Thursday, October 30, 2008

Techneek of the Week - Flower Cluster

I am just now realizing I never actually finished last week's Techneek...duh. So once I'm done with this guy, I will post instructions for creating your own background. I am a doh-head, fo' sure!!

Anyhoo, on to today's topic: Flower Clusters. Any of you who are familiar with my style know I love a good cluster of embellishments. But you may be wondering, why flowers? I am not known for my use of flowers. In fact all the girls at the store laugh in astonishment when I tell them I'm running low on flowers in my own stash. I know. Very hilarious! Yes, I have a little boy, and most of my scrapbooking is about him, but there is a place for flowers on any layout!

And this week I want to show you how to create a beautiful cluster of flowers, sure to be a hit on any layout. I've done up two "versions" to show how altering a couple of elements can create a whole new look with the same basic idea. Pictured below is my inspiration. Prima sells these fun, pre-made flower clusters...but I am really not keen on the colours. So I figure, why buy these when you can make your own that perfectly fit your project!?

You Will Need:

  • Flowers. Lots and lots of flowers.

  • A swirl. I used two different kinds: Riff Raff chipboard and one I made from cardstock. It's up to you which one you choose to try. I will show you both. You will need black paint, embossing powder or some fab Glaze pens if you follow my technique for decorating the chipboard swirl.

  • Brads, buttons, snaps, etc. to put in the centres of your flowers (if you so choose).

  • The Basics: glue dots or liquid adhesive for your flowers, scissors, a pencil.

  • Version One
    First things first...pick a whole handful of flowers that fit your colour scheme. I'm using the new Prima collection here. You might not use all of the flowers you pulled, but this gives you some choice with size, shape and colour. And you want a nice variety...don't just grab a handful of small pink daisies . It just won't have the same feel.

    For the first layout, I'm using the Riff Raff Designs giant swirl chipboard shape. It is totally awesome, and the perfect size for a 12x12 or 8.5 x 11 layout. Now, decide how you would like to colour this. I am using the Sakura Glaze pens here. They are super easy to use (it's just a pen people!!), and give the effect of a shiny embossed surface without all the powder and ink pads.

    Just start at the top, and work your way down, colouring in the entire surface. This was a pain in the butt and I totally got a cramp in my hand, but it was also worth it!
    Next, position your swirl on your layout. I had already picked my paper (Prima transparency over black cardstock) and knew where I wanted my picture (it's that white 4x6 piece of cardstock in the centre there...I didn't have my picture at work when I was doing this up!!), so I adjusted my swirl to fit beside the photo. You can go ahead and stick this down, as we are going to layer the flowers over top of the swirl.

    I just started placing flowers on top of the swirl, moving them around until I had a good mix of colours and sizes. A good way to start is by grabbing a bunch of flowers then letting them fall on to your layout. And wherever they land is where you stick them down (unless they land right on the photo!). Don't cover all of the chipboard swirl, or else it defeats the purpose of using it! Pull off any flowers that don't make sense where they are, or look out of place because of their size or colour.

    I started with the larger flowers near the base of the swirl. Then added some smaller ones in coordinating colours. I put the brads through the flowers BEFORE I started placing them on the layout...this makes it easier once you want to actually adhere them. You don't have to disrupt your entire pattern by trying to poke a hole. Just stick them down with a glue dot or liquid adhesive once you know where you want them.

    And the finished product.

    Version Two

    For this layout I used some new KI Memories paper as my inspiration. Even though the paper didn't make it to the finished layout, it was a good starting point for choosing the flowers from my stash. I wanted it to be bright and funky so I went with a nice lime green, teal blue and hot pink.

    Extra Tip: If you can't find the flowers in the colour you want, buy white or ivory ones and give them a coat of Glimmer Mist. Heck, you could even do this if you like the colour. A little shimmer never hurt nobody!!

    In this version I am going to put the black swirl ON TOP of my flowers, so my first step was to place my flowers down. Keep in mind where your photo is going to be, and if you are going to want to add a title or other embellishments. I am doing another 8.5x11 layout, so there isn't much room for anything else on the page.

