Memories- Help your children remember with scrapbooks!

May 31, 2011 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

My friend, Beth from send me this link: about how children remember events from their childhood. This article, for me, underscores the need to tell your child’s story. And while it is perfectly acceptable to tell the story verbally, what happens when you start to forget? Now, maybe your memory is tack-sharp, but I know mine is filled with hundreds of odds and ends that are starting to push out some of the memories that I want to keep. If I don’t get them down in some “hard” format, they might get lost. And this is another reason I scrapbook.

I want my kids to remember as much about their life as they can. If the memory is captured in a picture, great! But how about the funny things they said? Or is someone going to remember 15 years later that the blue skirt in Susie’s first grade picture was her absolute favorite outfit, and you finally had to give it to charity so she would wear something else? Or that the 90 Johnnie got on his math testin third grade was the result of 2 weeks of really hard work, and to celebrate you all went out to his favorite restaurant for dinner? You get the point. Scrapbooking can preserve even a bit more than photo’s can. So try to scrapbook at least some of those precious moments.

One more point- Digital Scrapbooking is becoming more popular, and that is great too. EasyScraps even offers kits in Digital format.  However, please don’t leave ALL your scrapbook pages online. The kids aren’t likely to look at them if they are on the computer. However, if they are in some sort of printed format, and left on a table, the kids WILL pick it up and thumb through it. At EasyScraps there are several options to help you preserve your child’s memories. And coming soon there will be a photo book option! We want to make scrapbooking easy for you, so you will do it!

So help your family remember the good times (and the bad, and the silly, and the hard and the….). You don’t have to scrap EVERYTHING, but why not start with the stories that you tell? Put those stories down in a scrapbook- you can save your breath and yet those stories won’t get lost!

Introduction to Stamping Tip 2- Using Large Rubber Stamps Technique 2. Use your Die Cutter

May 27, 2011 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

I always make sure to tell my intro students, that there are some stamps that are hard to stamp. When you are first starting out, you may not realize thatis the case, and you may grumble and get frustrated and want to quit. But hold on- it may not be all you! Large background images can be difficult. So can rubber stamps that are not deeply etched. And the worst are what I call “Big Blocks o Rubba”. The stamps that have no etching at all, they are just a shape cut from rubber.

I already discussed one technique for stamping these difficult stamps, by using your bone folder. If you haven’t read it, you can read it here.

This second technique involves a piece of equipment you might not normally consider as helpful to stamping- your die cutting machine, In particular, I used my Big Shot from Sissix. I own the non- motorized version, not the new Tim Holtz suitcase machine (altho I have used it at the store and it is fabulous!).

I had been to an art show a few weeks back, where the woman made these gorgeous prints using flowers, paint/ink and a press. I was wondering if I could do something similar with the Prima Silk Flowers I owned, but alas, I do not own one of those large, and very expensive presses. But I did own a roller-style die cut machine, so I decided to try using that instead. For what it’s worth, the painted flower, press came out ok. However, I only did one try and then I happened to see one of our background stamps laying there and inspiration struck :idea:! I wondered if I could roll the stamp thru the machine to get a good print?

I tried it and it worked! I call this the “Stamp Press” method. I had to work on a couple of different combinations, but my final winning combination of platforms, cutting pads, stamps etc is the following:

  • the main Big Shot platform
  • a piece of cutting plastic
  • an unmounted stamp (on the cling vinyl foam), inked- see more on this later
  • the piece of paper


You would think that you would want the cutting plastic on top of the piece of paper, but then you would be wrong :D. That combination seemed to move the paper a bit more, so the end result was not as crisp.

I did try this on different papers, and even managed to get some decent prints on textured card stock, if the stamp image wasn’t too detailed. I think it still works best however, to use the right paper and ink. Here is an example using the large David’s Head by Tim Holtz for Stampers Anonymous on a series of different papers. This stamp is more like the “Big Blocks o Rubba”. Here is it rolled thru using Tim Holtz’s Kraft Glassine:


Here is the head stamped on textured cardstock (Core’dinations)- loved this!:
and finally stamped on a printed paper (a sheet from Tim Holtz’s Paper Stash, Crowded Attic ):

Then I decided to try the technique using one of our unmounted stamps that can be challenging to stamp- the Tie Dye stamp. See Easy Scraps line of Rubber Stamps here: .  The Tie Dye stamp is very finely etched and it is a bit difficult to get the detail to show, although it is a very cool effect even when not stamped cleanly. I find with this stamp, that the Bone Folder and the “Stamp Press” method help bring out more of the details and shadings. I have also found that the right ink and paper makes for a better stamped image.

If you click on the images, they will come up a bit larger, so you can see more of the details. Here is the Tie Dye image inked with Color Box Chalk ink pads and using the “Stamp Press” method. It came out fine.


