It’s the big one.  Three whole years of WOYWW.  Amazing. What a community we have built.  The storms we have weathered, the friendships forged.   It always amazes me the online outpouring of support from virtual friends who are virtual strangers.  Julia’s recent posts regarding her dad and his health issue on holiday prove the point – am I right that it was a WOYWW participant who hooked her up with a translator?  I think I am.  How wonderful – the world of WOYWW is a small one, really.  200 or so like-minded people who gather once a week to share their work, the mess on their desk, and sometimes little snippets of real life, outside of crafting.  Beautiful gardens, scary weather, the loss of a friend, a parent, a pet.  It’s all laid bare for us.  And we commiserate, sympathize, laugh and gasp at the text, the photos, the snapshot of a life not our own.  Such weekly riches.

And Julia, bless her, who made the place for us all to gather.  What dedication!  FOR THREE YEARS, every Wednesday, without fail (ok so maybe the occasional timing glitch but I don’t know we have actually ever missed a day in al that time) she posts, she visits, she comments in a way that makes you know she actually read your post attentively, considered it, and commented on point.  I’ve never made it to every single desk and yet she often does.

Funnily enough it was a mistake, me meeting Julia in real life.  You see I had sent an email to her, at some point, probably pointing her in the direction of something I thought might interest her.  That got me in her address book and thru the magic of “predictive text” she mistakenly sent me an email aimed at another MARY about her crop in Ludgershall.  As it wasn’t a million miles from me I asked that although I expected I got it in error would it be OK if I come along.  and now, once a month, I get to hang out with the best bunch of ladies you could ever hope to meet.  The serendipitous power of WOYWW. Magic.

My desk, you ask?  Well just a few things this week – You will see some of mt ATC play, using the ink-soaked paper towel – and I stress none of these are the actual WOYWW ATC, just a few random experiments I was playing with as I finalized my real one.  And a sort of configuration box, covered with other paper towels, and a few Alice stamps, coloured and cut, for a bit of a book/song mash-up that I have had in my head for a few years.  I hope the close up shows a bit of the texture.

The “eyes only” stamp is from work, many years ago, in my previous life as a classified documents librarian and researcher.  I wish I still had the one that said “need to know only.” And eyes were a recurring theme of all my ATC play.

Isn’t the paper towel base fab on the box?

So there we go.  Not as momentous a WOYWW as I planned, but a series of events have eaten in to my time, a bit.  This, for one – DH is entering a chilli cook-off this weekend and needs some stall decor.  His batch, named Roswell’s Secret, needed green, aliens, and chillies so a quick couple of foam stamps were the order of the day.

I’m off for a round of Drs. appts. for DD then it’ll be me, all stamping, all sewing, and all ironing for the day.  I’ll be late getting started but dare I hope this is the week I make it to every desk?  Who knows.  Maybe it will be.

Happy 3 WOYWW!


Dymo and washi Tape!

There was a post on UKS about the Dymo label maker.  I’ve also played with the Motex one – and I like the fonts on that one a lot more than the standard Dymo one.  But I only recently got a couple of rolls of washi tape – bought on a whim, really. And while  playing with the Dymo and Motex for a reply on UKS, I had the idea to use the washi tape to alter the label tape.  It works pretty well in either!

Let me preface the photos by saying that  I don’t have the best washi tape for the job.  The dotty pattern makes reading the text tricky, but solid colours will work better.  Also, you can use cardstock rather than the label tape, true, but the washi tape has a nice sheen to it and, of course, the label tape is already sticky.  If, like me, you have some unappealing colours, or slickery looking tape (and I always prefer the matte version but somehow DO have shiny ones in my stash) this lets you make use of them.

Let me start by showing you the cute lower case font on this Motex wheel. The upper case font is cute too.   See at the upper right?  That little groove is where you insert the end of the tape, there is no compartment for it.

All you do is stick the washi tape to the top of the label tape and trim.  It did work, kinda, wrapping the tap to the back, but then it gets in the way of the peel-off strip and sometimes jams.

Other things work too – the thinner tape (from that old Heidi Swapp Costco kit I think) fits the tape with a border

and works in the Dymo as well, just in case you doubted me!

and the wider paper rolls can be cut to size as well – also sticky on the back and with more weight so no need to stick them to the label tape. Because (again with the dots!) the tape keeps the Motex/Dymo from doing what it is meant to do ( ie create the white-on-colour text by the pressure of the embossing cracking the surface of the tape) I pressed the taps lightly onto Vintage Photo to make the text stand out a bit more.

On this one, I lightly sanded away the washi tape to reveal more of the letters. That was black dotty tape over slick, bright orange Dymo tape.

So an overview of al the things I tried. You can see the difference between the Dymo and the Motex fonts on the pink stripey one.

