The big reveal – 85% done!

Some quick shots.  OK, a lot of shots…. I “zoned” the areas in hopes of being able to still find things.  So, My Gelli Plate stuff – in the 15% still to do, some better organization needed:



Sorry it’s still a bit dark in my office but I have GOT to spend the morning on WOYWW comments so I figured I’d better snap it now so I could post and get to that! I thought I would have to move the ribbons, as the bookshelf in on top of another piece of an old desk (see the curve of it?) to extend the width of the desk and make it stable, and that means the door, when open, is right against the side of the bookshelf.  BUT if I shifted all the hanging strips (free from the grocery store!) that hold all the ribbon baggies hung from binder clips to the right, the door opens fully just fine. RESULT!




There is still a little work to be done here – nothing major, just re-filing stamps I pulled out to use.  All the books and mags are OUTSIDE of my office, except Craft Stamper, there on the bottom shelf.

Next, scrapbooking papers and embellishments



Papers and cardstock at the top, in that sideways bookshelf, letter stickers, embellie boxes (still needs re-organization) and some other bits and bobs.

Then, die-cutting stuff

42013cleanupTotally happy with that!

And all my boxes of tiny bits and things like glitter, Stickles, AIs, etc.  It works and is housed in otherwise unusable space (behind the other door) so no reason to change it.



The bottom is things like coin envelopes, cards made and card blanks.  Needs a tidy up and I think best with an additional shelf, if I can find one!

My computer/printer station – shifted to the left to clear more actual working desk space….



and then on my desk: The little pile of stuff for the last few Advent Tags for DD, a pile of Gelli prints and bubble wrap that needs a home, as well as my two plates that need cleaning and storing.


There is also my ancient Macbook – it’s the only way I can watch Kate Crane’s DVDs in my office.  They won’t work on my desktop, but this old, old laptop plays any DVD I throw at it so I keep it hanging around.



Two last bits – a pile of stuff I will sell, a couple of stamp sets and a trio of Cricut carts.


Might have to give them away as I suspect the market for them is not strong!

And finally a very sad story.  I posted about wanting to make a scarf to match a hat I bought for DD for Christmas.  Well, in my frenzy of tidying I’ve “lost” it.  Oh, I am sure it is here SOMEWHERE but I have ransacked the place looking for it and cannot find it anywhere.  It’s possibly someplace like in with the laundry, or where my yarn is, when I was trying to match the colours.  Also, DD saw the scarf pattern I picked and isn’t keen, so with those two things in mind I went looking for a slouchy hat pattern on the net.  If I don’t find the darn thing in time, at least I’ll have a back up.  I looked at 20 patterns, none of them fit the yarn I had or looked exactly as I wanted. A lot of them seem to use super thick or Aran weight yarn and what I have is DK.  So the very last thing is a pattern I wrote up, combining elements of three or four other ones.  I want to do a colour change stitch pattern, like you do in knitting (is it Intarsia?  I think so!) but crochet, so it’ll be interesting to see if it works, and if she likes it!



The instructions are pretty much just a guide – I know what I am doing so I don’t need every detail spelled out, which is why it is so short LOL! I’ll maybe write it up proper and post it and a photo if I manage to finish it.

Now, WOYWW….




WOYWW 237 – a worse idea

Happy pre-Christmas WOYWW!

I posted a couple of days ago saying that cleaning up is a bad idea.  Well, deciding to have a proper sort out just before Christmas is an even worse idea, and yet…


I am trying to reclaim some of my desk top, as I am really fed up with working in a 6 inch square of clean space.  The side area there is what I am getting back.  Yippee!

That bookshelf might look a bit odd.  Can you spot the interesting orientation here?


Yep.  It’s upside down!  It had to be, because the cut-outs that are meant to go around the baseboard kept it from sitting properly on the desktop, even with a spare bit under it.  It works this way just fine.  That isn’t the only weird orientation of a bookcase. This one is sideways LOL!


It was the only way I could move my cardstock and papers from the side of my desk.  It just fits the top of the unit but the shelves act as dividers and the top (side) provides a nice long shelf to display some of the projects I keep making with no actual use in mind for them.  You’ll have to pop back to see how it all turns out.  Fingers crossed I can cull some old, unloved stuff and get it all to fit back in!  I already have to find a new home for all those bags of ribbon on the back of the door in the 2nd photo – the door won’t open fully with them there.  {sigh} only time will tell if it’s better to work in or not.

I’ll look forward to a bit of desk hopping when the cleaning and sorting get the better of me.  And if you are looking for a bit of last minute inspiration check out UKS.  We have had some fab projects posted all month and I have a long list of things I want to have a go at.  You might find just the thing to add to your tree, creatively wrap a package, decorate your holiday table or make a last-minite gift from your crafty supplies.  I’ll bet you have just as much stash as I do and anything that whittles it down can only be a good thing…..

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Not-so-lazy full Advent calendar

OK, so now you are feeling good because you managed to make a 7-day countdown with that printable.  You have vowed to do better next year.  This is something you can bookmark for next November!

I made a version from scratch. It was pretty easy.  With just a circle cutter and a punch you can make one too!


The sizes of MY circles – and these are slightly fluid, except as I’ve noted – are:

  • 7 3/4 inches for the numbers 1 to 18 – this one can’t be any smaller if you use a 1″ punch for the numbers or they won’t fit around the edge with room for a blank area. It can be bigger. A
  • 7 3/4 inches (or the same size) for the window circle that highlight the numbers B
  • 5 inches for the numbers 19 to 25 – this can be smaller (maybe even as small as 4 inches) but not bigger or it will cover the outer circle.  C
  • 5 inches (or the same size) for the window circle that highlights the numbers D

In addition I have a very large 10 inch circle that is decorative and a small 3 inch circle with the topper for the centre decoration.

Your circles can  be plain cardstock or card covered with patterned paper. Keep in mind your brad needs to be able to secure all the layers so don’t get crazy with the layers unless you have a really LONG-legged brad!

Start by finding the centre of each circle and punch a hole for your brad. I offset mine for a wonky look, cause I’m like that, but a centred hole is easier.

1. Print or stamp numbers 1 to 25.  They must be small enough to fit within a 1 inch punch. Punch them out. Punch 4 additional circles from plain cardstock to make tabs.


2. Punch a 1 inch hole in circle B. It should be about 1/8th inch from the edge.

3. Stack circle A and circle B and connect them with the brad.  Using the position of the hole in circle B, stick the numbers to circle A. This will ensure the number show thru the hole as the window is rotated.


Give some thought to how you want the numbers to look.  I chose the blank area to be at 12 o’clock.  I opted to have the numbers around the edge, perpendicular.


You can, instead, orient them as I did for the INNER circle, so the numbers read horizontal thru the window.  I’ve done one each way so you can see the effect and decide how you want to do yours! Likewise, decide if you want the tabs to the left or the right of the circles (again, I did one each way.) Might make a difference if you want to make a “lefty” version of this.

When you get to 18 there should be a blank area left.  Once you’ve counted down to there, the last week will count down using the inner circle!


4. Punch a 1 inch hole in circle D.  Repeat step 3 with circles C and D to create the final week of the countdown.

Make your centre decoration – I decided to use a STAR as that looks good even when it rotates and that makes the assembly very simple!

The real trick is which circles are stuck and which are only held with the brad, allowing them to move.


5. Thread a LONG brad thru circles A  B  C  and  D.  Orient the circles as you want them to be.  Test them.  See if you like them.  Once you are happy, stick circle A to either your framing circle or to your background.  I backed mine with a 12 x 12 inch piece of cardstock topped by a slightly smaller (11 1/2 x 11 1/2 inch) piece of patterned paper.

6. With the circles oriented, stick C to B and stick your topper over the brad. I also made the 25th a little special and added Merry Christmas! around the framing circle



Like with the printable version, you can add a bag to the back for 25 treats, and stick the whole piece to a folded cardboard stand.


Note this – the circles will perhaps rotate when you dont’ mean for them to  – this mostly happens with the back window circle.  If this bothers you or if you are letting a small child turn the circles I would set circles A and B on the blank spot between 18 and 1.  Punch a small  hole thru circle A, circle B, and your backing, just close to the outer edge, between two numbers.  When you are using the outer circle for the first 18 days, thread a brad only thru circle B  and fold the legs really flat – this will hide the hole but keep the brad from catching on anything.  Once you are done using the outer numbers, thread the brad thru both A and  B and the backing to hold the back circles in place.



That will still allow the window circle D to rotate.  Next year, just change it back to allow the rotation till day 19 once again!

So there you go.  Frankly I do not want or need another Advent Calendar/countdown so I just used bits hanging around on my desk and a paper collection that has been in my stash for a while, rather than sacrifice paper I loved to make a sample. But even so I rather like it and might see if DDs class would like to use it next year – they can always tuck little tasks, forfeits or fun challenges into the bag then the class can make a game of it.


