Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Hand Printed Bag

Hello everyone. I've been having fun this afternoon printing a bag for a Christmas gift. I have another 3 blank bags ready to decorate over the coming weeks. I'd like to share how to make this simple project with you today.

You will need
  • Alcohol Based Markers. I used 2 Tria Markers from Letraset, colour numbers V746 and V564.
  • Cotton Drawstring bag, or other cotton item to decorate.
  • Rubber stamp with a solid or bold design. I used a homemade double sided hand carved rubber stamp.
  • Scrap Paper.
  • An iron.
The How to ...

1. Pre-wash the item if possible, dry and iron.
2. Fold a piece of scrap paper to the width of the bag and slip it inside to prevent ink from bleeding through.

3. Ink up your stamp with the marker(s)
4. Print firmly on the fabric. For my design I used 2 images and formed a blockwork pattern.

5. Leave to dry
6. Repeat on the other side
7. Turn the bag inside out and slip the scrap paper back inside again
8. Iron with a dry iron set to the appropriate heat for cotton on both sides. This will set the ink.
9. When cool remove the paper, turn the right side out and admire your master piece.

Would you like to see a short series in the New Year on how to hand carve your own rubber stamps like the one I used on this project?

Have fun creating, and many Blessings to you from Angela.

Saturday, 26 November 2011


The winner of Trish's giveaway hasn't contacted me yet. Diane J, you have until the end of the month to email me before I redraw a new winner.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Pocket Blessings

Pocket Blessings are mini cards that are small enough to put in a purse, wallet or pocket. They can be stuck on a fridge with magnets and can easily be sent through the post. You can give one card, or if you like make a whole set with matching backs and tie them together with a pretty ribbon for a larger gift.

I'm sharing instructions with you today for how to make these the hybrid way, you can easily adapt this for using entirely traditional methods.

Set-up your page to the same size as the card-stock you will be printing on (A4 for me).

Most printers have a margin where it doesn't print anything. Check your printer settings and place guidelines at the margin points (.6 cm for me).
Create guidelines to divide your page into a grid with each section approx 3.5 x 2.5 inches.

If your software does not support guidelines then draw horizontal and vertical lines in the top layer.

Arrange digital papers, embellishments, photos and word art in each section of the page.
For the example card above I used one of my husband’s photos and a quotation from the bible.

For the next step
· Print on to the back of patterned card stock from your paper crafting stash
· Print on to white card stock
· Turn the card stock over and print a sheet of digital paper onto the back
· Print on to white card stock
· Stick a sheet of patterned paper or wrapping paper etc to the back with a stick glue or similar adhesive. (I did this for the example card shown above.)
· Leave to dry

Cut out the cards
(Optional: round the corners with a corner punch for a more professional finish)

Finishing Touches

For single cards you could do any of the following:
· Laminate it for extra durability
· Stick a magnet on the back
· Attach to a greetings card with string or ribbon so it can be removed by the
· Recipient as well as add decoration to the card

For packs of cards you could do any of the following:
· Tie them together with ribbon
· Cover a card box with coordinating paper to put them in
· Make a matching box to put them in

Sunday, 20 November 2011

And the Winner is ....

The winner for a free on-line class with Trish at

is Diane J. Congratulations, please send me your email address so I can get you in contact with Trish for your free registration.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Last Day

Today is the last day to enter Trish's give-away for a free on-line sewing class. For details see the bottom of her guest tutorial post here.

Creating Fancy Text in DSA and CAP

Fancy Text, or Word Art, is a great way to personalise digital scrapbooking layouts, cards and other hybrid projects. You can create decorative quotations, striking titles, pretty card sentiments and add emphasis to journalling. This is a technique that will also come in handy for Monday's gift making project.

Today I'm going to share a tutorial on how to do this in Serif's Digital Scrapbook Artist (DSA) and it's upgrade Craft Artist (CAP). There is a free cutdown version of the software that you can pick up at Serif.com.

1. Set up your page in DSA or CAP
2. Click on the text tool (the button with the"A" on it)

3. Click onto your page. (Optional: drag the mouse slightly as you click on the page to make the text larger. We can do this later so not essential now)

4. Start typing your text. It will flow in a straight line, and if there is a lot of text off the edge of the page. For this example I am going to type

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 25:11 .

5. I want to make this text flow onto more than one line. To do this click on the arrow button

6. Click on the cross symbol next to the line of text

7. Click on the words Edit Points

8. Click on the top right handle and drag it to the left until the box of text is the width you want it to be.

9. click the word Back

10. Now to change the font. Find the font box on the tool bar and click on the little down pointing arrow. Then scroll down the list until you find a font you like. Click on it. I am choosing "Bookman Old Style".

11. I want to put the verse reference on the next line. To do this click on the text, click on the word edit, click just before the word Proverbs and then press the enter Key. Click away from the text to deselect it.

12. To centre align the text, click on it and then click on the tool button with horizontal lines in central alignment (try the other buttons to see what they do).

