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Truly Unique Ephemera

I am always in search of truly unique ephemera, or at least I have been since I wandered down the digital design path. Every so often I will find something that I think is truly wonderful and unlike anything I have seen before. I stumbled on a book from the late 1800s of type. And if you have been here ever you know I love me some fonts. Even my daughter knows how much I loathe Comic Sans – and don’t give me that “it’s great for what it is and does what it was designed to do” malarky – it’s ugly and lazy and I hate it.

Anyway, what caught my eye in this book was the sample pages of heading for imaginary newspapers. The first few were interesting, like Evening Whispers and Talk of the Town, but some of the subsequent ones were a hoot. Every page flip and they got wilder and funnier.

My vision is they would make fab belly bands or bookmarks in junk journals – I mean I think they are fun just as they are

Those are just a bog-standard crops, but with a little effort I feel like it could become so much more! And the samples to demonstrate the typefaces? Hysterically bizarre.

Lots of just really weird little elements that are just crying out to be used in some way:

It’ll be fun to have a play over the weekend to see what I can come up with. I have a few ideas. but we’ll see if they come to fruition.

I have also been working on a .. kit, I guess, of more postcards, daffodils and bees. Pretty happy with where I am but not quite done yet! All those flower images need serious cleaning up and the tricky thing with both white and yellow images is so often the old paper and backgrounds are close in colour to the actual images you want to extract. moan about this a lot, it seems, because where some colours might be super easy, others are a nightmare. Compare the contrast of the red iris on the creamy yellow background to the yellow flower on the yellow background!

The iris is a few click and a little edge-tidy. The daffodil is an hour or more to get it really clean. Worth it:

You can see I also moved the stray frond to place it “better” (to me!) and that was a bit extra to do. To be fair I probably go OTT on the clean up. What I am realizing is that for this kind of collage? edges that aren’t perfect are not going to matter. The stray pixels will melt into the background when the background is a similar colour to the original background. If I want to offer the image, cleaned up, for printing and cutting or for use in digital designs, well that is a different story!

Oh yeah – I am well and truly down the rabbithole now… LOL!

Still working on the ATCs in the background tho, so not totally giving up on messy art yet…


Already begun my Anniversary ATCs

I cannot believe that this will be the 14th Anniversary on What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday. Yikes. Another number – 728 weeks of posting desk photos and sharing with a close-knit community of people across the world. Yes, the numbers have dwindled over the years, but when it is anniversary time, people tend to pop in to look and say HI even if they no longer post a desk.

One of the traditions is we always do an ATC swap. You can opt to join in simply by adding an * next to your name, and then you will send an ATC to the first name with an * above you in the Mr Linky list (or maybe below, depending on the instructions) and will receive from the next person with an * below (or above) you in the list. Simplicity itself.

That is the bare minimum. You can (as I plan to do) make a bunch and offer them for trade to anyone who wants to claim one, or offer them to someone and ask if they want to reciprocate. It’s fun and links us all in real world terms, by physically sending and receiving a little piece of art in the actual mail.

I have amassed my supplied, made my test version, worked out many of the details, but darn it there is always a glitch. In this case, as my ATC will follow the “theme” of What WOYWW means to you and will involve quite a few words, the glitch is stamps sets with only a single of each letter.

I have a lot of stamps sets. But honestly, WOYWW alone has three Ws. I have been experimenting but am just not happy with any of the options.

I mean they aren’t awful but they look wonky. I do have a stamp set I got, crikey, maybe 30 years ago? It is super useful. The letters are a nice font, fairly big, as these single letter sets go, and I do like how it looks.

As you can see I am using Distress Oxides for the backgounds, but that droplet effect sometimes bothers me too.

I have a lot of words, and I am not keen to be stamping partial words then going back to fill in letters, so at this point I m kinda thinking I will print then and stick them, because the rest of the ATC is going to be a bit complex – not as complex as the pop-up-cube one I did way back for the 6th anniversary

but it isn’t going to be fast to make either. Usually people are very secretive about their ATCs so it is a surprise when the swap partner gets it, but with very few exceptions I am pretty sure my WOYWW mates aren’t reading here every day LOL! So I might end up sharing it before the big swap happens. We’ll see…. But at least I am on my way and not waiting till the last minute.


WOYWW 721 – Life just got chaotic…

Happy WOYWW! Well, then. I don’t think I have missed a WOYWW post for years, but the last couple of months have been… a lot. Nothing scary, nothing to worry about, just busy in a way that I didn’t expect. Lots of appointments, lots of commitments, lots of stuff needing addressing. What can I say? I just decided rather than risk another week of not getting to my visits, I would just take a week off, and hopefully be back once I cleared the decks a bit.

