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Once again, just in the nick of time – June Daily Journal

I did so well in May with my everyday journaling, that my decision to only add 7 sheets to the signature came back to bite me in the butt!

I have a single leaf left so had to draw a line across the middle and limit my writing to make sure it fit. Having said that, I believe I did have a couple of days when I overshot and filled the side and then some. Overall, I think the seven folded sheets for 28 sides really is, most months, enough. Even if I do every day, I am sure I can limit myself to a half-page some days, or might end up skipping a day, thru intent or inattention.

SO. I quite liked the washi tape decor, but dd not want to deal with sewing thru the sticky again, so instead I grabbed some pretty tapes (gift from the Hubster and Darling Daughter for Mother’s Day, I think) and used it instead to edge the pages. Much better choice and very cute indeed. Especially all the tapes with Lucky Cats on them.

I grabbed my stash of papers and pulled out two that I had planned on using, but they really didn’t go at all with the washi tape and the feel of the pages I had already done!

Dear me. I went back and grabbed one of the gel print colour challenge sheets and I felt like it went perfectly. Love those cats!

The very first sheet from my stash of liner papers was perfect so I just went with it – the gold-y shimmer was perfect. Bonus? I went ahead and made the July cover from the papers I had wanted to use, so I am ahead of the game, for once. Whoo hoo!

My last few WOYWW Anniversary ATCs have arrived so will share them tomorrow and consider what neat trick I may come up with fer next year…



A sweet little birdie freebie…

I was working on a set of journal cards, based on an old library check-out card, but trimmed with digital lace. Not sure when it will appear on Creative Fabrica, but when it does it will be here. Here is a preview:

Editing the original file took a bit of time, and it was interesting – not sure what I did or why it affected the file, but Inpainting simple did not work on some of the lines. I had to go back to the clone stamp, which felt slow and cumbersome by comparison. Anyway, another thing I was working on at the same time, swapping mentally between them, because I could not decide which one to focus on, was a set with tiny little birdies. They came from one of the printer’s sample books, from a sheet like this:

all those tiny little sweet images! Anyway, I was working on them and as the images are mostly transparent (due to previous editing, not from the original!) I found I needed to edit the lines on the cards in order to make them look right. I am sure you will have seen these exact little guys before, as stamps or printed on papers. Public domain so free for anyone (who can find them) to use them!

I was struggling with what to bundle them with, but I realized it has been a while since I added a freebie. I mean, for CF subscribers, all the stuff I have been adding is technically free, but for my blog readers it’s different. I am still hovering on the edge of being out of space, so I will add the actual download on Ko-fi here. Also still not worked out how best to add stuff there, and link it here so both the blog post and the download are live simultaneously! So if you go there and it is not live, just go back and it will be later in the day. I’ll pop them in to Creative Fabrica as a freebie as well.

I think they are very cute and I like that there are lines – my writing goes super wonky if I am not concentrating super hard as I write LOL! I like the 5 x 3.5 size, fits even fairly small journals, and the colour is quite vintage-y.

An interesting point. I felt like I could position the birds so it looked like they were sitting on one of the lines, but when I did, it looked more like they were floating. Leaving the existing line (wire?) hovering just over the line on the cards really makes it look like they are sitting on something. Optical illusion? Don’t know, but I know what I like…and I hope you like them too!


Why are blend modes such a challenge?

IS it blend modes, tho’, or is it my indecision??

I have been working on a set pf journal signature printable pages that will work nicely with a previous design,and when it came to the final edging, I spent far too much time working thru the long list of blend modes and struggling to identify which one I liked best. Some of them are so close, you can barely pick between them, and some are really different but still appealing in some way. I tried to work out the best way to capture them and this is what I came up with.

So Negation and Add (at least on my monitors) look very similar. There is also not a ton of difference between Pin Light and Hard Light (and that I find to be true for most things, but not all)while Difference is much more on the grey scale and Colour-dodge much more on the brown. Linear Light is warmer and Glow is more … beige? Arrgghh! I mean, how do you decide? and as I probably too casually mentioned, this is MY monitors, with it’s own colour sync and settings. I wonder what it looks like on your monitors?

