Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Links and Notes from Scrapbooking Activity

John H Groberg 1980 conference talk

July 1986 Ensign Hidden Benefits of keeping a History

NY Times Article – The stories that bind us

Create your own QR Code

Smash books by K&Co

Page Maps

Photo book printing reviews: - note this review links to a review if you just want to print out layouts.

Photo Sharing and Saving

Project Life Info
Project Life Digitals for purchase
Project Life is currently available on Amazon and at Hobby Lobby and will also be carried by Michaels later this summer.  The Spring 2013 collection is just starting to hit stores and is not yet at Amazon, but should be by the end of June. also has Project Life photo books available. 

Blog posts about using Project Life to get kids to document their own lives:

TwoPeasInABucket have a weekly video series on YouTube for project life.  They never use an official Project Life kit… ideas on how to use the stuff you already have.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Scrapbooking for the Non Crafty

Have you heard of Project Life?  

It's a scrapbooking philosophy/technique that is intended to simplify your memory keeping.  It was developed by Becky Higgins, and I first heard about it when researching layout possibilities for a Becky Higgins baby book kit.  I found it very intriguing, but it was only available on Amazon and was mostly sold out at that time.  More recently, I found out that it was going to be available on HSN in a kit format with new looks.  I bought both of the available kits, and ever since I got them, I have been having lots of fun scrapbooking.  In only about 2 weeks I have put the last 18 months in an album with full journalling (and it looks pretty too!).

So what is Project Life and how is it different from other memory keeping techniques?  Well, let's discuss the different options.  

1.  Traditional Scrapbooking  - In traditional scrapbooking you attach photos to a page (12x12, 8x8, or 8 1/2 x 11) in whatever layout you want.  You can make some really beautiful layouts, but the time spent on a layout is quite high compared to how many pictures are typically included.  The sky is the limit with this technique which usually means I was stumped from the get go.  Below is a layout I made in a class.  It's so beautiful I have yet to find any pictures that I think are worthy of it.  

2.  Scrapbook Kit - This is traditional scrapbooking minus the million and one possibilities.  In the example below, I made an album using a SEI One-Hour Scrapbook kit.  It had all of the papers precut and labeled with all of layouts designed and easy to follow.  The problem I had with this technique is that almost all of my pictures are landscape, and it was hard to figure out what to do on the layouts requiring portrait oriented photos.  Also, a specific number of photos were needed for each layout irregardless of the number of photos you have taken.  Finally, you could not do themes for any specific layout (like Christmas).  All that being said, I did put together an album representing my 2010 photos. However, while I have purchased another kit, I have yet to do anything with it.  The luster wore off with the first kit and now it is just to boring to think about.  

This was a page that was intended for 2 portrait 4x6 photos, but I used 4 cropped photos instead.  Also, can you tell these took place on New Years Day?

3.  Digital Scrapbook/ Digital Photo book - This is becoming the method of choice for many people.  It's easy and quick.  I put together a digital photo book and sent it to be printed for each of my big vacations, and it only took me  a couple of hours to put together.  I could fit a lot of photos on each page if I wanted, or just feature a single photo (some of them turn out nice!).  The problem with this technique is that there is no place to put the memorabilia.  I am not one to save tickets to everything, but I always seem to come home with a few maps and brochures.  They usually end up in the trash or as clutter somewhere in the house.  

Honestly, I really love Photo books for trips.  They have so much room for pictures and turn out really cute.  I will probably continue to make them for my big vacations.  

4.  Project Life - With Project Life, you only need 5 things.  An Album, a card kit, page protectors, a pen, and your photos.  You just slide the photos in the pockets on the page protector, add journaling to some of the cards, and use the rest as attractive filler.  This is it's most basic format.  However, you can make your own cards for a more customized look, add memorabilia, increase the number of photos by adding inserts, or even add memorabilia in additional sleeves. (Below I put the tour guides from my most recent trip to New York in a 8 1/2 by 11 page protector and put it right in my book.)  You can make it as easy or complicated as you like.  I can do whatever I want when I am feeling creative, or stick to the basics when my creative mojo has deserted me.  It's not pretentious, so I don't spend a lot of time editing photos (or any time at all really), trying to get the perfect picture.  

