A Valentine star book

DH look away now!

I have a tendency to get a bit OTT with Valentines.  I am not overly sentimental, but I seem to become more so today.  Something to do with it being the anniversary of DH asking me to marry him?  Perhaps.

Anyway, being in a star-book mood, due to the challenge, I thought to myself that it would be fun to make another one instead of just a Valentines day card. clearly I also have the bad habit of waiting till the last minute….

I love this poem.  It’s romantic, but not in an overly sentimental and squishy way.  Here is the cover:













and a shot from above…



Happy Valentine’s Day!


Apologies in advance for the shockingly bad photos.  I took them in the dark this morning just before shoving DS out the door for the long train ride back to Uni. I only add them to show the better design placement based on the actual action of one of these flexagon circles.  I also show the method I used to close it – not sure what else you COULD use other than a band or a loose tie.

Normally I would choose to have the opening run top to bottom, but the images I had to work with forced the cover-split to run side to side.  That is another tip if you make one.  I think opening like a book is the expected and forcing the opening the opposite feels odd.

Another thing worth noting is that it is a bad idea to make the circles thicker – by that I mean the areas that are scored should be one thickness.  My last experiment with this will be to see if I can get a template from a scrap version.  That way the BASE of the flexagon is free to move, but the decorative paper can get stuck on to the base without affecting the folding and then the flipping.  I was rushing last night to get it done so took the short cut of printing two faces and sticking them back to back for one of the pairs rather than trying to work out how to lay out the files for printing one, then printing the other bit (perfectly aligned) on the back so they appeared the right way round as you flip.  But doing it that way showed me that what I suspected was in fact true! Make the base structure out of single layers then decorate within, not overlapping, the score lines.

I have SO much to do to catch up but don’t feel in the least bit guilty – time spent with DS is a fair tradeoff for falling a bit behind on other things.  I STILL have a handful of WOYWW visits to get back to – OK that one I do feel a little guilty about.   Also on my list is finishing another hat for DD!  Turns out she loves the one from Christmas and wanted another so we shopped for the yarn (how is it the stuff she loved was just about the only yarn in the shop NOT on sale??) and she picked the pattern (and how is it that she picked the only pattern we saw that uses one of those infuriating symbol charts rather than written instructions?? Actually, worse than that, it uses a chart for the first 10 rounds then SWITCHES to a written list of stitches for the rest – ARRGGHH!!) so this one is totally her “design” and she is asking about it every day.  My desk is a disaster and I have at least three projects I am dying to get to.  I’ll just bet you are the same, so I’ll stop whingeing and just get on with it…..



Circular Endless card (Flexagon)

Well, sadly, DS is off back to Uni tomorrow.  But he has hijacked my time to watch a favourite Anime series called Steins;Gate.  It’s a bit odd (time travel, sending texts back in time, alternate world lines, you know….)  but absorbing, once you get past the first couple of episodes.  A number of things all played a part in this little experiment and you know me – I like to credit people who inspires me. Let’s begin with Giving Hands Creative.  I had a hankering to make an endless card but wanted to make a round one – me?  I love circles.  I had the idea to do it with Gelli Prints, cause it’s been a while since I had a proper printing session, and the round plate is on my mind, so I thought I would have a little Google to see what I could find.  That link popped up.  That took me to Kiala’s Book-in-a-day series on You Tube. I took the time to compile them all into a playlist so they are all in one place and in order – there are at least 3 or 4 of them I am dying to try!

Anyway I watched the video in the wee small hours and then decided to have a go at it first with some images from the anime. It isn’t a total success, given the placement of the printed images but I think I’ve worked out how to do it better.  Having made an imperfect one, I can now more easily see how things need t be placed in order for them to appear as I want them to in the final card, as it “flips.” If you have never seen an Endless Card, this will help. That is only one of many so Google yourself if that one doesn’t suit you!

Start by cutting two identically sized circles.  Ignore the printing on mine for the moment – if you want to make an actual card you can just make the basic structure then add the embellishments, perfectly placed.



I had already (stupidly) printed the circles and the printer paper circles I am using here were to practice the CONSTRUCTION, rather than the placement. I really should have done this step first then printed to fit.  What do I say? I make the mistakes so you don’t have to! LOL.

