Saturday 26 January 2013

Pretty Polaroid Project: Snap the Second

Welcome to the second installment of the Pretty Polaroid Project!  I've put together another step-by-step guide to creating a little embellishment in a Polaroid frame.  Do feel free to follow along (and let me know if you make one!) and let's get scrapping! Once again, I know you won't necessarily have exactly the same supplies as me, but be creative and use whatever you have lying around!

You can find the first little Polaroid here.  And if you want the Polaroid template that I used to make the little frame, shoot me an email on 

journalofcuriousthing at gmail dot com

So lets get cracking!

So this one kicks off in a way that is almost identical to last time.  Are you feeling the deja vu?  I backed the frame with grid paper, added a paper flower and a strip of lace right across the middle.  

Why 'the big dipper"?  I have no idea.  So I'm going to cover up the words.  That aside, label stickers make lovely little frames and borders, and are a great way to add layers without adding lots of bulky dimension.

I cast around among the scraps and bits and bobs on my table, and found some snippets of patterned paper perfect for punching.  So I started with a stamp-shape...

...progressed to a pinked circle...

...and finished with a butterfly.  Each piece is inked with both links them together and makes them stand out as individual layers.  You can see now how the label sticker pokes out from underneath the punches, but you can't see the writing.  You'd never even know they were there.  Except that I told you.  And I showed you.  So that would be my bad, but if you could go ahead and ignore them and not tell the rest of the internet my shameful secret, that would be perfectly lovely.  

Speaking of perfectly lovely, little buttons are great for butterfly centres, but you could equally well use brads, stickers or enamel dots.

Finally, a little twine bow adds a new texture and finishes off the Polaroid.  You can either tie it on properly or do as I did and just tape the ends of the twine to the back.

And there we have it: TA-DA!!!  

You can't see me, but the jazz hands that I'm a-quivering are impressive.  Seriously, I could be in Glee.  

 I hope you'll join me next week to see how this photo-themed project develops.  And you get extra points if you spotted the oh-so-deliberate-yet-slightly-pathetic pun.

Kisses xxx

P.S. I have recently discovered the joys of the TV programme Miranda.  Why have I not watched this before?  I LOVE it!  Plus if I don't watch it on Monday night, I have nothing to discuss with my Year 12s on Tuesday, so it's basically a contractual obligation.  Or it would be if it weren't for the fact that I'm supposed to teach my Year 12s statistics, and not chat telly with them.

P.P.S. And I have been indulging in more Great British Bake Off Comic Relief action.  The lemon meringues had me giggling into my tea and the custard slices...the less said about those the better :D

Monday 21 January 2013

Journal of Curious Things Podcast Episode 6: And Snow On

Pearls and butterflies falling out of an envelope.

The Journal of Curious Things Podcast, dedicated to scrapbooking, crafty lovelies, living life and telling stories. And all this, over a cup of tea.

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Show Notes

The ones I link to are the ones I use the most: 3mm in diameter in colourway Peaches and Cream.  Yum!

The link takes you to the DIY photo wall that I mentioned, but pretty much every post on this blog is inspiring!

The name says it all, but beware the flaw in the recipe!  Turned out a treat regardless, so I recommend it :D

Telling Tales
A scrapbooking class all about story from yours truly.  Follow the link for full info!

Lovely theme music - here's a video!

You can download the podcast from iTunes onto your portable music player of choice, or even your computer if that's easier (There's a link on the blog sidebar).  And if you want to chat, or have awesome podcast ideas, send me an email!

journalofcuriousthings dot co dot uk

Kisses xxx

P.S. I did not get my snow day.  Ultimate sad face!  And I stupidly put off some of the weekend marking thinking I'd do it (rather smugly) on Monday's snow day.

P.P.S. While I felt foolish for doing that this morning, it soon transpired I definitely wasn't the only one :D

Saturday 19 January 2013

Pretty Polaroid Project: Snap the first

Welcome to the Pretty Polaroid Project!  Today I'm going to share a step-by-step guide to creating a little embellishment in a Polaroid frame.  Do feel free to follow along (and let me know if you make one!) and let's get scrapping! I know you won't necessarily have exactly the same supplies as me, and really, how careless of you, but I've offered some suggestions and substitutions along the way so you can make it work with what you've got.

And if you want the Polaroid template that I used to make the little frame, shoot me an email on 

journalofcuriousthing at gmail dot com

So without further ado, I bring you the first Polaroid, in appropriately wintry colours that celebrate the season.  Unless you're either snowless, or down under where it's summer, or you fall into the intersection of that particular Venn diagram* and are both in Australia and snowless.  Or in fact, located anywhere in the southern hemisphere.  

