Explosions Of Love…

For the last couple of weeks, my creativity has seemingly gone on the fritz. Though, I think most creativity comes and goes in some weird cyclical dance. It’s been ridiculously hot (102+), which does not exactly inspire (other than sweat). There have been six to eight major forest fires around the state–leading to billowing smoke and haze…again, not exactly inspiring. The good news is that I finally feel my mojo coming back. (Or at least, I got past the stage of wanting to throw what I’m working on in the trash can.)

I just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a very Happy & Safe Fourth of July! Happy Birthday Ms. Liberty…


New Tool: Scor-Buddy

From the very beginning, let me just say that his review may be slightly biased. I discovered the original Scor-Pal several years ago and it quickly became one of my favorite MUST-HAVE tools. If you are a cardmaker or paper crafter of any kind, the Scor-Pal is, in my opinion, the best scoring/folding tool on the market.

A while back, I did purchase the Martha Stewart Score Board. I gave it the old college try–and as much as I love Martha Stewart products–I just did not like it. It’s been relegated to that scary pile of “things I might use one day” in my storage room. The main advantage (and improvement), however, was the availability of 1/8″ score lines. I just did not like the scoring tool or the depth of the scoring channels.

Now the lovely folks behind the Scor-Pal have introduced what could be considered the “baby” version of the Scor-Pal, with the Scor-Buddy. Obvious influences from the Martha Stewart Score Board have been combined with the best of the Scor-Pal. Ideally tailored for cardmakers, the Scor-Buddy measures a compact 9″ in length and 7 1/2″ in width. It is configured with 1/4″ score lines across the entire board. However, the first and last inch of the board have been further broken down into 1/8″ intervals. The right side railing has been removed. The normal size Scor-Tool is included in a snap-in holder. There is a small magnetic spot on the left upper side for holding paper clips or miscellaneous metal accessories and embellishments. Also included is faux ultra suede zip storage bag. It’s the perfect little tool kit. While the Scor-Pal will be always be my first love, the Scor-Buddy is really a must-have tool as well. It get’s a total thumb’s up from me.

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.

  • Kiss From A Rose

    “But he that dares not grasp the thorn Should never crave the rose”–Ms. Anne Bronte (1820-1849)

    For a while now, I’ve been trying to teach myself paper quilling. As someone who does not exactly have the smallest of hands, it has been a bit challenging to say the least. But as some wise soul once noted, practice does indeed help. In a way quilling is a very relaxing pursuit. Using a basic set of tools (circle sizer ruler, a slotted tool, needle tool, fine-tip tweezers, glue pen, and quilling paper), it’s amazing to see the beautiful ways you can manipulate paper into dimensional objects. Of course, my ulterior motive in learning to quill was to be able to create embellishments for my card work.

    This is the first project I’ve made using quilling I’ve created (and I’m still rather incredulous at the results). I used my Cricut Expression and the Cricut ‘Serenade’ cartridge to cut the layered vase and branch shapes. The three roses were created using the Sprial Roses Quilling Kit I purchased from Quilled Creations. The cardstock is Stampin’ Up! in Rich Razzleberry. I purposely kept this card super simple of embellishment or patterned paper. I wanted to showcase the roses–and I think the diecuts suited them perfectly. This was one of those rare occasions where you finish a project and surprise yourself. I was taken aback by how simple, yet elegant this card turned out to be.

    A Sketch & A Card

    Today, I thought I’d try something a little bit different. We begin with a sketch that (hopefully) shows the folding card project I experimented with. I should warn you that is hand-drawn and not necessarily to scale, but I think it gives you the general idea as well as the key measurements. Of late, cards that include this type of stair-step folding seem to be all the rage. I think this one lends itself to a holiday card very nicely.

    Your base cardstock should measure 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″. I chose to use a piece of Bazzill textured cardstock. The “trickiest” part of this card is a vertical cut that you must make from the 1″ mark to the 6 3/8″ mark. Where you decide to make the cut is entirely your option. Where you put the cut will determine the length of your stairstep folds. I made mine at 2″ in from the left side of the cardstock. You can either use a craft knife and a straight edge or your paper trimmer to make the cut. Once you have made the cut, the rest of the card basically becomes an exercise in paper folding.