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Lazy, last-minute countdown printable

So you let it far too late to even consider doing an Advent Calendar but have Mom-guilt cause the kids are missing out.  This should solve it and won’t take you a minute (ok, 30 maybe) and wile you can’t get back the rest of the month you can certainly make the final week fun.

This is the PDF.  And this is what it looks like:


It’s easy as can be.

Print the 4-page PDF


Cut out all the bits – except the green circles.  Punch them out with a circle punch.

Cut away the little windows, like so:


Stick the circles either side, to provide a tab and make rotating the big window-circles easier.


Punch the centre holes.  Stack up all the bits.  From the bottom up it will be:

  • the circle with the days of the week
  • the larger window-circle
  • the date numbers
  • the smaller window-circle
  • the reindeer topper


and stick a big brad thru them all. You can stop here, I suppose, and just stick a treat bag on the back (maybe add a note ONLY ONE PER DAY, if your kids are likely to chomp the lot on the first day LOL!) but for ease of use the better plan is to cut a 9 x 9 inch square of cardstock  (ok, really, it can be any size – A4 will work fine too) and a smaller piece of festive patterned paper, then stick  JUST THE BACK CIRCLE to it.  Much nicer – just adding the photo again to keep you from having to scroll back…


What this will do is hold the whole thing oriented properly but still let the window-circles rotate.  The DAYS one will stay steady, but you may still have to take care rotating the window-circle over the DATE numbers.  It may shift, as may the reindeer, but just re-arrange it.  I added a bit of cardboard to make a stand.  By sticking the treat bag only at the top, the square can be stuck to the easel flat and the bag hang on the other side.


Now obviously this is meant to be a quick last-minute thing.  But there is no reason you can’t print the PDF then working on the plain backs, decorate them any way you like.  Cut the windows, use the centre holes to make sure it all fits together, then make something more to your taste.  You can easily use stickers to create the whole month of dates on the larger circle and omit the days of the week element entirely (but maybe adjust the size of the window cut out to fit the numbers) and skip the smaller DATE circle and smaller window-circle as well.  Just add a pretty topper in the middle.  I may have to have a go at that myself, as it seems risky to say “you can easily…” only to find out it’s NOT so easy LOL!

Hope it helps you out.


Why cleaning up is a bad idea…

Argh!  Went to my crop yesterday and had to bail cause I had taken stuff out of my crop bag and forgotten so I had NO ATG gun, fewer blank tags than I thought, no sequins, and none of the little gold embellishments that are the focal point of each tag.  I managed to do what I could then came home with the intention of finishing them up.  Yeah, well, that was the PLAN.  Could I find the little pot of small round and star-shaped sequins ANYWHERE?  I could not.  I spent two hours scouring my office – my TIDY office – looking for them.  Just when I was ready to give up, and post anyway, I found them.  Of course now it is approaching dark  so  went ahead and snapped the shot.  I’ll sort out the rest of the sequins later.


I have to say I am really liking them – they are fairly simple but all so pretty – much prettier IRL than in the photo.


The gold embellies are plain wood on the back so some of the tags have them flipped around, just for the variety.

I also scored a really cute hat for DD for Xmas and decided to crochet her a scarf to match.  Found it at Craftsy, downloaded the pattern, and am 80% done 24 hours later.  Phew.

Cute, isn’t it?  Her’s is more moss-green thru the centre with rose colours for the ruffle.  I’ll see if I actually have enough of the yarn – its stuff I had already, perfect colour match for the hat. but not sure I have enough of the deep pink or lighter pink. We shall see….

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Die cut Gelli Skins

I’ll bein by acknowledging that the particular pattern of this skin is not ideal for this application.  But I will use it somehow anyway.

Once the skin is totally dry and not at all tacky to the touch, lay it onto the plasticky side of some freezer paper.  I just used the bit I had peeled another skin off of



and lay another bit of freezer paper over it, plasticky side on top of the skin.



I decided to try a few different sorts of dies – including a fairly intricate one.

3cutgelliskinsThey all cut perfectly



They are fiddly to peel, but a little poke of a paper piercer loosens the edge enough for you to peel the skin from the paper (and it is the die cutting  that compresses the skin to the paper which makes it tricky to peel) without damaging the skin.  You can maybe see the really intricate one tore – one of the little humps on the edge is missing, just above the upside down V – but you can also see how they look layered over another print


This is def. something I will play with a bit more.  I suspect these will work on a couple of Gelli advent tags.

