Hello all.  I missed out blogging yesterday firstly because I’ve been feeling not very well this week and secondly because I was struggling with some design decisions.  I think my head is too full of cold to think clearly.  On my desk you can see the debris, rather than the fruit, of my labours:

There are lots of punches, and piles of punch detritus – those MS punches produce a LOT of detritus – and up in the corner various stages of some printables I am working on.  I just can’t decide on the best size, orientation, background, anything.  It drove me crazy all day yesterday.   I really should have just curled up on the sofa and watched TV for all the good my day of designing did me. A few bits and bobs from my playing over the weekend making circle frames, that I was determined to turn into cards. More on that here, on the satellite tables beside my desk!

You may be wondering what the pins are all about – it’s my favourite way to make stick-pins safe for adding to layouts or cards.  Somehow, the mixed message you send by risking the recipient getting impaled while opening their card makes me look askance at some of the pretty cards I’ve seen featuring stick-pins.  Sure, you could snip off the tip, taking them from lethal to merely dangerous, but I prefer to do what you can see here – I do snip off the tip, then get a nice bead, fill it with glossy accents, and stick the sharp tip of the pin into the bead hole.  The glossy accents dries around the pin, holding it in place.  This is easier if yo are going to slip the pin into a bow, less so if you need the tip to function as intended, to pierce something.  But it works for me and no injuries have been reported.  The card is only in the formative stages, there are a few more additions needed, but my leafy frame, dusted with chalk (and I have rediscovered a love for my chalks, after all but abandoning them for Distress Ink over the last 4 or 5 years) is looking very delicate and pretty.  It needs a bit of a jolt of some other colour, to keep it from being too monochromatic (or maybe not, I’ve not decided yet in monochromatic is actually the way to go) but I’m getting there.

A slightly fraught day as I will be sitting by the phone, on tenterhooks, waiting for the time to call and book DD into her Disability Challenger events for the  upcoming term.  There are only 10 spaces for any given date, and 5 will have already been taken up with the 1 to 1 support needed kids, leaving only 5 spots for the rest of us.  I have her list, and alternatives, so with luck she will get a few of them.  Wish me luck.

And lest I forget, those in the know will know all about Julia and her Stamping Ground, home of the world-famous WOYWW linky thingie every Wednesday.  Those who don’t should click the link and check out the creative (and usually messy, but not always!) desks around the globe.


BIG CARDS – 5 of Diamonds

Not feeling top notch today.  It seems I have been fighting a cold for days and it really seems to have settled in.  I have a big post of chicken soup on the go and maybe that will help knock it out of my system.

But I did manage my BIG CARD nonetheless.  Tried a few things today.  I had some crayons hanging about so I shaved some bits onto the card then ironed it with a bit of acetate over it – and a few notebook sheets over that, lest the whole thing melt into a gloopy puddle.

The waxy crayons resisted the ink, which was expected, and it gave me a nice mottled surface.

I added some stencils, inking thru them, and THAT ink was resisted as well, which gave me a nice effect.

It looks weirdly dimensional.  But I like it.

I did lay a grid over the top (that was my spatter guard from the £ store) and misted red ink thru that.  Splattered on some white paint as well, and you can’t see it but there is a bit of gold Pearl-ex daubed here and there. The letters are a stencil as well.  I have a lot of stencils and really need to remember that as they work well for lots of things.  Overall this one seems a lot more freeform than some of them, which is odd for me as I tend to be more rigid in my placement of elements.  Maybe the whole process will make me let go a bit more.


Two in one day?? amazeballs

Yes, I know how rare it is for me to do more than one post in a day but as tomorrow will be a BIG CARD day I didn’t really want to wait to add this new info!

I swear I was dreaming about corner punches.  I so loved yesterday’s video technique but there was one bit that I felt I could add to.  The bits between the edge punches.  Warning – this is very photo heavy. Slow connections be warned!  Think to yourself at least there is no annoying music

We will start with Veronica’s grid idea. Print the grid – I chose to do it on fairly heavy card so I could keep it in my stash and use it over and over. Cut your circle (and mine is the largest CM circle template with the green cutting pod – about 6″ in diameter) and make your grid marks on the back of this card.  For these punches I marked every three wedges.

