Mar 172012

Don’t these colors just make you drool?

May Arts issued a challenge to crafters to use these springtime ribbons in a project.  The colors are so yummy and juicy, how could I resist?

After approving my idea, May Arts sent me two yards of each of the above ribbons.


I decided to make scrapbook embellishments and did a layout with several photos from my granddaughter’s first year. (Click on any of the pics to see a bigger version.)

To make the border strips, I covered a 12″ x 6″ piece of scrap cardstock with adhesive, then applied the ribbons in diagonal stripes.  One edge was cut with the Scallops On The Edge Die.  The rest of the strips were cut with a rotary cutter.

You’ll have to use steel rule dies, a rotary cutter or sharp scissors to cut out this beribboned cardstock.  A regular paper trimmer or wafer thin dies won’t be able to handle it.


The flowers were made similarly by covering 5″ x 5.5″ cardstock with ribbon and then die cutting with the Tattered Florals Die.  I also cut leaves with the Tattered Leaves die and the banner with the Styled Labels Die.

The paper flowers might be by Prima, I’m not sure, but I know all the papers are from either My Mind’s Eye’s Everyday Tango paper pack or Die Cuts with a View’s Nana’s Kids paper stack.


Happy Creating!





Mar 032012

When my 12″x12″ scrapbook paper pad collection started to get out of control, I decided it was time to do some organizing.


Having them on this towel holder is messy looking, but at least it makes good use of vertical space.

However, I had no idea what I had up there, and couldn’t tell which papers I wanted unless I pulled half of them down. (The pizza box is where I store completed scrapbook layouts before they go into an album.)

how-to-organize-scrapbook-paper-loose pages

The first step was to put all the loose papers into these folders, which are sorted by color or theme.  (Such as Winter/Christmas, Birthday/Celebration, Hearts & Flowers.)


Next, I used my P-Touch to make a label for each paper pad.  All but the last 1/2-inch of the label was stuck to some scrap white cardstock.  The remaining sticky 1/2-inch was stuck to the backing cardboard of its paper pad.


When closed, each paper pad has its own little hanging label.


And here is a close up of one section of paper pads.  No more guessing which is which.


Here is the whole thing, much neater and easier to search through.  And look!  Now there’s room for me to buy more paper.  🙂


Jan 312012

Today’s desk was photographed late Tuesday night because it’s not going to change at all on Wednesday.  I’ll be out and about and not playing.  🙁

(If you’re wondering why does it matter whether it’s Tuesday or Wednesday then you need to get acquainted with What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday. Fun stuff!)


I’ve finished up  the scrapbook layout about my son’s first Christmas.  (Oops, just realized I need to add the date somewhere on the page. It was December 1988.)

In fact, you can see from this pic of the left side that the glossy accents have just been applied. (Click on any of the photos to see larger images.)


It had been my hope to finish up trying the techniques from all 12 of Tim Holtz’s 12 Tags of Christmas by the end of January.  Alas, this page brings me up only to day 9.

It’s probably not apparent, but I tried his stamping & clear embossing technique on the dark green strips at the bottom of the pages.

First I stamped the snowflakes (Inkadinkado 7-Piece Snowflakes A-Plenty Clear Stamp) with Tsukineko Brilliance Platinum Planet Ink and embossed with Clear Embossing Powder and a heat tool. Then I inked over the entire background with Peeled Paint Distress Ink, and embossed that also with clear embossing power.

Before embossing, Tim tells you to knock off some of the powder by giving the paper a good “flick” and also rub some of the powder off the edges.  Then I inked over the whole thing with Vintage Photo distress ink.  Since the embossing resists the ink, the Vintage Photo ink only stays in the crevises and areas where you knocked off the powder.

The effect is definitely more obvious on Tim’s tag, but I like the way my snowflakes came out.

Here’s the right side of the layout. Except for the solid green cardstock, all the papers are from either Tim Holtz’s Seasonal Paper Stash Pad or K & Company’s Yuletide Specialty Paper Pad.


