nice had I found time to post one of the two weekend days as then this post would actually have been my 500th blog post. When I started blogging, after avoiding it for so long, it was only because the magazine had ceased publication and I knew I would miss the writing about my projects, so I though Why not? I have to admit I rather enjoy doing it (and my sister loves it – a good post often prompts a phone call so that is a real win for me!) but lately it feels like I am not making the time to just PLAY at my desk.  Seems there is always something that needs doing.  Also, I seem to be more focused on scrapbooking, rather than cards or smaller projects and technique-based play.  Plus the hybrid elements, which I quite enjoy making (and as I always make ones that I have a plan for, even if that plan may take longer to execute than I hope) those bits are appearing on my pages often.  Which I really like.

You may note I added links to my best hybrid printables in the sidebar.  I thought it would be best to make them easy to find.  Some of them are straight printables, and some also have a digital set, but I do need to be more consistent in how I do them.  Like the phones from yesterday – filling all the bits with white to make sure they were usable as a digi- set was something I almost forgot to do.  But I’m learning.

I did a little YouTube video that is an overview of some of my hybrid/printable bits, which I will post perhaps tomorrow, although it may all be stuff my regular WOYWW viewers will have seen.  Or maybe not – as it WILL be my 500th post I sort of feel I should do something more … epic.  Or maybe I’ll just carry on with the crop prep.  Only tomorrow will tell.


Do you say cell phone or mobile?

I sometimes get very confused.  The whole US English v UK English gets me in trouble (don’t get me started on the whole being in the line at Staples US and DS, at about 5 yo, asking about “rubbers” when he really meant “erasers.”)  I remember back a few years when my UKscrappers would bemoan the lack of MUM v MOM embellies, FALL v Autumn and the use of an American football v a soccer ball.  I sometimes find myself paralysed by indecision, knowing the thing I want to say but getting caught in my head going back and forth between one and the other.  CELL Phone v MOBILE is a classic example.

Now DS is far, far away, we find ourselves texting or Skype-ing more than proper phone calls.  Often they are more quick, practical conversations or text exchanges (Mom, do I have to split the laundry into whites and colours? Can I scramble eggs with burger meat and do I have to cook the burger meat first?) If we all had iPhone4s we would be doing Face Time calls, I’m sure, and the phone would be pointed at the stove rather than my face. This change from our usual around-the-dinner-table conversations every night seems worth documenting.

I wanted some sort of phone related embellies but most of what I find tends to be more the vintage phone and I really needed something modern.  I found this dingbat font that seems to be, from the T&C,  unrestricted other than selling it as a font, so I think I can share.

It’s as an A4 pdf (which will give you NEARLY a 12″ strip but not quite) or as a 12 ” .png.  The border strip has a white background and the little phones are all filled with white too so you can use them digitally.  The black lines are only there to define the area, because of how the program I use saves empty space. If you have a large format printer and can print “borderless” you should be able to print the .png to get a full 12″ strip but if you can’t do borderless printing, it will likely force a margin and still give you less that the full print. If you use the strip of just phones, you can see they fill the 12″ page better.

The smaller circles punch with a white border using the 1 1/4″ diameter punch (mine does not have the “punch size” on it but it’s the one used to perfectly fit the standard metal edged tags) and the bigger ones punch just at the edge of the black border.  You can edge the smaller ones with a black marker, if the white border annoys you.

Grab the PDF here or the .png here. Hope you find them useful.


Stationery Box video

I’m not 100% happy with this, as I had some camera trouble (who am I kidding?  I shifted the setting wheel accidentally so totally my fault!) and some of the shots were too blurry to be useful so I had to do more explaining text-wise than I had planned.  But I hope it is clear enough to follow.  I want to make another one as a gift and when I do I’ll try to take some better photos and do a PDF.  But overall it’s not a difficult project and I think it makes up quite cute.

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Last of the crop layouts

Our little car packed to the gills, no room for DD and I, sadly, so Dad and DS off to Uni.  What a wrench that was.  I find myself missing him a little more every day.  Too much stuff that we would shared over dinner that I have to save up for an email or Skype call.  But really, the shopping is cheaper, the house is cleaner, and quieter, and that goes a little way to off-setting the huge gaping boy-shaped hole in our family.

A mix of old and new papers and embellishments.  And now, looking forward to the next crop so I can get a few more pages done – although having said that, I may miss it if we decide to pop up to Scotland and see DS for the weekend, accompanying DH to a conference that is close enough to make it worthwhile.  We shall see.