And it's a little bit camera-themed too - I'm not sure I could have lived with myself if I didn't make at least one Polaroid embellishment with a Camera on it.

As it turns out, when I typed 'without further ado' there was quite a bit more ado to be with.

Fill in the back of the frame with patterned paper, and then add a strip of washi tape across the middle.  No washi?  No problem, patterned paper will work just as well.

A rectangle of patterned paper is next.  I used a postage-stamp punch to get the perforated stamp-edge look, but a straight edge cut with scissors would work well too.  You can also see that I cheated and used 2 punched shapes overlapped to make a bigger rectangle.  It's not a problem as the join will be covered up!

A thinner strip of patterned paper goes on next - a good way to use up scraps that might end up in the recycling otherwise!  I'm inking the edges of each layer with brown ink to tie them all together and make a coherent embellishment.

Next I added a small tag - you can cut one out quite easily and adding a little bow tied with string adds texture and movement.  It's all in the detail.

Next comes a pinked circle.  I love this punch from Martha Stewart - it's very versatile and adaptable.

The next layer is a scrap of ribbon over the lower half of the circle.  I've zig-zagged the ends which stops it from fraying and also looks coooooool.  Anyway, you may notice you can see the glue through the ribbon.  I'm gluing each layer with Glossy accents which holds virtually everything brilliantly, but as it's a wet glue, it shows through some materials.  To avoid this, I just glued the ribbon in the middle and where the glue shows through will get covered up.

Fabric covered chipboard camera.  Love these!  This one was made by Studio Calico but you can also get wood veneer cameras, stickers, or cut out your own from one of the myriad patterned papers sporting camera images.

Finally, an epoxy sticker over the lens of the camera finishes the embellishment.  I popped it up on a foam square to add dimension.  And we're done!  I may write a little something on the bottom when I come to add each Polaroid to the end project, but for now, I'd happily add this little chap to any scrapbook page :D

And so this is the first in a series of Polaroid-frame embellishments that I'll be making. You can catch a new tutorial each week and at the end, I'm going to bring them all together to make an overall project.  I can't wait!

*Interesting and fun fact about Mr Venn (lets call him by his first name, John), who was born in Hull.  Yes, a Yorkshireman.  Hurrah!  Anyway, our John not only invented the diagramatic representation which bears his name and populates the fields of mathematics, logic and probability, but also invented a machine that bowled cricket balls.  A machine so successful "...that when the Australian Cricket team visited Cambridge in 1909, Venn's machine clean bowled one of its top stars four times".  And that's a direct quote from Wikipedia and is therefore true.  It was on the internet, so it must be.

Anyway, this information takes us from no snow to Australia to Venn diagrams to John Venn himself and back to Australia.  And you thought I was just rambling.

In case you're wondering why I brought all this up, I do a top-notch Venn diagrams statistics lesson in which I discuss the life of John at length.  I don't let the students call him John - you've got to earn his respect and a maths degree before you can do that - and I did make up a lot of stuff that wasn't true.  Or at least there is no documented evidence of his fighting crime with Sherlock Holmes vigilante-superhero-style.  But you've got to love a guy whose legacy to the world is drawing pictures of maths to make it simpler.  Not to mention the fact that this is a mathematician who thought that the way he could really serve the world with his mathematical prowess was to invent a machine that could out-bowl Australia at cricket.  Winner!

OK, I will freely admit that I have wondered far from the topic.  This is why I should not plan stats lessons and scrapbook at the same time.

Or maybe it's why I should.  Because I do think it's fun and interesting.

Cheers John, and thanks for the pictures.

Kisses xxx

P.S. You can see bit more info about the Pretty Polaroid Project here and if you enjoyed this tutorial, why not sign up for my shiny new class Telling Tales - info here!

Thursday 17 January 2013

Pretty Polaroid Project

You may have noticed that there hasn't been much in terms of layouts round here recently.  But that’s not because I've stopped scrapping.  I know, you were all terrified then for a moment?  No?  Oh.

No, it’s because I’m busy working on pages and ideas for my new class Telling Tales.  But I've started to notice that I’m doing a couple of techniques and motifs over and over again.  I LOVE camera themed items with a passion and I still can’t get enough of Polaroids.  This is a bit odd, as I don’t have a Polaroid camera.  Nor have I ever had one.  But there’s something about those funny-shaped frames that makes me think craft+photos+vintage all at once.  That’s the kind of maths that everyone loves.