    I started with the larger flowers at the base, and layered smaller flowers in and around them, and up the page. Try to make a corner out of flowers...this gives your photo and page a nice frame and keeps the eye on the focal point, which will be the photo that sits just above the flower cluster.

    Once you have a nice, full looking cluster, glue your flowers down. I didn't use any brads in the middles for this version, and I used a lot more flowers than on the first layout. Remember, I'm going for a really bold look here!

    Now, grab your black cardstock, and a pencil...we're going to do some drawing! This doesn't have to be a perfect swirl...but you do want it to "match" the shape of your flower cluster that you have already made. I "eyeballed it", and tried to copy the basic shape of my flower corner the best I could.

    Once you've got the basic shape of the swirl drawn, hold it up beside your flower cluster and see if it will match okay. It it doesn't, or is too long on one side or a little lopsided, or whatever, erase the offending area and draw it again. That's why we're using a pencil!!

    Once you've got a shape you like, draw a second line around the original line so it looks like a ribbon that's been twisted and laid flat (that's the best way I can describe this...essentially it's a second line that doesn't run perfectly beside the first line, but moves towards and away from it, and sort of looks like a ribbon.) Now cut the swirl out.

    If you have a circle within your swirl, just punch into the middle of it with your scissors and cut it out from the inside.

    Now lay your cut-out swirl on top of the flower cluster. Adjust it's position until it looks like it makes sense, then glue it down. Liquid adhesive works well here, because it is easy to apply to the thin paper swirl, and will stick to the flowers without a problem.

    I added a couple of extra black flowers after I adhered the swirl , just to balance things out a little bit, and fill in some of the blank spaces. To finish the layout, I drew a line around the entire layout and around the spot where my photo will eventually go.

    Thanks for playing along this week. I have the email instructions ready for the Prima clear mini album, so for those of you who requested them, check your e-mailbox tonight! I will also get to the instructions for last week's Techneek...once my hands warm up. It is SO COLD in my basement it makes typing difficult!

    later gator

    Friday, October 24, 2008

    Project of the Week!

    Well we all know it's coming, 2 and a bit month's away - Christmas & New Years. So the next 10 projects will be Holiday themed projects to get you motivated and help you make some beautiful gifts this year! All of the projects will of course be displayed in store, so please stop by to take a peak - oh and don't be afraid to ask questions if you need assistance!

    So here, is our first one:

    My mom always has jam jars sitting around, and here is simple way to decorate them and make them beautiful!

    First take the round screw part of the lid and paint it with white acrylic paint. I used two coats.

    Then a tricky part. Mix glossy accents and glitter. Why? Well if you were just to glue the glitter on the screw top, then it would fall off and the glossy accents acts as a sealant. Set aside to dry.

    Using Glossy Accents again, glue the thin lid to paper. Cut out and sand edges.

    Fill jar with yummy candies.

    Decorate jar as desired. I used a new prima flower, doodlebug bling, GCD studios paper, Tulle, and a Prima bling on the lid!

    Thursday, October 23, 2008

    Techneek of the Week - Create a Background

    The instructions for this one will have to wait...I'm barely keeping my head up here! But I'll post my finished layout, and you guys can work backwards until I get some beauty sleep!

    (I wonder if I can will the photos to upload faster...nope, but here they are anyways!)

    See you back here tomorrow for some tips on how to create this bad boy of your very own!!

    Update: November 1, 2008

    So I am officially a wiener, and not the good Oscar Meyer kind. Just a plain old wiener. I totally forgot - again - about posting instructions on creating your very own background. A thousand apologies. I'll post some now, but there won't be any photos, as I am at work and don't have them here.

    Step One: Assemble your mess-making materials. For this layout I pulled some Daffodil Glimmer Mist, alcohol ink, various colours of paint, and various implements for applying said paint. Eg.) Popsicle stick, paintbrushes, an old credit card (good for scraping), etc. Plus, there's always your fingers...don't forget about those bad boys!

    Step Two: Loosely plan - in your head - how you want your background to look. I was thinking about stripes when I started, and even though my finished background isn't very stripy, it was a good starting point for me.

