Saturday, 14 April 2018

Floral Mini-Album Pt 9 Page 7

Recently I made a new mini-album, about my mum who died in December. I was unable to publish anything about this until now because it is a present for her best friend, who sometimes visits my blog, and I wanted it to be a surprise for her. I wrote a series of blog posts as I did each stage of the project, so I didn’t forget what I did, and they will be published in sequence now the project is finished and has been given to our friend.

If you want to see the finished project, please click here.

During this couple of sessions, I worked on page 7, which is predominantly turquoise and green to co-ordinate with page 6.

I had made the page with a simple, full-width pocket across the bottom. I began by matting the two sections, using paper from the stack, distressed with Forest Moss Distress Ink, and then created a flap, also matted and layered in the same way, and attached with a tab inside the cavity between pages 7 and 8. The piece of printed card I used for matting this had a touch of purple in it which I intended to bring out later on the page.

In the first photo you can see the flap closed, together with two small strips ready for making a retaining strap for the flap.

085 Page 7 Flap and Beginning Retaining Strap

The flap open.

086 Page 7 Flap Open

The materials for making the retaining strap, in this photo for both copies of the album. The white flower pieces and the small leaves were from my stash – these had been cut with my cutting machine, and in the case of the flowers, had not yet been coloured.

087 Page 7 Retaining Strap Materials

Colouring the flower pieces with Distress Stains – first of all I smeared a little of the Seedless Preserves on my craft sheet and spritzed some water beside it, and mixed it with a brush. I smooshed the flowers through this, and then dried them with my heat gun. To prevent these small pieces from blowing away, I held them down with a wooden skewer.

088 Page 7 Colouring the Flowers for Retaining Strap

When they were dry, I mixed up a small quantity of Dusty Concord Distress Stain in the same way, and painted the tips of the petals with this to darken them, and again dried them with my heat gun.

When they were dry, I hand-embossed them from the back, with a round embossing tool onto a piece of fun foam.

089 Page 7 Embossing the Flowers for Retaining Strap

I pierced holes through the centres of the flowers and through the strap, and lastly through the pocket and the page, and attached everything together with a small brad through the centre of each flower.

090 Page 7 Attaching the Retaining Strap

The final step was to slip a leaf under each flower and attach it with hot glue.

This is the finished result.

091 Page 7 with Retaining Strap

There will be plenty more flowers or other embellishments on the page, and if these little flowers look a bit lost, I can always add more, but for now I’m happy with the result.

Just page 8 to do now, and then I can begin the serious business of making photo and journaling mats, tags and other bits and pieces, and then the embellishing! I can’t wait to start that.

I am also planning to make a mechanical waterfall mini inside the front cover, and a holder for a CD of Mum’s favourite music inside the back cover. There’s still plenty to think about.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Floral Mini-Album Pt 8 Working on the Inside of Page 6

Recently I made a new mini-album, about my mum who died in December. I was unable to publish anything about this until now because it is a present for her best friend, who sometimes visits my blog, and I wanted it to be a surprise for her. I wrote a series of blog posts as I did each stage of the project, so I didn’t forget what I did, and they will be published in sequence now the project is finished and has been given to our friend.

If you want to see the finished project, please click here.

During the next couple of sessions, I worked on the innermost part of page 6, underneath the two large flaps that fold up and down respectively.

On the central section, I decided to make three flaps which would open, revealing photo mats or journaling spots.

062 Page 6 Inside Flap Construction

For these I cut strips of black cardstock, and then made some more of the background paper as before, from the boring green paper in the stack, with the addition of Forest Moss Distress Ink, and Broken China Distress Oxide. I’ve now more or less used up this green card. These mats were stuck down onto the black strips. You can see that the top edge of black card extends further from the mat – this is a tab for attaching the flap to the page.

For the reverse, I took some cream cardstock and added Broken China and Peeled Paint Distress Oxides, smooshing the ink on my craft sheet and building up the layers until I was happy with it. I wanted this to be paler than the front, in case I wanted to write on it. In the above picture, you can see the three flaps, showing the fronts and the mats for the backs.

To create the mat for the central section of page 6, I took more of the cream cardstock and swiped vertical stripes of Distress Stains in Antique Linen and Old Paper, to mimic the background of the spotty paper used for the mat under the top flap. I am pleased with how this turned out. It’s quite subtle, and has a woodgrain look about it.