So while I’m busy working on pages for class, I wanted to share a slightly different project here.  
Enter: The Pretty Polaroid Project

Each week, I’m going to bring you a tutorial featuring little Polaroid frame that has got its craft on.  (I’m so down with the kids I’m practically lying on the floor.  Really)  And I don't mean complicated, expensive, product-fueled Polaroids with fancy die-cut bits in trendy colours.  Those are cool, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t have any lying about.  What I do have is some white cardstock, some patterned paper scraps, the odd embellishment and AMBITION.

When you read the word ‘AMBITION’ you have to do it while imagining yourself saying it in a large hall with an echoey effect.  And your tone of voice should be hushed and yet ring with importance.  Altogether?
AMBITION (...ambition..bition..ition..­­tion...ion...)

Are you on board?  Sometimes I find it hard to tell when the boat of sanity has tipped so far over that people are starting to slide off the deck.  Some people call it crazy, I prefer to think of it as a Miss Smith moment.  It’s all good.

Anyway, I'm going to take my bits and pieces, my buttons and brads, my ribbons and punches, and I'm going to combine them with Polaroid frames to make a series of pretty embellishments.  Then I'll share a tutorial here each week for each Polaroid.  At the end of the series of tutorials, I'll be sharing a project that will put them all to good use.

If you want to join me, you'd be very welcome!  Use your own odds and ends, do your own thing and let adorable photographic frames be your guide.  And whether your use them on projects, or save them for a rainy day, it would be lovely to see what you craft :D

Anyway, I'm starting by making a few frames from a Polaroid-shaped template I've made.  I've cut it out of stiff card and I'm tracing round it onto white cardstock, before hand-cutting the frames to use in future.  Perfect TV scrapping.

So look out for the first tutorial at the weekend.  And while you're welcome to use any frames or supplies or ideas you like, if you do want to follow along with the tutorial, I can send you a copy of the template I'm using for the Polaroid shape.  I made it myself.  No, no, no, your applause is just to much.  You're embarrassing me.  

But in all seriousness, if you'd like a pdf of the template, I'll hook you up.  Simply send me an email to 

journalofcuriousthings at gmail dot com 

Kisses xxx

P.S.  Never fear!  Now that my voice is heading back towards it’s usual pitch, I hope to do the next podcast episode this weekend – thank you for your patience!

Sunday 13 January 2013

Journaling Card Tutorial

Something I'd like to start doing is sharing tutorials here more.  So that's exactly what I've put together for today.  Journaling cards are great things to have on hand - to be able to grab one, jot down a few thoughts and attach it to a page can save a lot of hassle.  And making your own means they'll be exactly to your taste and style!  If you enjoy this tutorial and want more ideas for getting stories onto your pages, why not sign up for my new class Telling Tales?  You can find full details here (and more info at the bottom of this post).

Onto the journaling cards: All you need is some paper that you can write on clearly, a few patterned paper scraps, some washi tape (optional) and some paperclips.  Ledger, grid and lined papers all make good journaling cards as they guide your writing.  If you are one of life's gifted writers-in-a-straight-line, I salute you and invite you to forgo the lined paper.  I would also steer clear from dark colours as your pen won't show up.

I cut out each card at 3 inches by 4 inches and then trimmed some of them down randomly to make them slightly different sizes.  I like things to be not quite uniform.  The project they're intended for is part of Telling Tales and I know they need to be different sizes, but you may want our set to be the same size.  This is a good time to work out how many you want to make, as you can easily follow this process as an assembly line and produce a whole collection of cards pretty quickly.

For each card, I punched out 3 shapes from a variety of patterned paper scraps.  I've done 2 postage-stamp shapes and punched the starburst shape off the edge of sheet to make a half circle.  Simply select whatever punches you are loving right now, or get to work with a pair of scissors if you prefer.  I stuck to a colour scheme of yellow, blue and grey, but be adventurous as your choose!  You might choose to match them to a particular project, make them in your favourite colours, or stick to neutral tones that will go with anything.

You can ink the edges of all the pieces to tie them together.  Layer up 2 of the punched shapes in the top right hand corner.  Then add a strip of washi tape to the top and bottom corners as above.  If you don't have an washi tape, you could easily use ribbon or strips of paper.  The torn ends add a nice hand-made look, but you could snip them off neatly if you prefer.  Finally, top off the little cluster with the final punched shape.

 Next, if you want to add a bit of texture and detail, you can sew along the tape at the top and bottom of your card.  I went to my machine to do this, and used a zig-zag stitch, but you could do this by hand or simply miss it out if you prefer.  Then pull the ends of the thread through to the back, and secure with thread.

Adding a doodled border around the edge can help to add definition to your cards.  You could do this at the start if you prefer, but bear in mind that it will show through the washi tape.  So I waited until this point, and added a couple of dots of black mist as well.

Adding a paperclip onto the top right corner of each card creates a just-clipped-together look which I can't resist.  If you're a regular reader of the blog, you'll know I'm a big paperclip fan!

Creating little tabs for each card means you can easily label each one with a date or location or name - plus they make the shape a little more interesting.  I hand-cut mine and added little labels in the same grid pattern as the background to make them easier to write on.  However, a number of scrapbooking companies do produce their own die-cut versions of tabs, and punches are available too (although I've yet to get my mits on one!).  Attach them to the back so that the tab pokes up.  Or of course, leave them out entirely if you prefer!

And there we have it: a hand-made set of journaling cards just waiting to fill your pages full of stories :D

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and that 2013 is treating you well.

Kisses xxx

P.S. I said I'd come back to my new Scrapbooking Class Telling Tales.  We'll be focussing on getting more stories onto our pages through a series of prompts discussing writing, photos, and design.  You'll also receive audio recordings, membership to a private forum and lots of exclusive pages with ideas for including your stories in your albums in a variety of imaginative ways.  Interested?  Sign up here for just £6 and every penny goes to my fundraising for GirlGuiding UK's GOLD project in Cambodia, which you can read about here.

P.P.S. My apologies for my absence.  Having skillfully avoided illness of every sort during December and the Christmas holidays, and having been just a little bit smug about being of strong stock in the face of all my woefully afflicted friends and relatives, I now have my comeuppance.  I am ill, sleeping for around eleven hours a day and snapping waspishly at any student foolish enough to ask a question of me at school.  I think my immune system finally decided not to cope any more and just gave up the ghost.

P.P.P.S. Stupid pathetic immune system.

P.P.P.P.S. On plus side, have spent lots of time with the telly watching Miranda, Smash and Sherlock.  AN odd combination, but working for me.  Also making garlic pasta in the belief that 6 cloves of garlic in one meal is a)  appropriate and b) destructive to illnesses.  Should also be pointed out that I love garlic and have a superhuman tolerance.  And that I do not inflict myself on anyone after having ingested said pasta.

P.P.P.P.P.S. Interspersing the above with new Two Peas/Shimelle/CHA videos.  Good times!

Friday 4 January 2013

2012 Becomes 2013

In 2012 I have accomplished the following...

Got the promotion I desperately wanted at work - hurrah own office and secret tea and chocolate stash!

My Queen's Guide Award (all I need now is the badge :D)

Visited Paris, Bath and the Lake District (Rained in all 3!)

My Guiding Holiday Licence.  Next: the international part.

Been appointed County Internation Advisor (CIA, darling) for Middlesex East Guiding.

Taught my first online scrapbooking class, Just One Sketch

Performed the Flower Duet at school (otherwise known as "Miss Smith's epic opera thing".  Really? Thanks lads)

Watched all the Harry Potter Films in a Row. Butterbeer please.

Had a lovely Tea Potter (No relation to Harry, just an amusing teapot pun) Seems like a long time since the first outing.

Started a scrapbooking podcast

Spent 3 weeks volunteering with Guides in Armenia

Was selected to be a GOLD leader - Cambodia 2013 watch out!

In 2013 I want to achieve the following...

Successfully lead a GOLD project to Cambodia to work with Guiding there and teach English.

To say 'yes' more and be prepared to try more things.

Bloggers weekend away!

Finish my patchwork quilt.  Please Mum?

Teach a new online scrapbooking class Telling Tales

Find Mr Second Date (at least)

Create a plan for my blog

Spend more time with my family.  I miss them.

Make a proper layer cake - with COLOUR!

Give running another go.  Or go faster.

Learn a new skill and take a class.  This pyjama one appeals... (And if you're in London, and want to play, let me know!)

I hope it's going to be a good year!

Kisses xxx

P.S. And it goes without saying that from the ashes of Tea Potter Mark 2 will rise Tea Potter The Third: greater and more mighty than the world has yet seen....

P.P.S. You're all invited :D