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Junk Journal progress – Menko pocket and more

Well. I had loads of fun dyeing papers. For most colours, I did a couple of sheets of grid paper, a couple of lined sheets and then five or so plain sheets. Already I can tell I really need many more of the lined and grid sheets, for backing journaling cards, etc. I backed some tags to insert into the Menko card pocket

but clearly those few sheets are not going to last long. Luckily, I discovered that as long as I iron or press the dyed papers well, I can manually feed them thru my printer and add lines or grids easily. The colour is whack in the photo, but they muddy looking one is actually a purple on pale lavender dyed paper.

I might give a pale grey a go next time, so the lines blend in a bit more, although I do like them high-contrast too. I love the aqua-on-lime a lot.

I’ve dragged out a lot of stuff, some from the collage fodder bin, some from the scrapbook-embellishment boxes, some from my arty-samples drawers. Just LOTS of colourful stuff.

I keep finding little gems in there. Those cardstock folders were so cute, I decided to use the pieces as templates and cut my own

A couple of samples where I was playing around with a mix of matt medium, Pearl-ex, and some inks to make a mix I could then stamp with got turned into long journaling spots – backed with lined paper again, so yeah, I am burning thru it like mad!

Those bits became a cute pocket on one of the pages

That little saintly monkey has been in my collage stash for AGES. Glad to finally use him!

More JJ tomorrow, and with a WOYWW twist!


Paper dyeing for Junk Journals

I shared my no-sew junk journal, made from scraps, yesterday, but another project I have been working on is dyeing some paper for another, more traditional sewn signature junk journal. My plan is for this to have a combo of dyed papers and scrapbook papers. The dyeing part wass mostly prompted by finding this little stash of dyes (how old are THEY?) saved complete with the actual instructions.

They actually work almost too well! Really, it needs only a brief dip into the dye they laying out to dry to get pretty vibrant colours. And I am able to save the leftovers to either dilute and dye more paper in a paler hue or combine.

I have been using the wrong sort of container for the dipping, I think.

It works OK, but really slightly too small for A4 paper. I had The Hubster check out Costco for large, flat food prep tins over the weekend but no luck. I have another idea, a spare broiler pan from a long-ago oven, but it is dark, so hard to see into. I have a few ideas to expand this, maybe using some of the things I use to dye yarn (KoolAid, Wiltons cake frosting dyes, etc) like I used for these skeins of sock yarn

I am most interested to see if the black will break like it does in the crockpot. As it will never need to be washed, paper dyeing might actually be easier that yarn dyeing – the colourfastness won’t be so much of an issue. What is an issue is the weather! I can only dye one colour at a time and only about 6-8 sheets, due to drying space in my craft room. If I had done this on a sunny day (not always a given in the UK, even in the summer!) then I could have dyed all of the colours and left them drying on various outside tables. Ah well….. I still have Blue Reef, Coral and Hibiscus left, then if I want, various combos. I’d like to get a purple, and there are at least two other things I want to see if I can dye. Then, having created MORE paper, I will have to use it! Oh dear.


A Card A Day – week one

Part TWO!

Two Twofers. I really really love the first pair.

Thursday and Friday:

I have so many scraps, most of my cards will tend to be made from patterned paper and cardstock so I can use it up! The first one is a really common design with paper strips with the addition of a large embossing folder:

I think this looks fab! Because the cardfront was separate the inside of the card is pristine. I went to the scrap bin for a colour match and used a printable sentiment that I made ages ago, but maybe didn’t share cause I sure can’t find them!

I left the debris on my desk and the next day I decided to try another version of the same technique. This time I built the strips on the card front directly and used a different embossing folder. I also played about with the sentiment strips I had cut before making my extended plates for the Sidekick.

In the end I decided the black was bolder and I prefered it – this is def. a trick I will use again! I love the text over the strips.

Saturday and Sunday:

This time I went to a small paper pad that had some scraps tucked inside and some embossing tools I unearthed:

The final card:

Again, with the scraps on my desk I made this one:

I used a couple of elements from a cut-apart sheet that had bits cut from it already as well as the scraps from the previous day.

