That Black Magic technique, updated

I am always surprised when an old post of mine all of a sudden keeps getting views and pinned, and I get questions that I can’t answer cause it’s been SO LONG since I did the original thing. This post is getting hit hugely. I did that back in 2012 so I hope I can be forgiven for being a little fuzzy on the details LOL!

I decided I should go back and do the technique again and try a few other variations.  Luckily (?) the power was out AGAIN today so I had plenty of time to play.

So let’s begin.

I thought I would try

  • the black acrylic paint
  • Archival ink
  • Memento ink
  • Pigment ink

The process is pretty much the same to begin with, then there are some options.

1. ALL – Smudge on your Distress ink to create areas of colour


2. ALL – let it dry COMPLETELY or blast it with the heat gun.  Distress ink stays wet for a bit and will grab the embossing powder if you rush this step.

3. ALL – stamp with Versamark or other clear embossing ink then sprinkle on clear (ideally DETAIL) embossing powder, depending on your stamp.

4. ALL – Heat emboss and let cool


5.  ACRYLIC PAINT – using something smooth, like Cut ‘N Dry foam (can’t find mine, used a make-up sponge, and that is NOT as smooth) spread the black paint over the entire area.  You can let it dry and cover it again if any inked areas peep thru.


6. ACRYLIC PAINT – with a slightly dried out baby wipe, daub off the paint from the embossed areas, revealing the trapped Distress ink under the embossing. DO NOT use a super wet wipe, and DO NOT rub hard.  You will take off too much of the paint.


This is pretty much exactly as described in the original post.

5A. ARCHIVAL INK – smudge Archival Ink over the entire area.  You will find this easier (I suspect) if your ink pad is new and juicy.  Mine is older so I struggled to get a deep,rich, black cover.


6A. ARCHIVAL INK – burnish off the Archival ink from the embossing.  Harder than it sounds.  I tried using the clean area of the make-up sponge, It worked OK but not great.

Then I tried a damp baby wipe.  Better,  but still the Distress Ink below the embossing wasn’t bright like with the paint.


Then I tried a wetter wipe and it took away some of the ink on the background as well.  Here you can see the difference between the Archival Ink and the Paint.


5M. MEMENTO INK – again, smudge the Memento ink all over the surface.  This was a background stamp so the areas to grab the ink were smaller.


6M. MEMENTO – I almost didn’t need to bother burnishing off the ink.  Just the rubbing of the ink over the embossed areas with the make-up sponge removed any ink from the embossing.  The Memento is grabbed by the background card only.  So perhaps the EASIEST, but check out the next shot – even with the different sorts of stamps, I hope you can see the Memento isn’t super dark and rich.


again, it COULD be my slightly tired ink pad.  I would expect Versafine to work in a similar way.

5P. PIGMENT INK – this worked a treat.  Smudged on the ink with a Colorbox teardrop, direct to paper.


Nice and dark, good cover.  Some hint of the Distress Ink showing thru but a 2nd coat maybe would help.

6P. PIGMENT INK – I just knew that a wet wipe was the wrong way to go with this so I didn’t even try – I used a finger wrapped in dry paper towel to rub off the pigment ink. I did this while it was still slightly damp.  If it were super dry (and pigment ink takes a while to dry!) a very very slightly damp wipe might be OK.



Really, that doesn’t do it justice.  The pigment ink is deep and dark, and the trapped Distress Ink is brighter than it looks.  Still not as bright as the PAINT version, but better than the Archival and almost as good as the Memento.

7. ARCHIVAL and PIGMENT ink – sandwich the piece between two sheets of paper – I used an old graph paper tablet – and iron off the embossing powder.  It will melt and get sucked into the paper


and when you remove the paper…


WOW.  Totally POPs.  Trade off is that the raised embossing from the clear powder is gone, so it looks more like plain old stamping, although you do get a bit of a halo effect on the edges, which is nice.  But colour-wise it’s pretty close to the brightness and intensity of the paint version, even if the black isn’t as nice for the ARCHIVAL version.

Not sure how to rank them, frankly.  The best technique is the one you have all the stuff for already LOL!  But in terms of cost, I suspect the PAINT is the cheapest (paint is dirt-cheap compared to an ink pad.)

In terms of fewest steps to get the best colour. I would say PAINT is the winner – with Memento closely behind if your ink pad is new and dark.

I think Pigment ink is closer to OK than not, stopping after rubbing off the ink, but better than Archival by a mile.

