herringbone tutorial

bcc052713-a1I while back, I found instructions on how to make a herringbone design for your cards, and I’ve since come back to this technique several times.  It’s fun, and a great way to use up scraps of patterned paper.  I first saw this in a Cardmaker Magazine (Winter 2012 edition), but have since seen it described numerous places, some pre-dating this article, so it isn’t new.  And it isn’t hard.  But a little bit of instructions, and a few tips, can make it a lot easier, so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned (most of it the hard way, of course :-)).

The above example is the one I’ll be using for the tutorial, but you can use any color scheme and any set of patterned papers for this technique, giving you some very different looks.  (I’ll share a very different example in a future post.)  First, I would suggest finding four or five different patterns that work well together, and one plain cardstock in a coordinating color.  (All of my papers were from the Simon Says Stamp April 2013 card kit.) My example is a standard A2 size card (5-1/2″ x 4-1/2″), but you can make any size you like.

First, make your card base in your cardstock color of choice and set aside.  I also like to add a couple of strips of the same cardstock to the design, but this isn’t necessary.  Then, cut another piece of “scrap” paper to 5-1/2″ x 4-1/2″, or whatever size your card base is (cardstock weight is easiest to work with – in my case I used plain white – but you’ll be covering this piece completely, so color is irrelevant).  Other instructions will tell you to cut this slightly smaller than your card front to create a mat, but my suggestion is to go with a piece the same size as your card, or even just slightly larger.  You’ll see why, when we get farther along.

Then, take all your pretty pieces of patterned paper (and your extra matching cardstock , if you’re using), and cut out at least 3 or 4 strips of each piece – some 1/4″ thick, and some 1/2″ thick.  (This is one of those times when you might want to “measure twice and cut once”.  I found that planning out the design helped me decide which pieces to cut smaller and which to cut bigger, and which ones I might want more or less of.)  It doesn’t matter how long your strips are – you’ll be cutting all of them down – just make sure that at least some of them will stretch completely across your scrap piece, diagonally.  Here’s what you should have after all your paper is cut:

bcc052713-aI just started with two strips of each, but I cut more as needed, as I went along.  (Just make sure you have enough paper to finish your project.)  Now, take that piece of 5-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ scrap paper, and cover it completely with tape adhesive:

bcc052713-bIn the photo, I’m showing a Tombow tape runner, but I actually used my ATG gun (*best* tool I ever bought – I use it for everything).  Any tape adhesive will work, but not a liquid adhesive.  You need it to stay sticky for a while, and not dry up.  And be sure to cover the entire piece of paper, especially along the edges.  (In fact, if you have a Xyron large enough, that would be even better.)

Now, in this example, I started my design with those strips of coordinating cardstock.  I think this gives it a nice cohesive look, but you can start with any of your paper strips.  Take your first piece, and run across your scrap piece, diagonally, at roughly the center of the card.  (I also find I like the design better when I start with the “short” 4-1/2″ side.)  Then, using two pieces of the same paper (or cut one in half), attach those the other direction, making sure they line up perfectly with your first strip – but not together, and not right at the center.  See below:

bcc052713-cAs you add strips of paper, you will want to make sure that each new strip lines up cleaning with the strips above/below/beside it.  I would make sure as you attach each strip, that you are using a perfectly squared piece (or flip it around, if one side is straighter than the other).  As I continued to cut new pieces (or cut off excess from existing pieces), I would create a new “clean” edge (90 degree angle) by cutting off the end with my paper cutter.   You can just use scissors or a craft knife, but try to get the cuts as straight as possible.  This is one of those times when it helps to be a bit OCD.

Once those first three pieces are attached, pick a “corner”, and start adding your patterned paper strips.  There are no rules, of course, but it seems to look best when you start with two matching strips, and always start in the same direction.  Here, I’ve laid down the horizontal strip first:

bcc052713-d… and then added the matching vertical strip:bcc052713-eAnd now, just go to town!

bcc052713-fMake sure you keep going until all of the background piece is completely covered.  Don’t worry about how it’s all hanging off the edge – we’ll trim it later.  Once one corner is done, flip it around and start on the next.

bcc052713-gPretty soon, your whole scrap piece will be covered, and look something like this:

bcc052713-hNow, you may find that you have a tiny triangle or two that are so small, you just cannot get that patterned paper to stick (no matter how much you yell at it), as shown here, by the arrow:

bcc052713-spotThis is why I suggested making your piece as large as your card base, or a little larger.  If you’ve done this, you’ll have a little extra wiggle room.  Now, most tutorials will tell you to flip over your piece, and just cut off the excess strips by following along the edge of the scrap piece.  Here’s what the back of your piece should look like:

bcc052713-iHowever, I’m going to buck the trend, and tell you to work from the front of your project.  You can use a craft knife and metal ruler, or better yet, if you have a reasonably heavy-duty paper cutter, you can use that.  You want to cut a total of about 1/4″ off both sides – but check to see if you have any bad spots – any areas missing patterned paper, like my arrow’d example above, or any just “less than perfect” spots, and make sure that’s the side you cut from.  When you’re done, you want a piece that’s just a bit smaller than your card base.  The base will then provide a nice “mat”, for your finished patchwork piece:

bcc052713-jStick to your card-base, and embellish as desired.  Feel free to contact me, if you have any questions.  If there’s a mistake to be made, I probably already made it.  🙂

