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Archive | March, 2010

Craft Month Q&A: Tami Morrison

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Today we are excited to bring you a Craft Month Q&A from Tami Morrison! Tami is a member of the Ella Publishing team and an instructor for Big Picture Scrapbooking. Her latest BPS class, Everyday Adventures, begins on April 15. You can also find her at her blog, Noodle Soup.

What was the first craft you ever remember doing? At what age? And what got you started?

Construction paper + paste, in Tiny Tots preschool. I think I must’ve been about 3. To this day, school paste is still one of my favorite smells!

Can you name all the crafts you have tried as hobbies?

It would probably be easier to name the ones I *haven’t* tried, but I’ll give it a go. In loose chronological order: paint by numbers, latch hook rugs (hello, 70s!), collage, Tulip paints on clothing (hello, 80s!), crafting of random objects seen in magazines (Christmas tree watering can, an assortment of wreaths and other holiday decor, embellished sweatshirts…), decoupage, scrapbooking, card making, handmade paper, painting, art journaling, altered items, paper arts, soap making, making hair bows & beaded barrettes, needle felting, sewing, embroidery.

What crafts do you currently do?

Scrapbooking and sewing, mainly…but I’m still a dabbler in many things, depending on my mood. Except for the Tulip paints on clothing and latch-hook rugs!

What other crafts have you incorporated into your scrapbooking?

Sewing, decoupage, collage, painting, felting.

What is your favorite craft & why?

Scrapbooking, all the way! It’s so much more than a single craft – it’s an opportunity to express myself creatively in a lot of different ways, but also a way to live an aware and appreciative life.

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Review: Making Memories Vintage Groove Jewelry

[Editor's Note: Making Memories has recently followed the lead of scrapbook company EK Success into the bead and jewelry segment of the crafts market. Contributing Writer May Flaum gave the jewelry a try to see if it will appeal to Making Memories' existing scrapbook customers.]

When I discovered the “Vintage Groove by Jill Schwartz” line from Making Memories at CHA-Winter 2010, I was instantly smitten. What you are about to read is a gushing review of the most unexpected find of the winter show. A scrapbooking company getting into jewelry? What sounds crazy at first makes a lot of sense to me. There is a lot of crafting overlap already, and I believe they’ve done an excellent job with this.

What appealed to me were the detailed vintage inspired pieces, the colors, and most of all the usefulness of the line. Once I saw how easy it was to use, and that even I could find success with the line I was sold. I have been working with some pieces from this new offering, and I’m impressed with the quality, variety, and how beginner-friendly this line is. There are a lot of items available, from monograms to charms, flowers to rhinestones – everything you need to make simple and amazing jewelry.

You only need jump rings and pliers to attach things together, and you can simply piece things together. Making Memories has a variety of chains and pieces that are able to link together, and I was able to start making things in minutes. I used to string beads to make necklaces when I was a child, but I have never been into making my own jewelry. This line has me re-thinking that and ready to buy a whole lot more.

I didn’t need to figure out “how”, just simply what I wanted. Choose a chain, choose some decorative pieces, and attach with jump rings.

I learned quickly (with a very sore thumb) that two pairs of pliers to twist the jump rings open is imperative. Making Memories has a video on their website demonstrating a quick and easy monogram necklace that demonstrates the how-to nicely.

Playing with these products, I found myself both dreaming up pieces for myself and thinking about the gifts I could create for others as well. I was really encouraged by how easy they’ve made this so that I don’t need to be an expert to put something pretty together. Above is a necklace I made in under 10 minutes. I confess, the hardest part is choosing what to use! That takes considerably longer.

I really like that no matter what you choose from the line, it’s going to go with everything else. Depending on your color and style preferences, you can make any number of looks, and it can be as tricky or simple as you like. In the above necklace I pieced together some charms, pieces of chain, and even some pre-made lengths of beads to create this funky necklace. I didn’t worry about matching things, and I love how this looks on me. Funky and fun – and totally one of a kind.

I showed the pieces I have to a friend who is very into jewelry making, and she was excited by how the charms and decorative beads and pieces could be used in her more advanced work. Because the line is sold in small affordable bits and pieces, you can really get the things you love, and not be stuck with items you don’t wish to use. I went wild with a multi-strand necklace (above) using the silver bead chain that is a part of the line. Having chains and strands of beads ready to go is so nice. I just get to play with the fun stuff!