I love how the title letters came out.  They were cut using the Vintage Market Sizzlits Decorative Strip Die, painted with Peeled Paint Distress Crackle Paint and inked with Vintage Photo distress ink.  The excess ink was rubbed off, leaving it mainly in the crackles.

To finish up I lightly brushed the letters with Perfect Pearls Heirloom Gold and topped each with Glossy Accents.  The banners are made from the Tattered Banners decorative strip.


If you’re wondering just what the title is all about, the journaling will explain it.

‘Twas Josh’s first Christmas, and all through the home,
The folks were both busy, Josh was playing alone.
Dad was at work, grinding away,
Mom was in the kitchen after a long, busy day.

When from the next room there arose a strange whump,
It was sort of a crash, but more like a thump.
Mom sprang to the door and what met her sight?
‘Twas the tree on the floor, and with it the lights!
How could this happen? How could this be?
Where is the baby? Not under the tree!

Then from somewhere beneath the tangled up mess
Came the soft muffled cry of her son in distress.
“My baby!” she shouted, as she grabbed hold of the pine,
She swept it aside and stopped her son crying.

Then she scooped up the lad, but something was ringing,
Attached to his jammies ornaments were clinging,
As she held him they dangled, and what did she see?
Why, my little son, “You’re a Joshua tree!”


Jan 282012

Last week I posted this Steampunk layout based on Tim’s Day 8 steampunk tag.  (Has it really been a whole week?  I’m usually a better blogger than that. Goodness.  I don’t know what I’ve been doing all week but I have been busy.)


Check out the original post for how to do the gears and such.


Anyhow, I promised I would share how I approach doing a scrapbook layout.


My layouts always begin with photos.  Trying to get our family pictures into albums and tell their stories is my reason for scrapbooking.

The next step is to get a general idea of the way the elements will be arranged on the page. This means having an idea of:

  • How many photos you have, how large or small you want to use them and their orientation (horizontal or vertical)
  • What major embellishments you want to use
  • What type of title will be used
  • How much journaling will be used

In the above layout I knew I wanted one of the 4″x6″ photos to be used full size, but the rest could be cropped down a bit.

Since it was based on Tim’s steampunk tag, I knew I wanted to use the large  and the Weathered Clock Bigz Die as a focal point, and the Steampunk On The Edge Die on a border.

I wasn’t real sure about the title, but I knew I had a fair amount of journaling to do.

I kept all of these in mind as I flipped through my files of scrapbook page sketches.

Whenever I come across a crafting idea I like, if it’s on the internet I print it, if it’s in a book or magazine, I copy it.  These pages are then filed in a three-ring binder, like so.


This sketch from Creating Keepsakes magazine was the one I settled on for this layout.  Lots of smaller photos, a large border strip across the top and plenty of room for other embellishments all seemed to work with my plan.


Although my finished layout rarely looks much like the original sketch, it’s nice to have a jumping off point.

The next step is to start choosing papers.  Spread out your photos and start pulling out any paper that looks like it might possibly work.  Don’t over think this step.  If it might work, toss it on the table.

The resulting mess looks something like this:


(Yes, the glass of wine is a very important part of the creative process. hehe)

Next, with photos and sketch in hand, it’s time to choose which papers will be the background and the accents.

Culled down, the stack of paper looks something like this:


Now the fun really begins.  It’s time to do the same process you just did with the papers, but now pulling out any and all embellishments you think might work.


At this point I separate out the papers and embellishments I’m going to start with from the ones I’m not sure about.  These usually don’t get put away until the page is entirely done.  Sometimes at the very end there’s a little something extra that’s needed and I’ll find the perfect thing in the pile of leftover stuff.

The next step is to decide which papers will be the backgrounds.  These days I cannot seem to leave them as is, but must do some inking.

First, I heat embossed both pages with all over patterns.  This one got the splatter stamp and clear embossing powder. (This photo is before I set the powder with the heat gun, as it was hard to see afterwards.)


This one got the crackle stamp and black embossing powder.


No worries about imperfect stamping, as they’re just distressed backgrounds.


