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!