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Monday, January 31, 2011

Spitball Flowers!

Ok, try not to be put off by the name.  These flowers are really simple to make, and super cute. 

For these, you'll need either eight scallopped circles, punched from pretty paper, or as I've used here, 8 slightly banged up kaisercraft flowers.  You can make them to any size, and using any shape flower you happen to have. 

First of all, take each flower, and smear a bit of ink onto them.  Don't be too fussy about what it looks like, it'll blend in the next step. 

Using a mini mister (or spray bottle, or even wetting your fingers and rubbing them over the flower), dampen each flower down, and screw it up into a loose spitball.   If you want a bit of a shimmer, you can either use glimmermist, or a dash of perfect pearls powder in a spritzer.  I added a bit of ink into my mister as well - I don't have a reinker for the colour i wanted, so i used an ear bud to soak up some ink from my inkpad, and then dibbled it in the water in my mini mister to colour the water a bit.  When all else fails, improvise! The water will help to blend the ink, so colouring it with perfect pearls or glimmermist isn't really necessary. 

Carefully unfold each flower (they will be quite delicate as they're wet), and stack them on top of each other. 
Using a faithful old thumbtack, or your favourite piercing tool, poke a hole through the centre of the stack. 

Insert a small brad (you won't see it), and fasten the stack together.

Taking the top flower, tightly bunch all the petals up in the centre. 

Repeat for the following 7 layers. 

Using your fingers, gently fan out the petals until you have a pretty little flower. 
These flowers will toughen up a bit as they dry, so leave them a few hours to dry, and they'll stay puffy and beautiful! You can also shape the petals some more as it dries.  It's a great way to use up leftover flowers that aren't perfect, or even making a few feature flowers out of a bit of scrap paper.
And of course, if you don't have 8 flowers, you can still make them, they just won't end up as full or fluffy - but sometimes that's just perfect too!
x Rita

Friday, January 28, 2011

Craft Stand

A few years ago, my eldest sister got sick and tired of me complaining about my rub ons always getting damaged before I got around to using them. (Ideally, they should be stored without any pressure on either side, otherwise they can transfer onto their backing sheet). So she made a stand for all my bits and pieces to hang on, and never have I had a rub on get damaged since!  I decided that I would return the favour, and make her very own craft stand for her craft room. 
I sourced the basic block from... ahem... my eldest sister.  She works for a company that sells locks, and the displays aren't reused, so I was able to salvage this one.  They're nice and heavy, so I thought that would be a good base.  I cut a length of dressed pine to about 65cm, and drilled and screwed that to the top of the tall stand.  (Sometimes my trusty thumbtack just doesn't do the job, for this one I had to use the drill!)

I covered the base with light orange paper - orange is Leena's favourite colour.  I had a couple of sheets of Bo Bunny Sophie range left from another project, so I trimmed down a rectangle of the flourishy bit to adorn the front of the stand. 
I decided to use the Sophie Stripe sheet to cover the top bar, just to add a big punch of colour to the stand.  For this I removed the bar from the stand, trimmed the page into 3 10cm strips, and then covered the bar, leaving the middle of the underside bare, for the hooks to go in easily. 
I measured 5cm intervals on the bare part of the bar, and using my faithful pilot thumbtack, marked out 5 hooks on each side of the base stand.  I chose gold coloured cup hooks, as I like gold and purple together.  :)
Once the hooks were in, I carefully reattached the top bar to the base. I also added a strip of the stripey paper to the base, just to tie in the stripe a bit more. 
Once it was all done, I looked back and decided it needed something else. 
I painted a wooden flourish with some of the tarnished brass Distress Crackle Paint, which i seem to be using a lot of lately!  I used a good quality PVA glue to attach that to the top, and added a pretty hot pink rhinestone to top it all off. 

I hope Leena likes it! 
(and no, Leena, you can't have all my goodies that I hung on it for display! :) )
x Rita

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Australia Day!

