Non-Stick Craft Sheet Storage

I cannot live without my Non-Stick Craft Sheet. It is a tool I use on almost every project I do, one I require in most of my classes and one I put on the must-have list for new croppers.

The sheet can be used as a palate for paint or a protective surface when working with ink or heat. And, it wipes clean every time.

The only problem is that it is made with glass and if you fold or bend it, it will eventually break down. So, I carry mine in the box it came in, which is fine, but not very attractive.

Another student in a class I took recently had this incredible case for her Non-Stick Craft Sheet. I fell in love with it and she gave me permission to take the idea and run with it. So, I’ve created my own version and plan to teach it as a class.

In this class, we’ll use Graphic 45 paper, bits and pieces from the Ideaology line by Tim Holtz, Piccolo pieces and enamel powder by Globecraft Memories, May Arts ribbon, Grungepaper, dies by Tim Holtz and Lifestyle Crafts, Distress Ink and more.

The class is set for Aug. 30 from 6-7 p.m. at Capture a Memory in Flint Township. Call the store to register … I look forward to helping you create your storage tube.

CHA Sneak Peek

Normally, when I discover a sneak peek for a new release at CHA, it is because I stumbled across it on someone else’s blog or Facebook page. But this time, I am privileged to help break the news and share that peek with everyone!

Globecraft Memories, a Michigan-based company, has come up with one of the most innovative ideas I have seen in a while. (OK. I may be a bit biased because I absolutely LOVE this company and all of their products, but I still think you will agree that it these are cool.)

ORNAMENTS!!! Made from compressed chipboard (think thinner and stronger than the traditional stuff), they come with Piccolo pieces built-in or empty and ready for whatever photos or embellishment you want. They have a front globe and a back globe. You can leave the globes clear or you can paint them, airbrush them, cover them with paper or whatever you desire. None of the pieces are attached, so they are easy to paint, embellish or enamel before assembling them.

These are just a few of the ones I have made so far, but the snowman is flocked and I used a napkin to cover the back of the globe. The front ring (officially the retaining ring) was embossed with a Cuttlebug folder and then enameled in Vintage Silver by Globecraft Memories.

I attempted a new technique on the ring of this one, which didn’t work too well, but the tree was so cool, I’ve decided to keep it. The tree is flocked and then I cut up a tiny garland to create the beads. The star is enameled with 24K Gold and the little birds are Piccolo pieces (coming soon to a website near you) that I painted and then coated with Glastique (also made by Globecraft)

For this one, I covered the background with Bazzill Basics Paper that had been inked with Distress Ink. I painted Santa black and then covered him with Glastique. I printed the letters on my computer, inked them with Distress Ink and then attached them inside the globe. The frame was embossed with a Tim Holtz folder, then enameled with Vintage Copper. I added a few pieces of ribbon (the light one was dyed to match with Perfect Pearls Mists and Distress Ink to match) from my stash. He’s a bit dark, but I love him anyhow …

These are just a few of the images that will be released. There is also a lighthouse, a snowflake, a Christmas candle, a child sledding and many more. AND, there is a whole line of Halloween ones as well, which I have seen, but not played with yet.

I cannot wait until these are officially released and I can start buying them … I think they will be gifts for everyone this year!


It started with a little inspiration …

Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary.

It is a special, and somewhat serious, day for us as we both celebrate our love for each other and remember the most important vow we have ever taken. My husband usually gets me a gift and a card and sometimes flowers. There is often great meaning behind everything he gets for me — yes, he actually looks up what the color of roses mean and what gifts are traditional on specific years. He really does put a lot of thought into it.

Anyhow, I wanted to make him something that let him know how special he is to me. Although CHA products slowed me down and I did not complete the project until yesterday evening, it did not diminish the thought behind the gift.

So, it all began with a little inspiration … this time in the form of some stickers from K & Co.

Although the stickers never actually ended up on my project, I pulled my colors and thoughts from them.

