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.

Dec 102011

Yesterday I promised I would post a photo of my completed snowflakes.  I’m really happy with how they came out.

(Click on any of the photos to see a larger version.)


I did these using the techniques Tim used on his snowman for the day four tag.

These are the steps I followed:

  1. Paint a 2″ x 12″ strip of grunge paper with Picket Fence Distress Stain.
  2. Realize that Tim said to paint with Snow Cap Paint Dabber.  Oops.  Paint over with Pearl Metallic Paint Dabber instead.  (I can’t follow recipes without substituting, either.)  Leave to dry.
  3. Die cut snowflakes with an old Sizzix snowflake die (green die, snowflake #2)
  4. Paint on a very thick  coat of Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint and go to bed, leaving it to dry overnight.
  5. In the morning find that the crackle had cracked so much it had lifted off the paint in some areas.  I have two theories as to why this happened.  1) My original coat of Distress Stain sealed the grunge paper so that the paint didn’t stick so well, or 2) I put the Rock Candy on too thickly. Any thoughts?
  6. Rub off all the loose bits of paint and crackle paint.
  7. Repaint over everything with Pearl Metallic Paint Dabber, let dry and then add a not-quite-so-thick layer of Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint.
  8. Once this is dry go over everything with Broken China Distress Stain and dab on a little Faded Jeans Distress Stain.
  9. Heat slightly with a heat tool per Tim’s directions.  He says it bakes the stain into the crackle.
  10. Exclaim with delight at how gorgeous my snowflakes are!
The lumpy, bumpy texture and the different size cracks make them that much more interesting.  I like them so much, I may just make them into ornaments.  Or they may go onto a scrapbook page, not sure yet.
How about doing this on heart shapes with pinks, reds and purple to make beautiful Valentine’s decorations?  Or on red, white and blue stars for Fourth of July?  Ooooo, the possibilities…
Wherever your imagination takes you, I wish you Happy Creating!
Dec 092011

Ok, so today’s the ninth and I just last night finished the project for the fourth.  Gosh, the days go by quickly.

Anyhow, I made a scrapbook page using some of the techniques Tim used in his day 4 tag.

Here’s the left side of my completed layout. (You can click on any of the photos to see a larger version.)

(Note all the 80’s hair.  Yup, this is Thanksgiving 1988.)


That’s me in the yellow shirt.  Yeck, I should NOT wear yellow, lol.

I really liked how Tim filled in a cutout with Glossy Accents, giving a look of resin, so I decided to make a border with the Townscape On The Edge Die and do the same on the windows.  To make all the houses different without cutting individual papers, I used a section from the Seasonal Paper Stash Paper Pad that has 2″ squares of each patterned paper.  Each of the windows was backed with music note paper and filled in with Glossy Accents.  Since the houses are deliberately wonky looking, I didn’t worry that the windows weren’t perfectly filled in.  Aren’t they cute?


All of the papers on this layout are from Tim’s Seasonal Paper Stash Paper Pad.  The Thanksgiving phrases made a title for the page unnecessary.  Awesome!

I treated all the papers by swirling some Picket Fence Distress Stain and other Distress stains onto a Non Stick Craft Sheet.   (Some of the colors I used: Wild Honey Distress Stain, Peeled Paint Distress Stain, Fired Brick Distress StainVintage Photo Distress Stain, Antique Linen Distress Stain.  I used different combinations on the different papers.) You then mist your paper with water and swirl it through the colors on the craft sheet.  Be sure to check out Tim’s day 4 post for step by step photos and directions.

And here’s the right side.


One thing that’s great about using Tim’s techniques as inspiration is that he keeps going with the details.  Where I might have stopped with the papers, house border, photos and journaling, Tim inspired me to use the tulle, color some lace and twill tape with Vintage Photo Distress Ink, color pearls with alcohol inks and add the flower, hemp twine and the little keys.


All the details definitely add a lot to the layout.


I just realized I forgot to take photos of the completed crackly blue snowflakes, which technique Tim used on his snowman here.  They came out fantastic, btw. Details to follow tomorrow.

Hope you all will have time to be creative this weekend!


Dec 072011

Today’s workdesk finds me in the middle of day four of Tim Holtz’s 12 Tags of Christmas.   I mentioned in another post I’ve found it incredibly freeing to have the mindset that I’m not trying to make copies of what Tim has done, but just use his techniques and do my own thing.

