WOYWW 124 – more calendar play

My desk is not a mess today – how refreshing!  But if you want to see shots of chaos, WOYWW is a really good bet! Sometimes there is huge amounts of inspiration on those messy desks.

The last couple of days I’ve had posts about my 2012 calendar making.  I’ve gone in a different direction for the one I am working on today and I thought it might be of interest, rather than show just a shot of my desk, to show what I am doing and the goal.

I printed my calendar PDFs and sliced them into month blocks.  This highlighted a problem I will hope to correct – because September and December have 5 weeks, those blocks are just that little bit too big, so too close to the surrounding ones to cut to the same size as the 4-week months. I’ll have to re-do the PDFs for you, perhaps with thin pale lines or a grid, so you can see how to cut them easily.  But on to the project.

To repeat, I sliced up the months into uniform (more or less) blocks.

Using one of my handy dandy tools (simple clothes pegs) I clamped them together in a stack.  Because of the size issues I mentioned, a couple of them were a bit longer, but that isn’t a huge issue.  What’s important is that the top edge is perfectly aligned.

Get a little dab of glue and a popsicle stick.  Carefully and neatly smear a line of glue JUST on the top edge.  Not too thin, not too thick, not onto the front face, less of an issue if you get a bit on the back.

Let this dry overnight.  Once the glue is dry, you will have a neat little tear-off calendar pad, and a much nicer one that the little ones you can buy.

This can then be used in a number of ways.  I’m going to stick it to a Nestie cut shape, covering a piece of thin chipboard, and add a magnet to the back.  The extra space on the Nestie base can be decorated prettily or have a photo added.  My fridge is not clad, so the magnet will allow the calendar to stick to it.

But you could easily add a wedge to the back and turn it into a free-standing calendar, or cut two, trim the bottom edges flat, put a brad or an eyelet or just stick the top edges together (or even cut the Nestie shape from a folded piece of cardstock) and make it like a top-fold card, so it stands up that way.  Lots of possibilities!

While my glue is drying I’ll be popping around to see what you are up to 🙂

Happy WOYWW!


Calendar PDFs for you

After spending the morning at DDs Harvest Festival, I’ve been dithering about whether or not these are useful to make available, and how best to do so.  In the end I decided I might as well, and to do them as a PDF.

Don’t grab the above image!  It’s poor quality, only there to show you what the PDFs look like to help you decide if you want it.  I chose this method so you can print them, then cut out the calendar months and stick them onto any sort of sheet size that fits your needs.  Or you could mark and move the months on to another sheet (two to a sheet) and print them then trim them to size.  That seems better than doing them as multiple sheets to just print.  I designed them to be used with a standard CD case as a stand.

Hopefully they will be useful for someone.  I have to say I am loving how the calendar looks, so stark and simple, with just the different stamped swirls at the top of each month, but I may do something a little different as an experiment.

So, grab January to June here and July to December here.


CD calendar – creating the date grid easily

It’s that time of year, when I start thinking about making a calendar for next year.  Prompted by a post on UKScrappers, I went looking.  There are a lot calendar grids out there that you can print but they either use a font I’m not crazy about or have grid lines, which isn’t what I’m looking for.  There are also lots of digital scrapbooking versions or ones that are designed with the decorative elements included.  Pretty though they may be, I always fancy my version and bringing my style to my calendar each year.

I decided to have a bash at making my own.  I had a look, and found a 2012 calendar.  as I looked at it there were a few things that I noticed.  Firstly, it’s  a leap year.  So things will be slightly different for most other years.  But one thing will always remain the same:  there will only be seven vertical strips of numbers.  Next, for every year, every month, 1 will be followed by 8, followed by 15, followed by 22 followed by 29.  And 2 will be followed by 9, by 16, by 23, by 30.  The DAY which each of those dates fall will vary, so the first of the month can be any DAY, but the vertical strip will always be the same.

I was thinking it would be a huge pain to create the grid for each month, but once I realize I really only needed 7 strips of numbers it became a whole lot easier – and faster! And even better, at least for this year, there are many months that duplicate (with the subtraction of a day or two) so once you create a month, you may only need to delete a day or two to get another month with virtually no effort at all.

