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Scrapbooking- Thinking Outside The Book

Scrapbooking has become very popular over the past few years, but many people don’t think ‘Outside The Book’. Here are a few ideas for other things to alter or scrap.
    Think about the techniques you enjoy using. Do you like rubber stamping, collage, using premade embellishments, or simply preserving your memories with photos? Apply those techniques to alter other items.

  • Altered Mint Tins- try making a ‘mini scrapbook page’ on the outside of a small tin. You can buy these at craft stores, or you can buy Altoids, eat the mints, and just clean out the tin. Cover the outside and inside of the tin with paper (scraps work well), and add ribbon, stickers, or paper piecings. These are the perfect size to hold a tiny scrapbook, a gift card, candy, or a small calendar. For the outdoorsman, these are great little first aid kits.
  • Altered CD Tins- these are sold at craft stores. You can cover the outside in fancy paper, and include a homemade CD inside. Or, you can cover a CD with scrapping supplies and tie a ribbon through the hole to make an ornament. (You can sometimes find free CDs).
  • Altered Lunchbox Tins- You can cover a lunchbox with fancy papers and embellishments. Blank lunchboxes can be found at craft stores, but they are expensive. You can find old lunchboxes at garage sales, and small lunchboxes filled with candies are available- cheaply- at most megastores like Target or Wal-Mart. These are nice to make recipe boxes, address boxes, greeting card organizers, or put a small scrapbook in.
  • Altered Coffee Cans- Save those empty coffee cans, Baby Formula Cans, or International Flavor tins. These can be covered in collage, and are perfect to put homemade hot cocoa mix in, since they are food safe. The large, Maxwell House cans fit markers and pens perfectly. You can even fold up a t-shirt in these. Just make sure you clean them well.
  • Greeting Cards- these are a great way to use tiny scraps of paper. You can buy premade blank cards at craft or megastores, or you can fold cardstock into cards. At card stores, you can pay up to $5 for a mass-produced greeting card, but wouldn’t your family prefer a handmade card.
  • Tags- You can make gift tags the same way you make tags for your scrapbook pages.
  • French Fry Containers- go to your local Fast Food restaurant and ask for an empty, clean french fry holder. Carefully take it apart and trace the container on cardstock. Cut it out, decorate it, and put it together. These are nice to hold homemade foods, like Biscotti or chocolate lollipops, or cocoa mix. Just put the food in a cello bag, so it won’t get grease on the paper.
  • Bookmarks- everyone can use a bookmark. Cut a strip of heavy cardstock into a 2inch by 5inch piece. Add a tassel and some pretty paper. You may want to use a laminate to stregthen the bookmark.
  • Clipboards, Cork Boards, and Composition Books- Start by painting the clipboard and the border of the cork board with acrylic paint. Add a sheet of paper to the front and back of the clipboard using Mod Podge (available at craft stores for under $4 a jar), then pile on whatever papers, embellishments and photos you want. Cover the front and back covers of the composition book with papers and paint the spine with acrylic. You can also cover small cans to make matching pencil cups. This would be beautiful on a desk, and a great gift for a college student or office worker. With Back-to-School sales, you can get composition books for as little as a quarter or fifty cents.

That’s not all!! Try making checkbook covers, pins or buttons, plastic storage bins, desk blotters, photo frames…
If it can have glue put on it, you can scrapbook on it. Try different things, see how they turn out. Most of all, don’t think all you can scrapbook is an actual scrapbook.
There are many web sites out there that sell these materials, but always check a dollar store first to get great bargains.