I feel like I have narrowed it down to Linear Light, Glow, and Add. To be fair, some of that decision is based on the bits of the piece you can’t see, cause I’m not done with the set yet. In fact, even now I think I am mentally discarding Glow. I feel like Add ties in nicely with the already blended damask colour-wise, while Linear Light offers a bit of warmth, which could easily be amped up with some inked edges in a darker sepia tone. Although maybe the warmth is the problem cause the background is cooler maybe?


I will share a page, as I am confident I will have finished and added the set before this publishes. I love it, overall, and think it will work so well with the other colour-wheel set. So much so I may have to make a journal with it myself.


May daily-journal done, and in the nick of time!

Well I cut it close this time, even knowing weeks ago I should make the May journal. I didn’t. Once I got into the ATC making, honestly, it was pretty all consuming. I know I have weeks, but I also know the design was not straightforward, thee were many elements, I was planning to make A LOT. More than I have for any swap previously – except maybe the little Mr Spikey guys for the crop swap. I made a freakin’ ton of those! Can you believe that was for the 5th Anniversary crop??

So yeah, I had set aside some paper that I really liked (both roll-off sheets) and as time was short, I just went for it with them.

The one that is hiding it the cover, the purple-y one the inside.

I cannot photo the cover paper in any way that does it justice. I added the extra text Every Day as a reminder not to let my day begin without at least a line or two. It wasn’t just not making the journal but also the long gap in the middle between when I determined what the ATC design was going to be and when I finished at least the 17 I had laid out (with an additional three with bits assembled in case I need them) where I missed journaling completely. Again.

I had bought a bunch of cute washi tape in the Paperchase closing down sale and had the idea to line the crease of the pages with a selection. NOT a good idea. It may not be very sticky but it is sticky. Doing the pamphlet stitch thru the tape was not easy. I won’t make that mistake again either! Looks cute tho’…

and I love the cover.

I swear I have so many letter stickers I could actually journal with them! But this one was one that both matched the cover AND had an A left LOL!

So there we go – January thru May is done. Phew. And I am using it. Yay!

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Sorry for making you follow…

…me down the digital rabbit hole. I am still working on my WOYWW ATCs and making good progress, but I only manage a couple of them in a day, during my crafty time. All will be revealed soon. Till then, I am still playing with digital designs and making kits for Creative Fabrica (free if you are a subscriber there) and cross posted usually on my Ko-fi page. And that is all I really have to blog about.

I was looking at the stats on CF and I found that one of my most popular kits was one called The Language of Flowers. It was very vintage, but I thought it was quite interesting. I had found another book, which made my head ache (and you can see both of them discussed here) because of the poor quality of the scans and the weird coloration that was a real struggle to sort out. I finally did something I don’t often do – I abandoned it. As I learn more photo/image editing, I may revisit it, cause it was kinda pretty, but for my sanity I just had to close the folder and walk away.

Instead, I worked with a different Language of Flowers book, still 1800s, still not the best scans ever but lots better. And I shifted much of my editing to Affinity PHOTO instead of just Designer. There were a couple of tools in that which streamlined my process greatly. One thing was clearing up the colour-cast. Honestly, between image one (the original) and image two was a matter of one or at most two clicks.

I assure you , the images are MUCH clearer in the kit – these are just screen grabs of them open on my desktop. It seems silly to clean them up and make them white, then make them vintage again, with a damask overlay, but…

Still, they are quite sweet, in an old-fashioned sort of way. I do quite like the “pure” versions too, the simple cleaned-up ones, without the vintage cast to them. I might have to look at developing them in some way. I have ideas, but nothing firm yet.

The real surprise came on the pages, however. I did what I like to do, which is make about 8 pages, grouped in twos for folding into a signature for a journal. I feel like a lot of my kits have a similar vibe for the pages, so they all kinda work together. These are no different

But what was really fun was reading those pages! Some real surprises in there.

I mean, did you know Wild Tansy means I declare war against you? Or Black Mulberry means I shall not survive you – I suppose you could take that as I will not outlive you vs I shall not survive my relationship with you, but either way… Make me wonder about every floral gift I get in the future LOL!

There are pages of meaning, and I would love to extract some of the amusing text to make a set of companion tags or little labels, because that is totally my sense of humor. There are certainly plenty of other page pairs, but crikey it is still a lot of work to clean them up and make them as good as possible. I may eventually get fed up, but at the moment it is both the learning new programs as well as the funky things I keep finding that still enthrall me.

Will you get fed up before I do….I wonder?


Digital designing makes my head ache….

