Please let me hear from you!

This blog is for sharing a love of paper crafting. You can also check out my Pintrest pages. If you find the ideas here to be helpful, I'd love to hear from you. It is what helps make the time I put into this blog feel worthwhile, and always brightens my day. I love hearing your ideas too!

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Saturday, March 31, 2012

All Landscape 2 - Add a jaunty Angle

This page demonstrates several techniques designed to increase interest in the page.  Last week we saw that adding vertical strips and an angle to the title can help.  This page takes those ideas a step further. 

The vertical line is emphasized by placing the photos in a vertical line with a vertical border behind it to help emphasize it. Also, not only is the title at an angle, but the focal photo is as well.  These things help add interest.

A somewhat peaceful feel is appropriate here, however, because the quolls are sleeping afterall.  This peaceful feeling is enhanced by the horizontal photos and the horizontal border. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Purchased Focals for Notepads

When you have to make 75 of these little notepad covers, you start looking for ways to speed up the process!  Here are some that went REALLY quick because I just used purchased tags or artwork for the focals.  Of course, this technique would also work for quick cards, too.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Punched Mats for Christmas in March

It's the last Thursday of the month, so I'm showing a couple of Christmas card as an incentive to get busy making those Christmas cards.  Both of today's examples have doily-type mats created with paper punches.  This first one was made with the Marta multi-punch.  The multi-punches are specifically designed to create a variety of shapes easily. 

However, not everyone has a multi-punch.  Often an edger punch will work pretty well.  This next card shows a picture of one created with the Martha Stewart Doily edger punch.  This one I just punched and let the corners fall as they would.  However, it IS possible to create more planned corners when punching a rectangle with a border punch.  Instructions for doing that are here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Silhouette Cut Titles

As I've mentioned before, I LOVE my Silhouette.  One of the things I use it for most is to make titles for my scrapbook pages.  They can be plain or matted -- sometimes several times.  I can use any font I have on my computer, so I can get just the right look for a page.  In this first example, the title was cut from tan cardstock, matted in blue, and then matted again in black. 

Here are more examples:
 This picture is a bit washed out so you can't see the title as clearly as you should.  It is cut from pink paper and then mounted on white.
This one was cut similarly, but it was matted a second time -- on black to help tie in the darker colors in the picture.
 This page has a LOT of journaling which didn't leave much room for a title - but with my Silhouette, I could make it just the right size.  As you can see, this one was cut out of green and then matted on white. 
And for the final example today, I have an un-matted font.  This font is a bit delicate, but it cut just fine and looks great on this page. 

One thing I use a LOT when doing titles like this is my Xyron sticker maker (the smallest one).  It is much easier to feed my letters through the sticker maker than to try to use other glue.  Before my sticker maker, I either didn't get the letters stuck down as well as I wanted, or I would end up with extra glue on the page - unsightly at best. 

The Xyron takes care of those problems, but I DO have a tip for using it.  Make sure, after you've run things through the machine and before you peel off the top paper, that you rub the entire thing down well with a bone folder or something similar.  Then take an embossing tool or something similar and run it firmly around the edges of your objects.  This helps ensure that you don't end up with sticky glue where you don't want it, and yet have it everywhere you DO want it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thankful Card with Scraps

I use nearly as many Thanksgiving cards as Christmas cards, so I like to work on them throughout the year.  Today's card features the use of scraps - medium sized scraps and little bits of scraps.

The medium sized scraps are the ones I used to create blocks of color on the green cardstock.  The little bits were used with some Dazzles stickers to create some embellishments.  If you look closely at the acorn and the small leaves, you can see that I placed these stickers on little scraps of colored paper and then cut close to the outline of the stickers.  I daubed a little ink to create more color variance before mounting them.  Add a purchase focal and a couple other Dazzles stickers (sentiment & corner embellishment) and I had a quick Thanksgiving card.

Monday, March 26, 2012

FlowerSoft with Stamped Image

While this card is designed as a Christmas card, it really could be for anything with a change of color and sentiment.

The birdhouse is a stamp from the Sweet Tweets collection from Hot Off the Press.  The decorations around the sentiment were some swirly stamps I had from somewhere.

