Friday, May 27, 2011

An Unexpected Visitor

Isn't it funny how things happen that you never expect? After much rattling of paper (Translation: destroying half of a parent sheet), I found this guy in my studio one morning. He was wedged between the wall and a file cabinet where I store large pieces of paper and mat board. I have no idea how he got in. He had to come through a door opening in my studio or else he managed to disguise himself and walk straight through the living, kitchen and dining room, then hop down two steps to get to his destination. I can't imagine that I left a sliding glass door open long enough for him to crawl in then hide. None the less, he managed it somehow.

I wish I had snapped a photo when I first found him, rather than in the flower bed that I placed him in at the front of our house. He was very big, probably 5-6" wide and 7-8" long. If I had placed him in the back yard, the dogs would have had a field day with their new "toy".

Here's how I made this digital scrapbook page.
Duetica Lettering Arts Studio Software Font: Saxi
Photoshop CS5
InDesign CS5
jpeg photo

I set the headline type with the Saxi font from Duetica. The spots behind the letters were also created with the same software. This system allows you to select, letter-by-letter, the font style. You can use one font with many variations or mix fonts to come up with unlimited headline type. I set the words and saved them to one file, then set the "dots" using the same font. You get both of these with the purchase of the Saxi font. You can change the font color right in the Duetica software before saving the file. I chose to wait until I took it into Photoshop because I wanted to pull my colors from the photo. If you are working in Microsoft word or another word program, you can place this file right in without taking it to a layout program, which is great for things like newsletter headlines or the important words in invitations, such as the names of the bride and groom.

1. I opened a 12" x 12" file in Photoshop, a smaller blank file and the turtle photo.

2. I set up a palette in the small file using five colors selected from the turtle photo.

3. Background paper: I selected a random shape from the turtle shell and copied and pasted it into my 12" x 12" file. After pasting about four more of the same pattern across the top, I flattened the file, selected the shell pattern and pasted it enough times to cover the whole page. I flattened it again and selected one horizontal piece from the center to paste along each side to cover any remaining white space. I selected a vertical pattern to cover the top and bottom as well. I created a new layer, set the opacity at 35% and filled it with the blue I selected from the photo.

4. I opened the dots file from Duetica and colored each dot with one of the color selections from the photo. I placed it on the background, enlarging it to fit and saved the file as a psd, maintaining the layers. I placed the "An Unexpected Visitor" words, enlarging the file to fit over the dots.

5. I added a green rectangle and placed the photo on it. I also drew two lines just below the headline and brought the type layer forward with the descender on the "p" on top of the line to give it some depth.

6. I created the text box in pale blue, then drew a couple of lines across the bottom of the box using a specialty brush from Photoshop.

7. At this point, I saved the entire file.

8. I opened InDesign, drew a beige block over the text box with a 45% drop shadow and added my text and subhead, both in the Saxi font.

9. I liked the clean look of the page, but as an after-thought added the circles across the bottom with drop shadows.

This page is going into my 8" X 8" Little Moments of Life book where I keep scrapbook pages about seemingly insignificant events that are just part of everyday life. Even though this file is a 12"x 12", I will print it as an 8" x 8", using less ink than a 12" x 12" page.

Monday, May 23, 2011

For Sweet, Sweet Anabelle

Our friends Wayne and Janet are now very proud grandparents. Their first grandchild, Anabelle, was born today to son Adam and daughter-in-love Amy.

Those of you who know me well, know that I am the world's worst procrastinator. Well, maybe not the worst, but close. I had planned to have this ready and ship it a month ago. I shipped it off today, so at least it will arrive before her first birthday!

This project is designed to hold all of those precious baby firsts: First booties, first pacifier, first bib, etc. Anything that won't fit in a scrapbook can fit in here.

Janet told me a very sweet story about how they chose the name for the new little girl. When Amy was a child, her parents divorced. She had a rag doll similar to Raggedy Ann, but this one had blond hair and her name was Anabelle. Anabelle got Amy through some really tough times, so I wanted to add an image of what I thought Anabelle would look like.

Here's how I made this.


