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March 12th, 2009

Kim Prince from Creative Diversions blog is giving away the most amazing list of items as blog candy.  It’s a draw. Between now and March 15, you leave a comment on Kim’s blog.  If your name is drawn, you will receive a wonderful supply of stamps and various stamping related items.

Kim is Canadian, but she has stated she will ship to anywhere in the world so every one can play.

Why not throw your hat in the ring and go leave a comment?  The link is Creative Diversions Blog Candy.

March 2nd, 2009
round mini album with St. Patricks Day theme, front cover
round mini album with St. Patricks Day theme, back cover
round mini album with St. Patricks Day theme, open

This round mini album has a St. Patrick’s Day theme. It’s a gift for a friend of Irish heritage, and it’s all about her dog, which she spells “dawg.” The title of the little scrapbook is “Dawggone Irish.”

The back cover (shown in the middle photograph)  has a three dimensional shamrock shape which contains a picture of the dog, and the text “Dawggone right I’m Irish.”

I used Photoshop CS to edit the photo, bu you could do the same with Adobe Photoshop Elements 10.

To make the shamrock shape, I started with a shamrock shape from Microsoft Office clip art. I copied and pasted the shamrock into a new file in Photoshop, then resized it to the size I wanted my printed picture to be. I think this was about three inches wide. I also converted the clip art to a resolution of 300 dpi, which is the resolution I planned to use for printing. Then, I resized my photograph to the same size as the shamrock.

I used the magic wand tool to select the inside of the shamrock. Then I selected the photograph and copied it to my clipboard. Returning to the shamrock image, I used the “Paste Into” command to paste the picture of the dog into the shamrock. I used the Move tool to move the dog picture around to get the best display.

So back to the mini album. The third picture shows the mini album standing upright and fanning open like a flower.  Despite having only four pages, this little mini album has plenty of places to put pictures, journaling or other artwork.

And, because no ready-made album or kit is used, its an economical project. it uses only four squares of card stock, some chipboard from a cereal box and whatever papers and embellishments you choose to add.

I embossed the card stock and paper with the Allegro Embossing Folder from Cuttlebug. It shows a musical score.

Here is a video tutorial showing how I made the round mini album:

I did a Google search to find the various Irish blessings, sayings and proverbs that I included in the project.

February 10th, 2009
gift card holders with Valentine theme
gift card  holders with Valentine theme

These gift card holders, two with a Valentine theme, were inspired by a make and take at Scrap Arts, a scrapbook store in North Vancouver.

They are easy and fast to make, and are a great way to personalize a gift card — whether for Valentine’s Day or any other day.  The gift card goes in the opening in the front, and the holders open up so you can write your personal message inside.

They’re simply rectangular envelopes cut and folded, then covered with colorful scrapbook paper. A one-inch punch works well to make the semi-circle at the top of the envelope, and of course you can decorate them any way you want.

Here is a video tutorial demonstrating how to make these gift card holders.

January 6th, 2009
heart medallion card made with Holly Berry House Stamp
heart medallion card made with Holly Berry House Stamp

I absolutely love the cards made with Holly Berry House medallion art stamps. These three  heart medallion cards are made with their Hearts and Stripes stamp.

This link leads to the Video Tutorial for the Heart Medallion Card.

These medallion cards take a fair amount of time to make. They’re great for people who enjoy heat embossing, precision cutting with scissors or a clipping tool and applying glitter.

Obviously, you can apply as many layers of matting as you want, and add as many layers to the medallion at the stamp allows. I have used six layers of matting (including the card base) and seven precision cut layers for the medallion.

I’ll be sending these cards for Valentine’s Day. So far, I’ve made six, each essentially the same design but each somewhat different in terms of colors and layering.

The heart medallions are good for Valentine’s Day. They’re also a lovely card, wall hanging or memento for any time you want something a little special.

Oh, and if you don’t know how to do heat embossing, I have a free video tutorial on this blog called How to Do Heat Embossing.

