Saturday, March 26, 2016

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone! I made some wee gifts for my staff this week. I found some little espresso cups and saucers for a song and thought they would make lovely chocolate egg holders.

I recently got some 12X12 vinyl sheets from Angel Craft Vinyl through and there was a nice chocolate brown in the assortment. And yellow. The bunny is (I think) a file from the Silhouette Online Store.

I had some basket raffia to create wee nests for the eggs. I personalized the saucers with their names. Packaging was just some tulle and ribbon. 

Thanks for visiting!

Cardmaking Jig - DIY!

NOTE: Updated as original link no longer works. I have added a few more details on how I made this per requests. 

A jig! A cardmaking jig! No, it's not a new dance craze sweeping the card-making community. This is  a tool to help you line up your layers on a card front with ease. I am so excited to show you the one I made.

If you are a cardmaker, you know the agony of trying to line up layers on a card front so there is a nice even border of under layer showing all around. Typically you would decorate your focal layer, and then want to mat it much like a painting. Fancy cards might have more than one layer. 

With this homemade tool, I can forget measuring, slicing with rulers and knives, or just eyeballing and hoping for the best.

I found the instructions from back in 2010 online (link no longer available, sorry!) and in minutes had my own jig that allows me to leave 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch borders around my layers. All you need are some purchased photo frame mats (you can get at Michael's, an art framing place or even the dollar store), a knife and ruler, some tape (I used double-sided Sookwang) or glue and a sturdy base to tape the mats onto. The mat has two layers already glued for you. Just cut in half diagonally, then affix to a sturdy rectangular base, aligning with the corner. I used a piece of Plexiglas, but you could use thin wood or heavy cover stock.

In my sample below, you can see I cut up two mats, one with a wider bottom layer showing (1/4 inch) and one with a narrower bottom layer showing (1/8 inch). This gives me two options in one tool.

Here you can see my two different mats. The other halves of each mat will be made into a second jig for my sister who is also a stamper.

It's the inset lip formed on the mat that is the secret to this.

By laying the layer you want topmost on your card onto the jig so that the corner butts right up into the corner of the jig, you can be assured accurate placement of the next layer on top.

Let's say you want to place a layer on a standard 5.5 X 4.25 inch card with a one eighth border all around the layer. The layer needs to therefore be cut 1/4 inch smaller all around than the card front base, so 5.25 X 4 inches. This is familar to anyone who has been making cards for awhile. Lay the layer (yellow) FACE DOWN in the well of the 1/8 inch jig and apply adhesive to the back.
Layer in corner of jig.

Now you will take your card front (aqua) and lay it on top of the layer with the adhesive, lining the card front up with the uppermost corner of the jig (wine coloured in photo above). Make sure you place it so your image will be right side up after you adhere it and then turn it over.

Card front placed on top into the uppermost corner of jig.
When you turn it over, you will see the top layer of the card is sitting on the base card front layer with a perfect 1/8 inch border all around!

This is a boon for making lots of cards and not needing to measure or trim. If you start out knowing the size of your card front, then you can cut your layers down the required amount to create the border. You have to cut your layers first, and they need to be true.

I have the Perfect Layers ruler type tools but I found that they are only good for one layer. With this jig, I can do more layers on one card without affecting the accuracy.

I had been trying to figure out how to create a jig for my MISTI to accomplish this, and was seriously considering buying an expensive jig on the market, when I came across the instructions on a wedding site (no longer available, unfortunately). It cost me NOTHING because I had the materials lying around, but you could make one from supplies for less than five bucks. (This method does not use the MISTI, but I suppose you could stack the mats into the corner of a MISTI instead of affixing to a base and use them that way.)

Hope you find this helpful. It's working really well for me, and if I have to replace the mats at some point due to wear and tear, it will be easy and cheap enough to do so.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Farewell, Waltzingmouse Stamps!

Anyone who has visited my blog knows I am a longtime fan of Waltzingmouse Stamps. So it is sad for me to see this small stamp company based in Ireland shutting its doors. To send Claire Brennan off in style, the gals over at the Waltzingmouse Fanatics Challenge Blog have issued one last challenge to share some WMS goodness. 

One of my favourite cards made with Claire's stamps is this one:
I liked how the sentiment fit so well in that space created by the embossing folder, and the contrast of the Antique Linen Distress Ink (one of Claire's faves) with the foiled gold sheet music.

Back in 2013 Claire featured me on her blog as a Friend of Waltzingmouse Stamps and the projects I made for that have not been shown here on my blog, so I am posting those shots below:

Claire was an innovator in her field, one of the very first designers to create stamps that match dies, for instance. And she designed a lot of gorgeous Christmas stamps that had a certain "olde world" charm that I have not seen elsewhere. In its heyday, WMS had the best challenges, design team, community forum and gallery around.  I know all these things helped stretch me as a card maker and kept things fun and interesting. 

I am glad I have all the WMS stamps that I do - they still give me so much joy when I reach for them. And just think - they will soon be collector's items! I hope we will see Claire around in the crafting community in some new capacity soon. She's a lovely person and incredibly talented, and I'm sure we have not seen the last of her creativity!