Fold the circles in half and be as precise as you can – both directions.  Use the first fold to line up the cross fold. Just match the top and the bottom on the first fold line to bisect the circle perfectly.


Now, Kiala measures to divide her half-circles into 4ths.  I decided to use this scrap circle as a template and avoid the measuring totally.  Folding in the two sides to met in the middle will give you 1/4th on each side and 2/4ths in the middle – exactly what you want.




See? The same basic idea will let the math-challenged use any size circle, even odd measurements.



I drew the pencil lines to mark and then cut this template along the centre line.  Laying it over the printed circles I both cut them along the centre and scored them along the 1/4th marks.

My circles need to be one cut widthwise, one lengthwise, because I was using printed images.  For the basic plain card base you can do them the same.



And scored:



Taking another tip from Kiala, I added a tiny bit of tape int the middle just to hold the circle halves together. I got a bit turned around, and laid them out with all the folds in the same way – up.  They should be stuck with one circle mountain folds up, the other, valley folds up. Think of it as back-to-back if it helps.  Having said that it isn’t hard to just crease them back even after the card is done.  That’s what I did.



The critical thing here is to line things up as carefully as you can. I found my gridded mat helped with that. If you look at it, you will see the folds delineate a small triangle on the bottom circle.



Apply your glue in  just that small area.  I used wet glue but I suspect ATG tape might work as well.  Wet glue just seemed like it would hold up better as you flip the card. Stick the two circles together in the glued areas, LET IT DRY if you are using wet adhesive, then remove the bits of tape and start flipping! This is nowhere near as instructive as actual motion video, but you get the idea.  Let’s call this the front:

flipOpening at the cur across the middle so the top half and bottom half split and flip to the back:



Flipping the middle arched sections to the back:



Flipping the side half-circles to the back:



and finally splitting the centre two bits out and back will bring you to the front once again – I won’t show it a second time!

Now, depending on how you begin, you will see different areas of the card with different orientations.  I may still try to work out THIS particular card for DS (just as a bit of fun) and if so, I’ll try to give some pointers.  But I also now hanker after making one from a 12″ circle and making in more of a scrapbook-y thing, with photos so I may just jump to that, using this flawed version to place things properly.  And I still think it would be fab with Gelli prints, so there is still THAT to try as well.  I also wonder if there is a way to work it out so the basic beginning shape is a heart (hey, Valentines day isn’t THAT far away…) then flexes even if the hearts don’t perfectly match up.  So I have a lot of ideas to fiddle with in the next few days, I think.

Do check out Giving Hands Creative too.  Like I said this is just one of many interesting books she did.  I admire her committment to a book in a day, and a book a week for a year.  Yu may find something that makes you rush to your desk, you never know….



Happy Birthday card (repost)

17 years ago today, just about now, I was in UCH in London, having DD.  I simply cannot fathom the passage of that much time in what seems like an instant.  So not blogging today, really, but wrapping some gifts, planning the perfect dinner of her choice, and getting a head start on a few tasks for half-term week.

When I was looking thru my stockpile of cards, for one to tuck in her lunchbox, I came across this one.  I liked it a lot when I made it, ended up sending a different one instead, so I still had it there, forgotten.  I think it should see the light of day again. You can see the original post here, with the template sized for A4 card.

It looks like Gelli prints, a bit, but it isn’t!  Distress Ink instead.

So Happy Birthday to my darling DD and a happy Friday to you.

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Christmas card and ornament printables

Every year I make a set of printables for Christmas (sometimes more than one!) and usually I make cards for DD to hand out at school and her youth club.  They are designed around a little detachable paper ornament.  This year I went with trees (again) as they are so easy.



There are two sets – one with the text and one without – it says We wish you a Merry Christmas up one side and down the other, with And a Happy New Year! across the bottom.  I seem to be having a Senior Moment and see I named them 2014.  DOH!  Wishing my life away, it seems.  The font is very readable when printed but less so in the sample photo above.  You’ll see that in a minute.

The ornament part can simply be cut as a single layer, punch a hole and add a hanging thread, OR you can back them with a second copy OR you can back them with plain cardstock.  To tart them up, you can squeeze out a bit of glue and drag or tap the edges into it like so:



then dump out a little bit of glitter and while the glue is still wet, tap the edges thru that.


I printed it on quite heavy paper, like 230 GSM, so the back-to-back pieces create quite a thick edge.