Holly Berry House has a lovely selection of art stamps — some with medallions and some with other layering effects.  I have made five of them so far,  including the Holiday Drummer Boy card.

November 13th, 2008

I’m on a roll making Advent Calendars. I made another one yesterday. This one is flat and can be hung from a doorknob or on the wall. I plan on making a video demonstration of this project, but its not quite ready to go yet.

advent calendar

I made this calendar with a specific goal in mind. I wanted to design it using items that are readily available to anyone. The Countdown Kits are lovely, but they are somewhat costly and difficult to come by.

This calendar costs about ten dollars to make, tops. It probably costs much less than that if you use everyday items and scraps of paper from your stash. Of course, you can up the price considerably if you want to use ready made embellishments and the most costly papers with glitter and so forth.

For the little envelope/boxes/containers — whatever they are … I spent some time fooling around with paper until I got a design that bunches open nicely. This gives you room to slip your chocolate or other candy inside.

Making hand made Advent Calendars or Countdown Calendars is such fun. Advent Calendars were not a tradition in Manitoba, where I came from. I discovered them when I moved to Vancouver. People here really seem into them — and no wonder! They are charming!

October 29th, 2008

This Asian themed cigar box purse is one of my efforts at altered art.

cigar box purse with an Asian theme
cigar box purse with an Asian theme

This project does not use an authentic cigar box. For that, please refer to my Sapphire Video Tutorial. It contains directions for making a heritage album out of a real cigar box.

This cigar box came from Michaels. The bamboo handle was included, which made life a lot easier for me. Attaching handles seems to be something of a challenge for me.

I decided to allow the natural wood to show, so rather than painting this box, I covered it with a clear acrylic varnish for protection and shine. I decorated the cigar box purse with Asian themed scrapbook paper and origami papers. The stamped images are done with unmounted rubber stamps purchased from Pink Cat Studio

If you have never worked with unmounted rubber stamps before, stay tuned. I plan to do a tutorial soon showing how to mount them using the EZ Mount system.

Cigar box purses are fun. You can use them to store items or display them around your home. I have even seen women carrying them as a purse, although I have never done that myself.

Tomorrow I plan on doing a post showing another cigar box purse I made from a Michaels box.

Altered art is such a cool way to allow your creativity to flourish.

October 27th, 2008
thinking of you card made with iris folding
thinking of you card made with iris folding
birthday card made with iris folding

I’ve been on a roll making hand made cards with iris folding lately.

The cards I posted earlier were Halloween cards utilizing specific shapes — a witch and a witch’s cauldron or pot.

While many of the iris folding patterns you find are shapes of things, you also find some that are spiraling geometric shapes, such as circles, squares, rectangles, ovals, etc.

They can be quite elegant, depending on the colors and textures of the papers you use.  The three cards shown here use the same pattern, a spiraling square.

The top card is stamped “Thoughts of You.:” The iris folding design is done on white paper and uses three colors. I used orange vellum, dark yellow vellum and scrapbook paper in a greenish yellow design.  In the iris I placed a maple leaf-shaped rhinestone.  The card is blocked on two layers — green and dark yellow that matches the yellow vellum.

The middle card is similar. I used some leftover scrapbook paper used in making the Halloween cards. There was not always enough to complete a pattern, so there are some variations. Nevertheless, the “real life” card looks like attractive, although it does not show up too well in the image. The iris is a red crystal encirled by clear crystals. It is done on black paper and layered on light green and blue card stock.

The third card uses three shades of vellum: red, orange and dark yellow. It has a pearl in the middle, and is stamped Happy Birthday. Like the first, it is layered on green and dark  yellow cardstock.

Iris folding is such a good way to use up leftover scraps of paper, and the end results can be quite attractive.

I have also created small iris fold designs to use as embellishments in scrapbooks and altered books.

October 24th, 2008

iris folding book spiral folding for paper arts Like most, if not all publications from Design Originals, Iris Folding : Spiral Folding for Paper Arts by Lisa Vollrath is a soft cover book with glossy magazine-like pages and tons of great pictures.