13. Change the font size by clicking on the arrow next to the number box and selecting a size. I'm choosing 18pt.

14. I want to make the reference smaller. To do this select the text, click on Edit, then click next to the reference and drag select it. Now change the size using the font size box again. I'm choosing 10pt.

15. Click on the text to select it and change it's colour by clicking on one of the colours in the colour box. I'm going to use dark blue.

16. To make some of the words stand out I'm going to select them and make them a different colour.

17. You can also change the font of individual words to draw attention to them.

18. You can move and resize the text box in the same way as any other object

Have fun, and I'd love to see what you create.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Herb Sachets

I grow my own herbs and normally dry the surplus and package it up as gifts. I didn't have enough storage jars to use this year so I packaged up my dried rosemary in cloth sachets. You could easily use the same method for other home grown/hand made goods such as lavender.

  • I cut up a piece of sheeting fabric (one of the cheapest ways of getting hold of fabric around here) into squares of about 12 x 12 inches.
  • To prevent the dried rosemary from getting damp in storage I put a portion of the herbs into a plastic bag first. (If creating a scented sachet for lavender then I omit the plastic bag.)
  • Place the herbs (or other goodies) in the centre of the fabric square.
  • Draw up the four corners to meet in the centre above the herbs
  • Bring in the sides to the centre
  • Bunch the fabric together using an elastic band. Choose a band either the same colour as the fabric or the ribbon you are going to use.
  • Thread a tag through a length of ribbon
  • Tie the ribbon around the elastic band with a bow.
  • Tease the bunched fabric outwards.

Have fun, I'd love to hear what you put in your fabric sachets for giving as gifts this season.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Glossary - What is png, jpg and tif?

Graphic files come in many different formats, and each format can be used in different types of software and have different sizes etc. In the main you don't need to worry about them, but here is a summary of what the main differences are and what you would expect from a digital/printable crafting download

files that end in .png are the highest quality. They are also generally take up a lot of space and take longer to download, so they tend to be used for smaller items wherever possible.

Also png files are also the only format that can have transparency, so they are always used for digital scrapbooking elements and quickpages that have holes in for you to put your photos behind.

files that end in .jpg can be compressed - that means that the file doesn't get as big as it would if it was a png. This is the most common format for digital papers.

tiff / bmp/ gif/ wmf
Some older software cannot use jpg or png files. So they use these other formats. Some are low in quality, some produce absolutely enormous file sizes. These are rarely used for downloadable printable/ digital scrapbooking files.

Animated gif
These files are quick animations that end in .gif and are typically used on internet sites.

.pdf files are documents that open in the free Acrobat Reader software from Adobe. Electronic Magazines and e-books are in this format. Many designers (myself included) produce printable products as .pdf files to make it easy for the customer to open and print them

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Glossary - What is dpi?

When purchasing digital/printable downloads you should see something in the information like "this product is at 300 dpi"

but what does that mean?

Digital graphics are made up of dots. dpi stands for dots per inch. So 300 dpi means there are 300 dots for every inch.

Most modern computers put 96 dpi on the screen. And most internet applications are at 72 dpi. Graphics created at 72 dpi are designed for websites and are not suitable for paper crafting or scrapbooking. If you print something at 72 or 96 dpi it will be very poor quality.

For printables the absolute minimum quality you should expect from a designer is 200 dpi. I don't bother downloading anything less.

300 dpi is the industrial standard for top quality printable graphics and this includes digital scrapbooking. I wouldn't pay for anything less than 300 dpi.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Home Made Wipe Board

Hello everyone, I've got another really simple gift making project to share with you today - a homemade Wipe Board.

Steps for traditional Paper Crafting
  • Chose a background paper that is pale enough to act as "white space" on the board
  • Decorate the edge or ends with paints, inks, stamps, flat collage, flat stickers and paper scraps etc.
Steps for Hybrid Crafting (using digital scrapbookig kits, paper and stamps etc)
  • Simply create a page in your software the size of the paper you intend to print on. Use lots of "white" space for writing notes etc (can be a pale background).
  • Embellish around the sides and top and bottom. I've added a calendar tag to mine for marking important dates.
  • Print
To finish off.
  • Laminate.
  • Optional - Punch holes in the top and add a hanging cord.
  • Optional - Stick Magnets on the back.
  • Add a wipe board pen before you gift wrap it.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Quick and Easy Altered Notepad

Hello folks, I'm in gift making season at the moment and am going to share some ideas and simple projects with you over the next few weeks. This altered notebook is a quick and easy home made gift that took me bout 10 mins to make.

