Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dig into Your Echo Park Stash for Three Easy Projects


Don't you love the bright colors in those photos?  The photos are teasers for the three projects in this post.  The great thing about these projects (well, besides the lovely colors and patterns) is that they are very versatile.  You can make them with any of the Echo Park papers and stickers that you have in your stash, because all of the Echo Park lines are easy to mix and match.  It's nice to have easy projects like this in the summer, when life gets busy.  So, without further ado, here are the three projects: a framed gift, a music-themed 12x12" layout, and a set of book club bookmarks.  Let's get started!

supplies: assorted Echo Park papers and stickers, frame with multiple openings, embroidery floss (DMC), punch (All Night Media), pen (Zig), adhesive tabs (3M)

First up is the gift item--a collage frame.  I made this framed piece as a Father's Day gift for my husband, but you could make it for any holiday.   Just choose photos and products that coordinate with your theme.  Here is a step-by-step tutorial:  
  1. Pick up a frame with multiple openings from your favorite retailer.  (These are easy to find at any shop that sells picture frames--you can grab one on your next trip to Target, WalMart, or Hallmark.)  
  2. Take apart the pieces of the frame.  Place the front of the frame on a piece of scrap paper and with a pencil lightly trace around the perimeter of each opening.  Cut out the shapes you have traced--these will be your templates for sizing your photos and embellishments.   
  3. Choose photos to fill some of the openings.  To trim each photo to size, hold one of the templates from step two against the back of the photo.  Hold the photo up to a light source (a lamp or a sunny window) and position the template where you want it.  Lightly trace the template shape onto the back of the photo.  Now you are ready to cut the photo to size, but do not cut on your traced lines.  Instead, cut around the traced shape, leaving about a half-centimeter margin all around the shape.  
  4. Choose embellishments to fill the remaining openings in the frame.  Because the different lines of Echo Park papers all coordinate so well, you can mix and match, choosing any scraps from your stash that you like.  I used a journaling block and fussy-cut stars from the "Little Boy" line, mini letter stickers from "Everybody Loves Christmas," large letter stickers from "Playground," and assorted patterned and solid papers from "Splash."   
  5. Cut out your paper to fill the remaining spaces in your frame (using the same process you used to cut your photos).  Add the embellishments to the papers and photos.  (I did a bit of embroidery, punching, and doodling, but you can use any embellishment techniques you like).
  6. Position the photos and papers in the frame, and use adhesive tabs to tape everything into place on the back of the frame.  The photo below shows how the back of the frame will look at this stage.  Don't worry--the front will look much prettier than the back!  :)

    To finish your project, carefully peel the backing off the adhesive tabs and put your frame back together.  The adhesive tabs will hold everything in place.  Voila, you're done!

    Here's one more look at the finished product (below):

    Now let's move on to the music-themed layout (photo below).  Everyone loves music, and writing about a person's musical tastes is a great way to journal on a layout.  This layout also features some artsy painting techniques, but you don't need to be an artist to pull them off.  The painting on this layout is supposed to look messy, so anyone can do it.  :)  I used acrylic paint, but you could easily substitute any of the spray inks that are so popular in the scrapbooking world at the moment.  You can also switch up the colors to match your photos.  I used shades of orange, but you can use any colors you like.

    supplies: orange cardstock (Echo Park Summer Days line), orange patterned paper (Echo Park Little Boy line), button paper (the flipside of the orange patterned paper), white cardstock (American Crafts), large and small letter stickers (both from the Echo Park Playground line), washcloth, orange border sticker (Echo Park Little Girl line), white paint (Deco Art), orange paint (Plaid), paint brush, emery board or distressing tool, notebook paper and pen, your favorite adhesive and/or glue stick.  Color inspiration: the Color Room palette # 62.

    Here is how to put together this type of layout:

    1.  Choose photographs from different times in a person's life.  (I chose photos of my husband.).  Mat the photos on the orange patterned paper.  Add mini-letter captions.  Distress the edges of the photo mats.  (I used an emery board, but you can also buy a special tool for this at your local crafts/scrapbook store, if you prefer.) 

    2.  Use large letter stickers to spell out your title at the bottom of a sheet of white cardstock.  (See photo below).  You don't need to worry about the color of the letter stickers, because you will remove them later.  Before putting your stickers on the cardstock, stick each one briefly to a clean, dry washcloth.  The resulting light layer of fuzz on the back of the sticker will make it easier to remove later.

