Category Archives: Paper Crafts

Mixing Brands in Vintage Inspired Handmade Journals

My paper crafting and mixed media supply stash is substantial. Recently when I wanted to make some vintage inspired handmade journals as gifts I was faced with a pretty overwhelming number of options. Sometimes if you have too many supplies you can feel overwhelmed and a little inhibited. To get my creativity revved up I decided to see what I could come up with if I limited myself to three brands only – Canvas Corp Brands, Tim Holtz and DCWV. Those three brands still give you a huge number of options don’t they – not much of a limitation! I narrowed the possibilities a little further by setting out items from this list in my studio:

  • 7gypsies Gypsy Paper Pack Collection – American Vintage
  • Architextures™ 12×12 Papers – Collection I
  • Canvas Corp Black & Kraft Postcard Paper
  • 7gypsies Gypsy Moments Cards: Are We There Yet?
  • 7gypsies Gypsy Paper Pack Collection – Gypsy Seamstress
  • Architextures™ 12×12 Papers – Collection 2
  • Canvas Corp Nautical: Black and Ivory Compass Paper
  • Architextures™ Parchment Rub-On – Build
  • Canvas Corp The Watering Can: Seed Packets on Ivory Paper
  • 7gypsies binding rings
  • 7gypsies ephemera (discontinued)
  • 7gypsies papers (discontinued)
  • 7gypsies paper tape (discontinued)
  • DCWV Everyday Essentials Stack
  • DCWV Heirloom Stack
  • Tim Holtz design tape
  • Tim Holtz papers
  • Tim Holz ephemera
  • Tim Holtz mini brads
  • Ok I cheated a little bit – in the second journal I needed some patterned translucent paper so I slipped in some Vellum Swirls paper by Paper Pizazz.
  • Yes, that is still a lot of product to choose from, but it’s at least a somewhat more manageable subset of my stash! These slide shows feature 8.5 x 5.5 inch pages in pairs, starting with the front and back covers.

    Vintage Look Journal #1

    Vintage Look Journal #2

    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

    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

    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.

    Making Greeting Cards From Scrap Papers

    Do you have the patience for playing around with lots of fiddly paper bits? If so you might enjoy collecting paper scraps and making them into interesting greeting cards. I’ll show you how gluing small bits of paper to strips of scrap cardstock can give you exciting design options.

    Tools and Supplies:
    Self-healing cutting mat
    Paper cutter
    Rubber stamps with greetings and sentiments
    Permanent black rubber stamping ink
    Clean scrap paper
    Bone folder
    Glue sticks
    Metal ruler
    Corner rounder
    Old food lid to use as a palette
    Rubber stamping ink in complementary colors
    Rubber eraser with flat sides
    Palette knife and/or old credit cards for spreading glue
    Yes Paste

    An assortment of recycled papers:here are some suggested sources
    Gift wrap and tissue
    Gift tags
    Used postage stamps
    Magazines and catalogs
    Old greeting cards
    Wallpaper samples
    Paint sample cards
    Attractive product packaging
    Scrapbooking paper scraps
    Scraps from your old projects
    Paper company sample books and promos
    Ephemera from travel – maps, brochures, tickets, etc.

    I’ll show you two different card designs that you can make by collaging scraps of paper onto cardstock strips.

    Make an assortment of collaged strips

    1. Cut some strips from plain scrap cardstock that are 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide. Old folders are a good source of scrap cardstock weight paper.

    Strips of scrap cardstock and paper scraps ready for gluing
    Strips of scrap cardstock and paper scraps ready for gluing

    2. Lay out a bunch of small paper scraps and glue them down in a row down each strip. You might choose papers at random or try to follow a planned color scheme. When glue is dry enough to handle, use a scissors to trim the strips from the back to make the edges even.

    Gluing paper scraps onto the cardstock strips
    Gluing paper scraps onto the cardstock strips

    3. Choose a color of rubber stamping ink that will help unify your design and squirt a little of it onto an old food lid. Dip the edge of a flat-sided eraser in the ink and apply a line of ink to the edges of your collaged strips. This is a small step that makes a huge difference in the visual appeal of your finished piece.

    The strip at the lower left is in the process of having scraps glued to it. The middle strip has been trimmed and the upper right strip has been stamped along the edge with rubber stamping ink.
    The strip at the lower left is in the process of having scraps glued to it. The middle strip has been trimmed and the upper right strip has been stamped along the edge with rubber stamping ink.

    Instructions to make card design #1:

    1. Print a selection of sentiments with permanent rubber stamping ink on strips of light colored paper to use on the card that you make. Select one to use as the main theme of your card.

    Rubber stamped sentiments on strips of scrap paper.
    Rubber stamped sentiments on strips of scrap paper.

