A sneaky peek – CD Calendar project

When I have an idea for a project, the first version is always a little different to the final one.  The process of making one, when I don’t photo the steps or measure things, just whack it together to see what I can learn from it, ALWAYS results in a better project in the end.   But that means you have to wait.  Sorry about that.  I did want to tell you where I am going with it, however, and will hope to share the details and the CD sized 2-to-a-page PDF at the same time.

What I kept thinking about was my old (very old) iPhone charging stand that was built on a CD case.

What I wanted to do was work out how you could take the CD case, build the decorations on to it, then simply slot in the prints each month.  I did a version that I like pretty well, but in making it I discovered at least three things I can do to make it easier and better.  Love it when that happens. I know many will want to use the CD sized prints to decorate the month sheets in some way, and this project doesn’t preclude that, but it will offer the option of just decorating the case and just using the month sheets as they come.  Neat, humm?  I would say this version is IDEAL for gifts, as once you print and cut the months sheets, you only have to decorate ONE THING.  And as the sheets just slot in, you can just print a new set next year and carry on using the same frame if you want.

Now I just need to make the CD version of the PDF and find a CD case that is not one I used to store stamps in – then all seem to have a haze on the clear front! And be very focused on taking true step-by-step photos and getting good measurements, rather than my usual craft-by-the-seat-of-my-pants versions.


Calendar Circles – four to a page

NOTE:  Just to add – if you have landed here from a Pin you may want to pop to THIS POST to see the 2014 version and some samples of how they can be used!


I was SO BUSY today – we had a new floor laid in the kitchen.  Moving the appliances revealed….well I won’t spell it out.  You can imagine.

My hope had been to actually DO SOMETHING with these so you could see them, but it didn’t happen.  It might tomorrow.  Here is one so you can get a general idea of what they look like.

Some bits of info – the word circles misbehave sometimes.   Creating them is stupidly easy, up to a point – type a line of text, draw a circle of the right size, select them both and Bind Text to Path, reverse the text so it sits inside the circle.  But sometimes scripty fonts that lean (like this one!) do weird things – letters go wonky, words spread or condense, or overlap.  Sometimes inserting a space will sort it out.  Sometimes not.  Messing with the kerning of the font creates ALL kind of problems.  I have little scraps of paper with notations on them, all over my desk.  For example, the November circle is 3.243 on the X axis ands 3.251 on the Y, and the bias is 9.756.  See what I mean? In any case I’ve done my best to minimize the wonkyness, but you may notice the words are not 100% perfectly spaced.  But I think they look good anyway.  If you are inclined towards OCD, move on.  🙂

I only managed to create the PDFs for the 4-to-a-page versions.  These actually cut with both the Large Circle Nesties (largest die) and the Small Circle (largest die) as well.  My suggestion is if you want to cut them out, use either one. If you want to do what I did in yesterday’s example, use the Large Circle to cut out the aperture from the background, rather than the Small Circle – that will leave just the barest rim of white around the circles.

They SHOULD be fine on either US letter or A4 – if it was just A4 I had to be concerned about I think I could have fit 6 on a page.  Maybe.

With luck tomorrow I will not only cut them and maybe do something with them and take a photo or two, I’ll also be able to make the CD version PDF, two to a page like the other one. It’s not hard, it just needs time.

And I have looked and look, both at the screen and at the printouts – my eyes are crossing!  I am as sure as I can be there are no spelling errors or odd extra characters.  If there are , I’m sure SOMEONE will tell me!

Hope you enjoy them.

So Black and Brown, as usual.


A different take on the CD calendar – circles

Note: THIS POST has the first PDFs.  More to come.

OK, well I had hoped to have this done today but I just have SO MUCH going on that I didn’t manage it.  What I will do is show you a sneaky peek of where I am going with it.

Here is the idea – you can either cut the circle with the Standard Circles Large Nestabilities (or any size circle cutter between about 3 1/4 and 3 1/2 inches across) and attach them to background paper or card of your choice, OR you can cut the circle into the card and put the calendar bit behind it, as you see here.