However, then I tried Archival Ink, and I think that was just a bit cleaner:


I decided to give some Versa Color pads a try (two different colors), and I liked those results:


However, my favorite was using VersaFine ink. In person, if you look closely at this stamped image, you can see all the fine dots that make up the shading in this stamp. Nice!!


The final example was done on an super smooth paper (Neenah), using Colorbox Chalk inks. This gave the best image, although I had black VersaFine on my hands and smeared the image with it ,:):


I always teach my Intro students that the right ink and the right paper can make a huge difference when stamping. Good paper from your local Stamping Store is much easier to get a cleaner stamped image on, then the garbage cardstock that the big box stores sell. Neenah paper and StampinUp Smooth white are two of my favorites.  Here is another tip- sometimes even the same line of inks can stamp differently in different colors. And the type of day can also affect your inks- humid days can really do a number on your ink pads! So, bottom line- play, play, play! That way you will find out what works best for you, with your stash of products, in your environment, on any given day.

So next time you find yourself struggling with a stamp, pull out your good paper, your VersaFine ink, a bone folder or Die Cutting machine and go for it!! Enjoy!!



I did not try this with the old Sisix press machine. I will try to test this post my findings.

I also did not try a mounted stamp yet. I imagine it would work the same, you just need to find the right combination. I am thinking that the Movers and Shakers adaptor tray might come in handy! Again I will post back when I give that a try.

I also did not try it with the motorized version of the Big Shot. I don’t own one, and I wonder if it would be too powerful for this technique?

Graduation Card Idea- Feature the Graduate

May 21, 2011 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

With Graduation right around the corner I am working on several Graduation things. I have already featured the yearbook project here several times, but today I am turning Graduation Card ideas. This example features the actual kid graduating (my son). As long as you are making a card, why not make it even more personal by featuring the graduate him/herself?

Here are the directions:

Supplies needed: Accucut Circle Frame Card Die (this is not necessary see directions below), white card stock or plain(ish) paper from Tim Holtz Paper Stash (Crowded Attic), Core’dinations Card stock in Stream, Versafine black ink, Flourish Script Photo Corners (left and right) and You rubber stamps (my own), Pan Pastels or chalks in rust and teal, Krylon Workable Fixative, circle punches, photo

Create a card measuring 4.25 inches wide by 5.5 inches long with a shape cut out of the front of the card (I used an Accucut die to make this, but you could do the same with other dies systems or punches or even circle cutters).

Cut a piece of white card stock or paper with very little pattern- I used a piece of Tim Holtz Paper Stash (Crowded Attic)- to 4 inches wide by 5.25 inches long.

Cut a shape out of this in the same location as it is on the card base, ideally using a larger shape than the shape on the front of the card although that is not critical. If you do so, it will give a mat around the shape.

Put aside the shape that was punched out for now. This background will mat onto the card base. Stamp the Flourish Script Photo Corner onto the lower left of the mat, and the matching stamp onto the upper right corner, using Versafine black ink. Stamp the word YOU in the lower right corner.

Use PanPastels or chalks to color the card mat with rust and teal chalks. Color the left over circle from the card mat as well. Spray with Krylon fixative to set the chalks.

Adhere the mat onto the card base. Adhere the left over circle on the inside of the card so that it shows through the open circle in the front of the card.
Punch/cut a picture of your child, spouse, relative, teacher, friend, etc using a matching shape to the one that is on the inside of the card. If you a shape that is smaller than the one inside, you will get a matted effect.  Adhere the picture to the shape on the inside of the card.
You could stamp, write or print quotes onto white card stock or macthing paper to use on the inside of the card. You may want to color the paper with the same chalks, as well.

Some ideas for sentiments are:

Amaze Me- Congratulations!!
Make Me Smile- I Love You!!
Are the Best- Thank You!!
Made My Day- Thanks for Being There!!
Deserve the Best- Good Luck!!
Look Amazing- Happy Birthday!! etc.

Here is the finished card- Enjoy!

Tim Holtz Kraft Glassine Rosette

May 13, 2011 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

This project was the brain child of Karen Provost,  my uber-creative, co-teacher for the Fresh and Fabulous class I teach, monthly, at Ink About It. I was super excited to try this project, even though it involved sewing, and Karen knows I HATE sewing- sorry Mom ;-). Actually, the sewing wasn’t so bad and Karen was shocked that I knew what a running/basting stitch was- thanks Mom ;-).

I followed Karen’s directions, which will be posted on her blog Creativity Cake soon. Karen’s sample used the Kraft Glassine un-colored, but crumpled so it had texture, and it looked gorgeous. I decided to try to make mine a bit more shimmery. When the rosette was finished, I dusted it with turquoise and green  Perfect Pearls powder (a generous amount) and spritzed heavily with water so that the Perfect Pearls Powder beaded up on the waxy surface of the glassine. Then I used a heat gun to dry the water, leaving this shimmery, spotted texture behind! I finished the center and edges with a bit of Stickles glitter glue. I think this makes a great embellishment!! Enjoy!!