Might do just six cards a week so I don’t have to make a card before I can share the Sunday post!


A Card A Day – week one

Part One! I am quite torn. There is usually a lot I want to share about the cards, but if I do the weekend posts are going to be very long! I’ll see how it goes…


I had the idea to use an old sheet of text from a scrapbook sticker sheet

but in the end there really wasn’t much on there that I felt worked. Maybe Happy Times? I made the card and added one of my very few tolerable stamped sentiments


I had a pack of pretty paper that had a sticky back so I die cut a few shapes and threw this one together, and used the die cut sentiments I had from my test cut. Because of the sticky-back paper this came together in a flash!


Going back to an old idea, Serendipity Squares, except circles! Also using scraps tucked inside a small paper pad, and a few whole sheets…

…the card worked pretty well, I think.

And I set aside the scraps because there is surely enough of the serendipity chunk to make another one in a flash. But that is for another day. Trying really hard to stick to A Card A Day!


A low-tech way to use your sentiment dies with printed text

I knew this idea was going to be one people liked and wanted to replicate. The probelm is the tools I use on my Mac are not ones everyone will have and I simply have no idea how to explain how to do the same process on a PC. So it has been keeping me up, considering how it might be possible to do this in a low-tech way, without any computer skills at all. It is pretty tedious, and the die I have is perhaps the most tedious of all, as the strips that will cut are not in any sort of alignment. The start spot for the text is in a totally different place every line.

The only way I can think you might be able to do this is to get out your ruler and measure. And it occurred to me that while the die has 22 spots, for ease, you could just make use of the horizontal bars only. That automatically makes the whole process a lot simpler. Taking my die as a sample, the area I would work with (starting with the first line) is 1 inch, 1/8 inch space, then 2 1/2 inches. The text can be no taller than 1/4 inch. So if I were to type a sentiment that was 1/4 inch tall and 3/4 inch long, left a 1/8 inch gap, then typed a 1/4 inch tall, 2 1/4 inch sentiment, I would have to use that as my baseline. Already I am loosing the will to live.

Now, if I look at just the easiest part of the die to deal with, I am looking at just this:

That leaves out all of the die that is problematic – the spots to fill can all be right justified (or left, if you rotate the die so the beginning is on the left) and the spots are pretty evenly spaced. So as a first try, with no real measurements beyond what I already know, I can type sentiments that are just under 1/4 inch tall to begin with, and I can group the boxes (loosely) into only a couple of sizes – the first four are close, between about 1.7 inches and 1.8, so if I aim to make four that are no longer than 1.6 I know they will fit. The next five are similar – the shortest is and the longest is 2.2 inches. If I make sentiments no longer than 2 inches they will all fit. That leaves the longest at 2.37, so I can sneak in one slightly longer sentiment of 2.2 inches. For the strip of 10 spots you need to create 10 sentiments

four lines 1.6 inches x .25 inches

five lines 2 inches x .25 inches

one line 2.2 inches x .25

This is a VERY simplified process, obviously, but it should work.

ANY text processing program will surely have the ability to size things. Once you find a font that seems to work – and for my sample I went with the bog-standard Helvetica Neue, which should be free on most computers, at 19 pt size. – type out your text and justify it. If you can create boxes, do that, but if not just create the text, using whatever tools you have in your word processing to check the sizes. Turning on the grid, if you have one, might make the process easier

If you can’t turn on a grid you either need to measure the area and work out the distance between the lines of text. My die looks to be about 1/8 inch between where I think the bottom of the text will fall and where the top of the NEXT line of text should fall, in order for it to be within the die-cut area. I spaced out my text with that gap between them. At some point the only thing you can do is to print and test it with your die!

Not quite right. But seeing the text within the spaces gives me a better idea of how to scoot the text up or down to get closer….

and finally to get it just about right.

Is it perfect? No, but then I don’t need to do it this way so I am happy to stop here, having given you an idea of how you might make something even without the program I have. I would say once you have the text placed where you want, save that file and when you want to make different ones, duplicate the file and edit the text, then test print and check you got things in line.