A basic project Life page

A 8 1/2 x 11 page protector holds maps and brochures from my trip and sits right in the album at the trip pages.

A more embellished page.  I used a large stamp for the title card and included a map card.  I also added labels to some of the photos.  

5.  Smashbook - this is the final technique I can think of.  It's also something fairly new.  With a basic smash book, you get an album and a pen/glue stick combo.  The album is made with high quality decorative card stock pages, but no protectors.  This means your base layer is already there.  You could carry it around with you when you travel and add your ticket stubs and other memorabilia as you go along.  To me, I think it is a great way to keep and display memorabilia, but not ideally suited to a lot of photos.  Since I am not big on the memorabilia, I have not explored it to much.  If it sounds interesting to you, google it.  There are a lot of great blogs and YouTube videos about it.  (I keep thinking I need to give one to my nieces to document their high school life.)  

I hope this has given you something to think about.  I plan to do two more pieces about Project Life.  Next time I will talk about the different products available.  Becky Higgins came up with the idea and has teamed up with American Crafts to go mainstream (it will soon be available at Hobby Lobby and Michaels), but a couple of other companies have taken the idea and copied it.  My final post will be about the different ways of making Project Life work for you.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New York Smash Book

I have not posted in a while.  Sorry about that, but let's not dwell on the past...

My sister moved to Brooklyn recently and had a baby, which means I will be visiting later this month.  I thought it would be fun to have a book that I could keep notes in for future visits as well.  I thought a smash book (if you don't know what that is, Google it!) would be a great fit.  However, I did not start with a 'real' smash book, instead I started with a spiral bound journal I picked up at Ikea for about 2 or 3 dollars.  I primarily used paper from a new paper stack called Lola and Luca by the Paper Studio.

This is what I started out with.  It's a spiral bound book with a linen hardcover front and back.  The paper inside is not the best quality, but it was good enough for my purposes and unlined.  I did not want the winter/ holiday theme implied with the snowflakes, so I decided to cover it.  I recently watched a Martha Stewart episode where she covered a linen journal with paper, and decided to do the same thing.

This is the front of the book.  While it is not in the picture above the journal has an elastic band that keeps it closed.  I decided not to decorate the front further because I plan to keep it in my bag and I did not want anything to get damage while pulling things in and out of the bag.

The inside cover is a Teresa Collins print I got at Tuesday Morning.  I think the black letter stickers are from the dollar store, and the stickers spelling New York are also from the Paper Studio (I think).  The label is from the paper stack.  It has 3 sheets of paper labels.  More on that later.

I created 4 sections in the book and made tabs using MS Word Art.  They are about 4 inches long folded in half just above the word and then I round the corners.  I printed the labels to match the tabs and cut them out with the Spellbinder die Labels 4.

The first section is addresses.  This is where I plan to put the addresses of places I want to go.  I have a smart phone, but sometimes it is just easier to look on a map... especially when the internet is being slow.

Following each tab, I added an envelope to put receipts, tickets, or other memorabilia.  I wish now that I had glued the envelopes facing the other direction, so I would not have to worry about anything falling out.

The next tab is for tickets.

I put an envelope behind this tab as well, but this time I decided to add a fastener.  The flower is one I made using Shrinky Dink and I colored a bit of canvas ribbon I got with the purchase of some sheets.  

The third section is for Travel Info.  Things like flight information and what bus/subway to take, or things I might want to go to on another visit.  

I put the envelope on the reverse side of the tab rather than on a new page this time.  I don't think I mentioned it earlier, but I knew I would need extra space, so I cut out about half the paper.  As I was attaching this envelope, I got to thinking I should conserve paper.

The final tab is for references.  I think I will put emergency numbers and schedules in this section.

Again I put the envelope on the opposite side of the same page rather than a new page.

In the back of the book I added three large home made envelopes.  I enclosed them with an accordion system I saw on this Papertrey Ink blog post.