So I thought you might be interested in my workflow.  Now, I’m sure there will be Photoshop gurus out there who have an easier way to do this (possibly with Snap to Grid but that would only align the left or the right edged of the text box, not line up along the center point) but this works for me and I thought it was pretty fast.

and lots of people will look at all that follows and go GAK!  That is a lot of work! I’ll be happy to download one, thank you and that’s fine.  I know this level of effort is totally not to everyone’s taste, but I enjoy the working-it-out bit.

First pick a font, a size, and a colour and set this info in the first text box – every future text box will repeat the same info so you know all your numbers will be the same size and colour.  The size fo the font will determine how big your month block will be so you may need to mess about with this to get it to just the right size for your project.

Step one: create a text box.  This should not be huge.  You want it to be just wide enough and just tall enough to accommodate your font.  This text box will determine the spaces between the days and between the rows.  Every text box has to be identical for this to work so…

Step two: duplicate the layer.  You need a total of 7 layers, all identical in size.

Step three: add your numbers for the first vertical strip, and here is the full list, because you will eventually do a vertical strip for each:

1  8  15  22  29          4  11  18  25          7  14  21  28

2  9  16  23 30          5  12  19  26

3  10  17  24  31         6  13  20  27

Loosely line these up vertically then select all the layers.

Step four: With all 7 layers selected, and on the MOVE tool, click ALIGN >Horizontal center.  This will line up all seven layers in a row thru the center point of the text box.

Step five: With the layers all still selected, click DISTRIBUTE > Vertical center  This will distribute all the text boxes evenly thru the center point of the text box.

You can see how each step changes the layers here:

DO NOT merge these – you can use these strips year after year, simply changing the font.

So you see you have a perfectly aligned grouping.  In this case the text boxes are actually a little bigger than they need to be so you can see it clearly.  You may need to experiment with this, depending on the final size you want your calendar to be.

Step six: change the numbers so you have a perfectly aligned vertical strip for each of the “weeks”- I usually make each strip seven layers, leaving the text box with a O in it for the weeks with only 4 numbers. ALIGN and DISTRIBUTE are best used always with the same number of “cells.” I usually select the seven layers and duplicate all seven in a single step, then change the numbers, Align and Distribute.

Now you need to do another set of 7 layers for the line of Days (ie Sunday, Monday, etc.) To keep the text boxes the same size I do the 2-letter abbreviations.

Step seven:  Once you have the seven days laid out, select all those layers.  Align them BOTTOM or TOP Edge, as you prefer.  The Distribute > Horizontal Center.  This will give you a horizontal row of perfectly aligned and spaced day abbreviations.

OK.  So now you have all your strips, I would save this with a title like CALENDAR MASTER because this will be what you go back to every year.

Phew.  Still with me?

Right.  Now you want to create each month of the year.

Step one: Open a new file of the size you want your month.  Center a text box for the month and type that.

Step two: Select the day row and drag this into your new file – I’m assuming you can drag layers between open files on a PC?  OMG!  I hope so. If not get them from one file to another however you usually do that. This dragged selection will be grouped so you can move it in to place.  Center it under the month name.

Save this – call it something like Calendar Months.

Step three:  This is the cool bit.  In your master file, you can align each vertical strip under the day abbreviation.  Now you have a block of perfectly aligned and distributed info.  Looking at an online calendar image for the year, you can now select JUST THE DATE blocks and drag them as a complete unit into your month file.  So January is easy for 2012 – the 1st is on a Sunday and it has all 31 days.  Just drag the whole block over, center the dates under the day strip and delete any of the O cells.  January is done. Save it, as something like  January2012. Don’t close this, or merge it.  Edit the Month to JULY and Save As July2012 – the months are identical. Now, edit this again, deleting the 31st, changing the month to April, and Save As April2012.  You now have three months completed! For February, drag the strip block that includes the rows beginning with 1, 2, 3, and 4 and drag as a group and center under Wednesday  Thursday Friday Saturday.  Then select the rows 5, 6, and 7 and drag those as a block and center under Sunday Monday Tuesday, lined up so the numbers read correctly (ie 7 leads to 8, 14 to 15, etc.  Because the layers are all aligned and distributed the lining up of just two blocks is going to be easy peasy.

