Jan 122016

Valentine’s Day is about a month away, so I am re-running the giveaway post below that originally appeared last July. I suppose, depending on your point of view, the post was either too late or too early for Valentine’s Day. In any event, if you’re interested in entering a giveaway for the Spellbinders die set shown below, read through to the end of the post to find out how to enter this giveaway. I’d like to announce a winner by the end of next week so that this person can actually receive and use the Valentine’s Day-oriented die set in time for that holiday. 2/1/16 Update: This giveaway is being extended. When a minimum of five entries have been entered, a random drawing will take place.

If you have already been using Spellbinders dies, then you know that they can be used multiple ways. You can use them to cut shapes, emboss detail into cut shapes, or stencil through the die template. The three-piece Love Locket die set includes a locket, key, and locket background.

Spellbinders Love Locket

One of the traditional ways to use this die set is for a greeting card honoring Valentine’s Day, a wedding, or an anniversary. That’s what Sheri of My Sheri Cards did with the heart-shaped locket-and-key dies, cutting them from gold and silver card stock, respectively. Then she paired these design elements with a Spellbinders A2 Curved Borders One die cut for a truly spectacular effect. You can read about her process in her post, MY SHERI CRAFTS CHALLENGE #126 – Valentine.

Photo courtesy of My Sheri Cards

Photo courtesy of My Sheri Cards

Although the gorgeous gold-and-white card below is intended as a wedding card, I think it would work equally well as a birthday or congratulatory card. Erika of Snappy Crafts describes how she layered Spellbinders® M-Bossabilities™ Framed Petite Labels, Nestabilities® Labels Twenty-One, and Shapeabilities® Fancy Tags Two, and then combined these effects with the heart-shaped lock-and-key dies. To achieve the distressed gold-and-white striped background, Erika coated the embossing folder with gold ink before running it through her Spellbinders® Grand Calibur machine. For more details, read her post, Weddings…..Spellbinder style.

Photo courtesy of Snappy Crafts

Photo courtesy of Snappy Crafts

Chrissy of Chrissyscardland created an adorable birthday card with the locket and key dies in A BIRFDAY DRAGON WITH MAKE IT MONDAY. Using her Faber-Castell colored pencils, Chrissy colored a digital dragon image designed by Rick St. Dennis. She cut out some leaves using a Couture Creations die, and combined these and the Spellbinders® Love Locket dies with the illustration.

Photo courtesy of Chrissyscardland

Photo courtesy of Chrissyscardland

To enter the giveaway, share your favorite Valentine’s Day memory in the comments below, and make sure you enter your e-mail address (not published) in the comment form so that I can contact you. Minimum number of participants is five for the giveaway to take place.

© 2016 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

May 232015

I don’t go to my local scrapbook store, Memory Bound, every week (although I think about it!), but I visited the store Friday evening after I received an e-mail that announced some new Tim Holtz products had arrived. If you’ve been reading my posts here, then you know already that I am a Tim Holtz fan. I use his Distress ink stamp pads, some of the Distress ink markers and paints, own all three of his technique books, and have many of his paper cutting dies and other paper crafting tools.

Tim Holtz Distress Products

The items described in the Memory Bound e-mail included the Tim Holtz Distress Refresher, Distress Sprayer, Distress Micro Glaze, and DIY Distress Ink Pad, all of which are described on Tim Holtz’ Web site HERE. I was pretty sure I could use the first three products, but wasn’t sure about the DIY Distress Ink Pad. Here’s what I learned about these accessories, designed to work with the Tim Holtz Distress line of products. If you’re unfamiliar with the inks, their main advantage is that they are water-reactive and that you can create interesting and beautiful blending effects with them.