    Step Three: Choose your first colour/material and apply it. I started with red paint and applied it with a popsicle stick, the kind you get in your rub-on packages. It works kind of like a painters knife, and you can really scrape your paint across the surface of your page in interesting ways. And I just kept playing with it until I got something that looked good. You could also use an old credit card or gift card to get the same effect.

    Step Four: Pick your next colour/material and apply it. This is where I kind of moved away from my stripe plan with the beige swirl of paint at the top. And I just used a paintbrush and freehanded the swirl. It turned out to be the perfect place to put my title.

    Step Five: Next I applied the dark blue paint underneath the red paint...and I totally didn't like how it looked. At all! It was sort of a big blob, with a goofy shaped tail coming out. Remember that if you do "make a mistake" you can always cover it with a photo or embellishment, OR you can fix it with another application of a different I did. (See Step Seven)

    Step Six: I just started spritzing Ranger's Red Pepper Colour Wash in random places on my layout. You can see it up near the top, and around my big swath of red in the middle. I didn't completely cover my background in this, as I still wanted the Kraft cardstock to show through.

    Step Seven: Next I sprayed Tattered Angels Daffodil Glimmer Mist over top of the painted lines and swirls. Then I went back in to the dark blue that I didn't like and started spreading it around, as the Glimmer Mist had made it nice and wet and great to play with. I swirled it down below the red and blended it so it wasn't such a strong colour.

    I really like making my own backgrounds because #1 it's fun to get messy, and #2 it's nice to create something that will go just right with your photos. I didn't have any paper that had red, blue, orange AND white in it, and all the papers I tried were just too bright for my liking. And once I was done getting messy, I had fun finding embellishments and sticker letters that added to the unique colours of my made-up background!!

    Thanks for being patient with me...I hope it was worth the wait!


    Yes, I know I haven't posted the instructions for the project yet...I am a donut-head. I am planning on getting those done along with my Techneek of the Week today/tonight. And I am still taking email requests for a printable version.

    Thanks for your patience...

    Sunday, October 19, 2008

    Project of the Week - Prima's Mini Build-A-Book

    Now, I am the first to say that I am not a fan of clear albums...until I played with this little guy! It is super fun, and the entire thing only took me about 4 hours to make, and most of that time was spent letting glue dry!!

    And this little book is perfect as a mini keepsake of a fun winter getaway or just a good day playing outside in the snow! You can even hang it on your purse!

    The Prima Build-A-Books come in a variety of shapes, and now sizes! And the newest line also has coloured ones! And this is the brain child of a local girl...Trisha Ladouceur! Check out their blog for more fun ideas!

    But first, scroll down and try this one on for size. Unfortunately, since I am not Juli, there will be no fancy instructions to download...I am so not technical enough for that. So what I will do is type these bad boys up and if you really want the whole she-bang, you can email me and I will happily send them out to you! And then you can print them and read them at your leisure. is the place to go. I will put the complete ones here as well, for those of you who just want to know now!!

    Basic Supplies:

  • Two mini Prima Build-A-Book albums...I used the star and the simple one with tabs. If you copy mine to a tee you will have one star page leftover.

  • A binder hold the whole thing together

  • Additional Supplies:
    If you want to embellish yours the same way as mine, you will need the following supplies. If you want to go your own way, choose others that best fit your theme. There are, however, some fun techniques and tips you might want to try, like alcohol ink and Liquid Pearls. I'll try and mark the technique portions of the album within the instructions so you can just jump to those if you prefer! And I apologize if I am not calling the embellishments by their proper names...I am a "genius" and didn't write up a product sheet while I was working, so I am pretty much just going my memory here!

  • Colorbok shiny silver chipboard swirls & sparkly crown stickers & black word stickers

  • Kaiser Crafts teal rhinestones

  • Prima *new* blue flowers, small transparency (blue paint splotches), black bling swirls, one small blue Prima bulk flower

  • Transparency snowflake...I made mine using a plain transparency and our die cut machines

  • Chipboard swirls and heart...I used some from a Maya Road package because they were a nice small size, perfect for the mini album.

