What 2020 Taught Me
December 27, 2020
This was a hard year, there’s no doubt about it. I said goodbye to my beloved Pooh Bear, worried and waited out the virus, prayed as many lost their homes to the wildfires, watched the political mess and lack of unity in our nation and wondered when things would be better. I learned about health measures, virus spread, and even air quality measurements. These were not things I wanted to learn. However, 2020 taught me some good things that I probably couldn’t have learned any other way:
NEVER, ever take the simple things like fresh air and toilet paper for granted.
Go outside today, take a deep breath and appreciate the air. Do it! If you can’t find something to be grateful for today or some bit of joy then you aren’t looking hard enough. I am lucky enough to understand how truly important my health is and how fast it can change, but I had never considered fresh air! Be grateful right now, don’t wait for something to improve.
I am perfectly happy at home for weeks as long as there is chocolate, coffee, Diet Dr. Pepper and snuggle time. It really does not take much to make a good life.
You may not have noticed, but there was a Diet Dr. Pepper shortage in 2020. I think it was more terrifying for me than the toilet paper situation. Also, Wilson is the absolute best snuggler in our house.
I can have a tidy house and I love it that way.
I had always assumed that my piles and messes were because life is so busy with coming and going. I believed the mess was from acquiring things in a hurry and scurrying off to the next big thing quickly. After 3 months at home I realized my house was not tidy, nor clean, and perhaps I had misread the situation my ENTIRE life. I listened to several audio books as I decluttered, watched videos on the topic and even attacked my craft room after I practiced on some easier areas.
Instead of being gloomy about staying home I turned it into valuable time to make improvements around the house. It was a blur of home improvement, decluttering, reorganizing, and making our house right for us. I donated, gave to neighbors, put things free at the curb, listed online, and made sure the net result was things going away. I made a GO AWAY pile and didn’t get distracted by where or how it would go. Once I made the decision I just moved on to the next item or area. I even cleared things out that I never should have moved to this house 7 years ago!
My point in sharing all of this is to remind you that there is good in all things. If you haven’t found joy in spending time at home, maybe you need some inspiration. As part of the tidying spree I gave my craft room a complete craft room makeover too. I reorganized, decluttered and moved nearly every single crafty item in the whole room. I found craft supplies and tools I didn’t know I had, things I wanted, but had been unable to locate and got inspired by all the possibilities. I gave away things that were not inspiring, excess amounts of embellishments I would not use in this lifetime, wrong color paper, not quite right stickers, or items that just didn’t bring me joy. I didn’t stop to fret about how much I spent on the paper cutter or which of my friends may want it someday in the future. I made room for fun! If you haven’t seen my craft room makeover series, watch these videos and I’m sure you will find some inspiration. You can make the last days of 2020 and the transition to 2021 amazing!!
Scrapping for Less: Guest Designer
April 24, 2020
I'm honored to be a guest designer for Scrapping for Less for the April Flavor of the Month kit and included in their hop. So far, I have made five cards with the kit and I have enjoyed each one of them. In fact, I am enjoying the stamps in the kit so much that I think I’ll stamp some more images and get coloring! I still haven’t chosen a favorite card out of these five. If you have a favorite be sure to leave a comment on my blog or videos to let me know!
I used the Country Roads collection for my sneak peek because these colors and the gorgeous patterns called to me. I layered up these beautiful papers, used the twine and enamel dots that came in the collection and the flowery camera die that came in the Banana Split pack. This was a very quick card and I enjoyed these wonderful papers. Here’s a link to the sneak peek video:
For the other collections I stamped out all the images I thought I wanted to use, then set that aside to dry. The stamps in their kits are wonderful to work with and created beautiful images right from the start! Then, I dug out the Prismacolor pencils I “borrowed” from my sister. I really wanted to highlight the papers in the collection so I went through the box to find colors that matched the papers. Check out my video about the rest of these fun cards:
Hop on over to the Scrapbena Creations video for this month’s kit too:
City Streets and Country Roads! Which do you prefer? This month’s theme is a little bit travel themed and a little bit hometown themed. Join the Design Team as they share inspiration for all these wonderful collections. Make sure to stop by the Scrapping for Less website and either purchase a one time kit or sign up for a subscription. Also, please enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win a prize. *Disclaimer: I know most of you are Staying Safe at home…please know this theme was planned way before all this happened.
How to Make a Journal with Patterned Card Stock
January 2, 2020
I typically use a 12 x 12 paper collection from a good company so it’s nice thick, printed paper. You can use ANYTHING for the pages, but you need at least one sturdy piece for the cover. I’ve had great luck with Echo Park and Carta Bella papers. I’m currently doing an experiment with a slightly thinner paper so I glued two sheets together for the cover.