  • Clean and dry the surface of a bought notebook (this was part of a set from the £1 shop)
  • Cut a sheet of designer paper with a pictorial design on it to slightly smaller than the front cover. Alternatively anything with a pattern on will do. (I used some Smirk paper with various bands of different patterns and a picture on it.)
  • Optional - colour in some part of the design to enhance it (I coloured the hair which was white)
  • Cut a strip of ribbon about 2 inches longer than the paper.
  • Cut another shorter piece and tie it towards one end of the ribbon in a knot.
  • Fold the ends of the ribbon over the paper and stick in place with a little tape.
  • Apply glue/adhesive to the back of the paper and stick to the front of the notebook.
For an extra special touch you could stamp small images in the bottom or top corner of some or all of the pages. Have fun and I'd love to see anything you make.

p.s. dont' miss out on the giveaway on the previous post (Trish's Rosette Tutorial), the prize draw will be on the 20th Nov.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Trish's Rosette Tutorial

I have great pleasure today in introducing you to Trish from Two Peas in a Pod. She has some wonderful tutorials and sewing patterns on her site and recently started an on-line sewing class. Today she is sharing one of her tutorials with us AND very generously offering a give-away for one reader of this blog. Thank you Trish.

My name is Trish and I'm an admitted paper crafter wanna-be. Really. I have friends who absolutely are awesome and create the most amazing things. Cards, smash books, multi-media pages. I dabble here and there. I look in awe mostly.

What I do a lot of is sew. And sew. And sew. Maybe some of you sew too? Maybe some of my sewing can help you in your paper crafting. Here's how...

I am the mother of 3 girls. We wear a lot of ruffles and flowers and pink in this house. I adore making handmade flowers for my girls to wear on their sweaters or in their hair. And you know what? They would be an awesome addition to your paper crafting.

Here's a quick video tutorial on making your own rolled rosettes. To make them lay better on your pages, try making your fabric strips thinner, no more than 1/2" and twist the fabric. That should help you build your flower more flat so that it lays nice. I love to add buttons and other vintage jewelry findings to the top of my flowers. They take a wee bit of practice but after a few tries, they are really easy and you'll be completely addicted to making these for all kinds of things!

AND, Trish is very generously offering one Toucan Scraps Tutorials reader a free class registration for one of her on-line sewing classes.

Everyone who comments on this post before Sun 20th Nov will be eligible for the prize draw.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Making Cards for Blind People - Hints and Tips

My sister-in-law was born blind and I've had many years of practice making cards for her and her family (I like to make my brother & niece's cards with her in mind too). I want to share some hints and tips with you that I've learnt along the way.

So what makes a great card for someone who can't see it? Basically the card making process is the same, with the focus on tactile rather than visual structure. And yes, it does still need to look wonderful where it is proudly displayed on the mantelpiece.

Remember - a successful card will be so well loved that it will be handled repeatedly. So make sure you use really strong adhesive and the thickest card stock you can get your hands on. When using brads, make sure the prongs are well covered to prevent cuts etc (and obviously - no pins). Check any metal embellishments to ensure the edges etc are not sharp.

Here's some tips on making great cards for the blind.

A shaped card makes it much more interesting, but is not esential. A fancy cut edge works well too.

(For the example card above I used templates from My Time Made Easy)

Embellishments and haberdashery items are obvious choices for a tactile card. But resist the temptation to cover the card with them or make large clusters. If you are unsure, close your eyes and feel them - can you tell the different embellishments or is it one big undefined mass?
Careful combining of embellishments together can create wonderful designs.

Keep the number of layers to a minimum, and try to use different textures with each layer. When layering up consider doing so using 3D foam pads between the layers. And use at least twice as many pads as you would normally, and add them in the middle of the layers, not just at the edges - remember it's going to be handled. Alternatively use really thick card stock or chip board etc.

There are so many wonderful tools available now for creating patterns on card stock using texture, from embossing plates to die cuts and punches etc.

One of my favourite tactile patterns is dots. I turn the card upside-down and draw a grid on the back, then using the grid as a guide I punch a pattern of holes using my big-bite. (See the apron card above)

Focal Image
You can still have a focal image. Just make it 3D/textural and keep it simple. Examples are:
* Paper piecing styles with thick card stock or chipboard, or using 3D foam pads.
* chipboard shapes
* large flowers
* teabag folding
* Quilling
* embossing (use a simple bold image on smooth card stock)
* die cuts
* using embellishments to form an image (eg bunch of flowers) or shape

Unless embellishments form part of the image (eg brads as eyes) keep them at a distance from the image so as not to clutter and confuse it.

To make a card extra special, add a little sound. Maybe a small bell attached to a bow, or even a shaker made with beads/small stones etc that will make noise when shook.

Fancy Workings
Generally avoid pockets and hidden items

Keep flaps obvious with ribbon or tabs where they open and if making moving items make an obvious tab that sticks out from the sides of the card.

Pop-ups and mechanicals, if done with care can be amazing, particularly for a child.

If the blind person lives with a sighted person (or you are making for a partially sighted person) written sentiments can still be used, but only if it adds to the overall design

Some charities will Braille a sentiment or even the message for the inside of the card for you. (I had this done for my brother's wedding card). Be sure to let them know your card dimensions to ensure a proper fit, and note that Braille is larger than standard handwriting.

If a person is partially sighted, use strong contrasting colours with a mixture of dark and light.

If you are crafting for someone who is colour-blind, check out my hints and tips here.