I’m thinking of doing them in 4 different ways – the full black, the full brown, and then with the ring of month-words in colour, for both the black and the brown versions, like the one here.  I’m just not sure if people would find my colour choices for the months a help or a hinderance! And would it be MORE useful to have the full black, full brown only, but 2 a page so you could cut them as a CD sized block?  For the above options I can do four on a page – if I did them as a standard CD calendar block it would be two to a page!

With luck I’ll have time over the weekend to get them sorted.


WOYWW 176 – crop stuff

Hello WOYWWers!  What a fab time we had at the crop!  The first bit of amusement was when Helen (of StampingByH) and Janet (of Janet’s-FairyThoughts) and I spent 5 minutes looking at each other across the parking lot, until I went out on a limb and walked over.  Spied the lovely WOYWW badges and knew we were all waiting for Julia’s Taxi Service.  We were old friends by the time she arrived!

I was working on a little coin envelope accordion spine book – got the basic construction, then chatted to Sam of Hettiecraft and found a slightly similar construction of her GORGEOUS December Daily album.  Hers was better so I may have to experiment with what I gleaned from a quick look at it.  Mine’s flat, which is ok as I was only adding flat grid paper and calendar bits to mine, but hers has loads of space for super thick additions.

Julia and LLJ (or J x2 as I call them, collectively) gave everyone a little card pack – LOL! as you can see I made real progress on THAT….

Morti ran a class on domino decoration.  Donna Louise was so generous and not only forced me to stop observing by giving be a spare domino, she also handed over some cute  fish stamps for me to use.  The result?

Janet was doing a beading class, but not sure my eyes (new glasses) were up to it.  The samples I saw being made were stunning however. Chatted to Kirsty (of HandmadebyKirsty) and found we have a lot in common, and had a fab time chatting with JoZarty too – we share a love of our iPads, as well as a few other things.  Pretty sure Diane (of Pixiescraftyworkshop) lives near me and shops at my local Morrisons – maybe we’ll see each other across the misty veg stands one day and pop to the cafe for a coffee!

Oddly, at least twice people only made the connection of me as the “Mary Anne” who used to contribute to Scrapbook Inspirations after some random comment I made.  It flustered me.  I’m sure I babbled, both times.  One person was surprised to find I was American! And I thought I was VERY American in my blog writing.  Apparently not.  Note to self: Must stop writing “smashing” and “brilliant” write AWESOME more…..

There was a table for giveaway/trades and one of goodies for sale.  At the end of the day, when Julia threatened to toss what was left on the table in the bin, I grabbed a few things.

Lunch was outstanding.  No photo, it would just make you salivate.

The raffle was an embarrassment.  Honestly. For a good cause, The Air Ambulance, I bought £5 worth of tickets.  I got called 1st or 2nd, can’t recall, then had to dip in to the pot and draw the next number.  One of mine.  DOH!  And from then on I think I got picked 5 or 6 more times.  I got the thing I REALLY WANTED (indeed, was desperate for), and one small stamps then kept saying “Draw Another.”  And I never ever win ANYTHING.

We came home with a lovely goodie bag (chocolates (like we needed them!) a pincushion, a challenge pack (yeah, and I jumped right on THAT too LOL!)

Regrets?  A couple – there were a lot of people there and while I think I exchanged a word or two with nearly everyone, I didn’t make enough effort to talk to EVERYONE.  As a result, I don’t know who made this lovely magnetic bookmark – she offered me one, I accepted with delight, as I was packing up, and am clueless now as to who made it!! Please, I beg you, if you stop by today, comment so I know and can properly say thank you.  It got photographed but is already in use.  I feel like a total heel.

So that was the crop.  No photos from me – didn’t bring a camera.  DOH!  And no desk shot this week and again I am more computer desktop than workdesk – go back one and grab my CD calendar printable if you fancy them, or go back further for 4×3 blocks, for sticking in a stack to make tear off calendars or PL insert cards.  And maybe next week, once me and the team get the last of the CyberCrop stuff finished, I may actually have something crafty going on!

Can’t wait for the next WOYWW crop….

(can hear Julia gasping in the distance, across cyberspace.)