I used the Grand Rectangle Globeframe from Globecraft Memories as the base of my project, but I wanted to include more than just a photo, so I modified it a bit … Here is what I created:

(click on the photo for a larger view)

Basically, I took the back of the frame and the bottom mat and hinged them together. It looks like this inside …

The little “story” I wrote to go inside is filled with references to shipping and sailing. I used Distress Ink to tone down the white of the paper. The lighthouse paper is really old. I’m not sure who made it. The hearts are Piccolo parts I pulled out of card decor set and then enameled with Vintage Copper.

Here’s a look at how the hinges work …

I didn’t have any hinges, so I made these using the Tiny Tags & Tabs die from Tim Holtz/Sizzix. I cut them out of Grungepaper, since it is stronger and allows some flexibility.

Then, I used Piccolo Enamel Powders to cover the Grungepaper. I used Vintage Silver and then a hint of Mossy Glen to replicate algae in the water. I added a few brads so they would look more industrial and less like office supplies.

Now for the front …

The main background is created by applying layers and layers of Distress Stain in several colors: Chipped Sapphire, Broken China, Tumbled Glass, Peeled Paint and Picket Fence. I used spritzes of water and a heat gun and kept going until I thought it looked like the water. Then I spritzed a homemade mix of Perfect Pearls (Gold & Salty Ocean Reinker) in a few spots because sometimes water sparkles.

I wanted to add a fishing net, but I haven’t been able to locate one, so I improvised with the Chicken Wire Crafters Workshop template. I used the Piccolo Enamel Powder Adhesive through the template and then applied Vintage Copper Enamel Powder. It’s shiny, but I think it gives the feeling of a net.

The top mat I wanted to look like a ship, so I embossed it with a Tim Holtz/Sizzix bubble folder and then coated it with Vintage Silver Enamel Powder. Next, I added some Archival ink in black, did a little scraping with my fingernail and a bit of sanding, then some more powder and more ink until I got the look I was going for.

The middle layer, which I attached with Pop Dots, was painted black and then coated with a 50/50 mix of Glastique and water so it was a bit shiny — like the paint used in ships.

I added a few metal hardware parts (stolen from my husband’s tool box) and a metal star from a Bo Bunny accessory set that I thought resembled a starfish. The smaller gear is another Piccolo part, enameled in Temple Stone.

I added a couple more Piccolo gears (one in Brownstone) and a compass sticker (the only thing used from that pack of K & Co. stickers that inspired me) to the bottom corner. The keyhole was needed to balance the project, even though it has nothing to do with a ship. It’s from that same pack of accessories from Bo Bunny. I did add a bit of twine to it, since there is always rope on a ship.

And, my sense of humor forced me to add the little fish in the bottom corner. It, too, is a Piccolo part (enameled in 24K) as is the seaweed next to it (Mossy Glenn). I love to add a cute or unexpected element and what was better than a fish?

To tie it in, I enameled a brass washer (also stolen from my husband) in Vintage Silver to serve as a port-hole. I must warn you, if you enamel metal, be extremely careful when you touch it. It heats up and, depending on the metal, may take a long time to cool — 30 minutes after I heated this washer, it was still warm.

Enjoy the day on or off the water!

Technique Thursday: Shimmer Sheetz UPDATED

It is Thursday and that means it is time for another technique.

This one is double amazing — amazingly simple and amazingly beautiful…

See what I mean? And they look even better in person! You can stop by and see all of these samples, and try it for yourself at Capture A Memory in Flint Township today from 2-6 p.m. today.

Let me tell you how easy it is … you only need three products: Shimmer Sheetz by Elizabeth Craft Designs, an embossing folder (I used ones by Sizzix/Tim Holtz) and StazOn Ink. (I used jet black.)

Shimmer Sheetz are an acid-free mylar, or type of plastic. They come in two different varieties: iris and metallic. While both types come in a variety of colors, the iris ones are the ones with the gradient and iridescent colors, like the sample above. The metallic ones are solid and can be used with some additional techniques, which I will share a little later.

First, let’s do this quick and easy technique …

Step 1: Cut the sheet of Shimmer Sheetz to the desired size (it cuts easily in a paper trimmer or with scissors).

