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Can’t find it? Make it!

As I’ve said before, I have  a paper problem. And, yes, admitting it is the first step. I think the next is doing something about it. For me, that clearly means buying more paper. I know, I know – I’m supposed to be trying to kick the habit, but how can you resist a good paper sale??

I went into Michael’s the other day with the intention of NOT buying any paper, even though it was 5/$1. The reason? All of those clear paper storage packages that I bought are almost completely stuffed. So, ok, I won’t buy the 8 1/2″ x 11 or 12×12 sheets. I managed to bypass the paper aisle and move to the card aisle. Since a lot of what I am going to work on for the craft fair are cards, I decided that was a safer place for me to be rather than the paper aisle. (Boy was I wrong!! They were having a clearance sale on a TON of things in that aisle and I ended up buying puzzles, cards and envelopes and even bookmarks at an amazing price. Now just to find the time to work on these things!!)

But back to my original point – with all the paper I have, sometimes I still don’t have exactly what I am looking for. It could be that there are no patterns that match the look I am trying to achieve or the color just isn’t the right shade that I need. This happened to me when I was creating a layout for my goddaughter’s album. I saw a sketch of a page layout that I liked and decided that this page would be the perfect one for me to try it out on. The page only had one picture and I wanted something really cool for the background.

I started off by choosing the background paper – a white page with two different color blue designs. The I looked through my (overstuffed) blue paper pack and chose three colors that I thought would coordinate well with it. I picked two solids and one pattern. I cut the three sheets into 6×6 squares and placed them on the page. The two solid pages looked too plain next to the polka dot one, so I decided to alter them.

As hard as I tried to find three patterned papers that would go together, I couldn’t seem to find any that I thought would look good with the background. I have a hard time with this – especially when I see the papers that others choose when they start their project. I often think – how do those patterns go together??? So, instead of trying to match patterns and color, I matched the colors and then decided to create my own patterns.

For the first sheet, I used a swirl stencil. I haven’t used stencils much in the past, so I thought this would be a good time to try. If it didn’t come out good, I had three more shots with the rest of the 12×12 paper! HA. Since the background features two different color blues, I chose the two blue distress inks I have – faded jeans and broken china. At one end I started with one color and worked my way about halfway down. Then I started at the other end with the other color. Once everything but the middle was done, I took my blending tool and dipped one end in one color and the other in the remaining color and just started blending. I removed the stencil and I had such a cool design!

The second sheet was a different story. I have seen people use Perfect Pearls mist and stencils so I thought I’d try that. Yeah – that didn’t turn out too good. Instead, I ended up removing the stencils and using my fingers to spread the spray mist around. Then, before it was dry, I just placed the one flower stencil on top of the paper. It turned out even better than I expected! I got a shiny piece of blue card stock that has a subtle hint of a flower pattern. (The picture doesn’t do the paper justice – it’s much cooler in person!)

When all else fails and you can’t find the right paper for your layout, make it! Whether its using markers, paint, distress inks, stencils or stamps, you can easily make whatever you need to go along with the project. Making background or accent papers gives the project a real homemade feel.

Here are some pictures of what the papers I made look like:

The first two are the original 6×6 pieces of paper:

starting piecestarting

Paper with the swirl stencil onto of it:

with stencil on top

The finished paper:


Tim Holtz Distress Ink Colors:


The stencils I tried to use – ended up only using the one on top


The paper


You can see the flowers a little better in this one:

end result

Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave a comment or question.


New, fun products to try!

I have acquired a couple of new products over the past weeks that I am really enjoying using and wanted to share them with you. They range from an embossing machine to a new form of adhesive and I have made some fun things with these items!
First, and probably my favorite, is the Cuttlebug. It is a die cutting and embossing machine. At first I didn’t think I would really use it because I have the Cricut, but after watching a bunch of YouTube videos on it, I realized it might come in handy. And it really has! The machine itself comes with one embossing folder and I bought a couple (ok a bunch!) more. I even looked at YouTube to see if you could use other brands of embossing folders and die cuts in this machine and you can, so now I have even more options! Here is what the Cuttlebug looks like:Cuttlebug
Here are some examples of what it can do:Embossed letter This is a letter I cut from the Cricut and then ran through the Cuttlebug with one of my embossing folders.
This is an example of a background paper you can create by running a piece of plain paper through the Cuttlebug with an embossing folder and then using distress ink on the raised parts to create a two-toned background.
Emb folders These are some examples of embossing folders for the Cuttlebug.
I have been using the Cuttlebug a lot and I will write a blog soon about how to use it and other company’s die cuts and embossing folders.
The next item that I bought was an ATG gun. ATG stands for Advanced Tape Glider. It is definitely an investment – it cost about $35 – $40 at AC Moore or Michaels. However, I got mine for $8.01! I used the 50% off coupon and then I had a $10 gift certificate from AC Moore rewards. It was worth the investment. I believe the refills are $10, but I used another 50% off for that. It last so much longer than the little tape dispenser that I had been using. It is big and bulky and does take some getting used to. Make sure you save the directions on how to reload the tape. I’m not sure if the refills come with directions (I assume they do, but just in case….). Here is what mine looks like:
Another product I have bought recently are Stickles. They look like GLitter glue, but are easier to use. I bought regular and the distress sets and I like the regular better. The distress stickles aren’t as sparkly as the regular. I have used them on a couple of pages recently to accent things. For this layout, I highlighted the lightbulbs on the string of lights, the green stripes on the candy canes and the red berries in the holly leaf paper. Overview
If you are tired of your frames for pictures or even your pictures having just plain square edges, this next product gives a different look. It’s from We Are Memory Keepers and it’s called a Corner Chomper. They have several different versions and each “chomper” has two different edges that it creates. The one that I have has a scallop and a cloud edge. I have been trying to get the 1/2″ and 1/4″ corner rounder, but my AC Moore always seems to be out of it. Here is the one I have:Corner ChomperCorner Chomper The picture on the right uses the scallop corner chomper. You can see the slight difference between that picture and the picture on the left, which is a regular picture. If you look at the pictures I posted from the Stickles example, you can see the effect the cloud punch has on the holly paper.

The last new product that I want to talk about are Perfect Pearl Mists. These mists alter the color of your piece and give it a nice shiny, glittery look. For an album I did recently, I used distress inks to color a tag, but I thought it needed a little shine. So, I used the Perfect Pearl mist called Perfect Pearl and then the heat gun to help dry it. Sometimes you need to let it sit under a heavy book for the night so that the paper flattens out again. Here’s a picture of the completed tag:Tag And here is what the product looks like: