Ornaments from the Hungarian Map Fold

You may recall the little Hungarian Map Fold book I made many years ago.

I was playing with a similar book and realized the inserts would make a lovely ornament. The old step-by-step instructions were pretty good so I am bringing them to this post. Ignore the text and focus on the folds!

1. Cut your circles. Mine were about 3 1/2 inches across


Fold the circle in half bottom to top


2. Open and fold, in half side to side.  


Flip it over.  It should look like this:


3. Fold the diagonals by matching the fold lines.  This is the only tricky fold.


4. Fold the second diagonal by matching the top and bottom fold lines of the first diagonal


5. Collapse the piece.  It should want to collapse, if you’ve done the folds right.


Note the orientation of the text.  You want the flat area to be the text area. Once collapsed it will look like this:


6. Mark each unit at the same point – can you see the tiny dots? This is a really important step to get the tops the same size.


then fold in the side to meet the point.


7. This sounds tricky but it isn’t.  REVERSE the folds so those triangle on the top switch to being INSIDE the unit.  Open them


and push on that middle fold to push it inward


Re-crease the folds.  It will change from the left image to the right one.


From here you simply stick the units to each other then stick to close the circle!

I think they are quite cute and not hard. They work well with scrapbook paper and I managed to get 10 circles from a single double-sided sheet, so two identical ornaments or one with one side as the focal point, and the other, well, the other!

I have another ornament that I am loving, but I’ll save that for another day.


Just a quick diversion – my desk covering

I know I am meant to be doing the card-cube tutorial, but we have just gotten the new flight dates for Dear Son + Cat and have kicked into high gear once again. Darling Daughter has recovered from what appears to be quite a mild case of Covid, and despite inhabiting the same house as her AND being in somewhat close quarters (before she had any symptoms or tested postive) the Hubster and I both managed to avoid it. Phew. Now we just need to hope the updated vaccine will do it’s job. Anyway, all that is only to warn once again my crafty time is limited and my posts might just be thin on the ground. With everything we need to do I am just hoping my back holds up!

A while back I showed you the prep work on the playing card squares, where I gessoed and painted them. My desk top was quite a mess!

I really was not at all careful about my painting, mostly because of my cheap solution to a desk covering. I have a large silicone sheet but I find it hard to use with no markings. I have a glass mat as well but it ends up sitting on the side of my desk ignored, because it is more trouble than it is worth to clear a space and drag it out.

What I have on my desk is a large piece of contact paper with the backing still on it. (under £7 for a 3 metre roll)

You can see the grid lines even thru the film. LOL! That poor abandoned butter-box project. I’ll finish it one day….

I just pull off a large chunk, and trim to size then use the cut off bits (peeled away from the backing this time) to stick it onto the decorative contact paper that covers my desk already. It is totally wipe-able but I do have to grab a cutting mat if I want to use a blade. It can take a beating from paint, spray ink, glue, etc, and still wipes clean. It is cheap for a massive roll and the piece that covers your desk can be used (or at least most of it can) when you decide to change it.

The other contact paper that covers the desks themselves (whitewashed wood) is wipe-able too, but once it gets marred or tatty on the edges it is a lot more expensive and time consuming to replace. So this suits me for now. The teflon sheets work in a similar fashion but are more expensive (nearly £20 for ONE piece big enough to cover ONE desk) and I only have small cheap thin ones from the £ store. I like cheap, but most of all I like using something I have on hand best of all!

I have been spending time sorting and organizing all my gel printing tools. Dear Lord it is taking AGES. I expect my desk to look pretty much the same for WOYWW, if I’m honest but the used-to-be window desk is likely to be a bit different….

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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….


Buckle up! Creating digital ATCs with free content and tools

Someone on one of the FB groups I am in for trading ATCs asked about my process for creating ones like the digital Frida ones that I then enhanced with stamping, doodling and embellishment. I tried to explain it but she doesn’t have the same tools I do and not the experience. I’m sure it all sounded a bit like gobbledegook to her. Which got me thinking – I have discovered a load of interesting free/public domain resources in my KDP journey and I have used a few online tools in my art in the past and I have recently played a bit with the free version of Canva, which is a design tool that has some nice features (better in the Pro version but the free one will do what we need, mostly) and is all online.

So the goal was to create some Frida Kahlo ATCs that were a bit like the ones I did last week. Could I do exactly them? No – I bought the lovely digital paper from a shop that is no longer in business and bought the full page digital stamp of images of Frida and spent a bit of time breaking it up into separate ATC sized .png blocks. But I could keep the flavour of my cards and show the process.

So we are going to break it down into steps, with options. First let’s look at the backgrounds. Like I said, I used digital paper. I had a look for similar digital paper and didn’t find anything free that I liked. If you know of Carolyn Dube, her Sparks of Artspiration would be great substitutes but I think that you had to have bought one of her classes to get them.

Here are a few other places that you could look at for free or public domain pieces

Unsplash is a free to use photo site that has some nice abstract images and I found two on the first page that I liked a lot. There are other similar sites, like Pexels, but also some fab museum sites that show public domain art that you can download. This link should take you to a Google search that lists a lot of them but honestly it can be a hard slog searching thru them. CC search is a great resource and by ticking CC0 as a filter you will get public domain works.

STEP 1: find an image that you like to use as your background. I picked a couple to play with from Unsplash.

The actual downloads are much, much bigger.

STEP 2: Find your focal point image. In this case, we are looking for a Frida Kahlo image that is B&W and a bit like a stamp or stencil. A quick google brings up LOTS, but narrowing that down to free-to-use images is harder. I found two that looked good. This one was the best one.

Ideally your image needs to be a .png and the background should be transparent. When You click on the image to download it, the image has the background still white. If you bought the Pro version of Canva they have a Remove Background tool but that is not available in the free version. So we have to jump thru another hoop first.

STEP 3: Go to a free online image convertor tool like this one. You want to select Convert to PNG in the sidebar, tick Remove background, then drag your image into the big green box and click Start conversion.

It will do it’s thing then your can click the option to DOWNLOAD your .png. When you do, you will have an image of Frida in black with a transparent background (basically all the white in the original will convert to transparent) although you may want to crop your image to remove the site promo.

So now you have your background and your focal image. It’s time to move over to Canva. You will need to sign up for the free version.

STEP 4: Build your sheet to print.

Canva is not hard to use, and there are many YouTube tutorials for it. I am going to give you really bare bones instructions so you can do this in the easiest way possible.

Click on the Create a Design button at the top of the page. I find this part super annoying cause I always forget it. You need to click Custom Size

and change the measurements to INCHES an click Create New Design

When the new window opens, click Uploads and simply drag your two images into the upload area. Then drag your background into the white design area and your Frida image over the top.

You will want to grab a corner and drag the background image to fill the 8.5 x 11 inch area. I did for my first one but forgot to show that here.

STEP 5: Size your Frida image to ATC size by grabbing a corner of the image and dragging it – measurements will show up to show you:

Now simply Right click on your Frida image and Copy/Paste her as many times as you like into the background. You can use the little rotation tool to move her around and perfectly place her over the background. The bordering lines will show you that you haven’t overlapped anything!

Once you are happy with the placement click the Download button. Click on The file type and select PDF – unless you want to buy the pro version, for me, PDF is the best format. Don’t select Cop lines or bleed or anything special. Just download!

Done. Now print them. I suggest using the coated cardstock that I have mentioned before for a really good, bright print. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you don’t let your printer scale your image.I have no idea how it looks on your machine and your printer but for me it is here:

Ignore the circle text, it’s the SCALE and 103% that you need to pay attention to. If it is not showing 100% you need to change it. Unless you have enough area around each “card” that you can trim them to the proper size of 2.5 x 3.5! My two look like this:

Cut them up into ATC sized cards

and tart them up as you like! This is just the basic process. Obviously if you buy nice digital paper – or even scan your own masterboard, for example, you can use that instead of a digital image.


Circle edge text – will it work? Try it and let me know!

So I have gotten a few queries about the way I put the text around the edges of my ATC coins. I use a function in my program called “Attach Baseline to Path” under Path Binding. It makes the text run along any shape. inside it or outside it, forward or reverse, hugging the baseline or a ways away, and showing the path or not. It is interesting to play with. I have been trying to work out a way to share something you can use and had no luck. If you don’t have (and know how to use) a program that does this then I suspect, well, you just can’t.

I think I finally worked out something useful, if not perfect. You will need:

  • the download below, printed at 100% exactly (more on that later)
  • a 2 inch punch
  • a 2.5 inch punch

(you can try to make circle dies work or cut by hand, but the punches are the best option.)