If this is your first journal then a one signature journal using a dozen sheets of paper is a good place to start. FIRST, select which one you want to use as your cover and set it aside!! It needs to be cut slightly larger to give your final journal a better look. Journals come in all shapes and sizes, but I’ve been experimenting with my ideal measurements. I think I want to use as much of the paper as I can and have efficient sized scraps for card making. This creates a finished journal that is shorter and wider than the tutorial I learned from. There are, of course, pros and cons of different journals so you’ll have to decide what works for you. The measurements I’m sharing below are what I used for my 2020 Goals Journal because I wanted as much width as I could get for writing and have a four inch strip of paper left over for card making.
COVER: 8 1/2″ tall by 12″ wide – cut ONE piece this size
PAGES: 8″ tall by 11 1/2″ wide
Be to sure to pay attention if you have directional papers so your trees, dogs or bicycles are right side up. Then, fold each one down the middle so it starts to form a book. You can use a score board if you have one, if not just fold carefully down the middle. Then, put them in order the way you would like them to be in the journal. This part takes me a while because I don’t want too many flowers together or conflicting patterns. Sort them until you get it right. Now is also the time to think about whether you want to tuck in any paper bags, other papers, or if you want some of the pages to be different sizes. I like to have at least a couple pages in my journal that are not the full 8″ tall if I want it to have sort of a junk journal feel. Take a photo or video once you have the sequence figured out because you are likely to get confused.
Then, trim the pages so they all line up nicely. You will find that the pages in the center of the journal need about an 1/8 or 1/4 inch trimmed off, but the outside pages might be perfect. Be sure to do the trimming before you start embellishing the pages. This is also why it’s good to have a photo or video showing you how they fit together.
STOP AND THINK ABOUT EMBELLISHING
Is this a journal you want to assemble as is and then write in, sketch in, or decorate as time goes by? If so, gather up the supplies to stitch it together.
Is this a journal you want to decorate now with stamps, stencils, embellishments and then assemble so it is ready to give as a gift, even if the gift is to you? It is MUCH easier to decorate the pages before they are sewn into the journal. At this point they are easy to run through a sewing machine, put in a stamp platform or tape down to stencil on. They can also be set aside to dry while you work on the next page. Once they are sewn together it gets much trickier to decorate and work on multiple pages in a row.
If you found this helpful, let me know and I’ll write up more steps in this process.
Craft Room Update
March 7, 2019
Well, I finally did it. I have an amazing craft room with a counter height work space so I can stand up and not be hunched over. This new craft room is better than I ever dreamed. It’s even tucked out of the way so you don’t see it when you enter my front door and there’s tons of storage. Remember, I’m very messy so that’s important.
Here’s the amazing part though, I didn’t spend a fortune on it so I still have money for craft supplies! I know that lots of people order specific storage units and all sorts of fixtures to store their supplies. Me? I have my friends hand me down kitchen cabinets and I absolutely love them!! Thanks so much to Stephanie and Mike for the surprise truckload of cabinets! I also have garage sale finds, items I pulled from other places in the house, and a counter height chair that my friend found free for me. Be open to what comes your way, you never know how great it might all turn out!!
If you want to see my craft room, check out the video on the Crafting and Relaxing YouTube below.
One Little Word for 2019
December 25, 2018
I explained a bit about how Crafting and Relaxing got its name, but I didn’t start at the beginning of why I was so focused on doing crafts and relaxing. Before 2018 began I was trying to choose one little word (OLW) for the year. If you aren’t familiar with OLW or related challenges, the basic idea is that you choose a word to inspire and guide you in the coming year. I don’t really know who started it originally, it might have been Ali Edwards, but it wasn’t me. Anyway, after I thought about it for a long time the word I chose for 2018 was “REST” because it was short and simple. The year before had been purely work focused and I was exhausted. I didn’t really expect 2018 to be easier, but I did want to find a way to balance it out and give my brain something else to think about. So I chose REST and defined it like this:
Time for Me
Anyone who knows me would probably think it was crazy that REST was my word, but it was and I think I gave it a good effort. I did crafts, gardened, napped, made the Crafting and Relaxing channel on YouTube, went to the gym occasionally, and I said no to things. I said no to allow for down time and breathing space in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I still worked a ton, but I managed to fit something else besides work and moving at the speed of light into my life. I even figured out how to do some long overdue family visits.
Now, it is time to choose a word for 2019. I’m not sure what mine will be yet, but I know it will have more energy or strength to it. I want to bump it up a bit this year. I don’t think I’ll define each letter like I did last year, just one great word. I thought about “thrive,” but I don’t want to sound like a health insurance commercial. I’ll keep thinking. If you don’t have a word, or a focus, or a plan for 2019 think about making one. A year is a long time and we should make it count.
