Saturday, July 07, 2007

Gifts For Friends...

Hi! After being inspired by Jo's colourful layouts from yesterday I wanted to share this sweet little address book that started life as a £2 wirebound notebook from Borders. To decorate the cover and back I took the book apart by carefully bending the wire binding back and sliding the covers off. I covered the front, back and insides with colourful striped papers and added a strip of co-ordinating paper, I scalloped the edges using my EK Success corner punch and inked all the edges with charcoal chalk ink.
To decorate the front of the address book I used a Heidi Swapp chipboard letter, stamped the letters to make the word friends with teeny tiny alphabet stamps and tied co-ordinating ribbon around the wire binding.
The tabs down the edge of the book were made by cutting white card into roughly 1 inch squares, inking the edges, gluing on a flower punched from patterned paper and using small round alphabet stickers as the flower centres and to indicate each letter of the alphabet. I used my normal office stapler to join the tabs onto the pages of the book.

Don't tell her, but this is one of the end of school year thank you presents for my nursery nurse - hopefully she won't visit the blog for a couple of weeks!!

If you've been inspired I would love to see what you make and create so leave a link to your work in the comments box (leave a link anyway because we are all a little bit nosey and love to visit other people's blogs !!)

Love from Andrea x

Friday, July 06, 2007

A reminder of summer - a couple of 6x12 layouts!

Hello, it's Jo here again, hoping to bring a little sunshine to you during this spell of terrible weather we're experiencing here in the UK. Of course, if you're checking in from sunnier climes, you may not be in need of any extra sunshine, but I hope you enjoy this post, nevertheless!! Following on from Cath's post yesterday, making a card using scraps and leftover pieces of paper and card, I decided to bring you a couple of layout designs using only cardstock and a minimal amount of other supplies, namely ink, a pen, and a couple of paper punches. When I started scrapping, I bought every new embellishment that came on to the market (or at least, that's how it seems when I look at my bulging boxes and drawers of unused stash!) I've realised that I actually use very few embellishments, other than ones made from cardstock, and the odd rub-on or brad here and there, and I think simple layouts can be just as effective as more detailed ones. I decided that for this post I would give the 'new' size of 6x12 a whirl, as several of the scrapbook forums have been buzzing with people raving about scrapping this size, and I have to say, I may be a convert. Bazzill have brought out both horizontal and vertical versions of their 6x12 albums, in a range of colours, and I like the fact that, once the photos and journalling are in place, there is very little room for much else!! 6x12-for-blog-1 Supplies used: Doodlebug Bazzill in bubblegum and dragonfly; charcoal chalk ink (for edges of photos); EK Success small retro flower punch; black Zig writer - you can pull this together in very little time, once you have your photos printed and your supplies in place. 6x12-for-blog-2 Supplies used: Doodlebug Bazzill in lily white, and scraps of bluebell, sunshine, marmalade and key lime, picked out to match colours in the photographs; circle punches; black Zig writer - again, this can be completed in next to no time. 6x12 is a great size for scrapping those vertical, upright photos, but would work equally well with two or three horizontal photos. Have a go yourself, and let us know what you think. I will definitely be doing it again!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

REALLY easy peasy quick card

This will probably be one of the quickest cards you can possibly make! It took me about 10 minutes but that was thinking it up in the first place too! It's really economical as well as you can use bits of card and paper you have lying around. You can make this any size you want really but for this one i used a x blank card.
  • Cut a piece of cardstock to adhere to the front. Trim to size and ink the edges
  • Then i used a 1 inch square punch and cut out six squares of patterned card. My squares were from the same sheet which was patterned on both sides.
  • Ink the edges of the squares and then adhere to the cardstock symmetrically.
  • Then all i did was print the greeting onto the same colour cardstock as the card background. You can use whatever greeting you want.
And it's as simple as that! Happy Cardmaking!!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Cheap art! A wall canvas...

Hello, it's Jo here again, bringing you an idea for some really cheap art! I've recently decorated the master bedroom at home, and went from some fussy wallpaper to crisp, blank walls, one of which was crying out for something to fill a space. For my project, I've used a large artist's canvas, readily available from shops like The Works and The Book Depot. The one I used came in at under £10. I found some tester pots of paint at B&Q in colours to tone in with the accent colours I've used in my room, and, rather than just using paint, I decided I'd add a little extra interest with some words. For these, I've used some Poundland chipboard letters which I painted using emulsion from one of the tester pots.
The first thing I did was to mask off straight lines across the canvas, so that the finished item would be a combination of painted stripes and white stripes from the blank canvas.
I then went to work with the paint! The emulsion went on really easily, and in a very short space of time my stripes were completed. A handy hint for painting the top and bottom sections - make sure the top section is completely dry before turning the canvas upside down (on some newspaper) to paint the bottom section. The emulsion dries very quickly, so you don't really have to hang around to complete this. When all the paint is completely dry (I left mine overnight to be sure) remove the masking tape to reveal crisp, clean lines.
I decided I was going to add the words 'peace', 'love', and 'harmony' to the canvas, as it is in my bedroom, and I have tried to create as peaceful and as tranquil a space as possible!
I attached the painted letters with glossy accents, once I'd positioned them in an arrangement that I liked. The chipboard hearts are also from Poundland. And, hey presto, here is the finished canvas hanging in situ:
All completed for well under £20!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Cheap but chic pressie idea