This is another view of the envelopes.  When the book is closed, the open end of the envelope is at the spine, so I do not have to worry about anything falling out.

As I mentioned earlier, the paper pack has label sheets.  I cut all of the labels from only one sheet and put it in the pink envelope.  I plan to keep a glue stick and pen with me, so it will be easy to add cute captions to anything I put in the book.

Well, that's my book.  I love the way it turned out, and I can't wait to get to New York and start using it.  I think it will be a great way to document the trip.  

PS  It's World Card Making Day this Saturday.  I have been furiously trying to get organized, so I will be ready to spend the entire day making cards.  Are any of you planning to do anything for the event?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My New Craft Room

My sister and I decided to replace our craft room furniture last summer while wandering through Ikea.  Previously we had a wall shelf unit that had two small desks.  This worked ok for me because I had a large keyboard tray that doubled my space.  However, my sister sews and the desks were not big enough for her, so she has had to take over the dining room whenever she was working on a project.

We purchased two 4x4 Expedit units with two desks attached.  The Expedit units stick out from the wall in the center of the room, and give it a cubicle feel, but I like how close everything is to hand.

My desk is the first one inside the room and I have the closet to my right.  I removed the doors of the closet and put in new modular shelves over Christmas break.

I put the JetMax units I have had for several years in the bottom of the closet.  The Cricut and Big Shot sit on top of them.  In place of clothes rods I put dowels loaded with ribbon.

I put all of my stray bits of ribbon on a paper towel holder.  I am using the hardware storage unit for embellishments.  Some of the drawers are labeled, but I glued some examples to the outside on the smaller drawers.  

I put a glass pane on my desk to protect it.  I have covered the edges with duct tape.

On the wall I have a peg board and magnet board.  To the right of the wall I have some totes hanging on the wall along with some of my punches.  

Under the glass I have placed the coloring charts for my Promarkers.  I keep my collection of stickles at the corner of my desk.

In the other corner is a turntable organized unit.  It has a rack above it that I have put some brads and stickers on.

The Expedit unit has 16 cubes.  I have filled them with my stamps, books, paper, and other tools.

I made a holder for my markers out of foam board.  I could not find anything that would work and decided that making it myself would be the best solution.  The markers are arranged in the same order they appear on my color charts.

My cricut cartridge manuals are in the pull out drawers and the cartridges are stored in the 'tackle box' next to it.

the blue bucket holds my dies and embossing folders.  The white boxes (from Ikea) hold stickers, letters, and patterns.  Under the desk I have file holders.  I had to get rid of a filing cabinet as part of the make over, and this seems to be a good replacement.  

The printer sits on top of some more jet max cubes.  Behind it is a kitchen island I use for a work table.   The back wall has two shoe organizer each with two compartments.  My sister got them for books thinking that it would be more narrow than a bookcase.  However, the ones she ended up getting are about 11 inches wide, so I don't think she is saving any space. 

On the wall to the left she has all of her small tools and two pegboards.  In front of the desk are two magnet boards she has painted.  Additionally we both got pendant lights for our desk.  Ikea sells the cord for only four dollars and the shade was nine.  My sister's is plugged into a power strip that has a remote control (the cord from Ikea does not have an on/off switch), but I attached my power strip to the wall using command strips.  I have another power strip under the desk for items that I don't want turned on and off with the light.  

My sister's fabric is arranged in bins by color.  The smaller bins hold fat quarters and the larger bins hold large lengths of fabric.  On top of her desk she has placed a large cutting mat and a desk protector for the sewing machine to sit on.

Anyway that is our craft room.  We have a lot of stuff between the two of us, and I think this will work out.  Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

All About Embossing

Today I am going to talk about embossing and the tools I use to add embossed elements to my cards.  Embossing is to create a raised impression on a piece of paper, and you can do that in two ways.  The first is heat embossing and the second is what I call dry embossing where the image is pressed onto a piece of paper. 

