Thursday, 29 November 2012

Tattered Time Mini-Album Part 4–Wallet Mini-Album for Page 1

I am following Kathy Orta’s excellent 7-part video tutorial on paper bag mini-albums. She is using the Tim Holtz paper stack “Lost and Found” and I am also incorporating papers from this collection into my album, because there are a number of small elements which are just right for tags and mini-albums within the mini-album; they also have a nice vintage feel and many of them fit my time theme.

Today I followed her instructions for making a delightful little wallet-type pouch to go in the side pouch of my first page. I am not going to give all the measurements for this as they are all on the video. This mini-album within an album has so many places for photo mats and journaling, and I will be able to add old photos from my grandfather’s family – these are all scanned into the computer now, so I can print them out whatever size I want. There are some lovely ones! I can’t wait to get them stuck into the album.

These are the elements needed to create the wallet. As you can see, I have made the two folders and matted all the surfaces, as per Kathy’s video.

Most of these papers are from “Lost and Found.” Top left: the pouch assembly for the wallet; top right: distressed memorandum pages (with the Tim Holtz distressing tool and lots of distress ink); bottom left: one of the folders open, and bottom right: the other folder closed. I love this particular paper with all the vintage photos on it, which is very much in keeping with the theme of page 1 (my father’s ancestry).

Here are the tags completed. I love the days of the week and calendar elements, because they fit in with the theme of time.

I departed a bit from Kathy’s instructions here because I haven’t got a punch to make file tabs with. This is on my “to do” list for designing cut files in Inkscape, so I decided instead to use some of the clock faces from “Lost and Found” to act as tag pulls – there are some more on the large journaling mat on page 1. The three tags on the left show the front surface, and the one on the right shows the reverse. There will be journaling on these memorandum pages, and photos on the back.

The next photo shows the two completed folders, with their tags in place. The bottom one has a background paper from “Tattered Time.”

Opening the folders, this is what is revealed inside.

Underneath the tags and the two photo mats I made, you can see the background papers matted onto the inside of the folder, which can also be used for photos or journaling. Turning the tags and photo mats over, you can see the Tim Holtz “Lost and Found” background papers for journaling and photos. I love the subtle colours and the general grungeyness of this collection! You can also see that there are further clock faces on the backs of the tags to line up with those on the front.

Here is the back view of the folders, with their tags showing. Again, more room for photos and/or journaling.

For this next photo, I placed the completed folders into the pouch assembly and propped it up so that you can see how it works. The spare tags are inserted in the other two of the four pockets in the pouch.

I cannot complete the wallet until the arrival of the circle punch that I have on order, but I have cut the black cardstock, ready to make the outside of the wallet.

In the Tim Holtz collection there are some ATC-sized images. I cut out two of these together and folded them to form a tiny photo folder. This is the outside, with room for journaling on the back.

Inside, I shall put two small photos.

I think that will probably be it for page 1 as far as interactive additions are concerned, but it depends how many photos and how much information I decide to add. With the large pockets on the page, there will always be room for more tags if necessary. When all the pages are complete, I shall be adding some embellishments, too, and I’ve got some gorgeous Tim Holtz ones for the front cover. The embellishments will be the icing on the cake!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

WOYWW 182–Tattered Time Album

Well, it’s Snoopy Time again! Time to snoop around each other’s work desks and see what we’ve all been up to this week. The lovely Julia of Stamping Ground (see the WOYWW link in my sidebar) does her best to keep us unruly mob in order as we open our inner creative sanctums (or should that be sancta?) to the glare of worldwide publicity, warts and all.

This week I started an exciting new project to join the ranks of my UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) – all of which are progressing slowly together in parallel! It’s a mini album (actually not so mini) made from paper bags and using the DCWV Tattered Time paper stack. I bought this over a year ago and since then it’s lived on the shelf, only to be taken down every now and then to be stroked because it is… Gorrrrrgeous.

This is what I’ve done so far on Page 1.

It’s in honour of my Dad, and the first page is about his ancestors – my great-grandparents and grandparents. For full details and to see some better pictures, please see my most recent blog posts.

Yes, I know… I should be working on the Card Factory. Trouble is, I’d MUCH rather be doing this.

