Browsing "Tips"
Sep 10, 2009 - Tips, Tutorials    No Comments

Mrs. “Fix-It”

IMG_2945.JPGI know you have experienced the same thing I have on this subject.  You buy an album and some additional filler pages.  When you get home and start adding the pages to the album you discover that the pages you bought are not the same size as the pages in the album (although you check the size).

As you can see the back pages are larger and to complicate the issue the holes in the smaller pages were not in the right place.


IMG_2944.JPGAlthough the holes are a little off it can cause a buckle or ripple in the pages and they will not lay flat.  The smaller pages in this case were causing a buckle in the spine of the album.

I decided I was going to try a technique and see if I could move the holes in the sleeves.



IMG_2947.JPGI measured out both sleeves and figured out where I wanted the new holes made.  I drew a little template on my self-healing cutting mat so I didn’t have to measure each time.

The large dot is where the hole needs to be punched and the long line is where the edge of the sleeve is align against it.  I made these markings at both ends so I could lay down the sleeve and see where both new holes needed to be.


IMG_2950.JPGUsing regular tape I pulled a long strip off and aligned it up with the edge that would be covered up in the album.  I placed tape on both the front side and the back side of the edge of the sleeve.  The tape will act as reinforcement for the new holes when they are punched.





IMG_2951.JPGOnce both sides have been taped you will need to cut the excess tape off of the edge so it will have a nice clean look.




IMG_2955.JPGThe tape is in place and cleaned-up and I laid the sleeve on the template and marked where the new holes needed to be punched.




IMG_2956.JPGThe new holes are cut just a little off from the original holes.  However, the tape should hold everything in it’s place and not allow the hole to tear.




IMG_2957.JPGOnce all the sleeves were loaded back into the album, they laid down in the spine very nicely and when the book is opened you do not see where the tape has been added or the holes have been changed.

The only thing that was really different was the front pages to the album were a little smaller; however, every page of the card stock was cut the same size so the consistancy was still in place.


To see what the finish product looks like be sure and visit back on Saturday, 9/12/09.  This is an ABC Baby or Family Album.

I don’t Have the Right Color

IMG_2960.JPGSo here I am needing just 4 photo corners to finish a project and I don’t have the right color.  I know that black goes with everything, but the rest of the pages were done with pastels of green, pink and lavender.





I decided I would paint these black photo corners a light green (Willow) and see if I couldn’t get them to look very close to the other photo corners.

It was going to take several coats to cover the black.  Be sure and stir the paint before you start to paint with it.  You want it to be slightly thick and creamy to be able to cover the item you are painting.  Also, since I was painting over paper I didn’t want the paint to be really wet.


IMG_2962.JPGAfter several coats the coverage was excellent. I used a small foam applicator to apply the coats.  To seal the paint I use Glossy Accents and let it dry.  I did the painting and the Glossy Accent on a craft mat, that way if anything spelled it would clean up easy.

Tip:  When using Acrylic paints you need to let the paint dry in between coats.  If you try to add another coat while the first coat is wet, the second coat will lift the first coat off of the item you are trying to pain.



IMG_2963.JPGWith the mat inside the corners, you would never know they were black to begin with and the Glossy Accent gives them a very professional looking finish.

Just click on the picture to get a closer look and don’t worry if you don’t have the right color, you can change it with paint, paper or alcohol inks.


Paper Cutz Challenge #7

PCC_7Sketch091.jpgThis weeks challenge was to design a layout, card or project around this sketch.  Simple enough right?

For some reason this was a very difficult challenge for me.  As the days ticked by, I begin to panic a little bit.

Part of the problem for me I think is when I see items (i.e., the embellishments looking like flowers) I can not get past trying to make the design match exactly.


IMG_2925.JPGUnfortunately, the camera does not do the colors of the card justice. The actual colors make me think of fall and apple cider.  The original design actually had three little icons for fall, like a tree without leaves, a leaf and a pumpkin.

I used the Cricut Expression along with the Graphically Speaking and Stretch your Imagination carts on the cup and the word “Autumn”.




IMG_2907.JPGI couldn’t get the Cricut to cut out the leafless tree, leaf, and pumkin I wanted to use so I found a M’s $1 stamp that I had for a year or more.  I stamped the apples onto the burgundy colored card stock with Staz-on ink.  I then took color pencils and use MCPT to give them some shading and highlighting.  Once I got the colors I was looking for I applied Glossy Accents.

