A Masking Technique with Gelatos

I love gelatos for the concentrated color they deliver (and they are fun to use too!) and I really need to use them more often. Today I want to share a fun technique I dreamed up.

I wanted to combine heat embossing an image on the background with using a mask and gelatos to color over it.

The photos I plan to use on this layout are dark and have a lot of black in them. I wanted to use a white background so that the color in the gelatos will really pop, so I’m using a white background.

To start, I added some black paint splatters.

I marked off where the photos would go lightly in pencil. I stamped this small doily image randomly on the background with Versamark ink and then heat embossed the image with clear embossing powder.

Once all the images were embossed, I used this cool Hero Arts background stencil to cover over the image and add the Gelato color.

I applied the Gelato through the mask so that it would cover the doily image, but be contained in that irregular square.

Once it was down, I blended the color with my finger.

I used a paper towel to remove the color from the doily image. The clear heat embossing acts to resist the color to reveal the stamped image.

At first I only selected four colors, but as I started working, I added in several more to blend them and deepen or lighten the color so that my boxes were all different shades.

Here is the final background. I trimmed the white cardstock down a little over an inch and added a border of pattern paper.

This technique was super fun and I’m so glad that it worked exactly as I envisioned in my head. I want to expand on this and try it with larger images now. It would be just as easy to create my own mask with a circle, scallop or square punch and cardstock.

Can’t wait to try this technique again. Have you tried gelatos yet?

Thanks for stopping by today!

A Wedding Shadow Box

So, I’ve had an interesting week.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday my Uncle dropped the bombshell that he and his girlfriend of several years were getting married. In two weeks. Because it was such short notice, they weren’t sure that anyone would make it to Pensacola for the big event.

Thank goodness my company has a generous vacation policy and said sure when I requested a few days off. My parents and I hopped in their van and made the drive north so that we could be there for the wedding.

It was a whirlwind trip but so worth it. Seeing family. Celebrating good times. An Irish pub. Lots of laughs. Tons of photos. Definitely worth it!

So how does a paper crafter help commemorate the day?

This was such an easy, quick project. Simple but classic. Not the best photo, but the sun was setting and the natural light was gone. The glare was horrible so it had to be from this angle.

First, I printed the names on a white sheet of cardstock and then stacked the hearts from there.

I used this awesome Hearts A Plenty thin steel die from My Favorite Things in my Cuttlebug to cut the hearts. The largest heart is 2 inches wide. It’s substantial but not too big.

I wanted to have a mix of texture so I folded some of the hearts in half to get dimension and I ran a few others through the Swiss Dots embossing folder to get the texture.

I used Festive Berries distress ink to add color to the center heart and to outline two small hearts to bring attention to the names at the bottom corner.

Here’s a quick look at the texture and dimension before I set it in the shadow box.

I love how this turned out and can see that it will be a favorite gift to give in the future.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Make Your Own Cork Embellishments

Have you seen these fun cork embellishments from Studio Calico?

I love the look of them, but when I placed an online order recently, they were out of stock (I sure do miss my local scrapbook store where I might have had a chance to still find them in stock!).

It’s a good thing they were on my mind as I was wandering through my local JoAnn’s recently because I just happened to notice this 6×6 package of goodness:

Self-adhesive cork sheets. It certainly got my mind spinning with ideas. I wondered if the cork would stand up to heat embossing. Maybe, I could just make my own embellishments with stamps I already have in my stash.

The cool thing is that this cork is thin enough to insert into some of my punches. Not all of them worked, but most did. How cool is it that you can just punch out whatever shape you want or need for your layout?

I found stamps in my stash that would work for a specific layout I had in mind. I only wanted circle embellishments so I used plain circles and pinked circles. I also had some cork circles from My Little Yellow Bicycle and used them in a larger size than what I had in my punches.

I stamped my images with versamark and heat embossed them with white zing.

And voila!

It worked like a charm! These are the ones that made the cut. I wasn’t 100% happy with all of the images I stamped and embossed. The ones that worked best were images that didn’t have a lot of solid background. Those stamps didn’t work on the cork because the cork itself is textured and I couldn’t get a clean image on the texture.

I haven’t had time yet, but I want to try this with some background stamps too. Like my Hero Arts Zig Zag stamp and maybe a floral one too. I also want to try writing directly on the cork with a white Sharpie. I think it would be fun to have some hand drawn and written embellishments too.