Here is the 2012 info in the order you want to do it,  so you are only deleting, not adding.

Save January. Change title to July and Save As July. Delete 31st, change title to April and Save As April

Save August. Delete 30 and 31, change title to February, Save As February

Save March. Delete 31, change title to November, Save As November

Save December. Delete 31, change title to September, Save As September.

So with only four changes to the Calendar Month file, you have saved NINE months.

Save March. Delete 31, change to November, Save As November

You will now need to the the final few months and save them. When you are done you will have three major bits – your CALENDAR MASTER.  From now on in, you can simply change the font and colour and size, if you want, for each cell, keeping them in line and create a totally different calendar for any other year.  I wish I could figure out how to change the font in a selection of layers all at the same time, but I need to have a play and see if that is even possible.  If you think you will use the same font every year, I suppose you could merge groups of layers and just have the seven vertical strips and the horizontal row of day names.  Then you could only change the font for the MONTH each year and leave the day strips the same.  That would be faster and easier.

What *I* did with them?  I printed them two to an A4 sheet of cardstock, then trimmed them to fit a CD case.  I stamped a pretty swirl in different colours at the top of each month and that will be my desk calendar for 2012.

and inside the CD case:

Simple, pretty and not as labour intensive as you might think from all the text.  Once you create the strips, the rest of it goes pretty fast.

I know this is crazy long and would benefit from lots more photos but I just didn’t capture the info as I was working thru it.  I may take the time to do a PDF with Photoshop screen shots but honestly?  I am just not sure there are enough people out there who would actually DO THIS to make it worth while.  If if they WOULD do it, they probably have a better way.  But maybe there is something in here that will make whatever your process is a bit easier. And because I may forget what I did in a year, it helps me to document it.  If you read this whole thing?  I applaud you!

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Sunday-Someplace-Else (Paper Valise)

I stumbles across this website, as you do, and found a lot on interesting goodies.  Not much is free but that doesn’t bother me. I am always willing to pay for quality items.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a freebie, I do, but if I love something I’m not going to let the fact it costs stop me.  But the link goes to a page for making, with some cute tutorials/ideas.  What a simple idea to turn a round cupcake holder into a square one?

And how cute is this little framed piece with its origami Hawaiian shirt banner? completely adorable. I really like how the tag is resting on the straight pins – I’m sure it must be stuck along the bottom edge at the back as well, but it looks very sweet with that tiny added detail, don’tcha think?

And because it’s getting to be that time of year, an adorable, easy and frugal scrap-o-felt tree.

I think you will enjoy a browse of the blog – I know I did – and there are a few items in the shop I covet.  Have fun on this sunny Sunday (at least it’s sunny here!)


Handmade for you – printables

It’s been a while since I’ve done a set of printables (mostly due to the colour issues I was having) but this is a set I started working on a while back then dropped.  I always intended to finish them off and now I have!

One of the things that annoys me with circles is it can sometimes be difficult to position the punch or the die to make sure you get the middle centered.  I’ve been thinking how to solve that problem.  Here you can see the sheet, and some punched or die cut samples – note how some of them seem spot on and some are that little bit out of kilter:

Trimming the full A4 sheet to just past the coloured circles will let you punch with ease (and just imagine the pink punch is actually the BLUE punch – it’s the 2″ scallop not the 3″ one!)

Hard to see because of the shadow, but the green one is just that little bit out of whack!

And for those who want a slightly bigger circle, the wide border also allows you to use the Standard Circles Large (4th one up from the centre) or the Standard Circles Small (also 4th one up from the centre) or perhaps even  smaller ones, if you want just the centre bit for, say, the back of a card.

You can see I tape them in position just to make sure they don’t shift while I am cutting them.