Glossy Accents gives your embellishments a dimensional look.  Here you notice that the apples look a little cloudy.  Once everything dries the card stock, that has been colored underneath, will show through the Glossy Accents.  The Glossy Accents will dry clear.


IMG_2927.JPGI took the word Autumn and ran it through the Xyron face down to get the sticky on the front side of the word.  I then glittered it using a glitter called “Butter rum”.  This is the same color glitter that I used to edge each of the mats.

Tip:  I like to glitter the edge of the mats for a couple of reasons: 1) It helps to tie the glitter on the embellishments together, and 2) I just run a  glue pen along the edge of the CS then start using the CS to move the glitter down the tray to the opening.  This helps get the edge glitter and gets the glitter back down the tray so I can put it back in it’s proper container.

This word was very fragile so I used a glue pen that was very thin to get the glue where I needed it to be to attach to the card.

IMG_2933.JPGI love putting beads on pins and using them as embellishments.  With the arrangement of the items on this challenge, this was a perfect fit to include them.  Also, if you enlarge the picture there are some PW Dazzles underneath those pins.

I took gold alcohol ink to change the color of the ends of the pins so they would match the color pallete of the card.  The ribbon is from HL that I got on sale.


IMG_2929.JPGThis is not the best picture, but if you look close you will see little leaves on the apples.  They have been blinged up with Stickles and the Apples were mounted on the card using black pop dots that I made out of the foam board.




IMG_2926.JPGThe inside of the card has some of the same rich papers that are used on the outside.  There is a little embossing on the left hand side of the burgandy that has been enriched with perferct pearls and some 3-D gold paint.  The CB embossing border is one of the new ones just released called Organic Flourish.

I’ll probably use this as a friend card, sending it to ask them to meet me for a latte or apple cider.


Whew! This truly was a challenge for me, but I enjoyed it.  Joining the Paper Cutz Challenge has certainly made me have to think alot, but that is a good thing.   One it exercises the brain and two it develops my designing skills. 

Thanks Mary for taking the time to pull these challenges together and coming up with things for us to work on.  Be sure and join in the fun.

Click on the picture to get a closer look at the elements and thank you for stopping by and visiting.

Sep 3, 2009 - Tips, Tutorials    1 Comment

Cricut Mat – Make it tacky!

IMG_2921.JPGI’ve had my Cricut cutting mats for over a year and I’m just now experiencing them losing some of their tackiness to hold on to  the paper or card stock.

I decided to see if the Zip glue worked to make them tacky again.  I first scrapped off anything that might have been left behind from the last time I use the mat.

I then took a baby wipe and scrubbed the mat, and to my surprise the mat was dirty.  I don’t know why I didn’t expect it to be dirty but I didn’t expect to get black off of it!

I took it to the kitchen sink and used Dawn (the degreaser) and some warm water to finish the cleaning process.  I dried it off and proceeded to cover the cutting mat with the Zig glue.  I used the big chisel Zig glue so I could cover area more quickly. 

I started by running the Zig pen around the outer edge of the mat, paying close attention to where the glue was originally on the mat.  Once that was complete I started going up and down across the grid in the same direction, putting a thin layer of glue down on the mat.  Once I had finished that I held the mat up so I could look across it and see if there were any places I missed.  If I found any I ran the glue back across only those areas I missed.

At this point I haven’t tried the mats.  I’m letting them dry so the glue will act as a repositionable glue rather than a permanent glue.  I plan on using them tonight so I’ll let you know how this process worked out.  I also understand you can us spray adhesive but I haven’t tried that yet and it seemed to be messier than just running a glue pen across the mat.  However; if you have used that method or another method, let me know.  I would like to know how you make your tack-less mats tacky again.

Sep 2, 2009 - Craft Projects, Tips, Tutorials    2 Comments

Pop Dots – Economy Style

IMG_2899.JPGFirst, let me say this is not my idea and unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the person or website I was on that showed how to do this.  I was so excited to try this because I’m always in need of Pop Dots.

Fun foam comes in an array of colors and for this project you need to get the one with a sticky back.  M’s was running a sale on this and I got 30 sheets that are 6″ x 9″ for $2.99. 

It was on sale down from $7.99  to $4.99.  I had a 40% coupon that I was using for another item but the young girl put the coupon against the sale item.  I told her I thought it was incorrect but she insisted that it was automatic.  Unfortunately, for me she was wrong.  She had manually put the 40% off coupon against the $4.99 sale item instead of the $6.99 item. 

