Feb 182012

Now, for something completely different!

Most of you know I’ve been working my way through Tim Holtz’s 12 Tags of Christmas techniques from last year.  (Btw, did you see his announcement?  I am so excited!  This seems like a much, much better way.)

Anyhow, I’m up to Day 10, you may have seen me in the midst of working it here.

(Click on any of the pics for a larger image.)


These little 4 inch canvases have been hanging around for a long time.  My first thought was to make a standing display, like the “Journey” piece Tim made in The Journey Continues. You can see it here, on the cover of the DVD.


But then I decided I wanted to use the dress form from the Sizzix Alterations Sewing Room Die, and so it had to go vertically, rather than horizontally. A hanging piece would be better, anyhow, since I’m limited on horizontal space.

I loosely followed the directions on the DVD for coloring the canvases, but used Matte Multi Medium instead of beeswax.  Lots of distress ink, some paint splattering and bits of pattern tissue are layered on there.

The final layer on the canvases, which isn’t very obvious in the photos, was to stamp on them with the script stamp from Tim’s Urban Grunge stamp set with Coffee Archival Ink.  I had at first tried to stamp with a wood block stamp, but it wouldn’t reach the center of the canvas which dips in slightly.  The unmounted stamp worked perfectly.  It stuck to my fingers just enough for me to position it and get a good impression.


He has a way cool technique on the DVD for painting the large wooden letters.

It involves base coating the letter with black paint, putting on blobs of petroleum jelly, then adding a thick layer of paint over everything.  Once the paint is dry, you can rub off the areas that are over the petroleum jelly, leaving a peeled, weathered paint look.


I followed the Day 10 directions for decorating Facets with papers from the Crowded Attic Paper Stash, then decided they needed a little more color and dabbed on Eggplant and Stream alcohol inks.  The facets are dangling from a Swivel Clasp


The dress form was cut with the Sewing Room Die, embossed with the Steampunk embossing folder and colored with all manner of distress inks and Perfect Pearls.  Behind it are some buttons and a few Sprocket Gears.


Some other items I used were the Tattered Banners dieAlpha Parts: NewsprintMetallic Rub-Ons, a Trinket Pin and one of Tim’s Curio Knobs. The curio knob was painted with a little Perfect Pearls in Heirloom Gold mixed with a tiny bit of water.  This did a very cool crackle effect over the smooth surface.

All the little sewing related thingies were just bits and bobs that were hanging out in my sewing room.  Fun stuff!


I’m going to go hang up my new creation on the wall right behind my sewing machine.

Hope you have a happy and creative weekend!

Feb 172012

Well, finally!

You probably don’t remember, but I had the fabric and pattern for this sweater on my desk way back in early October.


What a saga it has been.  After cutting out the pattern I went to sew it on my serger only to find one of the thread guides was broken.  The serger was in need of a tune-up anyways, so I brought it to the repair shop and asked about getting a part.

It took them many phone calls and several weeks to figure out that the machine was too old and they couldn’t get a part.  ====sigh====

They didn’t think the part could be repaired.  =====double sigh=====

Then my husband suggested I ask his brother, who can weld just about anything, to give it a try.  I did so.

It took him practically no time at all.  So much for the part not being repairable.  Grrr….

This was now shortly before Christmas, and I’d spent the money set aside for a tune-up.  Time to save up, again.  ===sigh===

Finally, a couple weeks ago I was able to bring the machine in to get the timing set up with the newly repaired part, and a tune-up.

I am very happy to report Ms. Serger is now home and running beautifully.  Together she and I whipped out this sweater in about three hours.

Now, what else can I serge?

Here’s the pattern front…


…and my pattern review.

Pattern Description: Very loose fitting jackets have stitched or serged seam and hem options. Included are Nancy Zieman’s time saving tips.