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Finding Cheap Scrapbook Supplies on eBay

Scrapbooking can be a very expensive hobby. Paper, adhesives, stickers… it really adds up. That is why shopping on eBay can net you great deals on your supplies.
Try searching for ‘lots’. Sometimes a Lot may be in a theme, like Baby Girl or Easter. Sometimes it will be a Lot of one particular brand, like EK Success or My Mind’s Eye. Sometimes a Lot will even have multiple of the same exact item in it. Ask yourself “What am I looking for?” If a Lot has identical items, consider selling them on eBay yourself, or trade with a friend. In fact, any Lot items you can’t use, sell or trade. Someone can use them.
Chances are, if you are just getting started, you don’t even know what you need. A lot that has papers and coordinating trims and embellishments may be all you need to create an entire book, or at least several pages. Look for generic colors and styles that fit the ‘feel’ of your book for . A summer vacation book would look nice in bright colors, Winter could be blues and greys, Fall would be yellow, red and orange….
A typical Lot auction will list items individually, as well as use a few pictures, so you know exactly what you are getting. Some Lot auctions will just show a picture and state ‘You receive everything pictured’. I prefer when items are individually listed, because I can estimate a retail price  for the lot.
The best lots are when people clean out their craft area and list items. You can get a ton of stuff (sometimes opened, maybe with one or two stickers missing from the sheet, sometimes brand-new). These people have great lots- papers, tools, embellishments… things they thought they would use but didn’t.
A Lot can typically be shipped in a Flat-Rate box for $11 which includes Delivery Confirmation. Do not be fooled into a high shipping fee. I have seen lots worth $50 sell for $30, with a shipping fee of $17… not much of a deal any more at $47.
Another really nice Lot idea is a Kit. A Kit will contain everything you need to make a particular project. For example, A Paper Bag Album Kit contains the paper bag album, papers (usually cut to fit the album already), stickers, brads, ribbons, embellishments etc. These are already coordinated, you just glue it all together.
I hope this helps. Remember, do your homework- check out original retail prices and seller feedback.
Happy Scrappin’!

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My Favorite Cricut Cartridge So Far…

This is called A Child’s Year. The images above are just the beautiful silhouettes included on this cartridge. There are also tags, cards, and  scalloped shapes that can be layered.

Think of the possibilities- New Baby cards with pink girl’s cameos… just a silhouette on some scalloped ovals.

Christmas cards with red scalloped circles and a gold silhouette of a child and Santa.

Fourth of July, Hero, or Military cards made with the flag silhouette… maybe even a few extra to send to  (Operation Write Home).

A shadow box in your powder room with the bathtub silhouette.

There are also basic shapes on this cartridge. Apples, Jack O’Lanterns, Shamrocks… there is even a little cat silhouette I just fell in love with.

Cricut in no way endorses my use of this cartridge. I just plain love it!

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Different Ways To Stamp Your Heart Out

    There are many stamping techniques. One way to get more use from your stamps is by using different techniques so the image appears a bit different each page. Here are a few basic techniques:

  1. Pop- Stamp a light-colored image. Using the same stamp and a darker color, stamp almost directly over the first image. Your picture will ‘pop’.
  2. Moving- Stamp an image. Without re-inking, stamp the back corner edge again and again so it ‘fades off’. This is great to create movement with animal stamps, but also a balloon or cloud, canoe, ball…. anything that can move.
  3. Pretty Marker- Use water-based magic markers to color the rubber part of the stamp (I like Crayola Washables, but you can use any brand). Breathe hard on the stamp to moisten the ink and then stamp your image on paper. This is nice for things like butterflies, flowers, clowns, anything you would like multicolored.
  4. Mask- If you want one image in front of another, here’s how: say I have two stamps, a boy and a dog. I want the dog behind the boy. I stamp the boy first on my paper. Then I stamp the boy on a piece of PostIt paper and cut him out. I stick him on my dried image, then stamp the dog right over the boy and let it all dry. When I peel off the PostIt ‘Mask’ , the boy is in front of the dog.

Remember, if you use permanent ink when stamping, you can also watercolor your designs.

I love rubber stamping, and hope you enjoy it as well!