Cd calendar PDFs for 2013

NOTE:  sorted

I was playing around with another font combo and I found I really liked this one and wanted to use it myself. So while I am not discounting turning the other printable set into a CD version, I will add this one because it’s done!As is my way, I did both a BLACK version and a BROWN version.  I usually like to print the brown one on cream if I decide to go the vintage way and the black one on stark white, if I want more funky and colourful.

Now a word about the CD cases.  Last year, the case I used was an older one, very sturdy and thick – I think it originally had the extra insert to hold the actual CD, and that was removable.  THIS year, my case is quite thin and flimsy, and there are some odd little bumps along the inside edges that make the sheets fit funny.  I think you can sort this by cutting a little further inside the gray lines instead of JUST inside them – I figure you have almost a 1/2 inch to play with, and the half-circle nubbins on the side that hold the sheets in place ar nearly 1/4 inch each (on mine anyway) so you can cut off a bit more, still have them held in place AND use the back of the case to store the remaining months.

And a word about the font for the numbers.  It’s a bit …. bouncy.  The characters were not placed centered in the box when the font was created.  Some are high, some low, some have swooping tails.  I mostly eyeballed them because no matter whether I aligned top or bottom or centre, some of them may have been technically CORRECT, but they looked odd.  So I looked at them and made a decision as to how I thought they looked best.

And if you LOVE the printable version from a day or so ago, I will probably carry on and make them as a CD printable set.  I may also do one that is a bit more scripty and pretty.  Not sure yet.

In any case I hope you get some use out of them.  I’m working on something with mine, which I’ll share when I get it done.  I just didn’t have time to do it today!


BIG CARDS -10 of Clubs (say what?!)

Yes, yes – I know technically it SHOULD be the Jack today, but when I finished the piece for some reason the flowery look felt wrong for the Jack.  So I skipped over it to the 10 for this week.

Quite some time ago I bookmarked something called “the bandana technique” on YouTube.  It was done my a non-english speaking YouTuber and I always meant to give it a go.  Then one day I went back and the video was gone.  At some later point it returned, and I noted that, but to be honest I sort of did this from memory rather than watching the video again so I am not sure if it is still there to find.

I took my plain white card and first stamped over the whole thing with a text stamp and Memento ink and let it dry. I dripped on some drawing ink.  Pretty sure the original used Distress ink but the drawing ink is super bright and vibrant and sits as drops.

I used a baby wipe to spread the ink, both smearing and blotting. I wanted mottled, but with bright spots as well.

Then I used a stencil and black acrylic paint to cover most of the colour and finally drew around some of the stencilled shapes with a nearly-dry white Sharpie paint pen.

I was not aiming for perfection here (which is good LOL!) but wanted it very sketchy and rough looking.

I shook the pen over t get some droplets of white and then added the letters when it was dry.

I really like the look of it.  and it’s been a while since I used my drippy inks so had fun re-visiting them again!


Changing the Calendar PDFs

I am off at the WOYWW crop today (WooHoo!) but I know there are at least a couple of people awaiting the CD calendar PDFs.  You are welcome to wait till I get to them, which I HOPE will be this week, but if you don’t want to wait, or if you want to change my calendars slightly to make them more your own, or just more your style, this is an easy way to do it.

I use PSE 10 but I think these will work for older versions.

First let’s talk about the fonts.  I used a decorative font for the Month name and the year, at the top. BUT I used a pretty plain font for the days of the week.  My thought here was that people could d a minimal amount of work to alter the month names and year but keep the basic, white-bread font for the days and still get something they like better.

IF you want to use my PDFs but have a different font for the headers:

1. Open the PDF with Photoshop Elements (or some similar program).  I do this by right-clicking and selecting Open With > PSE. The multi-page PDF will open and you can select the page you want to work on in the thumbnail view.

Click FILE > duplicate then close the original and work on the copy.

2.  Select the Marquee tool and draw a box around the Month and year.

3. Delete.

Now, do not be worried that the deleted area has had the white removed!  Your printer does not recognize white – it translates that to NO INK.  In effect it is only going to print the (in this case) brown of the letters and ignore the rest. Oh, and the little red cut line guides.  If you want, you can remove them in the same way – mark a selection around them and delete.