It’s also been a lot easier on my wallet as I don’t feel like I have to run out and buy the exact same supplies Tim is using.  🙂

(Click on the photo to see a larger version.)


I’m actually working on two different projects based on the day four techniques.  The little snowflakes on the right (sorry ’bout the white on white, I know you can’t see them well – I’ll put up better pics once the project is done) have been painted with the Pearl Metallic Paint Dabber and then coated quite thickly with Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint.  I did this before going to bed and left them to dry overnight.  This morning I found they’d crackled so much that some of the paint had lifted off.  Huh.

We’ll see how they come out after I brush off the paint flakes, re-dab with Pearl and add another (not quite so thick) coat of Rock Candy.

On the left and middle are the beginnings of a scrapbook layout.  What will be the center panels (the yellowish papers) were done with Tim’s directions for applying Picket Fence Distress Stain and other distress stains to the craft sheet, wetting your paper, then swirling it through the colors on the craft sheet.  It gives a very cool, chalky effect.

All day yesterday was spent doing errands, the only major thing on my agenda today is to make turkey soup, so hopefully I’ll have time to play later on.

Oh, and if you’re wondering why in the world someone would post a pic of their messy workdesk, then you must not know about What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  Check it out, it’s loads of fun and inspiration!


Dec 052011

As promised in yesterday’s post, here is my project based on day three of Tim Holtz’s 12 Tags of Christmas.


The main technique here is creating a custom stamp pad.  (More on that in a moment.)

You can see I’m still loving the Tattered Banners Die Strip.  The stamp is Old World Map Stamp by Inkadinkado.  (Great on cards for guys!)

I used an old Sizzix die which is no longer available for the Holly, but this one looks similar.

I used red stickles on the berries, but they were way too bright for this antique looking card.  Rubbing on a little Antique Linen Distress Stickles  toned them down perfectly.

Another great tip from Tim was to wrap twine around something like a pencil and heat it for 10 seconds to set.  Instant shaping.  Awesome!

Now, about today’s technique.  For quite some time Tim has been teaching us to use Cut n Dry Foam and reinkers (like these, Vintage Photo Distress Ink ReinkerWorn Lipstick Distress ReinkerBroken China Distress Reinker) to create a custom colored ink pad for our stamps.  Last year I actually did finally purchase some Cut n Dry and made custom pads for two of my stamps.

As Tim suggested, I stamped off a sample image, stored my stamp pad in a ziploc bag and adhered the sample to the outside of the bag.

Here’s my sample from the Old World Stamp:


And here is how it stamped last night (about 10 months later.)


This is a cool stamp, and would look good in most any colors, but I was sorry to see that the inks had not stayed in their places.  The greens appear to have done the most moving, and pretty much took over the blues.

Like I said, not a big deal with the map stamp, but take a look at this one, done at the same time as the map.


Here’s how it stamped last night, quite disappointing.


Again, it seems like the greens have taken over.  Ah, well.  I used Distress reinkers, I wonder if other inks behave differently?

I will continue to use this technique, but will have in mind more projects I’m going to make in multiples right now, rather than saving for future use.

Hopefully I’ll have time later today to work on days four and five!

Creative Hugs,



After writing this post I sent Tim Holtz an email asking him if he had any comments or insights regarding my problem.  Approximately four minutes later he sent me this reply:  (Thanks for being so quick to respond, Tim!)

hi sandy – thanks for the email.  when i go back to use a custom stamp pad (depending on how long it’s been stored, etc) if the inks have migrated, i simply re-ink the areas i want to punch the color up in.  bascialy from your photos, the inks have still maintained separation (as in the entire pad is not muddy brown), but it appears the lighter colors wicked some of the darker distress.  another thing i do, if i feel i’ve used the pad, and the colors are too far gone, is to rinse the pad in water, let it dry overnight and start fresh as your stamped image will still be left on the fabric.  hope this helps and thanks for the kind words…

Dec 052011

Well, color me amazed.  It’s the 4th of December and I’ve managed to accomplish projects inspired by three of Tim’s 12 Tags of Christmas so far.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Tim Holtz is only the king of all things distressed and paper crafty.  Check out his web site here.  Even if you aren’t into paper crafting, you’ll have to be impressed.

