Sunday, March 13, 2011

Changes to the Blog

I've been contemplating things over the past week or so. Things about my blog, work, my business and I've decided there need to be some changes.
I love the new format of the blog but its just missing something though I'm not sure what. I will keep posting blogs in the current format over the next few weeks but you will start to notice some changes.
If you have any suggestions, then by all means please share. But for now... just watch this space.
I do have one announcement though. From Friday 1st April - yes April Fools Day - I will be holding Friday night Crops at the studio. They will be held every second Friday night. Only $5.00 which gives you access to all the tools I have at the studio except for the Klic-N-Kut.
If you have any requests or suggestions or you just want to know more about the Friday crops then leave a message here or mail me at and I can respond directly to you.
I will be announcing some Project Classes and all day crops over some upcoming long weekends so watch out for more on these as well. If you know anyone in South Auckland looking for somewhere to do some uninterrupted scrapbooking, card making or crafting then I would love to meet them.
Whether you are new to scrapbooking or card making or an experienced crafter, then be sure to follow my blog for more announcements over the coming weeks.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Layouts - For Grandad 2

A double layout for Grandad. I wanted a nice picture of him with each of the kids.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Off-The-Page - "D" for Dallas

Here is the letter I made for nephew number 2 - Dallas. Happy Birthday Dallas!!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Card Day - Emily's Birthday

Just a quickie tonight. I've been thinking about this card or something similar for a few days so it came together really quickly.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Technique Class - Cross Stitch

For our final hand stitching technique class I must conclude with my favourite stitch, the cross stitch. 
I am a cross stitcher from way back. It was my craft of choice before I discovered scrapbooking so I guess it has a special place in my heart. 
The stitch itself is relatively easy, the hardest bit is making it look tidy and there are some tricks to helping you with that.

  1. Make sure your holes are evenly spaced. The best way to do this is to use a piercing or stitching template.
  2. Every 4 or 5 stitches make sure your thread isn't twisted. Whether you know it or not, you tend to turn your needle either clockwise or anti-clockwise as you sew (its the same direction all the time, you don't alternate) and this means your embroidery threads end up twisted so your stitches don't look as full and the threads are more likely to break or look uneven.
  3. Make sure your crosses all cross in the same direction. Either left to right over the top or right to left over the top.
That's it really, pretty simple if you ask me.
There are a couple of ways of sewing cross stitches. You can either sew each stitch individually - which is best when there is spacing between each stitch, or you can sew them in strips sewing all the cross bars in one direction before turning back to sew all the cross bars in the opposite direction.
Continuous stitching from the front. Normally both cross bars would be the same colour, but I've done them in different colours just to illustrate what I mean.
Continuous Stitching from the back.
Stitching each individual cross stitch before starting the next one. It's the only way to stitch when there is some distance between the stitches like the bottom row, though it can also be used for side-by-side stitching like the top row though you do need to thread the needle underneath every second stitch to get the cross bars to cross in the same direction.
Individual cross stitching from the back.
And just to show you something different, that your cross stitching doesn't just have to be a straight line. I punched these holes using the Bazzill In Stitchz Round Template.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Scrapping Style?

I was reading the January 2011 edition of Creating Keepsakes and they have an article on changing your scrapping style which I enjoyed reading. It did however get me started (once again) on trying to decide "what is my scrapping style?"
I'm sure those who know me and some of my creations will probably be able to answer the question - about my style - relatively easily but I'm still lost as to what my style is.
I don't know that I have a particularly style as I tend to change the style of the page I am creating depending upon a number of factors...

  • The theme of the page I am creating
  • The look of the photos and their style
  • The patterned paper I end up using
  • My mood (sometimes I am in the mood for lots of embellishments, sometimes I go minimalist)
  • Sometimes the layout just seems to tell me it needs a little bit more here or there and sometimes when I place the little bit more it just doesn't look right so I take it right back off
  • I tend not to plan my pages (general statement though I am trying to plan a bit more so I can be a bit more productive instead of relying on the inspiration flowing) so how the style flows is what the page ends up like.
Anyway... so I spent some of my creative time this afternoon instead, trolling the internet looking for definitions of what are scrapbooking styles so I could determine which one I fit into. And basically I came to the conclusion there is no clear definition of what one scrapping style is compared to another as everyone has their own opinion. So I turn full circle and go back to the aforementioned article and refer to the eight (though I am sure some people may say there are more) styles that they refer to and how to achieve this style.
  1. Artsy Style - Combine patterns; add ink & paint; create your own backgrounds
  2. Graphic Style - Use minimal supplies; use straight lines; create white space
  3. Clean & Simple Style - Use a grid or template; limit embellishments; use patterns sparingly
  4. Shabby Chic Style - Add clusters of accents; layer embellishments and ribbons; rough up the edges of your pages
  5. Sophisticated Style - Dress up an accent; add personal touches; use patterned paper strips as ribbon
  6. Cutesy Style - Add pre-made products; use a nickname for your title; use bright, fun colours
  7. Whimsical Style - Create a scene on your background; use playful fonts; choose fanciful products
  8. Classy Style - Use solid colours; keep it clean; focus on the photos
So reading through that I would have to say I tend towards...

A graphic, clean & simple, sometimes shabby chic look which uses cutesy colours with a whimsical style of fonts and classy solid colours.

Do you agree?
And what is your style?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Handmade - Templates

Today I've been busy trying new techniques, cleaning, scrapping, organising, planning and downloading.
Tonight as my handmade items I've been hand-cutting some templates of some new shapes and designs. That sounds fairly straight forward and it is, though most of my templates I cut out of plastic so that I can re-use them hundreds if not thousands of times without the slightest sign of any damage.
I would post some pictures but they are all clear plastic so they don't photograph well. I will however point out some of my templates as I use them.