• Patterned scrapbook paper,12 x 12, 2 matching sheets
• Patterned scrapbook paper,12 x 12, 1 sheet to blend with the others
• Colored card stock, 8 1/2" x 11", 3 sheets to match patterned paper
• White card stock, 1 sheet 8 1/2" x 11"
• Paper Scraps to piece doll and cut flowers
• Sizzix Tattered Flowers Die and Big Shot machine
• Assorted flower punches
• 1" circle punch
• 1 roll ribbon, 2 1/2" wide
• Cut-out letters (I used Moxie by Quickutz)
• Circle cutter or saucer to use as a pattern to fit paint can lid
• Beacon 3-in-1 Adhesive
• Colorbox Chalk Ink

1. Cut patterned paper to fit paint can. Punch circles to surround handle attachment.
2. Adhere ribbon all the way around the can.
3. Sketch rag doll on scrap paper, then cut apart and use as pattern to cut doll from scraps. Add yarn around doll's head.
4. Punch name from white card stock and edge with Colorbox Chalk Ink in a color to match. Adhere along ribbon. Fill remainder of ribbon with flowers.
5. Punch a variety of flowers and use to decorate remainder of can.
6. Punch lacy pattern from white card stock and adhere around can top.
7. Tie ribbon bow on one side of handle.
8. Use colored cardstock to line inside and inside bottom of can.

1. Cut circle to fit lid. Adhere flowers in a random pattern. (Note: I took the photos before I added the flowers to the lid. I didn't realize I had not taken a final photo until after it was in the mail.)

I also made a sweet little card using a great Sizzix die, Brenda Pinnick's Card, A2 w/Decorative Edge. This great little die was so easy to use! I cut one full piece of pink card stock for the base, then cut just the wavy edged front from white and a patterned cardstock. I first tied my organdy ribbon around the top layer, then layered them on the pink card, offsetting each one about 3/8 of an inch and trimming off the excess from the two top layers at the fold. I cut a little binder edge from a different patterned paper, edged it with decorative scissors and folded it along the fold edge, wrapping it to the back. All I added at this point was a little sentiment, set with the Duetica Lettering Arts Studio software, my favorite new tool.

My prayer for Adam and Amy is that they take the time to relish this period of their lives. I would give anything to go back and do it all again.

If you have any questions about the construction of this project, just leave me a comment and I'll get back to you.

Now, go hug someone you love, especially your children.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tag, you're it!

These are the last two tags I made for our River City Stampers' tag challenge. These were both so easy and will look great on gift bags. I plan to use these with solid color bags so that they will stand out.

Here's how I made them:

Button Tag


Small manilla tag (1 1/4" x 3")
Stamp Pads (Stampin'Up!® Pink Passion and Old Olive)
Swirl stamp
Viva Décor Pearl Pen (Ice White)
Assorted Buttons
Embroidery Floss, Ivory
Green Ribbon, 8" (Offray)
Beacon 3-in-1 Adhesive


1. Sponge pink ink on tag. Sponge edges with olive green ink and stamp swirl in olive green.

2. Tie floss through buttons and adhere buttons to tag.

Note: This is one of my pet peeves. Buttons should have something to anchor them to the piece, otherwise they look as though you could pick up the tag and spill them everywhere. If you don't want to add floss, thread or string, at least draw a line between the holes with a marker. Now I'll get down from my soapbox!

3. Add Pearl Pen dots randomly.

4. Tie ribbon through tag hole using a Lark's head knot.

Double Flower Tag
Green Tag
Swirl Stamp
Flower Stamp (Stampin'Up!®)
Big Brad (Bazzill)
Versamark Clear Embossing Ink
Platinum embossing powder
Pearl and Crystal wired embellishments
Fibers, two pieces, 8" each
Clothes pin
Viva Décor Clear Gel
Heat Tool
Prima Flowers
Beacon 3-in-1 Adhesive

Note: This tag from my stash was colored with watercolor paints and allowed to dry.

1. Stamp swirl on tag with embossing ink,add silver powder and heat to melt. Stamp flower stamp with embossing ink on big brad, add silver powder and heat to melt. Be sure to hold the brad with a clothes pin or long tweezers to prevent burning your fingers.

2. Attach brad to flowers, wrap pearl and crystal embellishment wires around brad shaft and bend tabs to secure. Attach to tag with Beacon 3-in-i Adhesive.

3. Attach fibers through tag hole.

4. Use Viva Décor Clear Gel to add water drops to flower petals.

OK! I've posted my tags. Now it's your turn. Take some time this week to sit down and make a few tags, limiting your color palette to no more than three colors, preferably colors you rarely use. It will be a good exercise to get your thinking heading in a different direction and you'll have tags already made up for the perfect gift or scrapbook page embellishment.

Now go make a tag for someone you love!

I received product from Viva Décor and Beacon.