Once Dear Son + Cat re-located to their new home, and the last few windows were replaced, there was a day of cleaning and then many days of reorganizing and rearranging. But as usual, to get to where I need to be, I had to work thru the chaos. Yeah.

And that is just the craft room. My sewing room, which was where DS took as an “office”, was also in a state, and all the stuff that we moved out of the guest room wardrobes to make room for all the stuff that came with him, all needed to go back where it should be. Finally, after a good ten years, most of the drum set is now with him (to sell, not to play LOL!) and that freeing up of a good chunk of space made a massive difference. So after many, many hours of hard work, my office is now much better.

On my desk is a pack of rice paper, which is weirdly both strong and yet tear-able. It is cheap “practice” rice paper sheets but I am going to give it a go and see. Also, some pretty napkins I got from Ikea. Not really done a lot of napkin decoupage but I like the big, blowsy flowers so I might have a play. The other desk is new. I had a massive table, once we once used as a dining table, in my sewing room. I was tired on not having enough actual desk space so I swapped the smaller desk that sat in my window for this larger one. It is the only desk big enough to fit my biggest cutting mat of 23 x 35 inches. On that is one of my last jobs, sorting out a big pile of stencils.

I have tried about 100 different stencil organization methods and none of them work for me. Not binders, not a hanging rail, not folders… I just do NOT know what the solution is.

So there we are. Now at least I feel like I am in a good place to make ATCs for the anniversary.

On the Cat front, we are hoping to have been to a local rescue to meet a few available kitties and have been offered kittens from a litter in 2months time. Not sure Darling Daughter will be able to wait that long, nor me either, so watch this space!

I hope I will be forgiven for missing both a week of visits AND a week posting. Shocking. But I will do my best to keep on top of things.

Happy WOYWW again and I will see you round yours to catch up on last week as well.

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Hello Spring!

Kinda anyway. On the cusp, I hope.

We have a lovely magnolia tree in the front of the house. It sits right outside my window and I can see it from my desk. Well, the top tips of the branches anyway. I popped up and snapped a not-great photo of it (thru the glass) but will get a better one as soon as it comes fully in bloom.

That is neither here nor there, but it does make me mile when I turn my head and see it.

One thing I have found is that I am able to do digital editing work when life is crazy, cause there is nothing to drag out. I just need to sit at my desk (or with my iPad) in spare moments, and I can do a lot. I have been playing with some lovely vintage post cards and have further plans for them, but I thought I would add these pretty journal cards as freebies for anyone who can make use of them.

I have a huge stash of these post cards, and they are pretty easy to use, but the flowers take a lot to tidy them up and remove the backgrounds. So while this was not the most labour-intensive thing I have done recently, it wasn’t the quickest either.

I am wondering…I feel like I really need to work on making a junk journal of my own, using the bits from things I have created digitally. I need to replace some ink/toner cartridges but then I may just have to have a go.

On thing that I have been really bad at this month in my Daily journal. I did great from 1 January till mid-March, when life went to hell in a hand-basket. But I am getting back to it now. I think the best thing to do is just turn the page and move on, not beat myself up over missing (more than a few!) days. I did enjoy it, I did think it … “helped?” I mean maybe, but most of all I liked doing that morning core dump and getting al the crap in my head OUT. So yeah, I will keep on. And crikey it will soon be time to open my April journal and I have not even thought about making the MAY one. Yikes!

(This set is now part of the large Daffodils & Bees kit)


The Flexagon Card

I was asked, before life all went a bit mad, about a tutorial for the Flexagon card. I did want to do another step-by-step, given that I did learn a few things while making the last one. So I made one and tried to capture the steps. What the photos don’t show I hope I can explain verbally. I do have a bit of an idea, but we’ll see if it comes to fruition.

OK. What you need for this is thinner, single-sided paper. Not that you can’t use double-sided cardstock, but if that is what you have, I would go back and look at the previous posts here and here. Looking at trying to make the different areas of the card from different patterns, so the flips all worked how I wanted, the simple solution was to fold the circles in half!

Let’s look at the card:

This one begins with the split in the middle horizontally. The sample offers a variation, where the split in the top piece is Vertical. Either works. What you need:

  • single sided patterned paper
  • a big circle die

First, you will cut four circles. I used a 6.5 inch die, but smaller and you might be able to use a pre-made envelope. Something to consider.

I chose to do two the same and two different because this is a two-event card. The first thing you have to do is fold each circle in half and glue the wrong sides together. If your circles have real directional prints, try to get them in line. I find a lined mat, glass, self healing, whatever, helps. Just position the pattern (in this case, the line of dots) along the grid line.

Once you get that done, fold the sides in to not quite meet in the middle. Leave a hair’s breadth in the middle and do NOT overlap.

