Thursday, June 23, 2011

Craft Dungeon Tour

(*I am a craft supply pack rat*)

It's  that time of year again, time to think about purging old Stampin' Up! goodies to make room for fabulous new items. Wow, I saw a copy of the new Stampin' Up! 2011-2012 Idea Book and Catalog, want, want, want (but don't need, need, need!) so many things in it !!!!!

This time last year I spent days reorganizing my Card Stock and Stamp collections, as  I do most years at this time. I try to make room in anticipation of getting new Stampin' goodies. The Color Renovation last year was a big incentive to reorganize the craft dungeon. A year later I realized I never shared overall photos of the place I create in, so here goes.

My craft area is a portion of the unfinished basement in a 100+ year old house. The ceilings are low, there are a couple of tiny, nonfunctioning windows in the part I chose to make my craft area, the floor and walls are unfinished. I painted the windows with faux stain glass paints.The walls are painted white waterproofing paint. I can not paint or otherwise decorate the walls since they get moisture on them at times (I keep a dehumidifier running). The cement floor has a rubberized "shop" mat surface in my craft area. It is puzzle pieced together to fit around my storage units, only covering the parts of the floor that I walk on. We screwed in an outlet adapter into the base of the lightbulb socket which allowed me to plug in a fluorescent light fixture above the work table. I have a desk lamp on the drafting table that uses a daylight bulb CFL. I have a small stereo and a large CD collection in a binder for music that is on at all times while down there. It is nice and cool during the summer and if it gets too cold during the winter, I have a portable space heater. It works, at least I have this area available to me so I can't complain - too much ;)

The craft dungeon isn't the prettiest of spaces, but at least it is a space all my own !

This is facing the craft area at the bottom of the stairs. How convenient that the washer and dryer are right there (to the immediate left in the composite photo above)

My main work table was a 4x8 piece of particle board that we cut down to fit. We also had to make a hole near the center of it to slide around one of the floor support jacks ! It rests on an old dresser (my painted stamp storage dresser) at one end. The other end is supported by a file cabinet and wooden cube storage unit. Lucky for me they were all almost exactly the same height. This is happens to be nearly the same height as two large storage tubs stacked on top of each other - so I have several of them underneath the table for storage of wood projects, fabric, candle making, paper cast kits, and so on. I used to make dozens of different crafts every year for the elementary school holiday bazaar - I miss that ! Several of the items I have made have been posted at times on my blog over the past year. I do still have several leftovers I need to put to use one day.

Not only is this make shift table my work area, but it also creates more storage surface. I have my die cut center at one end.  It all started with yet another yard sale find, a wooden two shelf unit for $2. I added another piece of scrap wood to the very bottom then turned it on its side. It was the perfect size to rest the huge, heavy Accucut die cut machine on. I bought that machine several years ago from a gal that had lots of neat things, big ticket things, at a yard sale. Come to find out, she had a scrapbook store that went out of business. I paid $200 for that Accucut IV machine, which was a bargain and before there were smaller personal sized die cut machines on the market. It is an awesome, HUGE, die cut machine. I haven't quite decided if I want to part with it just yet............

Dies are in a filing cabinet drawer underneath the die cut machines. I have them standing on end with the name showing. I made a small binder that has a diecut of each in it.

Embossing folders fit perfectly in a small plastic drawer unit in a compartment underneath the Accucut die cut machine. They are arranged alphabetically by design name, however I think I am going to reorganize them by "theme". Flowers together, winter together, etc and make little divider tabs for each section. They too have binder pages with images of each.

Texturz plates and extra cutting pads are kept in an old CD box underneath the die cut machine as well. It shares the spot with the Cuttlebug (that I really ought to get rid of.........)

Brass templates are kept in mini photo albums behind the embossing folders in that drawer . They are arranged alphabetically by design name, however I think I may reorganize them by "theme": flowers together, winter together, etc . I thought about storing the brass template inside the coordinating stamp set box, then decided it would be better to have them in the photo album so I can see them easier.