Sweet Little Boxes, Custom Tags

Don't you just love the convenience of gift cards? They are always the perfect fit, the recipient gets exactly what he/she wants and the shopping is easy. I pick my gift cards up when doing my grocery shopping, so I am saving the gas I would use for a trip to the mall and the environment, plus they count as double points toward my 10¢ a gallon gas discount! A gift for my friend and a gift for me! It doesn't get any better.

There's only one problem. What fun is giving a gift when there is no surprise on the opening? Of course, you can always put them in the envelope with a birthday card or actually find a box the right size and wrap it, but I love using this little gift box by Sizzix. Eileen Hull designed this Scoreboard die and also shared the technique I used.

The Duetica Lettering Arts Studio makes creating the tags so simple, and you know that the possibility of someone else having the exact same tag is very slim, since you can select each individual letter.

I will be teaching this technique tomorrow at the River City Stampers club meeting, but you get the directions here today.


Duetica Lettering Arts Software (
Mat board or chipboard, 6” X 13”
Sizzix Scoreboard die, box with flap (
Sizzix Texture Plate
Aluminum Foil
3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive (
Alcohol inks, Ranger (
Royal Langnickle Brush (
Printed paper scrap, 3” X 6”
Beacon Quick Grip (
Clearsnap Colorbox Inks (
Strong Double-stick tape (
Brads, 2

Especially for You

Alcohol inks: Sail Boat Blue, Purple Twilight, Lettuce
3/8” Organdy Ribbon, Offray (
Tag Punch
Duetica custom tag printed on cardstock

Happy Fathers Day
Alcohol inks: Slate, Rust, Mushroom
¼” Organdy Ribbon, Offray (
½” and 1” Hole Punches (Texturize a small piece of cardstock. Punch small hole first, then line up and punch large circle. Ink resulting washer shape.)
Duetica custom tag printed on cardstock


1. Adhere aluminum foil to board with Super 77 spray adhesive. Don’t worry if you get wrinkles. They’ll be covered with the texture. Cut with Scoreboard die.

2. Mark your fold lines by either re-scoring with a bone folder or marking with a pencil. When the piece is texturized, the score lines are hard to see.

2. Place the cut-out in a texture plate folder. You will have to run it through several times with the plate in different positions to cover the entire box.

Note: If you have to position the plate so that it covers another portion that has already been textured, line up the plate so that you aren’t adding additional texture.

3. Fold the box to set up your scorelines.

4. Flatten the box again and apply alcohol inks, brushing them quickly so they don’t dry. If they do, just add a little bit of plain alcohol to get the colors flowing again. You can also use the tool designed by Tim Holtz for Ranger ( for this step. It’s much quicker, but you don’t get as much color control.

5. Cut a liner for the inside back of the box and flap from matching printed paper scrap. Adhere to box inside back with strong glue.

Note: You can add the printed paper before cutting the shape, but the inside will be textured and the alcohol inks may bleed through.

6. Assemble the box, using heavy duty double-stick tape. Secure with brads if desired. Trim any excess liner paper after you make the flap fold.

7. Ink the box edges to cover fold marks and white edges.

8. Embellish as desired.

Insert your gift card and you're all set with a custom package for a custom gift!

Have a great Friday! Those of you living in the Memphis area had better enjoy this gorgeous day because the rains are heading back tomorrow and Sunday!

I received materials from Duetica Lettering Arts, Sizzix, Clearsnap, Colorbox, Royal Langnickle, Beacon, and Sookwang.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Boy, this a rarity!

Can you believe I'm posting twice in one day? Even twice in 2 hours? There must be a star in the east, because this is definitely a miracle.

I had the honor of recently being selected for the Duetica Lettering Arts Studio Design Team. If you aren't familiar with Duetica, it's time to get acquainted. The system allows you to virtually create your own designs in your headlines. Each font has a multitude of designs for each letter so you can mix and match to your heart's content. Check them out at The price is so reasonable and comes with five font families. You can also add additional fonts for a low price.

My project for today is a digital scrapbook page. I have tons of layouts using all the traditional papers, inks, embellishments, etc. They take up a 5' shelf in one of my bookcases. If I keep going at this rate, I'll have to build a 1,000 square foot addition to my home just to house them. Something's gotta give!

I have done digital scrapbooking off and on for several years. I love the fact that I can store the entire thing on a cd or external drive, but I do love the pretty embellishments that you can get at a scrapbook store, especially rub-on fonts with beautiful capital letters. Duetica gives you the swirly capitals as well as other designs, plus you can customize each letter with a stroke of the keyboard.