What do you think? I’m happy with how these turned out and can’t wait to use them on a layout. (Tune back in on Thursday to see how I use them!)

Thanks for stopping by today!

Chalkboard Paint and Scrapbooking

Have you noticed the trend toward the chalkboard look in scrapbooking products? I’m seeing quite a few lines coming out with some cool chalkboard designs.

Like this fun summer Chalkboard paper from the Pebbles Lakeside collection:

A fun Chalkboard Quotes paper from Echo Park’s Here & Now collection:

Check out this Chalkboard Lace from also from Echo Park Here & Now:

A simple Chalkboard/White Boardwalk background from Simple Stories I Heart Summer:

Or how about some embellishments? Pebbles has these fun chalkboard banner stickers:

And American Crafts has these plain stickers from the Mayberry collection that you can decorate yourself:

How about some washi tape? Here’s a Chalkboard washi from Freckled Fawn:

I have ordered a few of these products but seeing as I’m a crafty sort of gal, I wanted to try my hand at creating my own chalkboard paper. In Wilna’s Art Class at Two Peas, she shows a couple different layouts using this medium and it looks pretty cool.

I picked up a bottle of Martha Stewart’s blackboard paint at Michael’s last week to give it a try.

My plan is to create a layout with the chalkboard background and use the Sharpie white pen for the journaling.

The paint is pretty thick and creamy and easy to coat. I knew I wanted to get solid coverage so I used quite a bit of paint.

Then I let the paint dry for 24 hours. Because I was aiming for thick coverage, the paint did warp the paper at bit. That does not bother me at all, it’s just part of the process, part of the look. But to minimize the warping, I piled a couple of paper stacks on top of the page after the paint dried, for another 24 hours before I created my layout.

This background will form the basis for a layout I’m working on right now.

One more quick idea — since I already had the brush and paint out, I grabbed some white paper out of my scrap pile and kept painting.

I can use one of the scraps here as practice with the Sharpie before I handwrite my journaling on my layout. I can also use the other pieces for punches or die cuts to create my own custom embellishments.

One thing I haven’t tried is actually using chalk on this blackboard paint. I think I’ll have to pick some up at Target the next time I am there!

Have you been adding the chalkboard look to your layouts and projects yet?

Thanks for stopping by today!

5 Creative Uses For Rock Candy Loose Glitter

Have I mentioned how much I love the Tim Holtz loose Rock Candy Glitter from Ranger? There is something really special about this stuff. It’s like glitter…but it’s not. It has glitter properties, but it’s colorless. It can be fancy and pretty, but it can also be understated. It’s quite versatile!

I have used it in quite a few projects lately, so I wanted to share some different ways to use it.

Rock candy glitter 5 ways

1. Embellish Thickers – there are many varieties of Thickers that come with glitter these days. But if you have a thicker style you love or want to use and it doesn’t have glitter, you can add some yourself with Glossy Accents.

Ideas for Rock Candy loose glitter from Your Memory Connection

For this example, I’m creating a snowy, winter page (and it may very well be my last one as I get through the last of my Nashville winter photos!) and I wanted to use the Rock Candy to create a snow effect.  I added the liquid glue to the bottom of each letter and then sprinkled on the loose glitter.

2. Enhance lace paper – for the same layout, I wanted to use up this bit of lace cardstock I’ve had for way too long. This one is from KI Memories. With the Thickers and other silver elements in my layout, I wanted to add a tiny bit of silver to the glitter.

Ideas for Rock Candy loose glitter from Your Memory Connection

For this example, I tried 3M’s Scotch Quick Dry Glue, which is another liquid type of glue. It comes out white and it dries clear. There’s really no difference between the way this holds vs. the Glossy Accents. Since I had both types of glue, I just wanted to see if this one worked as well, and it does.

First I sprinkled on the rock candy glitter straight from the jar. Then, I poured a little bit into this clean yogurt container and added in a little bit of the Silver Mixative Alcohol Ink from Ranger. According to Tim Holtz (check out this video from Scrap Time) you can mix in any color of alcohol ink into this loose rock candy to color it. It will work while it’s still loose or you can dab on the color after you adhere the glitter to something. I mixed up the silver into some loose glitter and then sprinkled it over the plain rock candy glitter, just to get a little silver. I didn’t want all the glitter to be sliver, just some of it. But I had to be quick because this glue is just as the name implies — quick dry!

