Monday, July 28, 2008

Digital Scrapping Organization Progress

I downloaded the trial version of CS3, which included Bridge, a file organization application. I have spent most of today fighting with tagging a portion of the digital scrapbooking files that I have already collected. There were a couple of hiccups, but things were going well, until I tried to do a filter and get to the file that I wanted. Nope. Filter options only add more files each time you list a variable. Instead of getting only the blue paper, I got everything that was blue and every thing that was paper. Pout.

I finally tried a search, not a filter. Instead of additive results, I got additive criteria. I got only the blue paper. When I added in the texture, I got only one piece of paper as a result. I'm good to go!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Scrap Time! Podcasts

Christine, who lives in Canada, has a regular podcast called "Scrap Time" and I find it incredibly useful. Christine covers techniques, tools, kits, products, ideas and anything and everything stamping and scrapping related. When she compared white pens and showed samples, I realized that there really were some decent ones out there. When she tried one label making tool and it didn't work, she showed what it did and I won't waste money on it. She's both a scrapbooker and a cardmaker. If you have iTunes on your computer, it is well worth the effort and the time to download her podcasts and watch them. She demonstrates as she goes along, and you can see what she is doing, as well as hear her talk about it.

If you go to her website, on the right hand side, there are links to subscribe to her podcst and to download the podcasts that won't show up when you subscribe to her podcast. She will need to update those links soon, because iTunes only keeps the most recent 100, and she's gotten to where her current and her older podcasts have a gap of a few missing podcasts.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


After I did the stint at GASC for the Cricut Expression and the Design studio software, I thought that was the end of it. Nope! A local shop has asked me to run Cricut classes for them. They don't have a teacher for the Cricut that they like and they really liked my demos. I was having fun (or so they thought) and that is important in a good teacher.

I'll probably run a few classes for them and see what happens. Their last teacher stuck with the basics and did not impress them. Some folks need the basics, the trick is to cover them and then add something extra.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Slang Translation

I want some faster glass. This is photography slang, for I want a lens that has a wider range of f-stop capability. Huh? What's that got to do with anything?

F-stop is how you adjust how much light can possibly enter the lens at one time. Think of it as a tourniquet that when cranked down, stops the bleeding and when let loose, allows the blood to flow. The problem is, I haven't got the ability to completely loosen the tourniquet and it's cutting off circulation that I need.

Thanks, Dad. You did this to me. When I was first starting to take pictures, my father got me a 35mm camera and one lens. It was a fast lens. The tourniquet could be almost taken off and thrown away. I could take pictures in poor light, because the lens didn't cut down the flow.

I've got an incredibly good camera, and a not so good lens. The lens is slow. I keep trying to loosen the tourniquet, but I can't and I can't capture photos in poor light because of the lens. There are other settings that I could adjust to cover this issue. But it's not really the best answer, it's a work-around. I'm limited to using only a portion of the capability of this incredibly good camera, because the camera has to compensate for a lousy lens.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Packing for a Crop

For the average 6 hour crop at a store with folks that I know, I take one medium sized tote and one toolbag. I found that packing every single thing that I might possibly use meant that I spent more time and effort packing and hauling and unpacking and re-packing and dragging and schlepping than I would spend cropping. I am too lazy to do that.

I like to use Cropper Hopper page planning pouches. I'll put in sketches, the photos I want to use and my paper. If I want to use my Cricut to make embellishments for the page, I often pre-cut them and put them in with the rest of the paper and embellies. I'll cut lengths of ribbon and select metal embellishments like frames and brads. They all fit into those pouches. I use them when I'm cropping at home, too. They keep me organized.

To select which tools and supplies I'll need, I made myself a Master List of what I need/like to have when I'm doing different tasks. The Master List is broken down into sections like, 'Stamping or Stenciling', and 'Embossing'. If I've planned a page with embossing, I make sure I pack all the things I listed under 'Embossing'. Using this system, I can pack for a crop in under 15 minutes, and I rarely forget things.

If you find yourself hauling multiple totes full of paper and tools and embellishments to a crop, you might want to stop and think about how you work at crops. It isn't supposed to be a duplicate of your scrap space at home.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chip and Dale

This LO isn't quite done yet. I need to journal a little for it and there's whitespace saved for that. I decided to use the autograph cards as the title for this page, mostly because using a title would make it far too busy. I'll journal in green, as the page really is mostly green and dark green.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Growing and Learning

This is the Junior kit for July of 2008 from Club Scrap. It just arrived at my door and I tore open the box as if it were food for a starving person. In a way, it is food for my starving artist's soul. Only I'm not starving, as the photo of my workspace at the top of my blog shows. I'm pretty well fed. Club Scrap is helping feed me, and here we are back at the beginning of my metaphorical loop. Break, exit.

