Tuesday, January 31, 2012

February Assignment

Wow! Can you believe January is almost over?! I have an assignment for you today that will make you look forward to February, and it has nothing to do with chocolate! 

If you have an iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad, and you do not have the Coolibah scrapbooking app, I want you to go to the app store right now and get it. It's free and a LOT of fun. Go ahead. We'll wait...(elevator music in the background)....

Back already? Ok, then--let's get started. If you haven't used Coolibah before, you'll want to look through the gallery and pick out some kits that you like. There are several free kits and the rest are 99 cents. Take a few minutes to tap on the first page and flip through the instructions. Then experiment a little to get the feel.

We are going to make a calendar--I mean a PRETTY calendar!--that you can save as your lock screen so it's the first thing you see when you turn on your device. You could also save it as your home screen (you know--the one that has the apps on it) or to the desktop of your computer. You could even print it and put it on your refrigerator. It is going to be THAT pretty! I don't have a smart phone, but I was able to send the calendar as a text message to my reasonably intelligent phone and save it as the wallpaper. This is how mine turned out:

The first thing we need is a calendar. Use your device to go online and Google 'free printable February 2012 calendar.' When the results come up click on 'images' up near the top. This will show you gobs and gobs of calendars. Yes, I said gobs and gobs. Pick one that you like and tap on it so a bigger image comes up. Find one that has nice and clear lines and numbers. I used one with big numbers, because I don't need space to write on it and because, well,  I'm 47, ok? When you find the one you want, hold your finger on it until a box pops up that says 'Save Image' and 'Copy.' Tap 'Save Image.' You just put that calendar in your photo album. Now you can use it like you would use any other picture! 

Now for the fun part....
To make a new page, you need to tap on the + in the lower left of the screen. 
Next tap on the symbol for background paper and pick a pattern you like for your background.
To bring your calendar in just tap on the button to add a photo. On an iPad it has a photo on it, but on the iPod (and I assume the iPhone) it's a + sign that brings up some choices. Tap 'add a photo' this time. We'll come back to the others. Your calendar should be the last photo in your album. Just tap it and it will go right to your page. As long as  it's yellow you can move it (with one finger), change the size (with two fingers), or rotate it (with three fingers). 
Now you can look through the 'elements' to decorate your page. Remember the button on the iPod that said 'add elements?' On the iPad it's the button with a flower on it. I like to pick a bunch of embellishments all at once then go back and arrange them the way I want them. You can change the size and move elements when they are highlighted, too.
You might want to add a frame around your calendar. That's the one on the iPod that looks like four photo corners. 
You can also add shadows when an element is highlighted yellow, or move it up or down so it's layered on top of or beneath other elements.

When you are satisfied, tap the far left button. It's either a check mark or an arrow. That will bring up a button that says 'Share.' Tap it and choose 'Save to Photo Album.' Then to close your calendar, tap the button on the top left (looks like six rectangles).
Go to your home screen and open your photos. Tap on your calendar to open it. See the little rectangle with  the arrow coming out of it? Tap that and choose 'Use as Wallpaper.' On the iPad you can then choose if you want it as your lock screen, your home screen, or both. (This is where you can also email it to your computer or send it to your reasonably intelligent phone as a text message.)

THAT'S IT! Woo Hoo!  

So how does it look? Mine is pretty busy, but it looks cheery. Here's a little secret.... If you want to use my calendar, there are two things you can do. Scroll back up and save it to your computer, or use your device to come to my blog and save it the same way you saved the calendar on Google. It will go directly to your photo album. But. If you do that. You will miss all the fun!

Let me know how your calendar turned out! And how quickly you become totally additcted to Coolibah! 
  Thanks for stopping by!!! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Secret Letter Box

Happy Friday! Today I'm just "showing." No "telling." Or would it be "telling," but not "showing?" Hmmm....

I came across a great site the other day called The Women's Waiting Room. Ellen is also a scrapper/crafter, but her posts cover a wide range of topics. She is very entertaining. Go to to check it out. (Sorry-I tried to put a link there, but it didn't work.) In one of her posts, called "Fall, leaves, fall,"  she has a photo of a secret letter box that she made. I loved it so much I had to make one, too!

Just looks like a stack of old letters, right? But look what happens when you untie the lace and pick up the top envelope! Too cool! 

I am not EVEN going to try giving directions with pics. I think I would even confuse myself! But there is a Youtube video that gives very clear directions.  Click Here to watch it. (HA! That link worked!) Of course, I had to change mine up a little (mostly just to save my fingers!). See if you can figure out what I did. I think that once I find a place that works for classes and crops, this will be our first project! 

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend and I'll be back Tuesday! (Or very early Wednesday morning! teehee!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

No-Paper-Bag Paper Bag Brag Book

I absolutely love it when Andy comes home and says someone at work is going to have a baby! Baby brag books are one of my favorite things to make. Brag books for cats and dogs are a close second.

