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Archive | June, 2011

Trend Watch: Clouds

It’s the plaintive cry uttered by scrapbookers everywhere, that phrase that escapes your lips in a fit of frustration when your frazzled brain just can’t fathom what in the world you should add to your layout. The nearly complete page just sits there, silently mocking you as you begin to weep, fervently wishing you knew the answer to that universal question, the one that is destined to be the bane of scrappers’ existence until the very end of time itself: “what else does this page need?”

As scrapbookers we’ve all been there. I’ve been there, and I’m here to proclaim to all who are suffering from this plight that’s at the very heart of the human condition that I’ve survived it, and so will you! And not only am I here to spout platitudes (ha!), but I’m also going to give some concrete advice as to how you can move past your worse case of scrapper’s block into the shining sun of a fresh, creative dawn.

What is this miracle advice, this holy grail of all scrapbooking tricks, you may ask?

Allow me to present to you Exhibit A (and scrapbooking’s latest trend): The Cloud.

Above: My Mind’s Eye Fine and Dandy True Blue (Daydream)

Yes, dear friends, the cloud, while not the only answer to this burning question, is a powerful tool to have in your creative arsenal. What was once merely a hot trend in scrapbooking is quickly moving into the pantheon of basic shapes that are universally accepted on layouts no matter the context. Much as flowers, hearts, stars, and butterflies (oh, those lovely butterflies) have become as common as basic shapes such as circles, triangles, and squares, clouds are making their way onto scrapbook pages about every subject and in every style under the sun. Having an array of such shapes (whether that be product or the tools to make them) at your fingertips and training yourself to turn to them in your darkest hour of need can provide a powerful jumpstart to an otherwise flatlined cropping session.

The first line of defense for most scrappers, and arguably the most popular scrapbooking supply, is patterned paper. If this is your scrappy drug of choice you’re in luck, as there are many, many cloudy options for you to choose from. Many papers stick to the standard “blue skies and fluffy white clouds” theme, such as the patterns shown below.

Above, from top left: American Crafts City Park (Skyline Park Glitter), My Mind’s Eye Lime Twist (Genuine Sky), My Mind’s Eye Good Day Sunshine (Head In The Clouds), Echo Park Summer Days (Clouds).

Sassafras’ Sunshine Broadcast line features a near-photo realistic print in the common blue and white color scheme with touches of vintage aging and distressing, called “Enlighten” (below).

Some papers add a bit of embellishment, such as this playful piece from the Echo Park “Little Boy” line called “In the Clouds” (below).

Doodlebug Designs proves that clouds can carry a holiday theme, as well, as shown in this pattern from their “Spooky Town”  Halloween collection, “Midnight Sky” (below).

Bella Blvd adds a funky patterned touch to the fun collection of doodled clouds in this bright yellow print called “Creamsicle Clouds” (below) from their “Sunny Happy Skies” line.

There’s no shortage of cloud embellishments on the market today and, like patterned paper, they’re available in a wide variety of styles and colors.

Studio Calico’s cloud rub-ons (pictured below) come in several different colors and patterns, including popular wood grain and ledger prints.

Above: Studio Calico Cloud Rub-Ons (Woodgrain, Blue, Grey, Ledger).

Sassafras includes a cloud shape in one of their paper lines’ coordinating cardstock sticker sheets. Sunshine Broadcast, Sweetly Smitten, and Ellie’s Tale are just a few examples.

 

 

Above, from top: Sassafras Sunshine Broadcast, Sweetly Smitten and Ellie’s Tale cardstock stickers.

My Mind’s Eye’s “Fine and Dandy: True Blue” line features several cute patterned clouds in its chipboard set (pictured below).

DIY types will appreciate the number of cloud-related tools on the market.

Fiskars produces both large and extra large versions of a cloud shape for their popular (and oh-so-easy-to-use) squeeze punch line. Both of these punches are now staples of my personal scrapbooking tool arsenal and have a place of honor in the tool basket next to my crafting desk.

 

Both My Favorite Things and Papertrey Ink carry cloud dies that are compatible with almost any manual die cutting machine on the market.

My Favorite Things Clouds Trio Die-namics

 

Papertrey Ink Cloud 1 and 2 Die Collection

Papertrey even makes a coordinating stamp set so you can color, pattern, and customize your cloud cutouts to your heart’s content.

Papertrey Ink "Up Up and Away" Stamp Set

The American Crafts City Park line also features this stamp set, complete with – you guessed it – clouds!

Above: American Crafts City Park stamp set (Fountain Accents & Phrases)

Now that we’ve taken a tour of some of the available cloud products, let’s look at an example of how we can use them.

I recently scrapped a page about my latest 5K run, held on Memorial Day. It’s a very patriotic event, so I chose a vibrant red, white, and blue color scheme and broke out some stars and a sheet of pennant banner paper. The top right corner, though, looked a little lonely when it had only the glittered blue flourish to keep it company.