What I am most excited about is how quickly I could start having finished pieces in my hands, and that if I made a mistake I could simply open the jump ring back up and start over. I am also very excited by how some of these pieces would translate beautifully into scrapbook and paper craft projects.

I already shop the bead isles at my craft store for unique embellishments, and I love that some of these are flat enough to work for me.

In the layout above (Making Memories princess sticker, alpha stickers, paper, and Jenni Bowlin button) I strung several pieces together along the bottom of my photo and removed the metal backing for the large blue flower. Normally I think I would just choose one or two special pieces to accent my layout, but I couldn’t resist.

Playing with these products has been a treat, and I look forward to seeing all of the products in stores soon. I’m told that a handful of select Target stores have the line now, and that it should show up the first week of April in stores that have ordered it. If you like the vintage look as much as I do, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for it.

I’m already looking forward to making another necklace and bracelet, not to mention some canvas and scrapbook projects.

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Craft Month Q&A: Contributing Writer May Flaum

Contributing Writer May Flaum took a few minutes to share her crafting history for National Craft Month:

What was the first craft you ever remember doing? At what age? And what got you started?

I’ve been crafting my whole life. Anything and everything. As a child I remember making handmade paper, creating scrapbooks, stringing beads for necklaces, making our own doll clothes and furniture,

Can you name all the crafts you have tried as hobbies?

This isn’t a question I can answer! I’ve tried just about everything in some form or another. Coming from a very craft heavy family I have had access to a wide variety of crafts.

What crafts do you currently do?

I do some very novice sewing, I dabble in mixed media and canvas arts, and of course most of my time is spent scrapbooking.

What other crafts have you incorporated into your scrapbooking?

My skill set works throughout all I do. It’s about creative play for me. Off the top of my head I know I’ve brought in beading, sewing, paper making, and stamping into my scrapbooks. I love to shop the whole craft store looking for ideas and products to use, so I really just see it all as potential.

What is your favorite craft & why?

I would say scrapbooking because it combines photos + stories + paper crafting. I can do a little of everything.

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Paperclipping Roundtable #12: Heart on Fire, Brain on Ice

Paperclipping Roundtable #12 was all about balancing scrapbooking for our families versus ourselves! This week’s panel consisted of Noell Hyman, Stacy Julian, Steph from The Daily Digi, and me (along with our resident non-scrapper Izzy).

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Here’s this week’s show notes:

Links from this week’s show:

Product Picks:

Here’s video that was taken with the Canon 5D Mark II camera that Izzy talked about:

Here’s the layout that I mentioned that uses the Tim Holtz paper pack and the Graphically Speaking cartridge:

Supply List: Paper – Tim Holtz Vintage Shabby Paper Pack, Marcella by Kay (Sophie); Punch – EK Success (Binding Edge); Ink – Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Pumice Stone); Spray Ink – Clearsnap Smooch Spritz (Vanilla Shimmer); Sticker – Grand Adhesions by K & Co (Hopscotch); Jewel – Prima; Flower – Prima Tea Roses (Peach Frost); Decorative Tape – Making Memories; Ribbon – unknown; Die Cut – Cricut (Graphically Speaking).

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Review: Chip Art by Melody Ross for GCD Studios

For the last few weeks I’ve been working with and evaluating the Chip Art tools by Melody Ross for GCD Studios, and having a great time with them. They are unlike anything else in the scrapbooking market, and they are a lot of fun. However, I think it only fair to warn you – they are also noisy and they are not fast to use if you include the chipboard drying time.

I don’t think these tools are for everyone, but I do think that they are very cool and I encourage you to take a look at what I’ve done with them so you can decide for yourself if they are something that will work for you. First, let me explain the tools themselves:

There are both alphabets and decorative  images available in this line, all sold separately. They are metal and you use a mallet to create an indentation into damp chipboard. The images come in a dense blue foam, the alphabets are in that same foam, but the foam sits inside a beautifully decorated tin. If purchasing some you will also need the tool handle. This (shown below) is the piece that you fit into the back of the image so that you can use them. There are two sizes – 1/2″ for the larger images, and 1/4″ for the smaller ones. The alphabet shown above has the 1/4″ tool included.

