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?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Postmodern Dream Catcher & Craft Hoarders Anonymous challenge #13—Let's cycle...up-cycle that is!

I'm so fortunate to be guest designing again for Gloria Stengel's Craft Hoarders Anonymous Challenge Blog in August. This challenge #13 is Let's cycle...up-cycle that is!

"Being frugal and going green is what it's all about," Gloria says. "Show us how you can up-cycle something using 'junk' from your hoard. Most craft hoarders also hoard boxes, tins, packaging, and bits of this and that. Our mantra is, 'I can MAKE something with that!' Now is your chance! Up-cycle!"

My altered art piece, Postmodern Dream Catcher, is made with an empty ribbon spool. I aged the metal tag to give it a copper patina and used a vintage look font for Dream. The pink feathers I found at my favorite outlet shop. The docrafts Madame Payraud butterflies have a 3D effect. This baby is chock full of goodies, a lady bug, a watch piece, a small perfume bottle, thread spools, butterflies—everything you need to dream.

Ribbon spools are great to upcycle. They make excellent photo frames, refrigerator magnets, altered art pieces, even bird houses. Your only limit is your imagination.

You've got 'til August 17th to play along and one lucky participant will win this prize offered by Gloria.

Supply List
Base—empty wide ribbon spool
Paper—docrafts Papermania Madame Payraud 6" x 6" paper pack (PMA 160164) and label stickers (PMA 157219), Toga Baroque paper pack
Embellishments—Artemio metal tag aged with copper patina, Jolee's Boutique watch, Papermania bare basics wooden bobbins (PMA 174603) and Madame Payraud 3D butterflies (PMA 157222), pink thread, pink wings, lady bug, vintage bottle
Font—1942 Report font
Miscellaneous—wall hanger, jewelry eye pin

Saturday, August 9, 2014

La Mère Poulard restaurant in Mont St. Michel, France—is it worth the price?

Many would argue that no visit to the Mont St. Michel is complete without dining at La Mère Poulard, a restaurant famous for its omelettes. I've heard so much about it, I couldn't wait to check it out for myself.

The restaurant and hotel have been there since 1888 and its omelettes are still made the same way, double beaten in a copper bowl and cooked over an open fire. The above is the kitchen area you see straight away when you walk in. 

I don't think I'd want this job in a heat wave, would you? 

The restaurant walls are lined with autographs and photos of all the famous people who have eaten there. It's important to reserve and ask for a table in the downstairs dining room (much prettier than upstairs).

And here's the omelette. Its consistency is really more like a souffle than an omelette. It's very light and fluffy (nothing—NOTHING—like IHOP, trust me on this one). There are all types of omelettes to choose from and a very nice set price menu with three plates—entrée, main plate and dessert. It is NOT inexpensive, depending on what type of omelette you choose (my husband had lobster) and your wine, you can figure well over €100 for two people. The food, wine and service were excellent and I enjoyed the meal. So yes, it's expensive, but in my opinion, yes, it's worth it. Frankly, it's the thing I enjoyed most visiting there.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Mont St. Michel in Normandy, France in July

I've been wanting to see the Mont St. Michel for a long, long time, but since it's well over an 8 hour drive from our home it's not so easy to get to. I've lived in France almost fourteen years now and I decided this summer, by golly, we were going. Everyone says you shouldn't go in July or August, France's prime vacation season, but the package we got was surprisingly the least expensive in July (like a third of the price), so I thought, "What the heck, let's go anyway!".  And you know what? All those people who said DON'T go in July or August, well...they were right.

The Mont St. Michel is on an island in Normandy and is one of the most visited and photographed sites in France. It's been occupied since ancient times and the abbey at the top dates from the 8th century. The Mont used to be a true island at high tide, but through the centuries the area around it has silted up. The French government is investing heavily to return it to its true island state and has been busy constructing changes to its access. Everyone is obliged to leave their cars at a specific parking area 2.5 km away. You can then take a shuttle to arrive closer to the Mont (you'll still have about a two block walk after that) or you can use the new pedestrian bridge my husband and I chose (in the picture above) that just opened the day before we visited.

Having seen the Mont so many times in photos, and dreaming of seeing it myself for so long, seeing its majestic presence in the distance as we approached was awesome. It was the same feeling I had when I saw the Tour Eiffel for the first time, or St. Mark's Square in Venice. I just kept saying to my husband, "Wow! Can you believe it? Wow!". He'd been there before so he wasn't quite as impressed as I was. And then, the closer we got, I A crane's arm I can probably photoshop away, but scaffolding? Phfff, I was a tad disappointed. Since they were still working on the area around it, everyone had to enter and exit by a single wooden walkway about the width of a sidewalk. It was not a pleasant wait and the line was long.

When we finally got inside, this is what awaited us. There are supposedly almost 3 million visitors a year to the Mont St. Michel and it sure seemed to me like a third of them were there on the same day we were. It was almost impossible to move freely in the tiny crowded streets.

This is what the area around Mont St. Michel looks like at low tide. The little specks there are people walking on the sand. You have to be careful though, the sand can be dangerous if you don't know where you're going.

The line to enter and tour the abbey at the top was hours long so we decided not to see it. Only about 25 people (including monks) actually live on the Mont. It was hard to appreciate the Mont's history and beauty with tacky tourist shops everywhere. It probably would have been much better in the Fall when it's not so crowded. Still, I can say I've seen it now and it was worth the visit.

We did take the opportunity to dine at the famous Mere Poulard restaurant while there, which was a very enjoyable experience indeed, more on that later.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A sympathy card in lilac and kraft with butterfly embellishment

A friend asked for a sympathy card and needed it in a rush. I decided to use these docrafts Papermania Just to Say...Sympathy Die-Cut Toppers. Since the center image is small I increased my mat size to take up more visual space on the card front. I just happened to have the perfect coordinating butterfly embellishment. I was able to plan and implement this card in under thirty minutes, which is quick for me.

Supply List
Paper—cardstock, kraft
Topper—Papermania Just to Say Sympathy/Thinking of You Die-Cut Toppers (PMA 157176)
Embellishments—ribbon, butterfly


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