The Tim Holtz Distress Refresher is an essential accessory if you use Distress ink stamp pads, markers or paints because it prolongs the life of your products. It is made of a mixture of water and gel, designed to moisturize and condition your stamp pads, the brush tips of your markers, and the foam applicator tops of your paint bottles. When your stamp pad begins to get dry, you don’t necessarily need to re-ink it, but can instead spray the pad once or twice with Distress Refresher, then close the lid and wait about five minutes to let the liquid soak in. For the markers, do the same: spray once or twice, cap the marker, and wait five minutes before using. Spray your non-stick craft mat once or twice with the Distress Refresher, turn your Distress Paint bottle upside down, and swish the foam applicator in the liquid a few times, cap it, and once more, wait five minutes.

Tim Holtz Distress Refresher

The Tim Holtz Distress Sprayer is an empty spray bottle, but not an ordinary one. Tim Holtz points out in his video, Distress Sprayer, that every sprayer is different, which is why you don’t always get the same results he does in his tutorials or trade show demonstrations. The Tim Holtz Distress Sprayer is designed specifically to hold water (although you could technically mix up your own colored or glitter sprays), and has a button in the trigger head that blocks water flow if you want to pack the bottle in a bag and not have it leak. When you depress the trigger fully, the sprayer releases a fine, even spray. If you depress the trigger partially, it releases water clumplets, which create a specific blending effect that’s different from when you use a fine spray. The bottle holds four ounces of water, where many other brands of craft spray bottles hold two ounces.

Tim Holtz Distress Sprayer

Tim Holtz Distress Micro Glaze sells in a one-ounce jar and is my favorite new accessory of the four described in this post. Inside is a paste-like product that reminds me of wax. The purpose of this product is to prevent Distress inks from reacting with water once your work of art is finished. Tim Holtz says the product is the result of a collaboration between Ranger Ink and Skycraft, the original maker of the micro glaze.

Tim Holtz Distress MIcro Glaze

You put a little bit on your fingertip, and rub it into any porous surface, let it dry, and then buff off the excess with a clean cloth or paper towel. A little bit goes a long way. You can use Distress Micro Glaze with any of the Tim Holtz Distress products, but also with any watercolor products, markers that react with water, inkjet-printed art, and basically anything that needs to be water-resistant. If you visit the Skycraft About page, it describes even more uses for the petroleum-based, acid-free product with a slight citrus-y scent. You can even use it to make leather stain-resistant, on metals to prevent rust and corrosion, and on wood to protect and polish it. A little while ago I wrote a post about an address book I created that featured a watercolor effect on the cover using Distress inks. I hadn’t listed it in my shop yet because I wanted to come up with a solution that prevented the inks from running if someone accidentally spilled a drop of water or other liquid on it. This was the solution. As you can tell from the photo, the micro glaze is clear and matte when dry, and none of the inks smeared when I applied it.Address BookThe final new Distress accessory from Tim Holtz, described in this post, is the DIY Distress Ink Pad. This product is designed so that you can combine multiple Distress inks to make your own custom ink pad. You fill the eye dropper from a Distress Re-inker with ink, then paint a narrow section of the pad with ink. Repeat this with other colors until the white stamp pad is completely filled with color. Then take a credit card or plastic scraping tool, and pull down the length of the stripes you’ve created to drive the ink down into the pad. Then cover the stamp pad with the provided lid, and let it sit for 10 minutes before using the pad. The lid is covered with a special paper that takes the custom ink, so go ahead and roll a brayer over the stamp pad, and then roll out your custom color on the lid so you’ll know at a glance what your custom color looks like. To be honest, this is probably the accessory for which I have the least use. I tend to ink up spots on a craft mat with my Distress inks, and then paint with the inks–either with a dry paint brush or a wet one, and that allows me to create any custom colors I need. But if you want a larger amount of a custom color that you plan on using often, the DIY Distress Ink Pad is the way to go.

Tim Holtz DIY Distress Ink PadThese new Distress accessories from Tim Holtz are handy and will sell quickly in my local craft store, I suspect. Have you worked with any of these products yet, or plan on using them?