Pattern Sizing: XS-XXL Many other reviewers mentioned that this pattern runs quite large (it does say “very loose fitting” in the pattern description) so I made it two sizes smaller than my measurements called for.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yup, exactly. I made view D, with the asymmetrical hem and sewn-on ties.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Very, very easy. I liked how they were broken up into doable steps, and even had approximate times each step would take.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the asymmetrical hem and the option to have it with or without the ties. I think I’d prefer to have a belt tie, though, rather than sewn on, so I could choose from day to day whether to wear it belted or not.

Fabric Used: A Hatchi Slub Sweater Knit from Fabric.com. This fabric is quite stretchy, so I’m sure that’s why going down two sizes worked out fine.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: After making it I didn’t like the way the ties pulled the side seams so far to the front. I pinned out enough excess in the back to make the side seams fall at the sides and found I needed to take up 7 inches.

I fiddled with some clear elastic and decided that 5 inches would stretch just right to 12 inches, thus gathering in 7 inches. If you do this, you’ll want to mark your elastic (I used a Sharpie) at the beginning, end and mid point (0, 2.5 and 5 inches in my case.) Mark a straight line across the inside back of the garment, marking the beginning, end and mid point as well (12 inches long in my case, centered, of course.) Also, cut the elastic with an extra 2 inches at the beginning and an extra 1 inch at the end. These will be handles for you to hold on to while stretching as you sew.
I just zig-zagged the elastic in place, setting the stitch length to zero for a few stitches at the beginning and again at the end.


Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes! It’s very comfortable to wear and great for layering.

Conclusion: I used my serger for all of the seams, and double-needle topstitching for the hems. This made it a very quick project.

Feb 142012

Happy Wednesday, all!  Today finds me working on a set of cards a friend asked me to make for her.

I tell ya, I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t immerse myself into something creative.  It’s so therapeutic during rough times.  I’m very thankful for the opportunity to make crafty stuff!

So, without further ado, here is today’s desk.


(Click on the photo for a larger version.  The little square with an arrow will make it go even bigger.)

Lots of inky happiness, a few gems, some bits of ribbon.  The usual suspects.

Oh, but speaking of ribbon, I won one of the runner up prizes for the May Arts ribbon Vintage Valentine challenge!  🙂 Many thanks to those who voted for my project.

This is what I made. (You can go here to find my tutorial on how to make your own.)


I’m really happy with my little pillow, and I know I’m going to get a lot of use out of the spool of ribbon they’re sending as a prize. (I choose 1.25″ wide white silk ribbon, as I can color it to go with any project.)

You can go here to see all the winners, or here to see all the entries.

If you have a few minutes to spare, you can go here to check out the workdesks of other creative people from all over.  Why do we do this?  Cuz Julia says, and it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday!

Have a Happy Wednesday, all!

P.S.  Some of you were wanting to see the final results of the purple coat makeover.



Feb 132012

Several years ago somebody gave me a purple boiled wool coat.  Of course I loved the fabric and the color, but never really cared for the style or the fit.  It was a bit big on me and I found the built in scarf annoying.  I tried to pull it out of the closet at least once a winter to wear to church, though.  🙂

Fast forward a few years and I’ve dropped 60 lbs.  This is how the coat fits now.


Well, that’s how it USED to fit a few weeks ago.

Until I got this pattern…


…and made it fit a little better.  Like this:


Or this, if you prefer it buttoned up.


Rather an improvement, eh?

Here’s my review of the pattern and a few details on how I did it.

Pattern Description: Princess seam women’s coat in two lengths, two piece sleeve, choose of two collar styles, patch pockets or inseam front pockets.

Pattern Sizing: Per usual, I made one size less than my measurements called for. In this case I might have gone for the actual size based on my measurements. However, I’m in the process of losing weight, so it’s all good. 🙂 Right now I can only wear a single layer underneath. When I reach my weight goal, I should be able to wear a sweater under it, too.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Everything was good except the directions for the collar seemed odd to me. I just did it the way I usually put in a collar.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the princess seams and the simple lines. I wouldn’t have minded if the pattern was a little more fitted in the waist and less boxy.

Also, the pockets are rather skimpy.  I realize there’s only so much room between the princess seam and the front facing, but another inch or so would have been great.  In the photo you can see that’s as deep as my hands would go into the pockets.

