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!

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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.


The humble roll of waxed paper

You know me by now – if I see something I am ALWAYS going to cast my eye across my craft room and see if I have something that I can make do with cause I really HATE shopping.  I was looking at glassine paper, and the examples of Kraft glassine in Tim’s new book and I thought What do I have that has those same properties? Well DUH! Waxed paper.

Check it out:

I assembled my supplies – waxed paper, Distress inks and stains, Staz-on (or Archival ink, I expect) and a stamp I have had forever and never used.

I started by crumpling the waxed paper. You can do it a lot or a little – the creases are what will give you the effect.

Open it out and smear on Distress Stains in any colour or in a few colours. Give it a moment to sink in – you can blot with a paper towel and go over it again for deeper colour. It will bead up on the waxy parts – feel free to work it into the creases with the paper towel.

My waxed paper is waxier on one side.  You can work the ink in to one side, then flip it over and do the same on the other.  Frankly I find it hard to tell which side is best so I usually wind up doing both! Now iron it between a couple of pages of a notebook – I keep one on my ironing board for this (cause you KNOW I don’t iron clothes!)

Ironing the waxed paper gives it a sort of flexible vellum-like quality.  It is pretty floppy after the ink but it firms up well after you iron it. Stamp your image and colour in the bits yo want with Distress ink and a water pen.  Iron it again cause it’ll be wet now.

I also tinted the edges and pressed the back into some droplets of watery ink left on my craft mat. I like that effect.

Here is the final card:

I think the next bit will surprise you!  How DID I get the waxed paper to stick to the card?  So simple – unlike vellum you really can’t see the adhesive thru the waxed paper.  The ATG gun worked a treat!  I’ll get to that in a moment.

Next I did the same thing with Vintage Photo.Not sure how well you can see, but the left is JUST the stain, as above.  The RIGHT has Vintage Photo DI smudged over the surface, after the ironing removed the wax.

I doubt you will be able to see this super clearly but I’ll give it a go.  It’s best to apply the adhesive to the tag, rather than the waxed paper.  It could rip if you are not careful.  Try to get right to the edges – I did better on the right then on the left.

Stick on the waxed paper and trim. I defy you to see any obvious adhesive thru the waxed paper!

I’ve turned this into a simple tag by stamping over it with black Staz-on

Then I thought back to the tissue tape ruffle I’ve seen and again thought Wonder if….? Yep, it sure does.

Crumple and ink a strip of waxed paper, as before. Iron. Stick it to a sheet of plain paper and trim with scalloped scissors (the plain paper supports the thinner waxed paper, making the cutting easier.  Frankly You could just leave the edge straight – one you ruffle it you don’t really see the scallops much.

I lay a strip of double-sided tape down, sticky side up, backing still on.  Pleating and sticking the waxed paper strip gives me this!

I stuck that to the bottom edge of the tag and added a few little bits and this is it:

The bee was stamped then the wings painted with Liquid Pearls and the body stripes with yellow Stickles.  I stuck it popped at the head end, but with its body stuck flat.  and the little one was stuck just in the center, with the wings folded up:

I know that was a pretty massive post, but I really wanted you to see how well this works.

Get some waxed paper. Have a play.  I think you’ll be surprised what you can do with it.

Have a crafty weekend!



WOYWW 154 – ribbon organization

I’m not quite there with my re-org, due to the fact that I a) spent all day Saturday when I SHOULD have been cropping crawling around under my desk sorting out the rat’s nest of cables and removing technology that was unneeded (because the phone stopped working and DH needed to sit at my desk and say no, plug that one in, no the other one. Now swap the connectors…) and b) because I got my bundle of Distress Stains and I had to have a play (and make a mess) yesterday.  I tried a few things, in addition to the card you will see in yesterday’s post.  I tried embossing then brayering over Picket Fence and misting with colour wash (the red BINGO card, which is higher contrast than you can see in the photo) then stamping with Picket Fence, letting it dry completely and misting on Cosmic shimmer (the bright blue one – I like that a lot) and some experiments with text stamps (off the edge there, also blue.) I have to say I am loving my big foam stamps lately.  The stamping with bleach I did with them, then the sponging on dye inks (from Monday) looks sooo cool.  It’s made me drag quite a few of them out.

I did make progress on my ribbon storage.  What I had in mind was the plastic strips that you see hanging from the shelves in the grocery store, usually displaying something like straws, near the juice.  I actually scored one empty one the last time I shopped but stupidly left it in the cart when I loaded the groceries into the car.  Such a numpty.

I wanted to see if I could come up with something similar from stuff I had around the house.  I did – one super fast and easy, one a little more time-consuming .

On the left are some strips of matte board, free from my local framer.  I added some brads, so they crate little hangers and hung the bags of ribbons with big binder clips.  That is very much like the grocery store hangers but does take some time.  The other is just a strip of the grippy part of  a Velcro strip.  Then little 3″ bits of the fizzy part slip thru the back loop of the binder clip, sticking to the grippy strip.

Frankly, I thought I would get on with my ribbons organized in this way, but I didn’t want to make the mistake I USUALLY make, which it to spend ages creating something for storage then decide, in the end, that I don’t like it or it isn’t workable. So I whacked these together in a flash and I’ll give it a week or so to see how I get on with them this way.  I suspect it will be great, and it let me reclaim a whole shelf and a 1/2 by getting rid of all the clear boxes of ribbon (making room for those stains!)  but, as ever, only time will tell!  I ran out of binder clips so the purple and the orange and the brown collections are missing for the moment.

I need to add the improved SVG for my complex card today but really wanted to make ONE MORE to accompany the post so between hopping across blogland and cleaning the house that is what I will be doing this WOYWW day.  I did find an interesting thing last week – on those blogs where, in the past, I have not been able to comment because the window is under the existing comments but disappears when they fully load, I found if I click REPLY then the link that says ADD A COMMENT appears and I can click it and type.Of course 99% of the blogs have comments moderated so I don’t know if it actually worked because I’m never organized enough to make a note of the ones I tried that on and go back later to check to see if my comment appeared LOL! But I have hope – ya gotta have hope, right?

Have a happy WOYWW.  can’t wait to see what everyone is doing!