I love the look of this page. The Tin Whistle font adds the perfect punch.

Here's how I created my first digital page made with the Duetica Lettering Arts Studio:

Duetica Headline
Photoshop Software
InDesign Software (optional)*


1.Open a 12 X 12 page in Photoshop and open your photo in a separate file. Reduce/enlarge the photo width to fit three side-by-side copies, 12” wide.

2.Copy the photo and paste three across. Flatten the layers, save as a jpeg file (“tomato border”), then copy the resulting image and paste over and over to fill the entire page. Flatten image again.

3.Open another layer in the same file and create a gradient in dark blue and rust from upper left to lower right. Adjust the opacity until you are happy with the image. Save this as your background paper(“background paper”).

4.Open the Duetica Lettering Software. Use the Tin Whistle font to create Tomato/Tomato. You can select your color here as well. Save in your art bin as a png file, then create an image file (“Tomato Tomahto”).

5.Open Tomato Tomahto in Photoshop. Select the entire background and open areas in letters. Select Inverse. Select Paint brush tool, large setting, and paint the letters the desired color. Crop and reduce the image size to 10” wide. Save as tomato tomahto title.png.

At this point you can continue to work in Photoshop to complete the page if you like.

6.Open InDesign (or other layout program), with a 12” X 12” page and paste the “background paper” file. Begin adding the other elements (tomato border, photo and Tomato tomahto title)one by one until you are happy with the results.

Note: While I used InDesign for my layout, you could create the entire page, except for the Duetica Headline, in Photoshop CS5 or Photoshop Elements

Save your file and either store it on a cd or flash drive.

Have a wonderful Thursday and an even better Friday!

Two more.....

Here are two more tags for the River City Stampers' May challenge using pink and green.

When I sat down to do these tags, I decided that I would use some materials I had not used in a long time, if ever. It's amazing what you can find in your stash. Lots of embellishments, lots of bling and lots of what-was-I-thinking-when-I-laid-out-good-money-for-this? items.

The first is made using the clear embossing technique as well as my oh-yes-I-meant-to-do-that technique.

You will need:
• Manilla tag
• Versamark embossing ink pad
• • Clear embossing powder
Cameo coral, Olive Green and More Mustard dye inks (Stampin'Up!®)
• Sponge
• Heat tool
• Flower and sentiment stamps
• Pink and green rhinestones
• Flower punch (Stampin'Up!®)
• Viva Décor Pearl Pen, Cream
• Leaf charm
• Beacon 3-in-1 adhesive

1. Stamp and emboss flowers randomly on tag but not on lower edge. Sponge all three ink colors over top of embossing on entire tag and wipe with a paper towel to reveal embossed flowers. Stamp sentiment on lower portion of tag. Here's where you use my oh-yes-I-meant-to-do-that technique: I stamped my sentiment very crooked. Usually I don't mind that because it adds interest, but this wasn't one of those times. I cut off the bottom portion of the tag, lined it up on the paper trimmer and cut it so that it would be straight, then inked the edges a little more and glued it in place.

Tip: If you have a sentiment stamp that is mounted incorrectly, heat it in the microwave for about 10 seconds, then use dental floss to slice it off the wood and reposition it. Repeat if necessary. I usually draw a line with a Sharpie parallel to the wooden edge on the mounting side of the stamp, then line up the sentiment on that.

2. Stamp and punch the flower-shaped tag.

3. Use Pearl Pen to add tiny dots around the edge of the sentiment tag, to the centers of all the flowers and around the edge of the flower-shaped tag. Allow Pearl Pen to dry.

4. Punch an additional flower from printed card stock scrap. Glue tag string between flower with Pearl Pen edging and printed card stock. Thread leaf charm onto string and re-tie through tag hole using a slip knot.

5. Add rhinestone embellishments as desired.

The second tag is very tiny, about 1 1/2" X 3". I had received these flower buckles from my secret Stamp club pal about five years ago and had never used any of them. What a nice surprise it was to find them in the bottom of my embellishment stash!

I used:
• Small manilla tag
• Green polka dot ribbon, 8"
• Pink striped ribbon, 11"
• Metal flower buckle
• Viva Décor Pearl Pen, Lilac
• Cameo coral, Olive Green and More Mustard dye inks (Stampin'Up!®)
• Sponge
• Beacon 3-in-1 adhesive

1. Sponge tag using all three inks, overlapping edges to blend.

2. Adhere pink striped ribbon to tag front.

3. Thread green ribbon through flower buckle. Center flower buckle on tag top, bring both ends of ribbon around to the back and insert them in the tag hole. Pull up and tie behind buckle.

