Thursday, September 18, 2014

How to make a big, quick and easy, birthday lapel button pin

I found these big 2.5" Tree House Studio lapel button forms at Hobby Lobby during a trip back to the States. You can use them for all sorts of occasions. They're fun and super easy to put together. I use a die to cut out my circle image, place it right side up in the front part, then snap in the back—easy peasy.

I worked up my design on the computer with a digital image and Fluffy Slacks BTN font. This is a birthday gift for a friend.

Supply List
Button form—Tree House Studio Design-a-Button 2.5"
Image—Daisy Trail Digikit Poptastics
Font—Fluffy Slacks BTN

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Animal print thrift box upcycle

I found a stack of these animal print boxes for .50 CHF a piece at my favorite thrift store (.54 cents). They're sturdy construction and in good shape. I bought a couple with upcycling in mind. This one is now a jewelry box.

The box needed some height, but since I didn't really have anything to use for legs I decided some old game pieces would do. I stacked two, glued and painted them black and adhered to each corner. I dressed up the edges with beaded fringe ribbon and gold ric-rac.

The leopard image is from an 1800's botanical book in my collection. The postcard is an old vintage original whose front I didn't care for. The key is original vintage as well.

And here's the "before".

Supply List
Image—vintage leopard image from my collection
Embellishments—Kaisercraft die-cut watch and ticket, vintage postcard, vintage key, leaf skeleton, beaded fringe ribbon, gold ric-rac

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Paperesse Dress—here a sequin, there a sequin

Suzanne Carillo, fashion blogger and illustrator/paper crafts designer just did the most interesting post "How to wear sequins during the day". I left a comment that I was sequin challenged, that I only had a couple of sequined items in my wardrobe. 

I lied.

I just realized that this ensemble I wore to lunch on Saturday with the hubs has sequins. This outfit is called a Salwar Kameez (a long tunic and pants) and is a native costume of Indian women. I picked it up at my favorite thrift shop in Geneva, Switzerland. The sandals are a Positano souvenir (can't beat Italy for shoes) and were purchased with just this outfit in mind.

I've decided if I'm going to do more of these style posts I really need to work on the posing thing. I've got a distinct "Deer caught in the headlights" look here.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Clinging to the Amalfi Coast in Positano, Italy

My husband and I are just back from eight days in Positano. It is a beautiful small town clinging to the Amalfi Coast of Italy, about 80 km south of Naples. In the photo above, look to the right in the sea; those black dots in the water are boats, and those orange lines are parasols on the beach. This gives you an idea of how far down it is.

This is an aerial view of Positano, looking down from the tiny village Nocelle. There are little villages and houses perched everywhere along the coast. Urban planning here is vertical, not horizontal. If you're acrophobic, you don't want to live here.

Only one narrow, one-way road loops through Positano (you see it in the photo above) and there is NO road to the very center down to the beach. Which means the transportation method not of choice, but of necessity, is your own two feet and stairs (it is a good way to work off the pasta though). The stairs have names just like streets (well, in this case they are streets).

Positano is famous for women's clothing. In the 1950s, Positano shook up European fashion and broke with the fitted, structured norm, opting for colorful, flowing looks in linen and cotton. It's said the bikini was first worn in Positano. Women's clothing boutiques seem to be everywhere, in varying degrees of quality.

Positano is now my favorite European beach. This is the Spiaggia Grande beach in the center of town.

Every bit of available space is utilized. Restaurants along the town's thoroughfare put their tables right on the road. The striped lines on the right are the 'sidewalk', which is normally covered by parked cars. Since it's a narrow road anyway, what with parked cars and pedestrians, drivers normally don't/can't drive too fast in Positano.

One day we took a boat from Positano to Amalfi town. It was faster and less stressful than driving. The road that hugs the Amalfi Coast is not as big as a two lane city street in the United States. It can be scary, especially on hairpin turns. Sometimes buses and cars are forced to back up so one of them can pass. There is no shoulder, just a long, long drop to the sea. See that white squiqqly line running down from the building above? Those are stairs.

Amalfi town was once a powerful maritime republic. The Byzantine façade of Saint Andrew's Cathedral, which dates back to the 11th century, dominates the Piazza Duomo in the town's center.