     3.  Tear a strip from the top of the white cardstock, and place it under the bottom edge of the cardstock.  Use a painbrush to cover the bottom three inches of the white cardstock with orange paint.  The torn strip will help to keep you from accidentally painting your work surface.  Then, cover the rest of the cardstock with random streaks of orange paint.  (See photo below.)

    4.  Wait for the paint to dry completely.  While you wait, you can do your journaling on notebook paper.  I love to write, so I wrote three paragraphs of text, but if you prefer you could simply make a bullet-points list of favorite songs/bands from different periods of your subject's life.  There is no right or wrong way to do this journaling.  (See photos below.)

    5.  When the paint is completely dry, carefully remove the stickers to reveal the white letters.

    6.  Now it's time to start assembling the layout.  First, trim a strip with the title from the painted cardstock and adhere it near the bottom of the orange cardstock.  Layer the matted photos above the title strip, letting them overlap.  Tuck the remainder of the painted cardstock behind the row of photos and use this cardstock as a mat for your journaling pages.  You can use any sort of adhesive to stick all these items down, but I have found that a glue stick works best for tacking down the notebook pages.

    7.  Now you get to embellish!  First, add the border sticker along the top of your journaling.  Next, cut a free-hand heart from a scrap of the orange patterned paper.  Crumple the heart, distress the creases, flatten the heart back out, and adhere it on the center of the border sticker.  Finally, fussy-cut a button from the button-patterned paper and adhere it to the heart.

    8.  Now you get to put the final touches on your layout with paint.  This is really fun!  Anywhere you want to add a special touch to your layout, apply a little paint.  You can drip it onto the layout, dab it on with a paintbrush or your fingers, or use the cap of the paint bottle to stamp circles of paint.  I used all these techniques, and I enjoyed the process a lot.  Let these last bits of paint dry, and you are done!  Here is one more look at the finished layout (below):

    Last up is the set of bookmarks.  Summer is a great time for relaxing with a good book, and many people--both kids and adults--join book clubs for the summer.  Why not surprise the members of your book club with personalized bookmarks?

    Here is how the fronts of the bookmarks look (below):

    Supplies: assorted Echo Park papers and stickers, corner rounder (Creative Memories), hole punch (Acco), assorted fibers (DMC).

    And here's a photo of the reverse side (below):

    I made these with the "Borders" paper from Echo Park's "Summer Days" line (below).  The great thing about the "Borders" paper is that the strips are the perfect size for making bookmarks.

    Here is how to make these bookmarks:

    1.  Cut 2"x5" strips of paper--one strip for each bookmark.  Round the corners of each strip, and use a standard office hole punch to punch the holes for the tassels.

    2.  Cut out an ice cream cone for each bookmark.  Mat the ice cream cones with small rectangles of colored paper.  I made my mats with the thick colored strips from the top of the "Borders" paper.

    3.  Cut small rectangles of paper from the blue B-side of the "Borders" paper.  Personalize each rectangle with an alphabet sticker.  I used the alphabet stickers from Echo Park's "Everybody Loves Christmas" line.  Yep, that's right, Christmas stickers on summer bookmarks!  See what I mean about Echo Park's different lines being perfect for mixing and matching?  :)

    4.  Adhere an ice cream cone rectangle and a monogram rectangle on each bookmark.  Let these rectangles overlap.  Add a dot sticker at the bottom of each cluster.  I used dot stickers from the "Playground" alphabet.

    5.  Flip your bookmarks over to the blue side.  Embellish each bookmark with the phrase "Summer Fun" from the "Borders" Paper.  Use mini alphabet stickers to spell out the words "book club."  I used a variety of mini alphabet stickers--pink (from "Little Girl"), yellow (from "Springtime"), and green (from "Playground").

    6.  Last but not least, use embroidery floss or bits of ribbon to create the tassels for each bookmark.  With the variety of colors in Echo Park papers, you are sure to have some fibers in your stash that will work in the tassels.  I used DMC floss colors 3706 (peach), 947 (orange), 726 (yellow), 3346 (green), 931 (blue), 603 (pink), 794 (lilac), and 712 (cream)...but you could use any colors that your heart desires.

    That's it!  Thanks for looking at my projects.  I hope that they have inspired you to do some fun, easy-breezy summer crafting.  I'll leave you with one last photo of the finished bookmarks.

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Reuse Greeting Cards

    Don't you hate to throw away the special greeting cards that you get from family and friends?  These cards can be so meaningful.  Why not include some on your scrapbook pages?  That way, you can keep them forever.

