My Entry For the Canvas Corp Brands 12 x 12 Envelope Challenge

As I member of the Canvas Corp Brands Creative Crew I was invited to enter a challenge using one of their 12 x 12 kraft paper envelopes. They wanted to see how many creative ways we could transform the envelope.

The C stands for Carolyn and the T stands for Tom, my fiance.
The C stands for Carolyn and the T stands for Tom, my fiance.

As you can see I didn’t transform mine very much because I wanted to use it as an envelope to carry around papers that I’m using in wedding planning. We are having a picnic reception by a lake and I’m making some nautical themed decor. When I’m done using this as an envelope I plan to use it as a background in a shadow box for wedding memorabilia.

I cut through the front of the envelope with an X-acto knife and sponged rubber stamping ink around the cutouts for emphasis. I put decorative paper behind the letters and clear transparency sheets in front of them to protect the cut work and add an interesting effect. The nautical themed papers are from the 7gypsies and Canvas Corp brands and I mixed in some papers from other companies plus some Tim Holtz Design Tape and metal brads.

See more examples:
IT IS ALL ABOUT THE 12×12 KRAFT ENVELOPE – A CREW CHALLENGE

Make a Wood Plant Tray with Scrap Wood

Wood plant tray made from wood scraps.Several years ago I made a ceramic plant tray specifically to hold three planters that used to be in our bathroom in the 1970s. The tray turned out the perfect size and shape but it got broken so I decided to remake it with scrap wood. There are two planters shaped like fish in the photo above. The third planter is shaped like a frog and it’s in storage so I need to dig it out and display all three planters in this new tray.  Do you want to make a tray like this?

Read more on the Schnarr’s blog:
Make a Wood Plant Tray

Making Signage From Letter Stencils: Part 1

As a member of the “gig economy” I do contract and part-time consulting, marketing and customer service work for various clients. Two retailers I work with recently had need of some in-store signage. One is a hardware store and one is a craft supply store and they both sell stencils. I’ve been experimenting with letter stencils to make signage that gets the message across and at the same time demonstrates how to use some of the products that the stores sell.

JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts in Maplewood, MO has a teaching department of which I am a member. The education coordinator asked each teacher to make a sign or two for the classroom samples display to highlight the categories of classes we teach. I was assigned “Kid’s Crafts” and “Jewelry”. I was given two blank pieces of foamcore already cut to size and access to the classroom supply cabinet. Fun!

I like the look of cut-out letters layered over a background. To help me visualize how to arrange the letters on the foamcore board, I cut out some pieces of scrap chipboard and used a letter stencil to trace the outline of each letter in position. Then I decided what colors to use in the actual sign. Since it’s spelling out “Kid’s Crafts” that’s a good excuse to use some really bright colors!

Planning the placement and colors of cutout letters on a sign

I traced the letters again onto the colorful cardstock pieces I selected then cut the letters out with an X-acto knife. I’ll save the cutout letters in case another suitable project comes up.
Cut out letters

Next I selected papers to use as backgrounds for each letter. I marked the foamcore as a rough guide to where I would place the background for each letter.

Selecting backgrounds for the cutout letters

A little black and white in a design is a great way to add visual interest. Some of the background papers already have some white in the pattern. To get some black in the design, I outlined each cut letter with a black Sharpie marker and drew some faux sewing stitch lines to help convey the hand crafts theme. The black outline also covered up my pen lines from when I traced the letters. Black Sharpie markers are such an essential part of my tool kit (like glue sticks) that I buy them wholesale because I go through so many!

Adding details with a black Sharpie marker

In order to read well from a distance, I thought some of the letters needed an improvement in the contrast. I added high contrast solid paper behind the letters that needed to pop a bit more. Then I added a strip of black and white paper tape (also known as design tape and washi tape) to the top and bottom edges for a more finished look.

Assembled sign with paper tape

The final finishing touch was to glue on a few colorful buttons here and there. I used a similar design idea to make my sign for Jewelry. That was fun to make because it gave me a chance to use some “shiny” supplies that are appealing but hard to find a use for that is tasteful and appropriate – metallic papers, silver ribbon, glitter papers and plastic jewels! I outlined the letters in the Jewelry sign with a metallic gold Sharpie paint marker that looks good with the jewel-toned papers and theme. The paint marker also has good enough coverage to conceal my pen lines.

Finished signs for the Jewelry and Kid's Crafts classroom display signs.

These signs were fun to make and also stretched me creatively because I used a few materials and colors that I don’t design with very often. That’s good exercise for any designer!

How many of those Pinterest projects have you made? #2

I love to add images I find online to Pinterest boards to function as virtual idea boards for inspiration when I’m stuck. Every once in awhile it’s fun to see if I’ve actually used the ideas. Sometimes I believe I have consciously tried out another person’s idea while trying to put my own twist on it and at other times I’ve made a version of a design that is widely used and tends to pop up a lot. To give credit where it is due, here is my second roundup of jewelry designs I’ve found online and my own versions of them.

Amulet pouches

I’ve been collecting materials and instructions for making amulet pouches since the early 1990s before I actually got around to making one last fall so I can’t really say I was influenced by one particular design. The simple pattern I made for this little bag is original with me. I was inspired by looking at a few other pouches though. Occasionally I keep something sentimental or spiritual in it like a religious medal or one of my Mom’s rings, but normally I use it to carry a FitBit (which still works but fell of the wristband) or a USB drive. I have made several more of these bags with and without fringe and with different fabrics and embellishments.

