All posts by chasenfratz

I Have Planted My First Letterboxes!

My first two letterbox plants!
My first two letterbox plants!

I’ve been involved in the letterboxing hobby since 2010 but I just now got around to planting my first letterboxes. Each box contains a logbook for visitors to stamp in and a hand-carved stamp for finders to stamp into their own personal logbooks. If you want to try to find either of these boxes, go to the web site for clues. If you want to see the stamps in these boxes, you have to find them! It’s against the “rules” for me to show you online!

Screenshot of
Screenshot of

If letterboxing looks like an activity you would enjoy, I can teach you how to carve a custom rubber stamp, make a logbook, get clues and look for boxes. I hope you can join me at Schnarr’s Hardware on March 22 and 29, 2018 where I will be teaching:
Introduction to Letterboxing

Give Your Mason Jar Gifts a Beachy Look

Handmade candle in a Mason jar, decorated with collage papers and a handmade tag.
Handmade candle in a Mason jar, decorated with collage papers and a handmade tag.

My tutorial on decorating the lids and making tags for seaglass-colored Mason jar candles has been published on the Canvas Corp Brands blog.

Read More

To learn how I made the candles, you can read my tutorial on the Schnarr’s Hardware blog:
Make Old Wax Candles Into New Candles

Schnarr’s Hardware sells several sizes and shapes of Mason jars as well as lids and other canning accessories.

Introduction to Scrapbooking

Do you want to start scrapbooking? First here are some guidelines to help you narrow down your choices of formats and tools.

1. To begin, make a decision about what format you want to work in.

  • What size blank pages do you want to use? 12 x 12, 8.5 x 11, 6 x 6 or something else? Take into account the size of your photos.
  • Do you like pocket scrapbooking, traditional scrapbooking, or a combination? Pocket scrapbooking is when you put your photos, journaling cards and other embellishments into clear plastic pocket pages.
  • Is it important to be able to add and subtract pages? If so, choose or make an album cover that allows you to remove and add pages.
  • Is it easy to get refills on blank pages and pocket pages? You can get a lot of beautiful supplies for your scrapbook online, but it will be a lot more convenient if you can refill your basic supplies at a store where you already shop a lot.

2. Choose a cutting system for papers and photos.

  • A self-healing cutting mat, craft knife and metal ruler are basic to have for just about any type of paper crafts and will get used a lot in scrapbooking.
  • A guillotine-style cutter, preferably at least 12 x 12″ in size, is extremely convenient and easy to use. Mine is heavy but I often make the effort to drag it around when working on location because I use it so much. They make smaller sizes but if you have the budget and the space for it a 12 x 12″ cutter is very useful because much scrapbook paper is sold in the 12 x 12″ format.
  • A trimmer is great to have when you don’t want to deal with the size and weight of a tabletop guillotine-style paper cutter. You won’t be able to work quite as fast as with the guillotine-style cutter, but you can get the job done. They also come with a scoring blade so you can use it as a scoring tool also which is useful if you make a lot of stuff with folds such as pockets, boxes or greeting cards.

3. Select what adhesives you’d like to use for attaching photos and papers to the scrapbook page. I recommend having all of these in your arsenal when you start out because all are useful in certain situations and you will develop your own methods and preferences as you learn.

  • Photo adhesive squares – easy to use and essential and one of the most economical choices.
  • Glue stick – great for small embellishments that don’t have their own adhesive, also economical.
  • Tape runner – very convenient if you can find one that doesn’t jam constantly – I’m still looking!
  • Rolls of glue dots or glue lines – extremely convenient and useful, not the most economical choice but sometimes nothing else is right.
  • Double-sided tape – I use it a lot for making pockets and other situations where you need a flat, strong bond.
  • Glue pen – Good for extremely small paper items. I use one of these more in collage work than in scrapbooking but if you ever need to glue something tiny glue pens are a great way to apply a small amount of glue neatly.

Other basic tools and supplies you will need to start scrapbooking:
Scrap paper
Bone folder
Pencil sharpener
Marker for writing captions
Selection of solid color cardstock
Selection of decorative patterned papers

How to start your scrapbook

1. Lay out a few blank pages on your work surface that are the same size as the finished pages you want to make. This is to help you visualize what your future pages will look like.

2. Go through your photos and decide what order they should go in. Decide if they need cropping or trimming.

3. Place your photos and any embellishments or memorabilia you want to use on two or three blank pages at a time. This is to get ideas for page layouts.

4. When you plan your layout, don’t forget to leave space for captions or journaling.

5. Make or prepare what you want to add on your page. For example, you might want to make a pocket to hold something special or make a frame for a photo out of colored paper. Take a blank page and start building your page from the “bottom up”. Use whatever adhesive is appropriate for each part. For example, photo squares are good for most photos and glue sticks or a tape runner work well for attaching a large piece of paper.

6. If it helps in positioning things, you can make indicator lines on the paper with pencil then erase them later when you’re done with your page.