Tim loves to demonstrate his creative techniques on large manila shipping tags.  Five years ago he started doing the 12 Tags of Christmas on his blog.  Every day from December 1st through the 12th at midnight he posts a new tag, full of clever tricks with ink and paper.  He always includes step-by-step directions with excellent photos.

I stumbled across him in his second year of doing the tags and made Christmas cards based on his tags each day.  Silly me didn’t take photos of all of them, but here are a few.

(Click on any of the photos to enlarge.)

Christmas card oh come let us adore him

christmas cardwith alcohol ink ornaments

christmas card snowman with distress crackle paint

The next year I decided to just make the tags.

12 tags of Christmas-Tim Holtz 2009

Last year, well… erm.  See this stack of paper?


Yup, those are the directions from last year’s tags, all printed out and neatly clipped together by day.  And, yes, they have been sitting on my desk for an entire year.

:::::::::hangs head in shame::::::::::

So, back to today!  I’m so happy to report as of tonight I am nearly caught up (with this year, not last year!)  I attribute this to two reasons: 1) I’ve been collecting Tim’s supplies for three years now and can pretty much make do, even if I don’t have the exact items he used, and 2) I decided to only use his techniques, but not worry about making copies of what he’s done.

In fact, I was in Michaels on Thursday, December 1st, 40% off coupon in hand, and walked out without buying anything.  This is mind blowing.  Seriously.

This change of mind set is actually incredibly freeing. 🙂

For day one, I made this card.


The main technique was to ink up the background portion only of the embossing folder.  After running through your die cutting machine you sprinkle on embossing powder, it only sticks on the inner parts of the pattern.  Kinda neat. I love how it came out using the Merry Christmas embossing folder set.

It only took me 20 minutes to dig up this pinecone which was left over from a class I took with Tim last year.  Perfect.

For day two, I did a scrapbook layout.  The main technique was to use Picket Fence Distress Stain over resist paper.  Did you know that you can make any paper a resist paper with a large background stamp (like this Harlequin Background Stamp, and Clear Embossing Powder?

Here’s the paper after embossing:


And here it is after adding ink.  See how the embossed areas resist the ink?  Pretty cool.


I didn’t have any sticky back canvas, but I’ve got plenty of fabric.  To stabilize it, I stuck this to some sticky back vellum and cut out trees using my Sizzix Medium Pine Tree Die (yellow die) and Sizzix Pine Tree Die (red die.)


The trees were inked with every shade of green distress ink I own, including Peeled PaintPine Needles, Bundled Sage and Shabby Shutters, with some Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain for the trunks.

The brown paper  is from the Retro Grunge Paper Stash; it was cut with the Bracket on the Edge Die.  These make great borders and accents.


And here’s the layout, all ready for photos. The map and blueprint papers are from Tim’s Crowded Attic Paper Stash.   The diagonal stripe is from a paper collection I got at Costco.


Here’s the left side of the layout.  If the photo of the baby looks familiar, it’s because I used it in a Photoshop tutorial a while back. (That baby is 23 years old, btw.  Wow, I am behind in my scrapbooking, lol.)


Here’s the right side. The journaling is done on paper cut with the Tattered Banners Die Strip.  I also used it on the card from day one, above. The more I use this, the more I love it.)


Here’s a close up of the fabric trees.  I really love following Tim’s lead because he reminds us to add in detail, such as dying the ribbon with distress inks, or beating up the brads with a hammer.


For day three I made another card.  Since the stickles are still drying and I need to go to bed, I’ll share details about that tomorrow.

Happy creating!

Dec 012011

I just love making Christmas crafts!  My favorites are quick little projects that can be brought out and enjoyed year after year.  It’s an extra special bonus if its something that can be made with children.  🙂

Way back in July (seems like last week to me…) I posted about this little project that my quilting group made.


Aren’t they cute?  They’re really easy to make, too.

You can find the directions here, but if you are strapped for time (who isn’t this time of year?) I’ve made up several kits for your convenience.  The kits even have those cute little carrot noses, all prebaked and ready to go!

You can purchase snowman ornament/plant poke kits at Etsy, or from my shopping page.

Happy Christmas creating!

P.S.  Did you notice my new button on the upper right of the blog, “Follow me on Pinterest“?  I’ve just gotten started, but there are several fun ideas for Christmas crafts and baking on there as well. (You gotta check out the melted snowman cookies, too much fun!)