063 Page 6 Making Inside Mat

I distressed the edges with Forest Moss Distress Ink – as I have done with most of the elements on page 6.

Once the mats were attached to the backs of the small flaps, I attached them onto the back of the large mat with double-sided tape, using my Tim Holtz centring ruler to make sure I spaced them correctly.

064 Page 6 Inside Flaps Closed

Here are the flaps in the open position. I think the papers all co-ordinate very nicely – a combination of unaltered and altered papers from the stack, and backgrounds created from scratch to co-ordinate.

065 Page 6 Inside Flaps Open

I haven’t yet decided what to do with that great blank space.

Here are pages 5 and 6 (one from each copy of the album, obviously, because page 6 is on the reverse of page 5) showing how much I’ve done so far.

066 Pages 5 and 6 So Far

Moving on to the bottom flap of page 6, I selected some of the turquoise printed paper from the stack, which like the green version, I felt needed further treatment.

067 Page 6 Bottom Flap Inside Papers

I smooshed on Forest Moss Distress Ink and then did the same, using Peeled Paint Distress Oxide. The edges were distressed with Forest Moss Distress Ink.

068 Page 6 Bottom Flap Inside Papers Inked

Here is the mat in place.

069 Page 6 Bottom Flap Mat Attached

I made a small envelope to attach to the bottom of this flap. Here is the piece cut and ready to be assembled, made from the plain cream cardstock. The pencil line across the middle indicates the position of the envelope liner, which you can see ready to cut from a scrap of paper from the stack – same pattern as the green, but in a different colour.

070 Page 6 Bottom Flap Envelope Construction

The envelope liner in place, trimmed to follow the shape of the flap.

071 Page 6 Envelope Lining

Creating the back of the envelope, using the same technique that I used for the mat on the central section of page 6.

072 Page 6 Envelope Outside

I distressed the edges of the envelope with Forest Moss Distress Ink.

The first brad attached to the flap of the envelope.

073 Brad on Page 6 Envelope Flap

The inside of the envelope, showing how I have clipped off the ends of the back of the second brad attached to the inside of the envelope front, and protected them with a small strip of masking tape.

074 Page 6 Envelope, Inside, Shaped, with Brad

The front of the envelope, showing the two brads.

075 Page 6 Envelope Assembled

The envelope, open.

076 Page 6 Envelope Open

The envelope in place, showing the thread attachment around the two brads. It is tied onto the top brad so that it doesn’t get lost when the envelope is open.

077 Page 6 Envelope Complete, Closed

Making the envelope insert. This was cut from a scrap of the same paper I used for the mat for the top flap of page 6, and distressed around the edges with Forest Moss Distress Ink.

078 Page 6 Envelope Insert Front

The back of the envelope insert, prepared with Distress Stains as before, and distressed around the edges.

079 Page 6 Envelope Insert Back

The envelope insert in place.

080 Page 6 Envelope Complete, Open

I had been waiting for a few days for a new punch to arrive, before I could complete the little booklet to go under the magnetic strap on the top flap of page 6. This punch is the Floral Doily Border Punch from XCut. I wanted a border punch with a small pattern repeat for projects like this.

081 Page 6 Top Flap Booklet with Punched Mat

I made a mat for a piece of the altered green paper, using black cardstock, and punched around it with this new punch. This turned out to be a major pain to do, with lots of trial runs!

The punch removes 1/16 in from the edge of the card. I worked out that I had to cut the mat 3/4 in larger than the top layer in order to make it fit correctly, i.e. 3/8 in on each edge. I also discovered, from my first attempts with pieces that turned out too small, that it is virtually impossible to centre a very small piece of card in this punch, if the edges do not extend beyond the central part, onto the gauge you use to line it up. I tried attaching it temporarily to another piece of paper with a spot of glue stick but this wouldn’t punch properly as it was too thick. In the end, cutting the piece large enough to fit the top layer, it extended just far enough for me to see the edges, enabling me to punch it in the centre and work outwards. The excess at the edges of each punching (part-scallops), I trimmed away with fine scissors.

The inside of the booklet, using more of the beige card from the stack. I didn’t alter this in any way, although on second thoughts I could have distressed the edges.

082 Page 6 Top Flap Booklet Inside

The back of the booklet, using unaltered green paper from the stack, distressed around the edges.