In heat embossing, there are four essential tools.  You need ink, Embossing Powder, a heat gun, and a stamp to create the image.  If my powder matches a pigment ink that I already have, than I will use that pigment ink to attract the embossing powder, but mostly I use Perfect Medium.  There are embossing ink pads, and I have tried at least two, but they do not attract as well as the Perfect Medium.  (If you disagree, please leave me a comment.  I am self taught and more than willing to admit I might be using the embossing pads incorrectly.)

After you stamp the image onto paper, you than sprinkle it with the embossing powder.  I have a couple of different kinds, and I like the Martha Stewart ones best.  However, that is because they have a sprinkle cap, so you don’t end up pouring a ton of powder all over the place.  What I don’t have pictured, but is another useful tool, is a tray to collect the extra powder.  A paper plate will work, but the trays have a pour spout and are easier to use. 

The final step is to heat up the powder.  If you don’t have a heat gun, you can use a toaster or the oven, but you risk burning the paper.  The heat gun I have is by Martha Stewart.  I have never used another, so I don’t have anything to compare it to.  However, I don’t think it gets hot enough to use the Jim Holtz Distress Embossing powder because they take forever to heat up. 

Another tool pictured, but not listed as essential is the anti-static pad.  You swipe it over the surface you are going to emboss before stamping, and it helps to keep stray powder from sticking to the paper.  My embossing efforts are a lot neater since I bought the anti-static pad. 

The second type of embossing is dry embossing.  You can use three different embossing mediums for dry embossing.  (There are probably more, but I only have three!)  In the picture there is a black embossing plate, a white plastic embossing folder, and a metal embossing die.  For all three you place the paper in or on the embossing plate/folder/die and run it through an embossing machine that will smash the paper into the image on the plate/folder/die. 

I have found the plates, folders, and dies to work equally well.  However, the folder is a little less versatile because do not have as much freedom of movement if the paper is larger than the embossing folder.  The folded edge is a hard line that you cannot move the paper beyond.  The plates and dies however, require an adapter plate that has some give to force the paper against so it will not tear.  (The folders are made of silicon, I think and do not require an adapter plate.)  Depending on the thickness, all three may require a shim.

The embossing machine that I have is the Texture Boutique by Sizzix.  If you have a manual die cut machine, you can also use it for your embossing, but you probably know that already.  There are a couple of other embossing only machines out there, but I have no experience with them. 

I love embossing!  You can take plain paper and turn it into something beautiful and unique.  Embossing is also comparatively inexpensive.  The folders are only a couple of dollars each, and the powder will last a really long time. 

If you have any other questions about embossing, please leave a comment.  If there are any other tools you would like to know about, leave me a comment!  Have a great week! 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

All About Adhesive

I thought I would share with you some of the tools that I use in paper crafts this week.  I have been crafting with paper for a little over three years now.  I did not take many pictures of my first cards, but they were not very good compared to my cards now.  One of the things I found most difficult to figure out, is what adhesive to use.  This seems like such a simple thing, but without the proper adhesive, your projects do not last.  In my case, several of the cards that I sent to my nieces and nephews arrived in pieces.  I think I have it figured out, and I would like to share with you some of my hard won knowledge. 

My favorite adhesive is my glue runner.  I have the GlueGlider Pro, but the Scotch ATG Glider is also really good.  I did not get mine until last summer, but I wish I had purchased it sooner.  I thought that it would be too big, but the larger size lets me have more control.  The refills are pretty pricey, but it really adheres well.  I use the tape gun a lot for the card frames.  Many of my cards have large rectangular pieces and it works really well.  It was also fantastic for applying all of the mats for the one and only scrapbook I have made.  If you are considering buying the GlueGlider or the ATG, look for the refills at your local craft store.  In my case, the GlueGlider refills are only available at Hobby Lobby.  This is very important because the cheapest way to get refills is to use the coupons that the craft stores have every week.  It’s cheaper than anything on the Internet. 