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

Supplies used for this card:  Simon Says Stamp’s April 2013 Card Kit (teal cardstock, 6 x 6 patterned papers from Fancy Pants Park Bench) , sentiment from Simon Says Stamp’s Tilted Banner Sayings with matching die, Hero Arts Tide Pool Mid-tone Shadow Ink, flower cut with Sizzix Flower Layers #3, button and yellow Baker’s twin from my stash.


a blushing rose

bcc052113Today’s card is a rare “Wow – I can’t believe that worked!” card… as opposed to the much more common “Gosh, I really thought that would work” card.  (I have *lots* of those, though it remains to be seen if I’ll ever have the courage to share them here on my blog.)

Simon Says Stamp has an awesome monthly card kit that I’ve been receiving for a few months now.  This card uses items from the May 2013 kit. The kit comes with that beautiful rose stamp, a wonderful piece of heavy-duty vellum, and one specially embossed piece of white cardstock with a nice circle die-cut out of it.  Well, I didn’t want to waste this one lovely piece of paper (yes, I’ve been known to horde pretty pieces of paper), so I decided to cut my own circle out of a piece of some white cardstock from my stash.  I couldn’t have done this without a Spellbinders Nestabilities.   It worked perfectly – made a nice decorative circle, with pink “frames” to put around it on each side.  (Nestabilities are a card-maker’s best friend – I love these things!)

As I had seen many others do (check out the gallery here), I heat embossed the flower on that heavy-duty vellum with white embossing powder, and then turned it over to color it in on the reverse side.  Now, I had seen several tutorials using this technique with Copic markers, but I’m one of the few card-makers who doesn’t own a single Copic.  It’s not that I wouldn’t like to give them a try, but I just know my OCD would kick in if I tried to buy just one.  I would keep going, until I had the complete set… at which point we’d have to sell the house to cover the debt, and then I wouldn’t have anywhere to craft.  So, in an attempt to avoid this fate, I’ve invested in a lovely collection of Prismacolor Premium colored pencils, and some Odorless Mineral Spirits (OMS).

Are you familiar with this technique?  You color in your stamped design with the pencils, then blend it with a paper stump dipped in OMS.  It blends the colors and magically erases the pencils lines.  Very cool.  (I’ll go into more detail on the technique in a future post.)

I’ve colored lots of images with this technique on all sorts of cardstock, but I had never tried it on vellum.  In fact, I didn’t even know if you *could* do this on vellum.  Well, low and behold, it worked!  In fact, I think it worked beautifully… so much so that it curbed my appetite for Copics… for at least another week or so.  🙂

Now, in all fairness, I should show you how the “back” looks, so I’m going to give you a rare glimpse of the inside of my card:

bcc052113-cNo, it’s not quite as pretty as the front, but it’s not nearly as bad as I had imagined. As the vellum is rather see-through, you do need to leave this back part visible in order to achieve that nice look from the front, but I’m actually okay with that here.  (I’m usually a stickler for covering up anything “less than perfect” that shows through to the inside.  You will never see the back of a brad on one of my cards.)

Here’s a couple of tips to remember, if you try your own version. Keep in mind that anything on the inside of the card can show through a bit on that vellum.  I chose a small sentiment and printed it near the top.  There’s still enough room for me to sign it, without that showing through.  I also matted the inside to add some color, but kept the sentiment itself on white paper because I thought it would look best behind the vellum.  Also, whether you use Copics or pencils or paint, it does work best to emboss on one side, and color in on the other.

Has anyone else tried colored pencils on vellum?  Please let me know – I’d love to see it!  And now that I know this works, I will definitely be trying it again myself.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

Supplies used for this card include:  Simon Says Stamp’s May Card Kit, Spellbinders Nestabilities Big Scalloped Circles Large die set, Georgia Pacific 110 lb white cardstock, Bazzill cardstock (pink – not sure of exact color name), American Crafts Zing white embossing powder, Prismacolor colored pencils and OMS, Recollections Bling on a Roll (tiny pearls in center of pink flowers), EK Success small flower punch, Fiskars Sentiments clear stamp, Versafine Onyx Black ink, and Brother laser printer for sentiment.

(And one small note about the photos:  the card really is very white (no greenish tint) but I have a hard time photographing white paper.  Still working on that.)


fun with baker’s twine

bcc051113revA while back, I saw a card on scrapbook.com that had all these little postage stamp rectangles on it, wrapped with baker’s twine, designed by Grace Tolman.  It was such a fun card that I just had to try a version of it myself. Grace’s card is currently out for publication, but you can check out her awesome blog at In Her Shoes – Life, stories and the pursuit of crafty living.