Going to the next level

If you get more serious about the hobby, these paper crafting supplies are really fun to use on scrapbook pages and give you a lot more creative options:
Rubber stamps and rubber stamp ink pads
Markers and colored pencils for coloring and drawing
Die cuts and embellishments
Paper punches
Decorative paper tape (also called Washi tape or design tape)
Journaling cards
Decorative paper edging scissors
Wet media such as paints and mists
A paper cutting system that allows you to cut shapes – this can be some kind of template and blade system or a computer driven cutting system such as a Cricut.

Paper crafting supplies are a bit of an investment in the beginning but keep in mind you can get a lot of use out of them by making other paper items such as journals, planners, calendars, handmade books, cards, holiday and party decorations, gift packaging and more.

Here are some online resources that I have written or found to help with scrapbooking and other paper crafts:

Scrapbooking Page Layout Sketches

Scrapbooking with Memorabilia

Scrapbooking with Small Format Photos

Mixing Different Paper Crafting Brands Together

Planners, Journals, Albums, Scrapbooks and Handmade Books

Art Journaling

Examples of Pocket Scrapbooking

Scrap Gals Community

Scrap Gals Podcast

My teaching, demo and event schedule

Make Your Own Bird Suet Cakes

Feeding outdoor birds with homemade suet cakes
Feeding outdoor birds with homemade suet cakes

I do as much as I can in my garden to attract birds, because I love them and I enjoy the benefits of all the insects they eat. Suet cakes are attractive to many birds, in particular the ones who eat a lot of insects. I wrote an article on how to double-render fat to make suet cakes that you offer to outdoor birds in spring temperatures.

Read more on the Schnarr’s Blog:
Make Suet Cakes for Outdoor Birds

Fun Venture Cafe Event

Art journal pages projected on screen as part of a slide show featuring art inspired by science.
Art journal pages projected on screen as part of a slide show featuring art inspired by science.

Last week some of my science inspired art journal pages were in a slide show as part of an event called “Science of Creativity”. I’m a believer in the fun and benefits of adult coloring and art journaling so it was very rewarding for me to show some of my samples and also participate in coloring activities on at the event. Venture Cafe activities are kind of like mini conventions and happy hours where you can attend presentations and network with people in a low-pressure situation.

Read more on the Schnarr’s Hardware blog:
Exploring Where Art and Science Meet at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Make a picture frame from reclaimed wood

make a picture frame from scrap woodLast night I taught a class at Schnarr’s Hardware in Webster Groves in making simple lightweight picture frames from salvaged wood. We also fabricated some hardware for the backs to hold the artwork in the frame and provide a place to attach the hanging wire. My tutorial for this project is on Schnarr’s Hardware blog along with a free downloadable PDF diagram and video of my class.

Read more:
Make a picture frame from scrap wood

Decorate a Bookmark With Paper, Fabric and Buttons

Bookmark made from paper, fabric and buttonsMy bookmark tutorial has been posted on the Canvas Corp Brands Blog. I included a free downloadable PDF template with my tutorial. Enjoy!

Read more:

My Entry for the Canvas Corp Brands January Challenge

I’m still new to the Canvas Corp Brands Creative Crew so I didn’t handle the entry process for the January challenge quite right and it’s not on their web page. But that’s ok, I’ll just put my entry here on my blog. The challenge was to make a project based on the prompt “Be Lazy” or “Be Lacy”. I decided to do a couple of scrapbook pages about kayaking for my contribution. Kayaking is often strenuous but there are opportunities for lazy moments when you float around on a lake eating a picnic lunch or let yourself drift downstream for awhile on a river. Almost every time I go floating I take a “foot selfie” to remind myself of how chilled out and relaxed I am on water. It makes the effort of transporting the kayak well worth it!

2 page scrapbook layout of kayaking outings from last summer.
Simple two-page scrapbook layout of kayaking outings from last summer. My fiance Tom is featured on the left hand page, my friend Jodie on the right.

I do some of my scrapbooking in a memory planner. The pages shown here are 8 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches to fit within the memory planner format I’m currently using. I have a current planner that I carry around with me, and after the pages get used I transfer them to an “archive” volume. I periodically go back and scrapbook photo pages into the “archive” volume as I get time if I didn’t complete them while the pages were current. I use 7gypsies binding rings to assemble the archive volumes because it’s easy to open and close them and add pages as I get them done.

The papers I used in this project include some selections from the 7gypsies Architextures collection and the Canvas Corp Natural Nautical collection. I enhanced the papers with some Tim Holtz design tape, a couple of brads and a couple of sequins.

Here is where you can see the other challenge entries:

Make St. Patrick’s Day Cards

St. Patrick's Day Cards
Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! Wish good luck and celebrate spring by making St. Patrick’s Day Cards!