Lemon trees are everywhere along the Amalfi coast so it's no wonder lemons figure prominently in the area's cuisine. Limoncello is a popular liqueur made with lemons. It's quite tasty; a small glass after a meal is heavenly. We always keep a bottle in our frig. Pour a bit over a scoop of lemon sorbet and you have a quick, elegant summer dessert.

I decided to finish this post on a sweet note. Technically, cannoli is a specialty of Sicily, not Positano, still it is my favorite Italian dessert and no visit to Italy is complete without it.

Monday, September 1, 2014

How to easily make a single signature bound mini-album from card blanks

For my Creativity magazine try out I had to make one project using the docrafts Papermania Home to Nest A4 Ultimate Die-cut & Paper Pack I been given to craft with (trial cards I made with this pack are here and here). I was free to choose any kind of project, the only requirement was that it be 100% docrafts products. I love docrafts, but unfortunately they're not easy for me to find in France so I didn't have as much product to choose from as I'd have liked. Still, I was quite pleased with how it turned out. The above is the album front.

I took three card blanks and made a single signature bound album. This is the side view. Since written instructions had to accompany my project, I thought I'd post those, too, just scroll down.

If you've never made a stitch bound book or album this might sound complicated, but it is super easy to do. This is how it looks in the center,

The next time you'd like to make a mini, but don't have the supports, take some card blanks and stitch one up!


If you have three card blanks lying around, a needle and some twine, you have the basics needed to make a ten page stitch bound mini-album or journal.  To alleviate strain on the binding, the decorated pages of these types of bound albums and journals need to stay relatively flat.

Top Tips

For a decorative bow binding on the outside of the journal, start sewing from the outside.
Substitute fussy cut decorative border stamps for bulkier ribbon.


1. Unfold three 6 x 6" card blanks and nest them together. Secure the right and left sides with binder clips. With a ruler measure from the bottom edge and make a pencil mark in the fold at 1 ½", 3" and 4 ½". Poke holes at these marks (I used a 1/16" eyelet setter).

2. Thread a large eye needle with baker's twine. Sew into the middle inside hole. From the outside sew into the top hole. Skip the middle hole making one long inside stitch to the bottom hole and sew into it. Sew into the middle outside hole, to return to the inside. Tie a square knot around the long inside stitch to secure and trim excess twine. You will have two neat stitches on the outside binding and what looks like two stitches on the inside with the knot in the center. Remove binder clips. The album edges may be just a tad uneven. You can leave as is or trim slightly, one page at a time, to even up.

3. On solid light blue paper, stamp the ruler from Papermania Urban Stamps Trim Borders set twice, stamp the lace trim stamp twice. Using the Daisy palm punch, punch three daisies.  Fussy cut the rulers and one of the lace trims. Punch three daisies from the widest parts of the remaining lace trim stamp. Glue the stamped daisies to the solid blue daisies. Glue a pearl in the center of each daisy. Punch three leaves from pale green solid paper with the Hawthorn leaf embossing punch. Set aside.

4. Cut twelve kraft paper squares measuring 14.7cms square each.

5. Front and back covers – Cut two 14.2cm squares from the light blue bird paper. With the running stitch stamp from the Trim Borders set stamp a sewing border on the edges of each square. Glue the fussy cut ruler to the bottom of one square and the fussy cut lace trim to the other. Use the two decoupage bases shown as toppers, gluing each to kraft paper and trimming a small 2mm border. Glue a topper to each square. Cut two pieces of 30cm Bexley Black ribbon. Center and glue 7cms of ribbon to the front cover right edge and to the back cover left edge. Glue the decorated kraft paper squares to the front and back covers. Glue the flowers and leaves in the cover image's left corner. Cut the Enjoy word from a tag die-cut, glue to kraft paper, cut a small border and glue to the cover image just beneath the flowers. Fluff the petals of the flowers slightly for volume.

6. Inner pages – Each of the inner pages are decorated with a kraft square, a 14.2cm decorative paper square and a die-cut with small 2mm kraft border. You can follow the paper and die-cut choices shown here or decide on your own. The Home to Nest paper pack is so versatile anything you choose is sure to look lovely. Glue square decorative pages to kraft squares. Glue die-cuts to kraft paper and cut small borders. Glue die-cuts to page squares. Some pages have a self-adhesive Daisy Chain border. The third page has the second fussy cut ruler. Page five has seed packets fussy cut from a die-cut and added to the topper.  Smaller die-cuts are used as embellishment throughout. Note – if you have trimmed your album pages under #2, before gluing in the album you may have to trim the kraft paper squares just a bit; the album holes must be kept clear for the album pages to turn easily.