While it is a heck of a lot of fun most days, sometimes there is a resource that is just not the right quality or needs so much work I begin to question the sense of using it. I had made a set called The Language of Flowers, using a very very old book from some online Public Domain site.

It has proven to be popular on Creative Fabrica. I found a different book with a similar concept, and decided to have a play with that one as well. Oh my days. First problem is that scan is pretty dingy. I tried to clean and brighten it up a bit but it is very much page by page for that

The original is in JP2 format and 72dpi but huge. A bit of fiddling gets it to 300dpi (supposedly, but it still is not crisp at all) and then there is the editing. Books from the 1800s just are not the same print quality as books today. The way the colour is done looks pretty shoddy to modern eyes. The slow and steady erasing of the background to make the transparent .pngs is trickier than usual.

I mean this looks pretty clean, doesn’t it?

I think so anyway. But here is the trick. I like to add a layer of some contrasting colout under the image – bright blue is usually a pretty good choice for yellows and look at what it reveals!

I did ok, but you can see the little specks of the background I removed with the easiest tools, lurking there

And the kind of halo from the over-printing. Some of that is good to keep, as it softens the edges and keeps the outline from being really harsh, but not all of it!

In the end I am pretty happy with the final result but it was just one of so many pages.

Weirdly, some of the images I wanted to use to create signatures had a strange greenish cast to them and they were interspersed with floral pages, so in order to get side-by-side pages with the floral sprays cupping the top edges, left and right, I actually had to cut out the middle of the page, flip the remaining border, and try to merge them somehow into something that looked good.

This one has been challenging and now, so many hours in to it I am just not sure if it is worth it! I have some pretty journal cards that I quite like, but not sure about the rest of it.

So, yeah, you may see them, you may not.

And you may not see me tomorrow either. Good Friday (and Easter Monday for that matter) are holidays in the UK and we have a load of spring cleaning to do as well as a potential visit from Dear Son and his …. Pretty Partner! Shame he can’t bring Cat, as I miss her. I find myself calling Poppy by her name sometimes. Dear me.

So it will be a surprise if I post either end of the weekend this week. I am trying to maintain my regular blogging but at the same time refusing to be a slave to it. How is it life is getting busier and not more relaxed?


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Hello Spring!

Kinda anyway. On the cusp, I hope.

We have a lovely magnolia tree in the front of the house. It sits right outside my window and I can see it from my desk. Well, the top tips of the branches anyway. I popped up and snapped a not-great photo of it (thru the glass) but will get a better one as soon as it comes fully in bloom.

That is neither here nor there, but it does make me mile when I turn my head and see it.

One thing I have found is that I am able to do digital editing work when life is crazy, cause there is nothing to drag out. I just need to sit at my desk (or with my iPad) in spare moments, and I can do a lot. I have been playing with some lovely vintage post cards and have further plans for them, but I thought I would add these pretty journal cards as freebies for anyone who can make use of them.

I have a huge stash of these post cards, and they are pretty easy to use, but the flowers take a lot to tidy them up and remove the backgrounds. So while this was not the most labour-intensive thing I have done recently, it wasn’t the quickest either.

I am wondering…I feel like I really need to work on making a junk journal of my own, using the bits from things I have created digitally. I need to replace some ink/toner cartridges but then I may just have to have a go.

On thing that I have been really bad at this month in my Daily journal. I did great from 1 January till mid-March, when life went to hell in a hand-basket. But I am getting back to it now. I think the best thing to do is just turn the page and move on, not beat myself up over missing (more than a few!) days. I did enjoy it, I did think it … “helped?” I mean maybe, but most of all I liked doing that morning core dump and getting al the crap in my head OUT. So yeah, I will keep on. And crikey it will soon be time to open my April journal and I have not even thought about making the MAY one. Yikes!

(This set is now part of the large Daffodils & Bees kit)

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I found a collage sheet, buried in a folder…

I am sad to say that my computer desktop is in as much of a state as my physical desktop and office. I lose stuff all the time. I was trying my best to get organized (and failing, if the truth be told) and in the process I found a pretty collage sheet that I never shared. Or did I? Who knows, my blog is in a disorganized state as well.

I am always torn between creating pages where it is clear you are meant to fold them in half to make a junk journal signature or it it should be more of a full sheet, where I leave to inking and distressing to be done by the person who is using it. This one was one of the “designed as two half-pages” ones:

It uses some of the ephemera I did, but also some from other places. I was practicing a few things, so it isn’t a perfect example, but I do think it is too pretty not to share. The download is on Ko-fi.