Connect the marks to create the full guidelines.

Fold in the wings of your corner punch.  Lining up the point with the edge of the paper, and the grid line with the centre of the punch areas, punch!

Carry on around the circle, punching the corner motif at each of the grid lines.

This is what you end up with.  So far we are right on target with Veronica’s instructions.  But now we are going to veer off in two ways.  First, I am not excellent at eyeballing things.  This is why I originally went looking for the circle grid – hey, I know my limitations and anything that will help me overcome them is welcome! This triangle on the edge is fine – if you want to keep them as part of the design, by all means stop here.  I didn’t want them for this particular punch and I knew if I just tried to trim them they would end up wonky. So I cast my eyes across my desk looking for a solution.  The simple circle punch was the answer!

Lining up the circle so just the tiny edges of the already-punched motifs fell just inside, I punched. How cool is this!?

I really like the almost Victorian edge it gives, and the fact that I now have a standard pattern, and not my eyeballed attempts to create uniformity. Check it out with a different corner!

OK, we are not done yet! The other cool thing about the MS corners is those collapsible wings.  With them pushed in, you can actually get a much deeper cut from the edge with the corner punches than you expect. If you flip it over and go back to your grid line, this time slipping that corner punch deep into your circle, at every other wedge, you can get a second layer of punches!

See how it is placed WITHIN the wedge rather than along the grid line?

Now punch this layer.

I hope you can see that if you tried to punch along the grid lines you would actually cut out the entire middle section, as the cutting lines would overlap.

NOT done yet!  Using your All over the Page punch, line up the centre of your circle with the centre of the punch – I find a dab of Hermafix will hold it in place on the base.  Put the punch over the base, using the magnets to position/secure it, and punch out the central motif.

And this is what you end up with! I added a couple of extra hole punched circles.  You can use it like this as a car topper or as a doily on a layout.

Likewise you can add a circle rather than the anywhere punch, or you could simply cut a circle out to make an open frame.

And the other version (where clearly the sun had gone behind a cloud for the photo)

I actually did one where I punched the border, then cut out the centre circle and brought the punch in from the middle, creating a frame that had the corner punch facing out on the outer edge and in on the inner edge, but it is tricky to line up perfectly and I am not 100% happy with the sample.  I’ll add it but it’s rubbish at this point and needs refining.

Just so you can visualize where I am going with it!

and finally, as if there aren’t enough photos, here is my desk:

The process does generate a lot of debris!

Have fun with it.  I think other sorts of connector punches (I have a little rectangle and a BIG triangle where I think just the tip might give a nice effect) that I want to try – I also think there might be something to using a flower punch or maybe a leaf , not sure.  You know me – I’ll likely do this to death till I feel I have exhausted the possibilities or I get bored, so there may still be more to come.

Now, I really MUST do the laundry….


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Sunday-someplace-else (Veronica at The Learning Lab)

Yesterday I posted a method for punching a circular frame using my newly acquired MS punches.  I broke my cardinal rule – I didn’t check t’internet first to see if it was truly unique.  Doh!  Usually, if I come up with something in my little crafty bubble, I dash off to Google to see who else might have had the same idea.  But the punches hit my door at about 11 AM, I tore them open and started playing.  When I had some success in creating circular frames by dividing the circles I was delighted and popped it on here right away.  Then I had a thought – my method worked for 8 punched elements, but what if I wanted to make a bigger frame?  I went to Google to look for a circular grid, thinking that would be a good guide – and imagine my surprise to see the first video hit was this! (Julia, look away – I’ve bored you enough on this topic LOL!  for everyone else, I should mention the Filter Bubble here because Google clearly knows where my interests lie and I have to wonder if anyone else doing the same search would get the same results.  DH didn’t, did you? )

Clearly mine was not a unique idea!  I did watch a number of other related videos, all for making circle frames using corner punches (ok, so I think I should be forgiven as these are the very first corner punches other than rounders I own so I had no idea this was “old hat”) almost all which began (and ended) with the method I tried first, of simply trying to line up the punch and hope it joined up in a not horrible way at the end.  But Veronica made it past my step of dividing the circle in fourths to doing REAL math – punching and measuring the motif to ensure perfect placement around a circle of any size using the grid of degrees for placement.  The grid she found also came up in my search – you can find it here.  Watch the video and download the grid and you too can get the fab results you see. I particularly like her versions where the punch is un-joined, leaving a border of unpunched shapes.  Just watch it and you’ll know what I’m talking about!