    2. Choose a piece of scrap cardstock or heavy paper to use for the base of your card. Fold it in half. Measure the front of your card.

    3. Next select a piece of thin scrap paper that would make a good background for the front of the card. Tear out a piece that is 1/2 inch smaller than the front of your card, using the metal ruler as a tearing aid.

    For example, if you fold an 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch piece of paper in half, the front of the card will measure 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches and the background paper for the front of the card should be 3 3/4 x 5 inches.

    4. Next choose a simple shape to put on the front of the card – you could trace around a found object, use a cookie cutter or a stencil as a source. Trace one copy of this shape onto plain scrap cardstock. Make another tracing on the back of a piece of paper that harmonizes with the chosen colors for your card.

    5. Cut out both shapes with scissors. Set aside the one in the harmonious color to glue to your card later.

    6. Take the shape on plain cardstock and glue your sentiment across the middle or wherever looks best. Just below the sentiment, glue a section of one of your collaged and inked strips from earlier.

    7. Moving from the inside to the edges, glue strips of scrap paper in complementary colors on either side of your sentiment and collaged strip for a striped effect. Cut around the base shape to trim when all covered.

    8. Using the glue stick glue the colored shape you cut out earlier to the front of the card.

    9. You will probably need some more robust glue to hold the collaged and inked shape since all the layers of paper will have made it pretty thick. Use Yes Paste to attach the striped shape to the front of the card. Trim if needed.

    10. If needed, glue plain light colored scrap paper to the inside of the card to make a clean area for writing a message.

    Instructions to make card design #2:

    This second card design is designed to made from a piece of 4 1/4 inch by 8 1/2 inch cardstock.

    1. Fold the cardstock in half and the front of the card will end up as a 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 square.

    2. Cut a 3 3/4 by 3 3/4 inch square from plain scrap cardstock.

    3. Glue a sentiment, a collged and inked strip and scrap paper strips to the cardstock square.

    4. Trim around the square and round the corners with a corner rounding tool.

    5. Glue the trimmed square to the front of the card with Yes Paste.

    Extra Tips and Techniques for working with paper:
    Cover up unwanted parts of found papers by laminating with other paper.
    You can get wrinkles out of paper by ironing.
    How does one glue down delicate tissue paper? Stabilize by gluing to a stiffer piece of paper with a glue stick and smooth out wrinkles with a bone folder.
    When working on other projects, if you have leftover paint or ink use it up on plain paper scraps. Save these scraps and add to them whenever you have leftover art media. In time, you will have a lot of interesting scraps to work with.
    If your paper project warps or curls, press it between heavy books with clean scrap paper around it to protect both card and books.

    Embellishments that can be recycled and used on cards:
    Thread, string and yarn
    Ribbon and trim
    Fabric scraps
    Beads and charms
    Game pieces

    Self-help techniques for depression

    Last year at this time I was fighting major depression as a result of abuse. I am thankful that this year is much better for me but I know some people who are really struggling right now. I vividly remember how last year’s Holiday season made me feel worse. Winter weather and less daylight contributed to the struggle also. I had counseling and intensive outpatient therapy to help me recover. I learned some new techniques and tips to help me pull out of depression and here are some actions that I found to be the most effective for me. Please keep in mind that I’m not a professional therapist or a doctor and I needed professional help along with the following practices I could do on my own to recover. Please get professional help if you are suffering from depression. If you are afraid that you might harm yourself, please call 911 or a suicide hotline immediately. Here is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number – 1-800-273-8255.

    Action #1
    Help someone else who is suffering – No matter what your situation is, there are always going to be people who have it even worse than you. I’m not saying this to invalidate what you are feeling because you feel how you feel no matter what other people are going through. Maybe you can visit a lonely person or make a phone call, make someone a nice baked good or homemade gift, do a good deed for a neighbor or volunteer for a charity. No matter how humble you think your gifts are, someone out there can use them. I know that one of the most depressing thoughts you can have is that you don’t matter or no one would care if you are gone. It’s not true, even if other people have tried to make you think that. Doing things for people helps you prove that to yourself and the gratitude you get is very healing.

    Action #2
    Explore DBT skills for emotion regulation – DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Training. While in group therapy we practiced some DBT techniques which helped me out a great deal. The concepts were new to me and I wish I’d known about them earlier in life. I kept printouts about the anger and sadness emotion regulation techniques hung up in my bathroom for months so that I could perform normal life functions and do things I needed to do for recovery. I recommend you get the workbook and if you can, take classes. When I was feeling overwhelmed with emotions the techniques on the worksheets were invaluable.

