Category Archives: mistakes

A Moment of Reflection

A Moment of Reflection

This blog has been up and running for two years now. How cool is that?

In the past two years, I’ve published 236 posts. That’s an average of a post every three days. Not too shabby.

The most popular post by far has been the post where I shared tools to help document a Week in the Life. A lot of people have been using it for inspiration for Project Life as well.

The most popular video has been the one that I made about how to cover an old vinyl binder with a large sheet of paper. Definitely NOT my best video. (So much time wasted, and so many goofy errors!) But it definitely has good information in it. My favorite videos are my very first– a start to finish process video, and a tool technique one, where I show three ways to use alpha stamps other than as titles or journaling. Also, the video I made for those who sign up for my email list, about ways to avoid making stamping errors is pretty awesome too. But that one you need to pay me with your email address.

I’ve made one mini-digital supply kit. You can find it here for free! I have plans to make more. I keep getting hung up on the idea that I need to be able to draw. I don’t really, but mental roadblocks are hard to work around sometimes.

I’ve done two full months of cards, in November 2013, and November 2014. I think that qualifies as a yearly tradition now, don’t you?

I’ve talked philosophy, and organization, and my favorite challenge, LOAD.

So many topics! So many posts! Each time I go through the archives I come across something I really like, either from a design perspective, or from a writing perspective.

Go ahead, pick a month from the archive list, I bet you’ll find something interesting!

Moving forward?

I hope to keep giving you inspiration that helps you avoid the excuses that get in the way of scrapbooking.

And for those of you who want to scrapbook but have yet to actually make a page?

I’ve got something coming for you:

beginners guide to scrapbooking ||

I’m planning on releasing it on Kindle in January. Hopefully it will be the first of many. How’s that for exciting?

Happy Accidents

Happy Accidents

One of the things that will really make you happier as a crafter is learning how to let your mistakes marinate, and figuring out how to use them as a creative catalyst.

As I may have mentioned on numerous occasions before, I make a LOT of mistakes. Many of those mistakes are the result of simple user error. I either was not paying attention, or was fumble fingered, or just plain careless. It happens. It’s no big deal when it happens, unless I decide to let mistakes and errors stop me. Where’s the fun in that?

Today’s card is one of those mistakes that’s become a happy accident. I really like how it turned out, but you may not like it. The effect is very subtle. It’s really pretty hard to see in person, let alone in a picture.

subtle wheat

As I was making the background for this card, I was aware that I might have trouble with it, simply because I have been using different types of inks on different surfaces for ages. I experiment! It’s fun. 🙂

This is mirror cardstock. It has a very smooth, coated surface that resists most inks. Alcohol inks or solvent inks work fine on this. Other inks? Not so much.

Since I haven’t tried Memento ink on this surface yet, I decided to give it a whirl, and see what happened. Memento says it will dry on most surfaces, although some surfaces may require heat seating the ink. So I stamped this stamp in Memento black ink on the alcohol marbleized cardstock.

It wasn’t a perfect transfer (stamps tend to slide on super smooth cardstock like this) but it worked. I set it aside to dry and worked on other projects. After awhile I came back to it, and it wasn’t dry, so I heat set the ink for a little bit. Set it aside, and after waiting a bit more, checked to see how the ink was. Rubbed a tiny corner, and smeared a bit of ink. So I set it aside again, this time for a few days while I got other things done.

I find letting troublesome projects rest allows me to come back to a project with a fresh, optimistic, and creative eye.

In this particular case, I decided to just try to remove the still tacky ink with a paper towel. First I blotted it, and then I gave the background a quick rub. As I did so, I noticed that the spots where I had removed ink, had also taken the alcohol ink underneath off as well. The result? Ghostly wheat grass all over the background.


A quick embossed, colored and matted wheat stamp, and the card was done.

What do you think? Can you see the ghostly grass? I’m having a hard time getting a good shot for you.

ghostly grass

Ah! That’s better!


Bringing Multiple Inspiration Ideas Together

Bringing Multiple Inspiration Ideas Together

Today’s card started with one idea, added another, and then finished with a third. It was rather a struggle putting it together, not because the techniques were hard, but because I kept running into mental roadblocks and making mistakes.

Inspiration from multiple sources

The background was done first, inspired by this pin on pinterest:

sea urchins pin

That part was finished fairly quickly. And then I ran into my first mental roadblock. I needed a focal image for the card. For some reason I felt I needed a round floral image, but didn’t have anything that really worked for me. So the background sat there for awhile while I worked on other cards.

And then I re-watched Bev Grey’s True Stamp class, and one of the things she used was technique tiles. I have some of those! So I dug those out, and happily colored one that was the right size to fit on the card. And then decided I’d use a rub-on on the colored tile. That didn’t work. Either because the ink was still slightly damp, or because the ink acted as a sealer, for some reason the rub-on wouldn’t adhere. So I flipped the tile over, and applied the rub-on to the reverse side of the tile, which didn’t have as smooth a surface as the front. Then I applied the color over the rub-on, because frequently rub-ons resist ink. Then I started wiping the excess color off the rub-on, and the rub-on started peeling right off the tile. Sigh. The mistakes just kept piling up.

