Sunday, January 6, 2019

PTI Challenge: A la Carte

I haven't made a card in months, as I had been concentrating on making journals for a craft fair.  After it was over, I could not orient myself to card making, so I didn't even do Christmas cards.  It finally occurred to me that I needed a challenge, and so I headed over to Paper Trey Ink to see if that would help me.  For this month, they gave an A la Carte option, a choice of all the make-it Monday challenges they had offered this year!  Wow, a bit overwhelming!  But, as soon as I came to Stephanie Gold's challenge to use different types of paper, I got the inspiration I needed. I have some amazing papers from probably ten years ago that I have never used ... because I knew they could never be replaced!  Anyone else relate to doing that?  I used a grass paper and a parchment paper from this assortment. As I use a lot of wallpaper to cover journals with, I incorporated that as well.

I usually photograph in daylight on my craft counter, but it's night and the challenge ends in an  hour, so I decided to try setting it up a little more "artistically", lol, and place it on the pile of papers I chose from! I wasn't enthusiastic about doing this, but I think if I had taken the time to play with it a bit, I might have decided to continue this way ...  :-)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

PTI Challenge: Patterned Frames

Papertrey Ink is one of my favorite companies, and they really know how to combine business savvy and customer appreciation.  So while they generously allow other company products to be used in their challenges, I really try to use solely their products.  This is a real challenge as I primarily own text, rather than design, stamps/dies.  I do not own any of the marvelous borders they make that are the focus of this week's challenge, PATTERNED FRAMES.  I do, however, own an impression plate, Happy Hexagons. I have an old cutting system that includes ovals, so I cut out an oval from the impression plate, and hopefully that satisfies the challenge! I used the large Thanks die that PTI carries, as I am always needing thank you cards. 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Operation Christmas Child Journal Workshop

Purpose: To enjoy wonderful fellowship while creating keepsake journals for the oldest Operation Christmas Child group, ages 10-14.

Location: Wellsville Full Gospel Church
                  2221 Hanover Hill Rd
                  Wellsville, NY

Date: Saturday, September 22

Time: 9:00 - 4:00

*Cost: We are requesting a donation of $7 for the workshop, $10 for personal journal


9:00  Arrival time, grab a cup of coffee, get to know where things are, start looking through wallpaper books

9:30 Walk-through for making a journal

9:30 - 3:00 Begin with making journal covers, then decorate pre-made covers, and assemble journals.

3:00 - 3:30 Help each other finish up, clean up sanctuary.

Lunch: Bring your own lunch & beverage, though coffee will be provided. We may or may not take a formal break together for lunch ... we'll see what everyone wants to do when we're together!

Children who attend are not likely to be able to make the journal covers ... it's a precision job both with cutting the wallpaper/chipboard and adhering the wallpaper to the chipboard. Children may still have fun choosing the wallpaper, and in the afternoon, helping you with cover decorations, so I don't want to say children cannot be there ... and I love the idea of getting them interested at a young age!  ;-)  

Signing Up: Please e-mail me or leave a comment if you are able to come; we'll need an approximate number for purchasing supplies. You can also sign up, or share this info, via the Facebook page.

*Cost: We are requesting a donation of $7 for the workshop, $10 if you would like to make your own personal journal as well.  Making journals is fun but expensive ... the cardstock, chipboard, coils, replacement blades and cutting bars for cutting cardstock, and the adhesives that go into making these really adds up. I can't give a precise cost of journals, but I would guess close to $2, and that does not count colored/printed cardstocks, decorating elements for the covers, etc. Donations of supplies, or money for supplies, would be most welcome.  I loathe the idea of asking volunteers doing the work to make a specific donation, so if you just can't afford this amount,  give what you can and come anyway!

In the past, we have just focused on the decorated wallpaper journals, with blank pages.  These in themselves are a lovely gift, and people in our church have enjoyed making them for several years. The first part of the workshop will be focused on making the covers for these. The second part will be decorating covers that Lisa Parlett and I have assembled beforehand. We will provide things for the covers, but if you have anything you would like to decorate with, or donate for the group, that would be great!

I would love to see some original artwork made for covers ... the items above are made from die cutting machines or my Cricut; I lack the ability for original artwork and have not found the time to do anything with stamping.  I'd love to see covers decorated that way! We will have vinyl or transparency film to serve as cover protectors where needed.

Other elements would be great as well, such as buttons, ribbons, store bought dimensional stickers, etc. Lisa and I are hoping some of you will come with decorating elements to share or place on your own creations! Those who sew could make fabric covered panels with batting in between. Felt applique is another possibility.  Have other ideas?  Place them in the comment section!