Nov 302011

Today’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday finds me reorganizing my organizing.  (Read on, it will make perfect sense.  *** grin***)

You can click on any of the photos to make them bigger, by the way.


Once upon a time a while back when I realized I had amassed a pretty good collection of dies, it seemed to important to find a way to catalog them so, a) I would know what I had when I went to work on a project, and be) so I wouldn’t buy duplicates.

Here’s the system I developed:  In order to keep your dies and embossing folders straight, first cut each one out of white cardstock.  (This is a great way to use the white inserts that come with your page protectors.) Then mount them on 12″ x 12″ sheets of black cardstock.  The embossed pieces are colored with a little ink to make the design more clear.  These are then slipped into page protectors and clipped together for easy reference.

When I first started this system, my goal was to fit as many samples as possible on each sheet.  Like this:


However, I’ve found it can be hard to really see what’s there.  So now not only am I giving each die more space of its own, but I’m visually separating them with 1/4″ strips of cardstock.

Also, keeping the different types of dies on different sheets is helpful.  So each of the Tim Holtz Alterations dies has its very own quarter sheet.  All the long strip dies (like the film strip) are on their own sheet and all the embossing folders are together.  The Spellbinders are all on one sheet, too.

The final step in keeping track of your dies & embossing folders is to photograph the sheets and make a print out to keep in your purse.  Here are six sheets all together which prints nicely on a standard 8.5″ x 11″ sheet.


(The red, green and yellow strips let me know which size of Sizzix die to look for, as their large are red, medium are yellow and small ones are green.)


So, whaddya think?  Do I need to buy more?

Happy creating (and organizing!)

Btw, this week’s (and every week’s) What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday is brought to you by the wonderful Julia.  Through her blog you can visit the workdesks of other creative people from around the world.  You just might find yourself inspired.

Nov 232011

Today is the first Wednesday in several weeks that does not find the trench coat on my worktable.  Instead, it is done and hanging in my closet.  In fact, it’s raining today, so I got to wear it, yay!

I quickly discovered that the belt is the perfect length for getting caught in the car door and dangling out.  Must shorten it.  Other than that, I’m loving it.

After finishing a large project it’s good to take the time to reorganize.  I’ve found it’s helpful to keep the pattern you’re thinking of using with its intended fabric.  Things may change later on, but at least you’ll know what your original plan was.

On my table today are just a few (NOT all) of my pending sewing projects.  This will all be stacked in a large basket which gets stored under my table.

Oh dear.


Going clockwise from the top left:


  • Next clockwise is my new favorite draped top pattern, McCalls 6078 with a pink ITY and a red sweater knit.  I’m thinking of making the red one today to wear to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.  Am I nuts, or what?
  • The red dotted fabric is for a dress I didn’t get to in the spring.  Maybe for Christmas…
  • The black, white & pink boucle is for a Chanel style jacket.  The lining is still in its packaging from Fabric Place, with a receipt dated 2007.  I really need to get on that.
  • To the right of that is the pattern I used to make my aforementioned trench coat along with the fabric, lining, buttons and buckle to make another.  (This will not be happening any time soon!)  Here’s a view of the buckle, and a better depiction of the blue color.2011-11-23-woyww-belt-buckle
  • The pattern below that is possibly for gifts for my quilting group.  Thinking, thinking …
  • Next to that is the cutest little chef’s hat, apron and oven mitt set for the granddaughter.
  • The jacket pattern with green fabric and lining are also leftovers from last spring.  I really do need some jackets, gotta get busy.
  • Next to that and last, but certainly not least, is a gorgeous piece of black Regency wool.  This was acquired for next to nothing when my local fabric store went out of business.  I’m pretty sure I took what was left on the bolt.  There’s enough there to make the 12-gore skirt (the white one on the pattern, ooooo, swishy) or the jacket, but not both.  Or maybe I’ll make the button down top from the other pattern and a simpler skirt.  Dunno yet…

I also have the snuggies I showed last week to make.  Christmas gifts will have to take priority from this point on.  Right now I’m off to whip up a red top.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Creating!

P.S.  If you’re wondering why I’m sharing a photo of my workdesk, go here to check out the messiness, neatness and general creativity and fun other workdesks around the world.

******Update 11/23, 5:15 p.m. – The red top is done!  It only took a smidge over an hour.  Toldja I love that pattern.  🙂 *******