A Compendium Of Curiosities

Yesterday was all about Mr. Tim Holtz for me (and my pocketbook). First, I received my copy of Mr. Holtz’s new book, “A Compendium Of Curiosities”–which I’ll get to in a moment. Secondly, I ordered nearly $200 of his new Alterations line. I am in awe of the versatility of some of the new Sizzix Bigz dies and edge dies he’s come up with. If you haven’t visited Tim Holtz’s blog as of late, I highly recommend you take a look at the set of new videos he posted describing his intentions and examples of the new Alterations line of products. Needless to say, I’m hooked (line and sinker). I’ve always been a fan of Mr. Holtz’s tools and products (a fact my craft stash would attest to in a court of law). I suppose his aesthetic may not appeal to all crafters, but I have to say I love the grunge look of his style and his methods of repurposing objects and trinkets. It’s also one of the few craft lines that is very male and teen friendly (in my opinion). Among the dies I am eagerly awaiting: Caged Bird, Fanciful Flight, Gadget Gears, Tattered Florals, Hanging Sign, Ornamental, Keyholes, Styled Labels, Three Hole Punch, and File Tabs. (The sad part is there are still a few more I want–but they weren’t in stock at the moment. So, I’m sure I’ll be placing another order on down the road.)

But enough about my shopping habits…and on to the book. Can I just say right up front that this book belongs in every crafter’s library. Whether you are a Tim Holtz fan like me or just interested in new methods, techniques, and ideas, this book is for you. The hardcover book (with interior spiral binding) measures approximately 8 3/4″ x 8 3/4″ and has 77 pages. But don’t be fooled by that number. The book is bursting with information and wonderfully rendered color photographs presented with Mr. Holtz’s usual panache and flair.

Beginning with a brief introduction to the man and his studio–as well as a list of products he has developed or helped to develop and their intended uses–the book wastes no time getting to its essential core. It’s broken down into three major sections: Ideas, Techniques, and a Gallery.

In the Ideas section, Holtz explores different elements and embellishments and how they can affect your projects–whether they be layouts, cards, mini-books, etc. Among the topics he discusses and shows examples of:

  • ornate plates
  • foilage
  • corner
  • tags, tokens, & sticks
  • type charms
  • gears, sprockets, & timepieces
  • numerals
  • keys & keyholes
  • adornments & vintage buttons
  • curio knobs & foundations
  • film strip & ruler ribbon
  • fasteners & washers
  • mini clips & pins
  • trinket & memo pins
  • hitch fasteners
  • hinge clips & D-rings
  • swivel clasps
  • ball, bead & link chains
  • tickets & stickers
  • paper stacks
  • grungeboard & grungepaper
  • fragments

    My favorite section has to be the Technique section. In it, Mr. Holtz teaches us to use some of his famous techniques, tips and tricks. What’s clever is that most of them are done is six simple steps with accompanying full-color photographs. Among the techniques highlighted are:

  • wrinkle free distress
  • scribble stain distress
  • water stamping
  • blended batik
  • dabber resist
  • perfect distress
  • inking grunge
  • double distress
  • rusted enamel
  • distress crackle
  • distress powder
  • chipped enamel
  • rusted grunge
  • distress stickles
  • rock candy distress stickles
  • altered metal with paint
  • shabby chic
  • weathered wood grunge
  • alcohol ink monoprint
  • alcohol ink splatter
  • alcohol ink agate on grunge
  • industrial grunge
  • tinted vision fragments
  • altered metal alcohol inks
  • colorful layered fragments
  • masks basics
  • inking and stamping masks
  • distress misting masks
  • extreme masking
  • fragments basics
  • dimensional collage fragments
  • fragment charms
  • grungepaper flowers
  • multi-medium collage
  • design details

    The final section is a wonderful gallery of projects done by Mr. Holtz that incorporate many of the techniques, tools, and examples used throughout the book. What really surprised me was that even someone like myself who has used a lot of Holtz products can still find new information on how to use products that you hadn’t thought of or didn’t realize you could do. I was really excited by the fragments projects (and will be working on some of those in the near future.

    “A Compendium Of Curiosities” retails for $24.99 and, in my opinion, is worth every single penny. I highly recommend this book to anyone with even a faint interest in papercrafting.

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  • Gift Bag Goodies

    Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in working on card layouts, designs and construction, that I “forget” how fun it can be to put your mind into a different frame of reference in the paper crafting world. As I’ve confessed before, I started paper crafting mainly through my interests in decoupage and scrapbooking. However, with the advent of such wonderful toys as the Cricut Expression, Cuttlebug, Making Memories Slice and countless other innovations and tools, those interests definitely took a back seat to my love of paper piecing and cardmaking. Though, I have challenged myself to starting creating and sharing scrapbooking layouts at some point, if you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know I’m mainly a cardmaker, paper junkie, Cricut cartridge collector, and tool geek. (That is–I am a geek. I love new tools. But, I’m definitely not a tool. Or at least, I hope not.)