For those readers in Australia, you'd be well aware that it was Australia Day yesterday!  For my overseas readers not familiar with how we celebrate things in Australia, the general idea of Australia day is not only commemorating the landing of the first fleet (and some not so good things that happened on that day), but for most people, celebrating Australia day is a casual celebration of all the wonderful things about being Australian. 
This year we had a big family gathering at my sister's house, where she and her husband put on an amazing multicultural feast.  We had Turkish Koftas, Caesar Salad, Chorizo and Haloumi salad with lime juice dressing, as well as the all Australian snags, steak and damper.  Yummo!  Australia truly is a melting pot of all different nationalities - our eating habits certainly show that! 
I took a few happy snaps yesterday, so I decided to repossess a piece of scrapbook paper that I'd bought.. oooh, probably 6 years ago.  I gave up scrapping about 5 years ago, and gave all my stuff to my sister for her kids to play with, but fortunately this fabulous piece survived! Hurrah!  (obviously, I decided to give Scrapbooking another go, or I wouldn't be writing this blog!)
To scrap this page, I wanted to keep it simple, but still incorporate a few photos.  We were all wearing a temporary tattoo of the Aussie flag on our cheek for the day, so I selected photos where that was showing, and cropped to suit.  I printed these photos at home, so they probably aren't standard sizes either. 

Each photo was matted onto a piece of white cardstock, and for visual interest, I raised the photo of my eldest daughter up on foam tape, just to stop the layout being completely flat.  Check out the eyes on this pair of gorgeous girls!

The letters are Bella Chipz! glittery letters, and to add a bit of journalling, I made a little tag on my computer to slip in behind the photo of my baby girl.  I cleverly forgot to fill the 2011 on the outside of the tag, so I used some watercolours to paint in the lettering.  
This layout was so easy, I almost feel like I cheated! :o
x Rita 
P.S.  Apologies for the terrible quality of photos here at the moment.  My good camera had a hissy fit, and I'm waiting on a new lens to arrive.  Until then, the old point and shoot has to do - I've never missed a piece of technology as badly as I miss my SLR! Until I get my big camera up and running, I won't upload photos as high resolution, because I don't want you to laugh at my terrible photography! :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Key Hanger

After living in this home for 5 and a bit years, I've finally gotten around to making a hanger for our keys! 
(no sense in rushing these things, is there?)
For this project, I used a Kaisercraft "Home Sweet Home Plaque", and left the paper choice up to my dear husband.  (no, he didn't brave the craft store, he just went through my stash and picked - still gets top marks for bravery!).  He chose a Bo Bunny paper, Midnight Frost Stripe. 

To begin, I gave the plaque a light sand with fine grit sandpaper.  I then gave the edges a good coat of paint - I used the Adirondack paint dabber in Stream, but as the bevel on the plaque was awkward, I brushed it on instead of using the dabber. 

Once that was dry... well, almost dry... I'm a bit impatient! I smeared mod podge all over the face of the plaque, making sure it goes all the way to the edge. For this I like to use my fingers.  It's messy, but I find it's easier to wash my hands than to make sure all the glue is out of my brushes.  Besides - I kinda like messy :). I placed the paper down on the plaque, and smoothed it out, making sure it was all stuck down properly. 

 While I was waiting for the mod podge to dry, I found out some large alphas from my stash, these particular ones are from Kaszazz.  I painted them in the Tim Holtz Tarnished brass crackle paint, and set them aside to dry.  I had a few gears already painted in the tarnished brass crackle paint from the dusty attic tote that I made last week, so I dug them out to use as well.  I wanted to go for a cool, masculine feel with this project, and I'm a bit of sucker for gears, especially if they can turn!

Using a sharp craft knife, I trimmed away the excess paper from the top face of the plaque.  From the scrap, I trimmed two 12"x 2" strips, and rounded two corners.  I laid these where I wanted them, and then put the gears down to see where they should fit.  To make them turn, I used a thumbtack to put a small hole in the striped pieces of paper where they needed to sit to be close enough to turn.  Then, I fixed one in each strip, using a small brad - making sure not to do it up too tight.  The gear still needs to be able to spin. 