I've always loved the look of paper bag books. But if you've ever made one, you know that the bags can be kind of a pain to deal with. Very often they are wrinkled or have uneven folds. It's hard to decide how to use the flap, and the paper is so thin! So I thought, "Why not use the ginormous roll of brown kraft paper that I bought YEARS ago?" It's nice and heavy and I think it replenishes itself every time I cut a piece off! Turns out it works really well! 

Here's what I use:
Six pieces brown kraft paper, cut in 13 x 6 inch strips. Each strip will be one page.
Twelve 6x6 inch squares of paper, patterned or solid, it's up to you. 
Cardstock for a frame and pull-outs.
Solid cardstock for photo mats.
I used my Cuttlebug and Nestabilities to cut the frame and pull-outs, a Stampin' Up Round Tab punch, a circle punch, and a hole punch.
Cinch & binding wires or hole punch and binding rings.
Sewing machine (You don't have to sew this--I just love the way it looks)

Fold each piece of kraft paper in half and sandwich it between two of your 6 inch squares, leaving a half inch of kraft paper showing on the fold side. Use paper clips or binder clips to hold this together and stitch around the page, leaving the top open (for a pocket) and staying off of the half inch strip of kraft paper on the fold side. I like to use a simple zig-zag stitch unless the paper is really busy. Then I go with a straight stitch. I DO stitch the top of the pages I plan to use for the front and back covers. Geez! This sounds so confusing! I hope the pictures help! 

If you don't want to sew, just use adhesive to hold your papers together. First go around the open edge and the bottom of the kraft paper, adhering it to itself. You don't need to do the folded edge--the stitching there is just for looks. If you leave the top open and stay close to the edges you'll end up with a nice sized pocket. Then adhere your patterned paper to either side.

Use a circle punch to punch out a half circle in the middle of the opening of each pocket. I just know that if I didn't do that, six years from now someone would say, "Hey! There's a pocket in this page and this ribbon is attached to this card-thingy that pulls out!"

Once you've assembled all of your pages, put them all together using a binding tool or by punching a few holes and inserting binder rings. If your sewing machine is pretty heavy duty you could probably even stitch through the kraft paper. 

I like to put a frame on the front. I pick a shape I like and, if it's a Nestability, I cut several layers of heavy cardstock for stability. If it's a bigger die, like a Sizzix, I just cut a piece of chipboard and whatever paper I want to cover it. For this I cut four pieces of heavy cardstock. 

I cut a circle out of the centers of three of them and left the fourth one whole for the time being. I also cut a piece of red paper with the next smaller label die, but I used the next bigger circle die for the center, so that when they're layered, the white shows around all the edges. 

Now back to the fourth piece. I guess we could call it a spacer. Place the frame on top and trace the circle onto it.. Then just cut out a space big enough to slide a photo in.  (I will cut along the blue lines and remove the whole middle) I know my pic shows the open side at the bottom, but please don't put it on your book that way, or your picture will slide right out! This piece gets attached to the back of the frame then the whole thing goes on the cover.

I used the same label dies for the pull-outs. One of these will slide into each pocket.

I like to put mats on the pages to make it as simple as possible for the new mommy and daddy to get their pictures in the book. Sometimes I use colored paper, but usually just white with inked edges. If it's a gift for someone who does not scrapbook I'll even send adhesive. 

I punched the tabs and stamped the baby's initials on three of them and a star on the fourth, then attached them to the edges of the four inside pages with a Tiny Attacher staple. Those are SO cute! 

Here are the finished pages. I just realized I don't have a pic of the back cover and I already sent it to work with Andy. It looks just like the front, but without the frame, and with my little 'mp' stamped at the bottom. 

Hope you're able to follow that! Time for bed. But first thing in the morning I'm going to finish the sample for another birthday party invitation. Same family as the Lego party, but Joshelle is having a Candyland party! I'll show you what I've come up with after she sends them out. And when I come back on Thursday or Friday, I hope to show you a secret envelope box. Really cool! See you then! 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wedding Invitations and blog practice....

I really wanted to get a post up yesterday, but you know how sometimes being a mom overshadows everything else? Even when they're 19 & 22, they still need Mommy sometimes. I guess it's good to know you're not obsolete! 

I found out why you couldn't leave comments. I think I fixed it. Let me know if you still have trouble with it and I'll ask someone who knows what they're doing. I'm definitely learning as I go!

I learned how to make my pictures all pretty. Thanks, Splitcoast Stampers! The members there are so helpful! I finally realized that I should look there for advice before wasting hours searching all over the internet. Usually someone else has asked the same question and no one makes you feel like an idiot if you don't know all the proper techie terminology. I guess they speak my language! 

Next I'm going to try something else new--I want to put a button on the left side that will take you straight to Splitcoast, but I'm not sure I can pull it off. If I figure that out I'll also have a button to the February issue of Scrapbooks, Etc. to show off my first published page.

Last weekend I had a booth at my first bridal show. Andy helped me set up. He came up with a GREAT display piece for me to use. I'd like to put up a picture of my table, but it really didn't photograph well with all the other tables and vendors in the background. There weren't very many brides in attendance, but I met several people who could prove helpful. A couple of photographers, the manager of a wedding chapel, a dj/wedding planner, and a florist either took my business cards or asked for sample books!