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BIG CARDS – 5 of Spades

Closing in on the Ace of Spades now.  I was craving a bit more colour so this week I started with a WHITE piece of card, with the idea to add the black via … something. I had a disastrous first attempt involving gold and black paint, then switched gears and went for Distress stains.  Both DD and I have a manic week with lots of appointments, workmen visiting, social events – most are all for DD, as I have no social life  – but DH may take part in a local chili cook off so I must make time for stall decor – any ideas other than bunting?  I missed out on the SBS shots as this one just flowed from start to finish (look at the time!  I only started this at 9 AM!)  and I just didn’t give a thought to the camera.

But this is what I used – Distress stains and Black Soot ink, those old sticky letter masks, a bit of teflon grid (something for cooking, I forget what, but £1 at the £ store), some red paint and a sheet from an old dictionary.

I smeared the Distress Stains on the white card, fairly randomly, and let them dry.  I stuck the masks to the book paper, tore it “artfully” and stuck that to the stained background (I used Mod Podge, cause I have it.)  Then, laying over the grid, I sponged thru the Black Soot.  Once I had the whole gridded background, I smudged on the ink all over the book paper.  Removing the mask left me with the book paper letters on view.  I do like that.  You can sort of see the text very faintly, more as a pattern than legible, around the letters.

I added the lines of red paint with an old Amazon gift card and smudged a few other areas.

I may add a couple more smudges, or extend the existing ones as they look a bit TOO random for my liking.  But I have much to do and little time, so that may have to wait a few hours.  You get the idea anyway.

I have an idea for 4 next week but who knows if I’ll carry thru with it.  I often don’t then come back to it weeks later!  And I realize when I hit the Ace I’ll be half way through.  And back to red…..


Sunday-right-here, sort of! Making Stamps

Eons ago I got an Imagepac stamp making set.  I always intended to give it a go but hesitated as it seemed like much could go wrong.  Looking at the newer Imagepac kits  (the self-contained pod rather than the desk lamp, the tray, the timer, etc) …

… the Theresa Collins Stampmaker seems to be exactly that, re-branded with some specialty designs.

Anyway, I got the new printer, and got it all installed, seems to be working fine, and this was the first thing on my to-do list that I tackled.

I have always LOVED this image from The Graphics Fairy:

So I grabbed the image, did all the stuff to make the negative image for the stamp making, and away I went.  Honestly, putting together the stupid desk lamp and finding someplace to clamp it to was the most trouble.  The rest of it went pretty smoothly.  And am pretty happy with the results:

Stamped with Kaleidacolor

Stamped with Distress Ink:

Stamped with Versafine:

Stamped with Clearly Better Brown:

Overall not too shabby!  While I would like to try out the new and improved stampmaker pod at some point, I have the process down now so while I suspect it is better/easier, it remains to be seen if buying a whole new one is worth it.  It might be but then you never KNOW until you do, and as the reviews are mixed and it seems much more expensive than I recall it being when I saw it on QVC or C&C a while back I am more likely to hold off.  I have one more image that I am dying to make into a stamp, but the art is not the best, more of an outline, and I am pretty sure it won’t work as is.

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Smaller printables for A Week in the Life projects

Edited to add:  When I got my printer installed and printed these I could see a couple of flaws triggered by the size reduction.  I’ve adjusted the tiny text and removed the red markers to make cutting more versatile.  The PDF now at the like is the better one.

I have been thinking more and more about A Week In the Life. I need something to force me to take photos of things OTHER that what happens to be on my desk at the moment and this seems like it MIGHT be doable.

I find the 2.5 x 3.5 size good, have loads of the page protectors hanging around, so if I can make a start I feel like I can follow through.  It also made me consider re-sizing some of my existing printables for use in this size.  I thought this set might be a good one to start with.

This is the original image from the larger sized cards, but THIS PDF is two pages with all cards sized to fit 2.5 x 3.5 sleeves.  I guess I am not bothered by some of them being sideways and some upright – it adds a little interest to the page and the wide M and W looks a bit too squished if changed to portrait orientation.

Hopefully they will be useful. I’m still working on my paper-towel project and trapped at home anxiously awaiting my printer delivery.  Fingers crossed it comes today or I’ll be stuck waiting for Monday as well.  as long as I get it and get it working in time for the bog 3rd anniversary of WOYWW so I can finish off my ATC I’ll be happy!

Enjoy the sunshine – hope it is as lovely where you are as it is here today!

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Branching out – a week in the life cards

I have to admit to being maybe more tempted by A Week in the Life than I am by Project Life.  For a start, I have a gajillion baseball card sleeves from when DS used to collect Pokemon cards.  I should mention I watched Moneyball last night, and it was outstanding – but then I did spend an awful lot of time on baseball diamonds in my youth.  Maybe not as much detail as the book, but a cracking story.