    This slide show provides a good overview of distress tolerance and includes some good techniques: DBT Distress Tolerance Skills

    For example, I had to learn to tolerate distress because I was in a situation that I could not fix. You can’t make the trauma not have happened. There were people in group therapy with me that were rape victims, crime victims, were homeless and in other situations that could not be undone or fixed quickly. You have to learn to tolerate your situation to avoid making it worse. For example there were many times at work when I had to run to the refrigerator to put a cold drink on my head and do breathing exercises so I could do my job – that’s an example of learning to cope to avoid making things worse. It wouldn’t help my recovery to add financial and career problems to the trauma I already had. I was left with a huge therapy bill, enough to buy a good used car, and adding unpaid bills to my other problems would not make me feel better!

    Intrigued? Here is some more information about DBT.
    Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

    Action #3
    Attend support groups – Some people tell me that support groups are not effective for them but I find them valuable. It’s a good place to discuss painful things with people who understand some of what you’ve been through and will listen without being judgmental. Sometimes there is no one else in a person’s life to provide this. If you do have people in your life who will listen you have to be careful not to burn them out. It feels good to provide this service to other people in the group because you know how valuable it is. Also you can learn from the other members’ experiences and get good information about resources you may need.

    Action #4
    Use AND statements in your internal dialougue – I learned this in a support group and it’s one of the most helpful things anyone has ever told me. “I feel ______ AND I’m going to _______.” This is a good way to remind yourself that there are a lot of things you can do despite how you feel.

    Examples of AND statements I’ve used to motivate myself:
    “I’m angry AND I’m going to give this customer extra good service and make their day easier.”
    “I’m sad AND I’m going to take a walk and enjoy nature.”
    “I’m tired AND I’m going to go grocery shopping so I have nutritious food to eat.”

    Action #5
    G.R.A.P.E.S. – This is an acronym to help you remember to take steps each day to help recover from depression. When you are really depressed, it’s difficult to take any kind of action. I learned from experience that if I did everything on this list daily I would improve. It was hard. It took a long time. But it did work!

    • Being Gentle with yourself
    • Relaxation
    • Achievement
    • Pleasure
    • Exercise
    • Social

    I made a set of felt ornaments for a friend to put little pieces of paper in as a reminder of which activities have been done that day and motivation for getting as many as possible completed each day. I suggested she start with the papers on the sun side and move them to the moon side as they are finished to get more out of the cycle of each day. I also made a set for myself. The patterns for the sun and moon came from the book “Forest Fairy Crafts”.

    I made a PDF file that includes reminders that you can print out on cardstock or on clear sticker paper to incorporate them into different systems that you might use for motivation such as calendars or planners. I threw in some motivational sayings that are designed for cards the size of ATCs (artist trading cards). Some people call these “self care cards”.
    Download PDF here

    Action #6
    Light Therapy – Other people can explain better than I can the science behind improving your mood with light. I just know that it works. I give myself exposure to a natural light lamp and try to get natural sunlight on me as much as possible. Of course that is difficult in winter when you have to cover up to be outdoors but I use the outdoor activities I enjoy and gardening to motivate me to get what sun exposure I can.

    Action #7
    Meditation – I never tried meditation before I was in group therapy. I was having severe sleep problems and a group meditation session got me closer than I had been to sleep in quite some time. I decided to download some apps to help me meditate on my own and I’ve enjoyed using them ever since. There are guided meditations designed especially for problems such as sleep, anxiety and depression. Meditation has been a great discovery for me!

    Action #8
    Collect motivational and comforting sayings – fighting depression feels like you are fighting your own brain and your own thoughts all the time. Putting an input of healthy thoughts in my brain is helpful. I put some of them in my journal where I can use them for inspiration, a journaling prompt or just a reminder to get my thoughts in a healthy direction. You might put such sayings on the wall, on a fridge, on a computer slide show, on a Pinterest board or wherever it’s convenient for you.

    In a support group meeting that I go to, we read affirmations at the end. We are supposed to pick ones that resonate with us at the moment. Sometimes I or other people have to look at the list a long time before we see one that we think is the truth. I know what it’s like to read an inspirational or motivational saying or affirmation and think “yeah, right”. Give it a chance and give it time and maybe more and more of them will seem true to you.

    Action #9
    Try new activities with a group – Doing something fun with a group of strangers may not be a substitute for having a close friend to do activities with. However, I think it’s much more likely to lift your mood than staying home alone. You’ll also get the opportunity to make some friends. For example I do a lot of activities with groups on There are groups you can join for every interest and activities for every budget.

    Action #10
    Journaling – there are several ways my art journal helped me fight depression.

    I wrote down thoughts which helped get them out of my mind. Once expressed, it was easier to get my mind on something more pleasant.

    I gained new insights through writing. Forcing myself to organize my thoughts by writing them down made me understand situations better.

