Friday, 27 April 2012

MIA... Apolgies... been a bit busy!!

Not sure how this post will turn out as it seems blogger has changed everything around since the last time I posted and I don't seem to be able to find anything I want!  My Granny had a saying... 'if it aint broke, don't fix it'... wish the Blogger blokes would take a note of that!!
Anyways, the new carpet and flooring is now down and looking all new and fresh, it was a nightmare of a task and I would like to point out to anyone crazy enough to do such a thing to think ahead as to where they are going to put all their furniture and belongings whilst this mammoth task goes ahead!!  We have a basement... so Chris and I boxed everything that was lose and moved all the smaller bits of furniture (and some bigger bits) down there... but yes, we were having the basement re-carpetted too but I told the guys that they would have to do the top two floors first and then do the basement carpet on the last day once we had a chance to put things back into the 'done' areas.  See, good planning eh? ;)  Hmmmm, end of day one they had completed the carpets in the bedrooms and lounge and part of the stairs and tell me they are doing the basement next!!  Just to compound the problem... it was the warmest day of the year here in Calgary... a lovely bright sunny/hot 27 degrees C!!  I have never moved so many boxes in such a short space of time in my life... and people that know this blog know that I am pretty good around boxes... have had plenty of practice!!
Here's our bedroom all nice and new again.
The kitchen and dining area got laminate and it looks much better now.
The basement looks much bigger and lighter with the new carpet.
It was a busy week all round as we also went to Fluor's 100th Year Celebration and Pin Party.
Chris and I all dressed up for the Fluor Annual Party.  I have to admit I thought it was strange that it started at 2.30 in the afternoon... with dinner at 7 p.m. and dancing after that... something should have made me question this... but it said there was presentation and such like all afternoon so I took my cocktail dress along so I could change for the later evening event and my friend Odelia let me use her hotel room to get changed in.  We arrived fashionably late just before 3 p.m. and were handed a glass of champagne and urged to take our seats at our tables... which we did.  Now, those not in the know, will not realise that Fluor's head office is in Houston, Texas.... all the other places we work from are home offices for the various different countries and there are quite a few of them as you may realise from our constant moving about!  Thus the 2.30 p.m. start time... they were trying to accommodate all the different time zones... because someone had the brainwave that they have the party in Houston and we all get to watch in live-ish via video link!! 
 Yep, I got all gussied up to sit on a dining chair for THREE HOURS watching the peeps in Houston have a lovely party!!  Now how is that for economising? LOL  Nope, the economising didn't stop there... we had tables of 8 and on said table was a water jug and two plates of crackers with bits on them... the crackers had obviously been there a lot longer than we had as they had that interesting bendy texture to them that crackers get when you put cheese and stuff on them too far ahead of a time. :(   So, we all sat with our champagne, yep, the original glass we got when arriving... and bendy crackers... and a jug of water... for 3 hours.  Nobody came with juice, tea or coffee... coffee would have been good as I nodded off at one point and a bag of crisps would have been welcomed with open arms and we sat and watched all the lovely celebratory things going on in Houston... speeches and acrobats and more speeches and a new soundtrack that would have suited an Alfred Hitchcock movie that was composed and conducted for the 100 year anniversary by a young 19 year old that was well paid for what he did. ;)    At 6.15 they released us and our now very flat buttocks from the dining room for 'cocktail' hour... stuff the cocktails, judging by what had been on offer up to this point... we all took off to the hotel to get changed and raided the VIP lounge for some decent food and a fruit juice.
We then went back to the same table for dinner... and the food was very good and I can't really complain about the fact that my steak was red in the middle as it would have been an impossible task to feed 1500 people all with different steak cookedness and the dessert was lovely and YAY... look, I finally got something with 100 year of Fluor on it to scrap... nope... even I, who will scrap almost anything can't really scrap a chocolate wafer... so I ate it!!  The pin party was good... it's always nice to see people get their service pin for the number of years they have worked for the company and our friend Bruce went up for his 30 year pin.  Chris has worked for Fluor for 38 years of those 100 years... but you only get a pin for multiples of five... so he has to wait another two years for his 40 year pin. (after my moaning I probably won't get an invite to that one)... LOL
If you have got this far... give yourself an award!! I ordered some stuff off Etsy a while back and it arrived a few days ago... took 3 weeks to get here from Hong Kong and inside the parcel I find these...
and yes, I did order them... what I need to know is why did I order them?  What brainwave did I have that required little cupie dolls with no clothes on?  Any ideas?  Answers please on a postcard...