I think the FlowerSoft goes with it beautifully to create some dimension.  I just dotted glue here and there where the stamped embellishments seemed to call for it and then added the FlowerSoft.  If you haven't yet tried this product, I recommend trying it.  I love it with both this set of bird stamps & with my wildflower set of stamps.  When you see it in person, the little bits of FlowerSoft really add a neat touch - and I DO mean "touch".  If you're like most people, you can't help reaching out and "petting" the FlowerSoft to feel the texture!

I also like the trick I used here which I first tried as a part of a challenge I found on-line somewhere.  It suggested stamping the image, then stamping it again on a separate paper, cutting an inchie from that second stamp & popping it up on pop dots for dimension.  I really like doing that.  I usually color in the inchie part of the stamp and mat it with a thin black border to help it stand out nicely.

The sentiment was printed on plain paper and then colored with chalk, making it darker around the edges.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Journaling Tips 4 - Print & Cut

The three pages I'm showing today all use the same journaling technique - print the journaling, cut it out, and glue it to the page.  This first one shows what you can do if you want white print.  Create a page with a colored background for your journaling so a white font shows up - and print that.  You'll also notice that I cut it out in a rather jagged fashion - ink the edges if you wish.  Here's another done in a similar way only with black printed on a cream-colored cardstock:
The final example is a much easier one - just printed it on white paper and cut it with straight edges using my paper cutter:
The border & corner treatments are adhesive-backed vinyl stickers.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

All Landscape 1 - Basic


For the next several Saturdays, we'll take a look at the challenge of creating scrapbook pages with photos that are all landscape oriented.  A bunch of horizontal lines on your page tend to make the page feel peaceful -- sometimes too "peaceful"?  How do you keep them from getting boring?  

Today's examples are pretty basic. On this first page, increased interest is created by the enlarged size of the focal mat and the strong contrast created by the colors used for the multiple matting, but there are a couple of other techniques used here too. Though the background is essentially horizontal lines, their subtle waves decreases the "boring" effect that too many horizontal lines could create.  This effect is enhanced by adding the title at a slight angle rather than putting it straight horizontally.

Here's another rather basic layout using all landscape photos:
In this case, the peaceful horizontal feel is a bit stronger - not only because of the horizontal photos, but also because of the strong contrast in the matting that creates very strong horizontal lines.  This, frankly, makes the layout a bit more boring.  However, this is mitigated a bit by the conscious use of vertical stripes in the background to add energy to the page, and once again placing the title at a bit of an angle.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Print Your Own Focals

Today's focals were printed on my printer.  Most of them came from a Paper Wishes (Hot Off the Press) CD of tags and other art for cards.  I LOVE being able to print my own.  I can get effects I can't get with pre-printed tags - like the look of white print on the tag.  This first one also uses thin sticker borders to connect the elements with a heat-embossed look. 

Here are some other examples of tags and artwork that I printed and used as focals on my covered notepads:


Then, last, but not least, is another focal that I printed.  This one is a flower I got from Scrapbook Flair.  The sentiment is a pre-printed one I got from somewhere.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Impact

Today's theme is "Impact" - another scrapbook page. Unfortunately, the color is a bit washed out so you can't tell that the background is actually a light pink.  The page speaks of the impact that a teacher made on someone's life.  Several things support this theme.  The photo itself is a very dramatic pose - creating impact.  The font used for the title really stands out, and the bold contrasting color scheme also creates impact.  The corner treatments are Scrapbooking Dazzles, and the border was cut with my Silhouette.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Silhouette Cut Embellishments & Borders

I love the picture on this page!  This page really made use of my Silhouette.  Not only was the title cut with it, but the border down the edge of the page was also cut with it.  The Silhouette is great for creating embellishments.  You can create your own designs, purchase designs from the Silhouette website or other digital cutting design sites, or you can cut designs from the wide array of free designs available on the internet.  The place I get most of mine from are the UKScrappers website (go to the forum and look under Craft Robo/Silhouette), and Monica's site.  There are MANY others sites that have them too, but this is where I get most of mine.

Here are some more examples of scrapbook pages using embellishments cut on my Silhouette:

On both of these pages, the titles are cut on the Silhouette.  On the top page, the Silhoutte also cut the border.  On the bottom page, the little flowers were also cut on the Silhouette.  I matted them and hand-cut the mats, but I could easily have cut the mats on the Silhouette, too.  I LOVE that I can use this machine to create what I want - usually for free - instead of having to buy a new cartridge anytime I want something new!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Scraps for embellishing Notepads

Scraps can make great little mats for embellishing those covered notepads I make (cards and scrapbook pages too, but I don't have examples of those today).  In this first example you can see I used several purple rectangles to set off the embellishments nicely.  Here are a couple more examples of using scraps:
This one makes use of a decorative striped paper cut in such a way that it also served as a mat for the flowers.
And here's an example of a slightly larger piece of decorative paper that works great as a mat for this tag, tying the colors of the tag together with the background.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Notepad with Pen Mini-gift

Today I'll show you how to create this cute little notepad and pen set.