But then I thought What about a grid? So I added the centred grid lines, behind the circles so they don’t interfere with the printing.

As you can see, if you line up the 1/2 way mark that would be on the punch, you can get a better centred punch-out!

Oops.  The angle makes that look like it’s not centred (and I was holding it with one hand, the camera with the other) but it was.  I thought I would delve into geometry a bit, and mark all my punches and Nesties to find the bisecting lines, which will make punching a lot more precise. I think my grid mat will help with this, and just a small Sharpie mark.  Of course if you don’t care, or your eye is good enough that you can place the close enough to make you happy, you can simply ignore the grid lines totally.

Uses?  Well, they work for the back of cards, obviously, but if you punch a small circle in the border you could easily tie them to a gift package.  I’ve done them in a rich dark brown and in Christmas-y colours.  Not a bit fan of the BRIGHT red and green so mine are a bit toned down. But you should be able to alter the colours if you like using PSE or some similar program.

Hope they will be useful.  Grab them by clicking here to download the PDF. I tried testing them out printed on a US Letter size paper and it seems to work OK although the border will be wider side-to-side and shorter top to bottom.



Back-to-back book

Ah the power of Julia.  She commented on my WOYWW post to say she would pop back by to see the completed item, so there really was no choice but to finish the book.  Finish is perhaps an overstatement. My plan is for it to be a gift, and to include a variety of photo mats and journaling spots so the recipient can finish it off with photos placed as she prefers.  It’s a long overdue wedding gift, or that is the plan.

These books are dead easy to make.  Mine is from normal 12×12 cardstock, so quite a good size, and includes a bracket detail on the shorter pages.  I just like the way that looks.  I had planned to use som tags as well but in the end I prefer the brackets only, less cluttered.  I rather like how the covers work.  I had thought I might include some sort of closure, but I think I’ll simply tie it with a coordinating ribbon.  I’m not sure if I should title it, or include letters to spell Our Wedding and give her the option of using it for some other purpose if she prefers.  I’m sure I’ll dither about that for a bit longer.

Here is a peek at the inside pages and one sample :

Mariposa papers, which I love, very pretty and feminine.

If you didn’t click the link to My Craft Channel yesterday, do so now.  It’;s just starting out but they are adding stuff all the time.  Worth making a regular visit. Here is the link to the video for this style book. I can see me making a few of these – there is lots of room to customize the look and size of the book in any way you like.  My plan HAD been to use the papers I showed yesterday but found I needed more black cardstock – the papers are very thin so I didn’t think they would make pages of a heavy enough weight for a mini-book.  I’ll go back to those papers, I’m sure, but there needs to be some shopping for black cardstock first!



I got an email last week for something called My Craft Channel.  I ignored it, as I do much of what I get, assuming it was just another spam email.  Mistake.  At the crop on Saturday, long-time UKS member Chris was working on a little mini book and mentioned she had seen the video on MCC and the project was by Heidi Swapp.  I had to have a look.  Now, I’ve done what she calls “back-to-back” binding, you may recall, a while back, making a teeny tiny mini with a square scallop punch but it just never occurred to me to do the same technique on larger pages!  So, what’s on my workdesk is a set of the Grand Nesties, a bargain pack of colourful paper (£2.50!) and a few bits and bobs so I can give a bigger one a go. Apparently Tricia Morris from Club Scrap does videos for this new channel – is it a rebirth of    They still have a handful of videos available, and I review them occasionally, because some of them were really good.  I hope this new venture grows, cause you can never have too much inspiration!

And another bit of good news – my dead power brick for my Cricut is just out of the shot.  I’ve been trying to find a replacement with no success. WELL.  I phoned the Provcraft International helpline (which seems to be in Utah but I didn’t get the little message so I think it was still free) and followed that up with an email. And guess what! They are sending me a replacement (for my 5+ years old Cricut) FREE by Fed Ex.  Blimey.  RESULT!  I saw a few on eBay but didn’t fancy spending almost £20 and having it shipped from the USA (shipping extra?  I forget but I think it was) so the most I was hoping for was a pointer to a UK shop that sold replacement parts, or a pointer to a suitable substitute.  Last thing I expected was a freebie on it’s way to me.  I was totally doing the happy dance when I read the email.  Well done Provo Craft – they have taken a lot of heat over the SCAL/MTC situation, and this has restored my faith a little.  I’m impressed with the customer service.