I would be really interested to know how you feel that is working. For me, it means I can add big, high-quality downloads and not eat up the last bit of space on my WordPress. com blog or require me to create a new one and point people there. Knowing myself, I kinda never thought in 2009 that I would still be blogging in 2023. Had I known I would have begun with a self-owned self-hosted blog and wouldn’t be where I am now, looking at deleting old assets to create space…

On that note, it seems pretty likely that I will slowly move a lot of the freebies from past years over to Ko-fi and delete them from here, replacing the download links with links to my Ko-fi space. That way I can carry on blogging for a while longer, here. Hope you will bear with me….

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The world of ephemera is so…weird!

As I go about my day, I will sometimes have an idea for an ephemera set pop into my head. It might be because I saw some resource that I thought could be fun, or because I just had an idea that went off in a new direction while I was developing it. A couple of interesting things about the process.

I had the idea to use vintage telegrams for backgrounds, for journaling cards and a collage page background. That seems to be ma jam, if you will. I always like to make a page using the same elements so if people download the set they are getting something a little extra. I also think it helps tie in varied elements in a journal that is not made from a single kit. I was working on a set and needed a large floral element for it. I picked this one:

I think you can immediately see there are issues – so much to erase, the background is not a “solid” colour but lots of variations on similar colours…. After doing the easy first step of selecting a colour and deleting the contiguous instances of that colour (and maybe some close ones if you get the tolerance exactly right so as not to delete any of the image itself – in this case the flower bits that are nearly the same colours as the background – the worst!) you then have to inch over the edges to remove all the bits that can’t be done with a click. And that looks something like this:

A tiny little 6-9pixel brush is what it needs. And every time I have to re-learn the lesson that while it might be fun to keep your finger on the mouse wheel and slide the eraser along an increasingly longer, larger area, one stray twitch of the finger and you just have to UNDO and begin again. Ugh.

But I got it done, over a couple of days of sips of time, between the clearing for the window guys and moving Dear Son and Cat (waaahhhh!) to his girl’s house, and was pretty happy with the results. Here is a peek:

Here is where the weird comes in.

I was happily collecting up the telegrams, and focusing mostly on the handwriting styles and sometimes the colours, when I came across one that I read and went WTF?

I will help, in case the image here is too hard to read:

The body is phys[ically] without doubt [weidall? a name maybe] has lost his head. (!!) is most decidedly protest against a note of doubt.

So yeah, no idea if the lost his head is about a headless body or not but it sure gave me pause! You don’t always get any context for these assets. You just get the telegram. But this one is just a little too dark for inclusion in a journal, don’tcha think?

Not sure how I will share this when it is done, so watch this space.

So yeah, the house will be in chaos again due to the window workmen, but hopefully for not too many days. It’ll seem quite quiet without Cat….


Sad blogger.

The lovely loaner cat is not gone yet, but time is ticking down. I spent too much time yesterday having a lovely cuddle on the sofa (and nursing a bit of a painful back) to be organized enough to schedule a blog post. Looking like next week is going to be a struggle two, with a handful or appointments to deal with again. I am late for my WOYWW visits and with Mother’s Day and getting Dear son and (even dearer? maybe….) Cat off this weekend it is going to be a challenge. I seem to get one good week under my belt then it all goes Pete Tong. Ugh.

To make up for my amazing lack of planning I am going to add a … hummm. What is it? It could be a junk journal page, it could be printed 2 to a sheet and cut up to make journaling cards, and maybe even used for a card background.

I have been working on a Journal kit using beautiful vintage images of colour wheels – the one I am most please with. It’s awaiting it’s debut on Creative Fabrica but what I usually do is put it there (so people who are already subscribers can get it for free) then pop it on Ko-Fi in the “shop” part so people who don’t care to subscribe to Creative Fabrica can get it from there. Not sure I have the pricing right between them as one is in $ and one in £. As someone who has always given everything away fro free, shifting to some free, some not is not easy.

Anyway. Here is the link to the Creative Fabrica listing in here when it is available and the Ko-Fi freebie is here. The full kit is on Ko-fi as well. I need to be a bit more organized when I add the full kit over there – it’s a challenge LOL!