Friday, December 28, 2007

Recycle! Write those 'Thank You' Notes!

Dec. 28, 2007
Recycle! Write those thank you notes!

Do you still have all your Christmas wrapping supplies, rubber stamps, etc. all over the house? Before you put them away, why not make gift tags for next year? I was so happy that I took the time to make tags for this year at the end of last year. Wrapping up my gifts this year was a snap and I was proud to give gifts with handmade tags even if the gift was store-bought. I saved the prettiest wrappers and ribbons from my gifts to recycle into new tags. Now is the time to use up your leftover Christmas rub-ons and stickers. Usually I use tag shaped paper punches, but just cutting with decorative scissors will make your tags look special. Sometimes gluing snippets of ribbons and glittery paper scraps are all you need to do to make one-of-a-kind tags or cards. This year I ended up with lots of ribbons that were just too short to wrap another gift, so I think I’ll turn them into book mark tags and give them with books next year.
I hope that you’re getting started on sending written thank you notes….. e-mail thank yous are not good enough for someone who spent time and money to find you the perfect gift. I love the new Christmas line of 12 x12 papers and cardstock by My Mind’s Eye. They have a vintage distressed look and should make beautiful thank you note cards. I think it is fine to use Christmas rubber stamps and embellishments on Christmas thank you notes. Even though you’re probably all Christmased out, I suggest taking advantage of all the after Christmas sales and make a few things for next year. Don’t forget to buy craft supplies to make scrapbook pages of this year’s holiday season. In years to come, you’ll wish you had done more to preserve your memories.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's Beginning to Feel Like Christmas!

Now that the rain is here, it finally feels like we can wear sweaters and jackets and pretend that the precipitation is liquid snow. Today, I did a five-minute job of spray painting three Martha Stewart acorn ornament boxes. Design Master copper spray blended well with the chipboard color of the acorns, so I didn’t feel I needed to cover every inch of the acorn. I sprayed an overcoat of gold glitter Design Master paint and it added just the right touch of sparkle. As usual I did my spray painting in an extra large Ben Franklin Crafts plastic bag to minimize the mess and spread of fumes. To keep paint off the acorn hanging cord, I wrapped a piece of paper towel around the cord before spraying. Later I might add a plaid ribbon and red pips or jingle bells to further dress up the acorns. I think they are now the perfect place to hide some Christmas cash from Santa and I wish that I had purchased the pinecone boxes, too.

Ah, next year….

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

There is only one "C" in Christmas!

I think the ‘C’ in Christmas stands for crafting, not cooking or cleaning. (Cookie baking is a form of crafting so that’s allowed too.) I’m almost finished crafting everything I planned to make this year, except for two bracelets and an album. My Christmas cards will have to be Season’s Greetings again so I can include a family newsletter (not yet written) along with a New Year's wish. Happily, I was able to wrap up everything and get the packages mailed out before the post office’s recommended deadline. One of the gifts I am giving is fragile so I found a great wooden box (Sierra Pacific) at Ben Franklin Crafts. They have lots of shapes and sizes of good quality wooden boxes at very reasonable prices. Anyway, I liked the look of the unfinished wood surface and wanted to simply wrap it to let the wood grain show. Martha Stewart’s wood grain wrapping papers and ribbons gave me the idea to just paper the top of the box and tie the wide wood grain ribbon around it. (See photo. Click to enlarge.) By adding a few golden sprigs and a tag made from a Sizzix ornament die cutter, I think the wrapping is not only simple but elegant. Use double stick tape or sheet adhesive to adhere the paper to the top of the box. Spray adhesive also works, but don’t use a liquid glue as it will wrinkle the paper.
Now that I can emboss paper with stencils and the Big Shot, making cards is really easy. The
cards photographed use two stencils from Dreamweaver, the poinsettia and one with four Hawaiian quilt squares. I found that by stamping a collage design (Hero Arts, Season’s Greetings collage) on white card stock first and then taping the poinsettia stencil over it (use removable tape), I could run it through the Big Shot to emboss. I chalked the poinsettia with red and gold powder before spraying it with a fixative. Then this embossed paper was taped to a dark green card and gold ink was lightly stamped around the edges. Both of these cards were quick to make because of the time saved not having to emboss by hand. If it’s too late for Christmas cards, you can use these techniques for New Year’s cards and thank you notes….
just like me,

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hawaiian Snowflakes

I just sent off some Hawaiian snowflakes (a.k.a. gingerbread snowflake cookies) to my sister. Originally, I had planned to just wrap her gifts in wrapping paper with a snowflake design, but then I found a beautiful wide turquoise satin ribbon (Martha Stewart) printed with white snowflakes. I especially like the quality of the Martha Stewart satin ribbons because they are so luscious that I only need to tie one big bow and the gift looks spectacular. Anyway, I wrapped the gifts in Martha Stewart snowflake paper and white embossed paper I already had. Next I simply tied everything together with the extra wide satin snowflake ribbon. For a tag I folded a thin white cardstock and put the fold along the top edge of the Sizzix snowflake ornament die cutter and rolled it into the Big Shot. By doing this, I made a large snowflake folded tag. I glittered the front of the tag with silver glitter and tied it onto my snowflake package with fluffy white yarn. (see photo) There are several ornament die cutters by Sizzix, which fit into the Big Shot and make gorgeous paper ornaments. At 40% off I couldn’t resist buying several. You’d better hurry before they run out or go off sale. Oh, the giant Martha Stewart snowflake cookie cutters were on sale at Macy’s, but they may not have any left by now. I love Christmas sales! Bargains galore!