After peeling off the rub-on, I was left with an interesting ghost image of the rub-on, but that wasn’t what I wanted, so I flipped the tile back over to the front. And then it occurred to me that I could use a partial image on the tile. A brief search through the stamp drawers led to my favorite butterfly stamp. I stamped it with versamark ink, and then applied white embossing powder to it. Which adhered to the ENTIRE front of the tile, because the ink STILL wasn’t dry.


Yes, it was one of those days.

I brushed the embossing powder off, and heat set the ink with my heat gun, and then stamped the butterfly in versamark, again, and added the embossing powder. This time it was mostly okay, so I heat set the embossing powder, and added the tile to the card.

Not one to leave well enough alone, and wanting to actually use some of the rub-ons on the card, I added a sentiment and a few doodles, and finally pronounced it done.

So what do you think? And what do you do when things go wrong? Feel free to vent in the comments!

Dealing with Imperfect Stamping

Dealing with Imperfect Stamping

As much as I love using stamps to embellish my scrapbook pages, they don’t always turn out perfect. Then again, I’m not looking for perfect.

IMG_4146I’m sure you can pick out all the imperfections on this page. The pieces of missing images & the blurred edges don’t make this page any less effective. What’s the first thing you notice when you look at this? The photo, right? Does the imperfect stamping detract from this page? Not really. The page is intended to be messy and haphazard, like the boy in the photo, so the imperfect stamping just furthers the theme of the page along.

journaling spot stamps

journaling spot stamps

You remember this page from Monday, right? Did you notice the incomplete, rather pebbly looking inking on the journaling spots and title? (Reminds me of mud!) That’s a result of using Distress inks with photo-polymer stamps, and to be expected. If you know how particular inks and stamps work together, you can prepare yourself mentally for when things go wrong. In this case, I knew Distress inks were a potential problem, but tried them anyway. I actually really like how the letters came out. I didn’t outline the edges of the letters, but it looks like I did. Don’t you love how happy accidents make something that was unplanned look like it was planned?


Do you see the bad stamp images on this page? No? Here, take a closer look:

IMG_4823Do you see it now? The blue swirl that’s blurred and ghosted? (Accidentally double stamped.) You don’t notice that for two reasons:

1. You are your harshest critic. Only you know if something is a mistake or intentional.

2 It’s mostly covered up with the strategically placed white flowers. Simplest strategy for dealing with stamping mistakes, other than claiming it was intentional? Cover it up!

To further illustrate the intentional bad stamping:


I had so many problems with this page: the multiple layers meant the image didn’t transfer correctly over paper edges, and when I tried to re-stamp it without a stamp positioner, I missed, and got a double image on one end. I used a fantastix and some brilliance ink to color the arrow so it looked purposeful. What do you think? Does it work?


One last example for you today:

IMG_4832If you look closely at the flourish, you’ll notice gaps at the edges of the photo and mat.

IMG_4834If the gaps really bother you, you can fill them in by using a tiny paint brush or a fantastix, and the ink from your ink pad, or, if you are lucky enough to have one, a matching marker. I filled in some here (bet you can’t tell where!) and left some alone. Looking at it now, there’s only one that still bugs me, but I am a firm believer in leaving a page alone once I’ve decided it’s done.

Are you feeling any braver now? Ready and able to stamp on your pages? Still nervous? I will have a PDF and short video on how to avoid common stamping mistakes to share with you next week if you sign up for my mailing list.

If you have stamped on pages before, link up an example. I’d love to see what you do!




Turning Techniques into Pages

Turning Techniques into Pages

As I said on Monday, I love techniques. When my local stamp store was open, I took tons of classes, which gave me the confidence to experiment with all sorts of tools and techniques. Then the store closed, so no more classes. One of the things I’ve found important, something that really fuels my creativity, is that I’ve got to be bringing in new ideas and techniques on a regular basis. What was I going to do without my local stamp store?

Enter the True Scrap online classes that Lain Ehmann started. A dozen live, web-based classes over a two day period, filled with tons of inspiration and information. This was how I could bring new ideas into my technique repertoire!

Nic Howard’s Touch Me! All About Texture from the first True Scrap event, was a treasure trove of new ideas. Use gesso as a background. Roll the edges of your papers. Make your own flowers. Use ink and paint to create visual depth, and distressing and dimensional products to build a tactilely appealing page. This is one of the pages I created based on what I learned from Nic’s class. Love the combination of textures and layers!IMG_4597

Julie Fei-Fan Balzer had an amazing class called Dirty Fingers, Clean Design at True Scrap 4. She used stencils, mists, paints, hand carved stamps to create backgrounds and patterned papers for scrapbook pages. This was my first attempt with those techniques. While it’s not perfect, I really enjoy it, and it has pride of place on my vision board.

Do techniques inspire you too? There’s a new, free technique class tonight, and it’s not too late to sign up. Lain Ehmann will show you how to get the most out of your stencils, templates, and masks in Template Tantrum. Sign up, and check it out! If you can’t make the class tonight, you can watch the replay for free for about a week after the event. You’re sure to be inspired! Join me. It will be fun!