I’ve also started designing some tags in Inkscape, ready for cutting with Sheba, my Black Cat Cougar cutting machine (see my sidebar for details of this machine). Here’s a screen shot of my first one – a work in progress – a tag with a decorative top, and a matching pouch. I shall also be designing some for the mini-album, and svg cut files and pdfs will eventually make their way onto my Skydrive for free download for whoever wants to use them.

Have a very happy and creative WOYWW, everybody. Not sure if I’ll do any better this week than last week at visiting desks, but we shall see!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Tattered Time Mini-Album Part 4–Journaling

I spent most of this afternoon designing a template for a UK-sized envelope pouch, but can’t show you this yet, until I have permission from the designer of the original (US) template. I hope she will allow this, because many of us could benefit from templates based on UK paper sizes, and the vast majority of crafting tutorials on Youtube are US-based, which can make life very difficult for those of us who use a different system, and for whom a lot of stuff is simply unobtainable.

While I wait, I decided to make my first journaling mat for Page 1 of my album. This page is pretty simple in its construction, consisting just of the two flaps which the paper bag album construction provide. Subsequent pages will have more fold-out flaps and more interaction, but this is my first attempt, so I’m very much feeling my way.

The first thing I did was to distress the vertical strip on the left of the page – I thought it looked a bit stark and white, and it looks better for the application of some nice vintage blotches of Black Soot Distress Ink!

I cut a mat from a patterned sheet from the Tattered Time stack, measuring 7 x 9 inches, and matted it onto a piece of black cardstock 1/4 inch larger. I had some of the Tim Holtz clock faces page left after cutting some of the clocks out, so I applied this to the top left of the mat. I will be adding some phrases and other embellishments onto this as time goes on.

I matted another sheet on the back, again 7 x 9 inches, also Tim Holtz, and it was onto this that I did my first piece of journaling, written with my white Uni-ball pen and outlined with my permanent black Zig 08 pen. The piece I have written is a short potted history of my great-grandfather and grandparents, to set the scene for my father’s life.

Finally, a detail shot of the journaling.

Still to come on this page: probably a mini with photos, a bit more journaling, and possibly some tags, and also some separate photo mats. Hopefully I’ll also have some more templates for you soon.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Tattered Time Mini-Album Part 3–Pouches

Having watched Laura Denison’s video on making envelope pouches, I decided to have a go today. As usual, I ran into the constant problem of UK stuff being different from US stuff. They have long narrow business envelopes which are that bit longer than ours, so they make a better proportioned pouch. Anyway, nothing daunted, I took one of our long narrow envelopes and made a start on a pouch.

I then decided to start designing some to cut from cardstock, and made a larger, single pouch. Here is what I did.

The one on the right was distressed with Black Soot Distress Ink, but it took quite a lot of work to get it as black as this, and in the end I thought it would be much more straightforward to do what I have done on the paper bags for the pages of my album, and paint them with black acrylic paint, so this is what I did on the larger pouch on the left.

The one on the right is a sealed business envelope with the ends slit open, and folded, so that there are two openings at the top. The next step would be to create a smaller pouch at right angles, to go between the two layers, and then to glue the two layers together. I cut the semi-circles with my 2 inch circle punch, just through the top layer in each case. I think this semi-circle is too large, and today I decided to get a 3/4 in circle punch for this purpose. You would not believe how long it took me to find one here in the UK! There were some available from the US but with such a heavy postage rate that they weren’t worth considering. In the end I found one on Amazon.co.uk but it was a bit more expensive than I’d hoped, but by then I was fed up with searching, and went ahead and ordered it!

Before gluing the folded envelope pouch, decorative papers can be matted onto the various surfaces. The single pouch would have decorative papers matted onto the front and back, and possibly inside the back, at least part way down, to cover the join in the back, and the black paint. The semi-circles would then be cut again through these papers where appropriate, with the same circle punch. Laura says it’s best to do one layer at a time because sometimes the punches won’t cut through two layers of paper at a time. Turning the punch upside down, it’s easy to eyeball where to cut. On my pouches, I did mark the centre line so I could line up my punch and get the semi-circle centred. When they are complete, you make tags, photo mats or journaling pieces to slip inside the pouches, and the pouches can either be attached to your page, or slotted into any pockets you may have created on the page.

This is the template I designed for the larger, single pouch, which measures 5 3/4 x 7 in when finished.