The Advanced Tape Glider (ATG)

I’ve had an ATG for a couple of years now – the old ATG 700 that takes 1/2″ tape.  I remember when I first got it I went looking for a UK supplier for the Gold tapes (the ones they sell in the USA that are acid-free for scrapbooking)  and couldn’t find them anywhere.  I eventually emailed 3M UK to ask where I might find them and was told they did not sell them in the UK and had no plans to do so at that time.  So I went on the hunt for an alternative.  I found the 1/2″ ones sold by Viking that are both acid free and UV safe and as they are very cheap if you buy 10 or more, I’ve used them since.

The Viking tapes have issues, to be honest.  The tape sometimes clings to the backing so strongly it never actually fully attached to the paper or card or it gripped just enough to rip the paper.  Sometimes it won’t break cleanly.  It sometimes makes the paper curl – the tape stretches as you apply it then curls the paper as it contracts once you break it.  As with most things, you get what you pay for, and while the tape is cheaper, and fine for certain things (I think it’s great for attaching things to chipboard, like covers of minibooks, and for attaching multiple pages to a spine, like for the pull-out pages on the Kennedy book) there have been many times when I’ve wished for better tape.

As you can see, size-wise, there is no difference between the guns themselves (and ignore the red handle of  my old ATG – I got some alcohol ink on it and couldn’t find my blending solution so thought I’d cover the whole thing, then, well, didn’t) but you can see the tape size difference clearly.

I have to say the pink holds absolutely ZERO appeal for me.  I’d prefer a nice soft celery green to be honest.  They still print the handy directional arrows right on the inside so you know exactly how to load a new roll.  The tape holder seems an improvement.  The tape is held very securely and keeps it’s place on the roller much better than my old ATG, the loading is easier (but that may be due to using the proper 3M tapes)  and the tape goes on in a very straight line, rather than veering all over the place.  The tape gives a thin but strong application, rather than the thick, filament weave of the non-3M tape. It’s well named, as the tape really does  glide on.  It’s something you can feel, like rolling a smooth ball on a table, rather than a tennis ball over Velcro.  The tape breaks off easily and in making a project that required a LOT of tape being applied (I wanted something that would really put the gun through it’s paces and this fit the bill) I didn’t once have the tape stick to the backing paper or go off course.

I’ve used little tape runners before and while I like them for tiny areas (because you can really see where you are applying the adhesive) I get frustrated with how quickly they seem to run out.  I used less than 1/4 roll of the ATG tape on this project and I reckon I would have exhausted at least 2 tape runners on it, maybe more.

The dark greens in the photo are way less muddy in real life, I promise!  It’s all vintage Club Scrap so it really does go together, no mater what the picture shows. But the point is it was a LOT of sticking – A LOT.  And my wrist didn’t ache when I finished from the pulling-back motion required to break the non-3M tape.

The tape actually work fairly well on the vellum, with barely any adhesive showing, although to be fair it was patterned vellum over patterned paper. For very sheer vellum I might still go back to my roll of 3M vellum adhesive.

I did love my ATG 700, despite the issues mentioned, don’t get me wrong.  Had I not gotten this one to review, I imagine I would have happily used it for a long time to come, none the wiser.  But now, having used this version and despite the pink colour, I think I will reach for it first, going back to my old one and thicker tapes only for certain things.

I had to go have a look at the 3M site.  The  tape rolls WERE on sale when I posted the link yesterday but they are now out of stock.  Typical.  I didn’t get around to ordering them myself  so perhaps shot myself in the foot there.  <sigh> The kit (which is one gun and two rolls of tape) is still available here.


WOYWW 120 – chaos, as usual

Ladies, start your crafting engines, it’s time for WOYWW!

I have been sent an Advanced Tape Glider by 3M to review.  Wait a second… Advanced Tape Glider? Yep.  A bright pink ATG.  I thought before I can review it with any sort of accuracy, I’d better put it through it’s paces, so the mess on my desk is a project designed to do just that.  I have to say, so far, I am loving the thinner tape (I could never get my 1/4′” tape adaptor to work properly in my original ATG 700) but a more detailed examination will follow once I finish.  I’m still at the measuring and making from plain (cheap) white card at the moment but you may just glimpse another of my (ahem) vintage Club Scrap kits there on my desk (dated 2003!) I think it will be perfect for this.

