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More about pencil eraser stamps and placement

I still have DS in town (and still a list of things to do for him before he heads back, mostly clothing repair – you see? I just KNEW there was sewing in my future, I just hoped it would be quilting!) and DD is home sick from school, so this is just another quickie.

Following on from yesterday, I did eventually find my larger size punchinella.   I just KNEW the size was perfect to use as a guide for stamping a uniform pattern with the tiny eraser stamps, and I was right.


The width of my punchinella is about 3 1/2 inches, but it is very very easy to reposition and carry on.  Even so, just a 6 inch (measured from one full circle to another full circle) length produces a grid of 3 x 6, which would still work widthwise for many cards.


LOL!  My eraser carving is not expert but some of them I quite like.  Remove the punchinella and…


I must have gotten a smudge of brown on the side of my finger cause there are some smudges there, but as this is a sample it doesn’t really matter much.  But it does show you the idea. Personally I think it’s a lot easier than drawing a grid, and a lot more reliable than eyeballing it. And you could perhaps pick out different patterns – I can see how you might make an arrow, or a chevron or straight lines or triangles…

But not a circle.  But as I mentioned yesterday,  other stencils work as well.  Not sure who makes this one, but someone will recognize it, I’m sure.


For the outermost ring of stamping, there is PLENTY of room.  For the next one in, it’s a close fit, so a stamp like I’ve used (the starburst one) works, but the other one wouldn’t – anything that depends on the full diameter of the eraser to show the pattern won’t work.  Maybe another similar stencil will?  Nothing I have carved fit the tiny holes of the smallest circle but just a dot from a bullet-tip marker works.


I think I really need to store these pencils someplace where I won’t forget I have them.  I tend to do that.  Now back to laundry and sewing.




another one of THOSE posts….

Happy Mother’s Day to the UK Mum’s.  Lucky me – I get TWO days ’cause I make the family treat me as both a UK and then as a USA Mom for THAT Mother’s day LOL! Funnily enough when DS came home from Uni for the weekend, with his backpack crammed full of a weeks worth of dirty laundry, I commented to him that the last thing I wanted to do on Mother’s Day was sorting out his laundry. He retorted quickly that he knew nothing would give me greater pleasure, which did make me laugh. And he’s probably right – I do love tending to my family. The cooking, the cleaning, the ministering to them when they are ill (as, actually, DD is at the moment, poor little sausage) is something I want to do for them ’cause I love them.

But then I do love my blogging too, so I took a moment during the current wash cycle to snap a few photos of stuff that happens to be on my desk at the moment.  Maybe there will be something useful here for you, even if the photos aren’t wildly exciting.

First, I was looking at an article in Craft Stamper about pencil eraser carved stamps.  A few months back I saw an Interweave video about making stamps (maybe it was an E-book free download, I really can’t recall at the moment) and had carved a super simple stamp from one of the many UK pencils with useless erasers (I don’t know why but they are so hard and not fit for purpose, not like the US #2 pencils I recall from my childhood) we have kicking around.  It was handy in my pen pot on my desk so I grabbed it.  The article suggests drawing a grid, which you then erase, in order to stamp the tiny images in an orderly fashion.  I had a quick little stamp of the +/x that I had carved (I thought I could use it to mimic cross-stitch stitching but never really used it) and saw that with this design the problem wasn’t just with laying out the stamped images neatly, but keeping the round pencil properly oriented.

See on the right?  The +/x goes every which way



Just adding a thin strip of Washi tape to the barrel of the pencil allows me to line it up to get the + or the X and keep them straight. A Sharpie line would work as well. The I thought about the whole grid thing – well, I hate drawing then erasing.  Even light pencil lines show up sometimes.  But then I spied a stencil off to the side.  Bingo.  I just stamped the little image thru the stencil.


Depending on the stencil and how you oriented it you could get straight lines or staggered ones or even a circle.  But you can see it works well.