For some reason, I could only find red, yellow and black baker’s twine in my stash (couldn’t be because those are Mickey Mouse’s colors… nope, not me…), so that determined my color scheme for this card.  All of the paper (except for the white) is Bazzill.  I embossed the plain white cardstock with a Cuttlebug Swiss Dots embossing folder.  The postage stamp squares were all cut with the Spellbinders Nestabilities Postage Stamps set.  (Have I mentioned that I’m in love with Nestabilities?)  Then I just went to town, winding the baker’s twine around the squares in different designs.  I think this just might be the most fun I’ve ever had, working on a card.  And super easy!

All the squares were attached with foam adhesive.  The tiny sentiment was cut with Sizzix Sizzlets Girls are Weird alphas.  I will definitely be using this technique again – too fun not to repeat.

If anyone else wants to try this, I’d love to see what you come up with!

you don’t have to break the bank

bcc050913Today’s card is a super quick and easy one I threw together from a scrapbook kit.  I wanted to share it because it’s a good example of what you can do without spending a lot of money.  Here’s what I mean…

Last Friday, I managed to talk darling hubby into stopping by Archiver’s on the way home from work.  (It’s conveniently located near a Lowe’s, so he could do some “manly” shopping while I looked at silly paper stuff.  I’m crazy about my hubby… but he really doesn’t understand my passion for crafting.)  Anyway, I found a few things I just had to have (of course) before hubby showed up to drag me away.  At the counter, the friendly sales clerk said that they were offering a special – spend at least $40.00 and get one of four scrapbook kits for only $2.50.  Well, I was already spending over $40.00 (like I was going to walk in and *not* spend any money?), so I looked at the kits.  One of them caught my fancy, and for $2.50, I figured I couldn’t lose.  Here’s the kit:

bcc050913-cIt includes 12 sheets of nice, thick double-sided patterned paper from the Miss Caroline collection by My Mind’s Eye, 3 adhesive pearl shapes, a page of small layered stickers, three tags, and 20 yards of yellow/white baker’s twine.  I figured the baker’s twine alone was probably worth $2.50.  As it turns out, I actually rather like some of these papers.

For my card, I took six different designs, cut off 1/2″ strips, inked all the edges with Hero Arts Butter Bar mid-tone shadow ink, and adhered them to a piece of scrap paper.  The tag design was cut from one of the patterned papers, and matted on some yellow Bazzill.  I added an eyelet from my stash, and tied a bow with that nice baker’s twine, then attached to a Bazzill card base with some foam adhesive.  Everything came from the kit, except for one piece of Bazzill cardstock, the ink, the eyelet, and the adhesive.  Not bad, when you consider how many of these I could put together from this one kit!

I must confess to being addicted to paper-crafting supplies… and I have a well-stocked craft room to prove it.  But you don’t need all of the latest tools and gadgets to make a nice-looking card.  This is a great technique for using up those old scraps, or for those paper pads you can’t find a use for. (And it’s a lot of fun to put together, too!)

a bashful hello



Want to know what happens when a bashful, OCD, slightly schizophrenic, vaguely crafty, over-worked office manager has a mid-life crisis?  Well, apparently, she leaves all her other hobbies and passions behind, and decides to devote her life to card-making.  If you’re curious to see how that’s working out, stick around and I’ll share my adventures in card-making with you.

As this saga unfolds, I’ll try to share with you as many of my cards as time allows.  I’ll share the products and tools I used to create them (when I can remember or identify them), as well as tips and tricks… okay, more like “learn from my mistakes” type advise.  And maybe a silly story or two about my dysfunctional life… and maybe a little about my challenges in trying to create this blog.  (I’m new to this whole WordPress thing… and definitely figuring it all out the hard way.)

Anyway, as for the above card: the red cardstock base is Bazzill.  The background patterned paper is Basic Grey, (Granola).  The red patterned paper is from a DCWV Mat stack (Classic Coordinating Prints and Cardstock).  The newsprint flags were all hand-cut, after punching the letters with Sizzix Sizzlets “Girls are Weird” alpha set.  (Sorry, lost track of the maker of the newsprint paper.)  The stamps on the background are from Autumn Leaves Flourishes V1 by Rhona Farrer.

This card really doesn’t require much explanation.  The hardest part was hand-cutting those flags.  There are, of course, easier ways to do this, but I didn’t have any punches or dies for it.  If you really want to try this yourself, I would suggest: to create a “flag template” so they all end up the same size (you really don’t want to know what the first few flags looked like) ; to punch out the letter “before” you cut out the flags so you can center them (yes, I learned that the hard way); and to figure out whether the number of flags you’ll need for your word will fit on the card size you plan to make (as my hubby would say, “measure twice and cut once”.  Did I do that?  Of course not.)

If you have any questions, or suggestions, or you just want to say “hi”, feel free to leave a comment.  (Hopefully I can figure out how this comment thingy works…)