Finally, I used double sided tape to stick the two strips down, ensuring that the gears were able to mesh comfortably. 

Four cup hooks form the business end of the key hanger, and to put these in, I used my trusty giant thumbtack as a pilot. (Yes, I do own a drill, and yes, I am too lazy to go out to the shed and get it!). Once the pilot hole is in place, it's much easier to fit the cuphooks without damaging the paper, or the plaque. 
I added a few rub ons to the plaque, I chose the World Traveller rub ons from Kaszazz.  I liked the whole "travel" thing to go with the keys, and the slightly distressed look matched the whole look I was going for.   
 So five years later, we've finally got a good place to hang our keys.  Here's hoping I can find my keys to hang on it now! I'm sure I left them... somewhere! :)
x Rita

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Christmas Mini Album

This cute Kaisercraft Scallop Tree Mini Album was just perfect to showcase some of our Christmas photos from 2010.  I like to include a lot of journalling in my projects, and the mini albums moreso than ordinary layouts.  I guess I figure that one day, when I'm not around anymore, my kids will appreciate the handwriting, and the stories that I've documented.  Mini albums are really popular with my girls, they are forever dragging them out and flipping through them, so it's nice to have some text in there too. 
I like to keep my mini albums simple, so to begin with, I painted the edges of the album in lettuce green, using the Adirondack Paint Dabbers.  They make it so easy to edge chipboard with!   I covered the pages, front and back, using one sheet each of the pink paper (I can't for the life of me remember the brand of it, but if anyone is bursting to know, i'm sure i'll be able to find it out!), and the snowflake imaginisce paper. To make it fit, I laid all the pieces out and jiggled the pieces around to make it fit neatly.  I also made sure that each "pair" of pages had matching covering - a bit OCD, but that's ok :D

Once that's done, all the hard work is over.  Time to choose the photos to use, (which I printed out as wallet sized prints, and then cropped as necessary).  I also used some of the Imaginisce "Cottage Christmas - Gingerbread Village" paper to cut out little elements to add a bit of pizazz to my little book. 

The journalling was all done using Sakura Glaze pens, which are fantastic for writing on patterned paper.  They dry slightly raised and glossy, so they stand out from the pattern beneath for easy reading. 
I didn't add many raised elements within the pages of the book, as it bugs me when mini albums don't sit properly, but once I was all done decorating inside, I turned my attention to the front of the book. 
I wanted to decorate it so it looked like a Christmas Tree, so I quilled a few strips of another sheet of Imaginisce Cottage Christmas paper (cut into 3x30mm strips).  To make the bauble shape, I quilled about 25cm tightly one way, glued it together, and then quilled the remaining 5cm back the other wy to form the bauble top,  I topped them with a silver rhinestone, and a thin smear of kindyglitz just to add some sparkle. 
A strip of kaiser rhinestones and a ribbon with a rub on on top finished it off nicely. 

Simple but sweet!  I think I'll make a tradition of doing a mini album after Christmas each year, so that we can have the mini albums out as part of our Christmas decorating - a peek into Christmasses past!

I will be running a class on creating your own mini album like this at some point in February, at Scrapbook Shenanigans on Kern Brothers Drive, Kirwan (here in Townsville).  If you're interested, Michele will be taking bookings as soon as she gets back from holidays - I think she'll be back around the 5th Feb (the lucky thing is off to CHA in the US! I'm so jealous!).
For the class, there is another colour option if you're more fond of traditional colours rather than the colours I've chosen here.  For more info, feel free to send me an email at :)
x Rita

Monday, January 24, 2011

Time for some cake!