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

WOYWW 18th April 2012

This is my desk this week, 9 little sets of book covers for an altered jigsaw swap I am in!!  The theme is the Queen's Jubilee so I just need to put the pages together and finish them off...
and this is the state of play with the scrap room at the moment... yep, halfway through the packing up bit, which I hate to do... but the men come next week to lay new flooring in every room of the house and they don't want any 'stuff' about...
This is the pile of boxes of the scrap stuff I have managed to pack so far... I think it may end up double that number before I finish... then I need to do the other rooms!!  Eeeeek!!  We are putting the cats into the cattery for four days so they don't escape while the flooring gets ripped up and replaced... :(  
I haven't let them in on that little titbit yet....
though Pandy has her suspicions....

Monday, 9 April 2012

Matchbox for a Dear Friend

I am supposed to be making a card for an old friend who is very ill but we all know that I don't actually 'do' cards and I didn't want to send her a 'get well' card as I know she isn't going to. :(  So as the matchbox templates were sitting on the side of my desk I thought I would have a play and see what happened.  I have added the Tim Holtz birdcage to the front and cut out the piece behind it so that you can look inside the box.

Lots of pretty bits for a lovely lady who always had her make-up done and her clothes looking very nice, who always had time to sit with an awkward teenager and talk about anything and everything, who bought me my first bottle of 'proper' perfume.  I hope she likes it.

Friday, 6 April 2012

The Less Patient Book Tutorial

The Less Patient Book Tutorial
Before we begin I would like to point out that I have called this the Less Patient Secret Book because I knew I would never have the patience to do this wonderful book by Randi Parkhurst which inspired me to make the first one which can be seen here. Chris, my husband, says I am misleading people as peeps (meaning moi) with no patience would not attempt to tackle this once let alone twice to write a tutorial for it... he is completely wrong... I am just bloody minded enough not to let it beat me, so I hope you won't too!!  

This version uses the Sizzix Matchbox Die and the measurements will suit only that.  If you choose to use a large household matchbox as I did in the original version, you will need to adjust the measurements accordingly but the method will be the same.  I have used the Sizzix matchboxes because I know the measurements will be the same for everyone whilst the large household matchboxes vary in size from country to country.  If bribed enough with large consignments of chocolate or Twiglets I may be persuaded to make a tutorial for the smaller version with measurements... I said 'may' but I won't return the Twiglets or chocolate and I am going to be a little busy for the next couple of months packing up the house and moving back home to the UK.
 You will need the following: 
2 sets of the Sizzix Matchbox templates.
2 small matchboxes
A couple of brads and eyelets
Drawer handles or knobs
Waxed thread in 4 ply and 2 ply.  (You can use cotton thread/embroidery thread and run it over a wax candle)
Embellishments, ribbons, buttons etc for decorating.
Patterned Papers - I have used Weekend Market by BoBunny and a couple of pieces of Authentique.
Chipboard in these sizes:

3 pieces 8” x 5 ¼” = covers A
2 pieces 4 ¾” x 3 ¼” = covers B ( plus 1 piece 3 ¼” x 2 2/8”)
2 pieces 1 1/8” x 5” = covers C
2 pieces 3 ¼” x 2 ½” = covers D
2 pieces 3 ¼” x 1 ¾” = covers E
2 pieces  2 1/8” x ½” = covers F
4 pieces 1 ¾” x 1 1/8”  = covers G & H

15 A4 or letter sized sheets of copy paper. (You will only need these if you choose to use the same papers for pages as I did.  Alternatively you could use cardstock or patterned papers but be aware that on the smaller books the thinner the paper the easier it will be to work with).

If you wish to have the same distressed look to your papers then you can use this tutorial to achieve the look.

Page Sizes for the Books 
(You do not need to cut these immediately, the info is here for you to refer back to later)

Cover A Page Size = 10” x 7 ¾”                                    { 8 }
Cover B Page Size =  5” x 3”                                         { 8 }
Covers C Page Size = 5” x 3 ¼”                                    { 10 }
Covers D Page Sizes = 3 ½ x 3 1/8”                              { 12 }
Covers E Page Sizes = 3 ½” x 3”                                   { 12 }
Covers F Page Sizes = 4” x 6/8”                                    {  7 }
Covers  G & H Page Sizes = 2” x 1 ½”                          { 16 }

NB.  All these are folded in half to make the pages so the actual number of pages is doubled.