I haven’t worked with a Burda pattern before and found their markings a little confusing. I’m used to the diamond shapes for marking notches, not just a single line, so I missed several of those while marking.

Fabric Used: I cut this coat out of a boiled wool coat I had that was way too big.

The way I did this was to remove the two patch pockets, then take the coat apart into two fronts, a back, two sleeves and the scarf/collar thing. I tried to keep the linings, facings and other details intact. I then laid out the patterns on their corresponding pieces. This way I was able to reuse the buttonholes and front facings from the original coat.

I left all the bottom hems alone until it was all done, then trued them up to the longest length I could get. I laid out the sleeve hem (with lining attached) right on the hemline on the pattern. Voila, didn’t have to make a sleeve hem.

My original coat was not princess seamed, so I’m fortunate it was so huge to begin with. Otherwise I would not have had enough fabric.

I also had to piece in a bit of the scarf to make the ridiculously short sleeves long enough for me.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Lengthened the sleeves. Ignored all but the top buttonhole placement, and only put on three buttons to correspond with the original coat. (I never button the lower ones on a long coat anyhow.)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I probably only need one coat like this, but liked the pattern and would recommend it to someone with some sewing experience.

Conclusion: A fairly basic coat pattern.

Happy creating!

Feb 102012

May Arts is a ribbon company with a very nice selection of lovely ribbons.  They also have a great design team and a blog full of wonderful ideas.

A few weeks back they posted a challenge and I decided to enter.  They would send out several ribbons to use and asked us to create a project with all of them and the theme “Sentimental Journey – Vintage Valentine.”

I immediately had an idea and decided to enter.  Of course, my project looks nothing like my original idea, but that’s ok, I just needed a place to start.  🙂 This is what I came up with, and I’d like to show you how to make your own.

(Click on any of the photos to see a larger image. Click on the square with an arrow to go even bigger.)


Isn’t it sweet?


I love doing silk ribbon embroidery because it looks so complicated but is really very simple.  In fact I’ve got a video for you to prove how easy the stitches are.

Actually, it’s two videos. Bonus!  🙂


Here are the materials you will need to make  your own pillow:

  • 1 yard fabric for pillow front, back and ruffles (I used Silkessence, a lining fabric from Joann’s.  It’s a light ecru/cream color and has a nice crinkled texture.)
  • 11″ square lightweight to medium fusible interfacing
  • 4mm silk ribbons in green, yellow, pink and peach (or colors of your choice)
  • embroidery floss in a green and off-white of your choice (I used DMC 522 and 712)
  • 2 yards 1.25″-1.5″ wide pink silk ribbon
  • 10″ square pillow form

These four ribbons are the ones May Arts sent me to work with. Their item number is after the name in parenthesis.

  • 2 yards 3/8″ white scalloped edge lace (390-38-09)
  • 2 yards pink faux suede with ruffle edge (NV17)
  • 2.5 yards 1/4″ taupe silk (SK35)
  • 2 yards 1.5″ solid crinkle in white (EA01)


To get started, thoroughly wet the 3/8″ white lace and wring out.  Place in a small bowl with 1/4 cup coffee (hot or cold, it doesn’t matter) and let soak overnight.

I’ll bet you weren’t expecting that for the first step!

Making the white ruched flowers:

(Also shown on the video.)


Cut your 2 yards of white 1.5″ solid crinkle ribbon into three 24″ lengths.


Use a water erase marker to mark one long edge of each piece at 2″ intervals.  Mark the opposite long edge also at 2″ intervals, but offset 1″ from the marks on the other side. (The marks, if connected, would make a zigzag pattern.)


Take one length of ribbon and pin the ends together.


Either by machine or by hand, sew a narrow seam.  I chose to do it by hand because I figured it would take about the same amount of time as fighting with my machine while it tried to eat this delicate ribbon.


(I know the ends aren’t sewn together in this photo.  I forgot to do it first on this one. )

Thread a needle (sharp, not blunt, please) with about a yard of thread to match the ribbon.  Anchor the thread end by doing a few figure 8’s over a pin.