    Sometimes the pictures on the cards add that extra something special to your page.  On the layout below, I included a stack of cards that I got for my birthday this year.  The colors and design of the card on the top of the stack really add a lot to the page.

    Supplies: lavender cardstock (Wausau Paper), white cardstock (American Crafts), chipboard flowers and butterflies (DCWV), border stickers (Doodlebug Design), journaling spots and alpha-numeric stickers (all from Echo Park), page protector (Office Max Archival Heavyweight Sheet Protector), adhesive (Scrapbook Adhesives by 3L for lightweight items, Glue Dots International for heavier items).  I also used a mechanical pencil to outline my alpha-numeric stickers, in order to help them stand out. 

    Other times, it's the words on cards that give extra meaning to your layouts.  My cat, Tina, died last autumn, and I thought that the quote on the sympathy card on this page was a perfect memorial to her (see below).

    Supplies: white cardstock (American Crafts), assorted patterned paper (all from October Afternoon), yellow cardstock (Wausau Paper), light blue cardstock (Bazzill), assorted label and alpha-numeric stickers (all from October Afternoon), adhesive (3L and Glue Dots International), page protector (Office Max Archival Heavyweight Sheet Protector), pen (Zig).

    The quote on the card reads: "We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.  Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.  We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan.--Irving Townsend."  My journaling on the layout reads: "We lost Tina suddenly on September 4, 2010.  She died of a rare disease called autoimmune thrombocytopenia.  We miss our angel."  It's a sad layout, but it's precious to our family in that it preserves our memories of our dear pet.

    Whether you're using greeting cards to add pictures or words to a layout, make sure to protect your project from any acid that may be in the cards.  In both the example pages in this post, I trimmed down plastic sheet protectors and placed my cards in them.  I adhered the sheet protectors to my pages, knowing that the plastic would create a barrier between the cards and the layouts.

    Thanks for taking a look at my pages!

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    Green Solidarity

    Fate was smiling on me this month.  I discovered a newly-formed group that encompasses all the things I love: paper crafts, international friendship, service to others, and green living!  The name of the group is Scrap for Help, and their web site is

    Each month Scrap for Help issues a challenge to create a craft project of your choice that incorporates two specific repurposed items. This month, participants are to use bubble wrap and flags in their projects.  The Scrap for Help team and guest designer Iris Babao Uy all created sample projects to get your creative juices flowing.  Check out the sample projects here.

    Scrap for Help will also announce a charity project each month.  This month, they are spotlighting an organization in Brazil that provides various services to children in need.  The group is looking for donations of large-sized colored pencils and packs of xerox/printer paper for use in children's occupational therapy.  To learn how to donate, check out this post.

    Here is my project (below), a card with the sentiment "Celebrate Life."  I used a scrap of bubble-wrap stamped paper that was left over from a different project, and a flag that I saved from a bakery cupcake.  The colors on the flag didn't match those in my stamped paper, so I covered the flag with a Bo-Bunny sentiment sticker and rounded out the design with more scraps from Bo-Bunny and Fancy Pants papers.

    Supplies: card base (Yours Truly), navy blue and light green cardstock (both from The Paper Company), top and bottom strips of patterned paper (both from Fancy Pants), all other patterned papers (Bo-Bunny Press), stickers (all from Bo-Bunny Press), orange paint (Plaid), white paint (Deco Art), bubble wrap, flag from a cupcake, ribbon scrap.  I traced the edge of a plate to achieve the curve of the navy blue cardstock.

    Each month, participants in Scrap for Help are eligible to win a prize.  This month, the prize is a kit from Nikki Sivils.  Again, see the Scrap for Help site for more details.

    Here's to solidarity!

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Steampunk Recycled Tea Tray

    Did the title of this post get your attention?  The same artist who makes charms out of old filing cabinets, whom I mentioned in a previous post, also makes keyhole charms out of old silver tea trays.  I think they look a bit steampunk, especially when paired with key embellishments, as in the card below.

    supplies: card base (Yours Truly), keyhole charm (Cathy Collison,, bottle cap and circular embellishments (Bottle Cap Inc.), fussy-cut flourish (Creative Imaginations), patterned papers (all from My Mind's Eye), heart template (Fiskars), faux typewriter keys (Graphic 45), twill number stickers (All My Memories), die cut (Ellison), fabric (vintage linen), ink (Clearsnap), corner rounder (Creative Memories), thread (DMC), pen (Zig).

