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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…


A great little trick ….

It’s been a helluva morning already – DD had a Drs. appt this morning and DH is off at some app developers conference so the school run was down to me for a change.  Going around a roundabout a woman who clearly has NO IDEA of the traffic flow, and was unable to read the lane markings, thought she could just change lanes and carry on.  She perhaps could have, had I not been in the way.  Been to the body shop and the mechanic already.  The mechanic says the car is safe to drive so relieved. Now with a seriously crumpled fender and a door that doesn’t open and close as well as it should, but fortunately no injuries, and thanks to a witness,  a clear claim to insurance agreed by both of us that it was HER fault and not mine, I am finally back at my desk for a short time till school pick up.  {sigh}

As a result of al that I haven’t made anywhere NEAR the planned progress, but I did discover a little trick that I thought I would pass on.  I am SO doing this all the time now!

Given my recent issues with t’internet, I’ve not been watching YouTube videos much.  But I did stumble across this one last night.  To be fair is was drifting, nearly nodding off I was so tired, but the round about 5 minutes in I saw something that totally jolted me awake:

When I am making a layout, be it traditional or mixed media, I always layer and cluster piles of things.  Laura, from crop, calls me the Queen of Layers.  Not sure that is true, there are others who do it way better than me, but I will acknowledge it is def. part of my style.  Problem is I am always shuffling things around and I often get it all set up perfectly then when I come to sticking it all down I get a piece turned around or something out of order and then I look at the final result and slap my forehead and go DOH! WELL, a simple staple is all that is needed!

After laying out the pile of layers


Just staple the pile as you want it, once in the middle


This keeps everything as you want it to be, but the edges are all still free, so you can easily slip other layers into the gaps and play around with them to your heart’s content without losing the basic structure of the cluster!


Isn’t that genius?  I find that the base is not going to be something I want to shift – once the photo is on top I’m happy with the overall SHAPE and it’s just slipping in a strip of this, a label or tag end of that, etc.

OK, so it isn’t this A May Zing technique, but it is one of those super nifty little tricks that just make the process so much easier.  And if I WERE to change my mind, there is only one staple to remove to free it all up again.

As you can see I have the next folder ready for its base of paper, before I start building in the colour with inks and sprays and paint and stamps and masks.  I may try to get all that stuck down before dashing off to collect DD so I can begin work in earnest in the morning, but not sure I’m done with sorting out the insurance stuff quite yet so it may have to wait.

Poor DH.  He leaves town for a few days and CRASH BANG WALLOP – so typical.  Just thankful if there was a car accident in the cards, it was one as minor (albeit annoying) as this one and not something far worse.  Thanking my lucky stars….


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!


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….


Mixed media – pre-prep homemade bits

I often start something without a clear idea of the final outcome.  I mean I have an IDEA, but not a vision of the final piece.  I tend to riffle thru my stash and the debris on my desk and that leads me where the piece wants to go.  Problem is I have a LOT of stuff, but I never seem to have EXACTLY what I see in my head.  For example, I like embossed resist papers – I don’t own a single one.  I love big swirls, but I’ve pretty much used up all the chipboard ones I’ve acquired over the years.  When I think Oh that would work there… I am then too lazy  or too engrossed in the process to stop, switch gears, and make something specifically for the piece I am working on.  And my pockets are just not deep enough to buy everything I would like to have on hand.

Thinking about stuff I wish I had, I thought I would take a day and MAKE things that I know I will use, get them all ready to go and then when I think a lovely swirl will fill that space perfectly… I just grab it.

So I did two things.  First I grabbed lots of plain white heavy cardstock.  I stamped a bunch of border stamps and embossed them with white embossing powder. I made a couple of sheets, mixing up thin and fat borders.


Now, when I am layering up clusters of papers and embellishments, and I think a little embossed resist strip will add just the texture I want, I only have to grab the sheet, cut out one, spritz with a bit of ink to match….


then maybe stamp over it with some Distress ink.  That whisks away from the embossing, and the strip is ready to tuck into a layered group.


For a selection of swirls and some die cut border pieces (if I want more texture) I went to my Cricut mini and Craft room.  I figure as long as I am cutting, why not make a morning of it? LOL!

I set up the mat and went crazy.