Stitching from a mark on one side to the next mark on the opposite, make a medium length running stitch.  (My stitches here are about 1/4″ long.)  Your stitching line will zigzag back and forth across the ribbon.


Once you’ve stitched around the entire ribbon, carefully pull  to gather your sewing thread until your ribbon looks like this.  (Isn’t that cool?) Tie off your threads, but leave this space in the center (enough to fit a finger into.) If you gather too tightly, it will be hard to form your flowers.


Later we will be flattening out this ribbon circle to make our flowers, but for now, repeat the stitching and gathering with the other two ribbon pieces and set aside.

Preparing the pillow top.

From the main fabric for the pillow (the Silkessence, in my case) cut a  10.5″ strip across the width of the fabric.

From this 10.5″ strip cut one 10.5″ square and two 8.5″ x 10.5″ rectangles.

Often, I have found that fusible interfacing shrinks when I iron it onto the back of my fabric, crinkling and distorting it.  To keep that from happening, place your fusible interfacing square, fusible side up, on your ironing board.  Set your iron to steam and get it as hot as it will go.

Holding the iron 1″-2″ above the interfacing, steam it thoroughly.  You may even be able to observe it shrinking.

Allow the interfacing to cool, cut into a 10.5 square and fuse to the back of your 10.5″ fabric square.


Now we’re going to mark our fabric square by folding and pressing.  I forgot to take pictures doing this with the fabric, so I’ll show you on a piece of paper.

First, fold your fabric in half diagonally.  Press this fold.


Now, fold again, the two folds should be parallel and the point should meet the first fold.


Make one more parallel fold.

Open it out, and fold again on the diagonal, but in the opposite direction.


Again, make the second fold parallel to the first.  And fold once more parallel to these folds.


You fabric should look like this.


Here I’ve drawn on my piece of paper to show you the ribbon placement.

Place four pieces of pink ribbon along the inner lines.  They should make a 3.5″ square in the center of the pillow. Place a piece of your coffee-dyed, rinsed, dried and ironed lace along the outside of each pink ribbon.  Place four more pieces of pink ribbon along outer lines, and four more pieces of lace inside those.


Arrange the ribbons and lace until they are pleasing to you.  Pin in place.

My four smaller rectangles measure 1 3/4″ x 3.5″.

(I apologize that I was having so much fun sewing I forgot to take pics of this process.


Use a decorative stitch on your machine and matching thread to sew down the pink ribbons.  Use matching thread and a straight stitch to sew the long straight side of the lace.

Time for some ribbon embroidery!


Choose a needle that has a sharp point and a largish eye.  Thread a 4mm ribbon through it.


Poke the needle tip into the ribbon tail, about 1/4″ from the very end.


Slide the ribbon tail all the way to the eye of the needle…


…and pull right over the eye back onto the length of ribbon.


Hold the long end of the ribbon and pull on the needle.  The ribbon end will slide right up to the eye and lock itself there.

There are two wonderful things about this technique, a) the ribbon never slides out of the needle, and b) you can use just about every inch of your precious silk ribbon.

(If you didn’t get this from the photos, I do show it on the video.)


Now it’s time to pin your ruched flowers to the center of the pillow.  Here I have two already done and am working on the third.

The petals on one side of your gathered piece will fan out to make the flower.  The petals on the other side will be squished into the center.  (See the video.) Just flatten it out and you’ll see how it works. (This is why we didn’t gather the flower center tight. )


Start tacking down the flower center by making a ring of French or Colonial knots. (See the video for how to make Colonial knots.)


Then fill in the center with more knots.


Here’s the pink flower completed.  I made lazy daisy stitch leaves with green ribbon.  (Also on the video.)


Next, use a water erase marker to draw an “S” scroll in each of the four rectangles.  Add another scroll to the end of each and backstitch these lines with green embroidery floss. (Yup, it’s on the video.)

Add a spiderweb rose (on the video, too!) to the center using 1/4″ taupe silk ribbon.  I used 1/2 yard for each rose. Stitch green leaves with lazy daisy stitch.