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Scrapbooking With Rubber Stamps

Rubber Stamping is a popular craft, and has gained popularity with the scrapbooking crowd recently. Rubber Stamps can become very expensive, as can scrapbooking. Here are a few ideas to join stamping in to scrapping, simply and cheaply.
    Buying Rubber Stamps
  1. There are two basic types of rubber stamps- Mounted (attached to a wood or sometimes a foam block), and unmounted, sometimes called UM. Mounted stamps are generally more expensive and larger to store. Usually, the block it is mounted to will feature an image of the stamp with ideas for decorating or coloring your design. The Unmounted stamps are very small and flat, as well as very inexpensive. UM stamps don’t take up much room, but you will need to buy a Stamp Mounting Kit. A stamp Mounting Kit will include either Repositional (can be removed from the stamp) adhesive or permanent adhesive, as well as blocks to mount to, and usually some kind of thin padding to ‘cushion’ your stamp.  *There are also clear stamps, which are not rubber at all, they are an acrylic polymer. You use these as you would unmounted rubber stamps, but you can see through them for easier placement.
  2. There are two basic types of ink pads- Pigment or Ink. Pigment ink pads stay moist for practically forever( I have a Pigment pad from 1991 that I still use faithfully). They allow you to stamp light colors on to dark paper. If you want to use Embossing Powder (I’ll discuss later), you are going to need a Pigment Ink Pad. Pigment Ink Pads also need a spray setter since this ink never really dries. Regular Ink Pads are made with a more liquidy ink, which can bleed into fibrous paper but dries quickly.

On this Fourth Of July layout, I used red, blue, gold and silver ink pads and three stamps- a larger firecracker, a medium heart, and a small heart. The stamps were used to decorate the double photo mats, the journaling block, and the letters July and USA. Also note that I used ink pads to accent the stars at the top, rubbing the edges of the star, then randomly ‘stamping’ the ink pad on the star. On one page, the star was inked with gold, the second star has red ink on it.

This is a close-up of the second page, to show the stamping detail. The three stamps, and four ink pads cost me less than $10 for all seven items, bought on sale. The firecracker stamp will work well for summer or military pages, as well as Chinese New Year layouts. The two hearts can be used again in just about any layout.

    Stamps come in a million sizes and a billion shapes. The cheapest are not always inferior. Look at the design, the rubber of the stamp. Does it look like the design is deeply etched (cut) into the rubber? Is the image cleanly applied to the mount? Does the image on the stamp mirror the image on the woodblock? If all these answers are ‘yes’, you have found a decent-quality stamp. The rubber should appear fresh and pink, and smell fresh,  not be brittle, sticky, or smell bad. The woodblock should not have big cracks or dents in the wood on the stamping side.
    The cheapest way to start Rubber Stamping- buy two pigment ink pads (I really like the metallic, and was working on a wedding scrapbook so my color choices were Silver and Gold. A better choice might be Pink and Red for a little girl’s book, or Blue and Green for the Park, a Little Boy, or Frog Catching pages.). Now pick out three stamps- One should be a small heart or star (you will use these shapes over and over), one a medium stamp, and one should be a larger stamp (no more than 3×3 inches). Try to buy your supplies on sale when possible, on sale a Pigment Pad can be as cheap as $1 each. Many craft and superstores have a $1 section with rubber stamps. Those are still quality products, just less expensive.
       Tips To A Successful Stamping:

  1. Work on a flat surface.
  2. Lay the stamp straight down onto the ink pad. If you rock the stamp, you risk getting ink on your woodblock or on the part of the stamp that is just flat rubber. Remember, anywhere the ink goes, will stamp as part of your image.
  3. Lift the stamp from the ink pad, place it where you want it on your page and press straight down. Again, do not rock or move the stamp.
  4. Lift straight off the paper and marvel at your stamped image.
  5. Clean your stamps before changing color ink or putting them away for storage. To clean stamps- stamp the last of the ink on a scrap paper, then use an alcohol-free baby wipe to gently remove the last of the ink.