7. Final page – Take one of the die-cut boxes and trim the tops and sides to make a pocket, glue to kraft paper and cut a small border. Embellish with a round die-cut and choose a variety of die-cut tags to go in the pocket.

Shopping List

Pigment Ink Pad Black (DOA 550105)
Home To Nest A4 Ultimate Die-cut & Paper Pack (PMA 169051)
6 x 6" Cards/Envelopes White (PMA 151603)
6 x 6" Kraftstax Paper (PMA 160602)
Adhesive Pearls White (PMA 351425)
Capsule Collection
Spots & Stripes Brights Baker's Twine (PMA 171203)
Capsule Ribbon Bexley Black (PMA 367123)
Capsule Daisy Chains Bexley Black (PMA 181123)
Urban Stamps
Trim Borders (PMA 907192)
Large Palm Punch - Daisy (XCU 261809)
Botancial Embossing Punch  - Hawthorn Leaf (XCU 2702405)
Binder Clips

Friday, August 29, 2014

The top five reasons I like digital scrapbooking supplies and one of the best places to buy them

This echo park Halloween digital crafting set from Snap Click Supply Co. is on my wish list.

Although I do still purchase and use traditional scrapbooking supplies, I find myself leaning more and more towards digital scrapbooking. Here are my top five reasons why:

1. Digital does not take up storage space (of which I have less and less) in my studio (I'm sure you can relate).

2. Digital is easier for me to purchase as I have NO craft stores close to me (zip, zilch, nada). I don't have to order online and pay expensive postage costs—instant gratification.

3. Digital is less expensive—I can buy nice things for $1.00.

4. Digital leaves a smaller carbon footprint—I only print out and use what I want, no waste.

5. Digital is flexible—I can size what I'm using to fit my project, print out and use traditionally, or I can create digital scrapbooks and albums.

I recently found the best website for purchasing digital supplies. It's called Snap Click Supply Co. They have some of  the big names in digital form—BasicGrey, Bobunny, Carta Bella, Cosmo Cricket, echo park—as well as digital stamps, brushes, and other digital goodies. Their prices are very reasonable; be sure and check out their $1 Wednesday specials.

Do you use digital? What are your favorite websites?

Monday, August 25, 2014

A vintage button card for Craft Hoarders Anonymous Challenge #14—Button it up!

Who can resist a pretty button? I know I sure can't and if you're like me the latest challenge #14 at Gloria Stengel's Craft Hoarder's Anonymous challenge blog—Button it up!—is perfect for you. As Gloria so rightly reminds us, "Crafters of every stripe are button hoarders. Buttons are pretty, inexpensive, and extremely versatile. If you are a card maker, quilter, layout artist, or anything in between, you probably have a button hoard. Buttons come in many sizes, styles, shapes, and colors, plus they are easy to store...usually in cute containers. Pull out those bins of buttons and use some of them for your challenge project!"

For this, my second guest design spot for August, I used vintage buttons from my own hoard, plus some button paper. And since who uses buttons most—a seamstress—I used this vintage image (also from my hoard) as the topper. The sentiment is from docrafts Papermania Urban Stamp Mixed Buttons set. In keeping with the sewing theme, I stitched around the edges.

Dig around in that button hoard of yours and come join the fun at Craft Hoarders Anonymous. There's a great prize up for grabs, too! You've got 'til August 31st to play along.

Supply List
Paper—The Paper Studio Yarn & Thread Emporium, cardstock
Topper— vintage seamstress image from my collection
Stamps—docrafts Papermania Urban Stamp - Mixed Buttons (PMA 907190)
Ink—Versafine black
Dies/punch—Die-namics photo corners, tag punch
Embellishments—vintage buttons, ribbon, twine

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Papermania Home to Nest decoupage Father's Day Birdhouse Banner card with written instructions

Here is another one of my docrafts trial projects I designed for Creative magazine (see the first one here), using docrafts Papermania Home To Nest A4 Ultimate Die-cut & Paper Pack. This time it's a Father's Day card.