Then with an extra step and a flatter result, Pigment Ink and Archival are both good in terms of COLOUR when you iron off the embossing, but Pigment ink gives a better BLACK coverage.


As ever, YMMV.  I really do think there are a lot of variables – how dark and juicy your ink pad is, how light, or heavy your hand when doing the wipe-off, how damp/wet your wipe is…. But overall I had forgotten how pretty this can look.

I’ll make a PDF of the post, although it’s the quick-and-dirty Readability version, so it requires me to post it first and then do the process, and come back to add the link.  If THIS BIT is hot (clickable) then it’s there and you can download it.  If not come back and it will be in bit.

And luckily, just before the power went out, I had printed a little spiky guy that I edited to include a bit of art.  DS is a fan of Nujabes (Japanese hip-hop artist, now sadly deceased) so I made him this little desk-top pal. Just for fun.


I’ve finally worked out the best order to stick the bits to ensure the ears are nicely curved.  I haven’t folded the feet yet and may not, in case DS prefers the feet flat so you can see the sneakers….




Glycerine and Distress Ink

I mentioned the other day that I had seen, briefly, on one of the craft channels, a demo for spritzing cardstock with glycerine to make Distress Ink move better on it.  I had to have a go, despite the fact that I had very little info. I have a bad habit of trolling thru the channels during commercials when watching something live, rather than actually watching the ads.  I’m told, from a commenter that Sheena Douglas was the demo.  I’m sure I’ve been by her blog for WOYWW and recognized her from other shows. She has a lovely bubbly personality and what I saw of her project, it was quite nice.

So, armed, as ever, with very little info, I just dived in. Oh and I have to share the mug DH got me – he finds the fact I blog amusing.  It actually says Be careful or you’ll end up on my blog, and is, I suspect, meant to be a threat.


I mixed up about equal parts glycerine and water, maybe a bit more water, in a spray bottle.  I’m thinking a mini-mister with a very fine spray might have been better.

For my contrast, I just smudged on a bit of DI, using the normal technique of Cut ‘N Dry foam, starting off on the craft mat and moving on to the card.


I tried a few different types of cardstock.  The first one, which almost put me off, was a super-smooth card, bought at a show, packaging long gone, but meant to be used for Copic colouring.  How bizarre is that flecked effect?




I actually think the weird mottled effect is kinda interesting.  But I tried a few other types of card, smooth and textured, and on all of them the glycerine and water, def. made the Distress ink move more freely over the surface, and allowed it to blend nicely. On the left you see the un-sprayed plain cardstock and on the right, the spritzed with glycerine.


Really, I didn’t even load up the foam – what little there was on the pad from doing the plain sample was enough to colour it.

I had an idea – I could see that the cardstock grabbed the ink very differently when the glycerine and water was sprayed on first.  So I grabbed a stencil – not even a clean one (like I have any of THOSE!) – and sprayed thru it.


I let the mist dry for a while, even blasting it briefly with a heat gun. I first smudged on the Peacock Feathers, then the Peeled paint over that.  What a nifty two-tone sort of effect, very subtle.


I tried a different stencil, and did Wild Honey. I actually did Fired Brick over that, and it looked really nice, but my camera batteries died and I am in the process of recharging them so you’ll just have to use your imagination.  Sorry about that.


On caveat is that I have to say I feel just a little bit sticky.  I would def. spray inside a box or on something you can wash, and have baby wipes handy to clean off your fingers.  But it does work and really gives quite a soft and misty look to the Distress Ink.  I particularly like the thru-a-stencil version.  I do wonder about storing something like this long-term – we get mice coming in from the fields occasionally, and I remember them trying to gnaw thru the metal lid of some spearmint-scented ink pad I got with an old Club Scrap kit that was hiding in a box on a low shelf.  I wonder if the glycerine would tempt them to nibble away at a card?  I don’t think I’d use it on a scrapbook page, for example. Humm.  It rather sounds like I am talking myself out of using it, doesn’t it?  Maybe – or maybe I am just deciding I need to consider WHEN is a good time to use it, and if there is any other technique that might do similar, without the stickiness?