I could write a lengthy sales pitch for Club Scrap, but I won't. It's a good value for the money. I use it and I like it. If my meager description inspires you to join, please list me as the referring person. I'll get freebies. ;) If you check them out and it isn't for you, I made no promises. 'Nuff said.

I have found that I don't learn much about crafting when I go to places that target the 'average crafter' as their audience. There is too much focus on answering beginner questions. An informative lecture on why I need and how to use a paper trimmer? I'll skip that. I'd much rather join in on a discussion of the characteristics of pigment ink compared to hybrid ink. I want to read about a technique that I've never heard of before. I want to learn and grow.

That said, I don't think Club Scrap is for the 'average crafter'. If I was average when I joined, I'm not now. They make sure that I know something to do with all the supplies they send out each month. If I'm not using them up, or planning to use them up on some incredibly beautiful project, I wouldn't keep buying them. The more I know how to use things, the more things I'm willing to buy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Calendar Project

As promised, here are the photos of the calendar that I'd been working on.

I didn't photograph each and every month, they didn't all turn out the way I wanted them to, but this should give a general idea of what I design things to look like.

The paper and ribbons are from My Minds Eye and the calendar cards are from Creative Cafe. The ink is Adirondak Currant and the stamps are from Fancy Pants, Club Scrap and Impression Obsession. There are rub-ons from Prima Marketing and Basic Grey. The floss is an overdyed from Needle Necesseties. The rings are from 7Gypsies.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Traveling to Crops

People don't believe me when I say that I go to the occasional cropping event by motorcycle. I had packed my Tonic cutter for an event and I decided to take a picture of it. I put the camera in the saddle bag and went off to crop. I had a great day and got a lot done.

How do I manage to fit everything into saddlebags? I don't always use 12x12 paper. I'm editing photos, but I'll post about the project I was most recently working on soon. It's a 4" x 4" calendar. Cute! Portable! When I work on 12 x 12 layouts, I do a lot of pre-selection and put my paper and embellies into Cropper Hopper page planners. I'm not a fast scrapper, so getting three two page layouts completed in a six hour crop is very good for me. I don't need to carry lots of those planners.

I also have been doing more digital scrapbooking. For a laptop crop, I take laptop, extension cord and surge protector. That's all that I need. If I'm feeling like I want to be super prepared, I'll take a USB mouse and a mousepad.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

About Stamps...

I was answering a question on a forum about why clear stamps were giving one lady a blurry, blobby, blotchy image, instead of the crisp, clear image that she wanted. I ended up giving out this information. I expanded it a bit for my blog, because forum posts need to be shorter.

Many clear stamps do not contain a great deal of detail. Rubber stamps can have much more detail than clear stamps. A rubber stamp has more potential for a crisp image with details and depth. An example of this would be shading or textures. A rubber stamp can replicate a texture, a clear stamp can't.

You might need to 'condition' or 'season' your clear stamps. Try rubbing the stamp with an eraser, to clean off the last of the goo they used to coat the mold when they made the stamp. That will allow the stamp to hold your ink better. I will sometimes use Staz-On stamp cleaner on a brand new stamp, to clean off that goo. To keep my cleaning pad free of goo that might transfer back to the next stamp I'm trying to clean, I use a paper towel instead of my cleaning pad. Some folks will use fine grit sandpaper to remove the goo, or rub stamps on the palm of their hand to apply a bit of oil. Staz-On cleaner contains oil and I have dry skin. I'd only use the sandpaper if nothing else worked, due to the risk of destroying a stamp.

I also find that the surface I stamp on for clear stamps needs to be firm, and I can control the pressure I'm using much better. On either style of stamp, too much cushioning or too much pressure will give you a less crisp image.

Don't forget that the surface quality of the paper you are stamping on makes a huge difference. You will get your best stamping results with a smooth, tightly grained paper. Paper with a great deal of texture, or a more absorbent surface can give you a poor result. The ink can bleed and become blurry when using an absorbent paper. Textured paper will not let the surface of the stamp touch the paper in all areas. If you are using absorbent paper, use less ink and choose one that dries quickly. On textured paper, you will want to work with the padding under your paper and the amount of pressure you use when stamping to find the best combination. Plan to do several test stamps.