Hi, it's Maria here again following on from yet another fabbie post from the lovely Di. Now you all know what a mucky pup I am needing a cloth to clean my paw prints off my piccies ....... Hee hee!!!
Anyhoo, today I have another thrifty but nifty idea for end of year pressies. This one is handy for when the class does a collection for the staff but your little one still wants to hand over a little something. Or, it's super handy for when there's just too much month left at the end of the money. With any luck you lovely crafters and hoarders won't even have to leave the house to make up this little gem. Simply stack 6 candles and tie them with some ribbon. You can add a pretty tag and some flowers if you fancy but this one is for a friend who prefers the clean and simple style. I prefer to use church candles but you can use any that take your fancy and suit your budget. You can pick up a big box of candles at Ikea for a couple of pound. I've also used this idea to pad out advent or birthday swap pressies. You know what it's like when you have a set budget but just want to add something extra. You can also use them as place settings for your candle loving dinner guests to take home. Yet another simple idea from a simple gal but I hope that you liked it. Toodle pip

Monday, July 02, 2007

Discover your Tools

Hi it's Di (on a budget) again from a sunny but cold Cape Town. Today I am on the same inspirational theme of “Use your stash”, this time focusing on tools. And again it's apologies. I got my (sick) computer back yesterday afternoon, without any software. I managed to get everything installed by late Sunday evening, and fortunately had backups of most of my post but not all of my pics are available today.
OK, I confess. After craft shops, my favourite shops are “Do it Yourself “. I am passionate about all types of tools such as sanders, drills, staple guns; you name it I’ve got it. I do have 3 electric sanders!!! But I need them ALL. So when it comes to crafting tools, what are the tools that we really cannot do without? We had a survey amongst the team and came up with the following to share with you today: tools we cannot do without, tools we need, how many we need; pens, brushes, glues, hardware, software, etc.
Tools we cannot do without:
' This is what some of the design team has to say about tools they cannot do without:
Andrea: I can't live without my EK Success retro flower punch, EK Success corner rounders and my sewing machine.
Caz: craft knife, paper trimmer, crop-o-dile
Di: Apart from the obvious ones, I cannot do without my Making Memories paper trimmer, computer, printers and software. Oh and I am beginning to LOVE my camera.
Jo: I also cannot do without my retro flower punches, and CM corner rounder!! Wouldn't be without my Zision trimmer/scorer - use them ALL the time.
Maria: Paper trimmer, Soft cloth - not exactly a tool but I always get paw prints on my piccies, Paper piercer - can't get brads in any other way
Trish: My corner rounder and paint brushes are the main things I could not do without.
Tools and consumables that we need - the obvious ones:
Bone Folder
Craft knife
Cutting mat
Eyelet setter
Paper piercer and pad
Paper trimmer
Pens and pencils
Ruler (metal)
Thought I’d talk about just a few of the obvious ones:
As you can see, I love sticky stuff, and have loads of it. But what do we really need? These are just a few of the adhesives that I find useful. Book Binding Tape: I use this when making mini albums, to join pages together. Click n stick (Scrapbook Adhesives) I use this when attending a crop and have to be quick. I use it to attach PP to CS and for matting. Double sided tab dispenser (We R Memory Keepers): This gadget is refillable. I use it when attending a crop and have to be quick. Use it to attach PP to CS and for matting. Double sided tape (in 3 different widths), (Caz told me that you can tear double sided tape but it doesn’t always work with the tape that I buy in South Africa). I use double sided tape to attach PP to CS and for matting pics. I use the very narrow one when making envelopes, attaching narrow ribbon, and for making sure that my chipboard letters are well and truly stuck down... Double sided super tape (Therm O web): Great for attaching glitter and tiny beads. It also comes in sheets so you can cut out a shape, attach to your paper then sprinkle with glitter or beads.
Glue dots (Zots): I use glue dots for attaching embellishments.
Hermes roll on thing: Because of my budget, I only use Hermes type adhesives when I attend classes and have to be quick. OK I know they are great to work with, but quite frankly, I just find them too expensive to use daily. (By the way, I have not yet found a need for temporary adhesives. Pritt Gel and Tombo: I use these interchangeably for sticking liitle things like buttons. Pritt stick: I do not use this. Podge: I use podge normally when attaching fabric e.g. to paper, chipboard and altered art stuff. Also use it to attach cardstock and paper to wooden items, and for protecting a finished altered art piece. By the way a roller is useful when using podge to be sure you get everything perfectly smooth.
Quick Stik (Quck Kutz): Woo hoo, my new favourite toy, the "quicker-poker-picker-upper" is just great for picking up little things with its tiny sticky point. Vellum runners: I have always had a problem with attaching Vellum. It seems that even the adhesive designed for Vellum sometimes shows through so I either use brads, or attach the vellum with double sided tape and then cover where I have attached it with ribbon or patterned paper.
Xyron Create a sticker: Whopee, have just "found" this hiding in my stash. My Sizzix was lying unused getting dusty. I have only one font and found it painful sticking down the letters. The Xyron works like a dream! So what else do we use as an “adhesive” for attaching stuff? Stapler, needle and cotton, sewing machine, gem clips (plain and fancy), tiny bulldog clips, pins (not really fond of them), brads, ribbon.... While we are taking about sticking stuff, how about UNSTICKING it… I use Scrappers Solution by un du, and I guard it carefully. It’s really difficult to buy here in Africa. Caring for your adhesives: Need I say put the tops back on? Storage: Oh dear, I have recently moved my studio into a spare bedroom. And guess what, the sun melted my glue dots. So yes keep them out of the sun. I like to keep all of my adhesives together. Just one last thought on adhesives. Have you had trouble attaching really sheer ribbon? Well here are a few ideas Do NOT stick it. Stretch it across your CS or PP and attach at the back, out of sight. Alternatively cut slits in the CS or PP, push the ribbon through the slits and again attach at the back. Brushes: You must have a least ONE!!!. Must admit, I would rather have just 1 good brush than loads of cheap ones. I use my brushes for painting paper, wood, chipboard letters, wooden letters etc., and of course for podging.
