What’s Your Favorite Cardstock?

Cardstock by Natalie ParkerWith all these football layouts I’ve been doing recently, I’m running through blue and gold cardstock like you wouldn’t believe.  I used to get blue and gold in packs with other colors, but that won’t work anymore.  I use blue and gold at a much higher rate than any other colors!

Where’s your favorite place to buy sheets of cardstock, preferably in bulk and non-textured?  Do you have a favorite brand?  I’m open to all suggestions!

I Only Make What I Need

Photo Prints by Natalie ParkerI often wonder how other scrapbookers can put together layouts so quickly when it takes me days to finish one.

I finally realized my process is very different and part of it has to do with the way I handle supplies and photos:

I only print and cut what I need at the time I need it.

It’s interesting to see how others work.  It clicked for me when I saw this post about cutting lots of letters out on the Silhouette.  Scrapbookers will often spend time putting together embellishments to access later.

The same goes for printing photos.  Other scrapbookers will often send large sets of photos to print, will store them, and then will go through the printed photos and select which ones to use for a layout.  This is a great post from Simple Scrapper about scrapbooking roadtrips.  I noticed that it suggests printing the photos first and then figuring out the layouts second.

I only print photos after I decide to use them on a layout.  I only print what I need.  There’s an argument to be made that printing at home is more expensive than ordering prints.  However, I don’t print excessively and only print when I’m sure the photo is exactly what I want.

I don’t like having extra things around.  I like the feeling that I’m only cutting up what I need, only printing what I need.  It may take me longer to make an individual page, but I don’t spend a whole lot of time acquiring or refining supplies.  I wait for the page and the supplies to speak to me.

My way isn’t necessarily better, it’s just different.

I sometimes think when reading Danielle’s blog that I’m not that Eco friendly.  Maybe I am and I just don’t know it!

The Quilter’s Daughter: Omnigrid Rulers

Omnigrid rulers for scrapbookingThis is the second in a series of posts about my unconventional scrapbooking tools that were given to me by my mom, a quilter.

Last time I showed you my Olfa rotary cutter, my favorite cutting tool.  The best partner in crime to the rotary cutter is my set of Omnigrid rulers.  What makes these better than a conventional ruler?  You guess it, they have a grid.

Having Omnigrid rulers allows me to quickly measure something once – I don’t have to measure the length and width separately.  Since it’s transparent, I can easily throw this ruler over an empty space on a layout, measure the exact size of the space, and instantly know what size photo I need to print for it.

Omnigrid rulers come in many shapes and sizes.  They measure very accurately down to 1/8-inch and have additional hashmarks around the edges to measure to 1/16-inch.  My mom has a ton of these in different sizes, but I just use two:  a 3×18-inch long one, perfect for measuring items on the 14-inch scrapbook pages I use, and a 4×8-inch, a smaller and easier to handle ruler for basic cuts.

I’ve been using these exact rulers for at least 7 years and they’ve never broken or warped and handle all the random things I use them for.  You can find them on sale at many craft and fabric stores as well as online!

I have no affiliation with Omnigrid and was not paid by them to endorse this product.

My New Silhouette

Silhouette cut headlineI bought myself a new toy for my birthday a few weeks back:  a Silhouette SD.  I don’t invest in new paper or supplies that often and I’m determined to make the most of what I have.  This was a huge scrapbooking purchase so I thought I’d share with you!

Lately have been cutting a lot more headlines.  As in, I would cut them by handWith an x-acto knife.  It would take forever, my hand would get sore, and I couldn’t do a perfect job.  The little nicks and hard corners in some of my letters really bothered me.  I thought about the wedding scrapbook coming up and how I would probably want cut headlines for all of those pages.  Plus, I do a lot of paper crafting and would definitely use it for more than scrapbooking.

Scrapbook headline cut by handThe Silhouette SD is a digital cutting machine that hooks up to your computer.  I chose the Silhouette as opposed to other cutters because I can cut fonts I already have, design my own patterns and won’t need to buy expensive cartridges*.  Always one to embrace a trend late in the game**, I bought the Silhouette SD on sale because Silhouette is introducing a newer, larger machine.  I talked with their customer service and confirmed that they will still be selling parts and supporting the SD.

Scrapbook headline cut with Silhouette SDI’m excited to be able to share my trials and tribulations with you!  I am not affiliated with Silhouette and they are not paying me to post about the machine.  Therefore, you can expect my uncensored opinion.  I’m already BFF’s with their customer service department because I had some issues with the cutting mats and they sent me some new ones.

Back to the scrapbook!

Silhouette SD*Ah yes, doesn’t Silhouette have an online store where you can buy new shapes?  Isn’t it a slippery slope just like buying cartridges?  I don’t think so.  I can import my own images into the program and cut my own shapes.  I received a $10 download gift card with the machine and haven’t touched it yet.

**As in, I never watched the Sopranos until the show was cancelled.  Then I watched it all on DVD and couldn’t wait to discuss plotlines with my coworkers by the watercooler the next day.  Oh wait.

The Quilter’s Daughter: Olfa Rotary Cutter

Olfa Rotary CutterLet’s take some time out to talk about the tools of my trade.  I’m not a normal scrapbooker in many ways.  I also don’t use normal tools.  If you looked at my tools, you may think I’m a quilter!  I don’t have that type of talent, but I am a quilter’s daughter.

My mom is a serious quilter as well as notorious handyperson (see the t-shirt quilt).  My mom can show you a beautiful quilt she’s just finish and claim that she “just threw this together.”

She gave me many of my tools.  They are really intended for people that sew, but they work beautifully on paper crafts.  First up, my all-around-awesome Olfa Rotary Cutter.

I can’t use paper slicers, they aren’t accurate enough for my cuts.  I was working on a squares layout years ago (much like this one) when I realized that a paper slicer wouldn’t cut it.  No pun intended, har har.  A rotary cutter is very accurate, clean, and allows me full control.

True, the blades can wear out and get nicks in them.  I keep a pack of blades on hand just in case.  With normal use, I replace a blade maybe once a year.  Just as with kitchen knives, a dull blade is more likely to cause injury because you use more force to compensate for the dullness.  Replace blades as often as you need to!

Warning:  Rotary cutters are very sharp and are dangerous if you don’t handle them properly.  Be careful!  It’s not something you can leave lying around with kids or husbands.  When I was growing up, I was taught to not touch the rotary cutter just as I was taught not to turn my back to the ocean.

This is one of the few tools I can’t live without!

A Funeral for My Scissors


Let’s take a moment today to remember a dearly departed tool from my craft table: my favorite scissors. My only scissors. I’m not kidding. These are the only scissors I use.

I didn’t even buy these. My mom bought them for herself and used them for a couple of years before giving them to me. That was over 14 years ago. I’ve been using them ever since. The same pair. Now you can see why I’m sad.

What’s so great about them? They are spring-loaded. They are comfortable to hold in your hand and the spring lets the scissors do the work for you. Scissor-induced hand cramps are non-existent for me! Fiskars makes these with longer blades which are great for cutting fabric. I prefer the smaller set. Most of my work is paper-related and I have to make intricate cuts.

I’ve been in denial for quite some time. The spring came undone once. I fixed it. The spring broke in one place but was still usable and I hardly noticed. I finally admitted defeat when the spring broke in a second place.

Busted spring. Not bad for 14 years.

Let’s pause and observe a moment of silence.

Sigh.

What’s a girl to do? You think I would branch out and try something new. Nope, I took an always-available 40% off coupon to Michael’s and got myself a new pair. Aren’t they lovely?

Brand new pair!

They have made some improvements in the 14 or so years since my original set came out. But they are generally the same thing.

And would you look at that: they are endorsed by the Arthritis Foundation.

I love them!

Sa-weet!

These scissors can be found here at Fiskars, Amazon, or at your favorite craft/fabric store.

The Cadillac of Scrapbooks

Yeah, I said it. The Pioneer SJ-100 Jumbo Scrapbook. This is the only scrapbook I have ever used and I don’t foresee changing to something else. This thing is big. The pages measure 11 and 3/4 inches by 14 inches and can accommodate larger objects. When you scrapbook like I do with tons of bits and pieces, fitting newspaper articles, programs and huge pictures is a dream. It is also possible to scrapbook two smaller events onto a single page.

No Sleeves

Each book comes with 50 acid-free buff colored pages. It is advertised as “accepting unlimited refills” but I learned the hard way you can only take that so far before you have to seek out new binding options. More on that later.

Notice that these pages don’t have plastic sleeves or sheet protectors. I don’t do sleeves. It limits the design potential. I like being able to flip through programs or layer pictures and papers. I’ve heard that Pioneer may have discontinued them for this book, but you may be able to find some. Not using sleeves adds a degree of difficulty because designs have to be made back-to-back. Don’t let this intimidate you, it just takes a little bit of thought beforehand. I’ll cover this separately in another post.

Where to Buy

Back in the day before scrapbooking really took off, this jumbo book was available in craft and fabric stores. I bought my first one over thirteen years ago. It disappeared from stores when 12×12 became the rage. When I couldn’t find it, I almost went to 12×12 but couldn’t do it. I trolled the internet until I found someone that sold them.

Archival USA is the only place I have found to purchase these. Yes, you can find them on other websites, including Amazon, but there’s a catch: you can’t specify what color you want at other retailers. Archival USA offers them in your choice of white, navy, burgundy and three prints, for $8.50 each.