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Second Section done!

Slow going – party because I seem to have misplaced the triangle die somewhere on my desk.  DOH!  It’s at best stuck to something, at worst in the rubbish that got collected yesterday.  Double DOH!

Anyway, here is my progress – just the final section to complete then the cover!

Such a silly photo – I remember scrapping this one, early on, with the title Pasta Man.


Having to be careful with the placement of the text, to make sure the number works out for the last section.  A photo only section or two sorts it nicely.


And I thought the hammock was string-like enough for this bit!


just had to work with the bits of leftover border I had already cut.  At this point I think I have totally used every scrap.  But I have a solution…


I used my pinking shears to get the same, if smaller, effect.


Now I have to decide – I had already printed and sized a number of photos, before I began, when my design plan was different.  Shall I carry on with the smaller photos or size and print more?  I’ll play around with it and decide today…

Finish it either today or tomorrow, as I have a scrappy friend coming for lunch today and that is usually good for a couple of hours of chit chat, which eats into my crafty time, but is well worth it!

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Progress on the mini-album

Just a few shots of the progress.  I have used this little essay by Erma Bombeck before, but it is as near to the perfect summation of what it is like to be a parent as I have ever read, and the photos I managed to find seemed to “fit” some of the text pretty well, so I’ve used it again.


You possibly can’t tell, from what you can see here, but that is DS in a plane – see what I mean about the photos fitting the text?2firstsection

I liked these two, which are actually on two different “pages,” because he is wearing the same little jacket in both but clearly, time has passed between the left and right photo, based on the fit! And of course he is running (hence the blur) in the right photo.3firstsection

I’ll add a little something on the left there, just not sure what at the moment….



and not lifted by the wind, but by Mom and Dad!


I have two more sections to finish and the planning, to fit the photos (without having to scan and resize and print them, for the actual photos is the goal) and match them with the text and make it all come out to the final page, is tricky. As you can see…


At least a day more on this I guess.  And one more possible addition just arrived in email, from his GF – a nice photo of DS kicking back in Spain. . . night make a nice final shot but more have been hinted at so I may wait a bit for the last page…


The Three Stages of … mini-book

I had a hankering to make a mini book.  I am SO out of practice I was 1/2 way down the path before I thought DOH!  Forgot to take photos!!

I show you what it looks like and try to explain the construction with measurements.  Hopefully if you fancy it that will be enough for you t have a go.

The book is hard-cover, with a spine.  It has three sewn in signatures.



Each signature is a cream surround,  with a light blue and a dark blue “flap and page” inside.  I’m guessing that makes no sense LOL!  Maybe this will help? The surround….


and the flap and page sets:


From the top:


and opened up a bit:


The plan was to have three distinct sections – as DS is now 21 that divides nicely into 1 to 7, 8-14, and 15-21, or thereabouts.

What You Need:

  • two sheets of 12 x 12 cardstock (mine is cream)
  • two sheets of A4 or US letter cardstock (mine is light blue)
  • two sheets of A4 or US letter cardstock (mine is dark blue)
  • two 6 1/4 x 4 1/4 inch mat board
  • one 7/8 x 4 1/4 inch mat board (it probably wouldn’t matter to leave it at 1 inch)
  • nine eyelets
  • thick thread for binding
  • patterned paper to cover
  • adhesive

Feel free to use a sheet each of 12 x 12 cardstock instead of the two A4/US letter sheets.  I used what I had.




Create the “pages”

1. Cut the 12 x 12 cardstock into 4 x 12 inch strips. Score each piece at 3 inches and at 9 inches.  Fold inward so the two sides meet in the middle. Like so:


Let’s call that THE SURROUND

2. Cut both pieces of the lighter A4 cardstock down to 8 1/4 inches in length.  Cut into 4  inch strips (you’ll have four – you’ll use three)

3. Cut both pieces of the darker  A4 cardstock down to 8 3/4 inches in length.  Cut into 4  inch strips (you’ll have four – you’ll use three)

4. Score the three  lighter strips at 2 1/4 and crease (PAGE 1)

5. Score the three darker strips at 2 3/4 and crease (PAGE 2)

Create your signatures by nesting PAGE 2 inside PAGE 1 inside THE SURROUND


Make the cover:

1. Cover both sides of the two cover pieces with patterned paper.

2. Punch the binding holes in the spine piece.  Measure 1/4 inch down from the top and 1/4 inch up from the bottom and draw a line.  Draw a line across the middle.  Punch three holes across each line, spaced to allow the three eyelets to be set side by side.