Step 2: Place it inside a textured embossing folder and run it through your die cut machine (Big Shot, Vagabond, Cuttlebug, etc.)

Step 3: Flip your StazOn ink pad over and smear it over the front of the Shimmer Sheetz. You may need to apply a little pressure, but not too much. The idea is to just ink the highlighted areas on your image. Let it dry for a minute or two and it is done.

Simple, huh.

To turn it into a card, you can mat it, like I did in the sample above, or do something like this …

For this one, I cut the Shimmer Sheetz into 3 parts (after I inked it) and then placed them side-by-side on the card. Then, I added a strip of ribbon and a couple of pins from Maya Road. Then I used a punch to create a circle out of some unaltered Shimmer Sheetz and stamped on it with Staz On ink.

So, now you know you can cut, emboss, ink, stamp and punch Shimmer Sheetz. You can also sand it after embossing for a different look and you can run it through your die cut system and cut it with a steel-rule die — the thick ones by Sizzix/Tim Holtz.

But wait, there’s more …

The solid color or metallic sheets of Shimmer Sheetz take alcohol ink!

There are a few cautions here …

1. DO NOT use the iris colors. The alcohol ink will remove the color.

2. Only ONE side of the Shimmer Sheetz works. The alcohol ink will remove the color on the other side.

So, how do you tell which is which? Take a bit of blending solution and apply it in a corner. If you are on the right side, nothing will happen. If you are on the wrong side, it will first turn silver and then become completely clear — which might be a cool look, but you could save yourself some trouble and use acetate for that!

Anyhow, I applied layers of alcohol ink with the felt applicator, letting it dry between layers. (I noticed it takes a little longer to dry than normal. I kept finding my fingerprints permanently inked in places, so take your time and really let it dry.)

Then I embossed and added ink just like the ones above. Then, I cut it into pieces and applied it to a cigar box that I had painted black. I used additional stickers from Elizabeth Craft Designs to cover the seams. And, when it was all dry, I added a coat of Diamond Glaze to the entire box. And, when that was dry, I added one of the new knobs by Tim Holtz and a few metal gears.

The piece on the front was not embossed, so you can see how beautiful it is with just the alcohol inks.

It is a little bit funky and extremely shiny and not really, “me,” but I absolutely love it and I am dying to show it to all of you!

Stop by  Capture A Memory in Flint Township today from 2-6 p.m. today. I cannot wait to see you!

Fairy Altered Book

Sometimes the greatest ideas come in those wee hours just before falling asleep.

This is one of those …

I have been wanting to make an altered book for many years — decades, actually — but I never had the courage to try. But, when I moved, I “found” an old copy of Alice in Wonderland. The book had purple on the edges of the pages and was such a nice copy that I couldn’t get rid of it — even though my daughter had written on many of the pages. And, with the perfect book in hand, I knew it was time to attempt to make an altered book.

It took me awhile because I wanted to allow plenty of dry time and I had to carefully think everything through, but it wasn’t difficult.

To start, I covered the inside of the cover in paper. Then, I cut out a few pages at the beginning (to get to pages filled with text). Next, I rolled a few pages and glued them down in the middle of the open book. Once that was dry (I was afraid of messing things up, so I did a little bit each day, allowing for plenty of dry time) I used Ranger’s Glue ‘n Seal to paint the edges of the pages on the right side so they would become one solid block.

Next, I traced the interior piece of one of the Globecraft Memories frames and began cutting an oval out of the book. I used my Fisker’s craft knife and continued to cut in sections until I made it all the way to the bottom of the book. I then coated the inside of the oval with Glue ‘n Seal and added some paper and ribbon.

Then, I covered the exterior of the book in the same paper and added a tassel and metal plate that I’ve been carrying around for years …

Back on the inside, I decided I wanted to soften the white pages a bit, so I added some Distress Ink and discovered an awesome technique …

The Distress Ink doesn’t show where the Glue ‘n Seal was. Doesn’t it make for a great look?!?

Next, I wanted to make a place for my fairy to sit, so I used some paper, Glue ‘n Seal, Clearly For Art (by Wendy Vecchi, Studio 490) and a Tim Holtz/Sizzix die to make some flowers. I also pulled out some leftover Prima flowers in a variety of colors and sprayed them all with Adirondack Color Wash in Butterscotch and then a thin coating of Perfect Pearls Mists in Heirloom Gold. The flowers were a variety of green, pink and purple and I love how different they all became with the same treatment. Here’s the inside with the fairy (I used Glue Dots to attach her.

Next came the Globecraft Memories frame … I covered them with paper and paint and attached them together. I still needed a bit of space between the plastic globe and the fairy, so I added a couple layers of dimensional foam.

Then it was just a matter of embellishing … I added some ribbon, some more handmade flowers (some made out of the pages of the book I took out), some more Prima flowers that I dyed and a couple of metal embellishments. I also made a butterfly the same way I made the flowers (paper, Glue ‘n Seal, Tim Holtz/Sizzix die & Clearly For Art) and added some wire antennae. Finally, for some added girly charm, I glued on several Dew Drops from Robin’s Nest.

I love the depth inside the globe. Isn’t this the perfect addition to any girly room?!

Stamping Shrink Plastic

It is Thursday (or will be in the morning) and time for another technique.

This week, we are returning to shrink plastic to learn a few additional ways to decorate it — namely with rubber stamps and Copic Sketch markers. (If you would like to learn how shrink plastic works, click here to read the last Technique Thursday post.)

Many recommend lightly sanding the plastic so it accepts ink. Personally, I never have good luck with this method. I’m not sure if I sand too much or not enough, but I always end up with scratches on my plastic that are visible after shrinking and through my ink.

Instead, I like to work with products that easily adhere to the plastic. StazOn is perfect for these techniques, but Ranger Archival Ink in black will also work if it is heat set. The trick is to heat the ink enough to make it permanent, but not enough to shrink the plastic. Usually, if you hold the heat gun farther from the plastic, you can accomplish this. Of course, if you don’t plan to color the image, you can set it and shrink it at the same time!

The ability to use rubber stamps on shrink plastic opens up a whole new world of options to add to your cards, scrapbook pages and jewelry. You may wish to practice stamping on a piece of packaging plastic or similar smooth surface before stamping on shrink plastic. The surface is slippery and your stamp will want to dance along the plastic, which will create a blurry image. So, I brace my elbows on the table and very carefully place the stamp on the plastic and then just as carefully lift it back off without allowing it to move sideways. You do not have to push on the stamp the way you do when stamping on paper.

For this card, I used a background stamp by Wendy Vecchi of Studio 490 to decorate the tag I cut out of shrink plastic with a Tim Holtz/Sizzix die. The image remains clear while shrinking and can add the perfect embellishment to a card. Here’s a closer look at the tag:

I used a similar technique here, using a butterfly die cut from Sizzix and a background stamp from Studio 490. I love how tiny the pattern gets when it shrinks.

You can also stamp an image and then color it with Copic Sketch markers, although there are a few “rules” to keep in mind for this technique. First, the plastic will not allow you to blend your colors like you can on paper. Simply choose a color and use long strokes, preferably from one side of the image to the other without stopping. If you want more color, let it dry for a few minutes and then go over it again. Otherwise, you will continually smear, puddle and remove your ink.

Second, keep in mind that StazOn and Copic inks do not like each other and using them together could ruin your Copic markers. However, if you use clear shrink plastic, you can stamp on one side and color on the other. That way, your inks never touch, but you get beautiful charms like this:

This is an image from Flower Soft. If you click on the image so you can see it larger, you will see some streaks in color. That happens and you just have to accept it as part of the charm of this technique.

Here’s another I did using a Riley stamp. With the addition of a swivel clasp by Tim Holtz, this will make an adorable zipper pull for my nephew.

But, there is more than one way to color with Copics. One of my favorite techniques is to use the Copic Airbrush System to spray on the color.

On this card, I used Tim Holtz/Sizzix dies to cut out the images, airbrushed them and then shrank them. But, since Copic inks are transparent, you could also stamp an image in black and it will be visible after airbrushing it.

Then, I got a bit carried away and came up with this …

Since I wanted a varied color, I sprayed the plastic with three different yellow/orange hues. Then, I used a template by The Crafters Workshop to airbrush the leaves and bugs in place. I didn’t do anything fancy — just held the template where I wanted it and sprayed it in green. I wasn’t worried if I had any overspray — I figured it would add to the organic nature. Then, I shrunk the plastic and added a strip of cardstock to make a mini book.

I did have a bit of an issue … when I put an acrylic block on top of the heated image to flatten it, some of the ink stuck to the block. When I did the back piece, I tried it upside down. I didn’t get any ink on my block, but I did get some on my nonstick craft sheet. You can see the little speckles where the ink was removed in the photo above, but I think it adds to the earthiness of the piece, don’t you?

Now, it is time for you to try these techniques for yourself. I will be at Capture A Memory in Flint Township from 2-6 p.m. Thursday so you can try rubber stamping, coloring or air brushing on shrink plastic for yourself. I’ll also have all of these samples, and a few more, with me, so you can get a closer look and ask any questions you may have. Hope to see you there!

Shrink Plastic & Alcohol Inks

Technique Thursday is finally here!

Technique Thursday is a joint effort between Capture A Memory in Flint Township and myself. Each Thursday, I will share a new technique with you — along with instructions, tips and ideas. Then, from 2-6 p.m. I will be at the store with all of the supplies waiting to help you try it out for yourself — for free! I hope you stop by and try out this week’s technique: Shrink Plastic and Alcohol Inks.

I love to play with shrink plastic. Like the Shrinky Dinks we had when we were kids, shrink plastic is a thin plastic that comes in clear, black and white. It can be stamped, inked, painted, punched, colored, cut and more to create adorable pieces of jewelry, charms or accents for your card, scrapbook or altered art. Since there are so many options with shrink plastic, I’m going to take all four Thursdays in April to share techniques with you.

This week, we’ll be talking about using punches and dies to create a charm or accent piece. Then, we’ll use Adirondack Alcohol Ink to color them.

To start, cut out the image you desire. Here, I used a 1″ square punch and Mini Gears dies from Tim Holtz/Sizzix. Notice how thin the shrink plastic is … If you want to turn your design into a charm, be sure to cut a hole in it at this point … you won’t be able to after it shrinks. The Crop-A-Dile works well. Use the smaller punch for jewelry and the larger punch for hanging things with jump rings, twine or floss.

At this point, you have two options. You can heat it and then color it or color it and then heat it. The butterfly on the left was colored with Alcohol Ink after heating. The butterfly on the right was colored before heating using the exact same colors of ink. Notice how much more intense the color gets when it shrinks.

To shrink, set the plastic on your Nonstick Craft Sheet (this will help protect your table from the heat) and shrink it with a heat tool. You’ll need tweezers to help keep the image in place. It will curl as is shrinks and flatten back out when it is finished. Sometimes it’s helpful to flip the image over a few times as you heat it, too. Once it is done shrinking, turn off the heat and immediately place something on top of it to flatten it out completely. (I normally use an acrylic block, but I have been known to use a stamp pad or the back of a wooden stamp, too.)

Here is another before and after to show you … The image on the left is before heating. The one on the right is after heating. As the plastic shrinks, it thickens up, making a perfect plastic accent. You can also see how much the image shrinks and how intense the color gets.

These are some jewelry pieces I made. The squares are with a 1″ square punch. The charm is from the Tim Holtz/Sizzix Tiny Tabs & Tags die. For the circles, I punched a small circle first, then punched a 1″ circle around it. Then, I used the Crop-A-Dile to punch a 1/8″ hole in each piece. I then colored them with alcohol inks and heated them. The holes are tiny … too small for a jump ring, but perfect for a piece of wire. I strung them with some beads to make this quick bracelet:

Don’t you love the translucent colors created?!

One more tip: Alcohol inks will fade in the sun. To make sure these pieces last, you will want to spray them with a non-alcohol-based UV sealer before making your bracelet.

I also created this little card with a Studio 490 background stamp and word stamp and the Tattered Flowers die by Tim Holtz/Sizzix. These were white and I used Sunshine Yellow alcohol ink to color them. After shrinking, I adhered them to the card (Art Glitter’s Designer Dries Clear Adhesive and Glue Dots both work well for this) and then added some Stickles for an extra punch.

And this is what I did with the little gears, Tim Holtz paper and a KaiserCraft stamp.

So, are you ready to try shrink plastic? Stop by the store today from 2-6 p.m. to create your own little charm or accent.

Check back next Thursday for some more shrinking fun — we’ll use stamps and Copic Sketch markers to color and airbrush some designs. Just wait until you see how cute those stamped images are when they are shrunk!

Time to Relax

I absolutely love the Saturdays collection by Little Yellow Bicycle. The colors and patterns are so “me.” This collection has already shown up in several of my creations and I am sure it is bound to find its way into many more.

Here’s a card I made with it …

(Click on the photo for a larger image)

I used a few of the papers in the collection, along with a dimensional frame. Then, I used Tim Holtz/Sizzix dies to cut out the butterflies and branch. Then, I stamped the butterflies with one of Tim’s stamps. I colored them with Copic Sketch Markers, made wire antennae and bent their wings for a little additional dimension.

I added some lace from my stash, Distress Ink, a few gems and a stamp by Northwoods. Quick and easy, yet elegant and relaxing at the same time.

We Got Chickens!

Ever since visiting Key West in 2005, I have been in love with the chicken.

If you haven’t been, wild chickens hang out on the streets of Key West. There is nothing more surreal than pumping gas at a city gas station while watching a chicken wander around the parking lot!

And so my fascination with chickens began …

For the past several years I have been trying to convince both my parents and my in-laws to get chickens. Despite my promises to help care for them, neither one gave in.

Then, we moved to the country and what was once a dream has become a very real reality.

I am know the proud mamma of six baby chicks and I created this page to mark the fabulous occasion. (Click on the image for a larger version)

I used papers from TPC, cardstock from American Crafts and some leftover ribbon to create this page. The flowers were made using Tim Holtz/Sizzix Tattered Flowers Die and the journaling block was made with a punch from EK Success. For the title, I used Ashlyn’s Alphabet and the Cricut. The gems are from Queen & Co.

Here’s a close-up version of the right side …

I love Riley

I love Riley, this adorable moose originally created by Hannah Stamps. Riley is now created (and sold) by Riley & Company.

Riley does everything — he drives, swims, plays Santa and more. I have dozens of Riley stamps and I always want more.

This week on Riley’s blog, there is a challenge to create a project using Riley in Love. And, on the iCopic blog, there is a challenge to use a heart on your creation. So, I decided to combine the two and I came up with this:

This is one of my favorite Riley stamps because a friend gave it to me.

Since I planned to give this card to my husband, I wanted to make it extra special, so I combined several techniques.

I used one of the Tim Holtz/Sizzix texture folders to emboss the red cardstock. Then, I used Fired Brick Distress Ink to highlight the texture.

I stamped Riley on X-Press It Blending Card with Memento Ink and colored him in with Copic Sketch Markers. Then, I matted both the textured background and Riley in black cardstock.

Next, I used Art Glitter Designer Dries Clear Adhesive to attach black ric-rac ribbon and some pleated black ribbon from Maya Road to the front of the card. Then, with the Tiny Attacher, I stapled on this awesome beaded ribbon I found at Hobby Lobby.

Since the staples really stood out, I colored them with N9, which helps disguise them in the ribbon.

I cut the heart out of red cardstock with a Lifestyle Crafts die and stamped I Love You on it. I used Pop Dots to attach it.

Finally, I covered the heart in Rock Candy Distress Stickles and the card and center of the flower in Fired Brick Distress Stickles.

Here are the supplies I used …

My husband loved the card … what do you think?