As usual, I digress.

Reading up on it, it seems there are many who use the Project Life sleeves to do AWITL, but equally there are many who use the standard ATC/Baseball card size of 2.5 x 3.5.  And that make my cards toooo big.  So I had a bash at a smaller size, mostly for fun.  My printer isn’t here yet, my paper towel project is still drying, so what’s a girl to do?  Clean?!

I am only showing a screen grab of one page – the other has the two further TODAY cards in the matching colours and 4 blank ones (with the swirl) for journaling. Now the font is an odd one,  I dithered and dithered about the weird swoop as the tail of the a (not a letter you usually expect to HAVE a tail) but it is as designed so I left it.

Page one and Page two.

Now, if yo like them and want to use them for Project life I think they would scale up from 2.5 x 3.5 to 3 x 4 fairly easily.  Or you could print them and centre them on some pretty matching patterned paper to bring them up to size.

Now I have a date with DD to do girly things like paint fingernails.  SO not me, but she loves it – what’s a mom to do?



WOYWW 155 – paper towel playtime

Hello all!  What is on my desk today I wonder?  Well I know, but you don’t, yet.

First, an international comparison. On the left we have a typical American roll of paper towels (kitchen roll to my UK friends) and on the right the standard UK size.

Interesting, no?

Shift that away and you will see what I am playing with – I had read about using paper towels for art in a very old Somerset Studio and always hankered to give it a try.  So I did. I seem to be in a very kitchen-y mood with my experiments, between the waxed paper and now the towels.

And some of my samples, which TODAY I will be turning into something fabulous (gee, I’m optimistic!) Two for the price of one, as the towels are 2-ply.

And a paler one, with some over-stamping.

That should keep me busy.  I had planned on sorting my ATC but my printer died.  A new one is on order and I’ll hope it arrives in time.  If not, I can’t do what I want!  If I haven’t gotten it by Monday I’ll have to decide if I want to hold fast with my perfect idea or try to come up with another one that will accomplish the same thing.  All very cryptic but I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise for the recipient!

Anyway, hop on over to The Stamping Ground, home of the WOYWW weekly visit to desks hither and yon. SOMEONE will inspire you I promise!

<sigh> I remembered to go back and check to see if my trick of forcing the comment box to reappear actually worked, and the comments I left last week showed up.  They didn’t.  But in the wee hours I WAS able to comment on those sorts of blogs from my iPad.  So now it is just a matter of commenting on the ones I can from my desk top then scooting to my iPad to try from there.  I inch ever closer to developing the procedure to follow every week!


Story of Us printables

And the hits just keep on coming!  No, not tooting my own horn – hits in the sense that after months and months of internet/computer issues, I finally felt like I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and…my printer died.  Typical, in that the last time I bought ink cartridges I (for the first time in AGES) got a multi-piece set.  So now I have a dead printer and a load of carts that I can’t use.  ARRRGGGHHH! and the process of selecting a new one is just so hard.  The Epson Stylus Photo 1400 I bought the last time a printer dies has been good, but I found it had no “transparency” setting, which was what I always used to print on vellum.  The ink tended to bead up on all but one type vellum (and not the cheap one)so I sort of gave that up, although I did always like doing it.  I feel the same thing picking a new printer – that there will be SOMETHING I am not expecting that I won’t be able to do and I won’t find out until I buy and install it.

Why am I sharing?  Well I had made a set of printables and can’t print them to test the sizing – because while I think I’ve sorted the Preview issue I had hoped to be able to check it.

I’l throwing them up here – grab ’em if you like ’em.  The are small title cards that might work for Project Life title pages.

Here is a screen grab for you in lieu of a photo of them printed:

I have a little strip of companion circles, with just the birds and heart in them but I don’t want to add them till I can print them and tweak them for the standard circle punch.

I’ve been working on my ATC card for the WOYWW swap and I have to say I am LOVING it.  I tried an interesting technique that I will share more on after the recipient gets it following WOYWW 156.  That is if I can get a printed image of the final piece in time!


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BIG CARDS – 6 of Spades

Back to having the card I need so a completed one today.

I have been looking at stuff  I bought and never used.  Well before the advent of Perfect Pearls, I had acquired many, many pots of Pearl-Ex.  The big difference is PPs have the binders already added so you can mix them with water and create a “paint” – Pearl-Ex is not permanent when mixed with water.  It is if you, for example, stamp with Versamark and then dust it on.  The ink will trap the Pearl-Ex and bind it so it won’t rub off (well, not much) and you can mix it in to just about anything – I’ve tried it mixed in to Liquid Pearls, for example, and that works a treat, as does gloss or matte medium.  You can mix it into Fimo too.  But you can’t make mist with it as it won’t stick once the water dries.