Turning Kids art into printables for Project Life

When I posted the printables made from little snippets of my art journal spreads, one of my WOYWW mates, Silverscrappers (aka Elizabeth) commented that she planned to use them for scrapping bits of art from her grandkids.  That prompted a little email exchange, where I suggested to her that it would be more meaningful to actually use the kid’s art for the cards.  She was kind enough to send me some scans to play with.  With her permission, I’ll share the idea but not the download – that is personal to her.  But my hope is it will give you some ideas of how you can do something similar with the kid-in-your-life’s art.

The images I got were not really what I expected – I saw in my head a really colourful drawing or painting, more like an art journal page, with lots of areas that when snipped out of the bigger image would still offer a nice, bright fun block.  What I got was more drawings, with little colour.  I struggled at first.  The drawings are charming, like most kid’s art is, sweet and simple, but didn’t immediately lend themselves to digital manipulation. The first and most obvious solution was to simply resize them to fit a 3 x 4 card.


I added the text, digitally then printed them.  The key here is to make sure you scan them at a high enough resolution that the detail is crisp.


I did print them on textured paper, but they look fine on smooth card too. And for the one above I could have tried editing the scan so just the row of figures remained – that would have made the text I added stand out more, but would have lost the adorable handwriting by the little artist .  And that would have been a shame to do.



I think you can see even her name (added by Mom or Gran maybe?) is readable.  And the detail in these greatly reduced little faces is pretty clear – it’s clear enough on the textured card but better on the smooth card!


For a low-tech solution, just scan or photograph the art and resize it then print it. Cut it out. You can add the text by the old trick of printing the text on plain printer paper.  Stick the card with the art to the bigger sheet with temporary adhesive, positioning it over the printout so the text will then print where you want it.  Run that thru the printer again and there you are! Or even print the text then cut it out and stick it on.  So easy.

All well and good, but I did want to try to do something more like my AJ ones.  That was a bit more of a challenge.  I had to really LOOK at the original art, think about the areas that would be the most meaningful to fill the text.  Basically you are digitally creating a mask (I think in PSE they call it a clipping mask) and uniting the letter and the bit of the art, so the art fills the letter shape.  I know how I do it in Intaglio but can’t tell you how to do it in PSE.

It took some fiddling – some of the bits I snipped out were from different areas of the image, some bits were sized differently to “fit” the letters, and I added a stroke around them to more clearly define the letter.


You can see that, for example, the snowman has the large letters filled with the detail from his hat, in larger form. The blue scribble has that detail made larger to fill the background, but the text is filled with a different area of the drawing in a different size.  On one I was able to add the signature, sized so it was readable.  Overall I am pretty happy with the results – and it was fun.

Low tech solution would be to simply print the art then use a stencil to pick out the areas that fill the letter in a pleasing and meaningful way,  outline them and cut them out.  You can layer the large letters over the print of the overall work or use them on plain card.

So will even 10% of the people who read this love the idea well enough to actually DO it?  I suspect not.  But my point is that sometimes, it’s just a matter of thinking outside the box – or at least outside the box of PL cards LOL!  It adds a whole new layer of YOUR LIFE to your book when the decorative bits aren’t just a card plucked from a commercially produced collection that 10,000 other people all have in their PL book. Do you need to sit down and create every single filler card from scratch? Hell, no – that rather defeats the goal of PL as a FAST way to scrap .  But maybe just occasionally you might like to do it.  This is one idea where it might be worth making that little extra effort.  Imagine the kid’s face, flipping thru an album, seeing all those mass-produced cards, then seeing THEIR art treated the same way, printed “professionally” and side-by-side with the commercial filler cards?  Priceless.

Thanks, Elizabeth, for letting me share your grandkids’ art.





I had see See it, Pin it, Do it  on Fiona’s blog, perhaps in one of my weekly WOYWW visits.  I don’t use Pinterest as much as I used to because for some reason the Pin button doodah stopped working on my iPad.  I seem to remember it was a pain to install it (since I never, ever sync my iPad to my desktop – I find when Googling I get totally different results between the two, and didn’t want to lose that) and just haven’t found time to sort it out yet.  Anyway, I can’t even recall when I saw this adorable blanket but I had A LOT of scrap yarn that I thought would work (although OBVIOUSLY I had to shop for some fill-in colours… LOL!) so I decided to give it a go. Click the image to go to her blog for the instructions.

But the  ideas kept coming.  It totally sidetracked me from my desk and my paint and ink.  But I have been craving a project with yarn or fabric now for a few weeks, so I figured I might as well give in, at least temporarily.  I also saw this pin, which had an interesting ridged joining construction for Granny Squares.