Crafting and Relaxing
September 23, 2018
A friend asked me how I decided to name my YouTube channel Crafting and Relaxing. What it really came down to was that 2017 was all about working non-stop. I thought about my vision for 2018 and what I would like to see more of. That’s how Crafting and Relaxing got its name. I wanted Crafting and Relaxing to be a fun way to share my activities, whatever they may be, but not be limited to paper or paint or even crafts in general.
What I really wanted were thoughts in my brain that had nothing to do with work! So, how do we push the struggles of the work day out of an overactive brain and enjoy the precious hours that we aren’t at work? We give that brain creative challenges to ponder, evaluate and problem solve! My job is all about numbers and rules. I want my brain to spend time figuring out completely different types of things on the weekends or while I’m drinking coffee in the early morning. Which paper cutter is the best? How does the blue ink work over dried gesso? Do I like thread or embroidery floss better on cards and art journal pages? Is there a way to keep the snails under control with two dogs in the yard? Which succulents are my favorite and which ones aren’t worth my time? How many cards can I make out of one 6×6 paper pad?
Interestingly, I find these questions invigorating and I will get up even earlier to work on them. I have also found that 10 minutes or 30 minutes at the end of a long, hard day does not go unused. Then, I can say that I did SOMETHING besides work or deal with the chaos of life every day. Maybe the project isn’t something I love every day, but it rejuvenates me so I can go back to work. I hope that by following along on my channel, blog and Instagram that you, too, can have something in your day besides work or chaos. Everyone deserves some Crafting and Relaxing.
Making Envelopes Using the EK Tools Scoreboard
June 19, 2018
This year I purchased the EK Tools Scoreboard. In addition to scoring cardstock with it, I am also using it to make envelopes with thinner paper. The directions that come with the board definitely have a flaw or typo, but after wasting some paper I figured it out. To make an A2 envelope (card is one-quarter of an 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper or 5 1/2 by 4 1/4 inches) follow this basic process:
Cut an 8 inch square piece of thin paper, cardstock will work, but it isn’t ideal to learn.
Place the yellow triangle (might be embedded in the back of the scoreboard) in the upper left hand corner of the scoreboard.
Put one of the points of the 8 inch square of paper along the left hand side of the score board and line one side of the paper up against the triangle, as shown above.
Score the paper at 2 3/4 inches then rotate it 180 degrees and score at 2 3/4 inches again, same measurement
Repeat the process for both unscored sides using 3 1/2 inches this time instead.
Clip out the small triangles created where the score lines meet using any pair of scissors. Quick and easy snips, don’t worry about making them perfect. The score lines will come together at a 90 degree angle, but if you clip them slightly wider you won’t need to expand them later or tidy them up. See pink marker lines in the photo below to see where to cut.
7. Lay the paper down (wrong side up if the sides are different) with one of the first score lines closest to you (point toward you). Fold in one side, then the other, now fold the point closest to you over the two sides. (It should look like an envelope by now.)
8. Now that you’ve tested it out and can see that the envelope is correct, put adhesive on that last flap you folded up so it will glue to the sides. Be sure to start adhesive an inch away from the point. Any adhesive you have should work, Elmer’s glue, double sided tape or any fancy papercrafting adhesive should get the job done. Don’t glue your envelope shut! If you prefer, you can cut out the pointy part that sticks up – just clip out each side, cutting away that excess square in the middle.
9. Then fold the top down and give it a good crease so it’s ready when you want to stuff and glue it.
Other pointers, thing to try once you get the basic idea:
Vary the paper, use all sorts of patterns and colors. If you use a 12 X 12 sheet there are plenty of scraps to make a matching card when the envelope is done.
Grab basic paper out of a printer or copier and stamp on it, draw on it, cover it with washi tape (any 8 inch square of paper can turn out beautiful). If I’m stamping I like to stamp all over the paper before I make the envelope so it’s more like patterned paper.
If your envelopes are patterned and busy, address them with a bold marker like a Sharpie, but remember a Sharpie might bleed through so don’t put the card in the envelope until after you address it.
To make envelopes that are larger, to allow more room to insert gifts or heavily embellished cards, make the square 8 1/4 or 8 1/2 inches
You can do this same concept with an 8 inch square on an A2 card without a scoreboard. If you want to make an envelope and don’t have a scoreboard, just wrap the paper around the card like a tidy package. Position one of the points toward yourself, lay the card in the center of the square and move things around until it makes sense. I show you how to do this at the end of my first envelope tutorial if you want to see it. It’s very simple to do.
Click here to see the detailed envelope video tutorial.
Here are two more envelope videos I created to give you some more inspiration:
How to Make a Basic Card
May 20, 2018
I posted a video today on the YouTube channel for Crafting and Relaxing called, “How to Make a Basic Card.” It is part of a series that is designed to show beginning card makers how to make cards. You can watch the video, look at the supply list below and hopefully you will be inspired to make a card. In this series I’ll keep things very simple and teach the basics.