083 Page 6 Top Flap Booklet Back

The booklet in place under the magnetic strap on the top flap of page 6. Unfortunately this tends to fall out. It may be better when it’s a bit thicker with photos etc. but I may have to think of a way to keep it in place. (Note added later: it continued to fall out constantly, but the addition of some carefully placed embellishments sorted the problem – see later post.)

084 Page 6 Top Flap Booklet Under Magnetic Strap

This completes the work on page 6 to date. I am pleased with its colour scheme, with the altered background paper and the use of Distress Oxides. These are definitely a good investment and a great addition to my stash!

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Floral Mini-Album Pt 7 Page 6

Recently I made a new mini-album, about my mum who died in December. I was unable to publish anything about this until now because it is a present for her best friend, who sometimes visits my blog, and I wanted it to be a surprise for her. I wrote a series of blog posts as I did each stage of the project, so I didn’t forget what I did, and they will be published in sequence now the project is finished and has been given to our friend.

If you want to see the finished project, please click here.

Moving on to page 6, I used pieces cut from the paper stack in my stash to mat the top flap of the page. I lightly distressed the edges with Black Soot distress ink. This particular paper was one of the least objectionable in the whole stack so I decided to leave it unaltered.

054 Page 6 Top Flap Mat

Working on two identical albums side by side presents a slight problem in that I don’t always have two sheets of the particular designer paper, and I can’t cut two matching pieces. In this case, however, I was fine. I found some green card with a slight pattern in it but thought this was too stark and didn’t suite the page, so I inked it with Forest Moss distress ink, using the smooshing method (by which you smear the ink pad on your craft sheet, spritz it wit water, and smoosh the card around in it, which generates some lovely random patterns.

055 Page 6 Bottom Flap Mat Papers

This paper proved rather difficult to use for this technique because as I mentioned in part 1 of this series, I think there is a slightly waxy layer on it and the ink tended to bead up, but I got the result I wanted in the end, and once it as dry, I distressed the edges first with Forest Moss Distress ink, and then with Black soot distress ink, until I got the desired effect. Finally, I added some Broken China distress oxide ink, also using the smooshing method. In the above picture, you can see the two pieces I made for the album, and underneath, a piece of the paper in its original stage for comparison.

Here is the mat on the front of the bottom flap, complete.

056 Page 6 Bottom Flap Mat Complete

When you fold the top flap down over it, you can see a small amount projecting beyond the top flap, so it needed to co-ordinate.

057 Page 6 Flaps Closed

Keeping with the bright green and turquoise theme for this particular page spread, I am now working on the undersides of the flaps, and the page itself, to produce mats which co-ordinate with the whole. With all this paper lying around, my studio looks as if WWIII has struck it.

I had an offcut of the black card I’d punched with the Multi-Shaper Punch, and I punched it again, into the shape I wanted. I glued this down on the front flap of page 6. I subsequently distressed the edges of the flap, using Black Soot Distress Ink.

058-Page-6-with-Punched-Photo-Mat_th

Lifting the flap, I added some more of the paper from the paper stack as a mat for the underside of the front flap.

059-Page-6-Lifted-Flap-with-Mat_thum

I distressed the edges of this paper with Forest Most Distress Ink.

I was wondering how to create some sort of pocket to hold something, and thought things might fall out with the action of the “up and over” type flap. In the end I created another strap, inserting a little magnet concealed between the layers.

060-Page-6-Lifted-Flap-with-Magnetic[1]

Here it is again, showing the circle punch I used to create the rounded end.

061-Page-6-Magnetic-Strap_thumb2

I cut a piece of black card from an offcut, measuring 1 1/2 inches wide, and with some difficulty (it was quite a fiddle!), pushed the end into my 1 1/2 inch circle punch from the bottom until the end was just visible. When I punched it, it came out with a semi-circular end. Unfortunately I don’t have a circular punch of exactly the right measurements to cope with the strap mat, so I drew around a bottle of glue with a circular base which was the right size, and then cut out the semi-circle with scissors. I stuck it down onto the black magnetic strap and folded the top tab over and glued it in place. Turning the flap over, I put the other half of the magnet down and it found its own place, being attracted to the first half. I taped it in place with double-sided tape, and then I attached the mat layer to the strap, using double-sided tape. This strap will be used to hold a small booklet.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Floral Mini-Album Pt 6 Page 5–Piano Keyboard Pop-Up

Recently I made a new mini-album, about my mum who died in December. I was unable to publish anything about this until now because it is a present for her best friend, who sometimes visits my blog, and I wanted it to be a surprise for her. I wrote a series of blog posts as I did each stage of the project, so I didn’t forget what I did, and they will be published in sequence now the project is finished and has been given to our friend.