But the pin doesn’t seem to go anywhere so I had to hunt up the actual link.  Click the photo to go there.  No instructions – I did ask in the comments for more info on the ridged join, but in seeing a few other joining posts I think I’ve worked out that it’s basically this idea, but thru the inside loops on the front, rather than the outside loops from the back, so the ridge is visible.  I’ll possibly do a little more research on it to see if that’s right – or maybe I’ll just wing it LOL! I might have to anyway, as the circles one is not ordered rows and columns, but more scattered.  It might not even work at all, but I won’t know for sure, I don’t think, till I can see it – I might do a bit that way, just to see how it looks, then decide

Now the on thing about Granny squares that has always annoyed me it the way they come out looking all wonky.  I crochet pretty tight – I don’t know why, but it MIGHT be as I was taught by my 90 YO German great-granny.  But my squares always end up looking like bowls.  I knew you can get a more professional finish by blocking the squares but after crocheting a gazillion blocks, then to have to block EACH ONE, well, that just did not appeal.  But in this case I really wanted a nice finish – plus having the squares blocked is going to make the joining a lot easier. I thought I would just lay a towel over my cutting mat, rather than buy a blocking board, but I really didn’t fancy all the measuring.  I googled for an  image of a blocking board and one of the links was for making your own.  I was determined not to spend a penny on this, so I took a combo of my idea, what I had in the house, and one idea in the post that totally made measuring a non-issue – checked fabric!

I don’t have a single bit of gingham fabric, but I DO have a nice bold checkerboard.  I don’t have insulation board, nor a staple gun, but I did have two large sheets of 1/4 inch foam core, packing tape, a black plastic trash bag, and an old towel.


I taped the foam core together, covered it with the trash bag, wrapped that in the towel, then stretched the checkerboard fabric taut over the front.  I did take the time to measure, to make sure at least a crosswise and lengthwise square of blocks was, in fact, a square.

Then I pinned out some of the squares – my goodness they were bowed!


One odd thing is the way the large circle distorts when pinned.  The smaller ones seem to stay more true.  I’m banking on the centre relaxing a little when they are unpinned.  But it’s kinda damned if you do/damned if you don’t, isn’t it?  Wonky edges, hard to join, or wonky circles and neat edges.  We’ll see at the end.


It uses a huge number of pins, and of course the board is only so big, but I figure if I block as I go, doing a few at a time, it won’t seem such a pain in the butt, like it would be if I waited to do them all at the end!

I may end up becoming so engrossed in this that all else falls away, but I don’t think so.  I am itching to complete my planning for the Documented Life journal, have a ton of ideas but just need to think them thru and devise a plan – another project that takes time – all those envelope pages need to be gessoed and to dry, then I have to make sure I have the right number, then decide some layout issues, on and on, before I ever begin the actual journaling part.

I’ve decided there are just simply not enough hours in the day for me to do everything I WANT to do so I need to either accept that projects will take longer than I wish to allow me to dabble in everything OR force myself to work on ONE THING till it’s done. No prize for guessing which one is more likely….



Leave a comment

AJ technique – a twofer

Perplexed by that title?  Don’t be.  I’ll explain….

Sort of a Buy one, Get one free technique.  I was looking at my last page, at the bits of book paper I used as the base, and wondering about the waste when I trim off the overhang.  Silly, I know, but it came to me that I could intentionally leave MORE overhang, and use it for the next page.

It take a little thought – only in the sense that you need to plan if for a page that has nothing already on the flip side.  what I did was prep a LEFT hand page that was blank on the back and not intended to be part of a two page spread, with Gesso. My thoughts are that with the book paper base on the reverse, I don’t really need to cover BOTH sides with book paper. Nor did I need to coat both sides with Gesso…


Once that was totally dry I flipped back to the reverse and started layering on the book paper.


I thought I would leave the white border on the book pages and make sure THAT was the overhang bit, cause I had an idea for THAT too – but I’ll save that for another day…

Once the reverse of the Gessoed page was covered and dry…


all I did was flip to the reverse and folded the overhang onto the page.



Rather than stick those flaps down around the edges, I thought it might work better if I complete THAT page and THEN stick them down.  That leaves me the option, if I stop here, of sticking them, and adding gesso over them to incorporate them into the background of the page OR of completing the page then sticking them for a stronger “border” statement, IYKWIM.