One 8 1/2 x 11 piece of card stock (or a pre-made card base)
Scissors and ruler (or a paper cutter), not needed if using a pre-made card base
Scratch paper (I used a paper bag that a purchase came in.)
Post-it (if you decide to make a mask for a rubber stamp)
Something to decorate the card base with
in the video I use three wood-mounted, rubber stamps, a black ink pad, and colored pencils
The first thing I did was cut the white card stock for my card base. I recommend that beginners start with white or cream to get the most versatility from limited supplies. An A2 card is 5 1/2″ by 4 1/4″ and the cards I made in this video are horizontal so I took a piece of 8 1/2″ by 11″ card stock and cut the length of it half by making one cut at 5 1/2″. A regular size 8 1/2″ by 11″ sheet of card stock can always be used to make two card bases. After cutting the card stock I set one half aside for the next card and folded the other piece. I used the EK Tools Scoreboard to score and fold it for the first card, but for the second card I folded it without any tools.
Then, I inked my stamp carefully, tested it on scrap paper, and stamped the images on the front of the card. Be sure to let the images dry all the way before trying to color them. I usually stamp all my images before I start coloring. After everything was dry I colored in all of the images. This took a while so I didn’t do very much of the coloring on the video, but I’ve included photos of the finished cards here on the blog. For the second card I demonstrated a masking technique that can be used to layer images.
I don’t typically decorate the inside of my cards very much because I write big and mail a lot of my cards so I like to leave space. Remember, you’re making the card so if you want to decorate the inside- go for it! There aren’t any rules. If you want to decorate the inside, do it after you complete the front (and it is dry). Then, decorate the inside and be sure it is dry before you close the card.
Keep in mind that the wood-mounted rubber stamps I used on these cards are old so you won’t be able to get the exact same ones. My goal is to show you how little you need to get started and I’ll be doing another similar video soon with products that are currently available. Most stamps sold currently are clear and attach to clear blocks. I’ll give a tutorial on clear stamps in the next video. Also, I don’t ever want you to run out and buy things just because I have them in a video. I have Stampin’ Up colored pencils because that’s what I’ve had forever. If you have other colored pencils use those, maybe you’re lucky enough to have a set of Prismacolor colored pencils sitting around.
If you want to make cards and you don’t think you have any supplies start collecting papers from junk mail (some of the patterns inside security envelopes are make great card layers), tissue boxes have beautiful colors and patterns, gift wrap, tags on clothes/purchases. Just start gathering them in one place and see what color groupings start to emerge. Consider what you have in your house for other activities or what other family members may have:
colored pencils, watercolor paints, markers or colored pens all work
acrylic paint and stencils
embroidery floss or ribbon
glitter glue…the possibilities are endless
There are two videos on my YouTube channel that I made for a Snowbird with limited supplies. These might give you more ideas for getting started with limited supplies:
Put the Paint on the Canvas
Sometimes in life we just need to shake things up a bit. I was going through a rough time and I kept asking my sister questions about the “how to” of painting. To each of my questions she simply replied, “Put the paint on the canvas.” I finally did and I had a great time! I’m not a great painter, but I enjoy doing it.
One day, after I had been painting for a few months, one of my friends told me she was getting a divorce. This friend first found out when her landlord called to ask her if she would be staying in the house after her husband moved out. (Let your brain soak that up for a minute!) I don’t know why, but I just knew she should come over and paint. She came to my house and there were paints, brushes, and some canvases spread out on the table. I gave her the same training my sister gave me, “Put the paint on the canvas.” She made a great first painting, got herself some supplies and continued to make more paintings. It was a nice distraction when she needed it.
Be open to whatever comes your way because it may be just what you need. Think of life as your canvas. When I’m fearful about trying something I remember, “Put the Paint on the Canvas.”
The First Time
April 26, 2018
When was the last time you did something for the first time?
When I was little I watched painting shows on tv with my grandma and saw her produce gorgeous paintings on a regular basis. Grandma did oil paintings, watercolors, pastels and used whatever came her way in an economical manner. The walls were covered in a variety of paintings and they were stacked in closets. Today, nearly every room in my house has one of her paintings hanging on the wall and this is true for many of my family members.
There are a lot of things I haven’t done, which means I don’t know how to do them and these things are uncertain, even scary for me. I see various products and wonder how they work. Which type do you buy? When should they be used? Art journals, gesso, glitter paste, distress resist spray and mod podge are all things I have no experience with. The voice in my head says I’m not an artist and if I had that ability I would have found it by now. Then I remember something my cousin told me that I found shocking. My grandma didn’t always paint! What?? I’m younger than my cousin so this was something I couldn’t comprehend. My cousin thought our grandma probably started painting in her fifties. Fifties?? We can just wake up one day and decide to expand our horizons?
So, I ask you, when was the last time you did something for the first time?