Quarantine Crafting: Finding resources While Stuck at Home

The world has suffered from what most of us are familiar with: The horrible pandemic of the corona virus.  With many people having to work from home, teach from home, and shop from home, we need something to keep our minds off this new lifestyle adjustment. Creativity can do just that.  It can take the mental strain of everyday responsibilities away as you are diverted into design mode of project hewing.  Fortunately for me and countless others, crafting happens to be a pleasant hobby that can serve the well needed function of amusement.  However, with the COVID-19 plague on the horizon, finding products and resources may become more of a challenge with many of the non-essentials stores (Craft Retailers) temporarily closing down across the globe in a huge effort to practice social distancing and slow the spread of the disease.

There is good news, though.  You can always use online shopping and researching.  Virtual venues such as eBay, Amazon, Etsy and more provide great products that are no longer available in local shops.  You don’t have to leave your home.  Simply click, and they will ship.  You could also check out major store chains online, such as Michaels, Joanns, Hobby Lobby, AC Moore, and others to have your items shipped to you.  Some may not offer the free ship to store options, since you are no longer allowed to physically go pick your order up.  Nevertheless, you can still fulfill your craft hoarding by getting it electronically.  Yay!! I had to order some of my basics: art glitter glue.  I had to have that.  I found an 8 oz bottle of it on eBay  . Some sellers on there offered free shipping, too.  I needed it for a current junk journal project that I am working on, chronicling my everyday routines. Things have changed so much in my household that I need something to keep my mentality from going into turmoil.

In my state of North Carolina, all the schools are shut down until at least May, or maybe longer.  Therefore, I must play teacher to My 10-year-old son.  Science, English and Math are not my best, but ART…I think I’m an okay instructor…Ha!  Too bad crafting is not his favorite subject, but we are handling home schooling just fine.  I am fortunate that mine and my husband’s work schedule can accommodate his learning arrangements…and my craft hobby.

I’m trying to include daily responsibility cards, with a shabby chic- tea themed, touch to them.  I plan to create tuck spots where I can place the cards and tags throughout the journal with pockets to store ephemera, news articles, and more.  These will serve as like a planner/ daily or weekly journal of what is happening in our lives until this epidemic is over with.  I feel like this can help me stay structured without loosing my mind.

I have gathered some digital printables, some scrapbook pages to make my journal signatures, and some ephemera I made from previous projects.

I’m including ephemera from the new Multimedia Crafts Digital Freebie digital kit, “Fun Fashion“. Click the link to download. Please be sure to read the Terms of Use Licensing, and check out the other freebies.

I like to organize my book, somewhat, before I assemble it. I think this project will ease my anxiety from all the negative things going on.

Maybe you would like to create something, also.  Don’t let closed stores and other obstructions hinder you from your art, if you can help it.  Try to relieve your stress by becoming immersed into an hour or two or three of crafting time.  I just love it.  I think you will too. 

I hope this was helpful.  Happy Crafting!

Process Assembly Video for “Fun Fashion” FREEBIE kit

Digital With Digital: Quick and Easy Ephemera

[UPDATED] When it comes to making ephemera for your scrapbook or junk journal, do you sometimes appreciate easy fixes?  I do.  That’s why I combine multiple digital templates together to quickly complete a project.

In this instance, I will show you how I made some cards, envelopes, and tags from various digital templates.  Some of the templates were free while others were purchased from online stores.  

Freebies

(By the way, check out the newly available Multimedia Crafts Freebie, “Grungy Things Ephemera Pack”. For more freebies click on the Freebies page. Be sure to also see the Terms of Use for these graphics.)

The Process

I first began with a sheet from the digital freebie kit, “Nostalgic Era” from this site. I printed it out and then added a card and envelope template onto it

2 x 3 Card and Envelope Template from etsy used on this project

I simply cut it out, assembled it according to the provided instructions and added my own embellishments.  Then I printed out the ephemera sheet that came with the Facebook Freebie kit, “Take Notes.”  I also printed out the free ephemera I got from Arty Maze’s blog and the freebie I got from website. Lastly, I printed out the pocket page that came from the purchased digital junk junk journal kit, “Steamtime Steampunk Junk Journal Kit” from Vectoria Designs on etsy:

These are the pockets from the “Steamtime Steampunk Journal Kit by Vectoria Designs on etsy.  I printed the template out twice, cut each of the center graphics out of one of the sets, highlight the lines with a ballpoint pen, and added glossy accents around the image. I used the same procedure for the fussy cut out scissors. I added these to a cut up manila folder with scraps of ephemera from previous projects added to them.