I suppose you could use Stickles but I find this method a little easier.

Punch a tiny hole and add the string and you are done. Sorry this isn’t as crisp a photo as it could be but you can see the font in any case.



If you prefer just cut one, edge it with maybe a dark or lime green chisel tip marker to define the edges, cover the printed star with a star-shaped brad, cut the little strip of printed paper and add a few punched circles for a bit more interest to make a  card.



That is simple enough that the kids could do it, maybe adding a star-shaped gem rather than the brad.

Have fun with them and do let me know if you make them.  I’m happy for you to make and sell them for charity – I’ve gotten that question often so I’ll just say YES here so you don”t have to ask!


Quick cards from those Printables

Sometimes I think that people don’t look at printables with an eye towards other uses.  I often mention ideas for using them, but I am really bad at SHOWING them.  So I thought I would take 20 minutes and quickly make a little trio of cards to show you how you can make use of them in other ways.

These two use the scrappy printables.  I hope you can see where the elements came from:





And this one would have been better had I not BROKEN MY SECOND Grand Calibur embossing with a folder.  Grrr.  The Raspberry plate cracked, there was a CLUNK from inside the machine, and that was it.  I can hear something rattling around inside.  Honestly, I don’t know why I keep buying them.  I am NOT doing anything wrong,  I’m using the right plates and nothing they don’t SAY works, not super heavy-weight card even, but still….

This one uses one of the 3 x 4 toppers.



I had no idea when I started the thread on UKS this AM about die-cutters that I would need the info so soon.

Not a great start to the week……

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Gelli circle tray card DONE!

Until I get the UKS Blog Hop project done, I really have to focus on that (and some end-of-summer household tasks) but I did say I would add this so I will:



I have an idea of who should get it …. although if my desk wasn’t so crowded all the time I would keep it there.  I love the colours and the reminder!

Just a better look at the words round the trays:




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Gelli shelf card

I was looking at a pile of Gelli prints that I made for the recipe cards – not the ones I pulled on the back of the cards as the sample but the ones I made so I could photo the process.  I liked them and they seemed to be all in fairly coordinating colours so I felt like I should do something with them.


As DH is taking DS back to Uni over the next few days and it’s just me and DD at home, I’m trying to spend some quality time with her.  We took a break from the various getting-ready-for-college tasks she wanted to do with me to watch Les Mis.  With one eye on the screen, I quickly put this together  I made the base from black card to really help the bright colours pop.




Just at the back you can see a bit of card that I used to clean off the brayer.  The bright yellow will be perfect for, I think, a nice arty quote.  Any suggestions? I like these so far and they seem to work

  • Live inspired
  • Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working  (Picasso)
  • Let what you LOVE be what you DO
  • Creativity takes courage (Matisse)
  • Create everyday

Oh, and speaking of DH – after placing 2nd at the Isle of Wight chili cook-off, he and the team came in 1st place at Reading.  He was very happy and said it was the best batch ever, full-flavoured and complex, with enough heat to make it interesting but not enough to blow your socks off.  Result!


Now, I think I have a date with Spotify and Audacity.  DD has her enrollment interview tomorrow and it’s WOYWW day so the completed card won’t show up till Thursday.


Christmas Cards (new and using the PL printables)

OK, so I am adding the printable card toppers today.


Three toppers.  The PDF is here, and here are some shots of the cards made up.

WScards3The font on this is Cousine, which I like because the weight of the bold text is heavier and it really stands out.  The kraft ones use Courier.

WScards4I like them printed on textured cardstock, although it is slightly more cream than true pure white.

As it was so easy to do, I took the sheet of the card toppers, printed them 4 images to a page and scaled to fit, then saved that as a PDF.  That gives me a sheet with 12  1 1/4 x 2 3/4 inch tags for gifts. You can grab that PDF here. I did print them and they SHOULD fit US letter paper as well as A4.  the print area is about 7 3/4 x 9 3/4 inches.  Phew.

As I suspected, the kraft printables DO work well for cards.  MY blanks are about 4 1/4 x 5 7/8 inches but simply trimming off a line of text makes the kraft ones work with that size.


And the filler cards in the 3 x 4 size work if you layer them.  This is on a 5 x 5 inch card blank.


Rather than send you back to that post, here is the link for the kraft version.