     If you would like your Pigment Ink stamped image  three-dimensional and raised, you can use embossing powder. I prefer clear, although there are hundreds of types and colors.  Stamp your image, immediately pour a small amount of powdered embosser and dump the excess back into the jar. Hold the page over a bare lightbulb or by a non-steam iron. There are heat guns for sale on the market, but a lamp is just as easy at the beginning.

    Now, how to incorporate rubber stamping into a scrapbook:

  1. Make custom papers by randomly stamping all over a plain piece of cardstock. Vary the angle you hold the stamps. You can make background papers, mats, or even cut tags from this paper.
  2. Try creating a border for a page with a row or column of stamps dancing across the page. Stamp in just all four corners, or try filling in the gaps between photos.
  3. Stamp small images on tiny tags or round tags, then string them across your page. Stamp a round tag, hang a string from it, and you’ve made a balloon.
  4. Stamp on vellum. This looks very elegant if you use embossing powder.
  5. Stamp on die cut or plain letter stickers to add pizzazz to your page. When I do this, I vary the way I hold the stamp, sometimes overlapping one delicate design over another.
This is a Vacation layout, using the same two heart stamps as the previous layout, as well as the blue and red ink pads. The tag in the title block is inked with the red ink pad to add dimension.

I varied stamping angles on the paper, allowing some of the hearts to go over the edge of the page.

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How To Choose A Scrapbook Size

Everyone has a shoebox full of old photos, movie ticket stubs, and art their children did in kindergarten. But how to keep them into a scrapbook can seem intimidating to some. If you are new to scrapbooking, or perhaps even the more seasoned scrapper, you may wonder what size book to  make. There are pros and cons to each size, and I’ll discuss them here.
    12×12 is the most popular size. The pros are that you can fit quite a few pictures on a page, and it is so easy to find 12×12 paper. Realize this is a square foot of scrapping space, so be prepared with cute embellishments to fill in the gaps. You also have room for, say, a child’s handprint or footprint, or a report card or award certificate. 12×12 paper also goes on sale very often. The cons are that a 12×12 scrapbook is huge and usually not very portable. Albums can get to be quite costly, and some 12×12 albums are actually meant to hold Just Smaller than 12 inch paper. I don’t know why that is, but it drives me mad.
    8.5×11 is a nice size to work in because it is sooooo cheap. You can print up digital scrapbook pages right from your own home computer.Staples and Office Maxx have page protectors and binders. You can find a nice selection of papers at the craft store or online, and a 12×12 sheet can be easily trimmed down. The downfall to this size is that most computer printers don’t print to the edge of a page, so you will have white borders on every sheet. Also, if you trim down 12×12 paper to 8.5×11, you are left with these odd scraps.
    8×8 is nice because you can take it out and show it off- it’s small enough to easily fit just about anywhere. 12×12 and 8.5×11 paper can be trimmed down to fit. It doesn’t take much to fill a page, so you can make a page with a photo, journalling, and embellishments in under an hour. Way under an hour. The cons are I rarely find a sale on 8×8 paper or books.
    6×6 is a very common size for a smaller book. The pros are that you can finish a page very quickly, and the book is small and portable. 6×6 is a great size for a brag book, or even an autograph book for a trip to Disney, or to remember classmates, camp, or scouts. You can easily find 6×6 paper and books, but a 12×12 sheet of paper can be trimmed into quarters. One 12×12 sheet will make Four 6×6 sheets, with no odd scraps. However, all of your photos, (which are 4×6) will need to be cropped if you want to use mats. And most pre-cut mats are 4.5×6.5, so they will need to be trimmed also.
    Some manufacturers ‘invent’ other sizes of scrapbooks. I think they probably do that so you are stuck buying only from them, the paper and trims. Some of the ‘consultant companies’ are guilty of this practice.
    Ultimately, do what feels right to you. I prefer 12×12 or 8×8, since I like to work in a square.  My suggestion is to purchase one or two sheets in each size and try to make a page from them. Craft stores often have ‘Crop Parties’ where, for a small fee, you can try out different machines and techniques on your paper. Crop Parties are a nice way to share ideas with other scrappers also.
    Have fun scrapbooking! 
    There are now even larger than 12×12 books, made by only one manufacturer. The larger than 12×12 books are heavy and a bit cumbersome, but they are square, and you can fit tons of stuff on a page. Only one craft store has this line, so it is a bit impractical.