3. Cover punches – I had this idea of double punches to decorate a card and I wanted a way for the center punch to stand out. Why not add subtle glitter?

Ideas for Rock Candy loose glitter from Your Memory Connection

I punched a heart shape from red cardstock and then double punched around it with a circle punch to get two separate pieces.

Ideas for Rock Candy loose glitter from Your Memory Connection

For this example, I wanted to try something different. I ran the hearts through the Xyron Sticker Machine and was happy to see the glitter adhered beautifully to it. I pressed the glitter into the punches and when I flicked off the excess, the glitter on the heart stays in place. It does not flake off at all.

I placed the heart punch on dimensional adhesive so that it pops up from the background.

4. Fussy cut elements – since it worked so well for punches, how about larger elements that have been cut from pattern paper? I’ve had these Basic Grey papers for a long time but never found a way to use the papers with the larger flowers. I wanted to cover the entire area with the loose glitter to tone down the paper and give them a full coating.

My large Xyron worked just as well as the small one did. When I fed the paper through the Xyron, I made sure the pattern side was down. That way, the adhesive goes onto the pattern side and gives the glitter something to stick to.

5. Sand filler for jars – I shared this one a few months ago, but I wanted to share it again. Rock candy was the perfect way to add the look of sand to my jars in this layout. Now that I know alcohol ink will add color to the glitter and that you can add it after you adhere it, I might try to add some Latte alcohol ink to get more of a sandy color.

Ideas for Rock Candy loose glitter from Your Memory Connection

In this example, I also used the rock candy to add a subtle border along the top and bottom of my layout.

No matter if you want the effect to be bold by adding bright alcohol inks or more subtle, as a snow effect on the thickers, loose rock candy glitter can help you achieve the right look. The versatility is what I love. The next time you see it on the shelf, pick it up and see what kind of cool effects you can get with it. You won’t be sorry!

Thanks for stopping by today.

Make Your Own Embellishments | Layered Butterflies

Last summer, Pebbles introduced these fabulous layered butterflies with the Sunnyside collection. I have a project I’m working on right now where I needed a little something extra and those layered butterflies came to mind. Unfortunately, the colors in the collection don’t match the products I selected.

So, I got out my Silhouette machine to see if I could whip up my own version.

Make your own embellishments from Your Memory Connection: layered butterflies

I cut out three successive sizes of the same butterfly shape in a solid red, white and red polka dot and layered them in different combinations.

Make your own embellishments from Your Memory Connection: layered butterflies

With the Tim Holtz Design Ruler, I used a pin to add stitching holes and then hand stitched the butterflies together down the center.

Make your own embellishments from Your Memory Connection: layered butterflies

I ended up with four fun, dimensional butterfly embellishment to add to my page. They couldn’t have been easier. I’m all for buying pre-made embellishments when it makes sense, but in situations like this, when pre-made won’t work, I love having the Silhouette at my disposal.

I liked the polka dot paper used in the embellishments from Pebbles, so I followed that example. But you could use pattern papers or do an ombre effect with dark to light shades of the same color. I also think it would look cool to sandwich a bright color between black and white butterflies. The options are limitless!

Do you like making your own embellishments with the tools you’ve invested in?

Thanks for stopping by today!

5 Simple Ways To Take Your Design Up A Notch

Photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/674241

Do you have a page on your work table that you are struggling with? Maybe the design won’t gel or you can’t make up your mind about which embellishments to use. Regardless, your project isn’t going anywhere until you figure it out.

I’ve got some ideas for you today that will help you add a little *something* that can take your design up a notch. After creating a long list of ideas, I went to the web in search of examples. The links below take you to examples from designers and fellow bloggers showing these ideas already in action.

1. Repeat something

Take a triangle, hexagon, flag, banner, or a doily and repeat it throughout the background of your layout. Make an interesting pattern with triangles punched from different pattern papers. Add groupings of hexagons to the bottom left and upper right of you layout to help create diagonal flow. Add a row of banners to the top of your page pointing down to your photos. Or just add the shapes in three clusters at the title, the photos and the journaling. The clusters will help draw the eye around the page.

2. Stitch it

Whether you machine stitch or hand stitch, the simple addition of thread can take your layout from OK to fabulous. Add stitching lines over your chipboard title. Create a stitched shape to highlight a special photo. Stitch the edges of pattern paper strips. Add some stitches to die cut shapes to ground the elements to your design. If you don’t have a machine, give the Sew Easy a try. It’s inexpensive and you can add different attachments to create a variety of stitches.