© 2015 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

Apr 232015

There is more than one way to make your own envelope, as well as more than one tool that will get the job done. That’s why I hemmed and hawed about purchasing a We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board, when I already owned a Martha Stewart Crafts® Scoring Board that enabled me to make perfectly serviceable envelopes. In the end, I caved in to curiosity, and discovered I had purchased much more than an envelope-making gadget. By combining it with other commonly-available tools (such as a paper trimmer and a hole punch), you can make envelope liners, index tabs, tab divider pages, tabbed folders, gift boxes, and more.

Before I compare both tools’ capacity to create the same envelope, let’s take a look at their physical features.

Just the Facts

The Martha Stewart Crafts® Scoring Board, which sells for $19.99, measures 13 inches wide by 14.25 inches tall, and includes vertical and horizontal edge rulers in eighth-inch increments, with corresponding scoring grooves. Both rulers accommodate up to 12.5 inches. A lidded compartment provides charts for standard card sizes, gatefold cards, boxes and lids. A triangle-shaped envelope guide slides beneath the board for storage, and includes a chart for making envelopes for dimensional cards. All measurements are in inches.

Martha Stewart Crafts Scoring Board

The We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board, which retails for $19.99, measures 10.5 inches wide by 6.75 inches tall, and includes parallel inch and metric rulers at the top edge of the tool. The 5-inch ruler is divided into eighths of an inch, printed in white.  The 13-centimeter ruler below it has grooved millimeter markings. The board includes a dual-sided punch, with one side for envelopes, and the other side for rounding corners. Directions for use, along with a chart for making 66 different card sizes, are screen printed on the top surface of the tool. Metric measurements are printed on a separate sheet and accompany any purchase. The A2 measurement on my punch board is incorrect, indicating a card size of 4.5 by 5.5 inches instead of 4.25 by 5.5 inches. Although later versions of this board may have corrected this error, I want to point out that the Stampin’ Up Envelope Punch Board, identical to the We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board because both were made by the same company, has the correct information. I watched a video on YouTube that provided these suggestions:

  • Card size measures 4.25 x 5.5 inches (when it’s folded).
  • Paper size for envelope measures 8 x 8 inches.
  • Score line is at 3.5 inches.

We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board

If you bought one of the early versions of this tool (earlier than mine, which I bought in 2014), your Envelope Punch Board may have at least eight errors, which can be corrected by printing out this sheet and taping it to your board.Corrections to We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch BoardBoth the Martha Stewart Crafts® Scoring Board and the We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board come with a scoring tool that doubles as a bone folder. The Martha Stewart scoring tool is tucked inside the lidded compartment, while the We R Memory Keepers scoring tool tucks into a side slot on the punch board. I often substitute the Martha Stewart Crafts® Bone Folder or the Fiskars Dual-Tip Stylus Embossing Tool for the one included with the Martha Steward board because I think each of these fits better in the scoring grooves and thus scores more easily.

From top to bottom: Fiskars, Martha Stewart Bone Folder, Martha Stewart Crafts Scoring Board Bone Folder

From top to bottom: Fiskars Dual-Tip Stylus Embossing Tool, Martha Stewart Bone Folder, Martha Stewart Crafts Scoring Board Bone Folder

Alternate Uses

This post is not intended to be an encyclopedia article, citing all alternate uses for the Martha Stewart Crafts® Scoring Board and the We Re Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board. However, it’s a fact that while both do envelopes easily and well, both can also be used for other projects. This post provides links to a good selection of them.

The Martha Stewart Crafts® Scoring Board’s advertised uses include invitations (or cards), envelopes, boxes and unspecified “other projects.” Links to tutorials for these and other projects that you might wish to explore can be found here:

The We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board’s advertised uses include envelopes, fold tabs and rounded corners. Tutorials for these uses, as well as some other projects you can check out, are as follows:

Click on this image to watch a video about Crafty Owl's Box Buster app that allows you to create just about any size box you need with your Envelope Punch Board.