We also will be insert special pages, primarily made in advance. Please see this post for details! If you, or someone you know who loves crafts, lives too far away to participate, pages could be mailed to us to insert in the journals! Additionally, A2 card fronts are the perfect size for the covers ... if you have card fronts (without texts; most of these children will not know English), we can paste these on the front.

This workshop to me is about making truly special journals, so please use cutters and precise measurements for making quarter pages, don't just estimate.  Definitely don't race through decorating pages so we can make hundreds of journals, and risk having a lot of messy work! Frankly, we could save money and buy cheap dollar store journals (which would still be a blessing!) instead.  These we want to be something special. So take your time to enjoy the process, praying for the children who will enjoy the journals you are making.

If you are doing a personal journal as well: As far as priority, the stamped/decorated pages will be used exclusively for OCC, though you are more than welcome to prepare decorated pages for yourself in advance, or of course, decorate at home. If you want to make one for a young child, I will have a wallpaper book or two that focuses on young children's designs for you to pick from if you desire.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Papertrey Ink: Make it Monday: Glitter Inlays

Papertrey ink puts up a challenge every Monday, presenting a new technique each week.  This week's challenge, glitter inlays, drew my interest immediately.  As a rule, I loathe glitter, and only own some because it was given to me.  But I loved the look and the technique.  Simply put, one affixes a die cut to sticker paper and dumps glittr on it, to fill up the gaps.  Check it out!

I am busy making cover elements for a journal making workshop I and a friend of mine are doing at our church in a few weeks (I'd love to receive long distance contributions for anyone who loves to make and give away thir artwork!).  I went a little crazy with Papertrey's Hexagon Die a few weeks ago, using alcohol inks and mica cardstock.  A few years ago, I made all my Christmas cards with it, forming quilt patterns.  So when I saw this week's challenge, I knew what die I would use! Actually, I selected a premade cut from my alcohol inking I mentioned.  I also used repositional adhesive paper in case I wanted to replace any of the hexagons. I will use this for a journal; as you see, the A2 size of the die works perfectly!  I will make sure the sealer worked before actually affixing it to a journal cover, and I will probably create one in pink. 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Operation Christmas Child Journals: Styles and Inner Pages

Here are the details and some examples of the pages we are including in our journals, in addition to  plain white cardstock or paper pages. I have a constant battle between keeping things simple and allowing for fun and variety.


4.25 x 5.5  This is simply an 8.5 x 11 size piece of cardstock quartered. Cardstock should be thin; thicker cardstock means fewer pages! IMPORTANT: When you are cutting cardstock, cuts need to be as precise as possible.  On your first cut, compare the two sides: are they equal, or is one side slightly
longer than the other? Make any adjustment needed, then do the same when halving those pieces. Not all cardstocks are exactly 8.5 x 11, so the more precise we each are with our measuring, the less ragged the edges will appear in the assembled books.  :-)


Boys: Landscape. While there are always plenty of exceptions that we know of, generally speaking, we can expect a boy to be more interested in drawing than in journaling his deepest thoughts and feelings!  So, for the boys we will be doing a landscape orientation, and plain white cardstock. I would love to have some donations of cardstock that is meant for drawing/sketching ... I am not an artist, so I have not looked into pricing for this. Feel free to put great deals of where and what to get in the comment sections! Because we are focusing on drawing, we'll want to make sure that those who choose to include boy journals in their boxes will be purchasing art/drawing tools for those journals.

Girls: Portrait orientation

By having different orientations for gender, it will also be easier to sort.


For the girls, we will have a couple of styles.  One style will include stamped images to color in on every or every other page (opinions welcome!).  As with the boys' journals, those choosing this style will need to purchase pens/pencils/markers to include in box.  The second style will be to include very light printed patterned cardstock, plain cardstock with stamped images that are complete in themselves, and other creative ideas to provide decorative pages.  No need to add coloring implements to the shoe boxes, but of course pen/pencils to write with!  IMPORTANT: When decorating pages, you'll want to keep in mind a 3/8 of an inch margin for punching the sides.


It is important to be culturally sensitve, which to some extent is impossible due to the sheer number of countries the shoeboxes go to!  But, here are some guidelines:

Do not include any military/weapon images. Avoid American symbols such as flags, secular holiday symbols, Disney images.  Very few children will speak or read English; please do not use word stamps. In general, if you are not sure, just ask yourself if a child in Vietnam, Niger, or wherever, would appreciate the symbol you are concerned about.

Remember, please, that these are going to older children, so while I included a few "cute" images in my sample of images to be colored, I focused on less childish images.