I also did a mat of borders and one of banners.  Then I thought to myself should I cut two of each to stick together, for a more chipboard-like piece?  When I mist or ink or paint these they are going to droop and flop, even out of heavy heavy card. I had an idea.  A bit like the acrylic medium technique for sealing things, I thought why not seal them with a coat of Gesso?  It will give them a little more body and then they will be ready for adding to mixed media style things in my file folder book.

I brayered the Gesso on to the Gelli plate and laid on the piece – yes, I know the bigger plate would make more sense, but the small one was what was on my desk.  Told you I was lazy….


Brayering over the back coated both sides.  In the end I had a stack of them drying.


I didn’t waste the Gesso either.  I pulled a print off the plate and used the spray inks on it. Cool.


I like the shadow effect where there is no Gesso.  I’m sure I’ll find a use for it…

And I still have the waste from the cut-outs.  They will surely work for stencils and the cardstock is thick enough they will work with modelling paste as well, at least a few times as they are in no way washable!

I know it’s a calculated risk, cutting and stamping a bunch of stuff that I might not use, but I feel that by thinking thru my style, and my process , I’ve identified those things I most often wish I had on hand.  That makes it more likely I WILL actually use them.  We shall see.  I have plans for one of the swirls already and I’m interested in how the coating of gesso will affect it…

Oh and I forgot to mention…that doily sort of thing on the embossing sheet?  That is actually a cup coaster!


It would have worked FAR better had I used a flat stamp mount (which it clung to perfectly) rather than the curved one that I grabbed cause it was on my desk (see? LAZY!) I’ve never gotten the hang of the darn thing and never get a good clean impression.  I think I got a set of 4 of these for a couple of quid.  It’s a little girlie for me, but it might work.  I may cut out the centre circle with the dots around it as that would make a cute stamp too on it’s own. …


Title for my page

Yesterday turned into the day from hell.  I made the mistake of trying to clear a bit more space on my desk, which lead me to look at my super-messy stencils and stamps and think they needed cleaning.  And that led me to the chaos of my stamps in general, then to the pile of need-to-mount stamps, and…you get the picture.  Add shopping and skating and some time with DD and it was a fairly non-productive, craft-wise, day.

I DID do the title for the last page.  I love how it turned out.  I first picked the word from a bag of random chipboard letters and stuck them to a bit of paper.



I smeared on some modelling paste then pressed a grid into it.



I picked off the letters and shifted them to a clear spot – I didn’t want the overspill paste to dry and the letters to stick…



Propping them up I sprayed with spray ink, dripped on some acrylic ink, etc and let them dry



and stuck them on.  Yummy. I think it really balances and finishes the page off nicely.


It MIGHT benefit from a bit more ink or spray ink under the title but I’m not sure.  I may think on it….

Now a few WOYWW return visits to finish up then on to the next one.


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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…..



An experiment – Dark Fall printables

I always save my files in ways that (I hope) will make them easy to alter. I wondered exactly how long that might take, if I wanted to take a full set and change them.  So I just had a bash.

In reality, because some of the elements are actually a few layers, more than you think. For example, the little cameras are actually:

  • the camera dingbat
  • a tiny white circle to fill the button
  • a coloured circle to surround the lens

And they have to be layered individually, button circle at the back, dingbat, coloured circle on the top.  Ditto the words that are backed with white. The font alone isn’t enough – it needs a white box at the back, a solid box the same colour to fill the space bar character (which is white normally) and the words are both filled and stroked to get the right look.

Boring, isn’t it?  But what it means is all the little groups need to be ungrouped and the new colours applied to just the element that needs it.  And that takes more time than just selecting all the elements that might be BLUE and changing them in one click to a different blue. Even so, once I actually PICKED the colours it only took about an hour to process all 5 pages.  Some of it was learning the best way to do things.  For example, if I wanted all the BLACK elements with a BROWN options, it would be far faster to create them then alter just the one element and group it and store it in a file called BROWN.  I used to ALWAYS do a black and a brown option (or sometimes a PINK and a BLUE option LOL!) but this is the first set in a while that I did like that.

Want to see them?


So you can see it’s basically the same thing as the Spring set but with Fall tones.  And it’s just the one PDF with all five pages, which you can download here.

NOTE: Newly added, a companion set on Monthly calendar cards, both Bright Spring and Dark Fall, found here.

Do you mind only seeing the smaller sample of the sets?  It seems easier for me (esp. on my iPad or phone) than the huge multiple images, but it does give an overview of what the set contains.  Let me know….I always appreciate it.