3. Layering

Layering is a simple way to add dimension and depth to your design. Create a compelling background by layering up pattern paper blocks in different sizes. Layer several sheets of pattern paper to create a frame for your photos. Layer journaling blocks with flags and stickers to create a fun embellishment cluster. Starting with the largest in back, layer different styles and colors of flowers from your stash to create unique embellishments. Keep in mind that layering paper does not add height and bulk to your page the way that layering chipboard does. (Not that layering chipboard is bad – chipboard is fun too!)

4. Negative space

Whether you use an electronic die cut machine or your own collection of punches, cutting shapes from the background creates a distinctive design. Take a strip of cardstock in a contrasting color and cut out a variety of butterfly shapes. Back each shape with a different pattern paper to create a fun border. Unique shapes work too! Cut out the words of your title from cardstock and layer pattern paper behind it. Punch hearts into some cardstock and add the negative as an embellishment.

5. Vary your photo sizes

We all love the convenience of 4×6 photos, but having photos in odd sizes on a page can create a really dynamic design. If you only get 4×6 prints, instead of cropping your photos when you edit them, get them printed and then crop them so that you can create some smaller sized photos. Combine a large photo with a few smaller ones. Line up smaller photos on white cardstock to create a photo strip.

The next time your design gets stalled, give one of these ideas a try and see if it doesn’t take your design up a notch!

Thanks for stopping by today.

Use Your Scraps | DIY Chevron

Welcome to another installment of use your scraps! I try to come up with a use your stash or use your scraps every month. For this month, it was super easy to find some scraps now that they are sorted and organized. I’m actually using them all the time!

I found some leftover strips in several colors from DCWV’s Letterpress Stack. I love the colors and thought they would be perfect for a summer page. I have seen several other designers try this “make-your-own-chevron” pattern and thought it would be a great topic for this month!

Because the chevrons make such a bold statement, I wanted to keep my photos and journaling simple at the top of the page. With such a light background and all the color below, I thought my photos would be best anchored onto black mats. I love the contrast between the black and all of the colors. And the chevron pattern was super simple to create!

All you need to do is cut some squares from your scrap pattern papers. Mine are 2 inches but you could make them smaller or larger. I think it’s probably best to use a small scale pattern. I don’t think it would work as well with large florals or intricate patterns because of the way these line up. (To note: I did not try to get the lines in my pattern papers to line up across the chevron. Sometimes they naturally do and other times they are off. I was just adhering the shapes onto the paper!)

Cut your squares in half along the diagonal and then start lining up the triangles point to point. The second row is added offset to create the pattern.

Other: AC JFK Remarks alphabet stickers, Colorbox Cat’s Eye Black ink, Heidi Swapp bling, Michael’s black bling, DCWV graph paper, Queen & Co felt bee.

I love taking my punches and using them in a unique way. Cut your punched scraps, rotate them, double punch them. They don’t have to be plain and boring…they can be fun, unique and intersting!

Thanks for stopping by today.

Tweaks To My Albums

Thanks to everyone for the response to my last post on album organization. I like to share my experiences just in case it resonates with anyone experiencing a similar struggle.

It’s been five years since I turned all of my albums inside out and reorganized them into categories. I’ve been very happy with the system but in the last year, I started thinking about it all again. And not so much about chronology vs. category but more in terms of telling the broader overall story.

Thanks to Shimelle’s Cover to Cover class, I had a place to explore some different ideas. In addition to the album system she presents there are also ideas about flow and continuity that can be applied to any kind of system. These aren’t class secrets because Shimelle has introduced these ideas in public videos here and here. If you haven’t watched them, give them a look.

Tweaks, not another overhaul

I am not abandoning my categories. I love them and they work well for me. But as I went through this process, it surprised me to find issues with the flow and continuity of my pages. When I critically examined my albums I found missing pieces. I found places where the whole story wasn’t being told. It was clear to me that some changes needed to be made. (Note: some of these ideas came from Shimelle’s class and some are ideas that came about because of other things I have been doing.)

1. Adjusting the order in some of my categories.

Here’s a look at the Oh Brother section of one of my People albums where I keep layouts that include both of my nephews. On one page you will notice they are babies and on the facing page they are older.