    I kept track of my tasks. I found it much more satisfying to do what I needed to do to get better if I made a task page or some kind of task listing for it in my journal/planner. I found it motivating to fill in or mark completed tasks as opposed to just keeping track in my head. Seeing tangible evidence of the completed tasks made me feel proud.

    Do artwork that expresses your feelings. Some of my best artwork was made when I was really having a bad time. It makes me feel a little bit better to know that if I had to go through the feelings, I at least got some strong artwork out of it. Here are a couple of art journal pages that I did Christmas Day 2016. I hope I never feel again like I did that day but I did get quite a bit of satisfaction out of my artistic expression.
    “Going Cheap”

    I made gratitude lists. It’s easy to forget about the good things we still have – referring to a list of things to be grateful for is a good reminder that life isn’t all bad. As an exercise when I felt like I “hated everyone and everything” I decided to go through two magazines and make a collage out of things I was grateful for. I realized that even if I could not enjoy them now I would again in the future.

    I made a list of my progress. Seeing what I’d achieved in recovery then referring to it when I felt frustrated by my seemingly slow progress was a great motivator for me. I had been taken down so far by abuse that performing normal, everyday activities became milestones. Keeping track of them DID help me realize I was slowly getting better and gave me determination to keep working.

    Action #11
    Spiritual practices – In my life I’ve gone back and forth from having religious faith to having serious doubts. I’ve resolved my doubts for the most part at this stage of life but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy for me to take time out for prayer and worship. However, I’ve found spiritual practices are one of many things where if you don’t “feel like” doing it, if you do it anyway the feeling will follow. In other words, let feelings follow the actions, don’t let feelings dictate your actions. Is this proof of the existence of God or just how the human brain works? Either way, if you’re open to it spiritual practices have been a source of strength and healing for me. I’ve prayed for strength in many tough situations and received it and I am very grateful.

    Finally Finished My New Year Cards!

    For many years I’ve responded to Christmas Cards by sending out New Year cards – I explained why I do that in this previous blog post: Why I Send New Year Cards Instead of Christmas Cards.

    I started this year’s design by collaging small pieces of paper onto scrap paper strips that were about 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches wide. I began with the numbers “2018” which I cut from the 7gypsies papers Paddington Blackfriars and American Vintage: 12×12 State Plates Paper. I filled in the paper strips with assorted scrap papers from my small scrap box.

    Next I rubbed on some images from the set Architextures™ Parchment Rub-On – Build which were a good fit for my chosen theme “Let’s build a great 2018!”. I added a bit of Tim Holtz paper tape.

    I trimmed my strips with scissors to make the edges as even a possible then I scanned them and used Adobe Photoshop software to refine my trimming job and arranged some of the strips into a rectangular digital collage for the front of the card. I made a selection outline of all the areas with the year numbers and turned up the contrast so that they would stand out more. I added some grid designs and hardware looking graphics using Adobe Illustrator then I saved a PDF file of my cards to take to the printer.

    While I was working on the collages for my New Year card, I also completed a project for Canvas Corp Brands. I’ve been selected for the 2018 CCB Creative Crew , the design team that makes samples and comes up with projects for Canvas Corp Brands products. Our first challenge was to decorate a 4 x 4 inch canvas in a way that highlights our personal style.

    To create the above decorated mixed media canvas I cut three of my collage strips to fit the 4 x 4 inch stretched canvas from Canvas Corp.

    I squirted some StazOn Timber Brown permanent rubber stamping ink onto an old food lid to use as a palette. I used the side of an eraser to print a line of Timber Brown along the edges of each collage strip.

    I painted my canvas with yellow acrylic paint and allowed it to dry.

    Then I applied Tattered Angels Color Wash paint in Rose Gold with a brush along the sides and around the edges of the canvas.

    To finish my canvas, I glued the collage strips to the front with Turbo Tacky Glue and nailed tiny tacks into the corners of each paper piece. All done!

    Decorate Gift Packages with Stencils and Chalk

    In this tutorial I’ll show you how to make your own stencils from recycled food container lids and use them to decorate personalized gift packages. Many of the stencil designs I used in my demo were traced from nostalgic Christmas cookie cutters that were passed down to me from parents and grandparents. They bring back a lot of happy memories of doing holiday crafts and baking with my Mom. Most of the time making things in preparation for the Holiday was more fun for me than the actual event!

    Here is a selection of wrapped boxes and decorating materials to give you an idea of how you can combine markers, stickers, ribbon, twine and tags with your chalked designs.

    I designed this project to be something you can do with kids, but I think anyone who enjoys being a little bit playful and making eco-friendly packaging would enjoy this – I know that I had a great time!

    Read more on the Schnarr’s Hardware Blog:
    Decorate Gift Packages with Stencils and Chalk