Make off white colonial knots about 1/4″ apart along all sides of green backstitched scroll.

I also added a few knots with the taupe ribbon to the center square, just to tie it all together.

The pillow top is complete!

Let’s make the ruffle.


From your remaining fabric cut two 5″ strips and two 4″ strips.  I like to cut off the selvedges first.

Sew the two 5″ strips together along one short side, press this seam open.  Press this strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.  Repeat for 4″ strips.


Lay your folded 5″ strip down and place the 1.25″ to 1.5″ wide pink silk ribbon on top of it, a scant 1/4″ from the fold.


Open out your fabric strip and pin the ribbon on the side farthest from the fold.  Stitch along this edge with a straight stitch.  Don’t be too fussy about this stitching, it will not show.  What’s more important is to keep the ribbon edge a consistent distance from the fold.


Refold the 5″ strip and lay out, ribbon side up.  Lay 4″ fold strip on top, raw edges meeting.  There should be just a bit of the pink ribbon showing between the two fabric strips.

Trim all three pieces to the same lengths.  It’s likely your ribbon will be just a bit shorter than the fabrics.


Sew the remaining ends of the ribbon/5″ strip together to make a loop.  Be careful not to twist.  Repeat for the 4″ strip.

Press the seams open and repress the folds, if necessary. Layer these pieces together as before, with the 4″ strip on top and about 1/4″ of the pink ribbon showing.


If your fabric is ravely and you have a serger, this is a good time to use it.  Or just zigzag the raw edges. (Wish my serger hadn’t been in the shop when I made this.)

Run a gathering stitch (by hand or machine) a scant 1/2″ from the raw edges and gather to fit your pillow front.


Pin the ruffle onto the pillow front, leaving a little extra gathering in each corner.  The pink silk ribbon side should be against the right side of the pillow top.

Pin the gather corners out of the way of the seamline and baste with a scant 1/2″ seam.

Remove all pins and check to see that everything is as it should be.  The major problems you’ll find are not enough fullness in the corners, so your ruffles will cup, and ruffles stitched into the seam.

Once you are satisfied, repin the ruffle corners out of the way.

Time to add the back pieces and you’re done!


For the pillow backs, press under one 10.5″ side of each 10.5″ x 8.5″ rectangle 1/4″, then press under 1/4″ again.  Stitch along the inner fold to finish the edge.


Lay one of these rectangles over your pillow front, right sides together.  The edge you just finished should be towards the center of the pillow.


Lay the other 8.5″ x 10.5″ rectangle onto the pillow front, meeting the remaining raw edges.  The finished edges should overlap a bit.  This is where you will insert your pillow form later.

Stitch with a 1/2″ seam.  Remove all pins, turn right side out and check to see all is as it should be.


Turn inside out again and trim the corners close to, but not through the stitching.


Here’s the finished ruffle.  Insert your pillow form and enjoy!


Happy Creating!

Feb 072012

Today’s mess is brought to you via inspiration from Tim’s 12 Tags of Christmas – Day 10.

(You can click on the photo to see it larger… if you dare.)


Those of you who have been following my blog know I am determined to work through the techniques from all 12 of Tim’s Tags from last year. Well, I’m nearly there!  (When I think of the folks who  managed to finish them all in the month of December, I’m astounded. )

This project is kind of a new thing for me, it’s a canvas wall art piece.  It will hang in my sewing room when complete, so the theme word is “Create” and the focal point is the dress from die cut.

There’s a lot of creative freedom in a piece like this: it doesn’t have to fit into a scrapbook page protector, it doesn’t have to be mailable like a card, it doesn’t have to fit properly, the way a garment does.  You can put anything and everything you want pretty much anywhere you want.  I have been, and will continue to do so until I say it’s done. 🙂

I’ll give details and supplies when it is done, but for now, I gotta head out!

Happy Woyww, ya’ll.

P.S.  If you’ve stumbled across this post and are wondering what in the world WOYWW is, wonder no more!  It’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, the day we all spend way too much time in a blog hop, checking out the desks of other crafty, creative people from around the world.  It’s way fun!