Cut out and make up the two matchboxes.
 If you have the Matchbox die then I would glue patterned paper to one side prior to cutting out the inner section as this will save you having to decorate the insides after it is made up.  I don’t have the die and was kindly supplied the templates from a friend so added my papers to the inside after making them up.
Cover the outside of the matchboxes with strips of paper.  You will need 4 pieces 5 ¼” x 2 ½”
Using patterned paper cover one side of each of the 3 chipboard Covers A. 
One of these is the base and only the bottom of it will show because the two matchboxes sit on the other side of it.  
The other two are the covers of the top book so choose papers that you want on the front of your book but keep in mind that very little of the back cover will actually show.  Sand all the edges smooth and ink if you wish.

Take the base cover A and place it with the patterned paper facing down on your work surface. Arrange the 2 Sizzix matchboxes onto it, lining them up with the two outer edges.  
You will notice there is a small strip in the centre that shows so cut a piece of patterned paper to cover that section before you attach your matchboxes into place with double sided tape (DST).
Now take the back cover of your cover A’s and place on the top.  Adhere it with DST.  This firms up the structure so you can now proceed to finishing the top book off.

Make the pages for your main book.  I have supplied a tutorial for making the distressed  coffee paper here.
 The pages are 10” x 7 ¾” and I used 8 for my book.  Distress and ink the edges. I have stamped various images and done embossing on mine.  
Bind the pages together.  I used this tutorial which is great and easy to follow for binding the pages.
I chose to reinforce the edges of my large pages with some patterned papers for two reasons, one the papers that I used have a wonderful crackle and olde worlde effect and I didn't want them to tear when I sewed the bindings, the other is that with the additional fatness on the spine I am able to add some bits to the pages with some depth without making it difficult to close.  You can skip this if you prefer.
Getting the pages ready for binding by making holes in them all for the waxed thread.
This is what it should look like when you are binding the seams.
and the finished set of pages all sewn together.
You can now see how much of the chipboard you will need to cover with offcuts of patterned paper.  
Using DST on the front and back pages attach the pages to the inside of the front cover and the top of the box with the drawers.
You will need to cover the back of the drawers section.  I cut a piece of chipboard and papered it leaving extra pieces each end to attach it to the base of the book. 
 I added a couple of dabs of hot glue to the centre section to make sure it stayed in place.

If you need to make the patterned paper inserts for the matchboxes... now would be a good time to do it.  Add your handles to the front of the drawers, these could be knobs, handles ,ribbons  knotted on the inside or beading... anything you like.
I had a couple of 7Gypsies drawer type handles handy and used them.
Now using patterned paper cover the other chipboard pieces  (C,D,E,F, G and H) with papers... both sides as they are small and don’t use much paper.  Sand the edges and ink if you wish. Leave covers B and the other piece for the moment. 

Cut the pages for your 6 little books.  Yep, a couple of them are pretty teeny weeny so do them last from the offcuts of the other ones. 
I have added the number of pages I used on each book in brackets after the page sizes above but if you are using other papers that may be thicker you will need to reduce the number of pages so that the books don’t get too fat to fit in their spots... been there and done that and it is not fun at all!! 

The page sizes are at the top of the tutorial and the number in brackets is how many pages I used.

Now you can bind all the little books... I have used 4 ply waxed linen thread on the big book and 2 ply on the smaller books  and I’m going to go lie down in a dark room while you do it... About half way through binding the first couple I took a break and went and watched Criminal Minds... thinking it might give me ideas on how to get revenge on the peeps that begged for a tutorial.  Two thirds through the pile I resorted to wearing my reading specs... and I never wear my reading specs!!  Lots of cups of tea to keep you going.... ignore the sherry... it would not be a good idea at this stage... you can have a sherry when we are finished...

So now you have this awesome pile of various sized books... please sit and look at them and be chuffed to bits... now we have to finish making their homes!!

Taking Covers B and the other piece of chipboard and your two small matchboxes...  In the original Book of Little Patience I used the large household matchboxes and the sizes were smaller so there is only one matchbox on the end.  When I came to make up this version I suddenly found I had much more space to fill... well, what’s a girl to do??  Yes, we are going to replicate the big version!! 
Attach the little matchboxes to the base leaving a small gap in the centre.  Attach the piece of chipboard 3 ¼” x 2 2/8” to the top of them. 
You know that teeny weeny book you made earlier that when you were putting it together you were saying things like whisky tangy foxtrot and Annette is totally mental?  If you did what I said,  it should fit in the gap perfectly.... if you didn’t do as I said, it probably won’t! ;)
 I couldn’t think of anything practical to do with this midget of a book so I just added my signature to the pages and dated it. 