Last, double check that you aren't using too much ink. On a clear stamp, some inks kind of bead up, and it looks like you have a lot less ink on the stamp than you really do, so you tap it on the ink pad again and make things worse. Too much ink will give you a blurry, blobby, mushy-edged image, regardless of paper, pressure or padding. I'll stamp off before I re-ink, so I start each time with a pretty clean stamp.

Hmmm... I like that 'paper, pressure, padding' phrase. I'll have to figure out a way to create some kind of teaching sentence that uses it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Why is it?

I do not have a lot of punches. I am in the process of slowly getting the Marvy Uchida set of the giga, mega and so on. I have wanted a set like that for a long time. I've been waiting for coupons, to get them at 50% off, one by one, so I don't break my budget. I currently have 10, out of a possible set of 32. I'm trying to start with the larger ones and gradually work to the smaller ones.

Today, what I was afraid of has happened. I need a punch that I don't have and didn't have plans to purchase any time soon. Drat. Time to come up with a work-around.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Next Step in the Craft Room

I looked again at the chair-rail molding I had wanted to use to make a frame around my Lisa & Becky rail system parts. Not going to happen. I don't feel like spending over $50.00 for it. I'd have to get two 8' pieces of molding to have enough to make the size frame I want to make. I'm going to stencil a frame instead. I also decided to paint a bookcase that I've got, to make it white and matching. I've got the bookcase, I've got the paint. That will get started tonight.

Poor Hubby was dragged along shopping today and didn't care for it much. I looked at several storage systems and decided to go home and measure, before I bought anything. I think I'll get a cabinet, instead of steel shelving. I'd rather not have steel shelving and the cabinet will be the same size as the shelving. I'd rather have things behind closed doors than out on a shelf. Well, I want my stamps out on a shelf, but that's because that's the best way for me to be able to find the ones that I want.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

All This for Two People?

Wonderful Husband has a son, 19 years old and heading off to the USMC in a week or so. Hooyah! I have no children, but I'm the 'cool aunt' for two nieces and two nephews. Of the five possible, none live nearby. So how do we handle holidays? We celebrate them. We carve pumpkins, we shoot off fireworks, we put up a tree and I sing carols. Sometimes we have guests over and sometimes we don't. Sometimes we travel and sometimes we stay home. But we celebrate. Why not? Holidays are not only for children.

Holidays are also a lot of work. The extra cooking, the decorating, the planning and carrying out of those plans. I'm going to spend time putting up tiki torches in the hot afternoon sun, so we can enjoy them later, when it is dark and cooler. I'll drag out the umbrella for the deck, I have gone shopping and I'm thinking about making a cake. Wonderful Hubby has some errands he will need to run on his way home. Extra work, I tell you, extra work. But there's nothing quite like relaxing after a day celebrating and looking around at the time and effort you put in to create something a bit special, different and nice and realizing that all that extra work wasn't so bad.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Dream Guided Layout

Pluto is the layout that I figured out in a dream and couldn't do anything else until I got it done. Not that it's the most spectacular layout or anything, but I just wanted people to know that I actually did sort the photos and a lot of the layout in a dream. Once I got this one done, I started thinking up other layouts along this theme, of the character photos, some embellies and the actual autograph as well.

Trip of a Lifetime is the first page in the Disney album and it's one from the Recollections class guide. I did a few substitutions, since I'm not into buying the same packages of embellies. Eh. It looks a lot like the class sample, except the class sample didn't have a photo of a woman with purple gel and Pixie dust in her hair.

This double page spread is one that had been rolling around in the back of my head for a while. The photos didn't make me happy, but I managed to pick out some that worked well enough. Do I want to go back and re-shoot these? Actually, I do. I've been fighting with my camera a lot and I finally won the fight this week. I stopped letting the camera choose settings and started setting the camera on manual.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Angel Company

A friend of mine is an Angel for this company. She handed me a catalog yesterday and I've sat down and looked through it from cover to cover. Hmmm.... there are a couple of stamps that I must have, to fill out my collection and there are one or two that I'd like to have, just because they are so much fun.

I also really liked the samples they gave at the beginning of the catalog, to help you with ideas of how to use their stamps. For some reason the books and magazines I have that are full of card samples didn't stimulate me to creativity like those few samples did. I think it was that they didn't overwhelm me with a thousand different ideas, there were five and I could grasp those five.

Now that's a concept. Do not look through books looking for the perfect idea. Take one idea and do something with it. Perhaps it won't be perfect. But it will be done. I think that's my challenge for today. Tomorrow, I'll post a photo of what I did with my one idea. Tonight, I'm making a new chicken dish for the Wonderful Husband and I'll have to concentrate on that or it might not turn out well. It might not turn out well anyway, but at least it won't be for lack of attention.