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Another busy week and some Halloween coins begun

Time is flying by. Another dentist appointment (this time a simple cleaning) and my booster jab, my knitting mate visiting and darling daughter’s upcoming birthday are the highlights. I have another notebook in review, this time a knitting one and I am looking forward to ordering my author copies cause this one is one that I will use for sure. It was also fun to do. I am working on another KDP item that is quite involved but I am not ready to share that yet as it needs a lot more work on it. On the more crafty front, I have some Halloween coins in progress. The competition on the Facebook group I am in (random draw, so not really a competition, just fun) is for “Fall/Autumn” but I have had a Halloween-y one in my head for a while.

I am harking back to a card I made when I was regularly doing the Stampotique challenges. I came across it during the Grand Tidy and it stuck in my head. I just love the creepy vintage image.

Of course for that I had to make the size of the card fit the Stampotique head. This time I decided to be a little less bloodthirsty and go for a more charming vintage look. How unlike me! The first thing I did was take the vintage image and digitally alter it to fit a coin. I wanted a two layer look so I created a base background as well as the focal image circle:

I printed and punched, then added some cracked glass stamping to the bases

I gave the background a little spritz of some gold-pearlescent spray for a bit of glitz.

Totally impossible to see, but it is there. I wanted the centre circles to be popped up, and I only had white fun foam. I was able to edge the foam with a black Sharpie and now you can’t see that white between the layers. Yay! No need to buy black fun foam

It is pretty amazing the difference between the coated paper I am always going on about and the print of the original card in high quality on cardstock. Check out the photo of the actual circles printed! I was thinking I could use up some of those Tiny Text stickers from a looooonnnnggg time ago, but I don’t really have enough to say much of anything, not even BOO! four times. So as the week is crazy, I have to hit pause. I will finish them today I am sure (I hope) and show them done tomorrow. I’ll find the card as well so I can show you a photo of the card next to the coins. I really want you to be able to see the difference between the cardstock vs. the coated cardstock clearly.

Now, I need to do a bit of cooking!


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More ATCs with the printed versions from the tutorial – just having a play…

This has been fun! I printed the sheets I made from the tutorial the other day and thought about all the different ways I could tart them up to make cards. A fair few! I showed this one, which had doodling, stamping and some extra gold bits added:

I decided to cut some of the faces out from the fairly busy backgrounds…

use another bit of stuff on my desk (one of the metal tape backgrounds) and add Frida on top. Easy and effective, I think.

Then I grabbed the gold-dotted tissue paper and cut a Frida in half and …

Really love that one. Then I got on a roll and totally forgot to take any step-by-step photos!! But even so you should easily be able to see what went in to each one.

One thing I will point out it the top right? I was able to stamp on that OVER the printed image, with black archival ink and it is really hard, even in real life, unless you look closely, to see that. At this point that is all I had done to that card. I’m not mad keen on the second doodles one, but only because the face image is quite dark, probably too dark.

All in all this experiment has been fun. Now I just need to see if anyone actually works thru it and makes their own versions, and if they share. I hope so….


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Arty Envelopes to download

My ATCs have begun to land and I am getting a LOT of questions about the envelopes. I thought I would do a post about them again, with some to download, made from freebie images and free digital papers.

The thing is this – the program I use to do this kind of work (and by the way, the book folding templates) is no longer supported. The Mac mini I use is from 2009 and while it is not the last one this program will work on, the new ones running Big Sur break the Intaglio completely. So I am nursing the poor thing along, doing frequent back-ups, and hoping it stays healthy. So while I COULD explain how I do these, there is little point. I have downloaded a few potential replacements and frankly none of them work as well as Intaglio.

Here are the ones I made. Clicking this link will download all four but you can print just the one you want if you select that page and print only the selected page.

And this one, which I like a lot.

The original files were pretty massive, so this PDF has been reduced using a Quartz filter. If the images are less that crystal clear and crisp, it was either that or a 30+mb file to download and stored on my blog. Trade-offs, ya know?

The images came from a variety of places. The quirky face is from CraftyHodges on YouTube, who I have linked to before. She has a number of downloads that would work very well for the sort of low-tech solution I will walk you thru, and I will use one of her sets to shoe the steps. The crazy cat dressed as Brunhilde comes from a free image collection from the Library Of Congress. The butterfly is from The Vintage Moth – old site, but still with some nice images. The lovely face is from Freepik, which is a site I have a paid membership to so am able to use and share the images without copyright concerns. I think the digital papers came mostly from Freepik but some might just be from my collection, the download link lost to time. You can use Freepik personally without attribution, for this sort of work, so go have a look. I’ve had a membership for years and it is well work the yearly fee for the wide range of digital goodies it has.

Rather than go into some long explanation of my steps to make digital envelopes, using a program that you can’t get anymore, tomorrow I’m going to explain how you can do this in a more low-tech way and show you the steps I would use. You will need a scanner at the very least, to make your own digitally, and to print at will, but you COULD use a photocopy machine in a pinch! I will try to add a lot of links to freebies so you can have a go.