    To demystify the meaning of this card... I made it for my husband, Scott, for our thirteenth wedding anniversary (hence the initials "S & D" and the number "13").  He hold the key to my heart... now and for always.  :)  Thanks for looking!

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Use Old Jewelry on Layouts

    This cross pendant (above) was a gift from a Russian friend.  I used to wear it on a regular basis.  I even wore it for my wedding; it was my "something blue."  However, over the years I find myself wearing it less and less.  Even though I seldom wear it, I do not want this treasured pendant just sitting at the bottom of my jewelry box, collecting dust.  I have been keeping my eye out for a way to incorporate this cross into a craft project, and the opportunity finally presented itself when I created this page, "Restoration" (below).

    Supplies: blue cardstock (TPC), white cardstock (American Crafts), bittersweet cardstock (Colorbok), rub-ons (Heidi Grace), cross patterned paper (Flair Designs), geometric patterned paper (My Mind's Eye), journaling block (Bo-Bunny Press), circular page accents (Bottle Cap Inc.), butterfly sticker (Upikit), ribbon (Berwick Offray), pen (Zig), corner punch (Creative Memories).  This page was created for palette #53 on the Color Room site.

    The journaling reads: "During Soviet times religion was officially illegal, so Russia's many beautiful churches languished.  But now they're being restored to their former glory--inside and out--which is great to see.  The church with the support beams around it is from the 12th century!"    You'll find a close-up photo of the journaling block below.

     Before I go, here are a few more notes about this layout:

    *These photos were all taken in 1995 in the city of Novgorod, which is a bit south of Saint Petersburg (formerly Leningrad).  If you ever visit Russia on vacation, and if you like old churches, I highly recommend a side-trip to Novgorod.  By now the restoration of these churches is probably complete, and I am sure they must look absolutely stunning.

    * I made my own patterned paper by applying leftover alpha-numeric rub-ons to the white cardstock.  This was a win-win situation, in that I used up some odd, leftover rub-ons (you know, those letters like X, Q, and Z, that always seem to be left over) and jazzed up my plain white cardstock at the same time.

    *Since I could not be sure whether the cross pendant is photo-safe, I made sure not to let it touch my photos.  This particular pendant is very light, so I was able to adhere it with 3L adhesive tabs.  If you try using vintage jewelry on your pages, you may need to use a stronger adhesive to adhere heavier items.

    I am so happy that my special pendant is no longer languishing in the bottom of my jewelry box.  Instead, it has a place of honor on one of my scrapbook layouts.  Thanks for looking! 

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Shaping Up

    Supplies: teal patterned paper (BasicGrey), blue and grey cardstock (Bazzill), green paper stars (Bo-Bunny Press), acid-free Kraft notebook paper (Earthbound), rocket template (October Afternoon), flowers and gems (Petaloo), label stickers (October Afternoon), thread (DMC), chipboard stars (DCWV), blue alphabet stickers (BasicGrey), round teal alphabet stickers (Heidi Grace Designs), template for journaling lines (Creative Memories), black pen (Zig), teal pen (Sakura Gelly Roll).  This page was created for palette #61 on the Color Room site.

    Personal die-cutting systems are extremely popular right now.  If you are trying to live green, though, you might have resisted buying a die-cutter.  They are big machines, which means that they take a lot of resources to manufacture and ship.  Many are also electronic, requiring a power source in order to function.  I am one of those people who has so far resisted buying a die-cutting machine.

    Please do not misunderstand me.  There is nothing intrinsically wrong with these machines.  If you own one and love one, that is great.  But for those people who chose not to buy a die-cutting machine, here are some ideas for other ways to make cool shapes out of paper.

    One idea is to trace around a shaped object.  Trace it on the back of your paper, then cut carefully on the traced lines.  For my "Sci-Fi Family" layout, I traced around a chipboard rocket shape to create the spaceship that houses my title (above).  Of course, I could have just used the chipboard rocket, but I'm saving it for a mini-album, which will appear in another post on this blog.

    Another idea is to fussy-cut shapes from patterned paper.  That is how I got the green stars I used for each family member's initial (above).

    This layout is a bit unusual, in that it has no photographs.  Our family loves science fiction, and I try to create at least one layout per year about this hobby.  Sometimes journaling can tell the story better than photos can (above).

    I had so much fun creating the "trail" of the rocket (above).  Until a few weeks ago, I had never tried hand-sewing on scrapbook pages.  Now, I seem to be growing quite addicted to sewing on my pages.  I did not use any sort of template to plan my stitching on this layout--I just eyeballed it, for a natural look.  Combining the stitching with chipboard and gems was also fun!