    You want to use a scoring tool (in my case the Scor-Pal) and score from the right side of your cardstock up to the cut line you made. You should score your paper at 1″, 2″, 3 1/8″, and 6 3/8″. Notice here, that your first and last score (1″ & 6 3/8″) should meet the beginning and end of your cut mark. There is one final score to make, but it is slightly different in execution than the others. This score mark will go all the way across the entire width of your cardstock at 4 1/4″. This is also the midline of your cardstock (and your folded card). Once you play with you scored paper a bit, you’ll see the natural way it fan folds to create the stairstepped effect. After you’ve folded and creased your paper, the fun begins as your canvas is now ready for your imagination.

    For my project, I used a piece of DCWV decorative paper measured to fit the front of my folded card in a complimentary shade of blue. For my cut-out decorative piece, I used my Cricut Expression and the new Limited Edition cartridge “When It’s Cold Outsided 2009-2010″. The large snowflake and the shadow were cut at 4”. The snowmen came from the snowman snowflake. I merely trimmed them out of the snowflake with scissors and used adhesive to put them in the row in front of the giant snowflake. I liked the idea of the snowmen doing a secret unseen dance out in the snow in front of a giant snowflake (like their altar if you will). I added a Stampin’ Up! rub on and sentiment to finish the card.

    This card type is lovely in that it creates its own stand and would look lovely displayed on a mantle or other decorative holiday display.

    Butterfly Trifold Card

    I’ve been experimenting with different card shapes and folding techniques. This was my first attempt with a tri-fold panel card. I think I’m really going to like this shape.

    I used Bazzill textured cardstock as the base of the card cut at 11″ x 5″. I used the Scor-Pal for my scoring (and I highly recommend you look into acquiring a Scor-Pal if you don’t already own one). Score your cardstock at the following intervals:

    * The first score is at 2″
    * The second score is at 4 1/2″
    * The third score is at 7″

    At this point, you need to decide how many of the card panels you wish to cover with decorative paper. I chose to to cover panels two and four on this particular card. You want your decorative paper to be slightly smaller than the panel dimensions to allow the base cardstock to frame your decorative paper. I chose to use paper from Die Cuts With A View (DCWV) Luxury Paper Stack and trimmed them down with my Cricut paper trimmer. I used my ATG714 adhesive gun to adhere the papers to the cardstock. After you’ve glued down your decorative papers, you can fold your card with a basic accordian fold and secure your folds with a bone folder.

    The next major feature of this card is the tabbed opening. I decided to use a butterfly clear acryic stamp from Inkadinakdo. I stamped the image on Bazzill white textured cardstock using Tsukineko Dew Drop ink in Pearlescent Sky Blue. You want to stamp the image twice and them trim around your images. You next want a piece of cardstock in the same color as your base card. Glue one of your images to the cardstock and then trim around the stamped image leaving a border of approximately 1/4″ around the image. Apply adhesive to one half of your image and adhere it to the front of your first card flap. (TIP: if you position your image where you want it on the card front, turn it over and draw a faint pencil line which will guide you when putting your adhesive on.)

    Once the tab front image is adhered to your card opening, open the panel and take your second stamped image to position. (TIP: You want to select a stamped image that will look well mirrored on itself; If it is not a balanced image, it will not mirror well and your tab opening will look funny.) Adhere your image to the back of the cardstock of the first image. The inner half of your image will be adhered to the inside flap

    Your card is now ready for final embellishments. I chose to use a Prima flower with a Making Memories Epoxy brad on the card cover. The word “SOAR” is a white rub-on transfer. On the inside I used another Inkadinkdoo stamp (flower blossom) stamped in black ink. A journaling circle of blue paper creates a nice area for your card sentiment. The other butterfly is a Heidi Swapp clear acrylic cut-out.