Supplies - Patterned Paper: My Mind’s Eye American Made (Celebration Banner). Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (Stonehenge). Gems: Imaginisce (I-Rock). Cardstock Die Cuts: K & Company (Americana). Letter Stickers: American Crafts Thickers (White Subway Foam, Red Sprinkles Vinyl), My Little Shoebox (Gumball Mini). Spray Mist: Studio Calico Mister Huey’s (Calico White).  Punches: Fiskars Squeeze Punch (Large Cloud and Extra Large Cloud). Date Stamp: office supply. Pen: Zig Millenium.

The solution? I broke out my trusty cloud punches (the same Fiskars set that I talked about just a little earlier), and punched both the large and extra large out of the “B” side of my patterned paper. The result was the perfect finishing touch for a page about a fun outdoor event on a hot, sunny day.

In the real world, clouds come in all shapes, sizes and types: stormy gray rain clouds, wispy thin clouds that sail through the air during a day at the beach, flat, white clouds on snowy days, and of course the big, fluffy clouds that we’ve all come to associate with sunny spring days. Cloud products in scrapbooking are just as diverse and can be used for any variety of page subjects.

Next time you’re stuck on a page and searching for the perfect accent, pick up one of these cloud products and give it a try. It might just be the finishing touch you’re looking for!

Scrapbooking the Everyday: 34 fresh new ways to celebrate your daily life

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Monthly Tags | #5 – May 2011

It’s ironic that I published an article today on Scrapbook Update by May Flaum about The State of Acid Free Papercrafting, because I just completed a project that was anything but acid free!

Last night, I completed tag #5, for May 2011, in my Monthly Tag Album project. It was far from acid free from the moment I started it! A project I saw online (wish I could remember what or where, so I could give credit where it is due) inspired me to use corrugated cardboard for the base of the tag.

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Paperclipping Roundtable #73: Scrapworthy Lives

This week, Stephanie Medley-Rath joins the Roundtable to talk with us about the dissertation that she wrote about the sociology of scrapbooking. We were also joined by Stacy Julian, who of course has been an influential thought leader in the past decade of scrapbooking. (Really, the discussion is much less snooze-inducing than the word “dissertation” makes it sound – I promise!)

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The Panel

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The State of Acid Free Papercrafting

When I was first introduced to modern scrapbooking, it was through Creative Memories. Through attending a few of their parties, I certainly learned a lot about the importance of good materials and why using their quality albums was far better than sticking my photos onto printer paper with rubber cement and using a ball point pen for journaling.

The years rolled by and new products went onto the market. I found myself being less concerned by, but still aware of, the various archival terms and what they meant. A few weeks ago I got to thinking about acid free scrapbooking products. Today I’m sharing my thoughts, findings, some general information and food for thought on the subject.

What does “acid free” mean? And what is “lignin”?

Paper is made from wood, which is acidic. Lignin is a chemical within the paper that causes yellowing and general yuckiness. There are processes which can make the paper ‘acid free’, and that process involves neutralizing or eliminating lignin. Therefore, the two go together. (For more on the topic, I really like THIS ARTICLE that explains what acid free paper really means, and why it’s important.)

Are my scrapbook supplies acid free?

I have long assumed that any scrapbook paper is acid free – but I could be wrong, and so I am checking paper before I buy it now. When I looked through my papers and stickers, I noticed that a lot of them did not specify acid/lignin free. I wondered if this meant some companies just aren’t putting that notation of acid free anymore, or if companies had lowered quality standards and I never noticed?

To find out, I contacted five of my favorite manufacturers: Tim Holtz, Studio Calico, American Crafts, Sassafras, and Pink Paislee and asked them. “Are your stickers and papers acid free?” I was happy to hear from all of them that indeed they are using acid/lignin free product for their stickers and papers despite not always labeling their products as acid free. This does not mean that all paper and stickers from any scrapbook manufacturer are made with acid free materials, but it is an indicator that companies may not think it is important to label their products as acid free even if they are. I recommend checking product labels, and looking up information on company websites if it’s not listed.

After my paper and sticker quest, I started looking at adhesives. A number of gluesticks and liquid adhesives are “non-toxic” but say nothing of archival qualities or being acid free. All the brands of tape runners or dry adhesives that I looked at did say both archival and acid free. It’s a good reminder to check that product packaging and know what you’re paying for.

So if it’s in a scrapbook store, is it safe?

Recently I encountered some concerned students in a class I taught when I told them the liquid medium they were using was not acid free. They had assumed because it was marketed to scrapbookers that it must be acid free. This is absolutely not true! First of all, there is no law stating that to sell a scrapbook supply it must be archivally safe. Secondly, many materials such as metals, inks, and fabrics aren’t paper based, so the term “acid free” really doesn’t apply to them.