Now I’m thinking I need a few MORE corner punches because some of the samples are just lovely. Google is good for shopping too ….

Needless to say I won’t bother with a video – it’s been done well already.  Really.  watch it!


Martha’s Corner punches – making circles frames

Well.  I had a bit of a binge the other night on QVC’s Craft Day.  There were a few things on sale and I thought What the heck? Yes, I know I could probably have gotten them from another shop cheaper but it was late, I was watching the demos, and I just had all kinds of ideas that I was itching to test out.

I was looking at the one lacy corner and the design reminded me of handkerchief lace. Or the little shelf edgings that were once popular. The nice thing about the MS punches is that the corner guides fold away so you can use them or not.  And for what I had in mind I did NOT.

Just by ignoring the guides and punching along the straight edge of the paper, you get this adorable edge.  and if you cut your strip to 1 inch (which is the width of the pattern, you can make a bunch of stuff.  Each end of the strip and you get a banner:

It would look cute on a card with the sentiment stamped in it, or to add journaling to a layout.  If you trim off on side – or only punch one side – you get a sort of tag:

Again, great for a sentiment or small journaling bits. But if you fold it over ribbon or twine, you get a sort-of bunting :

Not the traditional triangles, but still cute, I think.

But the most fun was when I thought could I punch around something? You betcha!

I first tried to do it using a technique I have seen a lot, of matching up areas of the punch and going around a square page, but that really didn’t work.  I kept ending up with double punched bits.  So I got mathematical about it.  I started with the 4″ circle from the Nesties Standard Circle Large.  I divided that into quarters.

This is the BACK – and I would use a fine pencil line, but I wanted you to see the idea.  I punched the corner, no guide, at each of the four lines. The lines act as a guide for placement to centre the motif along the line, AND the top of the punch along the centre divide keeps it level.  Each punch is slightly different, some were right up to the line in the large circle.  Punching from the back makes sure that the placement is right but also that the neater punched side is the front of the finished piece.  The edges from the back of the punch always look a little raggedy to me.

Once I had all four of those punched, I simply connected them by punching another motif between.

On some of the patterns I drew a connecting line between the punched motifs, just to help me place them, but especially using the Standard Circles Small largest die, I found the edges of the motifs DID match up.

The left is Standard Circles Small and the right is SC Large.  You can just see the slight variation in the triangle between the motifs.

I think this gives you enough of an idea to have a go, but I will do a few more, make some notes, take a few more photos and get it in shape for a YouTube slide show.I really like how they turned out and think that the concept might work well for other corner punches.  You might need to experiment with circle size, but for the corners on point to cut a straight border, just punch away.

Off to roast a chicken.  Not NEARLY as much fun….


Printable and digital camera phone frames

So I was thinking that it might be a fun idea to have a camera phone frame. This is fairly stylized, and based on the look of my own phone so may not be right for everyone else, but you could possibly make your own version (it’s just black and white and grey after all) that looks more like YOUR phone if this doesn’t suit!

If you cut it out along the grey frame, you can then round the corners – I’ve gotten better about creating the rounded frames so the inner bit matches the outer when rounded a bit better than some of my past ones!

You can then do one of two (three?) things – either cut your photo to fit the white box as I did:

which is the easiest, or you can cut out the box with a craft knife and put the photo behind it.  Not sure the extra effort is worth it, but you might.  If you scrap digitally, you can download the .png file.  That has a clear background and a clear center box, so you should be able to drag in a digital photo.  It has no grey frame as I expect you would want to add a drop shadow and my feeling is that a grey frame might interfere – but you could add one back in if you want to. The PDF also is clear in the middle so I suppose you could open that in PSE and SAVE AS a .png but the corners aren’t rounded so not sure that buys you much!

Hope you can find some use for it!

Somehow the scheduled post wiped out the links to the files.  I’ve re-instated them!


Doing the Happy Dance!