Original designer: Cynthia Whitehawk
Link to this pin on Pinterest

Using a button as a connector between necklace and pendant

I have a pretty large stash of buttons and am always looking for ways to use them in projects. Using buttons as connectors from a pendant to a necklace creates a nice transition.

Original designer: Unknown
Link to this pin on Pinterest

Necklaces with donuts of glass and stone

I sewed some lace to pieces of metallic wired ribbon to make the strap and added a dangle with a trade bead to my version of a necklace using a stone donut.

Original designer: Unknown
Link to this pin on Pinterest

Earrings with bar dangles

The two sets of earring dangles shown that lack their own earring findings were made to use as interchangeable dangles for hoop earrings. I make a lot of convertible jewelry items so I can mix up looks.  I have a LOT of jewelry because I’ve been making it since 1989, even so I still crave variety!

Original designer: Gorjana Reidel
Link to this pin on Pinterest

Necklace pendants made with chandelier prisms

I bought some smoky quartz colored chandelier dangles at an antique shop ages ago and finally used one of them for an in-your-face large pendant that is designed using half a toggle clasp closure at the top to function as a giant jump ring – I can put this pendant on various chains. It could also be a purse charm by adding a big clip to it.

Original designer: Unknown
Link to this pin on Pinterest

Earrings made with spacer bars

It appears as though someone has used bicycle chain links to form the sides of the popular bar dangle design. In my versions, I used gold-colored spacer bars and added a chain dangle underneath.

Original designer: Unknown
Link to this pin on Pinterest

Flat pendant with two dangles
I changed a lot of things in my version of this necklace – the way the pendant is connected, and the materials that the flat pendant and the attached embellishment are made of. My pendant is made of polymer clay impressed with a rubber stamp, and the embellishment is a glass blob backed with hand-stamped paper.

Original designer: Nimii Makwa
Link to this pin on Pinterest

To see more of these matchups, here is previous post of mine:
How many of those Pinterest projects have you made?

Do you have any matchups you want to show off? Feel free to share links to them in the comments section!

Introduction to Letterboxing

Letterboxing logbook and samples of personal stamps
Letterboxing logbook and samples of hand carved personal stamps.

I recently taught a two-part class to help people get started in the hobby of Letterboxing which combines outdoor exploration and creative expression. Two of the items you need to participate are a rubber stamp and a logbook. In part one, we hand carved a personal stamp and in part two we made a personal logbook. I wrote a tutorial for each class and they are now published on the Schnarr’s Hardware blog. If you want to try letterboxing or just learn to carve a rubber stamp and make a simple handmade book, here are links to my tutorials.

Read more on the Schnarr’s Hardware blog:

/Introduction to Letterboxing – Part I – Carving a Personal Stamp

Introduction to Letterboxing – Part II – Making a Personal Logbook

Crop Circle Necklaces

Convertible necklaces with polymer clay pendants
Convertible necklaces with polymer clay pendants

Back in the late 1990s I was really into crop circles as designs. I carved a lot of rubber stamps of crop circle designs and used them in all kinds of art work. I stamped some crop circles onto polymer clay to make pendants and painted them with wash and dry brush techniques.

I never could think of what to make with the crop circle pendants until this past weekend when I was practicing making convertible pendants as samples for a jewelry class I was getting ready to teach. The lesson plan called for adding a lobster clasp to a pendant so that you could fasten it to different necklaces and chains for a variety of looks. I combined my crop circles with some hematite beads and gunmetal colored rings and lobster clasps to finally get a look that I liked. I’ll have a lot of fun mixing and matching these with other jewelry pieces!

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 www.atlasquest.com 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 www.atlasquest.com
    Screenshot of www.atlasquest.com

    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
    QUICK AND EASY – PRETTY PACKAGING FOR MASON JAR CANDLES

    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:
    Scissors
    Ruler
    Scrap paper
    Bone folder
    Pencil
    Eraser
    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:
    Stickers
    Stencils
    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
    Rub-ons
    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
    https://www.pinterest.com/chasenfratz/scrapbooking-page-sketches/

    Scrapbooking with Memorabilia
    http://www.chasenfratz.com/wp/resources-for-crafters/scrapbooking-with-memorabilia/

    Scrapbooking with Small Format Photos
    http://www.chasenfratz.com/wp/scrapbooking-with-small-format-photos/

    Mixing Different Paper Crafting Brands Together
    http://www.chasenfratz.com/wp/mixing-different-paper-crafting-brands-together/

    Planners, Journals, Albums, Scrapbooks and Handmade Books
    https://www.pinterest.com/chasenfratz/planners-journals-albums-scrapbooks-and-handmade-b/

    Art Journaling
    https://www.pinterest.com/chasenfratz/art-journaling/

    Examples of Pocket Scrapbooking
    https://www.pinterest.com/campfirechic/project-life-scrapbooking-inspiration/

    Scrap Gals Community
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/scrapgals/

    Scrap Gals Podcast
    http://www.thescrapgals.com/

    My teaching, demo and event schedule
    http://www.chasenfratz.com/wp/about/classes-and-events/