This part is really the only slightly tricky part! Stack the half-circles as full circles, one with the folds as Valley folds, split horizontal across the middle:

the other set on top, split vertical and the folds as Mountain folds.

You can maybe see that the bottom folds in that last photo look like Valleys. That is because the next step is to flip the four areas above or below those folds out of the way so you can glue the four pieces together.

It is only that tiny small area to the (in this position) RIGHT of the fold on the stripy paper and BELOW the fold on the dotty paper, that gets the glue. Use wet glue that grips fast. Art Glitter Glue has never let me down! I clamp the two bits together to keep them from sliding around, then remove the clamp, do each tiny area and replace the clamp, then rotate till I have all four done.

And that is it. You can now decorate your card.

I like to add text to the top layer. The first card had the recipients name, with the HAPPY’s on the next flip and the occasion the flip after that. This card I had the HAPPY x TWO on the front

then the occasions you are celebrating on the next, and the TO YOU on the one after.

That left the last flip with space to add a handwritten message. I hope this will show you that you have a lot of scope to arrange the card as you like. Also to get creative with the paper choices if you want, or go very simple if you prefer.

To be fair I am not super happy with the colours and fonts here, but I struggled to find thinner single sided paper and have only a few celebration dies. It works to demonstrate the double-event celebration in a single card idea, but better paper, better dies for the sentiment, and I think it would have been a better card! I much prefer the single-letter dies I used in the original than the full-words in this sample. Live and learn LOL!

But now you know the actually fairly simple method to make this sort of card, you can have a go yourself. And do share! I have always loved my version of the Endless Card, starting with a circle, so I hope you try it.

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I found a collage sheet, buried in a folder…

I am sad to say that my computer desktop is in as much of a state as my physical desktop and office. I lose stuff all the time. I was trying my best to get organized (and failing, if the truth be told) and in the process I found a pretty collage sheet that I never shared. Or did I? Who knows, my blog is in a disorganized state as well.

I am always torn between creating pages where it is clear you are meant to fold them in half to make a junk journal signature or it it should be more of a full sheet, where I leave to inking and distressing to be done by the person who is using it. This one was one of the “designed as two half-pages” ones:

It uses some of the ephemera I did, but also some from other places. I was practicing a few things, so it isn’t a perfect example, but I do think it is too pretty not to share. The download is on Ko-fi.

I would be really interested to know how you feel that is working. For me, it means I can add big, high-quality downloads and not eat up the last bit of space on my WordPress. com blog or require me to create a new one and point people there. Knowing myself, I kinda never thought in 2009 that I would still be blogging in 2023. Had I known I would have begun with a self-owned self-hosted blog and wouldn’t be where I am now, looking at deleting old assets to create space…

On that note, it seems pretty likely that I will slowly move a lot of the freebies from past years over to Ko-fi and delete them from here, replacing the download links with links to my Ko-fi space. That way I can carry on blogging for a while longer, here. Hope you will bear with me….

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The world of ephemera is so…weird!

As I go about my day, I will sometimes have an idea for an ephemera set pop into my head. It might be because I saw some resource that I thought could be fun, or because I just had an idea that went off in a new direction while I was developing it. A couple of interesting things about the process.

I had the idea to use vintage telegrams for backgrounds, for journaling cards and a collage page background. That seems to be ma jam, if you will. I always like to make a page using the same elements so if people download the set they are getting something a little extra. I also think it helps tie in varied elements in a journal that is not made from a single kit. I was working on a set and needed a large floral element for it. I picked this one:

I think you can immediately see there are issues – so much to erase, the background is not a “solid” colour but lots of variations on similar colours…. After doing the easy first step of selecting a colour and deleting the contiguous instances of that colour (and maybe some close ones if you get the tolerance exactly right so as not to delete any of the image itself – in this case the flower bits that are nearly the same colours as the background – the worst!) you then have to inch over the edges to remove all the bits that can’t be done with a click. And that looks something like this:

A tiny little 6-9pixel brush is what it needs. And every time I have to re-learn the lesson that while it might be fun to keep your finger on the mouse wheel and slide the eraser along an increasingly longer, larger area, one stray twitch of the finger and you just have to UNDO and begin again. Ugh.

But I got it done, over a couple of days of sips of time, between the clearing for the window guys and moving Dear Son and Cat (waaahhhh!) to his girl’s house, and was pretty happy with the results. Here is a peek:

Here is where the weird comes in.

I was happily collecting up the telegrams, and focusing mostly on the handwriting styles and sometimes the colours, when I came across one that I read and went WTF?

I will help, in case the image here is too hard to read:

The body is phys[ically] without doubt [weidall? a name maybe] has lost his head. (!!) is most decidedly protest against a note of doubt.

