crafty adventures of a makeup loving Japanophile!



Friday, 25 February 2011

I-love my I-top

Hello friends!!

Authors note: this blog post was originally for the store blog, so if it seems a bit 'producty', that's why. However, I really do LOVE my i-top and to be honest, it took me a while to figure out how to use it, so I thought I'd give you this 'tutorial' of sorts in case you were interested!

I'm so excited about this tool that I can barely manage an introduction, so I'm going to leap right in--I give you...

I-top Tool

I'll admit freely, I've gone a little big (ok, a lot) brad-crazy since breaking this bad baby out of it's box.

This is just one of the cards I made with a homemade brad for the embellishment.

Sorry the picture is so dark, I was having some issues with lighting for a while and I've now sent the card of to it's intended recipient, so I can't re-shoot it.

I used a little EK success Cupcake punch that I got a long time back at a craft fair to make the cupcake and stuck it on top of the yellow brad. (I cut the bottom out of vellum paper and then re-cut the top 'icing' portion out of chocolate covered cardstock and covered it with Distress Stickles and added a gem stone for the 'cherry' on top.

OK--on to the making of the brad.

Here's a step by step (warning: lots of photos coming :))

NB: There are 3 sized brads you can make. A 16mm, 23mm and 28mm diameter.  To make the brads, you need to cut out a 'Topper' (the kind of circle shape you see below) of the correct size. You can use either a punch that is available (which I've used below) or you can purchase a template which you lay on top of your paper or fabric, trace and then cut by hand. (both options are in store).

Using the appropriate sized punch, punch out the required paper (you can also use the template to trace and cut with scissors--this is a better option for fabric covered brads).

Next you hold the diecut Topper in front of the pink carriage (the 'suction cap' looking section) on the top of the I-top.

See how the right side of the i-top is 'facing' the camera? You can pull it up a little to swivel it so it faces the pink carriage when it comes time to squeeze the two sections together.

**this allows you to choose which size you're using. The smallest brad size requires you use the smaller 'punch' and 'carriage' sections. If you use the wrong size, it wont work. To change the size you're using, you just pull the top section up (away from the handles) and swivel them in the appropriate direction.
This is what you will get in a packet of "Brad Daddies".  The top two rows are the insert pin of the brad, the bottom two rows are the 'head' of the brad (which will be covered in fabric or paper when you're done)

See? Now they're facing each other. I'm still holding the diecut.  Next you take the brad "head" and sit it with the paper (centred if possible.)

Next, slowly squeeze the handles so that the two sides come together, the smaller metal side should push the paper/fabric topper piece AND the brad head, inside the pink carriage.

In the next photo, I've rotated the right 'pushing' section out of the way so you can see what your paper will look like. The 'flaps' will stick out everywhere and that's fine.
Just fold the flaps in with your finger, making sure they're pushed well into the brad top.
Insert the brad base (the part with the 'pin' or arms that will eventually pierce through your paper and be opened to secure the brad in place)
Turn the handles to face each other. (NB though you can't tell, the brad base is in the left hand side of the handle, the brad top with it's paper covering is in the right pink 'cup'-side of the handle.

Squeeze the handle part together (like you would a crop-a-dile or pair of shears) and the top sections will squeeze together.

This is what you will now have. The brad base will be lodged securely inside the brad top.

Remove the entire brad gently from the pink cup. (You can push the pink cup backwards off the metal top holder, so the brad pops out easier, I find this results in a neater brad)

Here is your completed brad!

 All I did after this step is wet my fingers just a little (you could also lightly spritz the paper brad topper with a mini mister, but I just wet my fingers) and then gently go around and push those little ridges (on the edge) inwards, so they didn't stick out so much.

You could easily leave your brad as is at this point, but  I'm sure, as you saw on my card at the top of this post, I added an embellishment. 

I've also made brads out of material, or other papers but topped them with felt embellishments or even mini Prima white roses (which I've coloured with Glimmer Mist) and they look super cute.

I'll show you those soon!!

So get out there and have fun making these gorgeous brads! There are 3 sizes and a LOT more things you can make with an I-top, but so far, I've only tried the brads. I love that I can make a brad to match my card/layout etc perfectly!

Talk to you soon!

Linda xx

Thursday, 17 February 2011

waiting + waiting

hi there all of you!

As is often the case, this is a bit of a 'bibs and bobs' kind of post.