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It’s all about the moon – ATC coin series

As promised, here are the close shots of the coins I showed in process yesterday:

Very bright, very collage-y, little pocket pieces of art. So much fun to make and trade. And in aid of that, here is another printable sheet of ATC coin backs. Make sure your printer is printing at 100% for them to be exactly 2.5 inches, but if you wanted to size them slightly smaller you could – like if you also have a 2.25 inch punch and you don’t like to have to get them precisely placed! They look like this and you can download them here:

I re-jigged the placement every so slightly to give more room for writing.

WOYWW tomorrow and no knitting this week as it is the last week darling daughter has before beginning her last year of school so we are doing a lot of mommy/daughter things. I love my girl!


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New coins and my collage process

I made a series of new coins for trading, using some of the collage images from Crowabout Studio B. I can’t tell you how much I am loving them. I thought I would share my process, which is more or less the same no matter what images I am using.

The first step is to decide on the background. This could be a masterboard I make, or it could be (as it was with these) a printed “paper” from the collections. Here is the Preview sheet form one of the kits I used, although I used bits and bobs from a few collections:

I take the images from the kit, using the individual .pngs and compile them into a single sheet to print, rather than printing the “collage sheets” you can see at the left, which would print all the images, many of which I might not need. I might create a grouping, rather than individual images as well. If I am using an image multiple times I might print it in a variety of sizes.I also research the quotes or words I might like to use and print those out – I often make a sheet with multiple font and/or size options.

If I am using a printed paper or a background I made, I will punch or cut the coin or card

Loving my new 2.5 inch punch!

and tart it up a little, maybe with some pen work, some stamping, and some spattering

then I cut out all the little elements. I usually ink the edges, but not always. It does help make bits from different kits work better together if they are all inked. Inking the edges of the coins or cards themselves also brings things into a more cohesive whole.

Once I get all the fronts composed, if I haven’t done that on heavy card, I will back them with my ATC backs that have been printed on heavy card or maybe sandwich a circle cut from cereal box card between – anything to give them some stability and some heft. I have recently been editing the sheet of backs I made to add those elements that don’t have to be handwritten (ie. my signature!)

Printing them and adding them to the backs, then a final ink around the entire coin and they are done!

Phew. Many steps but none of them too difficult. I am a little photo-heavy already so I will add the close up of the coins (and if I can get organized, another printable sheet of backs) tomorrow!


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Decidedly Quirky ATCs

As you will have seen back on Tuesday, the Crowabout digital images are a ton of fun. I decided to combine the quirky words and some of the creatures (some as they are, some created from bits) to top those masterboard ATCs.

I rather enjoy cutting stuff out. All the way back in my scrapbooking days, I was an avid letter-cutter-outer. Microtip scissors are the key. I gotta say I really love these cards. Not sure if you want to see all the close ups, but I took ’em so I’m gonna share ’em. Here is an overview so you can skip the detail if you like:

And three by three:

I have another use for the images that I think will be fun but I have to work out the details. I will, but it is taking a bit of time….


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ATC backgrounds from a masterboard

I always love making masterboards. The problem always is that I take a lot of time making them but when I am in mid-flow, I am rubbish at taking photos of the steps. I have seen 100s of stunning masterboards (many on WOYWW desks) and even when I see the steps I can NEVER re-create them.

So here is mine mid-process:

I can talk you thru it, but I feel like most people would be able to guess.

  • I started with a layer of collage, using a ton of really, really old collage elements, some printed on slick paper.
  • I covered that with a layer of gesso
  • I covered THAT with a layer of sewing pattern tissue
  • and covered that with a mix of transparent and warm yellow paint, brayered over the top.

I am at the point where I will be adding the stamping and stenciling to give it some depth, add a bunch of spatters, maybe adding a pop of some colour, purple or red, maybe, and then I think I will cut them and edge them with a thick edging of gold – maybe pain, maybe embossing, not sure yet.

I have stumbled across a fun site that has LOADS of interesting images. Just the kind I like – lots of arty, quirky things, sometimes fully assembled and sometimes in bits that you can assemble yourself. It’s called Mischief Circus and it is disappearing soon. That is why I was doing a back up over the weekend. Having found a bunch of stuff (all discounted over the original price) that I simply adore, I have binge-downloaded a ton. There is quite a range – I got both the Hotel Hell characters AND the Soul Sisters. Diametrically opposed in tone, but both speak to me!

Without a doubt, the Crowabout Studio stuff is my favourite, and the WOOT series is 100% going to appear in a project very soon. Isn’t it glorious?

That kit is UNDER $3. I mean c’mon! No idea where these things will be available once it closes, but the prices are pretty close to 1/2 the original. There is A LOT there and it will take you a while just to browse thru it all but if this looks like your kind of thing, hop on over and see what you can find. I am thinking those images, so bright and colourful, with be a perfect foil for the vintage tones of my masterboard. I need to print and cut and test them out! Watch this space…


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Storytelling quotes to download, and how I made them

Today is the day we all say a final good-bye to our WOYWW friend Shaz Silverwolf. I’m not feeling super creative so nothing very arty today.