If you want to see the finished project, please click here.

For the music spread in the mini-album, I have created a piano keyboard pop-up. This is a revamped version of the one in a birthday card I made for Dad back in 2010 – my goodness, was that really 7 years ago? That was the year I started this blog!

There were one or two things I wasn’t quite happy about with the original, notably the fact that the white keys were too short. I had to redesign the template anyway, to fit the page in the mini-album, so I corrected this in the new template.

Here it is at the planning stage. The album page is on the left, and the mock-up of the keyboard is on the right. The middle piece is marked with measurements and folds, to try and get the keyboard profile correct.

045 Page 5 Planning Keyboard Pop-Up

The template I finally came up with.

046 Page 5 Keyboard Pop-Up - Template and Beginning to Fold

On the right in this picture, you can see the piece I have cut, with a bamboo skewer woven through it. I have found that this is the easiest way to get the pop-up folds started. It’s really hard to get the folding started because it is completely flat at this stage, and you need to fold quite small pieces individually, without creasing the rest. It helps to score the fold-lines first, of course.

In the next photo, you can see that the folds are beginning to be established.

047 Page 5 Keyboard Pop-Up - Template and Folding

I opened and closed it gently, a very little distance at first, and increasing until it folded flat, to establish the folds. It becomes a lot easier to complete the fold once you reach this stage, and once you can fold the pop-up right over, it is a simple matter to burnish the folds with a bone folder, to establish the shape.

The white keys on the keyboard are a solid piece, and you need to draw lines between them to indicate their shape. I did this with one of my Zentangle drawing pens (permanent, archival).

049 Page 5 Keyboard Pop-Up - Drawing the White Keys

The next step was to paint the black keys, using black acrylic paint. This was a really fiddly job, and on several occasions I accidentally touched the brush onto the back piece, but it was a simple matter to touch up these blemishes with a bit of white acrylic paint afterwards. It might have been easier to do this before I began folding the piece.

050 Page 5 Keyboard Pop-Up - Black Keys Painted

The pop-up mounted on the mini-album page.

051 Page 5 Keyboard Pop-Up Mounted

A success! This took a long time to do, but it was such fun in the making. I want this mini-album to be as interactive a possible, and also to contain some fun surprises.

The difficulty with designing the keyboard template was to determine where on the pop-up the fold of the album flap will be. If you don’t get this right, the pop-up won’t fold correctly and will get damaged. Also, the way it folds flat when the flap is closed, is that the keys are pushed forwards and collapsed, and it is important that they don’t project beyond the card flap. I did a bit of trial and error to get this right. The final potential problem with this particular pop-up was that in order to get a nice symmetrical order of keys (and I think 2, 3, 2 black keys as I have done gives a nice balanced effect and also leaves one in no doubt as to what it is supposed to be), you need a white key at either side, and to fit it into the space, I was left with a very narrow margin on each side for gluing the pop-up in place. However, it worked OK, but it needed fairly careful handling, particularly at the early folding stage, in order to avoid tearing it.

The next day, I added the text (a quote from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night) and lightly distressed the edges of the white card, carefully avoiding the white keys, using Hickory Smoke and Broken China distress inks. Again, with a bit of forethought, I might have found this easier to do before folding and installing the piece, because I could easily have masked off the areas I didn’t want distressed.

I also added a few random floating music notes along the front piece, to fill the blank space.

052 Page 5 Keyboard Pop-Up Complete with Text

To complete the basic structure of page 5, I added a belly band above the pop-up. I will make a tag or an envelope to slip behind this, and the top of the pop-up flap will serve to prevent it from dropping out. (Note added later: This proved to be inadequate – the tag kept falling out, so it needed extra measures to keep it in place. More will be revealed in a future post.)

053 Page 5 Belly Bands

I have always been fascinated by pop-ups, since I was a small child. There is something quite magical about a 3-D structure made of flimsy paper, that looks quite solid, and which folds completely flat. When I first started making them, I found that there are just a few basic types of pop-up and once you’ve got the basic structure, you can make each one appear completely different. The keyboard pop-up is an adaptation of a simple box pop-up. These are very useful because you can stick pieces of card onto the vertical surface of the box(es), extending upwards, such as letters spelling a word, for instance, “Happy Birthday.” This would look completely different from, say, a scene with trees and a house, but they could both be made from the same pop-up mechanism.