IMG_2901.JPGI cut the 6″ x 9″ fun foam down so it would be able to run through the Xyron.  I placed the side with the protective sheet side up so the adhesive from the Xyron will be laid on the opposite side.  The side that does not have the sticky back.





I pressed down the adhesive to be sure it is distributed over the fun foam.

I couldn’t wait to see if I could use my hole punch to make a pop dot and sure enough it was effortless to punch right through the protective adhesive sheets and the fun foam.



IMG_2903.JPGI trimmed off the excess Xyron adhesive sheet (which by the way I save to use on other items)  and you can see there is a protective sheet on both the front and back of the purple fun foam.




IMG_2904.JPGYou can use a hole punch or you can cut a strip or what ever shape you need from this fun foam to use as pop dots or add dimension.  If you need squares use a square punch, or a heart or just free hand it.

The other nice thing about these pop dots are they are various colors to match your project, not just white. 

I get a very small sheet of pop dots for $2.99 and usually one size. If there are multiple sizes one of the sizes is not large enough to use.  This fun foam gives me 30 pieces, 6″ x 9″ in multiple colors for the same price ($2.99).  The fun foam is the same thickness as the pop dots you buy, I have had the same cartridge of Xyron adhesive for years so I was excited to use an old supply that has just been sitting dormant. 

I will not put Xyron adhesive on all the fun foam at once, instead I’ll see what colors I need and do smaller pieces as I need them.  This will keep the use of the Xyron adhesive to a minimum and not wasted on colors I might never use.  I also have the little “X” Xyron and it doesn’t seem to waste as much adhesive when you send items through it.  In other words, just think before you Xyron 30 sheets of fun foam all at once….that can be expensive.

I’m wondering would you call these “Designer” pop dots, because they come in colors?  Whatever you call them, I’ll not be buying Pop Dots for a long time!

Sep 1, 2009 - Organization, Tips    2 Comments

Really it’s not OCD!!!!! !!!!!

IMG_2879.JPGI’m really into the alcohol inks and distressed pads from Ranger products.  But as you know when you get more than one or two of these bottles they begin to all look alike.

Tim Holtz, in several of his Youtube videos, makes reference to putting a dot of the color on top of the bottle.  That way you can easily see the color you need.



IMG_2880.JPGI took my regular hole punch and cut some holes from scraps that were white.  I placed them on the craft mat and dropped a drop of ink from the various bottles on them and let them dry.





Once dry, I used a piercing tool and picked up the colored dot and glued it onto the top of the appropriate bottle.

I used Glossy Accents to glue the paper onto the plastic cap.




IMG_2898.JPGHere is the finish product.  This is a perfect solution, especially when you store these inks in a drawer.  When you open up that drawer there are their pretty little heads with their pretty little color dots telling you what color is sitting under that cap.

It reminds me of a childhood game we used to play called “rotten egg”.  One of you would be the grocery person, one would be the person buying eggs and all the rest would be assigned a color (the grocery person would whisper it in their ear).  You would say, “Do you have any yellow eggs today?”  If yes, that person would come to the front and you would have them swing in a chair that you and the grocery person’s arms would make.  If the arms broke……pew whew! They were a rotten egg.  Hmm, sounds so silly now, but then we had more fun making fun of each other and no one got their feelings hurt.  It was a simpler time back then, when we played outside all day and our parents didn’t worry about where we were.  If you were in the neighborhood you were safe.


You Just Have to Keep Your Eyes Open

So this last week was the trifecta of the craft store world.  All three (Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and JoAnn) had 40% off coupons.  I know, I know, this happens more than less but for some reason it was the perfect timing.

MS came out with her holiday punches.  Halloween stamps and embellishments appear in abundance (actually Christmas decorations made it out before Halloween). 

IMG_2856.JPGSo, I’m doing my usual stroll around JoAnn’s and I had picked up a couple of small things when as I walked through the impluse buys, toward the check out, my eyes saw these $1 acrylic stamps.  Being the sweet, kind person that I am….;-), I told the lady behind me to feel free to go in front of me.  I needed time to dig through the stamps unrushed.

Tip: Just click on the picture to get a larger and better look at the stamps.