Now you can see why the pages you cut for this book didn’t seem to be the correct size... they are shorter because the matchboxes take up a section of the space.
Cover the inside of the two little matchboxes... and no, I don’t have a really easy way of doing this, I just sit the matchbox on a piece of patterned paper and score around it gently... then remove the matchbox and make proper score lines on the inside of my gentle ones so that it is smaller than the matchbox.  Snip each of the four corners, fold up the sides and insert into place. 

Add a small piece of paper to the fronts of the matchboxes and attach a small brad for the drawer handles.
You can now add the two little books G & H to the drawers!!  Cute huh?

So you have the two large matchboxes... one has the larger book with the little matchboxes in it so now we need to make a home for the two little books D & E.  
You should already have the inside of the matchbox papered, if not, you can do it now.  Take a small piece of chipboard just a twitch under 3 ½” x 1” and cover it front and back with matching or contrasting patterned paper. This is the divider for your matchbox.  Place your two books into the matchbox and then place the divider between them.  Hot glue this into place. 
and now they all have a little place to live!!
Voila!!  You are finished!! Now you can go break out the sherry....

If you should have a problem and want me to help, please either leave a comment or email me and I will do what I can to explain better or suggest a solution.  If you do make a version, I would love for you to leave me a link so I can come and see it... otherwise I have spent two weeks making this and writing the tutorial for nothing... which would suck!! ;)

This tutorial is for personal use only and should not be taught without my prior permission or entered into magazines for publishing, I thank you for your co-operation.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

WOYWW 4th April 2012

Here we go again with the blog hop through the crafty desks of the world!!  If you aren't sure what I am talking about then you really need to pop over to the Keeper of the Desks and find out... and ask where you have been hiding yourself for the last couple of years!!
This is my desk at the moment... yes, you could say not a lot has changed since last week but honestly I have been working on the tutorial every spare moment!! Chris was home from site for a few days and left lunchtime to return to work, so hopefully I will get this finished in the next day or two... 
I have had to deal with plumbers installing new taps and sinks in the bathrooms... mannies coming to measure up the rooms for new carpets and floor coverings because we are putting the house on the market in a month ready for us to leave Canada in July/August.... so the nightmare begins... packing up my scrap room and selling all the furniture.... urgh... I am dreading it.  On the plus side, I am going home!!  It will be nice to be in my own home again... its been 4 years and I am ready... just got to get through the intervening nightmare, pack and arrange the shipping and go to Michaels and buy everything in sight because I won't have that anymore!! ;)

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Tutorial - How to Make Paper Look Olde Worlde

This is a tutorial on how to make your paper look and feel really old.
I start with plain copy paper... the sort you put in the printer. (I tend to do a batch of 10 sheets in a session and keep them for when I want to use them).
I do the process in my kitchen on the counter and cover the worktop with waxed paper. (coffee doesn't harm your worktop, the wax paper has a purpose later).
Mix up my witches brew of three or four large teaspoons of coffee into a cup and a paintbrush.
Paint the coffee over the surface of the papers... I do about 4 sheets at a time.  
Dry them with my hair dryer... I could use my heat gun but the hair dryer was up one flight of stairs and the heat gun was down two flights... both work equally well.
Turn the papers over and paint the coffee onto the other side. Wash, rinse and repeat until you have the desired depth of colour... I normally do it twice each side.
You can see what happens to the wax sheet below the papers... it gets sort of wrinkled and rippled... and it is soaked in coffee so when you place your dry sheets onto it you get a wonderful aged effect staining your pages.
See how the marks add to the effect?
By now you should also be noticing the other wonderful effect you are getting when you dry the papers... yep, they are stiff and crinkly and feel olde worlde... (I have used tea to dye papers and the colour is less deep and you don't get the crackly effect to the paper).
Now your papers are dry and the colour you want... you can add some spritzes of colour or drop ink onto..
and your cup that the coffee is in?  Plonk it down on the saturated wax paper and then make coffee rings on the edges of the papers.  
Now I take them all downstairs to the scrap room and rough up the edges, gently screw the page up into a ball, ink the pages and fold and unfold them, sand over spots to wear them thin and generally just have fun with stamps.

NB 1.  I have never attempted to put this paper in my printer... because of the crackle I think it would protest.  If you want to print on your paper then you are better off using tea to stain it and ironing it dry.. then you can place it in the printer without any problem.
NB 2.  The papers will smell of coffee... if this is not something you want, then place the papers into a zip up baggie with 2 tumble dryer sheets and leave them for a couple of nights... this removes the coffee odour.