Thinking I might find the loose flappy bits annoying I took the extra step to tape them down with artists tape, for easy removal


and leaving me with a flat page to work on while completing the reverse page.


I suppose a third option might be to work on the page with the flaps as applied, decorating the whole thing, flaps and all, so you wind up with a decorated border when you eventually DO flip them to the reverse, but then you have to consider if they will “match” the reverse page too, or plan for that page at the same time.  Frankly that takes too much forward thought for a Monday morning…

1 Comment

More about pencil eraser stamps and placement

I still have DS in town (and still a list of things to do for him before he heads back, mostly clothing repair – you see? I just KNEW there was sewing in my future, I just hoped it would be quilting!) and DD is home sick from school, so this is just another quickie.

Following on from yesterday, I did eventually find my larger size punchinella.   I just KNEW the size was perfect to use as a guide for stamping a uniform pattern with the tiny eraser stamps, and I was right.


The width of my punchinella is about 3 1/2 inches, but it is very very easy to reposition and carry on.  Even so, just a 6 inch (measured from one full circle to another full circle) length produces a grid of 3 x 6, which would still work widthwise for many cards.


LOL!  My eraser carving is not expert but some of them I quite like.  Remove the punchinella and…


I must have gotten a smudge of brown on the side of my finger cause there are some smudges there, but as this is a sample it doesn’t really matter much.  But it does show you the idea. Personally I think it’s a lot easier than drawing a grid, and a lot more reliable than eyeballing it. And you could perhaps pick out different patterns – I can see how you might make an arrow, or a chevron or straight lines or triangles…

But not a circle.  But as I mentioned yesterday,  other stencils work as well.  Not sure who makes this one, but someone will recognize it, I’m sure.


For the outermost ring of stamping, there is PLENTY of room.  For the next one in, it’s a close fit, so a stamp like I’ve used (the starburst one) works, but the other one wouldn’t – anything that depends on the full diameter of the eraser to show the pattern won’t work.  Maybe another similar stencil will?  Nothing I have carved fit the tiny holes of the smallest circle but just a dot from a bullet-tip marker works.


I think I really need to store these pencils someplace where I won’t forget I have them.  I tend to do that.  Now back to laundry and sewing.




The Distress Spritzer? well, not REALLY…..

This is one of those posts that is a weird confluence of events.  Someone once asked me Where do your ideas come from?  I thought for fun I would document it – the steps may be unique, but the process isn’t. It’s just the way my mind works and the benefit of a messy desk  Feel free to just look at the photos – they should tell you all you REALLY need to know.

1. I got an email from a UKS sponsor announcing they had received the new Tim Holtz Distress Marker Spritzer.  

The more I looked at it the more I was convinced I had one.  Not that exact thing, but something pretty similar. So I had a bit of a hunt and sure enough, in with my stamping markers (a drawer not opened since I got my Copics) there it was.


This has to be 15-20 years old – I know I got it while in the USA so it would have to be.  I had a check for the name and while I see the odd reference to it they no longer sell it that I can find.

2. I popped a few random markers in to it.  One thing I can see is that mine seems to be lacking the inner liner for the pen-holder.  Not a big deal, it works well enough without it but I could always as one of those rubber pencil grips to super thin pens and I bet that would do the trick.

3.  As I was looking across my desk, my eye landed on one of my watercolour brush pens.  I thought, I wonder….

Now, I only have maybe two watercolour brush pens.  I’ve meant to buy some, after seeing Dyan from Art from the Heart show how she has as many water brush pens as she has colours of Dylusions and she uses them to colour with.  But I just never got around to it.  Deep in the back of my mind I had a tickle.  I KNEW that somewhere, probably in DDs “art cupboard” I had some kids version of the waterbrushes.  And guess what? Not only did I have them, I found them.


I know we got them maybe 8-10 years ago at Costco. Some of them are fairly empty.  I deconstructed one of them, thinking I could just replace the cheap ink with good ink, although I thought as the Dylusions aren’t waterproof either, I might as well just pick one or two of the near-empty ones to play with and use up the rest of the ink with mixed media stuff rather than just empty them.


There is no seal on the pens, which surprises me as it’s for the kids market.  I would expect them to be sealed and you would need to buy new ones once these ran out. But no, they disassemble just fine.


I tossed out the cartridge and the little slim tube.  For use with the spritzer you don’t WANT to slow the flow, like you would with a potentially messy pen, with kids, so I binned the cartridge and the tube.