Now, swipe some distress stains onto a Non-Stick Craft Sheet, I used Picket Fence Distress StainPeeled Paint Distress StainFaded Jeans Distress Stain and Vintage Photo Distress Stain.


Spritz your paper with water, then swirl through the stains on the sheet.


Dry with a heat tool, (the colors are much more subtle when dry) then overstamp with another background stamp.


Cool, huh?

Now that you have your background pages all wonderful you can start laying out everything else, accent papers, then photos and then embellishments.

Hope you found this helpful.

Happy Creating!



Jan 212012

Ok, I’m not sure if this page is cool, or if it just looks like a steampunk convention exploded on it.

(As always, you can click on any of the photos to see a larger version. Sometimes you can click on the little square with an arrow and zoom in even closer.)


Perhaps I was having a wee bit too much fun with all those gadgets and gears?


Anyhow, when I saw Tim’s Day 8 steampunk tag, I knew it would be just perfect for the photos of my son’s 17th birthday.

For the title I used Tim Holtz Idea-ology Alpha Parts: Newsprint.  I rubbed on a bit of pewter from the Metallic Rub-On Kit #2 and then coated them with Glossy Accents.  (I wish my store had had these, Tim Holtz Idea-ology Alpha Parts: Ransom, I think they’re much cooler.)


This clock is set at 2:22, because that’s his date of birth.  The other clock hands are at 1:12, that’s the time of day he was born.


For the gears I used the Gadget Gears DieSteampunk On The Edge Die and the Weathered Clock Bigz Die.


Some of the gears were cut out of Grungeboard and were painted with Brushed Pewter Distress Crackle Paint Tarnished Brass Distress Crackle Paint, and Deco Art Dazzling Metallics-Worn Penny.  (When I put that last paint on my craft sheet, I exclaimed, “It really does look like a penny!”)


Once the paint was dry I sanded the edges, then inked them with Walnut Stain Distress Ink.  After applying the ink, wipe off the excess with a damp towel.  This leaves the ink only in the cracks and on the sanded edges.

I love the worn, aged look!


For other embellishments I used Tim Holtz Idea Ology Game SpinnersTim Holtz Idea-ology Trinket PinsSprocket Gears and Advantus Tim Holtz Idea Ology Swivel Clasps.

To add depth I cut other gears out of clear plastic (leftover packaging) and used the Ink Blending Tool (with felt, not foam) to color them with a variety of alcohol inks.  I used ButterscotchTerra Cotta and Ginger with Gold Metallic Mixative, and Pesto and Meadow with Silver Metallic Mixative.


Don’t be afraid to add some Alcohol Blending Solution if your colors are too intense or need to be blended more.  And don’t overdo it with the metallic mixatives, a single drop on your felt will go a long, long way.


(I’m so glad I can look back on the coffee-on-my-hard-drive incident and smile.  I was insanely angry at the time. )

The bits of fireworks paper are from Tim’s Seasonal Paper Stash Paper Pad are a tribute to Dan’s pyromania.  My husband and I firmly believe it’s only by God’s mercy that Daniel never managed to burn down the house.


I’m pretty sure I found the bean bag chair directions online, but I can’t find them right now.  If I do, I’ll be sure to share them with you.  It’s a great project for a guy!

Although I cut the Filmstrip Frames Decorative Strip Die out of plastic, I don’t recommend it. The sizzlits dies aren’t meant to cut through very thick materials.  Since my packaging was only partially cut, I had to go back over each frame with a craft knife to cut out the windows.  This was then inked with Espresso and Ginger alcohol inks.  I like the look but it was rather a pain.


In the next post, I’ll show you how I approach a scrapbook layout and a fun way to distress the background papers.

In the meantime, Happy Creating and GO PATS!  🙂






Jan 122012

I’ve been working my way through Tim Holtz’s 12 Tags of Christmas and just completed a two-page scrapbook layout based on the techniques he showed on day 7.

Phew, but it would be a lot quicker to just make the tag.  However, then I wouldn’t know what the heck to do with it.  As it is, I’ve completed yet another scrapbook layout.  I may yet get caught up in this lifetime!

I loved the look of Tim’s day 7 tag, so elegant.