I also have been itching to get some needle-tip bottles, for writing with acrylic paint.  I wanted some that were small, and a lot of them. I wanted proper needle-tip bottles, not just fine-tip ones.  I found them for what I thought was a pretty good price, and they are quite small, so if I wanted to change colours and rinse one out I wouldn’t be wasting a lot of paint.


I tried both filling with plain old craft paint, which is nice and thin and flows perfectly, and mixing heavy-bodies paint with water.  That worked less well, but I think I need to play with the ratio of paint to water.


The paint and water mix gives an interesting effect.


Slightly more blotchy, less defined, but I like it.  As you can see each little bottle comes with a tight-fitting airtight silicone capper that is attached right to the bottle.  I’m wondering if Liquid Pearls are thin enough to work in a bottle like this. …

But those are all thing to play with more on another day.  I can hear the washer spin cycle has just stopped so ….


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AJ page done

Well, I expect by now you are pretty tired of seeing this page, but it’s done (should that be “done for now?”  I don’t know…) so I’ll add it:


I was already leaning towards the left side alignment so it was nice to see that most people who commented picked that version.  I did re-do the tiny text so it showed a better contrast to the background, and added some tiny circles and stamped dots, just to tie the title in with the background better.  Funny, I wanted BOTH – greater contrast and better unification.  A precarious line to walk, don’tcha know?


Again, cause I sing it in my head, it makes sense for SHALL to be highlighted as she sings it with emphasis, what shall we do? what SHALL we do?…


DS may come home for the weekend so I suspect I will work on a stray set of printables today for adding sometime over the weekend – if he DOES come home I fear it’ll be all about cooking and laundry.  What Mom with a kid at a far-away Uni doesn’t both dread and relish those trips home? At least I know he’ll be well-fed and clean for a few days…. {wink}


Art Journal page – Useless Beauty

As I was driving, and considering the art journal page sitting on my desk, a song came on my shuffle.  The title of the song by June Tabor, All this Useless Beauty, seemed the perfect title for an art journal.  If you fancy hearing the song, I found it on YouTube.

I’ve actually used another lyric from this song …when legends and history collide… for the title of a layout, so it clearly it’s a song that resonates with me. I dashed home to create the text, then came to a point where I was of two minds for how to place it.  thinking back to a quilting video I sam many months ago, I recalled a trick that the quilter used (but not WHO it was LOL!) when working on freestyle quilts – she snapped photos of different arrangements, both to remember them as she shuffled things around, and to use the visuals to help her really SEE the differences the altered arrangements made to the final piece.  So I figured why not try that?

I thought maybe a left alignment might be interesting:


That seems to show off the background a little better, with more areas available for further additions.  Then I thought more maybe centred might be better:


THAT makes the doily background look more starburst-y  but the random stamping isn’t in exactly the places I would have put it if the title had already been there, IYKWIM. The tiny text repeats a bit of the lyric, cause when I look at it I can’t help but sing it in my head.


Still not sure, so I might have to look at the photos a little bit more before I stick it al down and do the final bits. What do YOU think?  Can’t promise I’ll pay any attention to opinion, but it’s always interesting to know what people prefer and more importantly WHY they prefer one over the other. Feel free to wade in….

Just a shot of the big letters.  I still love these stamps possible 10 years on since I got them…


Spent way too much time yesterday trying to sort out my internet connection.  Why is it an upgrade has felt more like a downgrade?  {sigh}




Another odd WOYWW post this week – a real conglomeration of things! First, the obligatory desk shot – an art journal page .




Liking it so far but still lots to do.  I needed an “opening” page but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.  Driving to the store yesterday a song lyric came to me as the perfect quote.  Hopefully I’ll finish it up today!

Next, we got a BIG box of goodies from DH’s Aunt and Uncle for DH’s 50th.  They are some of the COOLEST people I know – Aunt is amazingly artistic and clever (she’s the one who copied a mini-book I sent with DH on one of his visits, and re-created it so I would have a copy) and Uncle was on the team at PARC that developed the mouse (the computer mouse).  Everything was meticulously wrapped by Aunt, each gift had a card, a funny poem that hinted at the gift, and they were all of a theme.  One of the gifts I quickly appropriated.  The poem says:

Golden ever
Olden never!
Let’s stick together
no matter the weather

and what was inside?  Only GOLD Duck Tape!



