Thursday, 5 December 2013

Quick Recycled Christmas Cards

Hi Crafters,
Practical Scrapper Karen here today to share my tips for how to recycle last years Christmas cards into handmade creations. Cards without a large central image are not always easy to recycle into new projects. For cards with complex scenes or pretty backgrounds, these ideas work well.

1. Circles & Strips - I used a circle punch to selectively punch out the focal point of the card. Then I cut the remaining image into vertical slices. I varied the width of the strips and then reassembled the scene leaving a 1 cm space between each strip. For a variation, you can tear the edges or use decorative edge scissors. Finally, embellish the images with gems, glitter, ribbons, gel pen detailing, a sentiment, or rubber stamp a background etc.

2. Triangle Tree Puzzles - I cut a simple triangle tree shape from a Christmas card. Then I sliced diagonally through the tree and reassembled it leaving 1 cm gaps. This technique works well for a card with a focal image (like a nativity scene) or with a background (such as a frost covered holly bush.)

3.  Ornaments – Another technique for intricate images (aka: too hard to fussy cut) is to use a circle punch and turn them into festive ornaments by adding a cap and a bit of thread. Because my ornament is not attached and is free to swing, I put my secret Christmas greeting behind the ornament.
Happy Crafting!

Friday, 22 November 2013

New Site Address

If you follow Practical Scrappers, 
please update your bookmarks to include their new web address.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Christmas Fabric Wall Hanging

I created a simple wall hanging using fabric scraps and burlap to create this basic nativity scene. I am not an experienced seamstress and since wanted the fewest pieces to work with, I sketched people with gentle curves and simple shapes. I used the button hole setting on my sewing machine to get a very tight outline stitch. Finally, I made loops at the top of the panel for the wooden dowel and I bought some jute cord to hang it.
TIP: Know the layers in your design and what pieces will overlap so that when you sew, you work from the bottom up and attach those pieces first.


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Autumn Wreath

Hello Crafters,
I am sharing a quick and simple Autumn wreath made with strips of fabric and best of all,

Supplies: fabric strips, scissors or pinking sheers, wire hanger
1. Cut strips of fabric. Strip size can vary but are about 1.5 x 8 in.

2. Bend the wire hanger to form a circle and tie each fabric strip onto the hanger.

3. Keep sliding them close together in order to cover the hanger completely. The more strips you use and the tighter you compact them, the prettier the wreath will be.
4. Continue adding strips until the desired fullness is achieved. When complete, trim the ends of the fabrics. I cut each strip to have a pointed end to resemble leaves but you may prefer a diagonal cut or a V cut.

5. Finally, decorate with a bow or other embellishment.

Any lightweight fabric would work well. (satin, organza, chiffon, cotton, lame, lace, velour, netting, or tulle) Fabrics should be cut on the bias if possible to minimize fraying and prevent unraveling edges. I suggest using a variety of colors & textures of fabric to give the wreath more dimension. This is a good opportunity to use up small fabric scraps or even recycle that blouse that got a stain on it. I also used some wide ribbon strips among the fabric strips. Hopefully, you can see the unlimited potential to make a variety of seasonal wreaths by combining different fabrics. This is a great family activity. (If the grown ups do the cutting, the kids could do the tying on!)

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Ten Things Tuesday: Doilies

Practical Scrappers Design Teams brings you another Ten Things Tuesday. Today we feature doilies with all their wonderful intricate vintage detail. I used a subtle doily print background paper & mock paper doily embellishments to enhance the layout. Tip: cut doilies in half and tuck them behind other layers, place them in clusters, or place them to appear they are going off the page. Check out the girls at Practical Scrappers to find other ideas using doilies.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Afraid of Stickers?

I generally do not use stickers because ...
1. They are flat and dull. 2. They are difficult to work with because you only have one chance to put them in the right spot. Stickers by definition are sticky and are therefore unforgiving if you change your mind and try to remove them. They are easily damaged or damage the surface of your project.