3. Lay the spine piece between the two covers.  Leave a small gap between each section.  Cut TWO 3 x 4 1/4 inch strips of patterned paper to coordinate or contrast with the cover paper.  Stick this over a bit of the front cover, the entire spine and a bit of the back cover.  Crease along the gap. Re-punch the holes . You’ll need to see the position for the next step!

Can you see the strip in place behind the signatures? Sorry, same photo AGAIN.


4. Stick the other piece over the outside of the cover, again, a bit on the cover, completely over the spine, and onto the back cover.  Close the covers and make sure they open and close nicely by creasing along the gaps on the inside again, as in step 3.

5. RE-punch the spine holes and set the eyelets.

Finally, Using a three hole pamphlet stitch, sew each signature into the spine.

Sorry, that isn’t my best explained tutorial.    But I didn’t want to just put up a shot of the book and nothing else, so I HOPE it’s enough for it to make sense.  Ask if I can try to clear something up.

Now I get to spend a bit of time going thru boxes of old photos, and hunting back thru my iPhoto library.  I’m guessing I’ll cry.  Soppy old me….







File folder layout

Very excited!  I tried doing a mixed media layout on one of the file folders but using the whole surface for a “double page” spread.  At first I thought I might try crossing the centre divide with the photo but as it will fold, I am not sure that will work as well as it does with the single pages, as with a traditional 2 x 12×12 layout.  In the end this is what I came up with.



I managed to use mostly some scraps, a Gelli print, some of the cut and gesso-covered swirls and some fabric ivy I’ve had kicking about to ages.



Love how the swirls turned out, although the colour here isn’t as bright as it should be.  Can you see I dry-brushed some Gesso onto the ivy and stamped over it?

Here is a better shot of the swirl. Again, it’s hard to see but I edged the papers first with a smudge of Gesso, then a thick application of a deep violet paint.  See how crusty it looks?



I did the same with the chipboard stencil letters.



Now I need to weigh it down to make it as flat as can be, then test the back-to-back sticking.  Wish me luck! I sure hope it works out like I hope it will….

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The next page…

I am really anxious to make enough pages on the file folders to get to the point I can test out the back-to-back construction.  I’m also wondering, like with an art journal, how unrelated pages will look side by side. So of course I had to make another one.

For this page, I also wanted and overall brighter look.  I went back to Bizous Zoo paper that I have had for YONKS.  I just couldn’t get enough of that line when it came out and still adore it. As the photo was B&W I could really use anything with it.



I liked this paper as it had both great blocks of fab colour, but also the plain, misty bottom strip and some perfectly punchable flowers. I deconstructed it.



Love this bit



I took the bits and first played around with the layers to get a basic idea of the size and position.



Of course it always changes.  I also wanted to look at how it would work with the other page. From there it’s just distressing and inking edges, adding the background texture and colour, then sticking it all down.



I feel like it needs a little shot of something upper right, not sure.  I always look at the rubbish on my desk to see what I might be able to add.  For this, the black star is the mask from that Gelli print last week,  I also coloured a bit of the drywall tape with an ink pad.  And there was a long string from one side that stuck to the roll.  I peeled that off and coiled it (it sticks to itself! How handy – much better than string or thread) and spritzed it with ink.



The ink sort of neutralizes (but to totally) the sticky on the top so I’m not worried about it sticking to the page on the other side.  Not sure about the title yet.  Maybe that will fill that top right corner and balance it better…..

Side by side:



Part of the placement is dictated by where dimensional elements from one page will press against the other page when closed.  For the most part I am trying not to have something press against the photo, but other than that I’m not bothering about it.