4.  What to fill it with?  Obviously ink is going to be pretty much the same as using a marker, but then…


Perfect.  Acrylic liquid ink. This gives me something, a matte and almost chalky look, that I am not going to get from a marker (I only have ONE Distress marker, the Picket fence one, so I don’t really know if that would be similar to using acrylic ink) and is waterproof. Note:


And wipe over it with a baby wipe


The ink on the wipe is not from the acrylic ink, it’s from rubbing the paint off the stencil.  It give a nice watercolour-y effect.  I also did the flip-and-stamp you might normally do with an ink loaded stencil. The acrylic ink dries really fast so the stamping part has to be done after a spritz of water  on the slick surface of the stencil, and you can also then smear the acrylic ink thru the stencil with a wipe. Kinda both on the same area here


5.  And then, of course, there is WHITE.


Using the spritzer gives you a way more controlled spray than the spray bottle does, so you would use this for either the Acrylic ink OR the Dylusions for this sort of scatter.

So there you go.  I’m still in my jammies and my hands are covered with ink and paint, and my stamp-storage tower (with the wood-mount stamps, where the Blitzer was hiding) is pretty much dumped out on the floor, but now I have a new toy to play with, a whole heap of waterbrushes, a bunch of ink to use up, and it’s only just after 9 AM.  Or was when I started typing….

And Texas Flood is playing from my playlist, the accident payment has been sent, DH is back from his conference, so no school run, and the house is pretty tidy (well, downstairs, anyway) and the laundry done.  Where can the day go from here?  Downhill, probably, but I can always hope ….


1 Comment

Using Cricut Craft Room to design stencils

After I did the fairly extensive set of reviews of the Cricut Mini and Craft Room, I was told I could keep the machine.  That was a bit of a surprise, as I had already disconnected it and gone back to using my ancient original Cricut.  It’s pretty much stayed in the box till now.  But I wanted a stencil of a particular shape and I thought I remembered there was something suitable amongst the images so I dragged it out again and plugged it in.

I’m not going to lie – the process is a little fiddly, but as a few visitors commented they quite liked the resulting stencil I though I would take a moment to explain how I made it, what image I used (and what cart contains it) and maybe give others the idea of how they can create their own unique tools.

This is called DOILY 12 from the Cricut Alphabet cart – here you see it in its original form:



I know that text is small but at the bottom you can see the cart from the list and the image (circled in blue) and I’ll explain the red items as I go.

First, open your new file and add the original image – the big blue scalloped circle.

Click the double circles in the red box top left.  This is what locks the aspect ratio of the image so it doesn’t go oval as you try to scale it up or down.  That looks like this close up:



Increase the size to as big as you want. Click on the box that says HIDE CONTOUR (in the red circle)



That shows you the outline of the image.  Anything you click on will be hidden and will NOT cut. In this case I simply hid the scalloped circle . It grey’s out so you know it’s hidden.



The darker lines are the cut lines and the greyed out lines will disappear when you Exit.



One complaint I have about Craft Room is the couple of useful commands that don’t appear.  Maybe it’s there and I just don’t have it triggered in some TOOL menu or another, but it would be REALLY helpful to have a SCALE option, so you can scale things by a percent.  Instead I copy the cut-selection and duplicate it then scale it so the circles nest, by eye by dragging in the corner.  The + in the red circle denotes the exact centre of the image.  This is critical to line things up absolutely and keep your circle from looking wonky – although that might be the look you want and if so, just line it up off center how you want. This is where I would LOVE to have an ALIGN option to centre each circle at the absolute middle with a click.  Since I can’t do that, I instead make use of the grid of the mat.  I simply line up that + at a grid-intersection.  If you have it lined up exactly, the + will totally disappear, as the lines are thinner that the bold grid lines.  Can you get that from this shot?



If you cut if from fairly heavy cardstock, as I did, you should be able to easily use it as a stencil, either for spray inks or modelling paste.  As it isn’t washable, with paste I just scrape it really well – so long a there is not clots of paste that harden on it, you should be able to use it again and again.  And if it does get ruined, just make sure you save the project in Craft Room and you can quickly cut another at a later date.





Obviously you could easily group your selection and scale it back then scatter smaller circles across the entire sheet:



And if you group the series of circles then SKEW the shape, using the corner than does that (top right maybe?) you can get a more oval shape, like so:


And again, easy to repeat that and scatter the ovals across the page. The point is you can easily design unique-to-you tools for use in your mixed media projects.  It’s just a matter of looking at the images you have available to you and considering how you can adjust them to suit your purposes.  There are SO MANY images available via Craft Room and the ways you can alter them are endless.