And finally, after a brief email exchange with a commenter, I’m going to add this 4-page PDF of blank scribble printables for Project Life fans:


She asked for blanks to use in her art journal rather than for scrapbooking. Nothing special to make but happy to oblige! Others may find them useful too.

Hoping for a clear day (well, till skating anyway) for some lovely desk hopping and hoping too to settle on a design for my ATCs.  I hope to make more than one but less than 100 with an idea to trade at the WOYWW crop, so I better get started…

Happy WOYWW.


Scribbles on Kraft

Just wrapping this up.  A commenter asked about a blank version of the printables for printing on kraft cardstock.  I may have misunderstood and thus done more than required, but that is something I tend to do …

The problem is no printer has WHITE ink in it.  The only way you can print something that APPEARS white is to print everything but the white.  The white you see is merely the white background card showing thru.  So there is no way to put kraft cardstock in your printer and print a sheet of white text over it.  The only way to accomplish that is to create kraft coloured blocks and print THEM on white cardstock.  Like so:


It had already occurred to me that perhaps kraft would be a useful option, but also that having a black and a brown version might ALSO be helpful.  That would allow them to be printed on ANY colour cardstock (or even lightly patterned paper) to suit your page. Problem there is that the text just floating on the page may not make sense to everyone.  So I made these two, with very faint pale grey boxes, just so you can see to cut the 3×4/4×3 blocks.  It also makes it easier to cut 5 different colours of cardstock, stick them to  the plain-paper print positioned over the blocks, then print again so the text prints on top.


This 3-page PDF has the kraft version and both the black and brown ones.  And I’ll have to remember to create kraft versions in the future….



That other set of PL printables

NOTE:  Look here for the plain black and brown text and a white-on-kraft version.

Well, it turns out my emergency set of printables isn’t needed so I’ll go ahead and add them here.  If you do Project Life you may want to pop on to UKS to the Team Project Life forum – there might be info or prompts that interest you.  You won’t be able to download the printables without being a member, but you should be able to read the prompts and the discussions.  You can preview the set for this month and see all past printables from the UKS Home Page.  Just click the link in the list to see the post. There are some PL downloads but also many other general scrapping downloads there.  Members of at least 30 days (or with a post count over 20) will be able to download.

Here is my set – the prompt this month was doodling so mine have a doodle-y  style.  I figure they won’t be appropriate to a later prompt so there is no point in holding them for a later date.  I made ’em so I might as well share them….


Depending on the interest I may make an alternate colourway – feel free to drop a comment with anything that you would like to see.  As you know from some of my past posts, changing colours or substituting a different word is pretty simple.  I wouldn’t make a set with your kid’s names, as that wouldn’t have universal appeal {wink} but any generic and useful words or colours and I would certainly consider it.  If you fancy a blank set, comment to say so.

But this set has some scope for easy alteration – if you wanted, careful use of either a punched circle or a die could remove or cover the text.  FOCUS and A PERFECT MEMORY work perfectly with a 2″ circle (HIGHLIGHT THIS is ever so slightly bigger but so close I think it would work OK.  SPOTTED would work too so long as you don’t mind covering a bit of the scribbled circle.) TINY DETAILS covers with the standard circle – is it 1″ or 1 1/4″?? My size notation has rubbed off but I think it’s CALLED a 1 inch circle even if the measurement is more like 1 1/4 inches.  Just grab a punched circle or two and give it a go. The font is called Mia’s Scribblings so you can match the style of mine.  I made the scribble circles myself but there are surely freebies out there.

Have fun with them and I hope you find them useful.

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Pretty text printables

We have an anniversary approaching so these printables have been dancing about in my head.  I’ve done them two ways.  The first is the PDF – the colours are shown.