I am having so much fun…..


A new project – mixed media scrapbook

So I have been hunting for US-style manilla folders for YEARS.  The only ones I’ve found are at Amazon and the shipping is from the USA (about £60!) Recently we totally reorganized out home filing and I found a ton of old, tatty at the edges but mostly OK manilla folders mixed in with the hanging folders.  I collected ALL of them up – I am quite happy to us the UK version to replace them, even if I have to trim each one to make them fit the US file cabinet.

Now I finally have them I can play with an idea I had ages ago. Thinking about the things I love, and at the moment that is mixed-media, scrapbooking (now and always!), printables and book-binding, I sort of wanted to combine them all in one project. Here is what I plan to do:

I am starting with a file folder.  Each one will get one side covered with random papers, then gessoed to prep the surface.  This will make the base more able to take all I will add to it.



I am using a combination of printed sheets and bits from my stash



and at least one photo



All the photos are ones I’ve done a proper scrapbooking layout for already, so I am not bothered about the longevity of the work or the fact there will be no page protectors.

The base gets the full mixed media treatment, with paint, inks, texture, etc.



Andin the end will look more like an AJ page than a traditional layout


My plan is to create a “scrapbook” by using the back-to-back binding method to join them all.  I’ll then perhaps work out some sort of cover and sewn binding decoration for that. I’m planing on keeping the embellishments mostly flat (well -ish anyway) and some might be 1/2 the folder and some will cover the whole  surface (this is a 1/2 one.)

It’s just a bit of fun for me, slightly experimental but I don’t mind that at all.  And if it ends up as a disaster (which I think I will know within the first 4 to 6 surfaces) well then, so be it.  But more often than not it’s about the process for me, not always the end result.  I’m willing to spend the time just to see if it will work.

For a start, unlike my traditional scrapbooking style, for this project I feel I MAY need to rein in the grunge…..



Flexagon layout

I did say I wanted to try it so I did.  I wanted to see how the flexagon structure would work for a mini-book.  I think it worked, but the inherent problems with it made me think of another use.

Start with creating the flexagon as I mentioned in the post here.  I opted to make it as close to 12 x 12, with the idea that the photos wouldn’t be skimpy, even in the fairly small areas.

I made another on using the only large format paper I had on hand, which was vellum/tracing paper.  I stuck the circles to create the structure with repositionable adhesive, so I could see where the folds were.  My plan was to make templates to use when cutting the actual photos and/or decorative papers to add.


That allowed me to note the various shapes and cut apart the sample to create templates. Once I had folded t, it opened each section and noted the direction of the photo and how many of each section, with what orientation and number I needed.



Problem One:  With the best will in the world, and as much attention to detail as you can muster, getting ever fold absolutely precise, the EXACT same size, is impossible if you aren’t a programmed machine.  Creasing to the left of a line one time and to the right of it another is going to have the cumulative effect of things being “out” when all those tiny differences are added up. Accept it.

I had the idea to do something I’ve always done when using odd-shaped templates for photos, which is to cut them from black card, scan them, take them and the photos into PSE and use the shapes as a mask – that way I print only the area of a photo I need.  I started down that route but had the niggling suspicion that I wasn’t going to be entirely happy with the project in the end, so went instead to a stockpile of old printed photos, with the idea I would make one and see how I felt about it in the end, while not spending a huge amount of time on it.





Where I discovered the cumulative effects of so many folds was when I tried to match the templates to the actual piece.



They fit fairly well, but I noticed that, for example, with the cover, the small shape at the top is actually repeated 4 times, the large shape twice.  BUT the top two small shapes were every so slightly smaller than the bottom two.  It was the same in every case, where a shape LOOKED the same, but it was slightly different.  I just resolved not to worry about it if they were not perfectly matted, but still checked each template according to which photo I was cutting, and adjusted on the fly.



Problem Two:  There are a couple of areas that you will see either in two different flips OR thru a gap to another page.  Not a PROBLEM, per se, but it’s worth checking to make sure those repeated photos work with both pages.

