A paper bag book. I mean album.

This is the first blog challenge I have ever done. It was great fun, so thanks to Emma at Puddle Side Musings and Myra from Those Secrets We Keep for suggesting it. The challenge was to make a paper bag book, any style. Actually just checking back I see the word used was ‘album’ but I now have ‘book’ in my head.I think they are the same thing! I watched the videos on Emma’s post, and then another popped up, which was the one I ended up using as my starting point.  Fingers crossed this works…Beware of the volume if it does!

I liked this challenge because I had all the supplies I needed to get going. Having said that, almost EVERY project for anything I see on YouTube or US blogs mentions ‘I got these at Michaels’ or I got these at Home Depot‘. Can these stores please think about branching out to the UK? Particularly South London? I can give you a post code….I can rent you a room…

Anyway, as luck would have it I have a sack of brown paper bags. What can I say? I was going through a rustic phase with gift wrapping, plus I fell for the bulk buy discount. Badly. The good news is I now have a new use for them!

I also had an old SEI kit called Bridgeport, (almost) still unused, so I didn’t have to think about matching papers, which saved a lot of faff. These are not my usual colour palette but I do like them a lot.

pbb-front-coverpbb-inside-1pbb-inside-2pbb-inside-3pbb-inside-amendpbb-inside-5pbb-back-cover

So, what did I learn as I was going along? Some things are obvious, some not so much.

Firstly, think about what papers will face what in the finished book. Obvious to scrappers, maybe not so much for card makers.

Crease, score and score again. All the time.

If you keep the page order as ‘tuck in pocket’ (the bit I have the tags in) first and larger pocket (photo mats) second it will be stronger at the covers. The video I followed didn’t do it that way. I realised this, was dead proud of myself, then forgot to do it.

If you are a bit of a sieve-head like me sometimes, make a note of thing like this in case you have an overnight brain wipe.

If you use die cut shapes to add detail to the centre join then use your tool to score the fold line here too as this makes a better crease.

Square it up every now and again – mine is a bit off but liveable with.

I messed up with the hold punching. I thought I had it sussed, and this was the plan.

1. Measure and punch the holes in the middle section of the book.

2. Use these holes as a guide for the front and back sections, so they should all line up ok.

This is what actually happened.

I measured in a bad light, so the top and bottom holes are not quite evenly spaced.

The guide bar on my Big Bite slipped and I didn’t realise so hole number three in the middle section was significantly out of whack.

Small hissy fit. And some sulking. And some sleep.

A grip was got. I re-punched the hole in the correct place, even though it joined up with the offending first hole. I die cut a multitude of circles from scraps of the papers and then turned them into hole reinforcers by punching a circle in them. These covered up the mistake a treat, and to be honest are probably a good idea anyway so I used them pretty much all over.

Some details:pbb-details

The video I watched said to use three bags. I think I could have got away with another, especially if I made a kind of band to go around it vertically at the fat bit, which I think would look good. The papers I used were partly embossed – almost plasticised for some – and this made them extra bouncy. If you don’t want that look, go for totally flat, no texture at all.

I am not sure it is completely finished yet: I might add some ribbon to the book rings, maybe. It is quite simple but I will try making another in a vintage style and might try loading that one up a bit more with embellishments and the like. It took some time to do, but really was great fun and I would love to make more. The best bit about it? The lovely squashy rustling paper noise it makes. Bliss.

 

 

 

 

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How not to do this

Today I decided to try something new. I saw a card that had been made with a word die, with ¾ of the word standing free as a header at the top. I have some patterned header dies specifically for this purpose, and I love the look of them. I thought today I would try it out with dies not designed for the task. The results are not perfect, but I’m showing you what happened in case you try it too – my mistakes might save you a bit of time!

I attempted two ways: one with a word die and one with individual letters.

The basic principle is that you will be making a tent fold (or top folding) card. You place the die(s) in the centre, but you don’t put the lower portion of the die(s) between the cutting plates. So you are kind of hanging it off the edge really and only cutting the top part of the letters or words.

Here is where I made rookie mistake number one. For some reason best left between me and my maths teacher, I thought I would have to make the highest cutting point (so in these cards it is the ‘’l’ in celebrate) fall about where I wanted to fold. Duh! Obviously, obviously not. I now have a stunted card.

What you actually need to do is:

Cut your base piece of card to size. Say you have a strip which measures 10.5 x 30cm, your fold line (don’t score it yet though!) will be at 15cm.

This is the tricky bit. I think some dies and letters will work better than others. Position your dies(s) so that at least 2/3 of the die is above your (imagined) fold line, but you need to consider the shapes a bit too. Remember the bottom part of the letter will not be defined at all, so it needs to be obvious from the free-standing part what the letter actually is. For example in the WISH card here, I should have moved the S higher up. I thought wonky would be fun, but once cut and folded I just had a strange hook shape, like a flipped question mark! All the other letters were fine. I fixed it by cutting the letters again and sticking them over the top, which is not quite what I intended and in the picture it does look a bit like that was all I did but at least now I know for next time. For the ‘celebrate’ card it didn’t matter too much, because the die on its own is not clear anyway and you really need the stamp too.

Run it through your die cutter, as above, making sure the plates don’t cover the lower part of the letters.

Remove your dies and now you crease and fold at your centre line. Make sure you score in between letters too.

And done. Now you just need to decorate!

What else did I learn? That the single letter dies should have been closer together. Perhaps I should have cut them individually and I might have spaced them better.

Both methods work ok – it just depends on what you have to hand.

You have a bit of wiggle room if you need to move your centre fold a millimetre or two once you have cut the dies, just trim the short edges of your card accordingly.

Oh yeah, and my maths is still rubbish, but I didn’t really need to be reminded of that….

Supplies: Hunkydory Adorable Scorable card; Altenew Super Script die and stamp; Xcut Wedding Alphabet & Numbers dies

 

 

The great gift wrap search

bow

Today, walking into the living room, I found this, thoughtfully positioned in the middle of the floor. Have the gift-wrap elves paid an early visit? Perhaps we have unwittingly been signed up as a training site for Santa’s little helpers? If so, I think they need to polish up their skills a bit. One stick-on bow does not a present make. Especially as it now is a rather hairy bow, with a bit of carpet fluff attached.

The bow was not a welcome sight. It means the addict has fallen off the wagon. Not that he chose to get on the wagon, so to speak, it was imposed on him, for his own good. I thought that every bit of temptation had been either disposed of permanently or was safely hidden inside a bag, inside a box, in a cupboard. I went to check, and yes, still all untouched and accounted for. Like any good addict, he must have a secret stash somewhere so I had to investigate. After a thorough search I am none the wiser. Hopefully this was his last fix.

My name is Riley and I like to chew curling ribbon. And bows. And tinsel.

tinsel riley

 

 

Note to self…

You know that phrase “don’t sweat the small stuff”? I think I should have it written large on the wall of my craft room. Many times over in fact. Cover a whole wall. Maybe every wall.

Why am I considering this drastic redecoration? Because, I kid you not, when I was happily stamping and sticking here it actually popped into my head that I should be sure to mention no butterflies were harmed in the making of this card. Really. Fleetingly, but it happened. Now, a kind person could suggest here that perhaps it is just an example of political correctness gone mad. Possibly.

But wait, there’s more. I also thought that aesthetically I would have preferred more butterflies in the jar, so colours (wings) overlapped. But I couldn’t overcrowd them, could I?! So now I have non-sentient stamped butterflies endowed with rights to a reasonable space in which to flap a wing…

The third one is the charm they say (although I never really understood that saying): I had to have some of them escaping the jar so it was clear they were not being held prisoner…

If my family feel they need to get me sectioned after this, well, to be honest I’d think they had a point…

This is made using a lovely stamp set by Dreamees. It has four different sizes of jar (this is the largest), a really cute fairy castle, a sail boat (for ship in the bottle fun) and some small butterflies, hearts and flowers plus a few other elements. This is the first time I have used any of their stamps and I was impressed: they took the ink really well, stamped beautifully, and are really well priced.

jar of happiness pink

I have kept things very simple here (when is it ever any different?!). So one flat layer, just masking off the jar to allow it to be grounded. I considered masking the sides too, and stamping the butterflies over the edge, but y’know, I thought it might be a breach of the Butterfly Rights Act 2016. I cut the layer with the stamping a bit smaller than usual to show off some of the gingham-y goodness underneath. I added a couple of bits of Candi for extra pinkness. With the exception of the sentiment all the inks used are from Altenew: Moon Rock for the jar, Evening Gray for the ‘table’, Frosty Pink, Cotton Candy and Coral Berry for the butterflies. The sentiment was stamped in Brilliance Graphite Black as I was using vellum and the dye ink was just taking too long to dry. I wish I had waited because it has dried fine now, and it would have been nicer to have it in the same grey. Never mind. I have much more important issues of butterfly welfare and husbandry to keep me occupied.

So, card number 2. No anthropomorphising issues this time. Just hearts. Who cares if they get broken or damaged along the way?! Weeeeeell…I stamped the hearts in blue and then wondered if that was an indication of misery of the romantic kind. Feeling blue? Heartbroken? Guess what? This uncaring, unsympathetic eejit has put your suffering in a jar… and stuck a garnish on it… Seriously over-thinking here!

jar of happiness blue

I used a Reverse Confetti die called Falling Confetti for this one. Except the confetti is, erm, reversed and falling upwards… Must remember the packaging is the brand name, not an instruction!

For card number three it would appear that some sanity has been restored. Three small jars in pretty papers. This was made with the Trimcraft Floral Muse pack. I have used it a lot, but that is because it is beautiful, so why not? The border is a Magnolia Tilda Lace die which I have had for years but gets pulled out every time I want something pretty and lacy.

jar of happiness trio

Still not ‘feeling it’ craft-wise. I am hoping that some Christmas projects, maybe gift bags and gift wrap instead of cards, might just get me a bit more motivated. I think that makes me a ‘glass half full’ kind of chick.