The product line also includes a mallet, spray bottle (for wetting chipboard), and a block (hard plastic) to use as a work surface. I found that while very nice to have, I would consider those items optional. I tried the tools out while working on a hard wood surface, with a small hammer, and using a sponge to apply water to the chipboard. That said, using them with the GCD tools was nice, especially the  work surface that is slick and easy to wipe excess moisture off from.

To use the tools on chipboard, first you need to wet the chipboard and let it set for a minute so the water soaks in. It doesn’t need to be dripping wet, just damp enough to soften. Then select your image (or letter), attach it to the tool handle, and place where you want to have the image. Take the mallet and bang the top of the tool handle a few times. I usually found two-three times worked well. The noise level is similar to traditional eyelet setting tools, and I wouldn’t advise doing this while others are trying to sleep in your house.

This worked on both plain chipboard and chipboard that had been painted with acrylic paint (dry) and then moistened with water. To get more images, simply keep selecting more, and wet the chipboard again and again as needed. A word of caution: you don’t want to soak the chipboard or pound too hard.

Above is an example of a soaked piece of chipboard. It took me three tries to show you what I mean – but if you pound too many times, especially on soaked chipboard it will fall apart as my “M” has on the far right. Below you can see some butterflies I stamped into white acrylic painted chipboard.

To add contrast I rubbed (with my finger) purple acrylic paint into the butterflies and surrounding area.

Then I gently sanded off (once dry) the excess purple paint to achieve the distressed look shown below.

In my experimenting I found that the tools worked well on any standard chipboard pieces, so long as they weren’t treated with a finish that prevented water from soaking into them to soften them. I also found that other thick products that could be softened with water but that would harden and hold the shape once dry worked well. I had success with pulp paper, and I have yet to test it, but I believe leather would work well too.

Above is a name stamped into thick pulp paper I took from my mother’s papermaking stash. The key is really something that will soften with moisture, but really harden and hold once dry.

Here is a ChipArt mini book cover that I created for an inspiration book meant to hold images and thoughts that I want to use at future dates. I should mention that I am very happy with both the quality and designs of the chipboard books and shapes available in this line.

I really like that I can keep adding more images as I feel like it, and I will tell you I have a lot of fun banging the images into chipboard. It is artsy play at its most fun.

Of course, I have to keep testing and trying different things! I took a random butterfly from my chipboard stash (no idea who made it) and sprayed it heavily with glimmer mist instead of using water to wet the chipboard. Then I used a letter to monogram my pretty butterfly.

I could see both putting a few letters on chipboard pieces to customize my layouts, and putting some images on chipboard letters being things I do often in my scrapbooking. It doesn’t take much time, and I love the personal effect it gives.

In the above layout I used the Homespun Chic and Artsy Urban lines by Melody Ross for GCD Studios, as well as Cosmo Cricket chipboard stickers (brackets), a Pink Paislee number (5), and mom’s typewriter font.

I have had a lot of fun testing out these new tools, and I see myself using them a lot in future projects. It’s true I either have to take them outside to use (due to children sleeping) or work quickly with them during times when the girls are awake, but they are worth it. One thing I discovered during quiet time is that you can stamp with them.

I like the soft look from the Ranger Distress Ink Pads (wild honey and tumbled glass used above). They aren’t designed to be like rubber stamps, so don’t expect perfection. I just loved the little images I could add into my projects – adding tiny details here and there. This is a great way to (silently) use these products.

I have not been this excited about a new tool in a long time. I feel like I am just scratching the surface of the possibilities of these tools, and I am hoping to add more alphabets and a few more shapes to my collection. While the noise might be a deterrent to some crafters, I see possibility here for mixed media, wall art, scrapbooking, and so much more – I’m looking forward to my next project.

All of the products used are now available in stores. All of the ChipArt can be found at www.artsyfindings.com, a new site that Melody Ross has created  where all her products will be available. The shop at Stampington is also carrying a selection of the ChipArt tools.

If you have any questions about the tools please feel free to leave a comment here or e-mail me at may@scrapbookupdate.com.

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