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

December already?

Wow, where did November go? Time to put away the autumn leaves and take out the snowflakes. On Sunday I had 10 minutes to pop into the Mapunapuna BFC and was inspired by a Dreamweaver snowflake stencil. This silver metal stencil is the perfect size for a standard size card and has randomly spaced assorted snowflakes. By applying white embossing paste, (also by Dreamweaver), I was able to achieve a look similar to a fondant-covered cake with royal icing. Adding Martha Stewart white glitter to the paste snowflakes before they dried gave them just the right sugar like sparkle. I think the embossing paste doesn’t discolor the new, silver-colored stencils, so you can do multiple cards without washing the stencil in between cards. The card with the Happy Holidays ribbon (American Crafts) is a really simple card, which would make it ideal for multiple mailings. The tag and the other card were made because I smudged the paste snowflakes by not pulling the stencil straight up off the card. I didn’t want to discard the perfect snowflakes so I tore off the good parts. The Celebrate the Wonder rubber stamp is from Stampendous as is the clear stamp, winter wishes. Both were stamped on with Martha Stewart silver ink and embossed with Stampendous stardust transparent powder. The plastic snowflake and vellum with sparkles were from my craft stash but should be easy to find at Ben Franklin. Oh, the light and fluffy snow-like yarn on the tag is Polarspun (Lion brand). I hope that you are having as much fun as I am, playing with my Christmas craft supplies. I know the season will speed by and I will soon have to put all the pine trees, snowmen, Santas, and snowflakes away for another year…so enjoy this time of crafting and giving.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Oops! I Almost Forgot

I realized yesterday that one of our nieces has a birthday coming up and I needed to make a card/gift fast. Looking around my craft room I spied a 12 x12 Deja-Views sheet that is cleverly designed to make a mini-album. I decided to make the album and decorate only the cover so that my niece would have the fun of embellishing the inside pages. By putting a jelly Happy Birthday sticker and a ‘14’ (her age) sticker (made by rubber stamping matching paper and running it through the Xyron machine), I made the mini-album into a birthday card. I added a vellum pocket for a cash gift and included embellishments (some came with the gatefold page). The gift/card was a success mostly because I was able to find a ribbon (Elements) and an ink color (Versa Magic, persimmon) that perfectly matched the colors of the Fresh Print Deja Views 12 x12 gatefold album paper. Having the right supplies means that you can make the right design choices for your project and that you have to shop often at Ben Franklin Crafts!

See you at the store,

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Peaceful Thanksgiving

We stayed home and kept it simple this year. The free-range turkey was tough, but the pie was great. Oh well, we stuffed ourselves anyway and there are lots of leftovers so I don’t have to cook for a while. Now onward to crafting….cards, ornaments, decorations, and gifts galore! In the coming weeks I’ll try to share my creations with you.
Oh, the last time I shopped at Ben Franklin Crafts I found a bargain bin of bracelets at the Bead Shoppe. While the bracelets would be suitable for young girls, I purchased some to take apart for the cute charms. I think the little purses, butterflies, hearts, etc. will make inexpensive embellishments for scrapbooks, purse pulls, bookmarks, and more. Also from the store I bought many new Sanrio products. Besides the perennial favorite design, Hello Kitty, there are many new characters, which are sure to please the little (or big) kids on your shopping list.
On the craft club website I have posted the instructions for making a
Gratitude Journal. I have never been able to write an entry in a journal on a daily basis, so I made this one so I could just jot down my grateful thoughts for the month. By putting each month on a chain I should be able to attach it to somewhere convenient (maybe even my purse). Then at the end of the year I can link all the months together. Because the journal units require only one 12 x12 sheet, you can afford to pick your favorite paper every month. Using the same folding method you can also make a coupon holder and if you fold down some of the pages diagonally you will have easy access to the coupons. (See photo.)
A while ago I said I would show you the blank journal I made from a recycled marble tablet. (See photo.) The secret to coloring the intricate rubber stamp design is to stamp first on sheer white washi paper (with fibers or metallic inclusions). Use waterproof black ink or emboss with black detail powder. Glue colorful printed washi scraps to the back of the designs. Nori glue works well for pasting down the washi to almost any surface. As with any new project, test out your supplies for compatibility. Using just one stamp you can make lots of handmade cards for gifts by just changing the color palette.