I decided to make the photos of the two girls the focal point of the ephemera clusters. I simply cut the smaller image of the child out from its original frame and added it to the front of the mini folio. I used the remaining negative from that image and backed it with some notebook paper to create a double sided journaling spot. I stamped on the rear and added more notebook paper, a die cut clipboard piece (made using the Tim Holtz movers and shapers die ,”Mini Clipboard Top and Bottom)”, and some ephemera from other scrap papers. I stamped all the edges with Tim Holtz Distress Oxide inks.

I used the manila envelope scraps to create a mini folio, with multiple pockets and tuck spots. I added some cheesecloth, flowers, words and sentiments, ribbon, tags, and a few envelopes. This mini book has magnetic closures throughout it.

This was a very fun project. It was simple and easy. That’s the fun in having digital templates. You can throw something together really fast.

#quick and easy ephemera

Thanks for stopping by! Happy crafting!

Watch the process video for this post

Disclaimer

If you make a purchase from some of the links I will received a monetary percentage of the cost of your order.

Additional Supplies List

Life Words Digital Kit

Correspondence A2 Card and Envelope Template

6.25” x 6” Lilac Envelope Template

Romantic Bliss – 12” x 12” Paper Pack

Paper timmer

Scissors

Art glitter glue

Glue stick

ribbon

jute string

Sizzix Vintaj Bigkick

Sizzix embossing folders

Tim Holtz dies

Tim Holtz distress inks

Something Borrowed, Something New

When it comes to crafting, I love to take an existing idea or technique and merge it with my own new spin on it.

Crafting is somewhat like a wedding.  We are married to what we love.  We create an alliance with supplies, videos, magazines, and things we see in stores on display, giving us daily inspiration to make something similar.  Our passion could be for sewing, painting, journaling, jewelry making, and so forth, and we could merge the works of all the above to create a wonderful masterpiece

So, I took something borrowed, like a brilliant tutorial I have seen on YouTube, with Arty maze, and create something new with what I have learned from it.  In this instance I watched “*Junk In The Trunk* #20 Spring Tags…” and I saw how Arty took some playing cards and repurposed them.  They were the perfect size that I needed to create three cards for a  swap I am in with the Facebook group, “Junk Journal Buddies.”   

I took three playing cards, sanded them down with a sanding block, added some white acrylic paint to them (since I had run out of gesso) and let them dry.  Next, I added some Tim Holtz, Ranger, Distress oxide inks(Broken China, and Peeled Paint)  I rubbed the inks onto my glass mat, spritzed it with water, and brushed the colors onto the cards. 

I then found a piece of pink die cut floral paper and cut them into sections, painted them white, and glued them with some cheesecloth to the cards to form tuck spots.

Next, I took some scraps of papers and images, fussy cut them out and added them to the front and backs of the cards, including some tuck spots and sentiments.

It was a very fun project to make something new from something borrowed.  I hope this brief process was helpful!

To see the complete assembly of the cards, check out my YouTube video on it.  Happy crafting!

This is the process video on how I made these journaling cards

Disclaimer: If you purchase something from some of the links I will receive a monetary percentage of the cost of your item. Thanks.

Digital File Storage

If you love scrapbooking and junk journaling, then you have probably acquired quite a bit of beautiful papers and elements.  Some may be physical purchases from brand names such as Graphic45 , BoBunny Tim Holtz The Paperstash, Stamperia, and many others. You may have also purchased digital downloads from etsy,or other websites.  Many digital files are even free! They can come from websites or even Facebook and include papers, envelopes, tags, bookmarks, graphics, and other pretty ephemera.

Some Free files are for personal use, while others are for commercial use. The illustration to the left is a freebie file found on Facebook. It is for commercial use. This would be a great kit to add to your digital collections! To access it click on the Facebook link and follow the prompts.

We often talk about how we store our purchased and freebie physical papers and ephemera using drawers, rolling carts, boxes, racks and more. 

So, what do you do with all your digital collections?  Do you organize them by brand name?  Or, do you save them in folders based on themes, such as “Shabby chic”, “Rustic”, “Industrial”, “Whimsical”, and more?  It certainly does not take long to start out with just a handful of options and end up with a hard drive filled with various files, making it very hard to find what you need when you need it most.  I’ve come across files that I had forgotten I owned. 