4. Fold remaining pink ribbon in half and adhere between buckle and tag.

5. Write "love" with Lilac Pearl Pen.

These are ready for any use you like. I think both of these will be come gift tags for me.

Check back tomorrow for the last two tags, which are my favorites!

Now, go hug someone you love and thank God for Spring! (I just love typos when they make sense, although my phone provider is AT&T. I actually typed, Thank God for Sprint!)

I received product from Viva Décor, which I would have purchased anyway, because I love all their products!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spring Challenge

I belong to a group of mixed media artists in Memphis, Tennessee, the River City Stampers. This group has so much talent, and we cover a lot of different artists' media, with members teaching a new technique or project each month. We also have swaps and challenges, which is what I want to discuss today.

Our challenge for May is to create tags using the colors pink and green. Other colors can be added as long as the two main colors are included. This made me combine colors I never would have before. I tend to get into phases of using the same colors over and over for months, even years, before going on to something different. My career as a graphic designer is mapped out in more than 30 years of two-color jobs featuring brown/blue, brown/green, teal/purple, teal/brown and purple/green with bursts of full-color jobs in between. Of course, I had to slip in the company colors, red, blue and yellow, at times, but you can pretty well tell the decade something I designed was printed according to the color.

I love rusted things, old things, faded fabrics, antique toys...anything old. Pink and green was a serious challenge for me, although at one time, my favorite Stampin'Up!® ink combo was More Mustard, Cameo Coral and Olive Green.

Anyway, here is one of the tags I made using Viva Décor products, plus the Duetica Lettering System software, which is my new fave computer product. It allows you to set your headline type, then select each letter style individually to create the perfect headline for your project.

I will be adding a couple more tags tomorrow and Friday, so be sure to check back!

Apologies to the author of this saying (Lord, thank you for letting me be born in the South and for the cornbread and turnip greens in my mouth.). I heard it many years ago, but never knew who came up with it. It's perfect for the way I feel about living in Tennessee.

Cream Cardstock (Stampin'Up!®)
Viva Décor: Metallic Paint, bronze; Pearl Pen, Cream; Paper Pens, Cream and Carmine; Paper Soft Color, Apricot, Magenta and Moss Green, Sponge applicators, assorted (
Prima Flowers (any light color will do)
Beacon 3-in-1 Adhesive
Duetica Lettering Arts Studio Software (
Corner rounder punch (Stampin'Up!®)
Flowering branch stamp (Stampin'Up!®)
Workable Fixatif (
Assorted ribbons, 8" long each


1. Set up type for saying. You can do the layout in any word program after setting the type with the Duetica Lettering Arts software.* Print onto cream card stock and trim out tag shape. Round top corners with punch. Spray lightly with Krylon Workable Fixatif to protect type and set aside to dry.

2. Apply Paper Soft Color to flowers with sponge applicator. (This will make your flowers work with your tag no matter what, as long as the flowers are a light color to begin with. The two small ones were a dull green, the large one a VERY bright pink and white.) Brush flower edges with bronze paint and set aside to dry.

3. Apply Magenta Paper Soft Color to tag, using a circular motion and a large round sponge applicator. Use a smaller applicator to apply Moss Green and Apricot randomly, keeping majority of the color on the edges to avoid coloring the print too much.

4. Stamp flowering branch on top of the tag with your choice of inks. Cover the branches with the Cream Paper Pen and add swirls along the lower border. Apply Carmine Paper Pen in dots to the flower buds, then add Cream Pearl Pen and Cream Paper Pen. Use Cream Paper pen to add dots and dotted swirls to remainder of tag.

5. Glue dogwood blossoms to bottom of tag and add Magenta and Cream Paper Pen centers to flowers.

This tag is ready to hang on a gift bag, use for a bookmark or a little something to keep in your work space to remind you of how blessed you are.

Have a fabulous day and be sure to hug someone you love. I know I will!

* I actually set only the word "South" with Duetica, changed the color and saved it as a png file, then placed it in an InDesign file, adding the additional words above and below the "South". This is because I work with InDesign daily and am more comfortable with it.

I received product from Viva Décor and Duetica Lettering System.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sincere apologies...

Please forgive me for not having my Designer Crafts Connection posting up! Go ahead and hop through the other designers' work for a real trea. Just click forward or backward on the button at left.

I will have something up in a few days, but please know that I have a very good reason for not having my post up. Can you say "tight deadline"?

Have a great week!