Now I’m not much on the Halloween celebration, but the more I looked at these stamps the more I realized that they could be used beyond Halloween.  The pirate is actually the mascot of one of our High Schools.  The leafless tree could be used for a winter card or layout.  The leaf flourish reminds me of fall and the birds on the fence or gate reminded me of Tim Holtz line (or the Raven quoting “never more”).  Love the sunflower and the spider and web could be used for a GS (or GD) card or layout exploring the outdoors.

Keep your mind open and don’t get turned off by things just because you might think they pertain to something you are not interested in.  Try to take a fresh look and see if they can be used another way.  You might just end up with some jewels for your stash for just a buck or so.

Aug 19, 2009 - Cards, MCPT, Tips    1 Comment

August MCPT Challenge

IMG_2851.JPGThis is my entry for the August MCPT (Magic Color Pencil Technique) Challenge on the Circut Message Board.  The finish card is 4-1/4 x 5-1/2.

Everything on this card (except the glitter) is MCPT.  I used the technique to even put the “inking” (or should I say pencilling (is that a word)) around the edge of the card and the large heart on the inside.

This card is going to be sent to my Pastors.  Every Sunday we are feed the Word of God and then a bunch of us goes out to eat afterwards. 

IMG_2836.JPGIt started out with the new QuicKutz A2 embossing folder that I just feel in love with this week.  This one is called “vine label”.  This is a picture of the card it was mounted on. 

The entire challenge card is made out of Bristol Smooth 300 Series 100 lb paper.  Since I was going to use the MCPT on the entire card (not just the stamped image) I wanted to have the smoothness of the paper so it would take the pencils and odorless minerals spirits well.



I took the stamped image and scanned it into my computer and made it a digital stamp.  I scanned the chicks separately from the hedge hog. 

Then I resized the chicks so they would fit inside the label of the embossed card.  Then I inserted some text boxes and put in my captions.



IMG_2846.JPGOn the second page of my digital stamp, I did a couple of more text boxes and played around with the placement until I got them where I wanted them on the card.  Flipped the card over and ran it through the computer.

Tip: I made a lot of test prints to be sure I had the position of the elements on the paper, aligning with the embossing on the card correctly.  Once I got the placement of the elements on the test prints I taped the card in the exact place on the paper so the words aligned up and printed the words again on the card.  I use repositional tape so the card would not tear when I removed it from the paper. 

IMG_2847.JPGLove this MS “THANKS” stamp.  It fit perfectly down the side of the card to create a border that expressed our gratitude.

Tip:  With the stamp you need to make sure you know how many stamped words you can get down the side or else you could run in to an incomplete words.  That’s not a bad thing if you want that look of continuous incomplete words.

So when you look closely you’ll notice a space at the ends and a slightly large space in the middle.  I did it this way so I could have two complete “THANKS” on the side of the card.

IMG_2850.JPGThe flowers and leaves of the emboss card are colored with MCPT and then the leaves have green Stickles on them to give a little shine.

There is also some yellow Stickles on the grain that is along the path.  You can’t tell in the pictures but the chicks are slightly a different color.



IMG_2849.JPGThe two “THANKS” are also colored using MCPT.  The hearts on the white space are from Cloud 9 and they echo the gratitude for the time and effort our Pastor, his wife and family gives to our church.




IMG_2852.JPGThe hedge hog is printed and I used a Spellbinders scalloped heart die cut that has 3-D glue dots to add dimension.  I used yellow Stickles inside the bag the hedge hog is holding and on the fallen grain.  I added additional grain off the heart to show that it is flowing from the left side.  There is also some additional grain in front of the word With to make it look like it is coming from the front of the card.  The inking on the heart is MCPT and there is a charm that says “thank you” one more time.

This was actually my first attempt to take a stamped image and make it into a digital stamp that I could use over and over again.

I like the way the front looks with the wording and the chicks printed exactly in the right place.  What this means is I need to stamp off all of my stamps and covert them to digital stamps.  That way I will always have them, even if I let some friends borrow the actual stamp.

Thanks for looking and let me know what you think!


Aug 9, 2009 - Cards, Tips    No Comments

Dad’s Birthday Card

IMG_2806.JPGI’ve made this card a couple of times and I’m always amazed at how a little paper folding and some embellishments makes this card look like a shirt.

This is a great card for a man and the directions and templates can be found on the Paper Wishes website:

My Father usually wears a cross on his tie, so I thought I would place one on the tie on his card.


There is not a lot of room inside but it is big enough to get a sentiment across to the person you are giving it to.  It also helps when you tuck in a gift card or a check that drives that sentiment home.