This template, in pdf and jpg formats, is on my Skydrive ready for free download. I am hoping to add further templates in the future. Having made this very basic one, I am keen to try making some more complicated ones, and also some tag templates too.

Not too much achieved today on my album pages, but I’ve spent so much time online trying to find punches etc.! We were out for the evening and there was ironing to be done too. Ah well.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Tattered Time Mini-Album Part 2–Preparing the Bags and Beginning the First Page

Having prepared the gussets of the bags in order to form the pages, I painted all the exposed edges with black acrylic paint to cover the brown paper. I initially tried inking them with Black Soot Distress Ink but this did not give a very opaque finish, and the acrylic paint was thicker and blacker, and quite quick to do, too. I used cheap black acrylic from my big pot, rather than posh artist’s stuff!

I have been humming and hah-ing about the hinges for the binding, and decided to fold the extending edges of the bottoms of the bags in half longitudinally to form the hinges, as you can see on the next picture. On her tutorial, Kathy Orta doesn’t do this, but attaches a hinge to the full width of the flap formed by the bottom of the bag in each side, which is simpler. The trouble is, my bags are so nearly square that I didn’t want to take up any of them for hinges, preferring to extend the hinges beyond the width of the page so that I didn’t lose any width. I do lose a vertical pocket on the back of each page, but this doesn’t really matter, because that page is occupied by a full-sized flap hinged from the top, and I can always add a pocket if I want to. (Hope this makes sense…)

I realise that I must allow a lot of space for the thickness of the papers, tags and embellishments. There’s nothing worse in the world of albums than the classic “Pacman mouth” syndrome where the pages don’t lie flat, but appear to be bursting open with all their additions! Sticking down these folded flaps and creating separate hinges from cardstock, each with a “gutter” of 1/4 in. should add sufficient thickness at the spine end to allow for this.

Each hinge piece (5 in all) measures 10 3/16 x 2 1/2 inches (this smaller measurement is 1 1/8 for each side, plus the 1/4 in gutter). The two hinges to attach the assembled album to the insides of the front and back covers are 10 3/16 x 3 1/2 inches – allowing for a 2 1/8 extension onto the covers for added strength. At least, that is the plan so far! (These works in progress of mine tend to develop a will of their own, and often my initial plans go out of the window as various problems arise that I hadn’t foreseen.)

These hinge pieces won’t be added to the pages until I am ready to assemble the album. It will be easier to add the papers and embellishments while the pages can still lie flat.

After touching up any gaps with black acrylic paint, I am now ready for the fun part – beginning to mat the pages and the pockets. The hardest part is deciding what papers to use for what, and I need to plan what will go best with the particular aspect of my Dad’s life that each page is celebrating.

I’ve roughed out what theme I want on each page, and started to choose the papers. I have now matted the basic papers onto the first page, which I have entitled “Ancestry.” This page has two pockets, one along the bottom, and one down the left-hand side, and into these I will place various tags, photo mats and journaling about my grandparents and great-grandparents. The main theme of the page is engineering to reflect my grandfather’s profession.

The background paper is from “Tattered Time,” and the other papers are from the Tim Holtz stacks “Crowded Attic” and “Lost and Found.” I shall be incorporating papers from these collections as they co-ordinate pretty well with the Tattered Time papers, and include more small elements which are useful for embellishing and creating tags etc.

It has taken me a very, very long time to get this far! I think this is going to be a long-term project as it takes so long to choose what to do, and then there’s masses of detail to add. I am enjoying sorting through the papers, which are gorgeous, and thinking about the additions which I shall make.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Tattered Time Mini-Album Part 1–Planning

Yesterday evening I started a very exciting new project – my very first mini-album! This is something I have been planning for such a long time, and although I am in the middle of the Card Factory (which is actually more of a chore than a delight…) I really felt the time had come to make a start. I shall be slotting other things in between, so this will be an ongoing project, like my Fine Art Album and my art journal, and other things that I pick up as the mood takes me.

Let me backtrack to the beginning. It was in September 2011, over a year ago, at the Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts Exhibition, that I saw, and fell in love with, the DCWV “Tattered Time” paper stack and just had to buy it. Ever since then, I have wanted to use it for something but was terrified of messing it up, and every now and then I would get it out and go through it, and stroke it, and put it back on the shelf again! I also did a bit of Youtube research to see what other people did with it, and so the germ of an idea began, to make a mini-album with it, but this has been very much on the back burner since then.