Problem Three – The photos in some areas are really big.  The middle two, top and bottom above, are 5 x 7 prints and they are too short to fill the area.  You can work around that by leaving the background on show, like here, OR by covering that area with decorative paper or an embellishment or journaling OR you can cut two photos smaller to fill the page OR cut many smaller photos.  MY aim was to have the biggest photos I could for each section. You’ll see how I dealt with it at the end.

And that leads nicely on the PROBLEM FOUR, which is, I think the biggest one (no pun intended) – it’s so darn BIG!  a 12 x 12 “mini-book” is no mini!  Where would you put it? How would you display it? – especially given there is no way to have a cover that protects it because that would totally interfere with the flip action! and unless you only want there to be two flips, leaving the front AND the back as “covers” of only decorative paper, there will be photos on the back page, the final flip before returning to the front cover, exposed.

Let me show you the un-decorated version – I’ll add some flat decorative items, some journaling blocks, etc, to finish it off – and then talk about how I think it COULD be used.

The “Cover”

7flexscrappythe first flip – I just added some decorative strips to extend the too small photos:



Note those two side photos – here they are again in flip two!



Also note you can see thru to the last page – I tried to get faces in those areas by careful photo cutting with some success, but it may not matter too much.  Just be aware.

And the final flip before returning to the cover – this would be the BACK cover if you left it as decorative paper, which is a waste of good photo space! Note too you can see the green bits from the front cover.  You may think they could be the green curves from the previous page, but they aren’t. That may inform your title placement. unless you want sideways words appearing here.



Right.  So while I so love the flipping action of this how do I make it more usable or do I give up on it?

1. I DO think it works in this large size as a LAYOUT.  The hint was in the title of this blog post LOL!  So, decorate the cover, add the journaling, and slip the whole thing into a page protector in your album just as if it were a round layout.  Where might it work?

  • first or last page of an album
  • any memorable moment with lots of photos but I think it would be fab as maybe a Baby’s First Year, where the flipping action could highlight the changes in a baby.
  • it might also work for maybe school photos?  If you, for example, did the repeating photos as 1st grade and 6th grade (or nursery and year 6)  that could be cute.
  • any sort of THEN and NOW layout – dating photos, ending with a wedding? documenting a weight loss or makeover or haircuts over the years?

Any of those things COULD work for a layout topic.

2.  Make it smaller as a mini-book (I’m thinking 8 inch circles to start) and use photos only in the biggest spaces, saving the smaller ones for journaling. Present it in a large custom box or envelope.

3. Make is smaller still  (6 inch circles like the Steins;Gate doodah for DS) and present it with photos only in the middle two flips, leaving the front and back as decorative, and present it more as a CARD, for a really special person on a really special occasion.

So that draws a line under this particular experiment.  It was fun, working it out, I’m calling mine a LAYOUT and will put it in an album.  The photos are a bit random, but I would call it Out and About, or something like that as all the photos are from days out, or at the very least out in the garden.  That works for me.

If you find a use for this that I haven’t thought of, do share.  I still think it makes a cute card, but I really like the interactive nature of it with the photos.  But I’ve satisfied my curiosity so I can move on….



Vellum Gelli Book

NOTE:  If you want to see the finished book, it’s HERE!

I am quite excited by the fact I have used things that have been languishing in my stash FOREVER, untouched for many years.

I am frustrated by the fact life has been absolutely manic since DS came home.  Doctors, Dentists (impacted wisdom teeth – doh!) and shopping for needed items like new shoes (due to a hole-y sole) have taken up WAY too much time.  Wearing the MOM hat at the moment so simply put, no time to play with paint and the plate.  Grrr.

I mentioned having an idea the other day – I got part way thru it and have not had the time to finish it off, but I figured as DS isn’t leaving till Tuesday now, and we are trying to move Thanksgiving to tomorrow (cause he can’t some BACK for that) and there is so much to do (pumpkin is roasting for my from-scratch pumpkin pie even as I type!) that it’s unlikely I will get to finish this project today (or maybe even tomorrow) I would go ahead and share where I am and what I have planned.