Supplies and Materials
Cardstock and a variety of decorative papers in shades of green
Downloadable templates “St. Patrick’s Day Card 1” and “St. Patrick’s Day Card 2”
Scoring tool
Tracing paper
Chipboard (can be scrap – for making templates)
Flower punch
Small circle punch
Paper flower embellishments
Eyelet setter
Metal ruler
Craft knife and blades (X-Acto or something similar)
Cutting mat
Rubber stamps (St. Patrick’s Day, appropriate greeting, Celtic designs, spirals)
Stamping ink pads and re-inkers in the following colors: dark brown, shades of green
Acrylic stamp mounting blocks
Double-sided tape
Paper cutter
Awl or needle tool
Small hole punch
Decorative scissors
Glue stick
Masking tape
Decorative brads
Optional – buttons, white craft glue such as Turbo Tacky Glue, needle, thread

The first part of the process for the pair of cards is to stamp out St. Patrick’s Day and Celtic motifs onto small pieces of scrap paper. Use stamping inks in various shades of green and dark brown. Mix in some neutrals if you want. You can make the backgrounds more interesting with the use of background stamps or techniques such as brayering.

Once you have a quantity of stamped pieces finished and the ink is dry, gather them together with some scraps of paper in various shades of green. Make a collage by gluing these scraps down with a glue stick onto a 1/2 sheet of white cardstock. You can create interest by cutting the scraps into smaller pieces by tearing while using a ruler as a straight edge or by cutting apart with decorative scissors. Burnish your collage periodically with a bone folder under a piece of clean scrap paper so the glue has a nice tight seal. Set aside for now and let the glue dry.

Collage made with scrap paper and paper pieces that I stamped with rubber stamps.
Collage made with scrap paper and paper pieces that I stamped with rubber stamps.

Directions for St. Patrick’s Day Card #1

St. Patrick's Day Greeting Card

1. Download and print out the template “St. Patrick’s Day Card #1”.

2. Cut a 8.5 x 5.5″ size piece of card stock to use as the background of your card. Score it  and fold it in half.

2. Trace the shamrock from the template onto the back of dark green decorative paper. Cut out the shamrock with scissors. If you want to make several cards, you can trace the shamrock onto chipboard and cut it out to use multiple times for tracing.

3. Trace the half-leaf shape onto chipboard and cut out. Trace onto four different pieces of decorative paper in different shades of green. Instead of pre-made decorative paper you can use some parts of your collage if you want (if you do this be sure to leave at least a 3 7/8″ x 5 1/8″ sized piece intact to use on card #2). Glue the half petals in place as shown on the card sketch in the PDF file.

4. Cut out a narrow strip (3/4″ wide) of light colored paper and stamp or glue a sentiment onto it. Glue this onto a slightly wider (1″ wide) paper strip. Glue to front of card and trim.

5. Glue the shamrock down in place on the front of the card.

6. Punch out a flower shape with a punch and glue down in center of shamrock.

7. Punch out a small circle and glue in place on the strip near the bottom of the card.

8. Punch two holes for eyelets in the center of where the two flower embellishments will go. You can use a small hole punch or a needle tool or awl to start the hole. If the hole is not large enough to accept the eyelet you can enlarge the hole with paintbrush handle or other handy tool.

9. Push the eyelets through the holes and set with the eyelet setter.

Variation – use buttons as embellishments instead of the paper flowers. Attach by gluing with white craft glue then further secure by sewing.

Directions for St. Patrick’s Day Card #2

St. Patrick's Day Greeting Card

1. Download and print out the template “St. Patrick’s Day Card #2”.

2. Cut a 8.5 x 5.5″ size piece of card stock to use as the background of your card, score it, and fold it in half.

3. Cut out a 3.75 x 5″ size piece of dark green cardstock.

4. Trace the shamrock from the template onto the back of the dark green cardstock. Cut out the shamrock with a craft knife. If you cut carefully, you can use the cutout to make another card. If you want to make several cards, you can save your first cutout and use it multiple times for tracing.

5. Get your collage out and cut a 3 7/8″ x 5 1/8″ size piece out of it. Position your dark green cutout piece over it and place those on top of your folded cardstock card base. Make sure the three layers line up correctly. If you decide you want a sentiment or other embellishment in the lower left area where there is some space, now would be a good time to add it.

6. Using the printed out template as a guide, poke holes in all three layers with an awl or needle tool.

7. Push decorative brads through the holes and spread prongs on the back side. You’re done!

Some of the rubber stamps and papers I used in this project are by 7gypsies by Canvas Corp Brands and Inkadinkado. The “Good Luck” stamp is by Carolyn Hasenfratz Design and the celtic and spiral stamps are hand carved by me.

If you would like to make envelopes for these cards here is a template that will fit:

Extra tip: If you have heart punches or stencils, you can make a three or four leaf clovers for yet more cards from three or four heart shapes!

See my Pinterest site and past lesson plans for ideas and craft projects.

Welcome from

Hi! I just set my domain to redirect to this web site. I’ve had that web site for 15 years and it’s going to take ages to fix all the broken links. So please be patient with me while I cope with this disaster.

Here is what happened – the hosting company for that web site, Integrated Technology Associates, is a reseller for hosting services provided by GoDaddy. One or the other companies set my web site so that no edits or updates can be made to any of the files on that site – in other words they broke it. Each company blames the other for breaking it and both companies would rather lose me as a customer than fix it. So after almost two months of pleading with them to fix it, I have given up. Those of you hoping to access content on, please be patient while I try to rebuild the content from that site and fix the links. It will take a LONG time. I apologize for the inconvenience!