More recently, and particularly since my dad has been deteriorating, I have been thinking about his life, and all the things he did and loved, and looking at the Tattered Time papers again, realised that they expressed so much about him. He has always had a passion for clocks, and has collected and repaired them most of his life. He and I have always been very close, and have shared so much fun over his various interests, and I used to “help” him in the workshop when I was small, watching him work, holding things for him, and learning so much. We shared an interest in typewriters when I began my secretarial course – there are pages relating to this – and of course his major passion for music, which is also represented. These are just a few of the things which will be included in the album.

Since I bought the Tattered Time papers, I have also acquired the Tim Holtz “Lost and Found” and “Crowded Attic” stacks – I have used a few small elements from these, but for the most part, they are intact. There are some elements in these collections which will mix and match quite nicely with the Tattered Time papers.

As I have thought about this, the ideas have been coming in leaps and bounds. Just recently, going through lots of old family photos, I’ve come across so many of Dad in his young days etc. My plan is to make a paper bag album, and to add lots of photos and journaling, and also to make some “mechanical” interactive elements to reflect his love of engineering and all things mechanical.

It’s just my personal opinion, but I have never been a great lover of scrapbooking layouts which incorporate photos and papercrafting – somehow to me the elements don’t mix that well, and if one isn’t careful, it can end up looking rather bitty and messy – there are glorious exceptions, of course, but for the most part it leaves me cold. The Tattered Time papers are so glorious that I really don’t want to cover them up with photos, so my plan is to celebrate the papers, and showcase them to the best of my ability, and to hide the photos and journaling on tags and inserts etc., and make it an interactive experience to look at them.

Over the past few days I’ve been doing some intensive research on Youtube into how to construct these albums, and there are some superb tutorials – also on bindings and closures, and I have now more or less decided on what I want to do. Unfortunately most of these tutorials come from the USA, where they have access to a lot of stuff we just can’t get here in the UK – in particular the bags. I have managed to source some, but of course they are a different size, so I cannot follow the tutorials exactly, as regards measurements, and will have to improvise, but this will make the project that much more my own.

Last year, I made some bag skirts for Christmas gift bags. I ordered several sizes of these bags from Ebay, and the seller made a mistake and sent me far too many. When I contacted him about it, he said it would be more hassle if I sent them back, and told me to keep them, and I have often wondered what I was going to do with them. This evening I decided to use some of the medium sized ones to make this album.

These bags are fairly thick, so I hope they are going to work OK for the album. I had to remove the handles, which are made of twisted paper, and quite attractive, so I thought I would save them, maybe to use as embellishments in other projects.

(They are lying on my new scratch paper – not much on it yet so it looks a bit strange!)

I am not going to give a tutorial on how to make up these bags into an album, because it has already been done very adequately on Youtube. I have decided to follow Kathy Orta’s first-class multi-part Youtube tutorial which she made, using the Tim Holtz “Lost and Found” stack, as she makes full use of the bags and their gussets for an album full of pockets for tags. The first part shows how to deconstruct the bags for the album.

Here are my bags with the gussets prepared:

and showing how the gussets fold up to form pockets.

Most paper bags come with a serrated top edge. In this picture, I am trimming this off, so that the bag measures 11 1/4 in from the bottom, with the gusset folded up. This means the finished dimension of each page will be 11 1/4 in wide and 10 3/16 in high.

I have prepared six bags in this way, which should be sufficient to complete my album.

Watch this space to see how this project progresses. Depending on what else I have to do, and how I am feeling, it may not progress very fast! However, once I get going, there may be no stopping me…

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

WOYWW 181

I’ve only just remembered it’s Wednesday! I haven’t got anything to show on my desk today because I finished a project in the small hours of Tuesday and cleared the decks. I know it’s a bit frowned upon in certain quarters (not sure why…) but I’ve arranged some things on my desk for a photo of “What’s On My Workdesk Wednesday” to show you what I’ve been up to, since there’s no actual work in progress – just a clear desk.