Chris was a total font of information at the crop – one of the reasons I love them is seeing cool stuff you never knew about.  She had this fabulous punch that I immediately coveted:

She also PMed me with a link to Scrap Revolution, a UKS sponsor who had it and had a free shipping code on UKS to celebrate their new-look website.  I snagged it! Good thing  as it is now out of stock there and at PaperMaze – Sarah’s Cards  had it too but not sure if they still do.  I have to admit I looked at a few of the EK edgers on their site and I like the look of a lot of them.  Maybe it’ll arrive today and factor in to the back to back book rather than the Nesties…..

Enough blathering.  Time to get desk hopping.  When you pop in to Julia’s place for WOYWW, wave to her from me!

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Time to bring back….

Funny, but having my Cricut out of commission (faulty power brick – I tested it with a good one and the machine itself is working just fine) and the very old PC that runs the Craft Robo behaving erratically, I have hand cut titles for layouts more than I have in maybe the last 5 years in just the last month.  I used a die-cut punch out sheet as a template for one layout, and made two that used the very old Heidi Swapp letter masks.  I loved these when I got them (and a quick look on t’internet shows a review from 2007 so I’m guessing that is about when I got them) and used them a few times, then in the various re-shuffling of my stash I put them someplace that I didn’t check very often and then sort of forgot about them.  A recent tidy revealed them once more and I thought they would be good for this layout from last week, so I dragged them off to the crop.  For this one I smudged Vintage Photo (or was it Walnut Stain?  Can’t recall now!) through the outline part of the mask then cut with a border of the cardstock:

Then, because I was too lazy to unpack my crop bag between Saturday Crops, I found them still in there this past Saturday and since I forgot to add other letters for this layout, I decided to use them again, this time using the solid letter part and smudging Walnut Stain (sure about that this time) around the outside and on patterned paper, then cutting with a very fine border.

Not done with this one yet – not really embellished at all, just the photo placement and the basic background, but I love how the title fills the space.  I am a sucker for BIG TEXT. And blimey – those Scrabble letters…they must be 10 years old.

Funnily enough I only just realized those layouts have such similar photo placement.  I suppose thereare really only so many ways to place three 4×6 photos …

Anyway, I doubt I would have sat down and said to myself “Now where are those HS letter masks?” but stumbling on them was a real bonus.  I had forgotten how the tall, thinnish letters allow quite a long word to fit across a 12 inch page.  And how versatile the masks are: you can smudge ink, paint, mist, stamp, whatever you like thru the empty letters, and use the solid letters to do the same around the outside edge or use them as a shape to trace around.  The self-mat, almost, depending if you smudge/paint/mist just inside the empty letters or if you lett the medium go outside the border as well.

It just goes to show you that old supplies are not really BAD supplies.  I feel quite virtuous when I use something I paid good money for but that fell out of fashion (or at least fell ut of the public eye) at some point.  But I don’t think something like this, a classic simple font, should really ever go completely out of fashion.  It’s all a matter of using it in a new way.  KWIM?

I would love to have more fonts. and don’t even mind hand cutting them, I had forgotten how restful it is to just sit and snip.

I wonder what else I’ll unearth as I carry on with my much needed filing of piles of stuff dragged out over the last 6 months or so.  Something wonderful, I hope!

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Crop layout and disasters abound

My series of interesting disasters continues.  I had a layout that I began at one crop and didn’t finish.  Why, you ask?  Well I had a title (Dress Up) and was missing an R.  So I had looked a the sheet, and decided I could cut down an extra u/n to make an R.  All well and good.  I was sitting at the crop and grabbed the letter to cut down, but clearly I was to involved in chatting to realize that what I was cutting was my P, which I also needed!  I did have a moment of pause when I looked at what I was cutting and thought “hummm – that tail is too long for an r.. how am I going to fix that?” and then when I got halfway thru the cut I looked again and went … well I won’t say what I said, but regular crop ladies will know, as I say it a LOT and they think it sounds very American, sometimes even imitating my accent as they giggle.