The same goes for paints, inks, artist mediums, beads, and so much more. “Acid free” is not a term that is applicable to those products in determining their archival safety. So what is it – and is it safe? I think it depends on the material and what your expectations are. Some things simply aren’t meant to last for 100 years. Will it degrade over time? Most things will – it’s a matter of how much and if that is of concern for you.

So does acid free really matter?

I believe the answer is yes and no. You see, the acid free paper and stickers sold at my local craft store are packaged in plastic, transported in cardboard, handled by store employees and customers, and comes in contact with all kinds of things. In other words, I’m not expecting that the materials I use are perfectly acid free. Likewise, the surface that I work on, my own hands, and so many other environmental factors make what I’m doing imperfect from an archival perspective. Even so, the projects that I make with quality acid-free papers and adhesives, and archival printed photos and pens visibly hold up better even after a few years than those I did with products that aren’t. If I am working on a card or gift tag, or a home decor project that I only want to last for a year or two it doesn’t matter at all – but for something I hope will last for a decade or longer, then I am more mindful of my material selection. Ultimately, how much archival products matter is a personal choice that every crafter must make.

How archival are my scrapbooks then?

I do believe that using quality product will help the life of your projects and that they last longer themselves. Just looking at my own albums from the last 25 years I can clearly see differences. As a scrapbooker, I’m concerned with archival qualities of my photos themselves. I don’t skimp on photo paper, and mostly I have them printed by professional lab on archival paper which I know is better than my personal home set-up.  In fact I have had several layouts that I made five years ago with home-printed photos that are so faded the photos are now barely visible – they have totally faded out. It’s a good reminder that there are a lot of factors that determine how long your scrapbook pages will last.

If ultimate archival quality is truly your goal, I’d suggest working with museum quality archival materials (including paper, adhesive, gloves, washing hands with special cleanser, cleaning work surfaces, etc) and doing a lot of research on the best of everything – from photo processing to the pens and papers you use.

If you want  to make sure your projects are long lasting, but don’t want to stress about it – then just take care to use good materials. Do your research on photo processing and printing. Don’t skimp on good paper. Use quality adhesives and mediums that are acid free, an archival quality pen, and have fun.

Don’t care how long the project lasts? Then use whatever you like, no worries.

Bottom Line?

Personally I will be paying more attention to the papers that I buy, as well as continuing to evaluate materials used in pre-made embellishments and determining if I feel they’ll last or fall apart quickly. As scrapbooking has more cross-over with other crafting types, and as we see more art journal style and old fashioned scrapbooks (ephemera + photos + journaling) emerge, it is more important than ever for scrapbookers concerned with archival and acid free quality products to pay attention and be informed consumers. There are no wrong choices, and no right way to do things. It’s up to each of us to decide what our priorities are, and to shop accordingly.

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Online TV Network ‘My Craft Channel’ Announced

An online craft tv network called My Craft Channel will be debuting on July 11th, according to an announcement made to Scrapbook Update by channel founder & president Kristine McKay.

My Craft Channel will consist of broadcast-quality streaming video delivered online via Flash. The company is also working on an iPad app to deliver its content to that device, since it is not Flash compatible. Starting on July 11th, the company will be launching a 20 day media blitz in conjunction with Northridge Publishing and Provo Craft, called 20 Cricuts in 20 Days, during which they will reveal all 20 shows that will be featured in their fall line-up.

The new network’s shows will include a wide range of crafts, including sewing,scrapbooking, DIY projects, mixed media, stamping, digital hybrid crafts, photography, and party planning. Most of the network’s planned 20 new shows per week will be filmed in a central studio for the Utah-based company, with a few done on location.

Scrapbook Update can exclusively reveal the first two shows in the My Craft Channel line-up. They will feature Stacy Julian and Teresa Collins, who are both creating 12 episode series for the channel. Julian’s show will be titled “Photo Freedom” and will be based on her book of the same name. Collins’ series will feature paper and home decor projects each week in Collins’ signature style.

My Craft Channel is searching for fresh talent to host segments and join panels on their shows. To be considered, post a video of yourself doing a project tutorial to YouTube and mention My Craft Channel in the video. Send the link of your video to My Craft Channel. Contact information is on the My Craft Channel blog.

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33

Paperclipping Roundtable #72: The Beast You Have To Feed

This episode we pulled back the curtain on what it is like to work in the crafts industry, when we were joined at the table by Nikki Sivils, Ali Edwards, and Ana Cabrera.

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The Panel

Sponsors:

Big Picture Classes! Big Picture Scrapbooking has a new name! Click here for a promo code for Paperclipping Roundtable listeners to use to save 10% on any one class at Big Picture Classes! (Don’t forget that you can still use the link to support Roundtable even if you’ve already used the one-time discount code.)

Ella Publishing: Purchase four $10 gift certificates and save 15% through June 30th! Click here to view more details and get the coupon code.

Picks of the Week

Additional Links

Masterful Scrapbooking PRT Special Offer featuring Noell Hyman.

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