These are the fruits so far of my labours in this year’s Card Factory, trying to replenish my stash for the coming year, and also to make some more cards for my Mum to give away. The other day she said she still had some left but I don’t suppose she’s got enough for all the family’s birthdays, so I’m going to ask her again. At my request, she lent me the box I made last year to put them in, and you can see it on the left hand side of the desk – sorry about the reflection.

Underneath the four cards is my scrap card that I wipe my brushes and clean my stamps on etc. It’s building up nicely! It will soon be ready to be replaced by a new one, and I shall use it for other projects. Next time I may use a larger piece. If you look at my previous post, you can see it being used as a background in a photograph.

Hop back over the past two or three posts to see how I made these cards. The pink one at the back was an assembly job – Judy of Judy’s Fabrications sent me the gorgeous topper and I just had to use it!

In case anyone’s wondering what this WOYWW lark is all about, it’s the world’s greatest nosey fest where we all spy out each other’s work desks and see what we’re all doing and how tidy (or otherwise) we are being. Click on the WOYWW link in my sidebar to go to Julia’s blog and find out all about it – she organises us.

Have a great week, everyone.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Card Factory–Card from Recycled Wedding Service Sheet

In my stash I’ve got various old service sheets from weddings etc., some of which were printed on nice card or paper that was too good to throw away. I have a few of this particular one, A4 folded to A5 size, and some sheets that are blank on the back, so I glued an A5 sheet inside to cover the printing – this would also serve to strengthen it, as the card isn’t that thick for supporting embellishments etc. The card is cream-coloured, with a slight texture, and is slightly mottled.

Also in my stash I still have some absolutely ghastly duplex (double-sided) card that I posted about ages ago – the card itself is super quality, really thick and stiff, but the colours! Oh my goodness. Get your sunglasses out, folks. I’ve decided to use the orange side of this piece, rather than the bright cerise pink (whoever thought of putting those two garish colours together??!) and tone it down with lots of distressing, stencilling, glimmer misting, etc. etc. – it will be very experimental, adding layers until I’m happy with it.

I began by distressing the edges of the service sheet, front and back, inside and out, with Tea Dye Distress Ink. This showed up a few little creases in the card, but I don’t mind that – it adds to the vintage, distressed effect.

I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into the ghastly orange card (well, I suppose that would be one way to distress it!) – first step, distress with Vintage Photo Distress Ink, dabbing all over with an Inkylicious Ink Duster to give a nice mottled effect.

I repeated the process with Dusty Concord Distress Ink – since orange and purple are complimentary colours, when mixed, they form a shade of brown. To darken it further, I added some Black Soot Distress Ink. In each case, I used a dabbing, stibbling motion with the ink duster.

It’s starting to look a bit like leather now. Time for a bit of stencilling, I think.

I painted on a thin layer of the beige acrylic glaze left over from my Remembrance page in my art journal, laid a stencil over the top and spritzed it with water, and then blotted and wiped it off through the stencil.

After this, I painted some glaze on the un-stencilled parts, placed the stencil on top, spritzed with water, and wiped off, leaving the paint under the stencil. I blotted the whole lot off with damp kitchen paper and this is the result.

Now time for some Glimmer Mist and Perfect Pearls. I sprayed it lightly in patches with my DIY Glimmer Mist made from Wild Honey Distress Re-Inker and Perfect Pearl coloured Perfect Pearls which gave it a silvery metallic sheen – the Wild Honey didn’t show up much because it was already rather dark. I need to mix up some new DIY Glimmer Mist with a more bronzy Perfect Pearls, I think.

I dabbed at it randomly with my small Perfect Medium pad (clear embossing ink) and then brushed it lightly with dry Cappuccino Perfect Pearls and spritzed it with water, and rubbed it gently to soften any sharp edges. It now has a more generalised random pearlescent sheen which I think I am happy with.

I think this is definitely a background I’d like to use in my art journal – nice and grungey and dark, with subtle shades and shimmers. I think it needs some stamping or embellishment in dull gold or rust.

All the stamps I used are from Designs by Ryn. First of all I stamped it twice with her “Water Droplets” stamp from her Textures range (CM-T3), using black archival ink. Then I used two of her gorgeous moth stamps from her Butterflies and Moths range – the top one is “Luna” (CM-B2) and the bottom two are “Tsuki” (CM-B5), stamping with Versamark and heat embossing with copper embossing powder.