You can see my little scrap strip of measurement notations and the number of pieces of each needed.  I must then consider how to get what I want from the least number of 12 x 12 scrapbook cardstock, and work out the slightly smaller measurements for the decorative pieces.  I’m sure it’s all looking a little confusing at the moment, but I am ever hopeful it will all come together in the end.

And YOWZA!  If you are not a UKS member you may have missed the big announcement there yesterday of a BRAND NEW SCRAPBOOKING MAGAZINE publishing soon (and sneaky peeks to be at Ally Pally, stand 63, if you are going)  As it is by the team at Traplet who do Craft Stamper I am doing the happy dance for sure – I love Craft Stamper, and it’s arrival on my doormat is cause for celebration every month.  So this is something I am looking forward to A LOT.  Julia will smile, as we were just bemoaning the lack of home grown scrapbooking mags at Ludgershall (where she had dragged out old issues of Scrapbook Inspirations to flick through) so I know this will please her and the other crop ladies as well. AND there is the option to get it digitally, so fab for non-UK scrappers.

The mag has a site and there are clicks there to the blog, Facebook and twitter. Although the little pictures are only those “here’s a corner of a much bigger piece” ones, the projects look lush.

Now, off to check out WOYWW desks and work on the project.  I’ll hope to share it soon, unless it all goes t*ts up…..a distinct possibility with me!

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Another layout

Still working on recent photos, such a pleasure to do that.  While I love looking back and getting some old ones out of the boxes and into the albums, I like capturing current thoughts while they are still so fresh in my mind.  This on is of the last-minute quilt I made for DS to take to Uni.  I’ve had a load of outgrown tee-shirts put by for ages, after I saw a twee-shirt quilt online a few years back.  I had gotten 90% done with a quilt previously but my colour-blind son declared it “too colourful” so I set it aside.

Shame, as I love the material (which is quite soft but slightly textured and indeed quite colourful and completely sourced from Granny’s fabric stash on a trip back to visit) so I imagine I’ll finish it at some point when I find the time.  Having machine quilted the tee-shirt one I now feel more confident about that – I only hand quilted before doing that one.

Anyway, I managed to snap a couple of photos before packing it off with him and a shot (mercifully small) of the chaos left behind – which I hasten to add has now been cleaned up!

He declared it fabulous, and was happy to see some of his favourite shirts in there, wondering if some of them might be re-ordered in a larger size.  I feel I need to add the odd button on the left near the bracket and one or two at the bottom near the dotty paper, so might manage that in the next day or so – but I have a mate coming for lunch so I must get a move on!

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Crop layout

I managed to sort out three crop kits for the Saturday crop and finished them all with time to spare.  I had such a clear vision of where I wanted them to go it all just flowed nicely.  wish every crop was like that!

For the first time in a long time I scrapped current photos.  All these were from the last week.  As they were not old already printed photos, I wasn’t limited to the strict 4 x 6 dimensions of those.  My digital camera photos naturally show as 4.5 x 6, which is slightly annoying as the photo paper I use for my dye-sub printer is 6 x 8 – for 4×6 photos that gives me two on a sheet, but in the 4.5 x 6 size I either have to crop them by 1/2 inch or change the dimensions to 4 x 5.33 (or something like that, I forget the exact size) which I don’t like.  Or make them much smaller, usually balanced out with one or two larger ones.

for this one, one of the photos is the full size and the other is cropped a bit smaller, which works for the layout, I think.

The banners are the ones I posted a bit back, that I made as journaling spots, I just printed them smaller to fit the space – one of the things I really like about hybrid elements.  You can’t really reduce the proportions of a bought journaling spot to make it fit your needs!

The layout is about DH trying to get home – the pointing finger shows his car, stuck in a line of traffic unable to pass the Chinook as it goes thru its safety procedures before taking off after an emergency landing in the field just out back of the house. I took the photos over the back fence.

I’m warming up to the whole hand-written journaling idea, clearly, as I haven’t done computer journaling now in ages.

A few more to come ….

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Sunday-someplace-else (

Even with the Google translation on, I feel a bit adrift with the text but the photos… Oh! the photos…. all I can say is this scrapper/photographer, Lene, does the lovliest work.  The samples on her blog are truly a feast for the eye.  If you like the layered, embellished, dimensional sort of page, this one is one you will bookmark.  Here is one of her recent layouts to tempt you.

Do check her out.  I think you will like what you see!