Materials needed:
  • 3 1/2" x 5" notepad - approximately 1/4" thick
  • 3 5/8" x 12" piece of cardstock (it CAN be only 11" long, but you won't have as much overlap that way)
  • 1/4" wide elastic - approximately 3" long
  • Small pen or pencil - preferably less than 5" long so it won't be longer than the notepad itself.
  • Scotch tape 
  • Adhesive backed Velcro strip or dots or magnetic snaps (optional for closure - can be quite small)
  • Sturdy adhesive
  • Decorations for front of notepad

Tools: You will need a stapler.  You might also want a score board, an embossing folder & machine for using it (Big Shot, Cuttlebug, etc), an ATG gun, and a small pair of pliers, but these are not strictly necessary.

Instructions:

1) Score your cardstock at 2" and 7" and then again 1/4" to the outside of these marks (1 3/4" and 7 1/4" - see picture).  Fold and crease on all score lines.

2) If you wish, emboss the 7 1/4" to 12" section in an embossing folder.  You may also choose to round the corners on the 12" side as was done here.  At this time you can decorate the front of the notepad, or you can wait and do it at the end.

3) Loop the elastic strip around the pen (or pencil) and hold it snuggly to the notepad, to determine where you want the elastic to be.

4) Remove the pen and tape the ends in place with scotch tape.


5) From inside the back cover, staple the elastic ends to hold them securely in place.  If you wish, use a pair of pliers to crimp the staples tighter so there is less danger of them punching through the cardstock cover, and less of a bump there.

6) Attach the back of the notepad to the cover.  I use my ATG and run a strip of adhesive all the way around the outside edges of the pad base (see previous photo) and then glue it in place (see next photo).


7) Replace the pen.  Decorate the front of the notepad if you have not already done so.

8) Add velcro or magnetic snap closures if you wish.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Journaling Tips 3 - Clear Sticker Paper

So, you don't have a wide body printer, but want the look of journaling printed directly to the background?  Try CLEAR sticker or label paper.  If you look closely at these pictures, you can see that the journaling was printed on a full sheet clear label and trimmed close to the words before it was applied to the page, but it really looks pretty invisible on the page.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Scrap Challenge - a little decorative paper with coordinating solids

Today's cards make good use of leftover scraps.  I had just a little of this dotted paper left and needed to do something with it.  I made two cards with it.  This first one uses a purchased tag sentiment with additional hand-made tag.  The mats & multi-layered border really help this card pull together nicely.

For this second card, I didn't have much of the dotted paper left - just a couple of narrow strips.  But I had the plain colors I had pulled together to go with it for the previous card and decided to run with them.  This is what came out:
I could have added more embellishments, but I thought this made a nice card that would work well for a male.

Nestability dies and fancy edged paper cutters really make a difference, don't they?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Treasured Good Times

The focal on today's card is a picture I took in the Chinese Gardens in Sydney.  I got some GREAT pictures there.  I love them for a variety of things, but I use them the most for sympathy cards.  Today's card, however, is a simple "thinking of you" card that I figured to give to my husband at an appropriate time. 

I matted the photo on a tag that I had - not sure where I got it - then added some stamped sentiments and another tag in the upper corner.  I cut away the edge of the card with fancy-edged scissors so the inside shows through just enough to form a nice border.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dedication


Usually I show cards on Theme Thursday, but a good scrapbook page has a clear theme too.  This page is a good example. 

Titled "Dedication", this page talks about the dedication and commitment of time required to teach dance.  The embellishments relate to and support this theme.  The clock face speaks to the time commitment and the music notes speak to the dance itself. 

I don't always have embellishments that relate to the theme of the page I'm working on, but at the very least I can usually find a clip art image that I can print and cut out.  There are many websites that have freebies that work well for this.  One of my favorites is scrapbook flair.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dazzling Diane

This scrapbook page required a large element to help balance the strongly colored photo.  Dazzles again came to the rescue.  These Dazzle hearts were mounted onto plain paper and cut out before being stacked onto the page as you see here.