Originally I had thought of Deli paper.  I wanted to focus on the sheer quality of it, but the body simply was not there.  It was too flimsy to use as book pages and expect it to hold its shape when standing up.

So I thought again, had a little rummage, and came across a handful of odd things that sent me off in another direction.

Odd things used are large sheets of vellum, vellum tape and my large Xyron machine.  And the mid-result (with the end-result coming another day, I’m afraid) is this little book.


Looking pretty bog-standard, isn’t it? But there are a few things to note.   The cover uses something I’ve seen called a TURTLE WRAP.  That is two prints – one cut right to the edge side-to-side and the other cut right to the edge top-to-bottom.  The alternate sides have large flaps.  You wrap it around the cover board one way, then wrap the back of the cover the other, tucking in the last two flaps, to both decorate and secure both prints around the  board.  That leaves you with a slit to slip the first page of the book in to, joining the pages and the cover into a book.  Do the same for the back cover and slip the final page in to that.  No adhesive required! It is amazingly secure for not being stuck together in any way.

There will be a spine (or can be) which slips into the cover and the tie closure will be attached to that. It’s all very confusing in text, I imagine, but actually really straightforward in photos.  I’ll aim to do them at some point.

The pages are a long accordion of vellum.  The Gelli prints pulled on that so well and the sheer quality makes for a really interesting effect.


Sorry, I couldn’t block the mess on my windowsill or the sheerness of the vellum pages would have been totally lost! The swirls I cut from plain white card, on the Cricut (with SCAL, using an image off the ‘net that was actually a wall mural of a tunnel sort of thing) and stuck those to the BACK of the pages with the Xyron – no adhesive showing thru.

Maybe you can see the white cardstock a bit better from the back side…


The vellum tape I used to join the accordion sections, as the book is 5.5 x 5.5.  although the vellum is A4 size, it still wasn’t big enough to do it all as one unit.  There are two “pages” that are slipped into the covers, so the whole thing is about 33 inches long.


Does this help you see the cool effect? The prints are really sheer where the swirl is not, but you can see the pattern better where the swirls blocks the light.

My idea is to add some stamping or stenciling to the pages, maybe some words cut from book pages, or printed, not sure yet, and I am interested in seeing how the additions affect the look.  Obviously it’s best displayed with a light source behind it.  I might mess about with adding an accordion-folded spine and attaching solid paper to those, so they fall between the vellum pages.  That way, if you choose to view the book with the spine in place and the pages folded, while you won’t be able to see thru them, you can flip them more like a traditional book and the plain paper will give a totally different look to the prints.

I haven’t settled on the text yet, mulling over a few song lyrics or perhaps a poem, but it’s time to take out and puree the pumpkin then go shopping for the rest of the ingredients I need for the meal. I’ll probably mull it over a bit more and hopefully get it done.

Off to hang out laundry and cook and shop …. {sigh}


Packing Tape Gelli Book done

Finished it.  So cute. Simple construction, using the 5 hole pamphlet stitch to secure 3 signatures inside.



I added little strips of red electricians tape across the spine, just to further reinforce the packing tape, although it was well stuck anyway.  I just liked the look of it.

I also played around with the binding threads tying them with contrasting thread.  Not sure I love it but will def. play with the idea a bit more.



Used lots of prints


many with the wallpaper texture impressions.  Nothing too busy cause I have an idea for finishing it off.



and that favourite made with the sink mat.  Still really like that one



But DOH!  How is it DS managed to cram the vast majority of his dirty clothes in one small bag to come home for such a short trip, JUST so I could do his laundry?? And cooking is not the usual one hour process but hours and hours of “special” meals he would never make himself – last night, chicken with whiskey, cream and pecans, tonight beef stew with mash from a friends potato crop.  Misshapen but tasty.  And of course he held off getting a haircut and new shoes – wonder who he thinks is footing the bill for them?  Oh wait, I know….