When a friend of mine said that she was getting married, I volunteered to make her and her fiancee a wedding cake.  I hadn't done one before but I thought, what the heck, I'll have a go! 
After talking to them, we worked out that they wanted a chocolate cake with buttercream icing, and the rest was up to me.  I enlisted the help of my sister Lisa, who provided an extra set of hands, and acted as official cake photographer for the day.  :)
One whole night, and three double batches of cake mix later, we were ready to start with the fun bit. 
I stacked the two 10 inch cakes together, sandwiched with a nice layer of chocolate buttercream, and did the same with two 8 inch cakes. To assemble the wedding cake, I crumb coated, and then frosted both cakes first, making the buttercream as smooth as I could.   
After that I inserted skewers into the base cake to support the top layer (which i had placed on a separate cake board, and iced over).  Then, using an extra pair of hands (Thanks Lisa!) we were able to place the top cake onto the base.  A bit more smoothing of the white icing, and then the nerve wracking bit began! 

Hand piping lots of watermelon pink flourishes! I worked in small designs around the cake, filling in here and there as I went around. 

Lucky you can't see my hands shaking in these pictures! :)

And voila! Finished cake.  We added a smattering of mini cachous just to "bling" it up a little bit as well. 

Congratulations to Marty and Wendy Sheather!

Friday, January 21, 2011

On A Beach Someplace Beautiful...

 I just love this photo of Pete, Gracie and Stephanie playing on the beach, and knew I wanted a beautiful layout to match.  When I found this Bo Bunny paper, I knew it'd be a perfect match!
I chose to use a dark slate background, and as I only had one piece of the patterned paper (yep, I'm a cheapskate!) I cut it into three strips.  With the top and bottom strip, I trimmed them down by about 1 cm on each side, and rounded the corners as you can see.  For the centre strip, I flipped the paper over, and stuck that down, straight across the page.  Once that was stuck down, I positioned my top and bottom strips, placed my photo, and the cutout with the palm trees on it.  It lacked a bit of dimension, so I dyed some white lace ribbon in a strong cup of tea, and once that was dry, bunched that up and stuck it down to the underside of my palm tree tag.  The whole tag was then stuck on foam tape, and fixed onto the layout. 

These little sandcastle, bucket and spade embellishments were approximately a gazillion years old, and the bucket and spade were fluoro yellow with equally fluoro handles.  I used watercolour crayons to recolour my elements to suit the layout, and if you didn't know any better, you would think they always looked like that! I left the sandcastle as it was though, because it was perfect the way it was.
And, as usual, to finish the layout, I added a little bit of journalling to the bottom right hand corner. 
Every time I look at this layout, it makes me smile, and takes me back to our little camping trip to the beach!
x Rita

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Project Life

This year, (after dropping several, not particularly subtle hints to my dear husband...)   I was super lucky, and got a Project Life kit for Christmas.  For those not familiar with Project Life, check out for a better run down on the kit, and what it can be used for.  Essentially, it's a funky scrapbooking album, that comes with the album, 54 divided photo pages (12"x12"), plus all the bits and pieces you need to fill the book up (except for your fabulous photos!) It comes in two editions - Amber (Which I have), and Turquoise, which is gorgeous too!)
The Amber Edition Binder
I chose to use the kit to document one photo a day, for a whole year, so I started taking a picture each day and keeping a note in my diary of what that days picture was about.  When I get a batch of photos printed, I then transfer my journalling into the neat little journalling cards that come with the kit.  Nice and quick and easy!  Here's a few (dodgy) photos of the first 2 1/2 weeks of my Project Life. 