Caring for your brushes: I try to wash my brushes between coats of paint (or podge). My mother, who was an artist (and a perfectionist), had the cleanest brushes you have ever seen! She used to wash them using a bar of sunlight soap. (Of course when she was working with oils, she cleaned them first in turps.) Mum used to hold the bar of soap in her left hand and squish the brush around in the soap, rinsing every now and again, until the brush was pristine clean. Guess what; she bought new brushes because she wanted them, NOT because she needed them. Mine are NOT pristine, but they are not getting worse..… Storage: I keep my brushes in an old coffee jar. Mmmm perhaps I should try the nifty Maria’s techniques and paint the jar!!!
Paper Trimmers: Ok we all have our favourites. I love my Fiskars paper trimmer. It’s neat, light and great for crops. I have had mine for about 2 and a half years and all I do is replace the blades. However. I LOVE my Making Memories paper trimmer (mwah), with its magnetic ruler. It is self sharpening. (Mine is only a year old so I’ll let you know how it goes.) I normally use the MM trimmer only at home. It’s a bit bulky to take to crops. Yes, it’s a bit more expensive, but well worth it. Must admit I am not really turned on by ‘cute looking’ trimmers.
Caring for your paper trimmer: Guess they very much take care of themselves. The only advice I can offer is to have a supply of blades. I can tell by the sound of my Fiskars when the blade is getting dodgy. I normally buy 4 at a time and no, they do not have a “sell by / use by date”. You can never have too many spare blades.
Pens: Oh dear. Yes you can have too many pens! If you do not use your pens they will end up past their “use by date”. You may need pens for journaling (unless you do it all on the computer). I normally buy 2 at a time and prefer pens that show me how much ink is left. If you sketch your designs, then you may need coloured pencils or felt tip pens. Caring for your pens: Go and test all your pens and throw away the ones that do not write. Storage: I keep my pens in a glass jar out of the sun.
Scissors: Well how many do you need? I need a minimum of 5: Paper (“Decoupage scissors”) Ribbon scissors
Fabric scissors
“glue “scissors (for cutting double sided tape)
Kitchen scissors for opening packaging (apart from the normal kitchen usage).
But, having said that, mmmm, I do have 8 pairs of scissors.
Caring for your scissors: Firstly, use them ONLY for what YOU intend to use them for. I.e. Do not use your ribbon scissors for cutting double sided tape! Do not use your fabric scissors for cutting paper. And finally, clean your “glue” scissors after use. I clean mine using nail polish remover and cotton wool pads. Guess you do too. If it doesn’t damage your nails, it should not damage your scissors!!! Because I live alone, I have only myself to blame if “something” happens to my scissors. If I had a husband and or children I would lock them up – the scissors I mean. Storage: Again I keep my pens in a glass jar. At the bottom of the jar I have a piece of wadding to protect the points. My dressmaking scissors are stored separately with all of my sewing stash.
What Hardware and Software do we use? I have a notebook (laptop), an HP Printer Copier Scanner (PSC), and a cute HP photo printer. I normally replace my printer every 12 to 18 months. I just get fed up replacing those expensive cartridges. (Oops that may change since I have retired LOL) For imaging software I use HP Image Zone (which was provided with my printer), but have recently been experimenting with Microsoft Digital Image Suite 2006. I have found it really easy to use and it creates really small piccis for display on the web. I am also testing Adobe Photoshop Elements. (Mmmm will let you know what I think.) For journaling and creating titles I occasionally use MS Word.
There are of course some “odd tools” that come in handy every now and again:
Bazzill Swatch Box: Because I mostly buy cardstock in stores, it helps if I prepare before shopping and decide what colours I need. It costs about R320 (about 22 pound sterling), but it was a good investment. Bulldog clips (small): Use when constructing a layout to hold things in place. Also use to hold the pages of a mini album together. I do this to be sure I get all the holes in the right place. Cigarette lighter: Use for singing the end of ribbon to prevent it fraying. Darning needle (large): Use if you do not have a paper piercer. Emery board: Use to distress chipboard letters, paper photographs etc.. Iron: Well it’s obvious isn’t it!! Use it to iron your ribbon, fabric, patterned paper etc. Nail polish remover: Use for cleaning “glue scissors”, tweezers and whatever else you get that sticky stuff on. Plates (round or oval): Use for cutting circles. I lay the plate on the back of the cardstock or patterned paper, secure it with a little “Pritt sticky stuff “(Tic Tac) and cut around the plate with my craft knife. Voila Viola, a perfect circle. Pritt sticky stuff (Tic tac): Use for holding down your plates when cutting circles. Screwdriver: I have a teensy set of screwdrivers that came from a Christmas cracker! I would love a little magnetic screwdriver which is great for removing little screws when doing “altered art’ stuff. Toothbrush: Use for cleaning stamps. Tooth pick: Use for cleaning the nozzles of your glue and to spread glue on tiny buttons. Wirecutters: I just use them for cutting wire lol.
And Finally, my Leatherman Juice !!
So, what about the tools you no longer use?:
Pack them all in a box and put them in the loft – free up the space.
Swop them with friends. Sell them.
Throw them in the bin. (Are you allowed to do that???)
Donate them as a Random Act of Kindness….
(If you no longer use them, chances are you have something better, so GET RID of them.)
We’d love to here what tools you cannot do without so keep posting your comments. We value and enjoy hearing from you!
Thanks for reading with love from Di XXX