Punches have their own set of plastic drawers elsewhere. I keep them grouped by design.

I also keep my ink pads on top of the work table:

Stampin' Up! classic ink pads are stored in a CD/DVD storage. Other assorted ink pads are in the metal drawers next to it. I arranged them by colors the same way I did the card stock. I made cardboard dividers to help keep them standing in place.

If the ink color name was not on the front edge of the ink pad, I wrote it on there with a black permanent marker.

I punched little pieces of coordinating card stock, glued them to a strip of white card stock and adhered them to the edge of the storage tower to help keep the colors organized.

These are the two large wooden storage units that were reclaimed from a hospital. I love these !
They butt up next to the stairs which is nice since the old staircase is otherwise open, the backs of the bookcases make a wall for one side of the steep, open staircase. 

Plastic storage containers fit well on the horizontal shelves. Many of the containers have ribbon in them. Each container holds a different type of ribbon (organdy, satin, decorative, etc) and I keep the rolls grouped by color. I store the ribbons in this type of container to help keep them from getting dusty. Also, every time I get a packet of silica gel (they always seem to be in new shoe boxes) I drop them in one of the boxes of ribbon or paper scraps.

Other smaller plastic boxes store envelopes, precut cards, stampables, etc.

All of my nice hard back craft books are at the top behind sliding doors. 

Binders full of Stampin' Success magazines and Idea Books fit nicely in the vertical slots. 

Ink refills are in a cardboard box cut to fit a shelf.

Markers stay in the original box laying flat.

The base of one cabinet is a filing cabinet, perfect for card stock storage.

The other cabinet has more shelves behind doors that hide other assorted supplies.

Rubber stamp storage already has a post all it's own, you can see it here.

This old dresser (it was my parents when they were first married!) is the base to a wall of plastic drawer units that store all sorts of goodies. This also makes a wall partitioning the craft area off from the back half of the old basement, making it seem more like a room in a way. My drafting table (I've owned it since I was studying commercial art and drafting in High School)  is to my left, make shift work table to the right.

Another set of plastic drawers to the far right of this section holds all of my craft painting supplies.

Additional bookshelves hold 20 years worth of various craft magazines. I admit it, I can't throw out any of my magazines/inspiration. I am considering taking each of them out, photographing/scanning the projects I may actually complete (well , at least dream to one day complete) then send the magazines to the local library for a book sale. It would free up some space to get rid of all of those magazines ! But I do like to thumb through them, sometimes even ads can spark an idea..... and looking at pictures on a computer just isn't the same as thumbing through a book or magazine.

Maybe while touring the craft dungeon one of my make shift storage ideas has inspired you ;)

Monday, June 20, 2011

High Water Again

Here we go again ! Severe storms dropped inches of rain on the area again early Saturday morning. The creek was already swollen, but the torrential rain pushed it out of the banks and into our field. Trees and phone lines were down, too. It was a mess, so much so that we had to take the 35 minute long way around to get my son to work - that is normally a 10 minute drive !

The Mississippi River crested here today , but with all of the rain we are going to get tomorrow I don't think it is going to recede much. As of right now we are not in danger of being flooded, but it is a bit worrisome knowing the river is so high and more rain is on the way (we live a mile off of the river). The experts predicted major flooding this year. Although we haven't hit major flood stage here, many other areas of the country have been devastated by flooding. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Card 2011

Unless otherwise noted, all items used are from Stampin' Up!, many of which are now retired.
Stampin' Up! stamp sets:
Highways and Byways
Classic Pickups
Antique Autos
Well Scripted
All Holidays
Supplies from Stampin' Up!:
12x12 Whisper White card stock
Basic Black card stock
Real Red card stock
Basic Gray ink
Watercolor pencils
Blender pen
Gingham ribbon
Black grosgrain ribbon
Circle brad
Key tag punch
small oval punch
circle punches
Stampin' sponge
Texturz plate
Tombow glue

