A Pressing Matter of Romance

victorian woman

Late to the party, that’s me. I only got excited about hexagons last year, months past the point when the rest of the scrapbooking world had moved on to brush-stroke fonts. In school, I always ended up getting the glasses-style trend too late to be cool. Yeah, tortoise-shell frames! Wait, everyone else is wearing wire rims???

Expensive crafting machine ownership has been no different. I got my Cricut towards the end of its primetime trend life. By the time I started getting a decent cartridge library, the Cricut people had moved on to electronic diecuts and various impressive (haha, pun not intended) and expensive letterpress machines with names that sound like Victorian era artwork, but that nevertheless run off one’s computer.

As a fairly recent convert to card-making (after years of scrapbooking), I have only in the past few months begun a love affair with embossed paper. This romance has so far been nurtured in the scrapbook “special” paper section at my local Big Box Craft and Fabric Store (BBCFS).

Along with my Cricut, I also have the first Sizzix, for you young things that’s the big (heavy!) red one. My crafting area is full, full, and there is absolutely no room for an embossing machine. Nor do I want to shell out the dollars for another plastic toy.

What’s an Embossed Paper Romantic to do?

Howsomever, just since the new year, I found out that my neanderthal-era Sizzix can work as an embosser. Light Bulb Moment!! Why didn’t I think of this before? I already have the System Converter, a heavy, magnetized metal plate that lowers the pressing plate for thinner dies from other manufacturers, such as QuicKutz.

The Embossed Paper Siren was calling my name. All I needed was a few embossing folders.


On the BBFCS website, I ordered some. I was using a gift card, too (Thanks, LC!.)

My order arrived pretty promptly, and I as quickly fired up my Sizzix and tried my #1, Could Not WAIT For It, Embossing Folder WANT: Dots!!

Oh, joy, it worked like a charm.sizzix-dots2

So far I have embossing folders for dots, vine-and-flowers, woodgrain, and sort of art-deco/India-themed flower design. The latter was an impulse purchase; I expect the first two will be used often.

Some tips:

We long-time Ol’ Big Red Sizzix owners know that depending on the die, you need more or less pressure. The same goes for embossing folders. Even though all four of mine are by the same manufacturer (Darice) I found that effective embossing wasn’t the same for each. For the Dots folder, I press almost all the way down on the lever. For the others, they seem to be thicker, and I only need to press about 1/4 of the way. Indeed, using the woodgrain folder, I pressed too hard and the embossing actually perforated the paper at point.

sizzix embosser

The surface area of the Sizzix that embosses at any one time is about 5″x2″. My estimate. That means to get the whole piece of paper embossed, one must press, advance the folder and cutting surface, press, advance and press. It takes 3-4 times. Of course all should be at the same pressure.

Ol’ Big Red is not that wide. This embossing option does not produce anything wider than the Sizzix. That means your embossing folders can’t be wider, either. Duh. The biggest folder I ordered is the Dots, and it is exactly 5″ wide. It fits under the pressing surface with a small amount to spare.

If you want to emboss 12×12 paper the Sizzix will not help you. You will have to buy another expensive, plastic machine.

Okay, now, go dig out those Big Reds! Or scour for a used one on craigslist. Have fun, and no pressure!! 😀

Victorian clip art provided by Graphics Fairy

Cards, Scrapbooking

Scrap Strips: DIY Embellies

emb-thumbScrapbooking can be an expensive hobby. Like fashion, scrapbooking trends shift with the prevailing wind. Keeping up with those Hot Trends is not cheap.

If you’re like me, I am always watching for DIY solutions, especially for Embellishments. I haven’t descended as of yet to making my own paper.

I have some wonderful metal drawers, in two of them I keep Neutral Colored strips and Colored Strips. But the drawers were getting too full to be useable; time to do something about this.
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Other Crafts

2013 Wall Calendar

wall calendarTechnology is one of my loves, but I still prefer hands-on means to keeping a calendar and keeping track of my schedule. I know that the computer calendar is easily accessible right down there in the lower right of my task bar, but in my office/crafting room, I still like having a wall calendar handy, especially when I’m looking ahead or making plans. Last year I did this with Scrapbook & Cards Today’s Sketch Calendar, which was lots of fun and definitely worth keeping now that the year is over!

This year, I decided to go hands-on in a real sort of way and make my own. My real calendar is a purple Gallery Leather desk planner from Barnes and Noble; I take it with me in my purse. It has empty squares and small numbers, for write-in space.

I wanted this at-home office calendar to have numbers that were big and easy to read. After dinking around with various “print a calendar” websites I didn’t really find what I wanted, so I gave in and checked out the Micro$oft Office templates. I ended up adapting an Excel template with monthly calendars for 2013, putting two months to each page in Word (portrait orientation), then re-formatting: bigger, bolder date numbers especially.

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