Here are a few of the coins where I have used this technique:

The first thing i did was create some text in a circle. Much like those booklets of useful arty words that you can peel off and stick, I made circles of text that can only be use in limited ways. I have tried to pick phrases I see a LOT, that could work for a few different situations, and where I have grouped them, I’ve tried to make the sort of GO together, so if you wanted to use the whole circle, you could. This is what it looks like – this image will not print the the exact right size for the instructions I will be giving you – download the PDF HERE

Firstly, print the PDF. Be sure that your printer is not trying to re-size the file! For some unknown reason mine always tries to print it at 103%. Change it – in my case I have to tick SCALE and then enter 100

The fine grey lines are to help you line up your punches. If you are hand cutting, or trying to line up circle dies, they will be helpful. The outside dimension is 2.5 inches, the inside circle is 2 inches. This is how I do it:

Don’t be alarmed by the mis-spellings in the PHOTO, they have been corrected in the PDF. When you have the phrases cut, you can edge them using a marker – and I love the Sharpie Chisel tip – for a fine line, or a dauber and ink for a more smudgy look.

Now, I think most of these could be made to work with any generic, pretty or arty ATC. It isn’t a crazy difficult process so I would be open to further suggestions if you care to eave them down in the comments – if I get enough that I feel are likely to be useful to many people I might do further sets. Hope this is useful!


All you need to create your own quirky envelope for mailing art!

Settle in. This is not a super complicated process but it does have a few steps and you will maybe want to really explore the links I’ve added. First, let me show you the kind of envelope we will be creating in a low tech sort of way:

This version uses another of the quirky character downloads you will find linked in this playlist on YouTube. The one we will use for the play today is this one:

This is a low-quality image! Be sure to go to the video and use the link there to grab the HIGH QUALITY version.

Next, grab this envelope template. Print it. It will print on A4 or US letter but the envelopes will be of slightly different sizes. That should not matter in the slightest. But you might like to print it on heavyweight cardstock so you can keep using it over and over.

Now go grab some digital paper – you could use scrapbook papers, but frankly they will likely be too thick. If mailing, you don’t really want to add a lot of weight it you don’t have to. I have found that quality printer paper is fine for envelopes, 90-120gsm. Here are a few links to some free digital papers that would work. You don’t want super busy patterns, nor heavy, dark colours. This is a good link to begin with and the paper I used for the sample above AND the one today is this one. Right click and save the image. Now print it, ticking the SCALE TO FIT option (or whatever the equivalent is on YOUR printer) so you fill the whole page with the image of the paper. You may need to rotate it to portrait orientation first.

Now use the template to cut an envelope shape out of your digital paper.

The images from the download are quite large. Possibly too large for your envelope! Print them, but select the option to print TWO images per page – on my printer that is COPIES PER PAGE. The page prints with figures of about 5 1/2 or 3 1/2 as they come, but if you print them 2 sheets per page printed, they are more like 3 1/2 and 2 1/2. MUCH better for envelopes!

OK. one more bit of techie stuff. Grab this PDF of decorative address blocks. Sorry it isn’t a full sheet, but there area few styles.

Now you have a bunch of elements and it is time to put them all together!

And this would be the time for the glue stick or maybe even better, some temporary adhesive. That way, you can use the same envelope base and make a variety of envelopes to scan!

And I also used an image for another collage sheet I bought

and yet another that uses bits from a number of collage sheets that I shared before, I think:

In close-up I think you can see all the bits I cut to assemble the figure. At this point you just need to scan the envelopes and print them as you need them! Or, as I mentioned, you could possibly photocopy them and then use them up and then copy more.

I hope that was useful and you will share with me your envelopes, if you makes some! I had an ATC come to me in a trade this week that was from someone I didn’t know personally and she had my own designed ATC by Me back on her card! Honestly, it totally made my day, to see someone using something I made and cast out to the winds!Doesn’t take much to make me happy LOL!

WOYWW tomorrow. I have had chaotic days lately, all I can do to keep up with my blogging, and WOYWW visits on the day are getting harder and harder. Even when I don’t have my knitting friend over, I have a meeting of some sort, like today. I always get to them but it seems to take till the weekend for me to manage it. Bear with me…


Interesting technique with Distress inks and waxed paper

I stumbled on my box of waxed paper while tidying up in my sewing room and had an idea. I wondered about the texture that comes from crumpling the paper. I’ve played with it a lot over the years, but not for a very long time! What I had in my head, was to crumple the paper and use that as the surface, rather than a glass or a kraft mat, to smoosh or pounce Distress Oxides or Distress ink onto tags.