    This weekend I had a bit of a challenge. I was asked (never mind that it was at gunpoint, lol) to create something to go into party gift bags for a newly teen-aged girl. Not, I’m not sure if my friend thought I could relate because (in rare instances) I’ve been accused of being a teen-aged girl–or maybe, that was just acting like one. Goodness knows I’m quite a few years removed from the target audience age in physical years. But, I put my teen girl thinking cap on and came up with this little favor that I think came out quite cute (or “radiculous”, as I was later informed). My thought was that teen girls love to write down phone numbers, important “guy” information, mash notes, and practice their future married names. So I thought if I could come up with a small (yet chic and functional) memo/brag book, it might work perfectly in a teen gift bag.

    I knew when I was planning my design, I didn’t want just a plain shape (e.g. circle, square, or rectangle). Then while looking through some of my tools, I happened across my Sizzix/Stampin’ Up! exclusive Top Note Bigz XL die and the proverbial light bulb dinged above my head in a pretty white thought bubble. Of course, knowing I had to make approximately 30 of these “things”, I wondered if I was asking for trouble? After a quick bit of playing, the only major hurdle I found was that I would have to lop off one end of the Top Note die-cut so that I’d have a straight edge to ensure that my Bind-It-All would properly bind all the pages together.

    So for each book, I needed the following supplies: (2) covers cut from a piece of thin chipboard, (4) pieces cut from decorative paper (Tim Holtz Retro Grunge Stack) to cover the inside and outside of my chipboard covers, (10) notes cut from Stampin’ Up! Whisper White cardstock for the inner pages, (1) piece of 1/2″ black o-ring binding wire to fit six punched holes, adhesive, my Cuttlebug to run the die through (repeatedly), a paper trimmer to trim the edges, wire cutters, my Bind-It-All 2.0, and finally, some type of embellishment for the front cover.


    I knew going in that the recipients were all female, but I didn’t want to choose papers that were necessarily “girly”. I had just received two pads of the new Tim Holtz line of papers and I thought they had a mod, yet gender neutral look to them. I used 3M ATG 714 Gold adhesive tape to adhere the covers together. I punched all the covers and page inserts with the “A” setting on my Bind-It-All. I recommend punching your sets of front and back covers together as sets so that your alignment will be perfect. Also, remember that you really want to choose a double-sided decorative paper, as you will have to flip over two of the cover sheets to make the alignment work. (My inside cover sheets were the reverse print on the front side “targets” paper.) Binding them all was really not that difficult, just a bit repetitive.





    For the final step, I wanted to find an embellishment that would look great on the front cover of each book. A bit of rooting around and I found these wonderful stitched felt floral pieces that worked like a charm. There are three individual pieces on each book (the pink three petal flower, the double green leaf, and the green/white floral center.

    (FYI: The felt pieces are from the Stampin’ Up! Mini-Occasions catalog: #117266 Sweet Pea Stitched Felt, 52 pcs. for $7.95. You can order them from your favorite SU! Demonstrator, or as always visit my on-line Stampin’ Up! storefront by clicking on the “Contact Me” link on my sidebar.)

    Using SU! Stampin’ Dimensionals, I added the floral felt pieces and they gave a nice pop of color and dimension to the books. The final book dimensions were 3 3/4″ x 4″.

    As always, thank you for stopping by, writing notes, leaving comments–and generally brightening up my day. Keep Crafting!

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    GENERAL NOTES & NONSENSE:

    01. If you haven’t yet entered the “Home Is…” giveaway, your time is rapidly shrinking. Entries will close later this week. It’s a great package including a Cricut cartridge, a Stampin’ Up! stamp set and paper pad. For all the details, seed the link in the sidebar or at the top of the page.

    02. How good was last night’s episode of ABC’s “Brother & Sisters”. Gosh, I love this show!

    03. Am I the only one who is going to miss “Ugly Betty”. It such a shame because the show’s writing and acting has been at a creative peak this year.

    04. If you haven’t checked out the new album by Ben Rector entitled “Into The Morning”, you really should. It’s a terrific piece of work. I can’t stop listening to it since I downloaded it from iTunes.

    05. My pick to win “Amazing Race 16”: Jet & Cord!

    Card Gallery #279

    I promise you I’m not obsessed with Halloween. (Okay, maybe just a wee bit. Don’t tell anyone.) But I had another scrap of the decorative paper from the treat box in the last entry and I hated for it to go to waste.



    The second card is an interesting one (at least to me). I was inspired by book binding. I used extra strips of cardstock (the same I used for the base) to create a faux binding. It creates a natural offset for your decorative elements (in this case the glossy floral handcuts). The ribbon was a last minute addition–but the idea looks great with or without the ribbon. This is definitely a technique I want to experiment with more in the future.