More later,

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Shopping at BFC

The Martha Stewart winter/holiday items have arrived! I love the color palette, mostly pastel pink and aqua. I greedily bought ribbons, punches, wrapping paper, favor and ornament boxes, a card kit and more. There were many wide ribbons, which I really wanted but I settled for pink and aqua with copper foil designs and silver glittered designs. I plan to use them with plain white wrapping paper. The look would be suitable for other occasions as well. Even the pastel wrapping paper with copper designs was purchased for use other than Christmas gifts. Particularly beautiful is the glittered branch card kit. This kit comes with four different card designs (3 of each) with matching envelopes. The designs are all evergreen branches done in a sunprint-style. The subtle designs are well suited for glittering. There are also four vials of glitter and a tube of glue included in the kit. I love the cards I made, and I plan to add a photo ornament to each card. Another adorable Martha Stewart holiday item is the acorn ornament box. There are actually two styles (the other one is a pinecone), which are made of pressed cardboard and designed to be painted and/or glittered. I am planning to decorate the boxes by gluing a mixture of brown flock and copper glitter to the surface. This way the boxes will look natural but with a touch of holiday sparkle. Filling the boxes with a surprise gift or cash will make them even more special. I also purchased the gingerbread favor boxes, cookie envelopes, and cupcake liners. The envelopes and liners I’m saving for Valentine goodies because they are red, white, and pink. I think I will add white dimensional paint and plastic candy or beads to the favor boxes to make them look more like candy houses before using them to house small gifts. Finally, I bought two paper punches (even though I wanted more), the dove and deer. I used them to make quick tags. (See photo.) Well, that’s it for today….I’ll write more about my purchases and projects later.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Back From Japan

Ah, it’s good to be home. Traveling to another country is always fun, but tiring. We did lots of shopping at bead shops, paper stores, and craft supply places. It has been about two years since I last visited Japan and I was anxious to see what the Japanese crafters were doing. They are usually in tune with European trends and a little behind U.S. crafts. Anyway, I was surprised that I didn’t see anything really new. I thought the Japanese would be doing more scrapbooking, but I didn’t see any evidence of it (although they did have lots of rubber stamps and punches for sale). In the bead stores, crystals still seem popular and there are some new shapes and colors. Perhaps because sterling silver prices have risen, other metal findings are visible. Of particular interest to me was the new ‘pink gold’. Available in chains, clasps, pins, etc. this new metal looks like a light-colored, shiny copper. I purchased a small quantity and hopefully will be able to offer findings to you on our store site. I think the pink gold is actually a copper alloy. It is a good alternative to gold or silver because it has a reasonable price tag.
Japanese paper is still amazing to me. I think I am addicted to the textures and patterns. I had to refrain from buying all I wanted. I am thinking of making some mixed bags of various papers I’ve collected over the years and offering them on the website. The last time I was in Japan I found a place that sold mixed paper scraps in a bag and I thought they were a great deal. I think little bits of this and that are always fun for crafters. Many years ago I purchased a rubber stamp carving set at a craft fair and always wished that I had more rubber blanks. On this trip I discovered a small rubber stamp carving kit which we hope to put on sale on our website. I think Ben Franklin Crafts may have sold a larger set several years ago.
I did find a project idea, which I plan to include in the next newsletter and I may have found a source for an item needed in another project. Overall, the trip was too short but it was good to visit Japan during the fall and see that Christmas is becoming a very big holiday for the Japanese. Hearing English Christmas carols in the Japanese shopping mall is somehow very odd but comforting.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Still Scrapping Halloween

Okay, this is THE last Halloween entry for this year. Of course, you can make scrapbook pages of Halloween all year long, but I need to get on with the other holidays. As you can see, I finished my pirate page. My inspiration came from the photos. Even though only one was of a pirate, I thought they both had a rough, tough boy look so I used a sword/dagger to link the photos. I wanted to use the Martha Stewart tag that had a skull and crossed bones, but I didn’t like the elastic cord on it so I removed it and used the tag for a handle and fastened it on with a brad. The spider webs in the upper corners were made from Martha Stewart adhesive ribbon tape with a little glitter glued on. The spider is one of her double adhesive stickers sprinkled with black and gold glitter. Another adhesive ribbon tape with the skulls is on the bottom of the page. The skull and sword are hand drawn and cut out. The candies are stickers. By not rushing the layout (I took several days to think it out), I believe I ended up with a good page. If you haven’t finished your Halloween pages (even ones from years ago), perhaps now is the time to get some of the Halloween papers and embellishments (some may even be on sale) before they are no longer available this year. Boo! Get scrapping!


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

It’s Halloween, the time of the year when those miniature candy bars beckon and pretend to be low calorie. They are if you compare them to the full size version and eat ONLY one. Yeah, like I can really eat only one of anything I like. So I’ll exercise for 30 minutes and then eat candy.
My children seem to have inherited my sweet tooth. One son liked the spooky decorations and now has a secret candy drawer. The other was not big on all the Halloween
costumes and stuff, but never passed up a bag of candy corn. I have finally (after all these years) captured a glimpse of his love of Halloween candy corn.
This year I made spicy caramel popcorn using Martha Stewart’s recipe. It was a big hit so I put the recipe behind the photo on the scrapbook page. Also on the Making Memories paper are Dress It Up Halloween buttons with the shanks cut off, an accordion booklet sticker, a Making Memories epoxy button, and a painted Deja Views cardstock letter. I have another idea for a Halloween pirate page and I’ll try to finish it before I pack away the Halloween craft stuff. Try to make at least one Halloween scrapbook page before moving on to Thanksgiving layouts. It’s a fun time of the year to remember with photos and journaling.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Recycled Journal

Sorry I haven’t written up the wreath project yet. This week I’ve been experimenting with turning an old partially used blank marble tablet into a new idea journal. I often get my best ideas (especially the jewelry ones) from T.V. shows or magazines. I like to sketch what I see before I forget it, so I thought it might be helpful to have a blank tablet and pencil nearby my favorite comfy seat. Hopefully, now I won’t lose the little scraps of papers with ideas and sketches. I’ve covered the tablet with thick Japanese mulberry paper that I’ve hoarded for so long it became discolored and bug eaten, but I like to call it distressed. Gel medium has just become my new art supply friend because I discovered that it is like a colorless acrylic paint, which can serve as both a protective coating and glue. There are several brands of gel medium on the market and they are sold at Ben Franklin Crafts near the artist paints.
I was going to hold off showing you this journal project until later because it doesn’t really fit the fall theme, but then I
saw the most incredibly beautiful Asian rubber stamps. I don’t know if all our stores are carrying them or who the manufacturer is, but I found them at the Hilo Ben Franklin Crafts. The large stamps with flat, acrylic handles are very artistic and would make excellent gifts, which is why I thought I should show you the stamps now before they sell out. If you need lots of office, teacher, etc. gifts these large Asian stamps could be used to make card sets. I’ll show you a technique later to minimize the work needed to colorize the images. Ben Franklin Crafts also has some foam rubber stamp sets in Asian themes with a wood block look. These could be used for gifts with blank greeting cards and Versa Magic dewdrop inkpad sets. As soon as my new recycled journal is dry, I’ll show it to you….


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Finally Finished

Ah, the last newsletter of the year is done, well at least the initial draft. The copy still has to be set up and proofed, but the hard part is done. Hooray! Even though it is the double issue, there was too much information so maybe one of the projects will have to be pushed to the next issue. If you entered the tag contest, be sure to check the newsletter to see if you won.
Halloween is only 11 days away and I am still buying supplies. There are so many cute Halloween items at Ben Franklin Crafts that I know I will want to put onto my album pages. Even
after Halloween passes, I will still be working on preserving my memories of past Halloweens. With that thought in mind, I purchased Dress It Up Halloween buttons and Making Memories glittered chipboard tags/ embellishments. Also from Making Memories, I found a 12x12 Scrapbook kit that had lots of the cute papers, word stickers, letter stickers, and Halloween buttons. Since I was going to buy all the components anyway, I decided it was more economical to purchase the kit. Another charming Halloween item that I could not resist was the Paper Company Studio accordion booklet stickers. I bought similar Valentine ones and used them successfully in layouts and on cards so I knew the Halloween booklets would be equally useful for journaling in small spaces. The final Halloween item I purchased was the Martha Stewart insects rubber stamp set. I don’t intend to use the stamps for Halloween, but I think their bold graphic style will be useful for future projects, perhaps the giant ant for a picnic invitation or the retro-looking fly for a rebus-type card.
Besides the newsletter, I finished two new projects, which made me very happy. Pictured here is a necklace made from what the Bead Shoppe labeled, ‘new jade’. I don’t think this earth-toned gemstone is jade; perhaps it is serpentine, a stone softer than jade. Regardless of what is the real identity of ‘new jade’, I think it is a beautiful gemstone. The findings for this necklace are from a trunk show, so I won’t be publishing the instructions, but I hope that you may be inspired by the design. The other project, a 15-minute wreath, will be explained on this site. If you need a quick decoration or something to take to a Thanksgiving dinner; try this super easy project. This blog is getting too long, so I’ll write more next time about the holiday items I recently bought.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Friday Night Shopping

Last night I did my weekly Ben Franklin Crafts shopping and as usual I found a bountiful array of craft delights. I thought I had purchased enough Martha Stewart Halloween stuff, but I still bought more because I’ve been watching the Martha Stewart Show (9:00 am on the FOX channel in Hawaii) and I’ve learned more about the products on the show. I decided that I had to have the gothic font clear rubber stamps because I wanted to print some spooky words and I think the font will be useful for other projects as well. The spider punch seemed a bit delicate and I worried that paper would get stuck in it, but I used it on leftover black cardstock and it work very well. I think the punched out spiders will be fun to add to this year’s goodie bags instead of plastic spiders, which may pose a choking hazard. I didn’t notice the flocked insect stickers or the black and white Halloween ribbon tape on my last shopping trip, so I bought both and plan to add them to my mini-album pages to hold down the photos. I liked the double stick Halloween stickers so much because they look great with glitter or flock that I decided to buy the package of double stick insect stickers too. I think they are just what I need to quickly embellish my goodie bag labels. Oh, I saw Martha using the mini skeleton and spider tags on TV and because they were inexpensive, I bought a package to use in my mini matchbook album to add extra journaling space and cuteness. I bought lots more wonderful items and I’ll write about them either here or in the upcoming newsletter. Don’t forget the entries for the tag contest are due Nov.1st ! I finally wrote up the last two Halloween projects and I hope you’ll have fun making them.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Last week I purchased a Spin-n-Bead gadget (Beadalon) and today I had the time to play with it. It took me awhile to get the hang of it, but using the Spin-n-Bead is definitely a fast way to string seed beads. For someone who likes to craft while watching TV, the ability to be able to read the subtitles of the Korean soaps and make multi-strand seed bead necklaces is truly amazing multi-tasking. Most seed and bugle beads have holes large enough to accommodate the fine needle, which comes with the Spin-n-Bead. I found that spinning the wooden bowl fairly fast and just skimming the surface of the beads with the needle worked best for me, even though the instructions said you didn’t have to spin fast. Also, I had to adjust the curve of the needle in the beginning because I could hardly pick up any beads. Playing with the spinner is probably the best way to figure out a method of stringing which will work for you. Stringing the beads with this tool is hypnotic and now I’m trying to think up jewelry designs to incorporate strands of seed beads. I like putting a mix of beads in the bowl because this process of stringing allows for a truly random pattern. Being a seed bead addict, I can’t wait to try more color combinations to see what kinds of strands the Spin-n-Bead creates. I’m so happy that I’m spinning out of control!


Monday, October 8, 2007

Triple the Crafting Space

I discovered a way to triple my crafting area without doing a house renovation…..I cleaned and reorganized. I know I’ve written about this before, but it’s so wonderful to have more room, that I can’t stop thinking about it. Why did I take soo-oo-ooo long to rearrange the table, add more rolling Iris bins, and generally put things where they belong? Next I need to get new curtains so my craft items won’t fade from sunburn and a rolling chair with height adjustment. It’s unbelievable how a good working space will add to creativity. The clean up also resulted in a treasure hunt of sorts. I found supplies I forgot I had…..exciting goodies! Even better, I discovered templates for projects I made so long ago I don’t remember their origin. I promise to share my tremendous finds with you once I turn them into projects. I already have a design for a great Christmas card and some one-sheet mini-journals.

Okay, back to the newsletter….

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Turn Back the Clock

I wish I could turn back the clock to photograph more of my children’s Halloween days. Maybe because it’s only one day in the year, we don’t seem to have many pictures of the boys in costumes. It would have been easier if there were digital cameras and computer photo files back then. As I looked at all the cute Halloween supplies in Ben Franklin Crafts, it occurred to me that I could still make a small album to collate all the past Halloweens. I liked the Making Memories 12x12 Halloween scrapbook papers with the glitter and shiny embossed designs, so I made a mini-matchbook album. The inner pages are plain black linen cardstock and I embellished the cover with a cut-out of a rubber stamped cat (Martha Stewart) that I flocked. (I stamped black ink on black cardstock then sprinkled on Stamp-n-Bond, used the heat gun, and dusted the image with black flock.) If you use black ink on black paper with black flock, no one will notice if there are a few bald spots on the cat. The ribbons (around the cat’s neck and on the bottom flap) were from the Martha Stewart craft line. I plan to use the Martha Stewart double adhesive Halloween stickers and glitter on the inside pages with my photos. Stampendous orange glitter is really ORANGE and they have orange flock too so I probably will use them. I think, if I journal with shiny purple or silver ink, the words will show up dramatically. If you don’t have a powerful stapler, you can use thin paper for pages instead of cardstock. This mini-matchbook album could also be a cute note pad party favor. Anyway, I hope that you will be inspired by my mini-album to collect your Halloween memories. I’ll try to write up a project page soon. Remember, take your pictures now while the kids are still cute, (I mean little).


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Earring Therapy

When most of my crafting for the day involves cleaning up and organizing, I feel I deserve a treat so I make myself a pair of earrings. Making earrings is quick and economical. You only need a few beads and a few minutes. Most of the time I use sterling findings (head pins, ear wires, chains, and 24 gauge wire). The three earrings in the photo are the latest treats to myself. The copper flower earrings are accented with turquoise. The pair with the silver circles is made with blue opal chunks and the abalone earrings have button pearls with blue pebble pearls dangling from chains. Because the earrings are so easy to make and just use a few supplies, it’s easy to make a pair to match any outfit. Somehow making and wearing a new pair of earrings is good for my mental health too. It’s hard to be sad when I have bling-bling swinging on both sides of my head.


Monday, October 1, 2007

In the STILL of the night...

I’m STILL cleaning my craft area so I can move the big table and put up two shelves. I STILL have not finished the newsletter. I am STILL playing with my newest craft toys and supplies. Okay, I’m a baaaaa-a-a-d girl, but I have discovered a new tip to share. While trying out the Making Memories flocking and foiling holiday kit, I found that the EK Success adhesive eraser works very well to remove the adhesive rub-on if you make a mistake. With the kit you can easily make a dozen or more simple but professional-looking cards. The holiday-themed adhesive rub-ons come with several sheets of flocking and foil. I had a little trouble with getting the adhesive where I wanted it and I thought the white flocking was a bit thin so the under color showed through. The red flocking looked marvelous. The foil should be rubbed on with your finger and not the Popsicle stick, which seems to rub off the foil. The best method seems to be to keep rubbing and moving the foil until full coverage is achieved. To solve the problem of the too thin white flocking I just added more flocking using a ballpoint glue pen and white Fun Flock. The effect was a fluffy snowflake, which I thought was perfect! As I always say, we learn the most from our mistakes.

STILL learning,

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Last night was shopping night at Ben Franklin Crafts. I started by first looking at the Martha Stewart sections to see if I missed anything. I found the ribbon organizer and picked up one in a pretty aqua color. I hope it doesn’t get too dirty because it is covered in a fabric, which looks like it will soil easily. Maybe I should Scotchgard it. The ribbons in the collection are on rolls designed to fit perfectly in the ribbon holder. Don’t be like me a start tearing off the paper ends of the ribbon rolls. You’re only supposed to cut the corners off the cardboard ribbon rolls and they will roll nicely. I also purchased some rubberstamp sets. They come in pairs on wooden handles for $9.99, which is reasonable for such large stamps. I understand the bird sets are based on state birds. Both the leaf sets and bird sets seem to be selling well and I was disappointed that some of them were completely sold out. I am planning to stamp (with fabric ink) on some Martha Stewart plain dishtowels and embroider the designs. If they turn out well, I will show you a sample. Although, I didn’t think the paper punches were particularly attractive, I decided to buy some to see if they are superior to other brands. I thought the oak leaf punch was cute. I also bought some more glitter in autumn colors this time. By punching out the leaf from vellum scraps and running them through the Xyron sticker maker, I was able to make some stickers. I rubbed the stickers with various autumn glitter colors (on each leaf) and I then ran the sticker with the glitter side up through the Xyron sticker maker again. I ended up with some pretty, sparkly glitter leaf stickers. The punches were easy to use but not really different from others I already own. Tomorrow I will play with some of the Christmas clear rubber stamp sets (Hero Arts) and see what I can create to show you.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Not being able to find all the glue and the seal that shot out of the tube of glue (see Sept.24 blog) has been in the back of my mind for a few days. Today, I decided to rearrange and clean up my craft area so I’ll have more working space and just in case something else goes airborne it won’t be impossible to locate. I guess everything happens for a reason. While doing some initial packing and moving I discovered some great stuff, like a bag of sea glass and dimensional paper paste…how could I have been so careless with things that have so much craft potential? Just getting this small area in order is going to take several weeks but hopefully it will make me more productive.
With fall already here, but the newsletter a couple of months away, I decided to post a couple of project instructions on this website to get you in the Spirit of Autumn. I’ve already talked about them in the Sept. 23rd and 26th blog entries….the flocked Halloween Place Cards, and Autumn Jasper and Pearl Necklace. I hope that you’ll try making these projects or invent one of your own.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

There’s something about knowing it’s the fall season but not seeing any signs of it in our neighborhood that makes me want to craft something autumnish. When I saw the golden pearls sticks and the autumn jasper beads at Ben Franklin Crafts Bead Shoppe, I knew that they would make a great necklace. Because the pearls were so outstanding I wanted to let them be the focus. I also felt that putting too many pearls in the necklace would diminish their beauty. I hope that you’ll agree with me that this necklace really captures the glory of autumn and yet it is subtle enough to be wearable with many fall outfits. The pearls were from the latest shipment to the Bead Shoppe. There were so many beautiful strands that I know I’ll be going back to buy more soon. I’ll try not to buy them all before you get there, but you better hurry! The necklace was simply strung on gold colored beading wire and the clasp fastened with a crimp bead. All the findings are gold-filled but you could use gold plate findings too. Make yourself a piece of autumn jewelry to celebrate the season.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Not much crafting going on here today. I did discover two things. One was a good thing; one was not. First, the good thing…..the Martha Stewart die-cut impressed autumn leaves can be painted with the Lumin Arte Twinkling H2Os to yield beautiful results. It’s nice to be able to decorate like Mother Nature and add sparkling autumnal colors to the leaves, especially because here in Hawaii we really never see the seasonal changes. (See photo. Click on image for larger viewing) Now this is the ‘it’s not a good thing’ part of my day. I was testing the various glues in the Martha Stewart line. I found the glue pen to be excellent. The small ballpoint tip applicator allows for delicate gluing. When working with flocking, I have found that the ballpoint glue pen is perfect for filling in ‘bald spots’ in the design being flocked. I think the pen might be good for tracing over rubberstamped words for glittering or even for handwriting and glittering personal messages. Anyway, when I got to the all-purpose gel glue I had trouble taking off the inner seal. I poked and pried but it wouldn’t come off. The tube of glue is soft, so as I was struggling I was also grabbing the tube tightly. All of a sudden, the glue tube exploded, sending glue all over my craft room. What a mess! I’m still not sure if I cleaned up all the glue because it’s clear and I never found the seal that caused the problem….it’s probably stuck to the ceiling! Perhaps there was never a seal and the glue had just dried over the top. Maybe this experience is a reason to keep my craft area neater…..but it’ll never happen, at least not in this decade. I must finish the newsletter and stop getting distracted by all the fun stuff in my messy (and now gluey) craft room.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

I’ve started trying out the new Martha Stewart craft items. The double-sided Halloween stickers are a bargain because there are 10 sheets (with about 25 stickers each) in the package. They are a bit difficult to separate from the backing but work well with black flock (Stampendous Fun Flock). (See photo. Click on image for larger viewing.) I cut the half circles of the place cards with a Coluzzle circle template. Because the cookie box was rather plain, I embellished it with the floral double-sided stickers and glitter. I wish the glitter came in smaller bottles because of the cost and storage space. On the other hand, the bottles have caps that work very well to dispense a little or a lot. I even tried the cookie recipe (that came with the box set) and the cookies came out looking just like the ones in the picture on the kit box. The cookies were good, maybe because I added nuts and toffee bits. Tomorrow I’ll try to finish the newsletter, but I don’t think I can resist playing with the new craft items.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Yes! The Martha Stewart stuff is now for sale at Ben Franklin Crafts! The Hilo store has a pretty extensive array of her craft products. I guess the most striking thing about the Martha Stewart line is the color palette and simple designs. The products are generally in quiet pastels, sort of New England or Cape Cod colors. Everything has a clean line, some with an Asian or Scandinavian look. I think Ben Franklin Crafts is the only store in Hawaii to carry the Martha Stewart craft line. I am addicted to ribbons so of course I bought lots of rolls of two-color metallic, adhesive-backed printed satin, and Baker’s twine. I also picked up vellum and dimensional stickers, monogram and thank you stickers, card and box sets, beautiful accordion albums, library card pockets, yummy colored glitter, three kinds of glue, and lots more. I went crazy! The Hilo Ben Franklin Crafts also had some seasonal Halloween Martha crafts…..double sided adhesive stickers, ribbons, and rubber stamps found their way into my cart. Now, I just need to figure out who will appreciate a Halloween greeting. I have lots of ideas and will soon post some of the projects I finish with the Martha supplies.
Besides being a great shopping day……. the Bead Shoppe had some bargains on gorgeous pearl, shell, blister pearl, and gemstone strands…….I also had success on a project that has been on my mind for quite awhile. It started with a few Raku Beads….not enough to even make a bracelet, but too pretty to pass up. Anyway, sometimes when I can’t find a solution for a craft problem I just leave it nearby and think about it every time I pass by. Finally, after months of walking by the beads seemed to speak to me and I knew what to do with them. As I was almost finished with the necklace (it only took 1hr.) I had a problem with the closure. I had planned to make a sliding Chinese style knot finish but the cord I used was too slippery so I considered making a standard s-hook but that didn’t seem right. The final outcome was one I had seen in a magazine and worked out well because I had one ceramic bead left. I rarely have project turn out just right because I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to crafts, but this necklace came very close to being what I wanted. It matches my new blouse, too!

Okay, I need to work some more on the newsletter…

Monday, September 17, 2007

I’m pretty certain the fourth project for the upcoming newsletter will be a beaded ornament. My only concern is that three of the four projects contain beads, so I may still make a change if I come up with another suitable project before the printing deadline.
Oh, I’ve been playing with some dyed fleece and may have a neat project to introduce next year if we can find a good supplier. I think you’re going to love the fleece project! Tomorrow, I think I’ll work on my personal Christmas card. I found a great new stencil of a tree (Dreamweaver stencil). With my Big Shot die cut machine I’m hoping to be able to emboss the stencil design on some watercolor paper and experiment a bit. Did you know that if you can’t find an embossing mat to use with the machine you can substitute a hot glue gun pad? I love playing with the Big Shot so maybe the next Crafty Hands video will demonstrate how I use it. I need to set at least one day a week to do clean up, but crafting is so much more fun…


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Last night I went shopping at Ben Franklin Crafts, hoping to see the new line of Martha Stewart craft items, but they were still on the floor in boxes. I guess I’ll just have to wait to see what the store will be stocking. I did purchase some of the Martha Stewart craft products while off-island (before I knew local Ben Franklin would be carrying the line). I hope the store will be stocking the liquid ballpoint glue pen because it is the best I’ve ever used. It’s great for intricate gluing (glitter, flock, etc.). What I did buy last night were lots of the $1 L’il Stamps and clear acrylic blocks. Such a bargain…you’ve got to check them out before they’re all gone. I also bought some Christmas items to start making gift bags etc. No, it’s not too early to start because having a stockpile of wraps, tags, etc. will make the holidays go smoothly. (See photo. Click on image for larger viewing.) It took just a minute to Fabri-Tac down cut pieces of wide ribbon to a candy striped bag and close it with the cute Santa clothespin. The ribbon was really amazing because it changed from shiny red to green when I moved it from side to side. I think the ribbon is supposed to be used as a garland for a tree but I will get more mileage from it by cutting it up and using it to embellish cards, bags and boxes. The ribbon was a bargain too, because the roll was gigantic!
Today, I die-cut some plain beige washi paper (the course one) into tag shapes. I used the Big Shot and Sizzix tag shape but you could use a Marvy tag punch. The washi paper is just the right texture to use for Thanksgiving name tags and looks great embellished with artificial fall leaves or autumn colored feathers. (See photo. Click on image for larger viewing.) Try writing your guests’ names on the tag and tying them around a napkins with a piece of raffia to give a special touch to your Thanksgiving table. By the way, have you started making your entry for the Craft Club Tag Contest. The deadline is Nov. 1st and we’ve already started getting entries. Look at the last Craft Club Newsletter for contest details. We are working hard to get the shopping website going and the blog set up so you can send me your comments.


Saturday, September 8, 2007

Last night I found a 75% off sale for boxed plain thank you cards. They were good quality items, which I felt just needed a little embellishment to improve them. A nearly blank card and envelope for 30-35 cents is a crafter’s dream come true. Today I used Versa Magic Jumbo Java ink and my Stampendous unmounted bird and flower set to print on a pink card that already had the words ‘Thank You’ in brown. After arranging the design on the acrylic block to fit the card size, I printed a test and then several more. Once the ink was dry, I glued on real maroon colored feathers, added Stickle and rhinestones. I am happy with the results but even happier that I have so many more cards to decorate. (See photo. Click on image for larger viewing) I bought lots of boxes and at such I low cost I don’t have to obsess about wasting a few on trial tests of crafting techniques. Next time you see a sale on plain cards buy some because you’ll have fun embellishing them and end up with lots of cards, maybe enough to wrap up and give to someone special.

So watch for bargains in crafting fun….

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Wow, the week just flew by and happily I made more progress on the newsletter projects. I’ve completed two more projects, a gemstone chain earring and a reversible ocean-inspired necklace. I hope you’ll make them for yourself or holiday gifts. It’s a challenge to design the projects because I need to incorporate materials from Ben Franklin Crafts, work ahead seasonally, keep a watchful eye on publication deadlines, make the project desirable and yet doable for most crafters, be sure that the project photographs well in color (for the website) and in black and white (for the newsletter) and carefully word the instructions/draw diagrams so they can be followed. It’s amazing how many projects get rejected along the way as I try to present the best craft projects for our craft club members. I have often thought of compiling past projects into a booklet, but craft trends change so quickly and suppliers to the store don’t stock some items anymore. Making a project book would be a gigantic challenge.
Although I could go on and on about what I hope to do, I do need to work on the newsletter because I will be going on a short vacation and the deadline will still be there when I return. Today I am thinking about the approaching New Year (2008!) so I may write about resolutions. Oh, good news! We are a step closer to our online shop of Extra Goodies.

Hooray! Lynn

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Yay! I finished the Mini-Gatefold Album about my sister’s puppy, Ginger. (See photos. Click on images for larger viewing.) Everything looked pretty good except the heart-shaped photo embellishment on the cover had too many air bubbles. (I tried Crystal Lacquer on another piece and it worked better.) Unfortunately, I made the embellishment at night and didn’t notice the bubbles until the next morning when the liquid varnish was already set and I had glued the heart to the cover. Oh well, no tragedy just more charm. I think I’ll do a video demonstration of how to make a framed tag with a crystal top. I like creating my own embellishments.

Time for bed….more crafting tomorrow,

Friday, July 27, 2007

Where did the weekend go, and why did I get so little done? My main accomplishment in the past few days has been creating an ornament project for the upcoming craft newsletter. It turned out well so I am pleased. For now I will call it ThimBEARlina. You’ll just have to wait for the next newsletter to see it. If you’re not a Craft Club member then you need to sign up so you, too, can receive 10% Off everything at Ben Franklin everyday, all the fabulous coupons, try the projects, and read all the crafting information in our newsletters. I also have been trying to finish a mini-album about my sister’s dog, Ginger. My photo printer has been giving me grief and now it says I’m out of ink….sigh! At least the album turned out well probably because I used a Deja Views, (Sharon Ann design), punch out cardstock album, which had directions and lots of coordinating embellishments for sale at Ben Franklin Crafts. This weekend I was hoping to do more silver clay work for a birthday gift…perhaps tomorrow. Since the next newsletter is a double one I need to complete three more projects…fast….maybe tomorrow. My progress in organizing my craft room has been very slow, barely visible. Perhaps more shelves would help but disposing of stuff would probably make more sense…okay, tomorrow….promise.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hi! I’m Lynn, the editor of the craft newsletter. This is my first blog entry. I enjoy reading other artist’s and crafter’s blogs so I decided it might be interesting and informative for you to read about my adventures in crafting. While this will not be a daily log of my activities, I will try my best to keep it updated regularly.
This has been a pretty good crafting week for me. I put together two kits and two finished necklaces, which we hope to offer for sale soon on the Ben Franklin Crafts Club site. Tentatively, we are calling this new venture ‘Extra Goodies’ because we will be selling a limited amount of sometimes one-of-a-kind, bargain items discovered while on shopping sprees here and abroad. When I see an item, which I know is under-valued and has crafting potential, I buy multiples. Now, I don’t have to feel guilty because I don’t have a project in mind. I know that I can pass my good shopping fortune on to you.

Besides getting this blogging site going, I actually finally taught myself the basics of using metal clay. This is something I have wanted to do for years. I actually had all the supplies for over a year but for some reason I always had an excuse not to get started. Do you have the procrastinator’s gene too? Anyway, my first silver beads were a success. (See photo. Click on image for larger viewing) I am really pleased and now I wonder why I waited so long. Maybe someday I’ll be good enough to teach a silver clay class or offer some of my finished jewelry for sale.
In the future I hope that this site can be opened for others to enter their craft blogs. I have started making short videos of craft techniques and it is my hope that we can figure out how to get it on our site. The first one is about stringing pearls. Maybe someday we will offer the newsletter online too. That would mean a savings of postage, printing costs, and trees!

Well, keep crafting…..