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Monthly Archives: December 2011

I’m ready to start making a scrapbook – but where do I start??

Starting a new project can be a daunting task – even for people who have made many scrapbooks in the past. It always takes me awhile to actually get started. I usually get nervous, especially if it is going to be a gift. The last book I did was for my brother and future sister-in-law (I will post some pictures. I couldn’t before because Erin reads this!!) I get nervous up until the minute I give it to them. But the most nerve-wracking part is where to begin.

When I first started, I used to take the pictures I printed and divide them up in chronological order. (My first – and most of – my scrapbooks are one event, with the exception of my goddaughter’s yearly scrapbooks). After I did that, I would work on one page at a time, choosing the background as I went. But since I am Type A, I always worried if I was choosing the right background page or is there another page that it would go better with? So now I place all my divided up pictures (between one and four per page) in the an album in order and then I go through my paper and try to match the pieces up with pictures. This way my layouts come together a little better. At least this is what works for me! After I select the background, I usually see if there are coordinating papers that go with it and place that in the sheet protector as well as any embellishments I might have. This helps to keep me organized.

By the end of this process, I have usually changed papers because in the end one or two sheets didn’t fit the theme or I decided I liked that background on another set of photos. I feel like I have a better idea as to what direction my scrapbook is going in. For instance, the last book that I did was the one for my brother and his fiancée (is that right Erin?? lol). They participated in the Mud Run for MS this past June and it was so much fun to watch them! I decided as a Christmas / engagement (kinda late on the engagement present – sorry), I would take those pictures and make an album for them. As I was trying to pick backgrounds, I tended to stay with the colors of the theme – browns and gold for that “mud” feeling of the event and pinks because both Erin and Kim, her friend, were wearing pink. (My brother Johnny was NOT wearing pink!) I had some other color backgrounds in there, but it didn’t seem to work with the overall theme.

For me, picking out the background papers before I start helps to keep my piece cohesive.It also helps me see the pages come together. As I am putting the paper with the pictures, I am visualizing what the layout might look like and what embellishments or Cricut cartridges I might need. If there are papers, stickers or other add ons that I don’t have but know I saw at the store, I take mental notes to go get them. Or, if I don’t have a background that suits my needs, I create one.

This is how I get over that initial fear of starting a project. Since just picking papers is nothing permanent like making a page, it is easier for me to get over that procrastinating stage where I say I will start tomorrow! Here is one of the pages that I did for their book (unfortunately I didn’t take many pictures – I was so excited to finish the book and wrap it that I forgot!) This is them crossing the finish line. I took the second picture a minute too late – the finished in two hours exactly – Just like they wanted to!
Crossing the finish line!

Hope this helps if you ever have trouble starting on a project like I do!

Decoration idea for gift cards

Merry Christmas! Now that it is over, I can share with you what I made for my parents this year. My siblings and I couldn’t decide what to get my parents. We decided on one gift certificate per month (my parents love to go out to eat!!). We picked 12 restaurants, but I thought it was boring to just give them the certificates. So, we chose a holiday or a family event for each month and then I decorated each gift certificate to go with the theme. Then, I attached them to a ribbon and secured them in a basket, put clear wrapping around the outside and attached a huge bow and angel ornament to top off the present. Here are pictures of each gift card and then what it looked like all assembled. Hope this inspires you to turn a simple gift idea into a creative gift! Here they are:
JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJuly (My Favorite!)AugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecemberInside 2Complete

Last minute wrapping ideas

I picked up a couple of bottles of wine the other day, but I forgot to get wine bags. And of course I didn’t realize that until I went to wrap my presents last night and had nothing to put the wine bottles in but those ugly brown paper bags that they give you at the store. I thought about what I could do and came up with decorating the bags, much like I decorate tissue paper when I don’t have wrapping paper for a present. (Hey, you work with what you have and I was NOT about to go out shopping two days before Christmas. Black Friday is all the holiday craziness I can deal with!) So, I took some of those Christmas stamps I bought earlier in the season, took my Distress Ink pads and made those ugly brown paper bags look (hopefully) not so ugly and more personalized. Here’s the results:Wine BagsWine Bags 2<a

Hope you like them!

Some more card ideas and tags for presents

I have been really busy over the past week, working to finish up all my Christmas cards. I am proud to say that I made over 40 cards this year and all of them are different (with the exception of my favorite one – I did make that card twice). Not bad for someone who decided some time in November to start making them! Here are some more examples of the cards I made. The later ones tend to feature embossing because I really like the effect!
Log CabinUsing SticklesSnowflakesNOEL S Card

I normally use the tags that come in packs, where you just write in the To and From. Since I made the tags for my sister’s favors (I’ll post pictures after the shower!), I decided to make tags for everyone’s Christmas presents. I decided to emboss the stamps on these ones. (I didn’t for the shower ones because I had to make SO many!!) I used regular green and red paper with the tag and shadow feature, embossed an image and then glued the pieces together. Here are some pictures of what the tags look like:

More cards with embossing heat gun

I made some more cards tonight and decided to do something a little different. For a friend’s birthday, I made an “S” card and I really liked the way that looked. I thought it would make for an interesting Christmas card. So for the first new card, I took one of the cards from the packaged card set I bought and took the front of the card and folded it in half. I then took some green polka dot patterned paper and glued it to some plain green cardstock. It wasn’t long enough to coved the front of the card, so I pasted two pieces together. I then put the snowman ribbon over it so you couldn’t tell! I attached these pieces to the front and in the inside of the card. Then I made sure the snowman ribbon matched up with the ribbon on the front. In order to hide the message inside of the card until it’s open, you want to make sure you have a piece on the front that is either the same size of bigger than the message inside. I chose to use two red scrap pieces of paper that were the same size. On the one for the front, I embossed a Peace, Joy and Love stamp using VersaMark ink and the same green embossing powder from Martha Stewart that I used the other day. For the inside, I took a scratch piece of green paper (same color as the border around the polka dot paper) and stamped Season’s Greetings in Fire Brick distress ink by Tim Holtz. Then I attached the green piece of scratch with the stamped image to the red paper that is the same size as the piece on the front. The trick to getting them to line up is – put adhesive on the back of the second paper and then on the non-adhesive side put it directly behind the image on the front of the card. Once you do that, close the card and it will show you right where to glue your inside sentiment down. For the envelope, I used a studio g stamp that says Happy * Holidays and inked it with Peeled Paint distress ink from Tim Holtz. Here’s what the card looks like.
S CardFolded s cardInside s cardS card openS Card w envelope

Martha Stewart Heating tool for embossing

I have been watching some YouTube videos to get some inspiration for making some new cards and have been seeing a lot of card makers use the heating tool. So I figured I would pick one up and see what I could create. What have I been missing?? I should have bought one of these a long time ago. Sometimes from the videos (and even in some of the pictures for the cards I am going to post) won’t show the final result as shiny and amazing as it is in real life. I think that by using the embossing powder and heating tool, it gives a new look to the card and adds that something extra. I am a big fan of the heating tool and hopefully the next couple of blogs will showcase what I have been able to do with it!

For the first card, I used the Hero Arts Stunning Snowflakes background stamp and applied Versa Mark ink so that I could use the embossing powder. I made sure to cover the background (which took a couple of times of inking up and stamping since the card background is much larger than the stamp) and then I sprinkled Martha Stewart Sterling embossing powder all of the card. I then hit it with the heat gun.

*A couple of things I learned when using the heat gun – First, I wasn’t sure when the embossing powder was set. If you start to turn the card and it looks shiny where you were just heat embossing, it is starting to set. It will almost look like foil. Don’t overheat it, but if you don’t heat it enough the embossing powder won’t stick. (You may be able to see in my card there are places that I didn’t heat enough and some of the embossing powder fell off.) Second, make sure you hold the heating tool about two inches away from the area you are working in and use a circular motion to keep it moving so as to not burn the section you are working on. Third, if you are heating a large area, like the background of this card, it is probably easiest to start at the top of the card and work down, that way you don’t miss any areas. I think that was part of my problem with this particular card – I just had the heating tool all over the place.*

Okay – back to the card! After I set the embossing powder on the card, I used the Cricut to cut out the words “Let It Snow” using the Winter Frolics cartridge. I cut the phrase and the phrase shadow out at 2 1/2″ and used Pop Dots to attach them to the bottom left hand corner of the card. For the envelope, I used another studio g stamp, a single snowflake, inked in Silver Ink It Up! ink. Embossed SnowflakeSentimentCard frontCard and envelope

The second card I made with the heating tool is an ornament card. I started off with three different ornament stamp. I stamped two on red paper and one on green. The stamps I used are (in order) Studio G Ornament stamp, Paper Artsy stamp from Inkadinkadoo and an ornament stamp by Recollections. Again I used Versa Mark ink to stamp them and then used Martha Stewart embossing powder. On the red paper ornaments, I used Peridot embossing powder and on the green paper I used Tourmaline embossing powder. I set them with the heating tool (it was a little easier this time since the ornaments were a lot smaller of an area to cover than a background stamp!) and then once they were done I cut them out, leaving a small border around the outside. By leaving that border I think it gives you some room for error and it makes the shapes look a little nicer. (That’s just my opinion though!) I took a piece of paper from the 4×6 Recollections Signature Jolly and Bright pack, glued it down to the card front, as well as the ornaments I made to the patterned paper. (I use a Scotch 3M glue stick to glue almost all my pieces down).

For the sentiment, I used another Studio G stamp “Bright and Merry”. I inked it up with Versa Mark ink and then used the Tourmaline embossing powder. I used Pop Dots to adhere the saying to the front of the card after I used the specialty scissors to cut a wavy design around the edges of the sentiment. Lastly, for the envelope, I used another Recollections stamp, a row of holly leaves. I used my stamp markers and colored in the leaves green and the berries and scrolls in red.
Card frontInsideCard and envelope

A couple of things about using the heating tool:
1 – Make sure you use it over a craft mat. It gets VERY hot in the area that you use the tool in and stays that way for awhile.
2 – When you use the craft mat, let it cool down before you put any of your projects on to glue down. I didn’t and it warped the glue for the background paper for one of my cards.
3 – Do not overheat the embossing powder. You will burn it. When the powder starts to look like foil, it is set. For the sparkly embossing powders (like the red and green I used in the above card), it is a little more difficult to tell when they are set. They become shiny and melted together. If you aren’t sure you can run your hand over the embossing powder, but wait a couple of seconds after taking the heating gun off the area or else you can burn your fingers.
4 – Put your embossing powder into ziploc containers and use a spoon to pour the powder onto your project. I have been using the containers that they come in, but I think it will be easier to control if you use a spoon to apply the powder.
These are just a couple of things I found either while watching YouTube videos from other crafters or figured out myself as I was making these cards. If you have any other tips, please share them!!