  • Maya Road clear wings and clear journaling tag

  • Heidi Swapp mirror...I used the small one from the package, which comes with four mirrors. Two pink and two not-pink

  • American Crafts black sticker letters

  • Heidi Grace chipboard sticker

  • American Crafts black Slick Writer...these guys are AWESOME to use on the clear books, as they dry immediately and won't smudge or smeer!

  • white cardstock

  • "Reusables"
  • Ranger Alcohol Ink in Stream and Pearl

  • Ranger Silver Liquid Pearls

  • Doodlebug white glitter

  • Liquid glue...I prefer Glossy Accents because it doesn't take very long to dry and it's great for clear embellishments and glitter, but use what you've got!

  • teal Stickles

  • NOTE: Blogger flipped a whole bunch of the photos I uploaded, so just bear with me for the time being. I will try and re-post them tomorrow!

    Step One: Before you begin you'll want to choose your photos, making sure you have enough spots for all of them that you want to include (there are spots for 7 in my finished album). And make sure they can be trimmed down. All the "photos", i.e. spots I left blank for photos, measure 2" x 2".

    You'll also want to punch holes in all of your album pages. The Prima Mini Build-A-Books don't come pre-punched, and for good reason...what if you only wanted one hole and they gave you three?? I used the Crop-A-Dile.

    Page One (the cover): Stick down a couple of teal rhinestones, a silver Colorbok swirl and a Colorbok word sticker. I mounted all the word stickers on white cardstock, cut them out, and traced around them with a black Slick Writer.

    Page Two: One Prima flower...I used Glossy Accents to glue everything down, especially things with brads in them. i didn't even attempt to stick the brad through the plastic!

    Page Three: On one of the star pages, I first traced the shape onto the small Prima transparency then cut it out. I glittered up this die cut acrylic star with Glossy Accents as my base, and some Doodlebug glitter sprinkled all over top...lots of it! Stick the rhinestone in the centre, and let it dry. It takes a while!

    Page Four: One Colorbok crown sticker. This guy was already sparkly!

    Page Five:Lindsay's technique with Pearl and Stream alcohol inks (I use Ranger). I included the link to the original Techneek post I did with this techniqe (using multiple colours of ink). It takes a bit of time to describe it, so I suggest you check out the full post and then apply what you need for this page. Once the alcohol ink is dry, which doesn't take nearly as long as glossy accents, stick down the Colorbok silver fleur-de-lis and the Prima black rhinestone swirl. I used the large swirls and cut them down to size.

    Page Six: The technique on these chipboard swirls is actually a mistake, and it didn't turn out like I wanted it I just covered it up with some Stickles!! Then add some rhinestones.

    Page Seven: Smear Pearl alcohol ink onto the back of the page. Then on the opposite side, splatter some Stream alcohol ink. This way the two colours won't blend together. Embellish a teal flower with some teal Stickles and a rhinestone. Add Prima bling swirl, again cut down from a larger set.

    Page Eight: Apply Liquid Pearls to a chipboard heart, then lightly sprinkle Doodlebug white glitter over top. Once it is dry, stick it down with glossy accents. Add a rhinestone and Colorbok word sticker (not mounted on white cardstock).

    Page Nine: Trace the shape of the page onto the small Prima transparency and cut out. Attach with glossy accents. Apply Liquid Pearls to a chipboard swirl (Maya Road), then lightly sprinkle Doodlebug white glitter over top. Once it is dry, stick it down with glossy accents. Add a rhinestone and some teal stickles.

    Page Ten: Silver Colorbok swirl and a couple of rhinestones.

    Page Eleven: Apply Stream alcohol ink all over the star page. While it is drying, apply glossy accents all over the Maya Road acrylic wings and sprinkle Doodlebug glitter sprinkled all over top...lots of it! Apply Stream alcohol ink to a chipboard heart, then immediately sprinkle with blue Perfect Pearls. Stick the rhinestone on and place it on the still wet wings and let the whole thing dry. Once the wings are dry, stick them down to the page using glossy accents.

    Page Twelve: Use some American Crafts sticker letters and Colorbok words to create a little message.