Firstly, sorry for the delay in updating, it's been a real kicker of a few weeks. *sigh* I've got a little gadget down the bottom of this blog that has what looks to be a crow (or Raven) and the initials BWO--in case you're not sure what it means, just click on it (hopefully the link works!) will take you to the breakdown of the meaning, but basically it means Blogging without Obligation. Not feeling the NEED to blog 65 times a week or the need to apologise if you don't, if you have a long update or a short one etc etc. I love this idea. That a blog is it's owners OWN blog and can be whatever we want it to or not to be (that is the sorry couldn't help myself). So I want to make it clear that when I say sorry I haven't updated in a bit, I mean that I"M sorry I haven't done it. I love updating a couple of times a week and giving you all something else to see. (even though you're a quiet bunch, I know you're reading from my stats page lol hint hint).

So it's been a busy and stressful few weeks for various reasons but thankfully most of it's over now. Charlotte's surgery was last Thursday and it took a bit longer than expected but everything seemed to go well. She had an awful time in hospital, much more aware of what was going on and bursting into tears several times a day if she ever woke up to see me sitting anywhere but right next to her (and often even if I was there). When we got home she seemed fine until about 2-3 days after the surgery she developed a bit of a rash and an upset stomach (to put it delicately) and she screamed and screamed for hours. The poor little love, she's usually so cheery 24 hours a day, this was a real shock to us and hard to deal with.

For the most part she's better but she's still having some minor side effects from all the medications she's on for the next month. Hopefully it will all settle down asap. For those of you who aren't aware, she doesn't have any serious condition/illness; she has had issues with the tubes leading from her kidneys to her bladder which could have been serious but aren't now that they're fixed.

OK, so while we waited for her to come out of surgery, I took this quick shot of us waiting for her. It's such an awful time waiting for a child to come out of surgery, it's like a limbo. I can't imagine what it's like for "serious" surgeries, but this one was bad enough. I didn't take ANY photos for her last surgery, it was too much to think that it could be her last photos (as tends to be what runs through your mind in such stressful times). Matt said he didn't want to ever remember those moments, but I know: photos or not, I'll never forget them.

This time however, I decided to capture the memories as they're something that really makes up our lives right now. Her medicine, her doctors trips, her surgery etc. It's all a part of our lives and that's worth remembering.

Here is a layout I did using that photo and Studio Calico papers. (or papers from their store anyway, they're various manufacturers);

Tim Holtz Rosette die in overdrive for this one!! I also used the uber pretty Hero Arts children's parade (called It's a parade I think?!)stamp down the bottom of my journalling 'tag'. love.

 This layout was quite plain and dark at first but then I thought, 'no, there were moments of hope throughout that time so it needs bursts of colour to represent that.'

I hope you like it :)

I'll have some (late) Valentine's cards to show you next time as well as some gorgeous Valentine's that the lovely Ayana made for the other blog, but I didn't get to use. They're late, but hopefully that will be forgiven :)

talk to you soon

Linda x

Monday, 7 February 2011

Etsy Inspired Challenge #125 card

Hi again!

As I mentioned in the yesterday's post, I decided I'd like to aim to participate in more challenges, so I went for the Etsy Inspired Challenge number #125 and I'm going to throw my ring in that hat for the Simon Says Stamp blog's current challenge with cards themed for Love is in the Air!

Here is my inspiration photo:
Its such a pretty little headband!! There were several items I liked (so I might go back and make more if I have time before Charlotte's surgery on Thursday) but here is the card;
I'm really happy with it! I went very literal with my interpretation but that's ok.

I stamped the Hero Arts Silhouette onto black cardsdtock using HA Snow ink. I diecut it out using a nestabilities die. I then edged with the same ink.
Next I stamped HA Dots Cling stamp using Snow Ink onto a larger diecut piece of red cardstock and set that aside. Next I stamped the same Dots stamp with Versamark ink and embossed with white embossing powder.

I layered the three pieces together, the top (cameo one) with pop dots.

I then diecut a piece of white cardstock with a Fancy Labels Die from Spellbinders twice, cut them both in half, stamped the sentiment on one layer.  I then adhered the blank label to the flat base of the card (on either side of the cameo section) and the other directly above it with pop dots. You can see how nice the dimension is in this photo.

Finally I layered those onto some gorgeous purple Bazzill Cardstock, which I'd trimmed to size and cut the edges off with my Corner Chomper (The photo edge).

Lastly I adhered the purple cardstock onto some white, and then that onto a pretty bright turquoise for the cardbase.

Here is the inside of the card:

The Sentiment is HA too.

I'm really happy with the result! Pretty, bright but yet really regal. I think this card would be appropriate for any age.

I'm going to enter it into the HA Flickr competition too for friendship as I'm going to send this card to my best friend :)

Hope you liked it!

Thanks for looking :)

Linda xx

a quickie

Hi everyone!

This is just a quick post that doesn't have a card (though I do have a card waiting here to be blogged about, but that will be up tonight).]

I'm sure you're all aware that the a2z store had to close rather quickly. Some of the events that led to this decision have recently come to light and whilst it's not for me to discuss them, there were good reasons for the owner to shut the store and while I'm sad about it, I fully support her decision.

I wanted to let you know that I've decided to remove the a2z blog altogether from 'cyberspace' or whatever you want to call it. It was all my own work (other than the guest designers I had on), so I feel that it's only fair that the cards, projects and text that I slaved over (and I really did slave over a lot of it, there was a MASSIVE amount of work put into that blog), should be here on my personal blog now that the other one is no longer in use.

I've imported them all over to here (papertracer blog), so you can see the projects I made etc.  I've removed all links to the store (which is, of course, no longer running) and any mentions of the store in general where possible.  This was to save confusion from anyone new to my blog who didn't know that the store was no longer open. (I didn't want to send people to a dead link).

The posts from the a2z blog are now slotted in with my personal posts from this blog, in date order as they were posted, so you'll be able to find them throughout the past 4 months of this blog's updates.

I'm still very upset about everything that's happened with the store (not the people who ran it), especially the loss of hope that this crafty hobby of mine was becoming a 'real' job. My family and I were planning a move to the U.S, I was so inspired by the fact that I was showing so many of the store's customers new ways to use products and ideas--it truly was a dream come true...until it all ended of course.I am however, still friends with everyone involved with the store, so I'm thankful that out of all of this, I'm still lucky enough to have these friends I made.

I'll get over it eventually I'm sure, but I still have days where the loss of the future I was building , still leaves an echo inside me. That might sound a bit dramatic to some of you, but I haven't felt so stimulated and excited about my future (apart from in regards to my gorgeous little family of course), in a very long time.  The loss of that is hard to simply forget.

However, I hope that someday soon I might be offered a DT position or something like that with someone somewhere (it's starting to sound like a Broadway song!), so I'm going to try to focus on inspiration challenges and getting my 'name' out there.

For any of you readers, whether you be joining me from the a2z blog originally or you just found my personal blog through flickr or the like, I'm so happy to have you here along for the ride with me.

If there is ever any technique/style/product you'd like me to explain or do a tutorial on (or anything), please don't hesitate to let me know! I'd love to help you out if I can!

So until later tonight when I'll show you the card I made for the etsy-inspired challenge for this week, I hope you enjoy the additional posts that you can now find here on my little piece of bloggy paradise :)

take care and I'll see you soon :)

Linda x

Sunday, 6 February 2011

A shadow of a card...


So I've been crazily in love with all of these gorgeous silhouette stamps that are coming out lately. Papertrey Ink had them about two months ago and I was going to head straight over to the site to buy one but then I saw the "LP195 3 Silhouettes" set from Hero Arts and decided it was a MUST have!!

This next card is for the challenge Jay Gee's Nook is having and I looOOOVE it!!

Here is the inspiration photo:
 Aren't the colours amazing?! So pretty, subtle and feminine. LOVELY LOVELY LOVELY.

Here is my card:

Several steps, all of them simple :)   I love it when a card is simple but gorgeous don't you?! 

Here is a closeup--
First I cut a piece of kraft cardstock to size and then stamped it with Hero Arts Fancy Flourish Cling stamp using Hero Arts Snow Ink. I set that to the side to dry. I then cleaned off my stamp and used it again to stamp a small strip of white cardstock with Versa Colour Tropical Green Ink. I edged the strip with the same colour ink and set that aside to dry too.

Next I took my brand spanking new Spellbinders Lacey Circles Nestabilities and cut out a piece of DCWV purple patterned paper. I also took some white cardstock and diecut it into a circle and embossed it using Nestabilities Circles Die Large.
Next using my stampamajig for positioning, I stamped the 'ponytailed' silhouette girl onto my circle. I adheres the circle to the lacey circle paper.

Then I cut a strip of green bazzill cardstock and adhered the now dry white & green strip to that, before stamping the sentiment (from Hero Arts CL 351 Friends set) in Memento Tuxedo Black ink.

Next I adhered all the parts onto the now dry Kraft card 'base' and wrapped some jute twine around the base. I finalised the card by adding some teeny bling stones onto the card at the sentiment strip and one in the girls hair (for a little extra touch--I love how this looks!!)

That's it!

Anyhoo, that's all for me! I'll be entering this into the Jay Gee's Nook challenge as well as the current Hero Arts Flickr Group Challenge for 'friend' themed cards.

I'll have another card for you tomorrow!

Have a great day lovelies!

Linda xx