Kraft Glassine Rosette 1

Kraft Glassine Rosette 2

Introduction to Stamping Tip- Using Large Rubber Stamps

May 13, 2011 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

If you are having trouble using large rubber stamps, here is a tip- use your bone folder! I made this method up a long time ago when I first started trying to use the large background rubber stamps and I teach it in my Introduction to Rubber Stamps class. Especially if the stamp is not deeply etched, the larger images can be very difficult to stamp and quite trying for a beginner stamper.

Generally, you place the  paper on your desk or table, and then ink your stamp and press it onto the paper. You can do it this way if you like,  just make sure that you walk your fingers all around the stamp, to make sure there is good contact with the paper all the way around.

However, I find it much easier to ink the stamp face up, and place that on the table, so that the rubber is facing up towards you. Then I place the paper on top of the stamp, hold it steady with my left hand approximately in the middle of the stamp. I take my bone folder in my right hand, turn it on edge, and drag it from the middle of the stamp, along the paper and out to the right. I then hold the paper still with the bone folder, and move my hand to the right of the mid point. Then I drag the bone folder from the middle out to the left.

I try to drag the bone folder a couple of times in each direction to make sure I get good contact all over. Then I carefully lift the paper off the rubber stamp. A perfect stamped image every time (well almost every time &#59;) )!

It may take a couple of times to get the hang of this, but for most people it really works!

Stay tuned for an alternative method that I have just thought of, that will help stamp the larger and more difficult stamps. :idea: I will post that technique , including pictures, soon!

Think Outside the Box- Butterflies and Scrolls

May 5, 2011 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

I know, I KNOW- people are sick of that saying “Think Outside the Box”. Sorry- it does apply here though because I want you to try thinking about shapes in a different way. To get your creative juices flowing, sometimes it can help to look at shapes upside down or backwards. You may be surprised at what the shape can look like from a different vantage point.

Consider our Scroll rubber stamps (go here to view Easy Scraps line of custom rubber stamps- ) in the set Flourish and Flowers and Scribbles. We originally pictured the Scrolls to be used as photo corners, and they work great for that. But while I was working on a project I happened to glance at a scrap that was across the table stamped with the scroll. From that viewpoint it looked to me like half of a Butterfly wing. I tried stamping the scrolls with their backs to each other and sure enough, it looked like a butterfly! And so that got me going on a whole other tangent and here are the results:

Here is a card I made with the “Anti-Grunge” look using white Stayzon stamped on Tim Holtz Kraft Glassine. I dressed the Butterfly up with drops of Liquid Pearls:

Here is the same “Butterfly” with our Scroll nameplate Rubber Stamp on a background washed in color using Ranger Distress Stains. I colored the Butterfly using Copic Markers, cut it out and attached it to the card. If you leave the wings free, you can bend them up to make the Butterfly “fly”:

Flourish Butterfly using Copic Markers

Here is the same “Butterfly” stamped on a card made with Basic Grey Paper. Doesn’t the Easy Scraps Scribbles stamp look like a Butterfly path? I also dressed up the stamped image using Distress Stickles:

Flourish Butterfly on Basic Grey

I just got the Tim Holtz Mini Butterflies die for the Sissix machine, and the Tiny version of these Scroll Photo Corners rubber stamps fit on the shapes. Here is a sampling of the Butterfly shapes stamped with the scrolls. One butterfly is stamped and then inked with Distress ink, another one is stamped and then colored in with Copic Markers, and another one where I did all of the above-stamp, then ink and then color.


I love the Scroll rubber stamps even more now that I can use them as a Butterfly. I am so glad we have them in different sizes &#59;). Enjoy!!

Scroll Butterfly colored with Copic Markers on Tim Holtz Kraft Glassine

Classes this month

May 3, 2011 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

I will be teaching Intro to Stamping at Ink About It  in Westford, MA  this thursday, May 5th.

Friday Morning May 13th I will be teaching with my friend Karen Provost. We will be using rubber stamps from LaBlanche, real wood paper from Creative Imaginations and Tim Holtz’s new Kraft  Glassine in this Fresh and Fabulous class.

You can find more information at .

Collaborate on a Scrapbook Page

May 3, 2011 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

Sometimes it helps to get another opinion when you are working on a project. I usually turn to my crafting friends and have often collaborated with them on different things. For my son’s yearbook page, I had originally decided to let him do his layout completely by himself. He did an amazing job- see it here

I designed other versions of yearbook pages to use as examples, which he happened to see. He asked if he could use one of them. He wanted to add some sports pictures, which I did, and so the collaboration began. I love the result!!

So next time you are working on a project, pull in a friend or a child or maybe even your spouse will contribute. You may never want to scrap on your own again &#59;)

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