Regular readers may recall me bemoaning the fact that my Cricut died.  In trying to sort out what the problem might be before rushing out to get a new one with old firmware so I could use SCAL, I went through a rigorous (not really) testing process, checking all the various plugs to see if I could identify one that was faulty.  I thought I had narrowed it down to the power supply, so I had DH bring mine along to a crop where someone else had one working.  Plugged in the power supply and mine turned on.  Finding a replacement power supply was not easy, unless you wanted to pay a bundle for one on eBay. I contacted Provo Craft international support (even though my machine was VERY old) and they said No problem – we’ll send you a new one!  Cue Happy Dance 1.  Weeks went by and no plug.  I emailed them again to say What’s up? and they told me they were out of stock of the UK plugs, no idea when they might be in.  After seeing A Little Hut last week I was itching to test something out.  I emailed Provo Craft again.  They confirmed the plugs were in stock and after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing over me making a new support ticket or them simply acting on the existing one from last year, they confirmed they would be sending a new plug.   Missed a FedEx delivery a couple of days ago but when they re-delivered … Happy Dance 2!

Yay! Now you may wonder what this all has to do with A Little Hut.  If you saw Sunday-someplace-else, you know she makes wonderful cutting files – I adore her paper quilt and the Project Life filler cards.  But I am a DIY gal, and if I think I can figure out how to do something myself, I’ll always give it a go.  And I knew there was the function in Intaglio to Save As .svg.  That turned out not to work as I hoped (SCAL can only handle .svgs that are vector graphics) but creating in Intaglio, converting to an image, then opening it in SCAL and doing the auto trace worked a treat! Left see the designed image and right see the cut-file in SCAL.

And cut, then backed with coloured card:

Really happy with how it turned out.  Now, people who know Illustrator or Inkscape will surely scoff, but I don’t and while I have looked at both I see no reason not to use what I have, and know, if I can.  Is it as powerful? no. But I KNOW Intaglio pretty well by now and as this is not something I plan to do a lot of, it is nice to quickly and easily test the process and end up with something I really like at the end without spending hours learning a new process.

If you like mine, do go to ALH (blog for info with  a linked shop where you can buy stuff) and see hers – they are just fab.


WOYWW 142 – playing with batik

Hello WOYWWers.  If you are thinking what’s that all about? then you need to pop to Julia’s Stamping Ground and see what the fuss is all about.  Worldwide inspiration is the name of the game every Wednesday.

I have been computer-playing too long – it’s time to  STEP AWAY from the keyboard for a bit.  If you read my blog regularly, especially on a Monday, you know I have started a year long project using mahoosive playing cards.  I’m using them as a way to try out a variety of techniques, some I’ve seen while meandering across t’internet, others that I thought wonder if THAT would work? and gave a go. The problem with the cards is they are red and black.  And to remain true to the suits, they sort of have to stay red and black.  So far I am on my way through the Diamonds (King to 6 so far) and sticking to red on a white background, sometimes with additional colours added to the mix.  Here is a quick overview:

The last one, the 6 of Diamonds, I did on Monday and I loved the batik effect – but it make me think about other things I could play with to get the same sort of effect.  So, today, what is on my desk is a variety of things, some of which I have played with already, and some which are in the queue, so to speak.

The basic idea is to stamp a nice all-over pattern with Versamark or some other clear embossing ink. I’ve not yet worked out if one with some negative space is better or just different.  Then emboss it with clear embossing powder. Then cover the piece with….something.  Then iron off the embossing, revealing the cardstock underneath.

Probably hard to visualize.  Monday, I did this one (a variety of red-ish Distress inks on the base, then the clear embossing, then the lightest colour of DI, dusted with mica powders, then ironed off the embossing)

Yesterday I played with three additional things – chalk mists, Cosmic Shimmer mist, and Pearl-ex again, but with a more open stamp.

Chalk ink first.  I need to figure out how to carry on doing the Hearts, Spades and Clubs for my cards.  I thought as I had done white backgrounds for the Diamonds I would do black backgrounds for the Hearts, but black cardstock doesn’t REALLY lend itself to inking, so resist techniques seem the way to go.  And the whitewashed effect of the chalk ink seemed like it might work well with a black base.

Same as before, stamped with Versamark, embossed with clear, then misted (heavily) with chalk mist.