Not from Stampin' Up!:
Striped ribbon
computer printed font, hand cut
die for the card
Shiny silver card stock
silver Signo pen
computer generated sentiment on the vellum

I stamped the trucks first then masked over them to stamp the Highways and Byways background stamp. I always keep my masks (usually made from sticky notes) in the same stamp box as the stamps I made them for in case I need them again.
Here is a tutorial on masking:

Thanks for looking =) 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thanks A Million - card

Wow, two new projects in one weeks time !  A sort of quick card I made, using up some scraps I've come across while cleaning up my craft dungeon. I'm really happy with how this card turned out. All supplies from Stampin' Up! 

Word Play stamp set

card stock:
Whisper White
Night Of Navy
Not Quite Navy

Classic ink:
Night of Navy
Not Quite Navy

circle punches
Big Shot
Texturz plate polka dots, I used both sides
Dazzling Diamonds glitter
Two way glue
Perfect Punches (I think that was the name) brass template
paper piercer

Card base is 5.5" x 4.25" (8.5" x 5.5" folded in half).

Stamp " Thanks A " in Not Quite Navy and " MILLION " in Night of Navy ink on a scrap piece of white card stock. Trim.

Outline the edges of the small stamped piece with glue, sprinkle on glitter, set aside to dry.

Cut a white piece of card stock slightly smaller than the card front and run it through the Big Shot with the large polka dot Texturz plate.

Punch a large circle out of Not Quite Navy card stock. Use the template and piercing tool to pierce holes around the edge. It is actually easier to pierce the holes first on a piece of card stock before punching. Turn the punch upside down so you can look through the bottom to line it up and punch.

Punch a smaller circle out of Night Of Navy card stock. Run this through the Big Shot with the smaller polka dots Texturz plate (the little embossed polka dots don't show up in the photo).

Glue the circles onto the polka dot layer. 

Shake off the excess glitter then add the stamped piece using dimensionals.

Thanks a million for looking =) 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Negatives Notebook - My Digital Studio Hybrid Project

I created something yesterday ! I mentioned in my previous post that I decided to start scanning 35mm negatives and was using a notepad to make note of each envelope of negatives, what was on them. Well, I decided I may as well use some of my supplies that don't seem to get used much anymore to make a fun notebook !

I recovered a hard bound, stitched composition notebook (the kind you get for around $1 that have a sort of black and white marble look cover; not spiral bound) with decorative papers and a piece I created digitally.

The "negatives" word strip was made with My Digital Studio from Stampin' Up!. I could have taken the time to make one out of punches and stamps with traditional supplies, but decided it would be easier to get all of the little punches along the edge straight digitally.

Here is how I made my film / negative strip in My Digital Studio:

My project started out as an 8.5 x 11 scrapbook page. I could have easily made the entire cover using My Digital Studio, but I didn't want to waste a lot of colored ink, especially when I have so many patterned papers on hand.

I used a square punch, elongated it to 7", filled it with black.

I used 9 square punches for the frames. I "punched" one square and reduced it in size, color filled with a color that I picked off of the HSB tab of the Color Fill option. I then copied it 8 more times so they would all be the same size and color.

Align the squares then fill with stamped Schoolbook Serif alphabet letters in Basic Black ink and reduced in size . You could use Text instead if you have a font on your computer that you prefer.

The bottom row of tiny punches was a bit tricky. I started with a square punch reduced in size (don't make them teeny tiny! mine were maybe about 3/4" to start with). I copied it and pasted 8 times or so. These were then aligned and grouped then reduced them to the teeny tiny squares. This makes it easier to copy and move where you want them. Copy that group of teeny tiny squares and paste a few more times to fill along the bottom edge of the film / negative strip.

Group this entire line of miniature squares you created along the bottom edge, copy then paste at the top edge of the strip.

It does take a little bit of work and patience, but in the end I think it would have been less than if I had tried to use teeny tiny cut up pieces of card stock and glued them onto a strip ! Honestly, I don't have the right size punches I needed for this project anyway, so it was easier to create the size I needed in My Digital Studio.