    Page Thirteen: make sure you get a hole punched in the Maya Road ticket where it will line up with the rest of the pages and fit in with the album. Stick down the Prima flower using glossy accents.

    Page Fourteen: I used a rhinestone to cover the back of the brad that was showing through from the page before.

    Page Fifteen: Glue down the Heidi Swapp mirror with glossy accents. Stick the flower and rhinestone on top, and the rhinestone swirl beside.

    Page Sixteen (the back): Stick down the two pieces of the Prima flower (I didn't use the brad) and then stick the Heidi Grace sticker down in the centre...all with glossy accents. Create a message (or just put the year), using the American Crafts letter stickers to make the back of your photo look like it has a purpose!!

    Last Updated: October 23rd @ 11:30pm...still no email instructions ready to go out, for those of you who are looking for them, but I'm working on it! Sorry if there are any glaring mistakes...I'm a sleepy girl!

    Thanks for playing along!! And sorry again about the crooked photos!

    Friday, October 17, 2008

    Techneek of the Week - Ribbon Flowers

    This Techneek rules the world...the Ribbon World. Now, I am not a huge fan of ribbon and I know I have too much...I can't imagine what the stash of a true "ribbon-phile" looks like!! I hope this technique helps you tackle those yards of grosgrain and gingham (ick), and polka dots and stripes, and Michael's Dollar Bin finds (even I am guilty of digging through the giant bin of's too good a deal to pass up!).


    • Your favourite ribbon: I'm using American Crafts that you can buy by the yard at TM...pretty much any kind of ribbon will work!
    • A big brad: I used American Crafts' largest size, as these guys make a great flower centre.
    • A hole making tool: scissors, paper piercer, hole punch...something that will punch through the ribbon so you don't have to rely on the brad me, this will save you some headaches!

    Step One: Cut your ribbon into four pieces, each roughly the same length. You'll need to have an idea how large (or small) you want your finished flower to be. Fold each end of your ribbon piece to the middle, overlapping a little bit and you'll know how big your flower will end up. Cut a longer piece to get a larger flower.

    Step Two: Poke a hole (sing your hole maker of choice) in the centre of the first piece of ribbon. (Tip: fold in half and this will give you the middle). While you have your hole maker out, you can also poke holes near the two ends of the ribbon as well. Try to make these holes the same distance from the edge as each other so when your ribbon folds over, the "petals" are roughly the same length.

    Step Three: Put the brad through the centre hole in your ribbon...

    Fold over one side and fit the hole over the brad...

    then the other side. petal down.
    Step Four: Keep going with steps one and two, until you have all four pieces of ribbon looped on the brad. Tip: Don't start at the top and move around to attach the ribbon. Once you have the first piece attach, turn the flower 90 degrees and do the next piece of ribbon. In other words, make a + and then make another +. This way you don't have to guess where the next piece of ribbon is going to lay compared to the first piece. They will line themselves up!! (I hope that made sense!!)

    Once you have all four petals on your brad, fold the ends of the brad down to secure the ribbon in place. I use a glue dot or liquid adhesive to attach my ribbon flower to my layout.

    The finished product!!

    This is a layout we completed in the Rockin' Ribbon class last Tuesday night. If you like this technique, I'm teaching it again in Getting Crafty next Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

    And here is an additional layout I made using the same technique with different colours and widths of ribbon. I really love how the polka dot pattern on the green ribbon looks!

    Try this:

  • Use something other than a brad to hold the ribbon together. For example: stitch it, use staples
  • Decorate the brad in the centre with some bling.
  • Use different coloured brads with matching ribbon
  • Use two different coloured or patterned ribbons on the same flower

  • The possibilities are endless! This would even look great on a handmade card or on top of a beautifully wrapped gift!

    See you tomorrow for the Project of the Week!


    Supplies Used:
  • Little Yellow Bicycle pattern paper
  • May Arts ribbon (black polka dot)
  • American Crafts ribbon & sticker letters & black brad
  • Prima lace ribbon & bling wings

  • Layout#2
  • Prima pattern paper and transparency, fabric flowers, "T is for" label sticker
  • American Crafts ribbon (orange), Thickers sticker letters & paper flowers
  • Heidi Swapp butterfly die cut & journaling spot ("Sunday")
  • Ranger orange Stickles
  • Buzz & Bloom chipboard hearts
  • Maya Road plastic journal tag
  • Green ribbon by the yard
  • Staples label sticker
  • Wednesday, October 15, 2008

    Techneek Sneak Peek

    Don't ya just love rhymes!?!?!?