I tend to keep some of my files based on purchased versus free and commercial use license versus personal use.  Since I am a digital designer who sells various graphics, I need to know which files I am legally able to use to create and disburse my own.  

Also, do you store your files on your laptop or computer, or do you keep them on a cloud drive or portable drive?  These are very important things to consider.  The more graphics and data you use, the more space is taken up, and slows down your device.  I personally keep my files on the cloud.  I do that since I can access them anywhere if I have wifi.  I will eventually get a portable drive, such as the Samsung Portable SDD T5.  These storage gadgets are great for holding data, especially huge photo and video files.  This would help to save my computer disk space, making my laptop run more efficiently.

No matter how you keep your crafts and access them, just have fun with it.  Long as you know where to find what you need, that is all that matters. 

Happy crafting!!

Disclaimer:

If you click on some of the links and purchase something through it, I will received a monetary percentage of the cost of your order. Thanks!

Digital Scrap-booking: Quality Tips – Checking Gamut in Adobe Photoshop

It is very important to identify when images are out of gamut before completing digital scrapbook projects. Why? The answer is simple. But first you must understand what a gamut is.

 A gamut is the color range or scope of colors that monitor systems display and printer structures print. If an image is out of gamut, it may not print in the colors shown on your system’s screen.  In Adobe Photoshop, there are various color modes to create your project in, but for digital scrapbooking prints, the two most used modes are RGB and CMYK.   RGB color mode is the more practical choice, since you can check to see if images are in or out of gamut.

Checking for Gamut Issues

The way to check for gamut issues is to do the following:

 On the menu bar click “View” > “Gamut Warning” or use your keyboard shortcuts [Shift + Ctrl (Command on a Mac) + Y].  If the image has grayed out areas, then it is out of gamut.  If the color values did not change, then they are within the color scope and your image should print fine. 

Correcting Out of Gamut Images

Out of gamut images can be fixed by converting it from RGB color mode to CMYK, then back to RGB.  On the menu bar, click “Image” > “Mode”> “CMYK color mode”. 

When you do this, a dialogue box opens with a message that states, “You are about to convert to CMYK using the “U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2” profile.  This may not be what you intended.  To use a different profile choose edit > Convert to Profile.”  

Click “ok” and your image will convert, ridding all the graphic of gray areas that were not in gamut. Then revert to RGB color, using the same methods of conversion applied from the “Image” menu (“Image” > “Mode”> RGB color mode).

Fixed image in gamut and RGB color mode

Be aware that some details of the image may be lost during conversion.  CMYK colors are typically the brighter, more neon colors.  If your image is out of gamut and is converted to within the RGB color range, the final edit may not appear as bright.  This should fix your gamut issues.

I hope this tip was helpful.  Happy crafting!

Memories and Treasures Freebie Kit

Enjoy this vintage style paper kit. Create your scrapbook pages, envelopes, tags, bags, junk journal pages and more. This 6 piece, 8.5″ x 11″ kit is 300 dpi, and is in printable jpg format.

Click here to download your copy of Memories and Treasures.

See terms of use for licensing agreement.

Digital Scrapbook Layouts

Do you enjoy making digital layouts to house your photos and elements from special memories?   I do. I get the same satisfaction of developing something unique and personal to have for future viewing with digital scrapbooking as I do with hybrid creations.  Also, with digital scrapbooking, you can print out your designs without the mess to clean up. The only clutter you may encounter are the multiple photos and graphics you want to add to your page.

That can all depend on how you are going to set up your layout.  Are you going to use a template, or will you start with a brand-new document to make your scrapbook layout?

If you create your layout with a template, it is easy to simply change the colors to match a theme you are using.  Add a few photos, a title and some graphics and your layout is ready in minutes. 

To make one from scratch, simply set your background, add some shapes, photos, sentiments, and graphics and you are on your way to a beautiful piece of work.

Digital Scrapbook Background Paper Image

You can add graphics from various sites.  Some offer freebies. I accessed some of the images in the photos from Pixel Scrapper where I am a Level 3 Commons Designer.  There are ways of to get free images, quality control advice, ideas and more from that site. 

You can also go on Etsy to find many beautiful images, papers, templates and more for your digital scrapbook layouts. You can use what you already have.

Simply access your tools from your software, including brushes, shapes, patterns, styles, and more, and you can develop a wonderful scrap-booking masterpiece! 

I hope this post helps!  Happy crafting!