Once I had my word strip completed, I exported it to a .jpg file, printed, trimmed and mounted it on a piece of black card stock.

The paper is a piece of unknown double sided I had in my stash. I trimmed it to fit, cut off the top and flipped it over so the coordinating opposite side would show. All pieces are adhered with heavy duty double sided adhesive tape. Apply the word strip over the joint. Open up the book , laying the cover face down on a safe surface for cutting. Use a hobby knife to trim off extra paper along the edge and around the corners if needed.

Thanks for looking =) 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flag Day

This is a digital version that I created of one of my cards that I shared last year.
 I used My Digital Studio from Stampin' Up! to create this image.

Textured Card Stocks:
Chocolate Chip
Very Vanilla
Cherry Cobbler
Summer Sun

Textured background stamp

Boho Blossoms

Vintage Brads

Monday, June 13, 2011

Canon Canoscan 9000F Pt3

It's been sooooo hot and humid here the past week, setting records daily for this early in the season. It isn't officially summer yet and we saw near 100 degree temperatures last week. I almost felt like the Wicked Witch, "I'm melting !!"

Between the heat and the swarming cicadas I didn't want to venture outdoors so I spent a little time each day trying out the scanner a bit more. I also worked on cleaning up the huge mess in the craft dungeon and reorganizing a few things. I may still do a bit more reorganizing, but it is fine for the time being. The next step is to take new photos for insurance purposes. 

There is definitely a learning curve to try to make advanced adjustments to the negatives as I scan them ! Several things can be changed to try to improve on the original or to make it a funky, artsy image if I'd like. It would be similar to manipulating an image in Photoshop Elements.

I am amazed at some of the scans of negatives I've gotten so far. Most are so so while many are terrible, but I know that is because of the nearly 20 year old photo itself not being good in the first place. So many of them are blurry. Yet other scans really pop !

Then there have been a few I've come across that were never printed at the lab in the first place since it wasn't a complete negative frame. Here is an example:

 The original scanned negative, the photo was not printed at time of developing

Slightly edited in Photoshop Elements to brighten it a bit

It takes a little bit of manipulation to get one of these frames to scan, but I have been successful in most cases so far. Granted, many of this type are not worth printing anyway since they are so dark or bright , but there have been two worth saving I've come across so far, one of which is the sample above. Perhaps with more practice I can learn how to rescue the bad negatives, too ? That would be awesome if so !

I've decided to scan most negatives at 1200 DPI with the FARE setting on low. It is much faster and probably just fine for most of the photos. There will be some I'll scan higher if I think I'd like to print it out larger some day.

I also have created a system to help keep track of the negatives.

Originally, many years ago most times I would write on the envelope what the photos were of and when they were taken as I put them in albums. That way, should I ever need to locate a negative to make reprints, I could find it easily. There are several envelopes that did not have this information so I will fix those as I progress with this project.

My system:
-I already organized all of the envelopes of negatives in order by date before starting this project.
-I started to scan at the beginning, doing each envelope in order.
-I create a folder on the computer for each set of negatives I scan, naming it by year first, then month.
-I add a short description on most, too for example "Christmas". So a folder name might look something like this: 1991 12 24 Christmas Day
-I have a notebook to keep track of each envelope of negatives, noting some of the photos in it (similar to what is on the envelopes themselves). I write the file folder name (that I create on the computer) in this notebook and as well as on a sticker that I adhere to the envelope.
-I will burn the folders of digitized negatives to DVDs , noting each DVD and the folders on it in the notebook. The DVDs will be assigned numbers. I will also back the digitized negatives up to an external hard drive so I don't use up the hard drive space on my computer. I know external hard drives can fail (it has happened to me already) and discs can become damaged which is why I will save all of my hard work to both types or media, just in case. 