Now, the issue with these is the small white circles, intended to invoke wedding rings.  That makes changing the colour by using the magic and a little trickier.  I made a PSE layered file, but WordPress doesn’t allow me to share that here, I would have to use Dropbox, or something like that.  I also made a .png file, although it still has the same problem.  Feel free to grab both and play with them.  The PNG is coloured lighter and prettier, perhaps, so between the two hopefully you will get what you need.



You should be able to right-click the above and download the .png.  Let me know how you get on.  I think these would work nicely for wedding or anniversary related PL pages, but I think they could also be used for a topper on a very simple card.  They look lovely printed on textured paper.


The Distress Spritzer? well, not REALLY…..

This is one of those posts that is a weird confluence of events.  Someone once asked me Where do your ideas come from?  I thought for fun I would document it – the steps may be unique, but the process isn’t. It’s just the way my mind works and the benefit of a messy desk  Feel free to just look at the photos – they should tell you all you REALLY need to know.

1. I got an email from a UKS sponsor announcing they had received the new Tim Holtz Distress Marker Spritzer.  

The more I looked at it the more I was convinced I had one.  Not that exact thing, but something pretty similar. So I had a bit of a hunt and sure enough, in with my stamping markers (a drawer not opened since I got my Copics) there it was.


This has to be 15-20 years old – I know I got it while in the USA so it would have to be.  I had a check for the name and while I see the odd reference to it they no longer sell it that I can find.

2. I popped a few random markers in to it.  One thing I can see is that mine seems to be lacking the inner liner for the pen-holder.  Not a big deal, it works well enough without it but I could always as one of those rubber pencil grips to super thin pens and I bet that would do the trick.

3.  As I was looking across my desk, my eye landed on one of my watercolour brush pens.  I thought, I wonder….

Now, I only have maybe two watercolour brush pens.  I’ve meant to buy some, after seeing Dyan from Art from the Heart show how she has as many water brush pens as she has colours of Dylusions and she uses them to colour with.  But I just never got around to it.  Deep in the back of my mind I had a tickle.  I KNEW that somewhere, probably in DDs “art cupboard” I had some kids version of the waterbrushes.  And guess what? Not only did I have them, I found them.


I know we got them maybe 8-10 years ago at Costco. Some of them are fairly empty.  I deconstructed one of them, thinking I could just replace the cheap ink with good ink, although I thought as the Dylusions aren’t waterproof either, I might as well just pick one or two of the near-empty ones to play with and use up the rest of the ink with mixed media stuff rather than just empty them.


There is no seal on the pens, which surprises me as it’s for the kids market.  I would expect them to be sealed and you would need to buy new ones once these ran out. But no, they disassemble just fine.


I tossed out the cartridge and the little slim tube.  For use with the spritzer you don’t WANT to slow the flow, like you would with a potentially messy pen, with kids, so I binned the cartridge and the tube.

4.  What to fill it with?  Obviously ink is going to be pretty much the same as using a marker, but then…


Perfect.  Acrylic liquid ink. This gives me something, a matte and almost chalky look, that I am not going to get from a marker (I only have ONE Distress marker, the Picket fence one, so I don’t really know if that would be similar to using acrylic ink) and is waterproof. Note:


And wipe over it with a baby wipe


The ink on the wipe is not from the acrylic ink, it’s from rubbing the paint off the stencil.  It give a nice watercolour-y effect.  I also did the flip-and-stamp you might normally do with an ink loaded stencil. The acrylic ink dries really fast so the stamping part has to be done after a spritz of water  on the slick surface of the stencil, and you can also then smear the acrylic ink thru the stencil with a wipe. Kinda both on the same area here


5.  And then, of course, there is WHITE.


Using the spritzer gives you a way more controlled spray than the spray bottle does, so you would use this for either the Acrylic ink OR the Dylusions for this sort of scatter.