Outline stickers also created a couple of great narrow borders at the top and bottom of the page. 

As you can see, I did a LOT of matting on this page.  I wanted to use a patterned paper for matting the photo and journaling block.  It was different from the background paper but coordinated well with it. But, it really needed plain colored matting to make it stand out.  I liked the way it turned out. 

The title, as usual, was cut with my Silhouette.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Card Starts

Are you a card maker with lots of friends and family that EXPECT hand crafted cards from you?  I try to only send store-bought cards to those who don't appreciate the loving thought that goes into the hand-crafted variety.  This means that some people can almost feel insulted if they don't get a hand-crafted card from me!  Of course, life doesn't always cooperate by giving me plenty of time for card making when cards are needed.  So, I'm learning to make "generic" cards ahead and have them on hand to finish as needed.  This is especially easy to do when I'm already doing some crafting and have pulled together a variety of papers that go together pretty well.  By using those scraps I can usually put together several "card starts" quickly.

By also having a bunch of pre-cut adhesive-backed greetings in different colors (see this post) and sometimes even having some pre-printed sentiments for the inside of the card (see here) I can fairly quickly put a nice card together when needed.

This card is an example.  As you can see, the card is basically put together, but there is no sentiment and the decoration is pretty generic.  My father had a birthday in early March and I needed a card, but had been sick and not had much time for creative endeavors.  It was wonderful to find this card start.  I adapted a poem I found for the inside of the card, printed it and cut it out for the inside.  An adhesive-backed birthday sentiment added to the front of the card gave me a nice card quickly.  (Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of the finished product, so I guess you'll have to take my word for it that it worked!)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tri-Shutter Research


As I mentioned last week, I LOVE making different shaped/folded cards.  This one is called a tri-shutter card (among other things) and its construction is described here. This was my first attempt at making this type of card and the experience was certainly different than I expected!  I figured the hard part would be figuring out how to cut and fold the card correctly.  I was wrong.  The tutorial made that part pretty easy.

The hard part was figuring out how to decorate all those panels and end up with something that looked decent!!!!  It's very easy to either end up with something so busy your eye doesn't know where to look first, or to have something so plain it's boring (which is what MY card is in danger of - I wish I had at least added some thin blue borders running vertically on the sides of the smaller undecorated panels).  If you count what I've done here, you will see that there are 13 panels in all.  Even assuming some of them can be left plain as I did here, there are still plenty of panels left to create a challenge!  (However, if you find yourself running out of panels, you can make a "tri-shutter album" with extra panels, or make it easier on yourself with fewer panels. For examples of these types, check out the Split-Coast Stampers Gallery.)

It's difficult to see in my picture, but the middle panel is not just decorative paper.  It is a written sentiment.  I DID like the way the scoring on the dark blue panels turned out, but would rather not have resorted to using quite so many stickers.

I decided to do a search for these cards and take a look at what others have done.  I wanted to analyze the decorating techniques that I liked the best so I could better know how to approach these in the future.  This is what I discovered:

Panel Coverings:
  • Mat your panels.  At the very least, leave a border of the base cardstock around each one to give a matted look.  (Oh good, I did that!)  Better yet, mat them AND leave a border giving a double-matted look!
  • In addition to matting, stitching (or faux stitching) around the panel edges can create a nice look.
  • Divide panels as you choose.  The front (and back) of the card can be treated as one panel, or as three like I did.  You can divided it differently by covering the top or bottom third with a different paper.  There are lots of options.
  • Easy does it! Don't get so carried away that your card turns into a hodge-podge of different papers.  You want a cohesive look.  I saw examples where most panels were covered with the same decorative paper (with a border left where the background cardstock showed through), with a few panels not covered at all, and one or two covered in a plain color that matched the base color of the patterned paper.  I also saw some striking cards that used only two decorative papers.  Here's one example.  It uses one patterned paper sort of like a frame around the other. Another used the same patterned paper for the entire front and back panels and the middle one - and then a single contrasting paper to cover all the remaining panels.  Here is a similar one made with 3 papers for the panels. In this case the front and back panels use the same paper (though the back panel is split into 2 parts), the middle panel of the top and bottom sections of the card use a 2nd paper, and the 3rd paper is used for the five remaining areas.
  • Choose your patterns carefully.  While it IS possible to create a mixture of fairly loud patterned papers that looks good, most of the best examples use more subtle patterns for the panel papers - the more decorative papers you use on a single card, the more careful you have to be about this.  Make it easy on yourself and use paper sets that were DESIGNED to go together!
  • Consider adding plain colored panels - they can be really striking when they add just the right spot of color.  They are especially striking when embossed with a special pattern or scored in a decorative way.
Embellishments:
  • Pull it all together - matting your embellishments can help bring all the colors together or add another spot of a particular color if needed. 
  • You can't have too much dimension - don't forget to use foam tape if you want to add more dimension to your card! I really hadn't thought of doing this - probably since the card is already very 3-dimensional.  However, some of the cards I saw that did this were really nice.
  • Think outside the "panel".  It's amazing the way adding an element that goes beyond the boundaries of the panel it is attached to really helps make these cards pop.  Whether it's just that the front of the card has a matted element that goes beyond the boundaries of the front panel, or that the card has several embellishments that extend beyond the panels they are on (like the butterflies in this card) thinking outside the panel certainly adds interest!
  • Don't forget the ribbon.  Ribbon running across a panel - especially with a bow - can add a really nice touch.
  • Patterned paper CAN be all the embellishment you need for some panels.  I saw several examples of this. A large decorative sentiment on the front, another on the smaller section of the back panel (where it won't be seen until the card is opened) and perhaps space on the middle panel for a personal message can be all that's needed if you choose the right papers for the rest of the panels (perhaps adding a bit of ribbon or something simple on the panel directly below the middle one.  See this example).  Other cards used a variety of different patterns of paper in the same basic colors - matted with the same color - for the smaller panels, creating the look of framed "pictures" that were all the decoration that was needed.
  • If you don't want to leave your panel plain, you can add stripes or punched borders of a coordinating solid color.
  • Use embossing folders with solid colors.  This might be all the decoration you need, or you might choose to add some color to highlight the embossing.
  • Use a card topper!  A matted card topper can make a GREAT focal for the front of the card and usually helps you "think outside the panel" in the process.  Here's a nice one. And be sure to use your decorative dies for cutting your mat for your topper - definitely adds interest.
  • Embellishments that fit the theme help pull the card together.  For instance, I saw a card that used "icicle" borders very effectively on some of the panels to coordinate with the snowy scene used as a card topper on the front of the card. Check it out here.
Well, that's enough research for one day.  What tips do YOU have for decorating these cards nicely?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Journaling Tips 2 - Direct to Page

Continuing with our journaling theme, today's page shows journaling that was printed directly to the background page before pictures and embellishments were added.  Note that you do NOT have to just print in black!  Here I chose a brown for the journaling to tie everything together better. Clearly this technique may work best for 8x8 or 8.5 x 11 sizes.  Unless you have a wide body printer like I do, you will not be able to print directly to a 12 x 12 background page.  Next week we'll look at a technique for getting around this limitation for your 12 x 12 pages. The tags were pre-printed from Hot Off the Press (and I think the background paper was theirs too).  The title was cut with my Silhouette.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Challenge - Use brown

This card was inspired by a challenge on the Paper Wishes Message Board.  I don't remember exactly what the challenge was - it included several parts - but I remember that it called for using brown.  Looking through my scraps I found this piece of paper and decided it would make a great birthday card for a "Wild Thing".

The paper itself already had the border on it, so all I had to do was cut to fit, and then add my greetings - quick and easy (which was a good thing because I think the challenge was a timed one!)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Digi-stamped Notebooks

Today's focals are all digistamps on hand-crafted note-pad covers that were embossed with embossing folders & my Big Shot.

The digis were freebies from a variety of places:  Digital Two for Tuesday, Sliekje digi Stamps, and  *The Graphics Fairy LLC*.

In coloring the digi-stamps, since I don't have Copics, I use a variety of medium - usually chalks and/or gel pens, though I'll use other pens and paints as well from time to time.  I also use my Dove blending pen.  I've found that if I work quickly, I can add a spot of color with a gel pen and then use the blending pen to pull from it to create lighter shades around it.  Using this technique helps shade the images.  I can do a similar thing with the chalks, though often I just pick up some chalk directly with my blending pen when I'm going to use them.

The shading doesn't show up in the pictures as well as it does in person. But here are some more examples: