How to use few of my favourite things ….

My crafty friend Helen discovered this great place to pick-up ends of run and offcut card and paper quite a few years ago called Reverse Garbage.  It was a great secret – buying wallpaper samples, stardream paper, card, cardboard tubes for $1-$2 per kg shared by ourselves, teaches and a few eco-artists.  The sustainability movement is gathering pace in Oz and this has now become a fashionable and widely known place and they even know have their own facebook page.

So when I saw these sparkly little items I rushed in to purchase some for myself and the crafty gals for Easter as I knew they would disappear off the shelf quite quickly.  Whilst it is disappointing to have less bargains than we used to, it is great to see so many other crafty people trying actively to reuse and repurpose items.


A bag of pretties is always hard for you to use but where to start?  I opened the bag sorted into colours and see what came to mind.  As I sorted they reminded me of pretty flowers and I remembered a craft friend had given me a stack of small flowers in pretty colours and I still have heaps of brads (I really must stop buying them).  Bingo!  Now just to design the card… the result, simple but beautiful.  All I had to add was a small strip of patterned paper on the inside to cover the back of the brads.

sparkly flowers

Happy crafting all.



What are wobble springs?

Wobble springs are a plastic spring with two clear plastic adhesives discs on either side which you can attach to any embellishment to add a “fun” element to your card or scrapbooking layout.  They look like this.

wobble - pic 1

Here is what they look like when they are attached.

wobble - pic 3

And here is a card I made using the wobble spring.

wobble - pic 2

Well you can’t see it but the zebra wobbles around on the card when lightly pushed.  I did think about doing a video but decided it wouldn’t be that exciting.  Just think of those cards in the shop where the pretty bit used to bob around – that’s the effect you get when you use a wobble spring.

They are great fun for you when making and the recipient, so what are you waiting for.   Get to it.


What can I use in my bigshot?

Well I have been slack and not posted for a while but I have been “playing” with my bigshot.  Given that I am only using embossing folders as I have already invested in a cricut my quest has been to work out what scraps of paper, card and other items I can actually use in the bigshot.

If you google you will find an endless list but that isn’t much help.  So this is what I have found out this far:

  • Bazzill/AC cardstock – embosses nicely gives a smooth edge
  • Foil cardboard – the kind you buy the kids to make stuff out of embosses fantastically, very clear & precise and as a bonus readily available and cheap!
  • Stardream/Opal papers – embossed fantastically, clear image.  2 pieces seem to emboss the same as 1.
  • Glitter card – embossed ok but difficult to see against the glitter
  • Acetate/clear packaging (including from your embossing folders!) – embossed fantastically, nice deep images which are clear.  So don’t throw away that clear packaging cut it up and use it.
  • Printed scrapbook paper/gift wrapping – embossed nicely, need to consider the pattern on the paper vs your embossing folder.  Ideally use at least 2 pieces of paper at a time
  • Vellum – plain and printed work great, gives a nice embossed finish but not clear images.  You need to use at least 2 pieces at one time.
  • Wallpaper – produces a nice soft embossed image

All of these are pictured below.

Different media embossed with big shot

Endless choice

Top row from left – bazzil, foil board, stardream, wallpaper.

Bottom row from left – wrapping paper, vellum, clear packaging, printed paper.

My girlfriend tested alfoil – you need to double up twice, it will crease-up a little around the embossed image so don’t expect a pristine flat piece of alfoil.  Brown paper also works well.

Other household items yet to be tested but I expect will be great – cereal boxes and covers from magazines.  The addition of “embossing” really does make an otherwise ordinary looking item look fantastic whilst being good for the crafting budget and the environment.

I would love to hear any other idea’s for what to emboss.



OK so I have an electronic little cricut but I did not until last week have a bigshot.   All embossing had to be done the old fashion way – stencils, light box and an embossing tool.  Needless to say I use the embossing tool at lot (it’s a useful item) but rarely hand emboss.  I even recently learnt that dry embossing is this old school way of embossing images!

So, the tax return was better than expected, the bigshot was on special (AUD$99) and I needed cheering up so a bigshot was acquired.  A quick demo and discussion with the very helpful lady and the craft store, purchase of some embossing folders on sale and I was on my way.