The point is between all that (and more) and the fact that while working on this I had a massive flash of inspiration that I think is going to be so cool if I can make it work.  It’s one of those multi-stage projects, and unfortunately one where any mis-step could ruin the whole thing.  It needs to mix craftyness with some technology and I am DYING to get started on it.

Off to get DD a haircut and re-style soon, then prep tomorrow for a Halloween party on Saturday.  Plus having a go at making DS’s fave dessert, pumpkin pie, but from an actual pumpkin rather than the handy canned puree.  Oh the joys of motherhood.  My craftyness will have to wait….


More Gelli print packing tape uses

People have commented that they (like me) have tons of Gelli prints that they struggle to find a way to use.  If you don’t do collage that must be a universal problem.  I love the effect of the Gelli prints on packing tape and while I also love the iPad decoration idea, there are just so many iPad covers anyone needs!

Although the original tutorial applies the Gelli printed tape to foil, or adds mica powder to fill the still-sticky gaps, or glitter flakes or glitter, I tend to leave the sticky so the piece can be stuck to something useful.  I am careful in my placement of the paint so the areas that are sticky are spaced, and enough to adhere the piece.  But in considering ways to use it, I thought of a simple little mini-book.

I cut an old dishwasher tab box down to 6 x 10 (that size suites my 8 x 10 plate)


and scored it with a 1 inch spine.


I will make maybe two, maybe three, little Gelli printed signatures to sew in.  I’m thinking I might try sewing them in with my sewing machine.  With a heavy-duty needle it might work, although I may end up dodging broken needle tips! Goggles a must, I think LOL!

I intentionally set it up with the shiny printed side inside the book.

I painted the raw cardboard on the other side with white, then pulled a print directly on to that.

I did my Gelli plate set up and pulled the printed on the sticky side of the packing tape.  I made sure the side edges matched as best I could, but left plenty extra tape top and bottom. As I pulled them off, I “stored” them on a bit of release paper from a previous contact paper pull, but the cheap Teflon baking liners, wax paper, shiny side of freezer paper will all work as well


As a sidebar, let me say that if you DID do an iPad cover, you could do a few and store them on sheets so you can change them around daily.  They do stay sticky and peel off and re-stick reasonable well. You could have a whole little wardrobe of strips, even mixing them up, one strip from this set, another from that…

Starting just at the spine on the cover, I stuck the packing tape on, wrapping the extra bit top and bottom to the back.  That’s why I made the slightly slick printed surface on the inside.  The tape stick very well to that and really secures it in place.  That avoids most of the issue with the printed areas not being sticky anymore and give a good overall adhesion.



Just line up  the tape strips.  I made sure the last one had a strip of unprinted area on the right so I could miter the two outside corners and wrap the tape to the inside.



I could have covered the spine and the back too, but haven’t yet.  I am pretty sure sewing thru cardboard, a stack of paper, AND packing tape would be a struggle at best, impossible most likely.

Despite have the most enormous stack of Gelli prints, I find MOST of them are not right for this.  I get an idea, and print willy-nilly here and there on the paper, sometimes two 6×6 prints on one A4 sheet, slightly overlapping.  I have to really examine them and see if there are any I could use by over-printing to unify them, and check on the double-sided-ness of them.  And I may have to just plan a session that is much more INTENTIONAL printing and not random play.  But overall I am liking the look of it, and liking that I can play with packing tape and actually USE it.  

Just a glimpse into how my mind works  – so I’m thinking…

  • could you pull a print on tape and wrap it around a candle?
  • is packing tape flammable?
  • could you pull a print right onto a wax candle?  
  • is the PAINT flammable?  
  • when the candle burns down will it all catch fire?
  • are burning paint fumes toxic?
  • could you pull a print made with inks on tissue paper?
  • would Deli paper work?
  • apply that to the candle in the usual way?
  • is that practical? more or less effort than doing it just by stamping?

All of these things dash thru my had in seconds:  consider, assess, discard, consider more, TRY it.  

and that’s the problem.  There are so many ideas that pop in to my head there is simply not enough time to try them all…