Week 1
Week 2
The first few days of Week 3... 
As you can see, I have the whole year set up already, just to make it easier, and so everything is at my fingertips when I sit down to fill in my week. 
I decided to add the day of the week and the date on my photos, so did a little bit of editing on photoshop before printing them.  (I use photoshop elements, but any photo editing software can add text to photos)
For people that don't get time to scrapbook traditionally, Project Life could well be the answer to your prayers - a quick, simple way to document your family's history without the effort.  For me, I'll be doing project life in addition to my regular scrapbooking.  I think it'll be fun in years to come, especially when my girls have children of their own, to look back on what their life was like in 2011. I'm super excited about doing this this year, and maybe, just maybe... if I'm very good, Santa might bring me another one next year!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sweet Daydreamer

I had a huge day today, so I'm keeping it simple tonight.  A single page layout, using a gorgeous photo that my husband took of our eldest daughter last year.  For this project I used papers from Adorn it, by Carolee's Creations, from the Princess collection.  I chose the grey as the background, and then cut a wide strip from the striped paper to layer on top of it.  To define the edges a little bit more, I inked the edge using a black ink pad. 

The photo got a little bit lost on the background, so I matted that onto some white cardstock, before sticking that down. 

When I bought the paper, I also bought some coordinating stickers from the same range. I'm not too much of a sticker person, but I thought these would look cute given a little bit of a boost.  To create the embellishments on the page, I stuck down the stickers that I wanted onto a piece of clear plastic sheet.  (You could use product packaging for this too!).  Next I carefully trimmed out the shapes, leaving a 3-4mm border, and edged them with glue and then glitter. 
Sticker stuck on plastic sheet, and trimmed out

Using glue and fine glitter to "frost" the edges of the plastic sheet

The finished embellishments.

(You could use kindyglitz or ice stickles for this, but i had a really soft purple glitter that I wanted to use here).  Once they were dry, I stuck a few squares of foam tape to the back of the shapes and then positioned them on the layout. 

The chipboard letters I used on this layout  are Bella Glittered Chipz, and again, I just stuck them down using a little bit of glue. 
Finally, I added a little bit of journalling.  I feel it's important to add a few words to every layout, so that generations to come can understand when the photo was taken, what the photo was about, and why it was special to me.
Hope you like it!
x Rita

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday!

As promised, here is a tutorial for fancy little paper roses.  It looks like there's a lot of steps, but there really isn't, I've just taken lots of photos to explain how it works. 
You can use any six-petalled flower punch for this, (I like Tim Holtz Tattered Florals die), but for this example, I have sketched out a six petalled flower and hand cut it with scissors, to show how they can look without any special tools. 

First of all, sketch your flower onto a piece of paper to use as a template.  I was using scrap, so i just used an offcut of the paper I was making the rose out of.  Paper that's printed on both sides works beautifully, however single sided paper is fine too. 

Layer up 3 pieces of paper that you will be making the rose from, and cut out your flower shape on the 3 sheets.  You can cut these individually, but layering them saves loads of time! (Or if you have a punch, go ahead and use that!)
Fold each flower into six segments, to find the centre. 
Taking the first flower, cut a slit between two petals, to the centre. 
Take the second flower, and remove 1 segment of the flower, reserving the cut segment.

Taking the third flower, remove 2 segments of the flower, reserving the cut segment. 
Using your favourite glue, Take the first flower, and glue on the underside of one segment closest to the slit.  Glue the other segment to it, to make a shallow, cup shaped 5 petal flower. 
Repeat this for the other 2 flowers. 

Take the single segment that you cut out before.  Using a skewer or the like, roll the little petal into a cone shape add a dab of glue, and then roll the two-petal segment around it.  This forms the centre of the rose. 

add a dab of glue, and then roll the two-petal segment around it. 
This fills out the centre of the rose a bit more. 
Snip the base off of each of your cupped flowers, allowing enough room for the centre segment to fit neatly inside. 

You're almost done!  Now, take the centre cone, and the three petalled cup shaped flower.  Add a dab of glue to the side of the cone, and insert through the hole in the flower.  Add another dab of glue, and slide on the next sized flower... and you guessed it, add another dab of glue, and slide on the final flower. 

Then simply curl the petals either between your fingers, or use a small paintbrush handle or stylus to curve the petals as you like. 

If you wish, you can also ink the petals, which will add a bit more definition. 

 And there you have it.  A beautiful, handmade rose, that you can make to suit any project!  
x Rita