It’s now home, much heavier but easier to use than expected.  I’ve embossed scraps, tried double embossing and embossing large sheets of paper.  Read online about “shims” which I thought were metal sheets but apparently are silicone spacers to let you use your old-fashioned stencils in the bigshot.  So many possibilities.  Question is though – will it be a regularly used item or one of those which I only use occasionally?

I was quite impressed by the ease of the die cutting but resisted the urge to buy any as I do already have my little cricut and software to do whatever I can imagine.  The convenience of not having to plug the bigshot in though is enticing but then again I don’t have to pay for anymore dies!  It seems in this life we are never quite satisfied with our lot and there is always something better around the corner.

I am now considering whether I should sell my fiskars shapecutter (the original one) and accompanying templates along with the punchmate and some of the punches I don’t really use.  They are, what the tech lovers would call, old technology but still, they work just fine.  It’s just that my skills and expectations have moved on…..


How to make boxes for your handmade cards

As a keen card maker I am always giving cards to people as gifts for all and any occasion. I have packaged these in cellophane bags, gift bags, paper bags and bought boxes but have never really been ecstatic with the result.

Enter my Martha StewartTM Scoring Tool to inspire me to create some boxes. If you don’t have one of these you should have a look at the video’s on YouTube. I find it useful for scoring my difficult cards, making custom envelopes and boxes. There are a lot of instructions for the ScorPalTM online but not as many for the Martha StewartTM equivalent. To make a box the perfect size for 6″x4″ or 15x10cm cards with C6 envelopes you need to:

  • cut two pieces of cards 9 1/2″ x 7 1/2″
  • the one you want to be the bottom, score 1 1/2″ in on all four sides
  • fold over each edge to make a neat fold then unfold
  • at the corners cut one of the lines (either on the long or short side) so you end up with a flap
  • fold up the flap and glue to the inside of the box (see below)
  • repeat this process with the second piece of card (this will be the top) but you need to line the card up with the little triangle on the top left hand corner of the scorer, then score 1 1/2″
  • make sure you turn the card around each time to line up with the triangle (don’t be tempted to just measure in 1 1/2″ from the other end as it won’t work)

If you don’t have a Martha StewartTM Scoring Tool then you need to score the second card an extra 1/8″ from each end e.g. instead of 1 1/2″ you need to score 1 5/8″ from each end. This gives a very neat fit for C6 envelopes to prevent the envelopes from moving around inside the box. If you want more room then start with slightly larger card (e.g. 10″ x 8″ will give you an extra 1/2″ in width and length) and follow the same instructions as above. You don’t need to change the distance to score from each edge.

Have fun!

Making your own die cuts

Die cutting machines are a fantastic aid to the serious crafter.  Particularly if you are able to use a software program like Sure Cuts a LotTM.   In addition to the various  SVG files you can buy there are also a range of free SVG’s available (SVG Blog has a great range and for $5 she will send you a complete zip of all the files).  This gorgeous little baby elephant and butterflies are a free from Sure Cuts a Lot, horse from SVG Blog, dinosaurs and trains I created myself from some old colouring books whilst the flowers, presents and bus are from CircutTM Stretch your ImaginationTM cartridge.

Do you research (googling your die cutter and “SVG” is good place to start) before buying so you understand which cutters allow you to cut files without buying the “cutter branded cartridges” and any limitation on selling your creations.  Being able to use free resources and design your own cutting files makes the purchase of a die cutting machine economical for home crafters and gives creative freedom as you are not limited to only those which the die-cutter maker decides that you want.

What to do with washi tape?

My latest discovery is washi and paper tape. These come in a fabulous range of colors and designs to suit every taste. You can pick the up at speciality stationers and craft stores for around $4. The tape is “easy lift off” on most surfaces allowing you to experiment with a design and change your mind.

The tape is very versatile – use as a border, background or accent on cards, notebooks, pencils, gift wrapping or anything else that takes your fancy. A quick gift is to add a few strips to a plain notebook, wrap around plain wooden pencils tied together with rafia. Buy some and you will pleasantly surprised with the many things you can do with it.