Decorative Die Cut Junk Journal Elements

When creating a craft project such as a card, tag, scrapbook, junk journal, or some other type of mixed media art, where do you all gather your decorative elements?  Do you fussy cut out your shapes and sentiments or do you die cut them out using special machines such as the Sizzix BigShot, Cricut Maker, Brother Scan and Cut, or other fancy machinery?

I tend to do both hand cutting out my elements for placement in my journals and cards as well as use my Sizzix Vintaj BigKick and Cricut Explore Air 2 die cutting machines.  Sometimes finding just the right shapes for a project can become a challenge if you do not own certain die cutting equipment or have a subscription to access certain types of images to print and cut.  However, there is a solution. 

Let’s say you wanted to make an aged themed photography junk journal and wanted to incorporate vintage shaped hardware made of card stock and chipboard, such as gears, vintage cameras, filmstrips, and photos of people.  If you didn’t own those dies or machines that sectioned out those shapes, you could purchase them already cut.  There are many shops that offer a variety of themed die cuts for sale.

 You can also find photos of vintage people on Etsy, like I did.

If you do own an electric die cutting machine, such as the Cricut Explore Air 2 then you could always access their free images on Cricut Design Space.  That can be very useful.  You can take it a step farther by uploading an image to it too.  To see this process, check out my YouTube video on it.

Uploading png files into Cricut Design Space to cut out images

In that video I use gears from my latest freebie kit “Rustic Beauty”. They are uploaded, cut out, painted, and added to my junk journal. Click here to download the free kit.

These cut shapes bring fun personality to many works, as do fussy cut images.  Although it is less time consuming to use your die cutting machines, you can still get satisfying results from cutting out your own flowers, tags, people, borders, and more from designer papers.  There are so many printed collections available, as well as from digital versions for consumption.  Even old books and magazines offer and array of images that can add beauty to your art when fussy cut out. 

Just have fun piecing together your resources.  I’m sure your art endeavors will be a success!

I hope this post helps.  Happy Crafting!

To see the completed journal flip through please watch this YouTube video:

Vintage African American Journal Folio Flip Through.

If you are interested in purchasing this folio insert it is available in my hybrid etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/listing/753692096/vintage-african-american-journal-folio?ref=shop_home_feat_2&pro=1&frs=1 .

New Years Crafty-lutions 2020

Do you crafty-holics make New Year’s Resolutions for resolving your project woes?  Are there any skills that you have just not mastered yet?  Since there are so many exciting ideas out there to try, it is good to add more techniques or styles to your existing mastery.  I like to challenge myself to create something out of my comfort zone.

Last year, (A few days ago) I channeled my energy into sewing. I have always loved how sewn papers and fabrics add such splendor to junk journals, scrapbooks, tags, and more.  However, I seem to continuously mess up the process.  Typically, either the upper thread or the bobbin runs out of thread, or the needle breaks and I replace it incorrectly (or all the above). When woes such as that happen, it ruins the material, or jumbles up the stitch. I keep the messed-up papers and fabric by covering it up with some other type of medium, like torn book pages on the back of a sewn tag.

Those mishaps do not stop me from repeatedly trying to understand where I am going wrong.  I’m embarrassed to say that I have had my sewing machine since 2003 and I basically still have no clue how to correctly use it.  Years ago, I had pushed it to the back of my closet with my clay, jewelry, wood burning tools and other stuff I picked up at the beginning of my serious crafting journey.  I just couldn’t leave it in there. I realized that I had been missing out on so many opportunities to jazz up my artistry.

I therefore have decided that by the end of 2020 I will run my papers and things through that machine like it were second nature, without destroying the materials.  By practicing and putting it to good use the dust will finally not be the only thing touching my Singer sewing machine. 

So, set some artistic goals for the year coming.  Decoupage that napkin to your canvas.  Open your new digital software and design your first graphic. Use your charcoal pencils you just received for Christmas and start sketching.  Whatever you do, whether things work out smoothly or not, don’t give up.  Tell yourself that you will become a prodigy of that trade.   You will resolve what has been hindering your progress.  That’s what making resolutions are about. 

I hope this post is helpful!  Thanks for reading it!  Happy Crafting!

Creating Your Own Patterns in Photoshop CC: Using an Open PNG File

Adobe Photoshop Applications come with multiple preset patterns that are fun to use but only cater to a select number of themes.  They are great to have when designing scrapbook pages, layouts, templates, and many other projects.  It may seem as though the pre-installed patterns only give you few options to build with.  However, the Adobe Photoshop software allows you to increase your patterns inventory by designing your own. There are multiple ways of doing this, but in this post, I will show you one of the ways that I create mine.