4. Select the Horizontal Type Tool and draw a text box – then go to the top bar and set your font, size, and colour. Type in the month word and the year.

I couldn’t capture it properly but if you click the equivalent of the BROWN BOX at the top on this screenshot, you will bring up the colour picker.  It will be in the same place, but yours will be whatever your Foreground colour is set to, likely black. If you click the eye dropper that pops up on one of MY word or number bits, it will match my colours.  Likewise, you could leave the numbers brown or black, and make the heading any colour you want!

5. Carry on editing the Months and Year bits and when it is all as you like it, name it something sensible and SAVE AS then select PDF in the Format drop down.

Save it and now you can print your own version with the new font you have used!

Now as I was sorting this bit out I realized that to make your own CD calendar sheets really isn’t HARD, but it does take a few different steps.  I’ll list them, because if you are the kind of person who is not inclined to do it, you’ll just skip over it – and if you are, then the steps, following on from what I have already said, will make sense.  The former will wait till I make them and the latter will do it themselves LOL!

  1. Open the PDF and duplicate it.  Close the original.
  2. Create a new file, either A4 or US letter and set it to LANDSCAPE (lengthwise) because the standard size for a CD calendar is 5 x 4.75 inches
  3. Back on the PDF,  select the entire month block with the Marquee tool .  Copy – either using the Edit menu or Command-C (for me on my Mac)

Go to the blank file and Paste it.  Go back and copy the next month and Paste that in the blank file as well. Rotate each layer so there are 2 side by side months. Align and either print it now (in which case you can carry on using the SAME blank file as you create each 2-month page) or Save it as JanFeb then open a new blank file for MarApr, etc.  You can save as a PDF, or as a .jpg – I’m not sure it matters. Carry on till you have all 12 months, two to a page.  Print them all and trim to the correct size.

I can’t speak to other editing programs but I hope you can translate the steps to whatever you use.

And it this sort of thing makes you glaze over, next week I’ll hopefully have a nice simple download for you.

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Couple more layouts

Looking ahead to the WOYWW crop tomorrow, so it is likely that I am splitting my time between preparing for that (what shall I work on? ) and the CC planning.  Today I am just popping up the other two layouts from last weeks crop.

another recent photos one.  Why does it seem all my layouts of recent photos are ones of how bad the photos are?? DD, being difficult.  Used many of the printables from a GoGo kit here and quite like them.  Julia had the great idea to do the journaling in the lines around the frame.  Genius.  Will def. do that but I think I need a better white pen first as I think that will be the best colour choice.  The black quotes are carefully placed.  There was a bit of a tree root poking up from the ground in both the photos, but to the casual viewer they look like big piles of .. well, dog poo, if I’m honest.  So I hid them.  Funny how stuff like that sometimes informs your scrapping LOL!

Next, back to an old photo – not 100% sure I’m done with it.  DD hiding in the hedge.  She never really got hide-and-seek and could never resist the urge to peek out and see where the seeker was. Silly goose. I feel like the photo might be better set off by a mat.  May have a go at that and see – it really rather depends on how well it is all stuck down!

I am not getting anywhere with the one that was on my desk a week or so ago (a banner one) and I have I think two more kitted and ready n my crop bag still, so that may form the basis of my WOYWC (What’s on Your Workdesk Crop) bag but I may have a brainstorm between now and leaving, who knows?  I want to pack light so a single, but intensive project will suit me perfectly – just not sure what that could be as I already sorted my advent calendar!  And speaking of calendars, I should really look at creating my 2013 set – luckily I have the 2012 one to use as a starting point, but also have a different program to PSE that I KNOW is going to be 100x easier to use for making the months and changing them all in one go.  Watch this space!


2013 Calendar bits

I cannot believe how easy this was this year!  To be fair, 90% of the ease comes from using Intaglio rather than Photoshop, but that may be peculiar to me as I have a Mac and run an old OS.  But I think some of the tricks may be transferable.