All the papers were from K & Company’s Glad Tidings Card Making Pad (the shaped green piece) and their Yuletide Specialty Paper Pad.

The first step is to swipe Antique Linen Distress Stain and Picket Fence Distress Stain onto the Non-Stick Craft Sheet.  Then mist  your background paper with water and swirl it through the stains on the craft sheet.  Keep swirling and dabbing until you’re happy with the look, then dry with a heat tool.  The colors will be much lighter and less intense once they dry.

A few things I learned while using this technique.

  • Don’t choose Distress Stains that are a lot darker than your background paper, unless you want a really funky, blotchy look.
  • As you swirl your paper, try to turn it nearly 360°, this gives the most mixing and more even results.
  • Make sure your paper is completely dry before adhering anything to it.  Otherwise you will get weird lumpy, ripply things happening.
I used the Antique Linen Distress Stain on the lighter paper on the right. Peeled Paint Distress Stain and Vintage Photo Distress Stain were just right for the green paper on the left.  (Using Picket Fence Distress Stain with whatever colors you choose gives an interesting chalky effect once dry.)

Next choose a background stamp and stamp all over your paper.  I used the Music Background Cling Stamp with Bundled Sage ink on the right side, and the Italian Poetry stamp (also by Hero Arts, it seems to be no longer available.  However, this one, also by Hero Arts is quite similar: Old Letter Writing Stamp) on the left with Vintage Photo ink.

Finally, both pages were inked around the edges with the Ink Blending Tool.  I used Vintage Photo on the right and Peeled Paint on the left.  The matting papers were treated the same way, using Aged Mahoganyand Pine Needles Distress Inks, and more of the same Distress Stains.


Oh, and this is my favorite adhesive for putting paper to paper, Tombow Mono Adhesive. (Btw, it’s much less expensive to buy the refills in three packs: Mono Adhesive Refill 3-Pack.)

Now to create the holly leaf embellishments!

Tim’s main focus for this tag was using Kraft Glassine for the leaves.  If you watch the video, it looks like amazing stuff.  However, I didn’t want to wait for an order to arrive, so tried it out on vellum and think they came out rather nice.

First you use the Ink Blending Tool (with felt, not foam) to apply Gold Metallic Mixative PestoMeadow and Stream alcohol inks to your vellum paper.  Next add some Alcohol Blending Solution and go over it all again.

Then crumple up the paper.  The vellum doesn’t crumple as nicely as the glassine appears to do, but other than that, I was happy with it.

Use a die cutting machine (I like the Sizzix Big Shot) to cut out the Holly Branch Alterations Die twice from this mottled green paper.  You should have six holly leaves.

Cut the branches from the same die out of Grungeboard and paint with Tarnished Brass Distress Crackle Paint.  Once the paint is dry, sand the edges with a sanding block, then ink with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

Let these branches dry completely before going on to the next step.  Tim often uses the Snow Cap Paint Dabber to make snow, but that never seems to work well for me.  Instead I globbed on a couple layers of Embossing Paste, sprinkling superfine glitter onto the last layer.

Unless you like everything within a 20 foot radius to be glitterified, I do not recommend using superfine glitter.  Using Stardust Stickles would be much more sensible, but sadly, my little bottle was empty.


To make the red berries, simply drop some pearls into a plastic baggie and add a few drops of Red Pepper alcohol ink.  Let dry on the Non-Stick Craft Sheet.  The leftover mess of ink cleans up beautifully with some Alcohol Blending Solution.

To finish off this embellishment, stamp onto Kraft cardstock with Clear Embossing Ink with your choice of stamp.  (This set was made by Michaels and since it has no series name or title, I can’t find it anywhere online.) Sprinkle on Super Fine Detail Embossing Powder, black and emboss with a heat tool. (If you swipe a dryer sheet over the paper before stamping, you’ll reduce static and get a cleaner embossed image.)  Cut out around the image and ink the edges with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

To make the embellishment, adhere the snowy branches and four of the vellum holly leaves with Glossy Accents.  Wire up a scrap of lace and some gold tinsel or ribbon and adhere.  Use Matte Multi Medium to glue the “berries” to the center and then tuck in your stamped image.