The Process

The first thing I do is open the application. I’m using a Windows PC. The software version I’m using is Photoshop CC 2019. I click “File”>”New”. The “New Document” box opens.

There you can choose which type of document you want to create. I choose “Print” on the Document menu bar at the top. Under “Preset Details” I leave the default “untitled-1” name. I also keep the default settings of 8.5” width x 11””height”.  I changed the resolution from 72 pixels/Inch to 300 pixels. I also make sure that the color mode is set to “RGB Color” and the background is “white”. Then I click “Create”.

Open a new document

When the document opens, the background layer is automatically white, and it is locked.   I’m then going to add a new layer in the “Layers” Panel to the right. You can do this by either clicking on the “new layer” icon at the bottom right of the Layers Panel, or by clicking “Layer”>”New”>”Layer” on the menu bar at the top, or by using your keyboard shortcuts “Shift+Ctrl+N” on a PC or “Shift+Command+N” on a MAC.  I will label this background because the original white background layer will get deleted at the end of the design.

Once the new layer has been created, we will begin to design the pattern.  There are a few ways of accessing your patterns library.  A very common method is by going to the menu bar and clicking “Edit”> “Presets”> “Preset Manager”.  The Preset Manager panel opens.  Using the drop-down options, you can choose the “Type” of preset you want.  In this case we want “Patterns”.  The files in the “Patterns” library appear.   You can see what is already loaded.  You can also access your Patterns another way.

It is helpful to have the “Tool Presets” window open.  Some may find this method of finding your tools as a good option.  To add icon to the panel then follow these steps.  If it is already available, or you don’t want it open, then skip to the section “Designing The Pattern”.

Opening the Tool Presets Icon

Step 1

On the menu bar go to “Window”> “Tool Presets”.  Ensure that “Tool Presets” is checked. 

Step2

Once it is, you will be able to easily access it using the Tool Presets icon, as shown below.

Step3

Simply click on the options menu (three stacked lines) to view the preset manager.

Step4

Once in the Preset Manager Panel, choose the “Patterns” option from the “Preset Type” drop down list.

Here you will see your installed patterns.  There are just a few available.  We can now design our own.

Designing The Pattern

Open a PNG file.  For this illustration, I will use the blue present from the freebie graphics kit (Presents Mini Kit), from this site for the pattern design. 

Click “File”>” Open”> choose the file to use.  With your file open, use the keyboard short cut keys to copy [(Ctrl + C) on a PC or (Command +C) on a Mac] and paste it [(Ctrl +V) PC or (Command +V) Mac] into the “untitled-1” file. 

With the graphics layer selected, make another copy of it using the keyboard short cut Ctrl + J or Command + J on a Mac.  Click and drag the copied image above the original one.

Make about seven more copies. Click and drag them on various parts of the page. 

Now click on Layer 0 or the bottom white layer and delete it. Then highlight all the remaining layers.  To highlight all the layers, simply click on the bottom layer, scroll to the top layer, and hold the “Shift” key and left click at the same time.

We will now finish up the pattern.  With all the layers selected go to “Edit”> “Define Pattern”.

Give your pattern a name when the Pattern Name dialogue box opens.  I will name mine presents. Then click “ok”.

Now you can test your pattern.  Open a new document. In the layers panel click on the white background layer.  On the Menu bar go to “Layer”> “New Fill Layer”>” Pattern.

The “New Layer” dialogue box opens.  Click “ok”.  You will then see the “Pattern Fill” dialogue box.  You can scale the percentage of your pattern up or down using the drop-down menu beside “Scale” (arrow).  At 100 percent it looks identical to the size of the pattern you just created.  By scaling it larger (moving the handle to the right) it makes the images bigger, and less filled on the screen.  By dragging your handle to the left, the images are scaled smaller, and fill the page more, as shown in the photo below. I typically make mine smaller for my digital scrapbook papers. In this illustration I scaled mine down to 23 percent. When you are satisfied with the size you want click “ok”.

You can view your pattern by following the same steps from above by accessing the Preset Manager.  Your pattern will be the very last one in the file.

This technique can be used from various files, brushes, shapes, and more. I will cover those in other tutorials. I hope you found this post helpful. And as always, happy crafting!

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