I love these Bare Basics canvas shapes; you can use them in so many different ways.

Banner Birdhouse Father's Day Card – Instructions

1. Cut a kraft paper rectangle 12.2 x 17.3cms. Cut the garden images paper 11.7 x 16.8cms. Center on the kraft paper and glue. Glue to the 5 x 7" card blank face. Cut a band of kraft paper 12.2 x 3.5cms. Cut a green paper band 11.7 x 3cms, center on the kraft band and glue. Cut a die-cut bird border of 11.7cms, center and glue on the green band. Glue this band 4.5cms from the card's bottom edge.

2. Cut a kraft rectangle 8.6 x 12cms. Center and glue the decoupage base. Build the decoupage birdhouse image with 3D foam tape and squares, center and glue 2cms from the card's bottom edge.

3. Glue the Father's Day sentiment to kraft paper and cut a small 2mm border. Glue in the bottom right corner of the decoupage image.

4. Use a large eye needle to thread baker's twine through the eyelets of the three canvas shapes. Tie knots in the twine at the ends, cut off excess. Make two small double bows. Glue the banner to the top part of the card. Glue the bows to the banner.

Top Tip

Use a large eye needle to run the baker's twine through your eyelets.

Shopping List (all docrafts)
5 x 7" Cards/Envelopes Gate-Fold White (PMA 150403)
5 x 7" Cards/Envelopes White (PMA 150400)
8 x 8" Kraftstax Paper (PMA 160600)
Bare Basics
Jute Ribbon 5M (PMA 174501)
Canvas Shapes With Eyelet Small Large Flags (PMA 174408)
Capsule Collection
Spots & Stripes Brights Baker's Twine (PMA 171203)
Stick It!
3D Foam Tape 9mm wide (STI 7201)
3D Foam Squares (STI 4000)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Papermania Home to Nest—New Home card with how-to instructions

I was pleased as punch when my docrafts website gallery caught the eye of  the folks at Creative magazine a while back. They asked if I'd like to do a magazine tryout and of course I said yes. They sent me the Papermania Home To Nest A4 Ultimate Die-cut & Paper Pack (PMA169051) to craft with. I made three cards and an album. They liked my work and as I mentioned in a recent post I have a card in the August issue.

I didn't want to post these trial projects without approval, but I asked and have been given the okay to do so. Since each project included written instructions and top tips, I thought I'd share those with you as well.


1. Cut a green paper square 12.2 x 12.2cms. Cut a birdhouse paper square 11.7 x 11.7cms, center on the green square and glue.

2. Adhere a band of green striped craft tape near the bottom of the square, layer a band of red spots tape over the green. Trim excess. Center paper on 5" square card blank and glue.

3. Add green and red craft tapes to the very end of the New Home sentiment tag. Punch a small hole in the end of the tag. Build the decoupage birdhouse image with 3D foam squares and slip the sentiment tag onto the top layer of the left birdhouse, securing it with a little glue. Measure 3.5cms from card's bottom edge, center decoupage image on the card and glue.

4. Glue bird and egg circle die-cuts to the craft tape band with 3D foam squares.

Top Tips

For greater 3D effect hang your tag from a piece of the layered 3D decoupage image.
Craft tape is a quick, easy to adhere, alternative to ribbon.

Shopping List (all docrafts)

Home To Nest A4 Ultimate Die-cut & Paper Pack (PMA 169051)
Just To Say
5 x 5" Cards/Envelopes Blank (PMA 150623)
Capsule Collection
Spots & Stripes Festive Patterned Craft Tape (PMA 462302)
Stick It!
3D Foam Squares (STI 4000)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Château de Vitré

Vitré was the last stop on our recent Brittany trip before heading home. Like Rennes, it is a town filled with half timbered houses and medieval imagery, but the highlight of our visit was its château. This château's origins date back to before 1000. Its current form dates back to the late 1400's early 1500's (like every château in France it's seen numerous home improvement projects). The château now serves as the mairie for Vitré (town hall). Part of the château is available for viewing and we decided to take the tour.

We can across this little room in a high corner of the tower and thought...what the heck?! Then we saw the sign.

It's a medieval toilet. Kind of gives new meaning to the expression "Bombs away!" now doesn't it?


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