I did lett it puddle and pool so some areas were more covered.  Dried it (or let it dry, as you prefer) then ironed off the embossing – I do that between the pages of an old notebook.

How cool is that? Not perfect, but then I aim for more distressed then pristine so that’s lucky!

Then I thought what about Cosmic Shimmer? I had to decant some of the CS mist into a mini-mister (OK so I love CS a lot better than the paler Glimmer Mist, but seriously, how can you not spray more than once or twice without them getting clogged?) but managedtoo spray in the end.

That is before I ironed off the embossing.  I like that too – the embossing resists the mist and stays quite shiny. But then when you iron it off….

Again, more distressed and less perfect, but then I wasn’t using really high quality cardstock either, so who knows what came in to play?

I did another Pearl-ex one, this time with a stamp that had more open space.  I rubbed Black Soot over the embossing, rather than a lighter colour, as black ink over black card made sense to me.  Again, liked it before I ironed off the embossing, and liked it after.  This one had the least difference between them.

I have more ideas on other things to try, and THAT is what is on my scrappy, sticky, inky,  messy desk this Wednesday! Sorry if that was all a bit TMI but I am really excited about the whole thing and looking forward to playing some more.  Let’s just hope Blogger cooperates at least as well as last week – although if you have word verification on I’ll look but I’m not even going to try to comment. Well, maybe on the first one I come to but I’ve not managed to comment on a single blog with WV in three weeks so I’ll save my typing fingers!

Have a Happy Wednesday.  I’m scheduling this but I think my clock is wrong (or WordPress doesn’t realize we are not in British Summer Time now) so you may be seeing it late Tuesday night.


BIG CARDS – 6 of Diamonds

Amazed that I have stuck with this, frankly.  I have a very short attention span for long projects.

As usual, I began with Distress ink – Barn Door, Worn Lipstick and Spun Sugar.

I then took a big stamp – the brand is cover a Card and they are really BIG – and stamped it over the Distress ink.  I did dry the ink first, to be sure none of the embossing powder would cling to any of it.  Versamark ink and (stupidly) the WOW matte embossing powder.  Only stupid because I was going to iron it off anyway so some less precious powder would be better.

Having said THAT, I actually did like the look of the matte embossing on it’s own, so def. something to add to my arsenal of techniques.

I kinda wish I didn’t have so much of it because there are some instances where the Perfect Pearls, with the binder included in the mix when you buy it, would be better.  While I usually use Pearl-ex over Versamark, it does stick better to that sort of viscous ink and I wasn’t sure if the DI would hold it well enough.  And that was the next step – smudging the lightest colour in (Spun Sugar) over the whole thing then dusting on the Pearl-ex.

I then put the piece between the sheets of an old notebook that I use for this sort of thing and ironed off the embossing.  This did seem to set the Pearl-ex quite well, because even brisk scrubbing with a stiff paintbrush didn’t whisk it away.  Phew.

You can see how the mica powder clings to the inked areas but the Distress Ink background (from under the embossing) shows through.

I over-stamped again with Versamark and a favourite stamp, then embossed with Primary Apple Red (WOW again – man is the colour intense!)

Finally I added the word.

Done.  Love it.  Def. want to play more with the batik look.  I have ideas, but will save them for another day.

The whole thing really GLOWS with gold.

All the Diamonds are on white backgrounds.  I am thinking I might experiment with using BLACK card for the backgrounds for the Hearts.  I won’t e able to Distress ink the whole thing but  as this whole process is about testing techniques, it might be worth doing to see what I can come up with. Still unsure where to go with the black suits, but with luck I will come up with something I can follow through on!

Happy Monday!

Edited to add:  I just got an email from Scrap Scene.  Looks like they are doing something like WOYWW so I am adding the link. Another chance for inspiration, yippee!


Sunday-someplace-else (a little hut)

I pinned a really neat bit of wall art the other day, but have since gone back to the site to see all the other stunning stuff.  This “paper quilt” (from some of  Patricia Zapata’s cut-files) is just wonderful.  I so want to make one.

And all the Project Life fans should check out this idea for filler cards:

But that is only one of a few posts for cards, and much more to be seen in her linked shop.  Have a look – you will love it.

And happy Sunday!