How do I create my templates?

First you need a design that you like and think you will use time and time again. It may be a die cut piece of paper that you really like the shape of or an image you have downloaded that you think would make a great background.
If I download an image I like, I print it out onto ordinary printer paper then cut it out with scissors. If its a die-cut piece of paper then I just use that.
I use re-positional adhesive dots to hold the paper template on to my plastic so I can then trace around it with a soft pencil - like a 3B - 6B.
I know you are asking what plastic do I use for my templates...
Go to your local $2 shop and look for packs of 2 clear plastic place mats. You can use coloured ones if you like, though I like the clear as then I can see the patterned paper beneath, just in case I am trying to line up a particular part of the pattern.
Having drawn or traced your pattern on the plastic, cut out the design using sharp but smallish scissors.
I then cut a small hole in one of the corners so that I can feed them onto the binder rings I have all my other templates on.
I have 4 or 5 rings now each with different sized templates on them.
The plastic can be quite firm to cut, so I wouldn't cut out too many at once, not unless you really like blisters across your fingers - just take my word for it on that.
And then when you have cut out your templates use them to cut patterned paper & cardstock for your scrapbook pages, cards and OTP projects.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Photo Techniques - Adding Words to Photos

Sometimes we take photos of the people & animals we love that are incredible photos. They are perfectly clear, the lighting is fantastic, brilliant colour, everything is just so... except for that one big patch of background "blankness" that we just can't crop out of the photo without lessening the impact of the photo as a whole.
Don't disparage you do have options.

  1. Get over it and just live with it as it is.
  2. Disguise it somehow.
Sometimes I choose option 1 when nothing else I try works. It doesn't mean I have failed as a scrapper, it just means for the time being I am allowing it to be seen as it is - it doesn't mean I won't change my mind... it just is what it is.
If I go with option 2, I have a number of techniques at my disposal with which to disguise the big blank blob (from hell).
  1. Hide it with rub-ons - for more on this see my earlier blog post.
  2. Cover it with a decorative element or embellishment.
  3. Cover it partially through the use of layering materials such as other photos, journaling, titles etc over it.
  4. Disguise it using journaling or a title directly onto your photo using your photo software - in my case PHOTOSCAPE.
Whatever you favourite photo software is, it should be able to do something similar one way or another.
  1. Open Photoscape
  2. Select Editor
  3. Open the photo you want to add the title or journaling to
  4. Select the object tab
  5. Select the text tool - this brings up a pop-up menu
  6. Type in your journaling or title. You will see the text box automatically increases in size to accommodate the amount of typing you have entered.
  7. Once you have keyed in what you want to include you can then start to alter the appearance. Try changing the colour of the font, adding a shadow, change the font size or font style until you get a look you are happy with.
  8. Click OK to finishing editing the text box. This closes the pop-up box, though you can re-open it at any stage by double clicking on the text box.
  9. Now move your text box to where you want to add it. You can at this stage resize the box to fit the available space and even alter the angle of the text box for added interest.
  10. Once you are happy with the new look, save your photo to a new file name. Remember don't save over the top of your original photo... just in case!!!
  11. Then you can print out your photo as you would normally print your photos and scrapbook.
Here are some before and after pictures...
This was just a sample to show the difference so I don't have a layout with picture... yet, but here are some examples of layouts.
With "Air Jordan" I kept the background as the original background - sky in this case. However in the picture below, I wanted to remove some of the background distraction (sorry Aunty Jean) so added a small heart onto which I then added the text block and this time changed the angle of the text box so the words would align with the heart frame.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Layouts - For Grandad

I created these to go with the other pages we had on display for Grandad Steve's funeral, Tuesday last week.

We gave him this picture enlarged and framed for Christmas. It's a nice picture of all of the grandkids, though it is a pity that Steve is not looking his normal chirpy self. It was his 73rd birthday and we shared a picnic at the Auckland Botanical Gardens with the lovely and ever so cute Miss Vienna who let us share her first birthday celebration.
This is the man that most people know. Quiet, reflective... a man who listened rather than saying much.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Off-The-Page - "J" for Jordan

I saw these blank letters at Spotlight a while ago and thought they were so cool. Then I saw them a bit later on sale, so I hunted through and found the letters I needed.
Over the period of about a week I finished off four letters all completely different. Three boys for my nephews - Jordan, Dallas & Troy and a little girl for my Granddaughter Sonia-Marie.
You won't get to see them all straight away. You like the kids have to wait until their birthdays... yes I know I'm mean.
Here are the stages of development of Jordan's "J". And yes I know his birthday was a while ago, I just haven't had a chance to share this with you until now.
The "blank" letter.
I first painted the edge and a little of the front.
Then painted the back as I wasn't going to cover this side.
Then covered the "J" part - pre-sanding.
Then I painted the body and hair. Luckily they were all blonde lol. I also then dressed them.
 I also tried to texture the hair a little so it looked a bit more realistic. 
Using a fine tipped felt pen I hand drew in the facial features. 
 Then painted in the teeth and eyes.
 Finally I added their individual names and decorated each letter.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Card Day - Dallas' Birthday

My adorable nephew Dallas is lucky or unlucky enough to have been born on February 29th, so he only gets to celebrate his birthday on his actual birthday once every four years. So as he only turned three yesterday... he still has another year to wait for the big day.
I love this card, its so kid friendly. Lots of dimension and lots to touch. The signs are all printed on foam. The sticks are coloured craft sticks and I have also used adhesive foam for even more dimension.
I want a card this cool for my birthday.