Eons ago, I bought Gum Arabic, after reading on the Jacquard site that you could mix it up with Pearl-Ex to, essentially, make Perfect Pearls.  Of course at the time I only saw LIQUID Gum Arabic and have since found you can buy it in powdered form.  That seems like it would be easier.  Anyway, I wasn’t going to go out and buy powdered when I had a huge bottle of liquid. So I had a play.  I mixed up a drop of gum arabic, about 4 x as much Pearl-Ex, and mixed it up with a spritz of water.  It made a lovely creamy paint.  But then, I had the idea of mixing in some dye ink to intensify the colour.

Look at this – all three dots started from the lightest colour pink.

The HOT PINK was achieved by adding a drop or two of bright pink dye ink to the mix.  The more red colour, had red dye ink added.  Then I thought of what else I had and grabbed the Fired Brick Distress stain.  That got the less-red dot in the middle of the lightest pink.

First let me share the card, then I’ll carry on with my Mad Scientist impression.

The very dark silver/grey SIX was a mix of pewter Pearl-Ex with a drop of permanent black ink – it was the only liquid black ink I had on hand.  It worked, but dye ink would perhaps have been better.

Now, thinking on the properties of Distress, that it is reactive with water, I tried a little experiment.

I made two mixtures for comparison – one, Gum Arabic, water, and Pearl-Ex, the other GS, PE and Distress stain (I did add a few drops of water to that as well.)

I don’t think you will see the difference, due to the shine of the mica but the right is def. darker, deeper purple in real life.  Not as much as the DYE ink ones – that is startling in its intensity, which I hope you can see in the pink dots above. OK, so all well and good.  But it was the reactive-with-water bit I was interested in.

So I inked a stamp with Versamark and then tapped it in a spritz of water.  I stamped on the non-Distress blob and then inked (Versamark and water) again and did it on the side with the Distress added.

Can you see how much more the with-Distress side reacted with the water?

Cool humm? to be fair this was quite a detailed little stamp, with text on the wings.  It just happened to be the right size and on my desk, so it ended up a pretty indistinct image.  But I think there is the potential here for some interesting effects. The mixture will dry out, but you can then simply drag your water brush through and…re-activate it, I guess.  Just like Tim shows in his book when making paint palettes with PPs.

I also think if you already have Perfect Pearls, you might try mixing up the powder with Distress stain rather than water and see what happens.  I am imagining painting squares with the mix then stamping in with the Versamark and water, for something like inchies, IYKWIM. Might make a pretty tiled card or addition to a configurations box.

And I wonder if you were to ink with BLACK ink, then water then stamp would you get an interesting effect?  Maybe on white cardstock instead?  So much to try, so little time LOL!

Have a bash.  Comment with a link to your projects (or add it as your site in the form if you can’t add a link in the actual comment)   LMK how it turns out in any case.

I just wanted to add this one – a better stamp choice and it looks very cool IRL! This was with a thinner brushing on of the mixture so when stamped the black cardstock was revealed more fully.  I also hit it with the heat gun briefly.


Sunday-right-here – Printables for Project Life or layouts

Someone commented on one of my YouTube videos that they always laugh at my computer glitches.  I’m not laughing now, but will, I’m sure.  It is V V annoying when upgrading fixes some things but breaks others.  apparently (and I find this only after printing 10s of sheets to test it out) Preview in Snow Leopard has a documented bug that makes if REFUSE to print things in the correct size unless you manually tick a variety of boxes EVERY TIME to force it to ignore some hard-coded preferences.  As a result my last set of printable may end up being too small because it was only after it happened again that I considered the possibility it wasn’t ME that was the problem.  LOL!  That is always my first assumption – that I am doing something wrong.  How rubbish is that?

I won’t bore you with the details.  Suffice to say that I think I found how to sort it.

Here they are.  One Brown, one Black – I guess I’ll call them Amazing Week:

And two more, one for a boy, one for a girl.

I’ve opted to add them as individual sheets and as a single PDF.  I go back and forth as to which is best.  One the one hand, making a multi-page PDF makes for a quick, one-click download of the whole set, whereas posting them as individual sheets means you can grab only the ones you want.

I did these landscape as I seem to do more portrait ones and it makes a change.  They should save easily as .PNGs in PSE for digital use. They really are not meant to be rounded at the corners.  I usually try to show both straight corners and rounded ones, but the boxes-design doesn’t lend itself to rounded corners!

If you use them I would love for your to comment with a link to your blog or Flicker or Pinterest or whatever so I can see them in use.