Sorry it isn’t easier – there is a lot of trial and error with this method (I printed 3 or 4 sample sheets before stopping where I was, and one or two more might have been needed – or much more detailed and accurate measuring and mapping to begin with) but maybe this concept will be enough for you to figure out a better way to do it for yourself!

Now, I heard the mail drop and I am betting it is the OTHER die I am waiting on…and THAT one might be more common. Watch this space.


Creating my own printable sentiments for sentiment dies

I originally planned to add some junk journal stuff today but when something I ordered came early I had to take some time out to see if I could do the thing I planned when I ordered them – and I did! Yippee!

I ordered a set of stamps with the matching die from Amazon. The brand was one I had never heard of, Alinacutle, and it was more the die than the stamps that I wanted. I like the one set OK, maybe a little heavy on the !!!s, but the other one is just not to my taste at ALL. There are only a couple of them that I think I would use.

For me, the ones on the left are just not appealing fonts. The ones on the right are…usable. They come with a die that cuts all of the sentiments in one go. That was the driver for the purchase. It took a bit of fiddling to create a template of the open areas of the die but I did it.

By scanning the empty die, backed by black cardstock, running the resulting image thru an SVG convertor, cleaning up the bits of edging that were part of the scan (although I thought of a better way to do this that will let me skip that step) and sizing it to match exactly the size of the die (with no scaling allowed by the printer!) then making the blocks light, locking them in place and overlaying and centering the text I wanted in them…

… then copying just the text and the placement dots to a new file, I could print my own sentiments in the font I wanted, in any colour, on any card, then cut them out.

I am pretty happy with them. And because I did the work to create the template, I can just plug in any sentiment, any font, at any time. I can create longer ones by using multiple spaces, I could do two line sentiments, I could make the white writing on a black or a coloured background. The only thing I can’t do is emboss them. I can live without that. I have been DYING to see if this was possible and super excited is was. I ordered another die ages ago from Wish, a banner version, so with this one and that one, I think I will have all I need.

I am super tempted to just keep making these, but I will move on to my junk journal tomorrow.


WOYWW 627 – no-sew Junk Journal and finally the MBD cards

Happy WOYWW ya’ll! Blimey, it has been a week. My head, and my crafting has really been very much all over the place. I am sad to say my papers are still in a muddle, because I have skipped off, tra la la, back into actually making things. It always happens. I am determined I WILL finish, I just have to claw back a little more time. With my daughter back in school this week, hopefully the time will be there.

First, I received a couple more ATCs: Julia’s and my official swap partner Robyn’s (from Iowa!)

Both came with lovely extras (card, post card & decorated envelope) so truly happy mail!

First, my desk (snapped Tuesday at the end of a crafty day)

and then a bit about what led up to that! I have been dithering about finding a way to use up my scraps and/or my 12×12 papers and saw a You Tube video about a no-sew Junk Journal, where you take scraps and build an accordion. Seemed easy and I had a lot of scraps:

I basically grabbed a pile of scrapbook paper scraps, my drawer of arty samples, where I tested out techniques and the results never got used. I sorted them into loose groups, then built the l o n g accordion. Double sided, plenty of room to do whatever on it:

I do like the riot of colour and am sure it will be fun to work in, somehow. The little pile leftover in the first photo of my mostly clean desk was all that was left. I could pobably wedge those bits in if I really wanted too, and may still if I find any page is a little on the thin side, but we’ll see.

Now, for WEEKS I have said to Kyla I would remember to share my Man Bites Dog cards and FINALLY I have – a great headline!

I had to count and found yes, the set is complete, and a bargain at £1 in the charity shop. So all that is left is desk-hopping all day! I missed out a few last week, in all the craziness, but back to visiting every desk if I can manage it this week. I do love my weekly jolt of inspiration!

Oh and just a heads up – I really am doing my A Card A Day challenge (only challenging myself!) but sharing on the weekend days. I am planning on adding a click in the top menu (which you may or may not see, depending on how you read my blog) to collect them together. Otherwise, scroll back to Saturday and Sunday each week to see what I have been up to!

Happy Desk Hopping!