I thought I would grab a shot of the scribble one, made with Jane Davies’ tutorial, and show that die cut as well –


I think the scribble lines look fab cut in a shape.



Note the shredded edge of the biggest circle was NOT due to any trouble peeling off the skin – and this time I tried waxed paper rather than freezer paper to sandwich, worked great – but because I didn’t tape down the die and it shifted, due to the lumpy nature of the skin, and cut off the edge.  I think it’s still usable.

Now, I love rough cut, wonky circles A LOT, but sometimes I prefer nice clean CIRCULAR circles and it’s nice to know I can get them if I want them.

Another crop tomorrow and I will have to try to finish up (or make exceptional progress) my advent tags, in order to avoid disappointing DD.  There is prep work to be done before that, and I will def. tuck some of these skins in to use them.  Then I can make more…



Gelli Skins

I had a play with something posted on the Gelli Arts FB page, making acrylic skins with Slick paint and gloss gel medium, and it was pretty cool.  Not used the scribble version (I did white and black versions but only spread the gloss gel over the white one so far) yet, but I was looking at it and thinking about it and an idea began to form.

I thought of a few substitutes.  First, freezer paper rather than page protectors (possibly palette paper might work too) for the surface to build the skin on.  For two reasons:  the freezer paper can be cut (so if you want to cut the skin with it better supported, doing on freezer paper makes sense) and second you can store the skins right on the paper.

Second, I thought, OK scribble.  Nice but what if….?

1. Cut a bit of freezer paper bigger than your plate.


I tried this two ways – both worked, but one produces a thinner more fragile skin and the other a thicker one.

Method 1: do your gelli plate as if for printing.  I don’t feel like you need open areas if you don’t WANT them, not for the purposes of creating a skin. The open areas will be transparent (or nearly so) in the end and that will mean when layering it over something else, the something else will show thru. I used just plain old acrylic paint.  Tube, rather than craft paint, because my feeling is that the thinner craft paint won’t work as well for the next step.

That next step is to carefully pull your print onto the plastic-coated side of the freezer paper.


As you can see this IS doable.  But you cannot be vigorous in your rubbing.  The freezer paper won’t be gripped by the plate, it’ll slide around if you get too aggressive.  What I found worked well was to place my hand in the middle of the freezer paper then smooth to one side, then switch hands, hold and smooth to the other side. I think you can see that print above is not too bad.

Let it DRY.

Next, spread on gloss gel medium, all over the print.  Be generous and be sure to extend the medium outside the edges of the print. Lesson learned from Method 2 is build up the medium at the edges.  Makes peeling it easier! My first experiment is a little thin at the edges.


Let it dry. Completely.

Once it is dry, roll the edges, loosen with your fingernail, but be gentle, slowly peeling the skin off the freezer paper.


Spreading the gel with a palette knife or brush leaves thinner areas.  These can tear thru when you peel the skin off.


I’m not sure it matters when you come to stick it down.  My gel medium was a pretty discount brand so it didn’t dry totally clear, but you will see later it doesn’t really matter.

Method 2: do the plate as for printing just like Method 1 but mix in a bit of gel medium to the paint before you spread it on the plate.


While the print is drying on the freezer paper, cut yourself a frame.  Mine opening was about 5  1/2  x 5  1/2 inches for the 6 x 6 plate print.  I used cereal box weight card and two thicknesses.  I pinned the print flat to a cork tiles I have for stamping.  Best buy ever, soooo useful.

Lay the frame over the now dry print.   Squeeze a  line of gel medium at the top of the print


Using a strip of firm card or plastic, pull the gel down, filling the frame for a smooth, fairly thick, uniform coat of gel over the print


You can fill in any gaps gently with the palette knife.

I added a border of duct tape to the frame, for stability and to make the edges wipe-clean but not till after I took the photos.

Let this dry. It’ll take a while. Once it’s dry, peel off the skin.  This method uses more gel medium, for sure, but oh my! did it peel off like a DREAM.

Exactly reversed – left is METHOD 2 and right is METHOD 1


and cause that looks like just a plain old print:


I still have to try a few things:

  • using iridescent medium rather than gloss
  • trying the scribble bit with metallic paints
  • cutting shapes from the skins with dies – circles seems obvious, but what about letters? Will sandwiching the skin between freezer paper  let it cur cleanly?  I think it will…..