    Before I go, here is one last detail shot (below).  I love the way that this October Afternoon label sticker combines apple green and grey--two quite different colors.   I used it to add a little, encouraging message at the bottom of my layout.  Sometimes, it's the little things that matter most.  :)

    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    Sewing Scraps as Page Embellishments

    In a previous post I wrote about using scrapbooking scraps in sewing projects.  Since then, I have been wondering about doing the opposite.  That is, I have been wanting to try turning sewing scraps into page embellishments.  I finally tried it yesterday, and it was a lot of fun.

    Here is how it came about.  October Afternoon was having a challenge on their blog to create a layout about food.  I decided to take the challenge, and I picked my wedding cake as the subject of my layout.  Since the cake was decorated with red roses, I knew I wanted to use a lot of red on my page.  I remembered that I had some red embroidery floss left over from a Valentine's Day project, and some red buttons left over from a Christmas project, so I decided to use them on my layout.  I know that using embroidery floss and buttons is not a new concept in scrapbooking, but it is something that I personally do not usually do.  So, this was a good way for me to stretch my creativity.  The resulting page (below) is called "Red Roses."

    Supplies: patterned paper (all from October Afternoon), embroidery floss (DMC), red buttons (Blumenthal Lansing), cream buttons (October Afternoon), red cardstock (The Paper Company), white cardstock (American Crafts), faux playing card (October Afternoon), faux ledger paper (October Afternoon), journaling sticker (October Afternoon), die-cutting aparatus (Ellison), red pen (Zig), adhesive (3M and Glue Dots International).

    The journaling reads: "Red roses, the symbol of love, were the perfect decoration for our cake."

    Since I cannot be sure that buttons meant for sewing projects are acid-free/archival quality, I kept them away from the photos (below).

    The same goes for the embroidery floss--I made sure it did not actually touch any photos (below). 

    Before I go, here is one more look at the wedding cake itself (below). The photos I used on this layout were all taken with disposable cameras at my wedding reception (as was the norm for weddings in the 1990's), so the quality of the photos is not great.  Still, these pictures mean a lot to me, and I was happy to finally get some of them scrapped.  And now I'm hungry for cake.  :)

    Thanks for looking!  Have a great weekend.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    Bloom: Digi-Hybrid Layout

    Spring is my favorite season, and I usually end up with lots of spring photos.  I've been just dying to scrap some of my recent photos of blossoms.  So, when the Color Room announced its latest palette (Number 60) was a grouping of pastel colors, I decided that this would be the week to scrap my spring blossom photos.  Since I recently posted about digi-hybrid cards, I decided that this layout would also be digi-hybrid.  Here it is (below)!

    Supplies: dark pink and light pink cardstock (Echo Park), light green cardstock (Bazzill), software (digiKam and, chipboard circles (DCWV), label stickers (My Mind's Eye), alphabet stickers (Echo Park), flowers (Petaloo), fussy-cut "be yourself" paper (Pink Paislee), fussy-cut tree (Bo-Bunny Press), border punch (EK Success), adhesive (3M & Glue Dots International), color inspiration (The Color Room #60).

    Since I had so many photos I wanted to fit on the page, I created a photo collage at  That web site offers many sizes and styles of collages, and it is easy to use.  I also wanted to give my self-portrait a little special treatment, so I added a lavender border to it in digiKam, my photo-management program.  By the way, I like this self-portrait much better than my silly Mister Roboto one in my recycled bead post .  :)

    Everything else on the page is made traditionally (as opposed to digitally).  I was so in love with the pale pink color that I did some tone-on-tone work (below), just so that I could have more pink on my page.  :)

    As an extra, whimsical touch, I used flowers instead of stickers for the two O's in the word "bloom" (below).  :)

    I mostly wanted to let the photos speak for themselves in this layout, so there is not much journaling.  The only bit is on the tag sticker at the bottom.  There I wrote: "Last year I was sick in bed during spring.  This year I made sure not to miss spring!"  I cannot believe how quickly spring flew by this year, but I sure am glad that I got to enjoy it and photograph it.  It's hard to believe that summer is already here, but I'm glad that it is.  Here in Minnesota we had a long, cold, snowy, winter, so I'm really ready for hot weather now.  Hope you're having nice weather where you live.  Thanks for stopping by to look at my layout!