Now maybe I can move on from the Word Search design and forget about that holiday for another month or two!


Making the Word Search notecards

OK, I don’t in fact have additional samples.  DD was keen to re-do her bedroom decor from girlie pink to brown stripes so I spent the day dyeing a cheap duvet cover, sheets and pillow cases.  We also tidied up her desk and still need to change the thin wallpaper border and talk about curtains.  Real Life and all that…

But, as promised, here is the info on creating the notecards.  As I added the PDFs and the PNGs of the backgrounds I used, you can do this without needing to create a word search grid, but look back here to see both how you can do that, and to find the downloads.

I’ll add another one of the cards just so you don’t have to go back if you land here from some link or pin:


1.  Print the grid sheets on to plain paper.  This is just a step to help you check the placement of whatever stamp you are using


This is a throw-away sheet so you can just stamp on it to see where it fits, or pick a different stamp if you need to.

2. Stamp the image using a stamp positioner on thin paper.  I keep them as they can be used with the stamp over and over.


I find it easiest to put the throw-away piece BEHIND my nice cardstock, making sure the edges are perfectly aligned and having already noted and marked a corner that tells me how to place the cardstock in my printer (see below) so it prints the grid in the right place.  Hold it up to the window, and then match the positioning sheet to the image behind.  You can sort of see that above. I stick the thin sheet to the nice cardstock with repositionable adhesive then put that on my desk.

If you don’t already know, figure out how to place the paper in your printer to ensure the printing goes in the right place.  My printer has a tray for plain paper and used the REAR TRAY (a top feeder that you have easier access to) for heavier cardstock.  Using the SAME feed for both the plain paper print AND the cardstock print will minimize the chance of error:

  • mark an X on plain paper in one corner
  • print the PDF on the plain paper and note how the print is oriented and where the X is positioned when it comes out of the printer

When you place this sheet behind the nice cardstock, make an X in the corresponding corner of the heavy card. Make sure you load the card into the printer the same way as the plain paper to  make sure your stamped image is properly oriented.    You know the grid will print exactly as it did on the plain paper so long as you feed the card the same way

3. Line up the stamp positioner with the edges of the thin paper, remove the paper and  stamp on the nice cardstock. If you don’t know how to use a stamp positioner,so sorry I didn’t take photos of that but there are 1000s of other who have.  This link is as good as any. Here is a video that uses a clear plate rather than tracing paper.  I bet you could use a bit of acrylic.

4. Cut masks for the stamped image.  Masking Magic is good, but a Post-It note is probably not secure enough, unless you add additional repositionable adhesive.   You DO NOT want this mask to come off inside your printer, trust me!  Place the mask over the stamped image and send it thru your printer. Coming out of the printer – can you just see the mask? The border lines are NOT on the final PDF.  I decided they were not needed and made them harder to use different ways.


You can store the mask on the stamp positioning sheet that matches it – why I like using the paper rather than a clear plate or sheet of acrylic!

5.  Be careful removing the mask, especially when using Masking Magic.  The printer ink will be wet and you can easily get printer ink on your fingers and smear it on the card. Also, if you use repositionable adhesive, be careful rubbing that off.  Using Staz-on or Archival Ink ti stamp the image will help minimize the chance of any smearing.


That gives you the word search background, with the stamped image over it and no text behind the image.  I made these for the Stampotique Challenge, hence my use of the Stampotique images, but I think you could use many different image and it would still look good.  You can then ink or paint or whatever to add colour, like I did for this card:


Sorry to show that one AGAIN LOL! Still cute tho’


This is easier, but you have to be sure everything is stuck very securely.  You are dealing with thin paper, with heavy cardstock stuck to it, then a mask stuck in place over the stamped image.  While it omits the need for a stamp positioner entirely, I think the chance of something shifting in the printer is higher.  KNOW YOUR PRINTER – if you know this is going to be a problem, use the first method.

  • stamp the image on cardstock
  • mask the image
  • trim the cardstock to exactly the size you need for your card or project
  • stick this piece of cardstock FIRMLY to the plain printed sheet, with the image positioned over the grid exactly where you want it
  • run the plain paper (with the cardstock stuck to it) thru your printer
  • peel the cardstock off the plain paper and peel off the mask etc.

I have to say I just love this technique and think it has legs, as they say – there is a lot you can do with it.