The piece was matted onto the distressed card base, and I picked out the tiny catch-lights on each water droplet with my white Uni-ball marker pen. To finish the piece, I painted the moths with Perfect Pearls from my palette: the top moth is done with Berry Twist, a simply gorgeous dichroic one which turns from purple to blue according to the light. The middle moth was painted with Mint, and the bottom one with Turquoise. All the moth bodies were painted with Plum, another dichroic one which alternates between purple and a slightly more turquoise-blue than Berry Twist. This is the finished card. Unbelievable that it started with that horrendous garish orange card! I’m so glad I didn’t throw it away.

 

Finally, a detail shot of the stamping and embossing.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Some Craft Equipment

This is my second blog post today, so to see my previous one – more cards from the Card Factory – please scroll down .

Now for this one. I’ve got a couple of very useful tools that I’ve had for a while, and thought you might be interested to hear about them.

Hot and Sticky

A few months ago I got totally fed up with my hot glue gun. It was just a cheap one which was actually on long-loan from someone, and I was returning stuff to him so thought I’d give it back to him, and take the opportunity to get a better one. I found what I thought looked like a brilliant one on Ebay – cordless (which I wanted, as it gives you a lot more freedom) but when it arrived, first of all it wouldn’t work at all, until I discovered that across the inside of the socket where the cord went into the charger, there was a little sprue of plastic which prevented contact being made. It heated up fine after I’d scraped this out. However, as soon as the glue was hot, it proceeded to pour out of the gun at an unstoppable rate! Total rubbish. Even worse than my original one! Managed to get my money back so that was OK.

I launched myself into an all-out search on the Internet for the Ultimate Glue Gun – most of them available in the UK seem pretty rubbishy, and then I found this:

Made by Bosch, it is a Rolls-Royce of a glue gun. OK, it set me back a bit, but it was Worth It! I managed to get it at a very good price online, actually, after a lot of shopping around. In this picture, it is sitting on its charger base. The small white disc just where the cable emerges is nothing to do with the glue gun – it’s a small plastic foot which has fallen off something, and I can’t find out what, so it’s staying there till I do!

Here it is, off the charger – it still stands up extremely well. you can see that there are some glue sticks stored in the base, which is very handy.

This gun has the finest nozzle I’ve ever seen on a glue gun. It is super-comfortable to hold and use (very well designed) and the most amazing thing of all is that it heats up in 15 seconds!!! When I think of the hours I’ve wasted, waiting for glue guns to heat up because I haven’t remembered to turn them on in time… this is super-efficient! I consider it a worth-while investment, as I do use hot glue quite a bit, especially for flower-making and other 3-D work.

Layer upon Layer

The other thing I’ve got, I was given months ago – I did some work for a friend’s mum ages ago, and she and her mum sent me a voucher from a craft supplier, and for some time I couldn’t think what to get with it. Eventually I decided on something that I knew would help a hopeless matter and layerer like myself! (The number of cards I’ve ruined with wonky matting and layering… well, we won’t go there!) It’s called “Perfect Layers” and it does what it says on the tin.

Basically you get three quite substantial clear rulers, about 12 inches long, complete with an instruction sheet. The one design flaw, I think, is that they do not have measurements on them – that would have been really useful! Each edge has steel embedded in it for cutting against, and there are steps along the length of each one, at a different measurement from the edge in each case, so you get 10 different measurements from 1/16 in to 1 in – 1/16, 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4 and 1 in. That’s a lot of different choices for matting and layering!

What you do is cut your top layer to the size you want, and stick it down onto the mat, not worrying about lining it up, as long as you allow more than enough around the edge for you to cut it down to size. You choose the ruler with the measurement you want, and if you are right-handed, you look for the measurement at the top-right of the ruler. (If you are left-handed, you choose the measurement at the top-left of the ruler.) You place the ruler onto your work, and butt the step against the top layer which is already glued down. Then you take a knife and simply cut along the edge! You repeat for all four sides, and you are done. You can then obviously add more matting and layering as you choose.

I think this is a really cool idea, and the first time I have tried it out for real was on my Dad’s steampunk birthday card back in June – it worked absolutely brilliantly – a perfect result in no time, no measuring, and no stress!

What a lovely gift from two very special ladies. I think of them every time I use it!