Feb 042012

Jennifer McGuire is one of the best teachers of papercrafting techniques.  She always makes everything look so easy and doable.

She’s done a couple of video series’ called Thinking Inking.  This link will bring you to a list of 27 videos.   Awesome.  Happy watching. 🙂

Anyhow I decided I needed to work on my stash of on-hand cards, so just started playing with the techniques, then made the results into cards.

(Click on the photos to see larger images. Clicking on the little box with an arrow will enlarge it even more.)


This one was done by covering a piece of heavy cardstock with Broken China Crackle Paint.  Putting the paint on thicker will result in larger crackles. I like to make some areas thin and some thicker.

Once the paint is dry, work a contrasting distress ink into the crackles, (I used Vintage Photo) then spritz with water and buff  with a cloth.  This will leave the ink only in the cracks.

Stamp an image with Staz-On or archival ink.  I used Coffee Archival Ink with the Hero Arts Silhouette Grass stamp.

The label was cut with the Spellbinders Nestabilities Mega Dies, Labels 8 and my Sizzix Big Shot.

Add some ribbon and mount onto a kraft note card for a simple, yet elegant card.

This next one was fun.


First, ink your entire surface with distress ink.  I used Broken China. Then cover your stamp with Clear Embossing Ink and spray with water.  Stamp this onto your inked background.  I love the ghosted image  you get doing it this way.  (The stamp I used was the Designblock Tree by Hero Arts.)

The butterflies are done by covering cardstock with text paper.  (I used sheets from a dictionary I got for 5o¢ at Job Lot.) Make sure all the edges are glued down well, but don’t get adhesive on the paper.

Now, heavily ink  the paper with a variety of distress inks.  Some of the colors I used are Broken ChinaPeeled PaintDusty ConcordSpiced Marmalade and Worn Lipstick. Coat the whole thing with a thick layer of Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint.

Once the rock candy paint is dry, punch or die cut shapes of your choice.

I have to admit, I thought my sheet as a whole was quite ugly, but once I started punching out individual butterflies with the Martha Stewart Classic Butterfly Punch I was amazed at how lovely they looked.

The butterflies are mounted on a strip of patterned paper cut with the Scallop Sentiment Border Punch.

I like making “Thinking of You” cards because I can customize them for any occasion by adding  a sentiment on the inside.  The top card has already been sent off as a birthday card, but it could just as easily have been for sympathy, get well or thank you.

Hope you are having a creative weekend!

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 252012

Nothing too exciting on my desk today.  What you see is me in between projects.

On the left are leftovers from the purple coat.  Don’t know that this style will even need shoulder pads, and if so they probably won’t be as huge as these. I’m just about done, there’s only the lower hems, a little bit of inner finishing and choosing some cool new buttons.

The wooden tailor’s clapper is invaluable for dealing with this thick wool.  Slap it on to the seams right after pressing and it instantly cools and flattens them, giving you a beautiful finish.

(Click on the photo for a larger view.)


The Spellbinders set is the Spellbinders Lacey Ovals Dies.  They should be great for cards as well as scrapbooks.  This purchase was an absolute necessity, as I only needed a few more points before the end of the month to get my $10 certificate from A.C. Moore.  It would have been a waste not to have bought them.  Haha.  (How’s that for rationalization?)

The stuff on the right is my next project, a Valentine’s challenge from May Arts ribbon.  You can probably tell it will involve silk ribbon embroidery, but other than that I can’t say more now.   I will give directions, maybe even make a video when it’s all done.

In the middle is my trusty MP3 player.  I LOVE this thing!  It’s fantastic to be able to listen to books whilst doing boring, mindless stuff like dishes, housework, gardening, or hand hemming coats.

Speaking of which, I’m off to finish that coat.  I’ll post pics when it’s all done.

Happy Creating and Happy WOYWW!

P.S.  To take a peek at the workdesks of creative people from all over the world, go here.  We do this every Wednesday, and it’s kinda fun!