Turn the page and they are older still and on the facing page they are younger again. If you turned the page again, you’d find another baby layout and next to it a layout from spring break a few months ago. These are all stand alone pages, but in this random order, it’s hard to follow how they are growing up.

I have come around to the idea that for specific People categories, a more complete story can be told if you see progression. So I will re-order a few categories. But not really in a strict chronological order. If I have three pages from 2003, having them grouped together (instead of spaced randomly throughout the section) is enough for me.

I’ll make this change to the Me albums, Michael’s section, Kyle’s section and this Oh Brother section. The other sections in my People albums will remain untouched and I will not change the order of my Places or Things categories except the Four Seasons section where I keep the Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas (if I didn’t create a mini album) layouts. These layouts will all be put into more sequential order because I think that makes sense too.

2. Adding stories to existing layouts.

Here’s a layout (circa 2000 – when I knew nothing about design) where I have a variety of photos from high school dances. It’s an 8.5×11 2-page spread in between two 12×12 layouts. There is a story that goes along with this Cotton Day dance — why I was there, who I was with, and what we were getting out of to be there.

Even though this layout is old and there’s nothing particularly interesting about it, I’m not one to redo my layouts. It’s going to stay just like this but I will add a 4×6 flip protector with the story. It’s not a huge investment in time, but the page will be that much more meaningful when I add the context and the details. I’ll keep doing this for any other layouts that need stories too.

3. Adding stories and additional photos to existing layouts.

Here’s a 2-page layout I created with a ton of photos from our last Disney World vacation.

And another. But you see the problem…there’s no journaling. I still have a lot of photos from this adventure that I have not scrapbooked. It was always my intention to go back and create more layouts. But it’s three years later and I haven’t gotten around to it.

To make it easier, I think I will just add more photos and the journaling with 6×12 photo sleeves. I might also create a fold out page attached with washi tape directly on the existing page. (Shimelle shows an example of what I mean here and here.) I will continue to use a white background, the black, red and yellow cardstock on any additions for the sake of continuity.

4. Figure out what’s missing.

My European Adventures album is far from complete. I have several pages like this that just showcase pretty photos. Again, the story is missing but so are many other excursions. I went to Europe two years ago and I expect I’ll still be working on this album two years from now. To make sure I don’t duplicate anything I’ve already created, I’ve made some notes about what’s here and what’s missing. I’ll keep that together with the printed photos from this trip so that when I’m inspired to scrapbook them, I’ll know what still needs to be done.

It’s all a work in progress

Regardless of whether you organize in chronological order or by category, these ideas can be applied to all different types of albums.

It’s a good exercise to examine your album as a whole and ask yourself, have you said everything that needs to be said? Are you telling a complete story? Do your stories flow from one to the next? Do you have more photos that could be added as inserts?

You might be surprised by the answers. I thought I was doing a pretty good job documenting my story. Now I’ll be able to fill in the missing pieces and make my system that much better!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Printed File Folder Punches For Project Life | A Tutorial

The other day I posted about this new Fiskars squeeze punch designed by Jenni Bowlin. It’s a file folder tab. It’s the perfect size to write a date or a name or to use just as an embellishment. But I also had an idea that would be perfect for something I really needed for Project Life.

In my PL 2012 album, I’m planning to include photos of all the movies I see, all the books I read, all the audio books I listen too. I wanted to have something I could staple onto the image of the movie poster or the image of the book to say “Watched” or “Reading”. Why not print the words I needed onto cardstock and punch them out?

Tutorial: Project Life Tabs

Step 1. Create a document in a word processing program with all the phrases needed: Reading, Watched, Listening to, Making, Obsessed with, In the news, etc…

Step 2. Add three blank rows between each line of text. That gives enough room between the lines so that you can punch each word cleanly. (Every program is different so you may want to experiment with the spacing to get it just right.)

Step 3. Print the document onto whatever color cardstock works for you.

Step 4. Punch out each word in the row and then trim off the punched line so that you have room to go in and punch the next row. Repeat until you punch out all of your words.

Now I have these fun tabs to add to various photos in my PL album.

Here’s a peek at how I am using them:

I have been catching up with my 2012 Project Life but don’t have enough photos printed yet. That’s why I am not sharing mine on a weekly basis – I don’t print all of my photos at home. But when I get prints, I will be sharing some PL12 updates!

If you have this punch, I hope you give this idea a try!

Thanks for stopping by today!