Shoshi Rules, OK

Today my hubby bought me a length of white guttering, with some brackets for it, and a couple of end caps. I am planning to cut this to just over 2 feet in length, and mount it on the inside of the solid upright of my work desk, and keep my rulers in it.

I’ve been frustrated for ages about ruler storage. They are too tall to store upright, and on the desk, they keep skidding about and getting in the way. Now I’ve got these three “Perfect Layers” rulers, it’s got even worse! I’ve got my normal 12-in ruler with 16ths all the way along, a Tim Holtz ruler with steel cutting edge, my 15-in ruler with steel cutting edge which I bought when I lost my Tim Holtz one (which I promptly found again, of course!) and a 2-foot metal ruler that I don’t use very often because it’s quite difficult to see the markings on it (and anyway, for my purposes, transparent is more useful – I only had it for cutting against, before I realised that steel-edged transparent ones were available). I shall keep it, though, because sometimes it’s useful to have a nice long ruler.

How does everyone else store their pesky rulers? Mine seem to have a life of their own, and I’m looking forward to taming them at last!

Card Factory–Die-Cut Cards

I’ve decided to go through my scrap boxes and old stash, and see if I can use up some stuff that I’ve had for ages. I found a couple of die-cut card blanks which I must have got when I first started, and never used – I’m not really into this sort of thing, but thought they should be put to good use after all this time. They were far too flat and boring, even though they had pearlised surfaces, so I decided lots of distressing was in order!

My first step was to make masks to cover the background of the embossed design visible through the aperture on each card. If you look closely at the right-hand side of the oval-aperture card in this picture, you can just see the embossed design – this is clearly visible on the green rectangular-aperture card underneath. I cut the masks from scrap paper.

For the first card (oval aperture) I cut two masks. Here, the smaller one is being used, inking the embossed design with Peacock Feathers Distress Ink (from the Spring limited edition set).

When I closed the card, there was still a white border around the inked oval, so I cut a small amount away from the mask and re-inked the shape, this time using Broken China Distress Ink. The Inkylicious Ink Duster wasn’t really getting into the recessed oval around the design, so I went over it again with a stencil brush.

I was able to add a shaded effect with the second colour which gave it some more dimension.

In this next photo, I am distressing the front and back of the oval aperture card, using Peacock Feathers Distress Ink and an Inkylicious Ink Duster. The beige card blank is much improved with the addition of a little dusting of turquoise. The surface is rather shiny, so it doesn’t show up as well as it might in the photo.

I repeated the process on the inside of the card, and softened the edges of the masked oval with a bit of distressing too – all with Peacock Feathers Distress Ink.

Here is the completed card. I chose the colour scheme to go with some floral embellishments from my stash. The leaf trail was cut with Sheba, my Black Cat Cougar cutting machine, also from my stash. It was the colour of the bling in the centre of the flowers that made me decide on the Peacock Feathers colour, and I think it goes quite well with the beige iridescent card blank.

On to the green rectangular card blank. I repeated the process as above, this time using a combination of Dried Marigold and Brushed Corduroy Distress Inks. I also painted some Perfect Pearls from my palette onto the embossed design, using Cappuccino, and then some Bisque, and I also added some little touches of these onto the embellishments to blend them in. The coppery leaves were from my stash – these had been cut with Sheba and hand-embossed, and coloured with metallic Perfect Pearls. The embellishments on both cards were stuck down with hot glue. Here is a picture of the completed rectangular-aperture card.

This is the inside.

Finally, a photo of the two finished cards together.

For once the pearlised finishes have come up quite well on the photos. I am pleased with how these two simple little cards have turned out. They are A5 folded to A6 size. I have deliberately not added any sentiments as these can be added when needed, and I didn’t want to limit myself to “Happy Birthday” if I wanted to say “Thank You”!

Yesterday, my Mum, bless her little cotton socks, told me that she’d still got several cards left from the set I made her last year, and she was thinking of giving them back to me!!!! (She hasn’t thought that she could send them next year…) So… it’s back to the drawing board as far as her Christmas present is concerned. I need to find out how many she’s got left, and suggest that I make her just a few more so she’s got enough for next year, and I am going to continue with the Card Factory anyway, because I need to build up my stash for the coming year. It will be an interesting exercise in Using What I’ve Got! (I am sure we could all do a bit of that…)