Please do not use stickers; we're looking for a more "personal" touch for these journals.  Obviously you are more than welcome to add stickers to your OCC box.


I encourage making multiple pages with the same image (no need to make same number of each design). Notice I have almost exclusively small designs ... I think it's great to have a few larger, but with limited number of pages, I'd like there to be plenty of room for writing. When you are ready to send me pages, please have them in piles where each pile has one each of a unique design.  This way, rather than having to sort ourselves, we will just lay each pile onto another set of unique images.

Here are a few samples for journals that will not require coloring tools.   Any stamped image colored in would be great, or silhouette images on colored paper, etc.  Here are a few samples:

On the samples above, the top two were made by with two sizes of a labels die set.  After diecutting paper, I used temporary glue to affix them to the cardstock panels. After stamping, I removed the paper. The one on the right was made by sponging several inks, then stamping a tiny rosebud stamp all over the area. The one on the left is made with a 6x6 stamp.  Why the panel below made with the same stamp?  I should have placed it directly underneath the page, but hopefully you can see that the page is teal on white, the panel below is teal on teal.  If you want to make fully stamped pages that can be written on, and easily read, you will want to do tone on tone.  Othewise, as you see above, the contrast is too great and will make for difficulty reading. So, unless you are using a very light color on white, try to stick with the tone on tone.

If, like me, you have lots of stamped/colored elements that you do not have a particular use for, you can glue these on to pages, as long as the cardstock is not to thick, which could cause bumps when writing on the previous pages, so please primarily use paper if attaching something to a page. Likewise, if applying washi tape, please use very thin tapes only.

What about stickers? Please use them very sparingly, same with washi tape. I want us to avoid making the books thicker or bumpier than they need to be for one thing, but more than that, I feel that it takes away from the "handmade" keepsake look of the book.

Other ideas:

The bottom left is a strip of paper cut with decorative edged scissors.  Again, use paper ,not cardstock so that no unnecessary thickness is added.  The right hand side is washi tape, please only use the very thin tape.

These are all items from my stash of unused elements.  The two cardstock pieces are made from very thin cardstock, but even so, I would not put more than one in any journal.  The feather is a little bit on the large size, but I included it just to show the idea of using mulberry paper ... it has such a unique look!


Whether we do every page decorated, or every other, etc, will depend on how many covers we end up with in proportion to pages that we have.  I am also not going to be picky about how people put together the journals in terms of ratio of plain cardstock to designed.  What I will be picky about is quality. Let's not use torn, stained, or dented cardstock, but create keepsakes to be treasured forever!  :-)

At the workshop, we will focus entirely on making and/or decorating covers, so pages need to be complete by the workshop date (Saturday, September 22).


I am looking for:

Cardstock with stamped images for the recipient to color
Cardstock creatively decorated with original artwork, stamped images that are complete in themselves, (paper) die cuts, panels, etc.
Cardstock specifically meant for artwork, cut into quarters
Light colored or patterned cardstock, cut into quarters

IMPORTANT: Please use a cutter, not free hand cutting, for quartering the cardstock, and measure carefully (panels should be 5.5 x 4.25).

Note: I've been asked about lined paper.  First, it's extremely expensive to have printed. But more importantly, we do not know what countries these books are going to, and many countries have more pictoral written communication, so lined journals would be inappropriate.

Friday, May 18, 2018

PTI: Create Along With Us

Each month as part of PTI's new release of products, they have a challenge to make a card inspired by a card created by one of the design team members. I chose this card by Dawn McVey.  (I had issues trying to post the card here, sorry!)

I had wanted the thanks die by itself, but it did not "fit" with the hexagon frame segment.  Filling in a few spots gave it the visual help that it needed.  Now I just need to reposition the outermost flower and I will be satisfied! 

Thursday, May 10, 2018


Today's PTI challenge should not have been complicated, but somehow it was.  First, I am trying really hard to use up elements I have saved from project extras, and had a couple of die cuts I knew exactly how I would use to complete the card.  Of course, I could not find them.  Ah, well.

The challenge was to mask a text image, and stamp around it.  I've done lots of masking in the past, and generally it has been masking images for overlap purposes, so I have deliberately undercut images for the mask, so there would be no white spaces.  I realized too late that masking to make an image pop means one should leave some white space for the image to truly stand out.  So, as I have done in the past when I have not been satisfied with the result, I just temporarily glued the panel to a card, and will restamp the text onto a panel and place over the current text.  :-) It was my first time using the floral stamp set from Quilted: Spring, and I really like it.  There are die cuts for the different elements of the image as well.  The scripture comes from the "A Cheerful Heart" set.