The first trick is to create a file of months.  After all my play last year I twigged to the fact the week columns will always follow the same pattern – remember? 1 will always be followed by 8, 8 by 15, 15 by 22, etc.  Likewise, each MONTH can only have one of seven Start days (1st of the month n a Monday, a Tuesday, a Weds. etc) So I have a file, to be used year after year, with seven “start” days, like so:

They are “grouped” (although Intaglio uses layers I don’t use them as groupings works well for what I need) into two groups – one group all the weekly columns, one group all the day strips.  With a click I can select either group and change the font in an instant. So I can make all the day strips one font and all the weekly columns another.  One thing I really like about Intaglio is that even after you save a file you can easily ungroup things, so if a font change created a problem (if the for was not a monospaced one, for example, and I needed to re-center the text) I could fix it fast.  I can also delete extra days (which is why each month starts with 1 and ends with 31) without ungrouping them! For all future years, I need only assign the month headers according to that years start day, then delete days for all 30 day months, and February!
Now, what you really want are these – one set is a six page PDF, two pages each of  black, brown, and coloured 4 x 3 blocks.  I thought about what to make that would be the most useful, and the 4 x 3 blocks work perfectly for Project life, for scrapbooking pages, or to create tear off blocks (and how to do that is in the Calendar Making Posts in the menu at the top of my blog.

As usual, your own printer setting, and whether you use A4 or US letter paper, MAY affect how these print.  I did add tiny red lines to indicate where to cut but you MAY need to print one page and see if they work for you.  And you will need to trim to fit the PL sleeves (which are ever so slightly smaller than a true 4 x 3) but I opted for the lines rather than just a plain white background because the guidance might help you with your first cut.

What works for ME (and sorry for the rubbish lighting this early in the AM)

  • Cut the sheet along the red lines across the sheet.  That will give you three 3 inch x the width of your paper strips.
  • Turn one so the printing is face up, but reads upside down.
  • Place the now left edge against the 4 inch mark on your trimmer and cut at the right

  • Slide the remaining piece over, line up the left edge with the 4 inch mark, and trim off the excess at the right.

Now you should have exact 4 x 3 blocks.  Just trim of a tiny bit on one long and one short side to make it fit PL sleeves.

The other set is composed of 4 pages, two black, two brown, all .pngs for digital scrapbooking.  They are probably not suitable for printing as they go right up to the page edge.  No colour version, because if you are using .pngs for digital work they you probably already know how to colorized things to suit you and not be forced to use MY colour choices!

Have any problems with them, LMK and I can sort it.

I was working on a set for printing to make a CD calendar.  But the whole printer-settings/paper-size/borders thing means my choices may not work for you. To be honest you can easily print the ones here, cut them out, and mount them on CD sized blocks of card (patterned or not) and carry on – or use your Photoshop skills to copy the months from the PDF and add them to a file to print on any size paper you want.

My favourite thing is to just stamp something above the month bit, like this one from last year. So simple, so clean, and you could even use the same stamp in different colours for the months.

As it is so stupidly easy, I may create another set or two with different fonts, later in the year. LMK if you find them helpful.


WOYWW 175 – desktop, really

Hello WOYWWers!  So excited to be meeting some of you on Saturday at the WOYWW Crop! It will be fun, I’m sure.

What’s on my desk this week is mostly the UKS CyberCrop stuff, but in the spaces between I am working on my 2013 calendar stuff.  I always do a printable or two for people to download and after working out the easiest way to do that last year (and you can read all about that by clicking Calendar Making Posts in the menu bar up top) I made it even easier by using Intaglio rather than Photoshop.  It’s moving along quickly and I am really happy with the design.

Here’s a screen grab of my right monitor, which will give you some idea of where it’s going:

Looks like chaos, I know, but it’s ORGANIZED CHAOS. I’ll hope to have that all sorted by the weekend so I can schedule it for while I am at the crop.  I might even do a few print-outs for a little project I have in mind.

I’ll hope to have made enough headway on my CC tasks (working on sorting out the Prize list and final timetable at the moment) to get around to as many desks as humanly possible.  I cannot BELIEVE where 2012 has gone!!

Have a great, crafty, creative, and inspiration hop across the desks worldwide today.