    Anyhoo, here is a Sneak Peek of tomorrow's FABULOUS Techneek. It was featured in the Rockin' Ribbon class I taught on Tuesday night, and will make an appearance in the Getting Crafty class next week. So stop by tomorrow for the full scoop!

    And for more information on all the great classes we offer check out the Classes Blog

    Monday, October 13, 2008

    Techneek of the Week - The Finale

    This is the last alternate use for Prima flowers that you're getting out of me! I've used up both flowers that came in the package...and I got 4 layouts done! Five if you count the one that was a mistake and didn't make the cut (you can see it on my personal blog).

    These flowers are TOTALLY AWESOME and I'm glad I put a bunch aside for myself in all my favourite colours!

    This time around I used paint to embellish the plain match the smallest petals in the bunch that have cute little polka dots on them!!

    No step-by-step, as it is super easy to do! Just find some paint that matches the colours you want to use in your layout (for me it was blue and brown), apply some to a paintbrush and dot it on the petal! I used the bottom of the paintbrush handle to get the mini-circles. I just dipped it in paint, then dabbed it on the petal in a random pattern. It probably won't be perfect, but it gives it a nice whimsical look!
    And because I was on my last petals, and I needed more circles for my layout, I painted some Tim Holtz Grungeboard circles the same blue colour of the original fabric petals, and mimicked the paint job I had just given them. One chipboard circle got blue dots, and the other got brown dots.

    Super fun! I hope you enjoyed my Two Flowers Four Ways...and if you have a fifth, sixth or seventh way to use these versatile fabric petals LET US KNOW in the comments, or better yet, post the finished layout on your Blog and link it back here!

    Join us again this Thursday for the next Techneek of the Week and then Saturday for the Project of the Week...I wonder what Juli has in store for us!?!

    And if you ever have any questions or suggestions for the Blog, let us know either by emailing Juli or I, or leaving a Comment! Even if you just want to say hi, we would love to hear from you!!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Supplies Used on "Little Brother" Layout:

    • My Mind's Eye pattern paper
    • Making Memories & Heidi Swapp chipboard letters
    • American Crafts felt flowers and white brads (that I coloured with Butterscotch alcohol ink and orange Stickles)
    • Tim Holtz Grungeboard
    • Bam Pop frame (orange)
    • Love Elsie chipboard frame (blue)
    • K & Co. journaling tag (brown)
    • Doodlebug red bling
    • Craft paint

    Sunday, October 12, 2008

    Techneek of the Week - Part the Third

    So this twist on using the Prima flowers in as many ways as you can isn't much of a twist...but it's still something! I just split the petals up and used them as circle accents...and it looked good! I didn't have to do anything else to them!

    Okay, so I layered them with some Doodlebug flocked pattern paper, and added a couple of embellishments on top, and some doodles, but I didn't alter the actual flower at all. No Glimmer Mist, or Alcohol Ink or Paint...that will come later!

    The fabric petal gives such a nice texture, that these little guys are hard to resist! And since they don't really look at that "flowery" for flowers, they will work just as well on BoY pages!

    No Step-By-Step instructions for this one...just pull the petals apart and apply as necessary!

    Supplies Used:
  • Cosmo Cricket pattern paper
  • Hambly pattern paper (the cutlery set die cut get a whole sheet of home-inspired "tags")
  • Doodlebug flocked pattern paper & red bling
  • American Crafts pattern paper (the small circles with cup, cutlery, etc.), "Fresh" sticker, black marker, and an old plastic PIG embellishment
  • Heidi Swapp pink chipboard heart altered with red Alcohol Ink
  • KI Memories old letter stickers
  • The recipe card came from a kit I bought online...ELLE STUDIOS sells lots of cute tags and other paper embellishments on