I get into the weeds here, and I can’t promise this was the best or most perfect way to accomplish this, but it’s what I did. While I am not 100% happy about the results (that e is wrong!) it’s close enough for now.

The goal: to make quote blocks that looked enough like the Dina Wakely stamp from a set I own that I could use them on the same page.

The stamp looks like this:

Thing to note: It seems slightly stretched in height, the “ink” has a hand lettered quality, or maybe more like an ink-bleed from stamping, and it has scattered grungy dots or ink splatters behind.

The first thing I did was audition a few fonts that I thought were a close (if not exact) match. Surprisingly, Helvetica (yep – bog-standard, everyone has this on their computer Helvetica) was pretty close.

Not even close, you say? Well, by manipulating the shape of the letters, and a few key letters in particular:

I got to the point (by both stretching the letters height-wise and squashing them together width-wise) where you can see the match is not that far off:

The shape of both the b and the e are not quite right but not a million miles off. The program I use is a weird one. In order to add the grungy, handwritten feel to the letters I would need Photoshop or the Gimp or something like that, and I just was not SO bothered by the slight miss-match to do that. I might continue playing with this, but no reason not to share what I have at the moment. By dupicating the block of text that fit, then typing the quotes, each quote matches the spacing and sizing. Adding the grunge was tedious but not hard – I already had a font, one I have used often, that has grungy dots as part of it – SC_InkBlots (used on my Stampotique book) – so all I had to do was repeat the 7, flipping and rotating and resizing it to offer some variation, and hid those variation behind the text. Again, if I had Photoshop, and an ink-spatter brush it would be 100x easier.

The end result is not bad, and useful for any art journalers, whether they have this particular stamp or not.

Because the quotes themselves are useful, I did a PDF with both the ink-spattered version and a plain version. Feel free to download and print it for use in your art journal. Do bear in mind that your printer ink might smear if you use any wet medium over it – mine did a bit cause I was too lazy to get out my gel plate and seal it. I’ll just add the page again so you can see my first version of this process, although the PDF versions are, I think, a closer match – the ones on the page needed to be squished a little bit more.

It’s been a while since I shared a download like this. I hope it is useful and if so, I might do more.

Almost forgot my next 100 days page! Photographed before the journaling. Intentionally.

Off now to explore my program and see if there is a tool in it to rough up that font a bit, and to photograph my junk-journal pages….


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Cute Christmas Tags to Download

OMG, I am out of practice! It seems to have been so long since I did any digital designing. But as I am feeling in a Christmas-y mood at the moment – mostly because some of my knitting friends have been doing Christmas stuff for MONTHS now, I am guessing it’s cause they are NOT American and have neither the Thanksgiving holiday nor the election distraction in the middle! I though I would dust off my skill set and see what I might come up with.

I am trying something slightly different this time.  If you can see, the circles at the bottom have no framing lines.  For those, I figured no lines mean people can use a punch or a die in a few different sizes to cut them out.  That seems more helpful to me.  That PDF is downloadable here.

Now, that made me think – what if people wanted a slightly different tag shape than the one I made? what if they wanted a straight rather than curved top, or straight corners? Both would be easier to cut. So I decided to add another version where there are no lines at all!

If you prefer THAT PDF, you can download it here.

So I think these are pretty cute. If you do use them, as always, I would love to see how you do – if you have a die that works perfectly or if a trimmer, guillotine or scissors is how you did it. I haven’t done the more British Happy Christmas this year, but might do, if requested.

Honestly, those images look a little fuzzy to me – can’t tell if it is my tired, election watching eyes, old age, or my struggles with the unavoidable WordPress changes recently. And the TO/FROM black is THIN but darker than the image shows. Reports back on how it prints for you would be welcome.


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All the Camera Hands cards as .PNGs

I re-named them, because they are more useful than just for Selfie photos, I think. I wasn’t sure how was best to add these, so I’ve done them as a Gallery.  You can click on any of them to open it larger then save the .PNG.  They are 300 dpi so should be quite scalable.  Do let me know.  This is a bit of a new thing for me so not sure I’ve gotten it right. They seem to display with a black centre when you click on them, but are transparent when you open them in a program like PSE.

 

I think they could even make cute card toppers. Sorry for the not-great photo – it’s in fading light and the card shifted as I snapped this one – see how the top edge isn’t level?  Should have done it lying flat, but oh well…. at least it shows the SNAP hanging off the edge.

2selfieframecard

and standing up as an easel card

selfieframecard

A bit of luck, the embossing folder having the same motif as the paper!  But the point is, think outside the box.  I’ll bet you can think of lots of cute uses for bringing photos to cards.

Have fun and if you use them do share!