I used four of the holly leaves for the large embellishment on the left and two leaves for the smaller focal point on the right.


Ok, now the title!  The Cat’s is from Grungeboard Alphas (with a couple random chipboard letters that I got who-knows-where thrown in), presents is from Grungeboard Mixed Minis and Christmas is made with the Sizzix Sizzlits Script Alpha Set (long since discontinued, but this one is similar and kind of nice: Sizzix Sizzlits Alphabet Set – Bloom)

The little Sizzlits letters and bits are tiny.  I’ve found the Zig 2-Way Glue Pen gets the glue exactly where you need it without making a mess.  Tweezers are also helpful in lining up the pieces.

I painted the Cat’s and presents with Brushed Pewter Distress Crackle Paint and once dry colored with alcohol inks.  (This is a technique Tim showed a year or two ago, and I still use it all the time.) For a richer look use a combination of similar colors.  Cat’s got Red PepperCranberry and Raisin.  Presents got PestoMeadow and Stream.  (As did the 88 on the left page, also some random chipboard.)


Last but not least is the journaling.  Notebook paper is big right now, but I haven’t been able to find any in the scrapbooking section of the craft stores.

After much searching I finally went here, then uploaded the file to Printmaster – Platinum Version 18 (I’ve been using Printmaster since version 4.0 and love it for all kinds of desktop publishing uses.) I was able to layer the notebook paper under a text box, then print the journaling and the notebook background onto some white cardstock.

To really make it look like notebook paper, I used the 1/8th inch punch on my Crop-A-Dile to punch holes on every other line, then snipped to each hole with scissors.  After roughing up the edges a bit, I inked it all with Antique Linen Distress ink and applied it to the page with Foam Adhesive Squares (pop dots.)


The chipboard photo corners, circles and tag have been kicking around for a while.  I think I got them at Joann’s.  Their edges were sanded, then inked with Antique Linen Distress.

Wowzer, that was a LOT of work!  I hope I didn’t bore you silly with my long post but there was a lot to share.  If you’d like to see step by step photos for any of these techniques, make sure to check out Tim’s 12 Tags directions.  He really is a fantastic teacher.

Happy Creating!

Jan 112012

Today’s workdesk looks like utter chaos.  Dh came by and told me I need a bigger work table.  My reply was that if I had 10 times more space, it would be just as filled.

I’m so thankful to have a space and a room in which I can leave my utter mess creative chaos. 😉

I hope you don’t get dizzy as I bounce back and forth in my scrapbooking timeline.  This one is from 1988, our oldest son’s first Christmas.  We aren’t crazy cat people (really!) but we picked up this condo for our kitties and they got TONS of use out of it over the years.


I love the pic of Josh poking at Elijah, who is trapped in the condo.  Obviously I wan’t worried about the cat scratching the baby, cuz there I was behind it all with a camera!

The embellishment and techniques for this layout are all inspired by Tim Holtz’s day 7 of the 2011 12 Tags of Christmas.  I’ll give more details when it’s done.

So, why, oh why am I posting a photo of my mess?  Because it’s What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday!  Go here to check out the desks of creative and crafty people from all over.  You just might be inspired, too.

Happy Creating, ya’ll!



Dec 132011

I finally finished my scrapbook layout inspired by Tim Holtz’s 12 Tags of Christmas, day 5. I would have posted this sooner, I had just taken the photos, but dh insisted that last night was time to watch some of our Christmas DVDs. As much as part of me wanted to go do other stuff, of course he was right.

In case you’re the least bit interested, we watched the Little Drummer Boy (about the only one we have that’s actually about birth of Jesus, and even that falls short of telling the whole story…), 32.5 seconds of Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol—awful!, and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, narrated by Fred Astaire, absolutely adorable.  I went to bed composing my list to Santa.

If you were dyin’ of suspense these 24 hours, well, I’m sorry.  *****snort*****

Anyhow. The main technique in the day 5 tag is one Tim has been teaching for ages.  It’s still kinda like magic to me, though. You can see it in the two outer borders of the layout.