My second type of adhesive is the Clear liquid glue.  I have the Scotch brand pictured here, but the brand does not matter.  I use this to attach smaller items.  There is a small applicator on one end that I use to add dots of glue to the smaller objects.  (I tried to get a picture of the glue on the white boot, but it’s hard to see.)  Generally, wet glue has a tendency to buckle or distort the paper, but tiny dots ever quarter inch or so do not cause the paper to buckle.  This glue really adheres well as well and dries pretty fast.  Also, while the tubes cost about $5 each, they last a long time, so it’s a pretty inexpensive adhesive. 

The rest of the adhesive I use is for specialty purposes.  The glue stick has really good adhesion as well, but it is very messy to use.  One trick I use to keep the mess to a minimum it to use a page in a phone book as my gluing surface.  I can turn the page after gluing something and have a clean surface.  It’s almost impossible however to prevent glue from getting on your fingers, and that attracts the ink on the pages.  Keep a wet paper cloth handy to clean your fingers, or you will smudge your work.  I use glue sticks on projects that don’t have to be perfect and that I need to complete relatively cheaply.  Don’t use a glue stick with white paper, because the smudges will show. 

I also have two sizes of the Xyron Sticker maker.  The one pictured above is the purple X good for objects no more than 1.5 inches wide.  (The other one I have is 5.5 inches wide.)  I use these primarily when I need to adhere a word, of if I am making an object that is going to be applied later.  It works well for words because any of the other adhesives I have will dry before I can apply them in detail.  Really detailed cuts also work well in the sticker makers.  When you run a piece of paper through the sticker maker it comes out sandwiched between wax paper and clear plastic, and that makes them really portable.

I use foam dots a lot to give the cards dimension.  They come in various widths, or you can double them up if you really want a lot of height.  I have not noticed that any one brand works better than another, so I usually buy whatever I can find for a reasonable price. 

Another useful adhesive is the Aleene’s Tacky Glue.  This stuff is great and I even keep a bottle at work.  I use it whenever, I need to glue something that is not paper.  For example on the tag in the picture, the gem stones on the tag were applied with the tacky glue. 

My final types of adhesive are the glue markers/ glue pens.  They come with glue that will be permanent if applied wet, or repositionable if allowed to dry to tacky.  It’s a liquid glue, so if you apply enough that the glue does not dry too fast, you tend to buckle the paper.  However, if you apply it to thinly, it will dry very quickly and not adhere well.  For this reason, I only use them on tiny details.  I prefer the pens because I can use them to apply a tiny dot of glue for glittering purposes as shown on the brown ticket.  They are pretty expensive and don’t have a lot of glue, so use them sparingly. 

So that is my little tutorial on adhesive.  I will be back on Wednesday with some more discussion about the tools I use.  I have not decided what tools to feature yet, so let me know if there is something you want to see more of.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Victorian Valentine

Valentine’s Day is in two weeks, are you ready?  I have made a card that I think is kind of an old fashioned Valentine’s Day card.  It’s also quick and easy to make.

The first step is to place the card background into a dry embossing folder.  I used a Cuttlebug roses folder from the Once Upon a Princess collection.  I then lightly rubbed green ink over the raised portion of the paper to accent the roses.  The background paper and the card base are made from the same green paper for continuity.

The next step is to run the cream paper and the pink floral paper (from DCWV Preppy Princess Stack) through the die cut machine using two different sizes of the Spellbinders Labels 18 dies.  (I love this die, and it is the main reason I bought a manual die cut machine.)  Before removing the smaller cream paper from the die, lightly ink the paper with a pink ink pad. 

Stamp the sentiment onto the smaller cream label and assemble the card. 

I made four of these cards, but I decided I only needed one Valentine card.  The other three I stamped with a Happy Birthday sentiment instead.  I gave all of my extra birthday cards to my mom for Christmas, so I am desperately in need of some birthday cards. 

For next week, I am thinking or writing about some of the various tools I use.  I don’t think I have mentioned it, but I am beginning a reorganization of my craft room and other parts of the house.  It started last weekend when I painted my bedroom, and it is seriously cutting into my crafting time.  I will try to maintain my current schedule of posting every Monday and Wednesday, and go back to three days a week some time in April.

If there are any tools that I have used, that you would like to know about , please let me know.