So there you go.  I’m still in my jammies and my hands are covered with ink and paint, and my stamp-storage tower (with the wood-mount stamps, where the Blitzer was hiding) is pretty much dumped out on the floor, but now I have a new toy to play with, a whole heap of waterbrushes, a bunch of ink to use up, and it’s only just after 9 AM.  Or was when I started typing….

And Texas Flood is playing from my playlist, the accident payment has been sent, DH is back from his conference, so no school run, and the house is pretty tidy (well, downstairs, anyway) and the laundry done.  Where can the day go from here?  Downhill, probably, but I can always hope ….


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Using Cricut Craft Room to design stencils

After I did the fairly extensive set of reviews of the Cricut Mini and Craft Room, I was told I could keep the machine.  That was a bit of a surprise, as I had already disconnected it and gone back to using my ancient original Cricut.  It’s pretty much stayed in the box till now.  But I wanted a stencil of a particular shape and I thought I remembered there was something suitable amongst the images so I dragged it out again and plugged it in.

I’m not going to lie – the process is a little fiddly, but as a few visitors commented they quite liked the resulting stencil I though I would take a moment to explain how I made it, what image I used (and what cart contains it) and maybe give others the idea of how they can create their own unique tools.

This is called DOILY 12 from the Cricut Alphabet cart – here you see it in its original form:



I know that text is small but at the bottom you can see the cart from the list and the image (circled in blue) and I’ll explain the red items as I go.

First, open your new file and add the original image – the big blue scalloped circle.

Click the double circles in the red box top left.  This is what locks the aspect ratio of the image so it doesn’t go oval as you try to scale it up or down.  That looks like this close up:



Increase the size to as big as you want. Click on the box that says HIDE CONTOUR (in the red circle)



That shows you the outline of the image.  Anything you click on will be hidden and will NOT cut. In this case I simply hid the scalloped circle . It grey’s out so you know it’s hidden.



The darker lines are the cut lines and the greyed out lines will disappear when you Exit.



One complaint I have about Craft Room is the couple of useful commands that don’t appear.  Maybe it’s there and I just don’t have it triggered in some TOOL menu or another, but it would be REALLY helpful to have a SCALE option, so you can scale things by a percent.  Instead I copy the cut-selection and duplicate it then scale it so the circles nest, by eye by dragging in the corner.  The + in the red circle denotes the exact centre of the image.  This is critical to line things up absolutely and keep your circle from looking wonky – although that might be the look you want and if so, just line it up off center how you want. This is where I would LOVE to have an ALIGN option to centre each circle at the absolute middle with a click.  Since I can’t do that, I instead make use of the grid of the mat.  I simply line up that + at a grid-intersection.  If you have it lined up exactly, the + will totally disappear, as the lines are thinner that the bold grid lines.  Can you get that from this shot?



If you cut if from fairly heavy cardstock, as I did, you should be able to easily use it as a stencil, either for spray inks or modelling paste.  As it isn’t washable, with paste I just scrape it really well – so long a there is not clots of paste that harden on it, you should be able to use it again and again.  And if it does get ruined, just make sure you save the project in Craft Room and you can quickly cut another at a later date.





Obviously you could easily group your selection and scale it back then scatter smaller circles across the entire sheet:



And if you group the series of circles then SKEW the shape, using the corner than does that (top right maybe?) you can get a more oval shape, like so:


And again, easy to repeat that and scatter the ovals across the page. The point is you can easily design unique-to-you tools for use in your mixed media projects.  It’s just a matter of looking at the images you have available to you and considering how you can adjust them to suit your purposes.  There are SO MANY images available via Craft Room and the ways you can alter them are endless.

I’m ALL about getting the most from stuff you already own AND about making things for MY work that is unique to me.  I do get that not everybody is willing to take the time to do this, but if it interests you, give it a go.  A side benefit might be that if the stencils you cut have a limited life you won’t be lazy (like me sometimes) or fall into a rut of using the SAME “favourite” images over and over again.  When one of my hand-cut stencils falls apart, there is at least the CHANCE I’ll create a totally new one rather than just cut the same one again LOL! Keeping it fresh…