I’m ALL about getting the most from stuff you already own AND about making things for MY work that is unique to me.  I do get that not everybody is willing to take the time to do this, but if it interests you, give it a go.  A side benefit might be that if the stencils you cut have a limited life you won’t be lazy (like me sometimes) or fall into a rut of using the SAME “favourite” images over and over again.  When one of my hand-cut stencils falls apart, there is at least the CHANCE I’ll create a totally new one rather than just cut the same one again LOL! Keeping it fresh…


Leave a comment

Coffee filter doilies

If you watched the video I embedded yesterday you will have noticed a little doily was part of her cluster. Now, I am not much of a doily kinda gal, I have never intentionally bought them (although have had a couple sent as part of a kit I once got) but I did like the softness they added.  I wasn’t about to go buy them, figuring I might not actually use them – I have a bad habit of slightly obsessing over something or another then go totally off it in a flash.  I might go off the idea of using a doily AFTER I bought a huge pack of them, who knows?

So I cast my eye around my cluttered craft room and it landed on my pile o’ coffee filters.  One of the things about doilies is the texture of them – plain old printer paper, or even light cardstock was in no way going to give the same effect, to my mind.  But coffee filters?  – yeah baby!

I have two Cheery Lynn dies that look pretty much like traditional doilies.  One is about 4 inches across and the other about 5 inches.


First I trimmed off the bumpy area and then opened them out.


The 4″ inch one, shown below,  JUST fits these filters and the 5″ one fits enough to make it worth cutting – I cut 3 or 4 layers and they cut well using my Grand Calibur and the round shim I made for these dies ages ago.


Given that I can’t think I would really use a full 5″ doily on anything – ok, well MAYBE as a sort of a mat on a card…MAYBE – I just cut a pile anyway.  In most cases I would use them tucked in so only a bit of them would be on show


The absorbent coffee filter takes spray ink nicely, like a “real” doily would, and works well enough as a mask too – see it there to the side?


But what I really think is cool is using the brown (we say Kraft!) coloured coffee filters to make kraft coloured doilies!  Nifty.  Unfortunately I’m all out of brown filters (or DH ran out of filters at the office and took them there) but I know you can imagine them.  Brown doesn’t work for this particular cluster but I am anxious to try it.  And DANG!  I was JUST at the store…. Ah well….


Printable strips and what you can do with them…

I created a couple of pages of strips, some decorative, some words or phrases.  I suppose you could print them and add them to your photos in a Project Life style book, but my intention is to use them on scrapbook layouts.  This is what they look like – again, since I made them for ME, they are things I know I will use.  Some of the phrases are more British, but then after nearly 20 years here that makes sense.  There are only a couple you may not get immediately – CRACKING (as in “Cracking cheese, Gromit!”)  is used similar to Awesome or Great, as is ACE, SMASHING and BRILLIANT (although you can surely use it in a more literal way, as in Bright, either in terms of brain-power or like bright white or a bright sun.)


Now I’m not kidding myself – these were super-simple to make.  Obviously you can make your own, in fonts you like and words you like with no more than a basic word processing program.  But you might appreciate NOT having to type it all out, so I’ll add them for you – the letter/number/decorative strips are here, and the stencil words here.

The more interesting bit is what you can do with them, although again, this is not earth-shatteringly original stuff. You may still appreciate seeing my samples:


All of those were altered with various mixed-media like stuff, inks, sprays, stamps, stencils…

This one was first cut into a banner shape, then coloured with Distress ink, then a couple of spray inks were flicked over the top:


You can see I printed on some linen paper – lovely stuff, really holds the printer ink, and it was not expensive at all.  Not as heavy as cardstock weight but more than printer paper.

This one I inked then stamped over:


A tiny text stamp in a slightly darker colour, then I punched out the butterfly for some added interest.

This was stamped with a grid, and I rounded two corners to make it look more like a tab:


This was masked – you can see in the final sample above I also drew around the masked areas:


This one I used a baking grid and spray ink:


And then of course the little banner made from the words:


So there is a lot of scope for you to  customize these.  And of course they would work perfectly printed over light patterned paper as well, and could also be printed two images per page to make them much smaller.

Have fun…I am LOL!