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Thankyou Gifts

It's almost time for the summer holidays and as the school year ends we begin to think of thank you gifts for teachers and support staff. There is a limit to the number of boxes of chocolates and bottles of bubble bath teachers can use so why not make a crafty gift - far more personal and it doesn't have to break the bank.
As a teacher myself I've been busy thinking of gifts to give to the Nursery Nurses and Teaching Assistants who work alongside me in my class. I always make some sort of crafty thing for them and this year I've come up with an idea to decorate glass jars and fill the jars with goodies. The local supermarket and chemist have got lots of mini bottles of shampoo, conditioner etc. for taking away on holidays for sale at the moment and I thought I could fill the jars with these.

My jars were bought in IKEA but you could always recycle pretty glass jars that you may have already.

All the jars are decorated using the same method. I cut patterned paper into strips and inked the edges with a chalk ink pad, on some of the strips I sewed along the edges on my sewing machine. One strip of paper wasn't quite long enough to wrap around my jars so I had to join two pieces together. I glued the paper to the jars using double sided tape.

I used recycled wooden packaging tags or made tags with a die cutting machine and decorated them using scraps of the same paper that I had wrapped around the glass jar, alphabet stickers, chipboard flowers, alphabet stamps and buttons.

I joined the tags to my jars by wrapping a co-ordinating ribbon around the neck of the jar and tying in a double knot, then threading both ends of the ribbon through the hole in my tag and tying in a bow.

With not a lot of imagination the jars could be used for anytime gifts for birthdays, Christmas, new baby births or just to say hello.

Have fun getting crafty this week and we aleays like to see what you've all been creating so please leave a link in the comments section.

Love Andrea x