So fast forward a week.  Took the same layout to the next crop (who am I kidding?  yes, I did mean to finish it, but the reason it went with me was I hadn’t unpacked my bag from the previous week yet) and as I dumped it out on the table I realized that I hadn’t put in the extra letter to replace the butchered P.  That word again.  Begins with B. The British version also begins with B but is much longer…. I thought, OK, I’m pretty sure I have either another P or a d at home so I’ll be careful to leave enough space and add it later.  Merrily went on my way and finished, mostly, then when I got home had a look for that “I’m sure I have” P or d … and guess what? NO P – NO d.  That word again, louder and with more emphasis.  I managed to  cut the round bit off a q to make the round bit of the P, and used the stem of the original P, and it’s not horrible but it will always annoy me.

And I spent the vast majority of the day yesterday, while a lovely pork roast was cooking quietly in the oven (Jamie recipe, I think, but I ripped it out of the Sunday paper a week or so back, seeing it used 20 fresh bay leaves and a cup of red wine vinegar. It just sounded weird but potentially wonderful, and it was) determined to sort out the colour issues.  Wish I had some idea what went wrong to change how it’s always worked – create, print basically.  Now I have this weird other step that I have to add in a menu in the printer dialog box that I have NEVER looked at before.

Just a few sample prints of some colourful circles, with the various settings noted (and believe me, there are more sheets like this) and in the end I did sort it out but not in a way I am happy with.  I re-calibrated the monitor, but really the ONLY way I can get what I see on the screen to be what prints out is to use sRGB settings (which are really MONITOR settings and not really what I would choose to use for PSE or Photoshop) and let PSE control the printing.  I think.

And STILL the boxes accuse me of neglecting them.  {sigh}


Colour issues

Arrgghh! we all moan and moan when out mojo goes walkabout, but I have a different problem.  I got mojo.  I got plenty of mojo.  Loads of ideas, time I can use to work on them, but somehow, everything I try today seems to not work out like I expect it should.  I have been working on some printables for the winner of the challenge I did for Shim’s event.  All well and good – I emailed her, told her I would be happy to try to sort something that she wanted, as opposed to sending her something that I had prepared. We chatted. I had a plan.  I carried that through, and it was all fine till the printing.

Now, I don’t know if it is equal parts the problem I had with my monitor calibration, and the fact I tried out the “compatible” inks for my printer for the first time, but I recall thinking when visiting layouts people made from my printables for the challenge that some of them looked…odd.  The colours were not as I made them.  Mine, when printed, looked exactly like what I was seeing on the screen.  Having said that, it was Intaglio I was using.  These I made in PSE, because while Intaglio is fab for plain blocks of colour, it just doesn’t work for the distressed sort of papers I wanted to match her ideas.

So I printed the items and there was SUCH a colour difference I was stunned.  Not sure if you will be able to really see here, but this is what I see on the screen, as a screen grab:

It looks nice and bright, with the colours pretty on target with the paper line.  BUT when I print it, it looks muddy and dull:

Just not the same at ALL.  And I have no idea why or how to sort it.

Then, I was at the grocery store and had an idea.  I thought it would be kinda fab.  I bought the thing I was thinking of (thankfully just £1) and came home, all set to make something cool.  And…well, it just didn’t work out like I saw in my head.  I’m not giving up on it yet, but I am frustrated.  Especially because all those boxes are sitting accusingly on my desk, still unfinished, and I have another crop tomorrow that I really, really need to prepare and pack for.

One bright spot is I wanted to do a layout of one of DDs regular You Tube pages.  She loves watching videos from this woman, and I thought I would like to do a page documenting it.  I did a screen grab of the YT channel and printed it along with a photo of DD and that worked out perfectly, the colour just fine.

So it’s not all doom and gloom but it is trying my patience at the moment.  Hope your day is gong better!