I discovered this helpful trick and now I don’t avoid using stickers. I find it less stressful to use stickers in a project if I first stick them to acetate or cardstock and then cut them out. Stickers become embellishments that I can play with and easily move around until I am pleased with the design. Then I don’t have to worry about dropping them, bending them, or adhering them at the wrong angle. For my layout, I stuck flowers & leaf stickers to a piece of transparency and then cut them out. In order to go from flat to fabulous and create a more 3D life-like appearance, I only applied the adhesive to the center of the flowers and gently bent up the petals. Taking the extra step of adhering and fussy cutting your stickers really helped eliminate the problems that stickers always caused me and now allows me to use all those stickers that went ignored & forgotten.
Visit Practical Scrappers to see other ideas using stickers.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

White Gel Pen

It is Ten Things Tuesday at Practical Scrappers. This week the Design Team was challenged to use white gel pen. Since I stamped the pair of owls to patterned paper, I then colored their eyes to make them pop. I also accentuated little details by adding stitching lines and dotty outlines to plain paper embellishments. There is a lot of subtle rubber stamping on this layout. I stamped swirls, sentiments, & flowers on acetate which allowed me to arrange them perfectly without the fear of having a disaster during stamping the image.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Stamping Fun!

Practical Scrappers is back with a Ten Things Tuesday feature on rubber stamping. For my sophisticated birthday card, I embossed a floral border directly onto acetate, as well as, a delicate flourish.  I used mini brads to adhere the acetate to the card base.  Then I stamped a large flower onto organza fabric and assembled multiple layers of organza & netting.  Finally, I hand stitched the layers together slightly gathering them for a fuller ruffled petal affect.  The top layer of the flower was stamped onto acetate so I could attach small silver accents to the flower’s center.  Stop by PS today and find some amazing inspirational projects.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Staple It!

I used colored staples to form a chevron border on this cute friendship card. 

Through careful placement of the mini stapler, I was able to build a chevron pattern. After I stapled each pair of chevron sides, I changed the color of staples. Alternating staples was a bit time consuming but I was pleased because it created such a terrific effect.

Take a peek over at the Practical Scrappers Blog to see what the Design Team has been up to using staples.

*FYI – I nearly used the back of the staple with the bent metal ends because it created a pretty pattern.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Woo Woooo! (WOOD)


"All Aboard"
the Practical Scrappers Blog Train

Hop aboard this Choo Choo to find lots of great ideas & inspiration using wood.

Welcome to the Practical Scrappers/Paper Secrets Blog Hop!  We are so excited to have you here today!  For this blog hop we are featuring the Ten Things Team from Practical Scrappers and members from the Design Team at Paper Secrets. Our topic for this hop is a fun, trendy one that will definitely catch your attention: wood! We have a collection of wood goodies from Paper Secrets to give away and you can get all the details on that below, but first here's the list for the hop!

Blog Hop List
Karen Sessions (you are here!)

Here's what you can win from Paper Secrets!

You can do any or all of the following to get entered:
1) Be a follower here at Practical Scrappers
2) Be a follower at the Paper Secrets Blog
5) Leave us a comment here telling us which of those you did :)

You have until 11:59 PM CST on Sunday, August 25th to enter.
A winner will be announced early next week!

 Do stop by and visit all the ladies blogs and gather some great ideas along the way.
If you get lost, return to Practical Scrappers to rejoin the Blog Train.

For my layout, I used colored wooden matchsticks which are most likely recognized as a kid's craft. They are thin enough so they won't add too much depth to your projects and “wood” easily work well on cards. Once I noticed I had all the colors of the rainbow, my project for a rainbow theme took off. I knew gluing individual matchsticks would be fiddly & time consuming so after I placed them in the order I wanted, I simple put a strip of double sided tape down to hold them all together. I assembled about 2 inches of matchsticks at a time and found them quite easy to work with once glued together.  I carried our “wood” theme to the extreme by embossing the background paper with woodgrain as well as using a woodgrain alphabet for the title. I hope I have inspired you to try something new with wood and maybe even raid your kid’s craft stash. Your next stop on the Blog Hop is Kelly Holfield.

Here are some close ups of my project.

Your next stop on the Blog Hop is Kelly Holfield
Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

"Wood" You Join Me?

Practical Scrappers Design Team has a special Blog Train planned for August 23-25.
  All the projects will feature wood.  Make sure not to miss one stop.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The "Eyes" Have It

Today's topic: Eyelets. When I think of using eyelets it is primarily for the hole at the top of a tag or put in a row with the intention of lacing ribbon through them. For my layout I simply used them as an embellishment in place of a rhinestone or brad. I used yellow eyelets as centers for the orange daisy flowers as well as a couple scattered along the edge. Visit Practical Scrappers to find other fun things you can do with eyelets.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Smear, Smudge, Splatter...