The plan is to add another pop-up of a different type, towards the end of the album.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Floral Mini-Album Pt 5 Working on Pages 4 and 5

Recently I made a new mini-album, about my mum who died in December. I was unable to publish anything about this until now because it is a present for her best friend, who sometimes visits my blog, and I wanted it to be a surprise for her. I wrote a series of blog posts as I did each stage of the project, so I didn’t forget what I did, and they will be published in sequence now the project is finished and has been given to our friend.

If you want to see the finished project, please click here.

Starting work on another double-page spread today. This one is to have a musical theme.

I began with the second page, page 5. I placed the Tim Holtz music mask over the page and gently applied three colours of Distress Oxides with an ink blender. I used Broken China, Worn Lipstick and Peeled Paint. This is the first time I have tried the Distress Oxides on black paper and they really do work well.

035 Page 5 Music Mask and Distress Oxides

The next photo shows the Distress Oxides having been spritzed with water, with the mask still in place.

036 Page 5 Distress Oxides Spritzed over Mask

The mask removed. I am pleased with how sharp the outline is.

037 Page 5 Mask Removed

There were some problems with this, though. Firstly, it was much too strong and dark, and secondly, this mask really annoys me because it isn’t proper music. I do wish when people design stuff like this, that they would consult someone who knows, if they themselves don’t know – the designer of this clearly doesn’t know anything about music! It’s the only mask I’ve got (maybe this is a hint-to-self: get on with it and make one yourself!!) so I made do with it, and thought that if I made the effect more subtle, the fact that it’s wrong would be less noticeable. There will probably be some sort of mat or flap over the top anyway, which will partially conceal it.

Here it is with a second layer of Distress Oxides having been applied, spritzed and dried. Already it looks better.

038 Page 5 2nd Layer of Distress Oxides

The final touch was to add some infusions to produce a bit of texture. These work very well with Distress Oxides – it’s the first time I’ve tried this combo. I used Royal Blood and The Sage from set 1, and Magenta from set 2.

039 Page 5 Infusions over Distress Oxides

I may put some sort of border around this. I had thought of using some Tim Holtz tissue tape that I had in my stash and hadn’t even opened. I attempted to use it, but this stuff is a total pain – it is very thin, and ultra sticky, and when I eventually found the end and tried to unroll the tape, it constantly ripped along its length, and was impossible to use. It has gone in the bin. Do not waste your money on this stuff!!! I was amazed because most of his stuff is such good quality. I googled the problem and found that I was not the only one who has experienced this difficulty with it. In the end I left the page as it was.

I then moved back to page 4 and made the pocket mat. I cut this from plain white cardstock and stamped it with a music background stamp. I laid the card strip onto the stamp platform an inch in from the edge, so that I wouldn’t get the edge of the music on the card, but a borderless effect.

040 Page 4 Stamping the Pocket Mat

It took some experimentation, and proved quite difficult to do because the card was longer than the stamp, and it meant doing several trial runs on scrap paper after I’d stamped the top half, in order to line it up and get the spacing correct, and when I moved the stamp down further on the stamp platform, it projected over the edge, so I had to press it down hard and hope for the best – that it would produce a decent impression, and also that it wouldn’t fall off mid-way through! All was well in the end. I stamped the pieces using black archival ink, and the stamp I used was “Music Background” from the Artistic Stamper.

041 Page 4 Pocket Mats Stamped

Again, this looked much too stark, so I inked it with a combination of Distress Inks, using Inkylicious Ink Dusters, in Broken China and Victorian Velvet, and afterwards distressed the edges with Forest Moss, using a DIY ink blending tool.

042 Page 4 Distress Inks on Pocket Mats

For the mat for the remainder of page 4, I used some of the paper from the stack, and again distressed the edges with Forest Moss distress ink.

Here is page 4 with both mats stuck down.

043 Page 4 with Mats

This is the double-page spread of pages 4 and 5, laid onto the cover with pages 1 -3. I have not yet decided what to put on the flap of page 5, but underneath there will be a piano keyboard pop-up.

044 Pages 4 & 5 Double-Page Spread

Once the basic structure of the pages is complete, I can think about the inserts, photo mats, envelopes, pull-outs, etc. etc.

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