Jan 182014

If you live near an Archiver’s store, then you likely know that the national scrapbooking chain is going out of business very soon. Where I live we are fortunate to have other scrapbooking stores where you can pick up supplies, but I still am sorry about the 12 friendly people who will lose their jobs and the store’s loss itself. On the other hand, this is a very good time, if you are a scrapbooker or paper crafter, to pick up products and fixtures at reduced prices.

John and I have visited the local Archiver’s store several times in the last couple of weeks, each time with a specific goal in mind. Honestly, I do have a lot of paper already on hand, as well as quite a few paper crafting tools, so you might wonder what else I need. But the nature of paper crafting is such that it takes up as much space as you allow. I feel as if I am forever organizing and re-organizing my supplies. As John walked through the store a couple of days ago, he pointed out that it would be a lot easier to store my paper in open acrylic trays than in the lidded boxes I currently use. The lidded boxes can then be used to store finished products, or for supplies and tools that have not yet found a home. Good idea, I thought, so here are the acrylic trays he purchased for me, stacked in the living room at the moment because I have to move things from Point A to Point B in my studio (spare bedroom) before I can fill them up. They were two-thirds the price of the same ones you can purchase online at Scrapbook.com, without the disadvantage of also paying for shipping. The price I got matches the one offered by the manufacturer, Display Dynamics, but without a minimum order requirement or added shipping costs.

Paper Trays

Today I visited Archiver’s to see what I could find in the way of envelopes. I like to use them to make books, so really just about any size works for me. As I was passing a table filled with used items, I looked beneath it and saw a cardboard box brimming with envelopes. The envelopes weren’t marked with any prices, so I asked what the cost would be for the entire box. Five dollars was the welcome answer I got, and you can bet I snapped up that bargain. Apparently these were envelopes that were supposed to accompany sample cards put up for display in the store. Whatever they were originally intended for, they will become book pages in the future! I was really pleased with this bargain.


One of my goals this year is to shop more carefully for paper crafting supplies. It is convenient, of course, to use local retail stores, but not always the most economical way to shop. What is one of the best bargains you’ve discovered for your crafting business?

© 2014 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

Feb 152012

If you are a paper crafting enthusiast like me, likely you have an arsenal of blades that would impress your local fencing master. Seriously, have you ever inventoried all of the sharp tools in your drawers and baskets, and on your counters and shelves?

There are pinking and fabric shears, Scherenschnitte scissors, craft scissors, fringe scissors, utility scissors and edge-shaping scissors.

Don’t forget your button shank remover, paper piercers and rotary blades.

Likely you have or are developing a Dewey Decimal System for your shape punches, border punches, corner punches, hole punches and rotary punch.

Consuming all of your horizontal space are your machines (clockwise, starting in upper left corner below): Dreamkuts; The Cinch; Bind-it-All; Cricut™; Sizzix® Big Shot™; 7Gypsies® Binderie, Zutter™ Kutter,  and more.

After you wake up each day, you turn on your computer, and then you locate your craft knives, Crop-A-Dile® and paper trimmer.

So, where does that leave me as a Blade-Carrying Paper Crafter? I admit it: I’m a tool junkie. But sometimes I wonder if I could manage as our ancestors did—with an ordinary pair of scissors. And I also wonder what came first, the tools or the paper crafters? Before all of today’s convenient tools were developed, paper crafters wielded a ruler and drawing compass, a pencil, scissors—and an imagination wrapped around folding techniques—to create paper shapes for their projects.

I am happy to report that these tools still do the job, and that there are people out there who have developed paper templates (or instructions for creating your own) that you can use to cut out shapes the longhand way: with plain ol’ scissors. Sometimes this is still the fastest way to get the job done!

Since I was looking for printable envelope templates recently, I visited the following sites to see what digital designs are available to print and cut out with my scissors:

  • Mirkwood Designs. Once upon a time, Ruthann Logsdon Zaroff was an instructional designer who created and sold rubber stamps. At that time, she generated a treasure house of paper templates for the Triangle, Square, Pentagon and Hexagon Petal Card; the Puffy Box; the Heart Basket; Basic Envelope; Secret Heart Card; Library Card Book Pocket; Wine Glass Shade; 1-Inch and 2-Inch Envelopes . . . and many more designs. Although Ruthann fills her present days with quilting, cooking, reading and music (in addition to paper crafts), her original Web site still contains her simple-but-effective designs. You can follow Ruthann at her blog, Adventures in Creativity, where you’ll find more resources for paper crafters.
  • Over 100 envelope tutorials and patterns. At Melz Stamps, Mel McCarthy invites her readers to use her digital designs for personal use, or in handmade items they may sell. Mel describes her crafting style as a hybrid between traditional stamping and supplies, and digital design. Among her tips and tricks are ultra quick ideas for lining any envelope; patterns for a standard A2-sized envelope (4 1/4 in. x 5 1/2 in.); square cards and matching envelopes in various sizes; the Mini Long Note envelope and matching box; the Corset Belly-band-elope, and links to many other sites with digital printables.
  • How to Make a 5×7 Envelope. I went on a scavenger hunt this week to locate 5 in. x 7 in. envelopes for an envelope pocket album I am making. Although I eventually found these envelopes at Michael’s, it occurred to me that you can produce a much wider range of colors, or make patterned envelopes, if you create your own. This eHow™ tutorial walks you through 8 easy steps for making your own template.
  • How to Create Your Own Envelopes. Jamie Brock on HubPages, another online information-sharing community, explains how you can create your own envelopes simply by deconstructing an envelope you already have, and tracing it. She also provides links to other envelope-making tutorials.

What great sites have you discovered for paper templates that will make your scissors dance?

© 2012 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.