This book contains a couple of pages of tips and instructions for doing the iris folding technique. The remaining 35 pages contain pictures, patterns, instructions and 16 sets of color coordinated papers suitable for iris folding with the patterns given, or with other patterns of your choice.

The book contains patterns and pictures of a number of projects. There are two or three, maybe more, for an altered book. One design I plan on doing soon. It’s a stunning cover for a journal or an altered book.

There are also patterns and pictures for greeting cards, decorating little boxes, scrapbook layouts and even a small, circular pattern to decorate the inside of a slide mount.

I think this book is a worthwhile investment.  True, you can get free patterns on the Internet, but this book includes pictures of the finished iris fold incorporated in a project, as well as including several sets of complementary papers in a variety of colors.

The only negative that I can see is that the book is published in 2004, and some of the designs shown may be somewhat out of date.  To me, that matters nothing. I have written before about my opinions on keeping up with current craft trends. I see that serving the craft industry well, but not necessarily any great advantage to the crafter.

Vollrath’s book on iris folding is worth having.

July 24th, 2008

I’m a big fan of using items of altered art to embellish scrapbooks, journals, greeting cards and other paper craft projects.

There’s something about taking a piece of junk and giving it new life that resonates with me. I like doing something to turn a discarded or unwanted object into a decorative and eye catching item.  I will use darned near anything that is flat enough and small enough, or that can be cut into sizes that are small and flat enough to use in a layout.

altered art embellishment made from earrings The picture shows an embellishment I made using loop earrings that I purchased for $1 at an Asian market.

I removed the earring wires using wire cutters. Next, I used a rubber stamp and stamping ink to stamp a small leaf image on a square of white card stock. I glued the earring over the stamped image, positioning it so the image is centered in the loop. Lastly, I filled the hole with a product like Crystal Lacquer or Dimensional Magic.

Dimensional Magic seems to be unavailable these days. Too bad. I liked that product. Crystal Lacquer is good also, and still available.

Since there were two earrings, I made two identical embellishments and used both in a double sided layout.

So how about you? What altered art embellishments have you created for your scrapbooks?

July 17th, 2008

cherry treesA scrapbooker showed me this cool technique for  cropping scrapbook photos a long time ago. I love the look, and I have used it many times. I call it the “self-framing” technique.

The picture to the right is a snapshot of a layout in which I have cropped the two pictures of a cherry tree in blossom.  I cut into copies of the original photographs to do this.

petrelEssentially, this technique involves cutting your photograph into pieces, trimming as needed, and reassembling in such a way that the photograph forms a border or frame for itself.

In the cherry tree pictures above, I have cut a rectangular shape from the center of the photograph, trimmed around the edges of the inner rectangle,  then reassembled and mounted on card stock.

The picture of the petrel (taken while crossing the Drake Passage from Argentina to Antarctica) is a similar example, but in this case, I have cut a rectangle from each end of the photograph, then reassembled and blocked the image. This technique does quite a bit to liven up these dark, moody, grayish pictures, but without taking away from the layout’s feel or “look”.

The albatross picture shows the same technique as the cherry trees.  Note how the cropping helps to emphasize the huge bird in the center of the otherwise bleak water.

The dark and eerie picture of the Drake Passage was taken through the porthole in my cabin.  The photo is typical of the gray sky and gray waters of this remote area of the world. In this image, I have used a six-sided cropping design to add interest to an image that could otherwise be dull and boring in the layout.

Drake Passage

The great part about this technique is that you can do it digitally if you’re into digital or hybrid scrapbooking, or you can do it in “real life” by cropping the actual photos.

One word of caution: avoid cutting through key components of a picture.  Unless you were going for a special effect, you would not want to cut through a person’s face, for example.  Remember the purpose of this technique is to give emphasis to a picture, not to take away from the highlights.

If you choose to crop your pictures digitally, most photo editing software applications will give you a look like this quite nicely.

I use various other photo editing and cropping techniques in my scrapbooks and memory albums. I’ll be posting descriptions and pictures from time to time.

What about you? How to you like to crop your scrapbook photographs?