Monthly Archives: June 2013

Alpha Stamp Love

Alpha Stamp Love

As I said earlier this week, there are more ways to use alphabet stamp sets than just as titles. Check out these three ideas:

The thing to remember about alphabet stamps, is that you will fall in love with lots of different fonts, but you do not NEED them all. Invest in a good sans serif and a serif font, and that will cover most of your stamping needs. As you find more stamp sets, ask yourself, does this fill a size or style gap? You basically will want one large set, one medium set, and one small set. More than that is unnecessary. If something is ridiculously inexpensive, you can add it to your stash, but make sure you can think of multiple uses for it. You want any stamps you buy to have a long and useful life.

Above all, have fun! Stamping is imperfect and messy and will make you feel amazingly, surprisingly creative.

(If you want to start your collection, check out these sets from Two Peas in a Bucket. Have fun shopping!)


Must Have Tools: Alpha Stamps

Must Have Tools: Alpha Stamps

There are some things every scrapbooker needs in their tool box: a decent paper trimmer, a good pair of non-stick scissors, adhesive (you can never have too much), journaling pens or markers, and a clear ruler. (You can see the items I recommend here.)

Then there are the tools that, while not absolutely essential, can be used over and over again, in many different ways.

Today let’s talk about alphabet stamp sets.

While I LOVE alphabet stickers, they have a couple really big drawbacks. You always run out of a letter you want before you’ve used up the set. You will not run into that problem if you have an alphabet stamp set. Nor will you find your stamped letters lying in the bottom of your page protector when you come back to look at your page in a year or two.


A lot of people worry about messing up their titles if they stamp them, and while that is a concern, there are a couple things you can do to alleviate possible problems.

First thing you can do: adjust your attitude. You are stamping. You are making a handmade craft. Imperfection is a wonderful embellishment that shows your humanity.

That’s all well and good, but you still want to make sure your title is readable, right?

If you are using clear stamps, mount each stamp together on a single block. Fiskars (among others) even has blocks that have a gridline on them, which makes lining up your stamps even easier.


If you are using wood mounted stamps, place a ruler along the lower edge of where you are stamping your word. Use the marks on the ruler to evenly space out your letters, and keep the lower edge of the stamp on the edge of the ruler to stamp in a fairly straight line.

Another trick you can keep up your sleeve: use a fine tipped color matched marker to fill in any missing spots. If you don’t have a color matched marker, you can take a very fine tipped paint brush or one of ranger’s fantastixs to pick up color off your ink pad and fill in any empty spots.

Some of my favorite inks to use for stamping are Memento, Archival, and Palette inks in black. Be careful if you use Tim Holtz’ Distress Inks. They are wonderful inks, but they can bead up more than the average dye ink when used on clear stamps. Most pigment inks also work really well, but since they are slower drying, you may smear them.


One of my favorite things to do is to mix alpha letters with stamps, to create a really eclectic, texturally interesting title. Don’t be afraid of stamping! You can do it!

If you are still unsure of your ability to stamp, sign up for my newsletter. I’ve got a free video and .pdf all about common stamping mistakes and how to avoid them for newsletter subscribers.

Looking for more things you can do with alpha stamps? I’ll have more for you later this week!


Summer Album Supplies

Summer Album Supplies

After looking at my long to-do list for the summer, I decided to put together a quick digital template, so I can print up a little 5×7 photo book from Shutterfly at the end of the season.

Shutterfly has these helpful templates that take into account the trim and gutter around each page. They have a set for every size photo book they print. I downloaded the 5×7 version, and built a template to use, and to share with you!

Journaling page for each event.

Down load the zipped PSE journaling page: summer page.psd

one photo 5x7 page

One photo page

Download the PSE zipped one photo page: one photo 5×7 page.psd

two photo 5x7 page

Two photo page

Download the PSE zipped two photo page: two photo 5×7 page.psd

3photo 5x7 page

Three photo page

Download the PSE zipped three photo page: 3photo 5×7 page.psd

These are super simple pages. But that’s the cool thing about digital scrapbooking. It really lets you concentrate on the photos and story. That being said, I’m really excited to be using this kit from Traci Reed over at Sweet Shoppe Designs.

sweet  shoppe traci reed summer of fun

It has some super cool patterns and colors, and the embellishments will really complement the stories I hope to tell this year. The tone on tone papers will make great backgrounds for journaling blocks, and the brighter patterns will make the album soooo happy!

Quick note about using the templates. Make sure you have the guides turned on, so you can see what part of the page will be cut off when it is printed. If you have any questions, please add them below!

Summer To Do List

Summer To Do List

It’s the last week of school, and the kids and I are putting together a list of things we want to do over the summer. We do this every year, and have a rather mixed success rate.

Being able to check everything off the list isn’t the point, though. It’s more about having some ready made ideas for those days when the kids are bored, and to make sure we get in some adventuring before we get back into the daily grind of school.


Sun, sand, water, and kids = fun at Grafton Park

Some of the things we’ve got on the list so far:

Crafty ideas:

  • painting with marbles and string and other found objects
  • creating exploding paint canisters
  • masking tape road for cars
  • popsicle stick explosion
  • homemade popsicles– as often as I can stand it…

Local places to visit/explore:

  • NY State Museum. Great, FREE museum. It’s got a bit of everything, from cultural history to geology, all NY state related
  • 5 Rivers– a local environmental center with walking trails and a small wildlife education center.
  • Grafton Lake State Park– our pick for the best local beach.
  • Pine Bush Preserve– another great place for walking trails and learning about our local ecology.

Road Trips (because every summer needs a road trip or two.)

  • NYC to visit my sister. We’ll probably do some or most of the following as well:
    • NY Aquarium
    • Bronx Zoo (Gotta see the dinosaurs!)
    • Metropolitan Museum of Art
    • Museum of Natural History
  • Niagara Falls– the kids haven’t gone yet, and I haven’t been since 1997 thereabouts. Definitely time to introduce them to one of the natural wonders of the world.

Get togethers:

  • A D&D night or two or three with family friends
  • A Magic:the Gathering get together for the big kid and his friends
  • Some kind of play date for the younger kid as well. Maybe a backyard camp out or movie night.

Sounds like a busy summer, doesn’t it? It won’t be, really. We’ll plan some fun and make sure we have down time. I’m a lazy mom, and firmly believe in the value of letting kids play and explore and find their own interests.

Now, what does all this have to do with scrapbooking? Well, I’ve got a plan for documenting it with a small photo book from Shutterfly. Come back later this week, and I’ll show you what I’ve got up my sleeve.


Out of the Closet and Onto a Page!

Out of the Closet and Onto a Page!

Now that you’ve gathered your old photos together, and taken a walk down memory lane with them, are you ready to create a page with them?

Did you take a few notes about stories you could talk about using the photos you put aside? Based on the photos I pulled out, I had notes for six stories. Six!


Taking a second look at my photos, I decided which story would work best with the photos I had, and selected which ones to use. I’ll use the other photos, along with the notes I took, on one or more pages later.


This captured a few stories actually, on one page. By tying together the ideas regarding my lack of practice, a broadening of my musical world, and a favorite teacher, I was able to turn it into story.

What stories did you think of when you pulled out your photos? Is there a common thread you can use to tie everything together? Make a page and share it with me! I’d love to see what you create!

If you are looking for a place to share the things you make, you could join my new Flickr group. You can find me here: No Excuse Scrapbooking. It’s so new, there’s only one photo in it!