2021-2022 DIY CD style calendar, by request

Yeah, well I did day I was a bit all over the place lately. I had a request for a calendar that I made, I think, only once in 2013. I did the small “diy” calendars, where you could decorate the top and make a 3×4 Project Life sized card many times, but not really the CD sized ones. Funnily enough I made a 2021 version kinda in error, not taking on board the fact that it was CD sized ill I finished it. I guess I was a bit distracted LOL! It looks like this:

As you can see, there is a blank area to decorate at the top, just like the smaller ones, although there is maybe less area, proportionally, than on the smaller cards. Once again, that same sample shot:

Lots of option, from simple strips of pretty paper, to carefully built collages, to use-your-washi versions, as well as stamping and gel printing.

As I had the 2021 version done, it is easy enough to create the 2022 version. Not going to bore you with another sample shot, as the design is identical to the 2021 version above. So here they are.

2021 DIY CD-sized calendars

2022 DIY CD-sized calendars

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Just a little all over the place lately

Today I will be attending a hospital appointment with my daughter – the first time in about 18 months. As it is to do with the fit of her foot brace, it is best done in person. Being double-dosed I feel a little better about it but there is still that little bit of worry. Anyway, this weekend was a big one as well, with my daughter going back to both her disability social group (Hipp!!Bones) and her disability skating group AND we dropped by the local SCOPE shop, where she had volunteered for a few years, to let them know she was ready to come back. Not surprising then that I am a little all over the place, with all that happening in the space of three days after so long inside.

While I am not jumping big into cardmaking stuff, there are a couple of things I have been hankering after for a while. One is some sentiment dies. I mentioned the other day that my stash of even sentiment STAMPS is pretty appalling. I saw a set on Amazon and figured they would do the trick. I ordered them, had the order cancelled, immediately re-ordered them then got them the next day. So weird. This is what they look like:

The dies are shown actual size, so they are pretty small. And all loose. LOTS of potential to lose one.

I had to sort that out pretty quick! Luckily I had an idea that worked well. It was the packaging that gave me the idea. Al the tiny dies were stuck to the thin cardboard with strong double sided tape. I sorted the words into two groups

and stuck them to not super thick cardstock – more like 120gsm printer paper for graphics. I used very thin double-sided tape, trying to make sure there was a little exposed tape (ie not covered by the dies) as possible, so the cardstock I was cutting wouldn’t stick to it. I used my extended cutting plates and the Sidekick and it worked a treat!

Then I had to sort out how to wrangle all those small words – I didn’t want to store them in a jumble and have to hunt out the one I wanted every time and as there are over 40 of them I don’t have a container appropriate for sorting them into. I had the idea to stick them to contact paper then stick that inside one of the 1000s of 3-ring binder sleeves for US letter paper (not much use in the UK)

and again, that worked a treat. At some point I might try to organize the words better, but at least this way I can read them so finding the ones I want should be easy.

Still on the fence about the whole Junk Journal idea, and still looking for use-your-12×12 ideas every day. Nothing is really sparking me off. Usually I see an idea and I GO, at speed. But I am just not feeling anything to that degree at the moment. Maybe I’ll just drag out my yarn-dyeing stuff and dye some paper and delay a decision for a bit…

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Thank You cards – ACAD project

OK, so I needed Thank You cards, as I mentioned yesterday, so once again my Card-a-Day is multiple cards. I will settle down to A card-a-day but as this is the first weekend (and my plan is sharing on Saturday and Sunday, the cards of the week) I think it is OK to get a little ahead.

Two VERY simple cards, both from scraps and things I already had. The first one uses the waste from a die cut piece and a woven label I unearthed in my stash:

The tricky thing was the die-cut waste didn’t fit entirely on the card front squared up. But with a tilt, it did!

Then all I had to do was trim away the excess from the fully-covered card front and stick on the sentiment! DONE.

The next one was ALSO quick, again, cause I had some random bits that mostly worked together – this one is more masculine in feel I think, with the stripes and the plaid. The large sentiment I cut on my Cricut with SCAL, experimenting with designing both the sentiment word and the mat for it.

The plaid paper was another of those manky pieces that just needed using up. I kinda like it, despite the clashing patterns!

Phew. Daughter snatched up both of them already so I really need more already. Timely project, how good is that!?