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Scrapbooking Ideas for the Cheap and Thrifty

Scrapbooks are a wonderful way to keep memories and photographs for future generations. It is also big business, and could send you straight to the poorhouse. You can create beautiful scrapbooks for a few dollars. Here’s how:
    You need six basic supplies to create a scrapbook-

  1. Photographs, which you have shoeboxes full of
  2. Acid- Free/ Lignin Free Paper*- decide on a size for your book before you buy any paper or an album. I like to buy a ‘Slab’ of scrapbook paper. There are usually more than 150 sheets, and all the colors and patterns are easy to match. If you buy a Slab on sale, they cost around $8 for a 12×12 slab.
  3. An Acid-Free album*- again, what size? There are common sizes- 6×6, 8×8, 8 1/2×11, and 12×12…. but there are many other sizes available.
  4. A scissor- make sure this is a very sharp, clean scissor
  5. A glue stick- I prefer the kind that goes on purple and dries clear.
  6. A Ruler- metal is preferred for durability.

    That’s IT!! Remember, doo-dads and shiny things are not a necessity. Often times, they can distract from your photos.
    Instructions for the most simple scrapbook page ever-

  1. Find three related photos. Say, one of each of your kids at Halloween
  2. Usually, photos are 4×6, but you can Crop the photo (Cropping is simply cutting off an unimportant part of the picture.) Measure the size. Measure a piece of paper 1/2 inch bigger all around than your photo and cut it out.
  3. Glue your picture on the cut-out paper. You have just made a Photo Mat.
  4. Cut out a fun shape, like a Pumpkin or Trick or Treat Bag out of solid colored paper. Write a few memories on that paper. You have just made some Journalling.
  5. You may want a title, the simple ones might be ‘Trick-Or-Treat’, ‘Boo’, or even ‘Halloween 2009’.(you get the idea). You can measure and cut a strip of paper, and cut out the letters. Or you could write the title.

    Glue down the three photos, title, and journalling, and you’re done! Less than $2 worth of paper.
    Lets say you want more embellishment. You can cut tags out of paper in any shape. You can use different shapes for journalling- a T Shirt or Tent shape for camping, a Bootie or Bottle for a baby, an Apple for School… Still less than $2 a page.
    You can use an online search engine to look for ‘free fonts’ or ‘free clip art’, and print title blocks, journalling, and even really cute deigns right from your computer. No need for stickers, or alphabet die cuts. Save tons of money like this, your computer already has ink, now you can print on any color paper.
    If you treat yourself to some ribbon, stamps,  paper punches, or stencils- buy only if it’s on sale AND you can match it to three projects in your mind. A 50 cent spool of pink ribbon works well for Mother, Baby, Daughter, Easter, Sweet 16, I’m One Today, Baptism… it’s now paid for itself by livening up nearly a whole album. Patterned ribbon is less practical and more expensive. I like those scissors that cut wavy lines into paper, one or two is enough… you don’t need a dozen of them on a carousel. Paper punches that round corners are nice, but you don’t need a drawerfull right away.
    When you start to scrapbook, you may feel a need to spend. As time goes by, you may add a few bits to your supplies. First, try a simple scrapbook. See just how much you can create with just paper.

    *Most scrapbook supplies are Acid and Lignin Free. Acid Free paper will not harm your photos. Lignin Free paper will not turn yellow or brittle with age. Items may also be labelled ‘Photo Safe’, which means they are acid-free.

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