TIP:   Be sure and use paper that has color on both sides.  This helps if your folding is a little off.  The pattern or color on the other side will be complimentary to the side that is showing.  If you use paper with a pattern or color on one side and white on the other, the white will show up usually in a place you do not want it to show.

The Happy Birthday is a $1 stamp from M’s (love those sweet finds) and then I took a glaze pen from Sakura to embellish the stamp, a little glitter (not too much, so I could keep it masculine.

We attended his birthday party on Sunday.  He is turning 85  on August 12th and still going strong.  I hear you get your longevity from your Father.  Looks like I’m in for a long, full, great life!

MCPT – Magic Color Pencil Technique & Prisma Pencils… collection

IMG_2749.JPGEver since I learned about this technique I have become fascinated with the pencils.  Maybe it is because I never got that big box of 64 Crayola’s like the other kids.  By the way, I own one of those boxes of 64 Crayola’s today. 

To learn the technique there is no better instructor than Sue on this Youtube clip (  You can also go to her website www. and see a different demo.


I started out with a small 24 Prismacolor set (using a 40% off coupon) and added to my stash as Michael’s put their open stock Prismacolor pencils on sale for $1.  Unfortunately, it didn’t take me long to collect all the various colors that M’s had to offer.

I found the cute carosel at a store locally call Home Goods.  I love the colors against this black background and it makes me want to color each and every time I see it.

IMG_2750.JPGWhen I first got the 24 color set, I used my electric pencil sharpener to get the pencils ready to use.  However, I discovered there is actually a sharpener designed for the Prisma pencils and the difference in how this hand sharpener sharpens the pencils and how the electric pencil sharpens is very different.

I can get a finer point with the Prisma sharpener and it is achieved without eating up a large amount of the pencil. 

Tip:  Do not press the pencil in the sharpener to hard it will break the soft lead.  Also, you will need to empty the sharpener often, to keep the shavings from clogging the sharpener.

Since these pencils cost around $1.59 – $1.99 (depending on the color) I want to keep as much pencil as I can to use instead of being chewed away to get a point the way the electric pencil sharpener did.


IMG_2751.JPGAlthough, Sue in the clip said you can use cotton swabs to blend, I have not had any luck with finding those that are tight enough to achieve the blending I like.

So, I buy stumps to use with this technique and like the results and the control I have over where they are traveling on the picture as I’m blending.  There is a sanding pad utensil that you can buy to use with stumps, but I found a good emery board works just as well to clean the stumps off and keep a good tip on them.



Sue mentions Gamasol in the demo.  That is a manufacturer’s name for low odor mineral spirits and a small bottle from them is about $5.  I went to our local hardware store and bought a can of low odor mineral spirits for about $5 (4-5 times as much for the same price) and I’ve had it for over a year now.

I found this bottle with a sponge applicator on top and a lid at M’s in their art department.  You need to keep this up out of the way of children and pets. You also need to keep it sealed so the mineral spirits don’t evaporate away.

This bottle sits inside one of the cubbies of the carosel along with the stumps and the emery board.  That makes a neat little compact organization tool for holding everything I need when I get ready to color.  I just pick-up the carosel and move it over to my workstation.  I have grouped the various colors together (pinks and purples, reds and orange, blues and grays, etc.) that way I can see what will be used as shading and highlight for the various colors.

I only have one concern.  I found a new source for open stock Prisma Color Pencils and they have a lot of colors I don’t have, including metallics.  What’s a girl to do?

Well, this girl went onto the Heartprints web site downloaded the PDF file for the chart (  I took all the colors I had and matched them to the number on the chart and then blended the color so I could see what it looked like after it had been blended.

This really serves two purposes: 1) I now have a list of all the colors I already have and I just tuck this in my purse and carry it with me so I don’t buy duplicate colors, 2) I can also see what each color looks like blended so when I’m doing a project I don’t have to guess.

Well, I am now sitting me up a monthly budget for Prisma Color Pencils so I can get all the colors I don’t have and I can fill up that chart.  By the way there are more colors than what that chart shows, which must mean I’ll have to sit down and build a complete chart.

Who needs 64 colors of Crayola’s when you can have 100’s of Prisma Color Pencils.  It’s not just coloring anymore it is being artistic and designing… where is that duckie I was coloring?  Is it in my Big Coloring Book 1 or my coloring book I got for $1.