It’s interesting, but a few experiments are needed. I like the original concept, of smooshing the inks on to a crumpled piece of waxed paper, then spritzing them and pouncing the tag on to apply the ink, drying between layers.

The effect is different, more mottled, than you get with normal ink smooshing.

What I then wanted to try is to add some Distress Ink (not Oxides) as a layer, trying to retain the crinkled pattern of the waxed paper. For contrast, I used Ripe Persimmon, which I daubed onto the crinkled waxed paper then pressed onto the tag:

It’s there, but not as pronounced as I wanted – although it IS more pronounced in real life that it shows in the photo. I decided to simplify the process a bit, by creating the base of the tag in the “usual” way. I swiped the DO inks onto a kraft mat, gave it a spritz, then pressed the tag into that, again, drying between layers for a more complex background.

Loving the colour combo of Twisted Citron, Ripe Persimmon and Mustard Seed! This time, I daubed the Distress Brushed Corduroy ink onto the crinkled waxed paper quite heavily and pressed it quite firmly onto the surface – I even weighted it down to make sure all the ink and the texture transferred to the tag.

And the texture transferred pretty well for a nifty effect!

I think next time I would swipe more than daub, although I kinda like the boxy outline from the pad itself. I think it bears more exploration, cause the effect is cool and not difficult. I am curious to see how it works with all DO ink. It might not work at all, but then I won’t know till I try LOL!


Mount for unmounted stamps – my best use for the Creative Palette (and a cheap alternative)

So there is history here.  You might like to go back and read a few previous posts (or not, as you prefer.)

  • My review of the CP v the Gelli plate and where I die cut it with my Sizzix

That last link is full of warnings – press the stamp HARD onto the CP.  Don’t use it in this way if you worry about messing up whatever you are stamping on to. Shake the mount.  Wash the backs. blah blah blah.

I kept finding that, with every use, the CP surface got less and less sticky and washing it was too much of a bother if I had to do it every time I wanted to stamp an unmounted stamp.

I store most of my unmounted stamps like so:

In binders, and then in baseball card sleeves:

I have not ever wanted to go to the expense of mounting all the stamps, and bulking up the binders.  So over the years I have come up with a few different methods that work for me.  Generally, a strip of strong double-sided tape on a clear mount will do the trick.

I bought a bottle of Aileens Tack It (over & over) cause lots of people recommended it as a good way to make the red rubber, unmounted stamps into “cling” stamps.  It works, sure, but then you have to store all these sticky backed stamps. Ah … No.

Fast forward to the post of CP as mount and….an idea!


Why this works – first, the CP is just a bit spongy.  Not too spongy, but enough that it acts as both the mount and the cushion and gives a nice image (might have been nice had I actually shown that – sorry, I’m out of practice at blogging) especially when stamping on to my cork-floor-tile-in-a-big-ziplock-bag stamping mat. Second, there is only the couple of CP chunks that are sticky. Easy to store.  I keep a lot of plastic packaging.  This is from a Spellbinders die.  I just flipped the halves so rather than tightly encasing the die, there is a slim open area that fits two of the sticky CP bits.

Perfect fit.

Now, this makes sense for me because I already own a (mostly useless for the kind of monoprinting I like to do) Creative Palette.  But the CP is not widely for sale anymore (or not that I could find) and if you don’t already have one, this is not a good enough reason to go buy one.

As a cheap alternative, I had a go at coating a piece of sticky-backed fun foam with the Tack It.  It worked just fine.

There is a slight issue with the fun foam being quite thin.  When you press to stamp the sticky surface can just grab the paper – I found this to be most problematic with tissue paper, not at all an issue with a paint-coated journal page, for example.  I did not find it as much an issue with the CP-as-mount.

In hunting for my CP package, I unearthed a nice gelli-print, so I can add at least one decent looking image for you LOL!:

Now I must decide what to do with it.

If you have a Creative Palette gathering dust, why not turn it into a set of stamp mounts? If you don’t have one, try the sticky-backed fun foam.  Let me know if it works for you!

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Gelli plate play – it’s been tooooo long

NOTE:  Might be worth reading the next post before you embark on the stamping technique!

