Monday, November 23, 2009

Q & A - Part I

I've been sooooo bad lately about answering questions, so I thought I'd attempt some catch-up today. Hopefully there'll be something useful here!

Regarding THIS CARD ... HOW do you get such nice fluffy bow with the tails going one up and one down?!

I'd been thinking perhaps a tutorial was in order and then I saw Joanne's awesome buttony bow tutorial. That is almost exactly how I do my bows. I mean it's so nearly identical it was almost freaky to watch -lol! Just like Joanne, I basically tie a shoe bow, then manipulate the loops and tails until they look good. Please, please, please check out her video - it's incredible! I love the casual, informal look of this style of bow ... in addition to Joanne, some of my favorite sources of inspiration for this style of bow are Betsy Veldman, Melissa Phillips, and Beatriz Jennings. For super formal, drop-dead gorgeous tailored bows, I love seeing what Becca Feeken, Sharon Johnson, and Jerri Jimenez are up to.

Regarding THIS CARD ... Can you advise us how you embossed with the Spellbinders without cutting through the paper?

To emboss only, lay the Spellbinders die cut side up on the plate of whatever machine you're using. Lay the paper on top, followed by the Spellbinders tan embossing mat. Create whatever sandwich needed for your particular machine. I can tell you the Cuttlebug sandwich, since that's what I use: A plate, B plate, die (again, cut side up), paper, tan embossing mat, 3-4 scrap sheets of 60-pound card stock, second B plate.

Your cuts are so precise. I would love to know what paper cutter you use.

I use an older version of THIS rotary Fiskars, which I bought for around $30 at Costco a few years ago. It's a full 12x12. I don't love it, but it's adequate. Replacement blades are around $5, I think. And there's also a four-sided replaceable black strip that the blade cuts into. I'm really bad for letting my blades get too dull before replacing, so when I get frayed edges, I will sometimes take a sanding block and quickly sand the edges. Either that or I'll distress the edges even more with a distressing tool. (I know, wouldn't it be quicker to just replace the blade? LOL) If I start doing a bunch of distressed cards all in a row, now you'll know the ugly truth - my blade is dull {grin}.

I just recently got those spellbinders tags [Fancy Tags] and I have a heck of a time getting them out of the die with out them ripping...any tips?

Yes, tricky little things, aren't they?? I've had a little trouble, too. I use a paper piercing tool (but something a little more dull would be better) to gently work the more intricate parts out of the die. From the non-cutting side of the die, I gently push the piercer point in between the die and the cardstock and then work it loose. I've found that the heavier the cardstock, the easier it is to get it out without tearing, wrinkling, or scratching up the paper. Good luck, and if anyone has any other suggestions, do share :)

[ETA: From Beth Pingry (Spellbinders DT member) ... to get the intricate Spellbinders die cuts out of the dies, you can cut/emboss with wax paper between the paper and the die. Makes it easy peasy to remove. Then you can make wax resists with the wax paper die cuts! Check out the Spellbinders blog for details. Thank you so much, Beth! Can't wait to try that!]

Regarding the new I-TOP tool by Imaginisce ... I am not sure about buying all the tools in order to make it work - seems pricey. Do you need all of them? Do you need the punch, templates and setter tool?

Some quick background for those new to the tool, here's basically how it works: You cut a notched circle of paper, wrap it around a domed brad top, tuck the ends up into the underside of the domed top and then secure a brad bottom (i.e., the part with the two prongs), which holds the wrapped paper in place. To make the process as quick and easy as possible, Imaginisce has punches for cutting the notched circles, tracing templates for the notched circles if you want to cut instead of punch, the squeeze tool for putting everything together, and of course the brad kits, which include the domed tops and the corresponding bottoms.

So, do you need ALL those tools and components? Well, You can definitely make your own notched circles without using either the templates or the punches. I like having the tracing templates so I know how big to make my paper covers, and I do have to say the punches would be nice and fast, but yes, you can do without either of those. You definitely DO need the brad pieces, of course. As for the squeeze tool, I tried making the brads without it, and got mixed results. The medium-size brads that I made manually were passable, but the small ones were just too small for me to manipulate successfully. I couldn't get the notched circle wrapped around the brad top tightly enough to be able to push the brad bottom up in there. If you're on the fence about the tool, try picking up some brad kits only and give it a shot. If you have trouble getting the paper wrapped tightly, you can get the squeeze tool. And, of course, if you end up making a lot of custom brads, chances are you'll want the squeeze tool and the other "convenience" tools, like the tracing templates or punches.

Would you share your secrets for taking such beautiful photos of your artwork? In all of my photos, the artwork looks so flat. Even if it has layers.

Over the summer, I posted a tutorial in the My Favorite Things forum on how to photograph your artwork using natural light and no fancy equipment and how to edit your photograph using basic photo editing software. It's in the "How'd They Do That" section. Here's a direct link:

Tammy left a comment on last year's anniversary card, which I just posted this year ... What did you come up with for hubby this year ;-)?

Betcha wondered if I got around to his card at all? As luck would have it, I was looking through my stash of cards for a different occasion and ran across this card [link fixed] that I made over the summer and forgot about. Perfect!

Thanks for tuning in ... part II coming in a bit!


Savannah O'Gwynn said...

thanks so much for sharing your tips and tricks! I can always use more information on how to look more professional (like your cards!). THANK YOU:)

Beth Pingry said...

to get the intricate Spellbinders die cuts out of the dies, you can cut/emboss with wax paper between the paper and the die. Makes it easy peasy to remove. Then you can make wax resists with the wax paper die cuts! Check out the Spellbinders blog for details.

Jenyfur said...

Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions - I enjoyed the read! :)

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for all the tips and especially for that wonderful tutorial on how to photograph cards. I copied it to a Word document to have handy. You go into such detail it must have taken a lot of your time. Thanks so much!