So you are probably thinking Why make a skin rather than pull a print right on to something?  For me it’s about control as much as it is about the shiny look of the skin and the texture.  I can move it around, see where it looks best, I know what the bit looks like already, no worries about smearing a print or getting it in the wrong place.  Plus it’s kinda fun to do, and that can’t be underestimated LOL! But always interested in your thoughts on my wacky experiments…

Now loose tiles need sorting, repair man due to call later.  SUPER foggy (like Victorian London foggy, minus the smell, I imagine) outside, can’t see the end of the drive, and shopping a must, fridge cleaned out, so I’m off for the frankly scary trip up to the main road.  But first, one more cup of coffee…


WOYWW 236 – so tidy!

Well, it took all day but my space is neat and tidy and ready to be made a mess again! You’ll have to look back to yesterday to see the BEFORE photo.  It took so long (so it actually got dark on me) cause I didn’t just shove stuff to a hidden area.  What’s more I actually did quite a bit of organizing too.  I got all my Gelli plate stencils and texture boards sorted in an old Crop in Style 12 x 12 paper keeper that had been languishing unused for a decade.

woyww236and collected up all the scraps and sample prints from Gelli play days into a box for an attempt at collage

1woyww236and got my desk 99% clear



What’s left on it is a stack of deli paper prints for a special project.  I managed to get one decorated but there is more to do and one thing to source before I can finish it



I had another reason for sorting thru my Gelli prints – a mate of mine  passed on a link to the Fabric Press.  On my list is to see if any of my art type stuff would be appropriate for printing on fabric.  While I know a lot of people print their own fabric, it’s something that I am not overly keen on adding to my list of things to do.  But having fabric from art printed for use in a quilt might be something I WOULD be interested in.  And the thought of having a tea towel with something fun on it is just too tempting.  Wish I had a resource like this when the kids were little – what a perfect and reasonably priced gift would one of the kids drawings or a hand-written letter from them to the Grandparents have been, printed on a tea towel?? The process seems easy, so if I manage it I’ll be sure to share the results.

Have  a happy WOYWW!




Gelli print book from those sewn scraps

Argh!  I spent all day yesterday doing a whole host of Admin things and in between I played with the japanese stab binding patterns I posted about a while back.  I wanted to finally finish up the book from Gelli prints with the sewn paper scraps “fabric” I also showed.  I tried out so many of the patterns, with the focus of working out, if possible, a two-colour version.  None of them I was happy with in the end, and after looking at the cover on my desk for most of the day, I decided a simpler traditional pattern would actually compliment the cover better than a super decorative one, which might distract.  I have to say I still love ALL of the patterns and want to use them ALL.  And her instructions are superb – I had to research the pattern I decided on and write it up in the Enter/Exit style for myself so I was sure I would get it right the first time. See my screens?




Bad enough, the little area in front of my monitors, not to mention the chaos on the screen, but OMG my proper desk….



You can see all (no, really only SOME) of my practice pieces and printed instructions.

And the book:



I rather like it, but it was really more about DOING it than having a plan for what to do WITH it IYKWIM.  I’m sure I’ll find a use for it.  Full of lovely colourful prints



and I love how the eyelets that echo the stitch holes let the contrasting first page show thru to the cover.

Now, having shown the shame of my desk, I hope to get it all tidy for WOYWW.  As my parents have had same pretty bad weather there in Northern Virginia (lots of ice and snow) and lost power, I’ve been without email for a day (our email server resides in their basement) so much of what I should be doing I can’t so till their power come back on.  So cleaning is the order of the day!

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More Gelli print advent tags

VERY productive at my crop yesterday.  I got well ahead of the game with my Gelli print advent tags.


A couple need the little sequins added, like the stars and small dots seen on this one, and I have a few more backgrounds completed that need decorating, but I am no longer needing to do them every day before they can get used.


DD has seen them and pronounced them good and Christmas-y – if she’s happy so am I!

Tree is up and finally has had the ornaments added (too early for ME, but again DD insisted it go up last weekend where I usually try to put it off till mid-month) and this year we added only the front of the tree branches (artificial tree LOL!)  to the bottom half so is nestles nicely in the window curve with no need to move al the furniture around to fit it in.  That helped with me agreeing to have it up so early – in the past three years I seem to throw out my back EVERY TIME cause I try to move the heavy sofas in the lounge by myself.  You think I’d learn! Anyway, it’s starting to feel more like Christmas and after months of trying not to think about it I am finally getting into the spirit of it all.