I have not really felt up to much crafty play for quite a while.  BUT I have been dreaming about the Gelli plate and remembering how much fun it was to play with.  I watched a video – well more than one, I’m sure – about resist transferring of a magazine image on to the plate, which you then pull off by doing a basic, heavy-bodied paint pull.  This one is the first one I saw, I think.

There was mention in some videos about the combination of the ink and glossy paper quality making a big difference.  Looking thru may magazines, which are mostly scrapbooking ones, I came across my ancient Rubberstampmadness mags.

The paper seemed thick and glossy and it also seemed that the image weren’t fashion shots but art and stamp samples.

There are a lot of stamp catalogs full of cool images, and some printed art work, like the BEAUTY image here that would all make very cool prints or additions to other art.


And guess what?  They worked a treat.

One video mentioned that some people had success with printing on an ink jet printer and doing the same process.  I did not.  I tried printing on pain paper, photo paper, on coated matt cardstock, on sticky label paper, etc. etc.  and nothing worked.

So that gave me a bit of an idea.  If I stamped on to the glossy paper, might that transfer? I experimented with about 8 different inks and a stamp.  The ones I had the highest hopes for (Archival Ink, Clearly Better clear stamp ink, Staz-on and Memento) were all fails.  Not expecting much I tried Distress ink, Distress Oxide ink, Adirondack and Kaleidoscope.  Also all fails.

Just on a whim I tried PIGMENT ink.  Crazy, but it worked.

I did have a few fails using cheaper paint but the Basics was good pretty much every time.

The process is simple.

1. Stamp the image using pigment ink. Get a good coating of ink on the stamp.

Sorry for the poor quality there – I had already used the image before I realized the photo was crap.  Doh! I suspect things like Versamagic or maybe even chalk ink MIGHT work, and COLOUR pigment ink will add a different dimension to it if it works! – I’ll try that next and see. But this is very generic black pigment ink.

I let the image dry but when I tried to dry it with the heat gun then transfer it, it didn’t work.  So I think the ink needs to by dry-ISH but not super dry.

2. Roll the paint onto the gelli plate.  I find the darker colours work best for this stage. You need a thin coat but not too thin.  Press the stamped image into the paint – I burnished one with a teflon spreader. one with my fingernail, one with a spoon.  Just make sure you get good contact.


Remember the old Creative Palette that I hated?  I used one of the bits to roll out the white paint and get a thin coat on the brayer.  But you can also load the brayer by rolling in in paint on scrap paper.  Not too thick a coat.

As mentioned in a few of the videos, if you can SEE the image slightly, it’ll be a good print. Pull it.  Give the back a good rub.

And the coolest thing is that the text from the magazine transfers too!

I am so happy to have had a play.  It was seriously fun.  And now I know I can use my stamps as well as magazine images I am looking forward to more playtime!

Maybe even more regular blogging?  Maybe…..


Folding the inserts (map fold book)

I’ve already explained the map fold, so this is more to save yo ruining a piece of paper yo want to use by making a wrong fold. Firstly, look at how hugely different the labels die cut can be folded.



I suppose you could make a case for both versions being useful, but the one on the right (in the bottom photo, left in the top one) is the one that offers the most useable space, I think.  That is the one I will explain.  You can make the other version by just switching the bump and point folds. I trust you can identify a bump and a point….


1. Begin by folding the piece in half, two bumps together.


then fold the other two bumps together, keeping the mountain folds on the same side


2. With the mountain fold on the inside, fold in half, matching the points.


Matching the mountain folds of the point-to-point fold, collapse the unit. You will end up with this:



3.  Fold in the sides, keeping the top of the fold as level as you can, leaving just a smidge of a gap in the middle




and fold the reverse side to match.


4.  This is the tricky reverse-the-fold bit.  


Unfold each fold, and reverse the centre fold so the bump is inside.

5. Done.



The trick with paper that has an actual directions, that needs to be seen right side up, is to orient the paper correctly to begin with.




Make sure the single point to point fold goes top to bottom



It only looks wrong – the flat (unscored) areas are the “pages” where the unit is stuck inside the book base.




I am going to add the PDF of the shaped areas, without the poem, as it is more useful and no one really expressed any interest in having the with-text version.

boybookblanksYou can easily create the sized text blocks and print them then stick the cut out bits over the test and print again.

Have fun!  You know, I have a set of rectangular brackets as well –  I wonder….