I know it is a lot of work I am making for myself on top of such an ambitious, time consuming project as it is. I decided that I may as well take the extra time to note each set of negatives just in case some day I need to replace photographs or make copies for some reason, it should make the task of finding a particular shot a bit easier. I also hope that in the end it will all be worth it, someday family members may appreciate the effort or at the very least I will be glad that I did this for myself.

I can say this, I did not take nearly enough photos over the years and regret it. Yet looking at the gargantuan box of negative envelopes I wonder if I took too many, will I ever finish this project and what was I thinking by even starting it ?!

Lastly, I envy the parents of today. Digital photography, photo manipulation software, digital scrapbooking (not to mention all of the fantastic traditional scrapbooking supplies, wow!), computers, photo quality printers to print from at home, HD camcorders, etc and so on - what a fantastic assortment of high tech goodies they could own to record their children's lives. Big and small, record/photograph them all !  

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Digital Studio - Pretty Girl pages

A couple of simple pages I threw together in memory of my parents dog that passed away. I used My Digital Studio from Stampin' Up! plus a few of the extra downloads. I like that there are new downloads released weekly so I can add more to the program, not be stuck with what came in the original package.

One of the pages is supposed to resemble a dog collar and tag the other a dog bone. I think they are both pretty plain, the dog bone one is especially. I'm sure I'll be tweaking it. The beauty of doing a digital page, I can go back in and change things without wasting real supplies.

I made my own background paper using a piece from the digital Night and Day designer paper. I then randomly stamped a dog from the Man's Best Friend stamp set.
TIP to make it go a little faster: stamp a small portion of the background, then group those images together, copy the grouped images then paste them all over the page, turning them as you like. I love this feature of being able to rotate the grouped images ! Once I made the background paper, I exported it to jpg then moved that saved file (I renamed it first) back into the programs Components folder under Backgrounds then Designer Series Paper folder where I made my own Custom folder. I inserted the dog background paper I made on the dog collar page then reduced the opacity for the dog bone page. 

I also have another folder in the same place titled Photographs that I moved a few .jpg images into so I could paper fill the punch images with photographs rather than paper. This is how I made the dog bone photo collage with digital punches and filled the heart on the dog collar tag.

Night and Day designer paper
Rose Red designer paper
Man's Best Friend stamp set
Heart, ovals, circle, square punches
Circle and square digital punches
Rose Red seam binding

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pretty Girl - Rest In Peace

It was a sad day today - my parents had to put their beloved German Shephard mix Pretty Girl to sleep today.

I went with my mom to the vets office. After having gone through this with my dog Cassie just two months ago didn't make it any easier. I know it was the right thing to do, but still so terribly sad and difficult.

She showed up at their house several years ago; she was approximately two years old at the time. She was quite skittish and skinny, hanging around the house just close enough to keep an eye on things, but never close enough to be petted. She was eventually won over with enough treats and realized they were good people, this would make a great new home.

Over the years my dog Cassie figured out where Grandma and Grandpa lived, visiting them several times a week. She'd walk up the half mile hill to their house all by herself and Pretty Girl would know as soon as she showed up. They'd immediately take off to roam the woods together and sniffing for new things all around their property.

They learned to share supper, treats, favorite sleeping spots and even the attention with each other when Cassie visited.

Once Cassie passed, Pretty Girl knew it and was out of sorts for a while. Then all of a sudden she started getting sick. Almost exactly two months to the day that Cassie passed mom took her to the vet and she was diagnosed with cancer. Here we are 10 days later............... sniffle..............

I offered to make a memory box for her remains as I did for Cassie, but mom said dad didn't really want to have her returned, it is just too difficult. They want memories of her in their hearts.

I felt bad in a way for taking the camera this afternoon as we spent our final hour with her, but I am glad that I did. I managed to get a couple of decent photos of her. She was always difficult to photograph because Cassie was there when I was, the two of them were roaming about or whatever, never holding still long enough in a good enough position or in good lighting. I will make a small memory book of the few photos I have of her for them.

I regret not having enough photos of the two best dog friends together.........