So yeah, no idea if the lost his head is about a headless body or not but it sure gave me pause! You don’t always get any context for these assets. You just get the telegram. But this one is just a little too dark for inclusion in a journal, don’tcha think?

Not sure how I will share this when it is done, so watch this space.

So yeah, the house will be in chaos again due to the window workmen, but hopefully for not too many days. It’ll seem quite quiet without Cat….


Sad blogger.

The lovely loaner cat is not gone yet, but time is ticking down. I spent too much time yesterday having a lovely cuddle on the sofa (and nursing a bit of a painful back) to be organized enough to schedule a blog post. Looking like next week is going to be a struggle two, with a handful or appointments to deal with again. I am late for my WOYWW visits and with Mother’s Day and getting Dear son and (even dearer? maybe….) Cat off this weekend it is going to be a challenge. I seem to get one good week under my belt then it all goes Pete Tong. Ugh.

To make up for my amazing lack of planning I am going to add a … hummm. What is it? It could be a junk journal page, it could be printed 2 to a sheet and cut up to make journaling cards, and maybe even used for a card background.

I have been working on a Journal kit using beautiful vintage images of colour wheels – the one I am most please with. It’s awaiting it’s debut on Creative Fabrica but what I usually do is put it there (so people who are already subscribers can get it for free) then pop it on Ko-Fi in the “shop” part so people who don’t care to subscribe to Creative Fabrica can get it from there. Not sure I have the pricing right between them as one is in $ and one in £. As someone who has always given everything away fro free, shifting to some free, some not is not easy.

Anyway. Here is the link to the Creative Fabrica listing in here when it is available and the Ko-Fi freebie is here. The full kit is on Ko-fi as well. I need to be a bit more organized when I add the full kit over there – it’s a challenge LOL!


A different sort of ephemera and a collage sheet…

…plus texting our freebies via Ko-Fi.

So I have been playing around with some vintage ephemera that has more colour to it than usual. Most things are B&W, or maybe black and buff, colourful. The stash of advertising ephemera I am drawing from includes a lot of colourful items. Humm. Let me clarify. Not colourful in the sense they are coloured, like the bright and full-colour things you will often see, like this

but more like B&W items printed on coloured paper. I am not sure if people de-saturate these images to offer them as plain B&W or not, but I kinda like the idea of offering them BOTH way, in the original (1800s era) colour and maybe de-saturated as B&W. I’d be interested in people’s POV on this.

So I have created a PDF that includes both the US Letter and A4 versions of

  • the collage sheet on only the ephemera in the original colours
  • a sepia-toned version of the same
  • a collage sheet created using the coloured ephemera for the background

I am very much still finding my way with Ko-Fi . One issue is a kind of chicken and the egg situation. I can’t add the images and the download there until it publishes here. And I can’t really add a link here till it publishes there. Tricky, that. There may be teething pains LOL!

Let’s see how well this works…Grab the freebies on Ko-Fi here!

This is what you are getting:

There are so many of these that tickle my fancy! I mean, Granny’s Salve – yikes! She looks like she might smack yo one if you try to say no. The fish is fab – I may have to extract just the fish at some point. The unicorn drops! Whatever must they have been like?

I have so many more to edit and tidy up as best I can, and my plan is to offer freebies of the collage sheets, with the thought they would work well as “extra pages” in junk journals. Do you agree or am I wrong about that?

I will be really interested in the answer…


WOYWW 719 – last of the cat, for now.

Happy WOYWW! I need to be thinking about what my ATCs should look like, and how may I will make cause that anniversary is coming up fast.

My desk isn’t bad. That makes for a change. If you saw the poast from yesterday and the earrings I was working on, made from an old A to Z mini map book, this is what the final piece looks like. As I said, it works as either earrings or as a single bead necklace.

Once I get some gold ear-wires, I can wear them. I think my overall desk shot didn’t save (thank goodness a new phone is in my very near future!) But if I manage to snap another I’ll add it here. To be fair, much of my work over the last week has been on the computer, not the desk, which is why it is pretty tidy LOL! I will pop in another collage I have been working on. It will possibly end up on Ko-Fi at some point. Unlike the Monday one this is not all my own ephemera bits in the background, but I have a whole lot more to process. I might re-do this one and swap out any bits that are not mine and use new items then use it as a sample like the first set.

This is possibly the last week sweet Angelina will be living here. I will miss her like mad, and so will Darling Daughter. Had it been just me, I fear The Hubster could have said “No New CATS!” with ease but it’s harder to deny DD when she is so keen. So yeah, not at all surprising, there may be a new cat round here in the coming weeks. But not till after the mess and chaos of the last few windows getting done. I’ll just add a little gallery of my favourite shots of her.