(As always, just click on the photos to see a larger image.  Some of you may get an even bigger pic if you click on the little square with an arrow on it. Go figure.)


It works like this, first you take something transparent such as microscope slides, Tim Holtz Idea-Ology Fragments or Tim Holtz Facets. I used a piece of a clear plastic divider left over from another project.  Really, anything nonporous and transparent that you can scrounge up will work.  I save clear packaging for this, too.

Next, you color it with alcohol inks in colors of your choice. I used CranberryRaisinWild PlumEggplantRed Pepper and the Ink Blending Tool.

Then you ink up a stamp with Jet Black Archival Ink.  (It’s important here to use a permanent ink.  The color doesn’t matter so much.) I used a swirls stamp.  Keep in mind that if you use a stamp with alphas or numbers, they will come out reversed.

Stamp over the alcohol inks.  Immediately dab at the black ink with a clean rag.  You’ll note when the black ink appears to be dried, and now you can start wiping at it.

Amazingly, it will come up, removing the alcohol inks with it!

This leaves the areas you stamped transparent.  Most cool.

I cut the edges of these borders with the Scrollwork on the Edge Die.


Before I cut them out I glued a piece of paper to the left one, nothing to the right.  Don’t know that you can even tell the difference.

The background papers are from the Crowded Attic Paper Stash. I swiped Spun Sugar Distress StainFired Brick Distress Stain and Picket Fence Distress Stain onto the Non Stick Craft Sheet then misted the papers with water and swirled them through the stains.

They were in danger of being too sickeningly sweet red and pink, so I edged everything with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

The embellishments are Grunge Paper that has been:


I’m just loving this look.  In fact, I bought more Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint so I’d be sure not to run out.


This layout was finished off with gemstones (some colored with alcohol inks,) Tim Holtz Trimmings that were colored with Distress Stains and a few transparency frames I had kicking around.

May you be inspired by everything. Happy Creating!

Dec 102011

I have been having a blast working Tim Holtz’s 12 of Christmas techniques (mostly) into scrapbook pages.  However, I realized yesterday that I’m going to run out of photos.  Not that I’m anywhere near caught up in my scrapbooking!  That particular endeavor started in 1998 when my kids were 8 and 10.  The albums go from 1998 through to early 2007 when my oldest son graduated from Marine Corps boot camp.  (If you click on the “Scrapbooking” tab above, you can see those layouts.)

Not too long ago I decided I really wanted to do the baby pictures.  So I scanned, edited and printed out the best photos from 1988, when my oldest was born.  (Sadly, even the best aren’t very good.  Wish I knew then what I know now about photography.  Not that I know a lot now, lol.)  Here’s one of my favorite layouts from the baby pages.

first-mothers-day scrapbook page right

(Am I the only one who goes into a time warp when looking through those old photos?  It feels like waking up from a very long dream when I realize that that baby is now 23 and has a 3 year old of his own.  Yikes.)  As a proud grandma, I have to show you a picture:.


Isn’t she adorable?  Of course, I would think so.  🙂

So, back to organizing the photos.  I hauled out all the photos I have printed and went through them.  Besides the rest of 1988 I’ve got:

  • Valentine’s Day 2007
  • Younger son’s 17th birthday (February 2007)
  • September 2007 trip to Maine
  • A single pic (given to me by someone at the party) of Gary & I, Thanksgiving 2007
  • Newborn pics of my granddaughter (August 2008)
  • Random photos with no dates of my granddaughter’s first year-ish
  • Photos from a 2009 trip to New Mexico
  • Pics carefully selected and printed for a 2010 year in review scrapbook layout; never done.
  • Random photos from my granddaughter’s life, 2011 edition.

Yes, random is the operative word.  My little brain that really, really wants to be organized chronologically is going to implode.

However, the 12 Tags of Christmas stops for no one.  I have time tonight, Tag Five is next on my list, so I’m going to do Valentine’s Day 2007, chronology be hanged.  So there.

Check back tomorrow (before the Patriots game!) and see how I did.  Ha.