Click on this image to watch a video about Crafty Owl’s Box Buster app that allows you to create just about any size box you need with your Envelope Punch Board.

This is a screenshot of the Box Buster tool in action. You enter the desired box depth, height and width, and the app will tell you what size to cut your paper, and where the first and second punches should go. Easy-peasy!

This is a screenshot of the Box Buster tool in action. You enter the desired box depth, height and width, and the app will tell you what size to cut your paper, and where the first and second punches should go. Easy-peasy! Visit http://www.thecraftyowl.co.uk/boxbuster/, or click on this image.

Making a Non-Standard Sized Envelope

I offer my MisterPenQuin customers a free mini note card when they purchase an item from my shop. The card measures 2 by 2 inches, but I have never found envelopes to match them. Neither the Martha Stewart Crafts® Scoring Board nor the We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board offers envelope dimensions for such a small card. Through trial-and-error, I discovered that I can make an envelope that works, but the folded tips look a little funky where they meet. I use a circle punch to modify it, and think that looks marginally better. My “recipe” for this mini envelope, using the Martha Stewart Crafts® Scoring Board, is as follows:

  • Cut the paper 4-5/8 x 4-5/8 inches.
  • Score and fold at 2 inches on all sides.
  • Use a circle punch to punch a half-circle as shown below.

Mini Envelope with Scoring Board

I was curious to know whether I could use the same instructions for the mini envelope with the We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board, but as you can see when the shapes sit side by side, as well as when the envelope is finished, it is just a little bit too large. If I needed a mini envelope for a dimensional card, however, this might work just fine.

In both photos, the envelope on the left was made using the Martha Stewart Crafts Scoring Board. The envelope on the right was made using the We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board.

In both photos, the envelope on the left was made using the Martha Stewart Crafts Scoring Board. The envelope on the right was made using the We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board.

I discovered, by visiting the We R Memory Keepers Web site, that they recently developed an app called Envelope Generator for just about any size envelope you might need, so if the size you’re looking for isn’t printed on your punch board, you can come up with the paper size and scoring line this way. The app is designed for iOS and Android phones and tablets, but if you don’t have one of these, you can visit the Web site instead and use the online version of Envelope Generator. It’s quite easy to use. Just enter the dimensions of your card, and click on Generate. The app tells you what size paper you need to cut, in my case a square that measures 7-5/8 by 7-5/8 inches, as well as where to score. For my mini envelope, that’s the 2-inch mark.

Envelope Generator

Click on this image to visit Envelope Generator online.

The 1-2-3 Punch Board

You’ll notice that the Envelope Generator app refers to a “1-2-3 Punch Board,” which was introduced at CHA 2015 and will be coming out soon in your local craft stores and online. This punch board’s advertised uses are envelopes, boxes, and bows, but the idea booklet that accompanies the tool also provides instructions for envelope liners, tabbed file folders and coin envelopes. Tutorial links for those same items are in this post using the Envelope Punch Board, so don’t despair if you recently bought one and are just now hearing about the “new and improved” 1-2-3 Punch Board. The main difference is ease of use. In the spirit of fairness, however, take a look at the video below and decided for yourself if you really need to replace your Envelope Punch Board. At the time this post was written, you could get a special deal for the We R Memory Keepers Punch Board Party Collection on HSN that includes the 1-2-3 Punch Board, a Banner Punch, and some extra supplies for $59.95, plus shipping. Do I plan on replacing my Envelope Punch Board? Not at this time, especially since I own some of the other We R Memory Keepers punch boards and there is some duplication in function already. But I’m tempted!

If you don’t have a scoring board—the Martha Stewart one, Scor-Pal or any of a number of other types—that’s a good place to start for creating cards, envelopes, boxes, rosettes and many other projects. By combining a scoring board, paper trimmer, and the We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board (or the soon-to-be-released 1-2-3 Punch Board), there’s probably no limit to what you can accomplish. What tools do you use to make some of the items described in this post?

© 2015 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.