These are some of the invitations I had with me. They're normally sold in sets, which include the invitation, one or two inserts (RSVPs, directions, etc.), and a thank you. The price for these sets range from two to four dollars, depending on the types of paper and the level of detail involved. 


For example, Autumn and Daisy are the same design, but Autumn is four dollars a set and Daisy is two dollars a set. Autmn has glitter paper, metallic paper, embossing, and two punched leaves, so the supplies cost more and it takes a lot longer to assemble. The paper for Daisy is just as heavy and of the same quality, but without 
the glossy or glittery finshes, and there 
are fewer steps involved in assembling 
each invitation.


Pearl is very elegant, and uses some of the same kinds of paper as Autumn, but since it requires fewer steps its price would start just over two dollars per set. 

I can tweak any of these designs or come up with something completely new, depending on what the bride is looking for. I'm getting ready to start an order for graduation announcements. Same principle, but with school colors instead of wedding colors!

If you're wondering where some of the names come from, it's pretty simple. 
Autumn has the colors of autumn, and Janis had an autumn wedding. 
Daisy has flowers embossed on it and looks summery. I picture a groom in jeans and a white button-down and the bride in a sundress carrying daisies.  
Pearl is made of shimmery pearl and gold papers.   


Sassy. Ok, this one's not so obvious. When Alexis, the bride, was a little girl, she couldn't say her name correctly. It came out "Sassy" and boy, did it fit! lol    
That name stuck with her, and now, twenty-some years later, some of us still call her that!


 Once I got Amelia put together, it reminded me of my great grandparents' wedding picture. I don't know why--it just did. My great grandmother's name was Amelia.


I don't know if you can make it out, but the C in the middle of the label is not a monogram. The word Cherish is in there. That's a perfect spot for a monogram, but everyone's monograms don't work real well together, and I thought that cherish  was an appropriate word for a wedding invitation. (And a really pretty stamp!)


All I could think of when I looked at this one was a winter wedding with lots of white and silver. If you're going with a winter theme you have to decorate with lots of  crystal, right?

I think that's enough wedding talk for now. I have some magazine submissions to get to work on. I'll let you know how they turn out. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Embossing with Legos!

So...I've been trying to get this blog going for a while. Between figuring out the basics, having the computer crash, and just getting up my nerve to take the leap, I've managed to kill about three weeks! Here goes....

My friend Jauna was looking for Lego themed invitations for her son's upcoming birthday party. I thought for about three seconds before saying, "We can do that!" Then I had to come up with the "how." At first I thought I'd emboss the front with a polka dot embossing folder, but then I decided to try using actual Legos to get a more authentic look.

I used Notepad Sizzlits because they're so nice and chunky. Letters that are too thin wouldn't show off the embossing. I used the colors that I associate with Legos--red, yellow, blue, and green. I dug through the giant Lego tub (I can't part with them, even though my boys are 19 and 22!) and found some of the flat pieces. I had to put two layers together to make a piece big enough. I have a Cuttlebug, so I got all the different cutting pads and mats that I could find, as well as a few pieces of chipboard in a variety of thicknesses. I knew I would have to experiment a little to get the sandwich just right.

After cutting out all the letters I adhered them to a piece of green cardstock 4 inches by 5 1/4 inches. Then I began to try different combinations of cutting plates, mats, and shims on some scrap cardstock. The one that worked for me was C plate on the bottom, B plate, Legos, card front, silicone embossing pad (tan colored, thin, and floppy), a black pad (I think it might be called a crease pad--it's thicker and more rigid than the embossing pad), one thin piece of chipboard, and another B plate on top. It probably took me 20 minutes to get the right look. Too thick, the paper tears. Too thin, you lose the effect. Just be patient. Once I had the sandwich right, Joseph was able to help me crank the fronts through the Cuttlebug.

I made these invitations while my computer was in the shop, so I used my iPad to make the insides. Jauna sent a photo, but she didn't like the way the front of Joseph's shirt looked, so I used an app appropriately named Captions to add in the word caption and cover it. 
I also used Snapseed to lighten the shadows around his eyes a little, and Crop n Frame to add in the red, yellow, and blue frame. 
Then I used my very favorite app EVER, Coolibah (digital scrapbooking), for the bottom. I was able to choose a background paper, type in all the details, and even add in the zigzag stitch. Even if you have no desire to do digi scrapping, if you have an iPod, iPhone, or iPad with photos on it, try Coolibah. It's easy and fun! And a little addictive.
All of that would have been easier on my computer, but the challenge of finding a way around the computer problem was kind of fun. I guess I feel like I outsmarted it! lol

From there it's easy.... I printed the insides on heavy white cardstock, scored and folded it to make a 4 1/4 by 5 1/2 inch card, and adhered the embossed piece to the front. Here it is again--

So how did I do? Were my instructions clear enough? I'd love to hear what you think, but please don't be too harsh with the newbie! Thanks for stopping by!