Recycled United States postage stamps

Dear Fellow Crafters,

When I was growing up, my dad worked for an international insurance company. His father, who also worked for the same company loved collecting postage stamps. My dad and I used to pour over those stamps and I started a small collection myself. When they traveled to distant lands, they always wrote me a letter or postcard so that I would have a postage stamp from that country.

Years later when I was married and had become interested in rubber stamping, I was reintroduced to the world of stamp collecting.  Hero Arts Rubber Stamp Company introduced faux postage stamps and envelope set and I remember going through my memory box to see if I had kept any of the old stamps. Not many had made the trip to adulthood but that didn’t stop me. I started again with holiday postage stamps.

I didn’t want the beauty and memories to disappear so I began a hunt to discover ways to use recycled postage stamps.  These are a few ideas:

Mod Podge and postage votive . This idea comes from Hammer Like a Girl.

http://modpodgerocksblog.com/2014/08/diy-votives-vintage-candle-holders-made-from-glamsses.html

You can bet that I’m adapting this idea for use with a mason jar.

Patriotic Postage Stamp Magnets. This idea comes from CraftJournal. Here’s the link.

http://craftyjournal.com/patriotic-postage-stamp-magnets/

and finally, the easiest one of all – a bookmark. This idea comes from ThinkCrafts.

http://thinkcrafts.com/blog/2014/08/14/stamp-collector-bookmark/

Happy Crafting,

~Sallie

Tips for Layering card stock

Dear Fellow Crafter,

If you talk to a person from the north-eastern part of America during the winter months and you mention the word “layering” they know exactly what you are referring to. Layering means extra coordinated clothing – blouse, sweater, jacket, scarf, coat, hat, boots or shirt, tie, sweater, jacket, coat etc. In some cases, if it’s really cold, read frigid – 0 degrees you add winter underwear!

Layering cardstock is much the same thing with the added caveat that the papers should be evenly cut. So here are some tips on layering cards and papers:

  •      Instead of using colored base cards simply cover white, ivory, kraft card stock with layers of patterned papers that coordinates with your topper. This is a good way to use up scraps.
  •      Use an adhesive runner to attach layers quickly and evenly. I prefer to use double-sided tape which I run on all 4 sides and in the middle.
  •      Add texture to the background paper by embossing it with an embossing folder.
  •      If you don’t have enough background paper for a full layer, cut the edge straight and mount behind another layer to give the impression of a complete layer.
  •      Adding height to your layers gives real depth to a card design. Use foam double stick tape.

“Til then,

~Sallie

Color pencils

Dear Fellow Crafters,

I’ve been coloring in adult coloring books for a little over a year now and I’m still in love with it. In the beginning, I admit, I bought whatever brand of color pencils was on sale. Now that I’ve advanced to the intermediate stage I decided to update my colored pencil collection. But what to buy? There are so many different brands in the market place now. As usual, I did some research and here’s what I discovered:

There’s a set from Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils which includes about 30 pencils. According to my source, they’re about $7 on Amazon and do not need sharpening! The color applies to the pages very smoothly somewhere between a crayon and a pencil, but it’s hard to get a good tip on them and they also do not have any labels on them making it hard to tell what color they are.

Pentel Arts Color Pencils are about $8 and the set comprises of 24 pencils in rather hexagon tubes. They are easy to blend and go on smoothly but there’s not many of them so your color choices are limited.

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils start around $19.99 for a set of 72- Obviously a variety of colors.They go on smoothly and are easy to layer. They also can be used over markers.

I might just have to buy the set from Koh-I-Noor Tri-Tone. They sound intriguing. Apparently, they come in a set of 12 assorted colors and have 3 colors in each tip, creating way cool effects.

Then there’s Sargent Art Colored Pencils. Their set of 24 sells for about $7. You have to sharpen them but the colors are vibrant and the pencils are easy to hold.

Crayola Colored Pencils are definitely for beginners. They sell on Amazon for about $10. There are 24 in the set with a great color palette. They don’t blend well.

Artist’s Loft is a basic set that you can get at Michael’s. There are 36 in the set and they’re easy to layer. The only thing is you have to sharpen them often.

Derwent Coloursoft Pencils are sold in a tin of 12 pencils. They’re more “artistic” pencils that can blend.

The Faber-Castell Color Pencil Set is comprised of just 5 pencils with a sharpener, brush, instruction book , embossing plate and papers. You can probably buy more colors on-line.

Prang Colored Pencils are a basic set for students. The set consists of 12 pencils for about $3. They are not great on quality as my source says that they smear.

Studio Series Colored Pencil set includes 30 pencils, a sharpener and an eraser. There is a great color selection but the eraser does not live up to its reputation  and if you decide to layer colors, the original color can be still seen on the bottom.

The Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils are soft pigmented pencils which layer well and there is a huge selection of colors.

As you can see, there are many types of pencils to choose from. I chose to go with the Crayola Twistables  and keep my originals from Michaels in good shape.

~Sallie

 

 

 

 

Ooops! I made a mistake

Dear Fellow Crafters,

‘Come on, admit it. You’ve done it too. That perfect card with the un-expected ink smudge, the background paper that was uneven, the card sketch or colors that just didn’t “sing” and finally, the card that was hurriedly made and not your best.

We’ve all got card fronts or stamped images hidden away in a “junk drawer”. So what’s a crafter to do? Make new creations!

Back in the early summer, before it got hot, I started making my craft/card inventory. I started with what I had in stock and organized my card needs by category ie: Baby, birthday, get well, holiday etc. (more about this next week). I pulled out my paper stash and sketch books. I had ideas of cards I wanted to make and needed to see what I need to make. I found a un-labeled (the horror, the horror!) box and in it was a stash of my mistakes by category, no less. Wow! I was really happy. It was like getting a brand new collection of stuff. The smudged card fronts were salvageable after all. It turns out that “fussy cutting” really does work. All I had to do was find cardstock, paper and glue and voila, new cards!

Next I tackled the un-even paper. I cut the card in half and after assembling some embellishments and die cuts made collaged holiday cards. Only I knew what the original card looked like and I wasn’t telling!

The cards that didn’t “sing” turned out to be the hardest to figure out what to do with them. I wasn’t going to throw them out. My hubby suggested putting a frame around some of the images and that worked. I had forgotten some color schemes and had originally relied on “What always worked before”.

Now, I know that not every one has a mistake drawer but I’m sure glad I kept mine!

‘Til next time,

~Sallie

How to pick a die-cut

Dear Fellow Crafters,

In the beginning of my die-cutting adventure, I was overwhelmed by the choices I had. I originally only bought the Sizzix dies that captured my imagination and then discovered that the smart thing would be to actually sit down and determine what my needs were It was much like trying to pick rubber stamps.

I discovered along the way, that many companies made dies that were compatible with the Sizzix so I started my list by category:

Baby (embossing folder set) Phrase “Congratulations!” (Did would work for practically all occasions)

Birthday ( I admit I did go slightly overboard in this category) cake, phrases

Basic shapes – I bought nesting dies from Spellbinders

Halloween

Holiday (again overboard!)

Wedding phrases

I waited for sales, checked out Pinterest for ideas and delighted in the free folders and dies supplied by craft magazines. Now, I have to admit, I reach for my dies before I reach for a stamp.

What are your favorite companies?

Happy Crafting,

~Sallie