It’s time to get MESSY and create a cool new background. 

I used Vaseline to serve as a resist which I applied directly to the background paper. The Vaseline acts to seal the original paper by protecting the pattern from the paint. My original patterned paper was maroon with lime green vine design. I decided what area of the paper I wanted to remain true and then used my finger to apply the Vaseline Next, I applied yellow acrylic paint over the entire background page with a sponge brush. I brushed on the paint using light strokes going over the areas with Vaseline too. After the paint has dried, I used a baby wipe to remove the Vaseline to reveal my new altered background paper. I did not attempt to create a pattern or distinguishable shape when applying the Vaseline. My goal was to create a distressed & peeled paint appearance. I find this technique useful when I have a patterned paper that I don’t really like. If the pattern or color is not to my taste, I can alter it with Vaseline & paint.
Visit Practical Scrappers today to see more tips and tricks with paints. (and don't be afraid to get MESSY!)

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Drowning in Flowers

Flowers are my all time favorite embellishment and it is rare that I can manage to complete a layout without them. I selected flowers in all sizes and styles to create this rainbow around my frame. However, since I didn't have any dark blue flowers, I inked some white flowers to complete the color range. You can easily  alter paper flowers with inks, mists, or chalk to suit your project. Visit the ladies at Practical Scrappers to see more ideas on what you can do with all those gorgeous pre-made flowers you have in your stash.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Fun With Letter Stickers

What can letters be used for except for titles and what can you do with all those mostly used ABC sticker sets when you’ve used up all the vowels? If you don’t know, then stop by Practical Scrappers today and be inspired to think outside the box. 
I used letter stickers as a mask.  After I stuck my letters down, I used a spotty stamp and brilliance ink to stamp over the top of the stickers.  When I was satisfied that I had a dense enough background of dots, I removed the stickers to reveal the word.  Actually, I made my letters of washi tape because I knew that washi tape is easy to remove. I was very pleased with the confetti-like background for this trendy wedding card so I experimented with inking a rainbow colored confetti background.   

I hope to look at my collection of background stamps and try different patterns when I use this masking technique again.  (tip: Before removing the stickers, make sure that there is no wet ink clinging to the slick surface of the sticker that will smear onto your project by carefully laying a tissue over the area and gently blotting.)  

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Fabric Tags

I wanted to work with stamping directly to fabric and then painting the image with watercolors. Today’s theme “TAGS” at Practical Scrappers was my jumping off point.  I made a tag shape from a scrap of linen fabric and used permanent ink to stamp the image of the woman with sunglasses.  Then I used chalk to shade the skin and watercolors to paint the hair and clothes.  To make this summer card sizzle, I added gold netting, sea shells, and ribbons. The card couldn’t hold everything I wanted to use so I extended the sun and palm leaves over the edge of the card.  I love the extra dimension this adds.
Visit the ladies at Practical Scrappers for many more original ideas on how to use tags.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Squirty Squirt

I usually struggle to be messy but I really enjoyed working with spray mists. I used one leaf & swirl stencil that was only 2x8 inches long to make my background. I kept turning it and flipping it to vary the design. Occasionally, when I wanted to flip the stencil over, instead of wiping it clean,Ii would use the ink that had clung to the plastic stencil as a stamp and press it to the paper.  That resulted in a second textured layered appearance. This is a great way to not waste any of your ink.  The next time I use mists and stencils, I will get a second 12x12 sheet to stamp off the excess ink.  That way I'm making two backgrounds at the same time.  I also did a bit of machine stitching to emphasize the rays of light that appeared to be spotlighting the dancers. The rays were a great unplanned result of the stencil. You will notice there is a lot of metallic on this page and I embellished with skeleton leaves, gold netting, variegated metallic thread, & wire spirals.  The sprays are flying today at Practical Scrappers. Stop by and take a look.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Celebrate: Red, White, & Blue

On may layout, I created a large number 4 to be both an embellishment and part of the title. I fussy cut the 4 from cardboard and colored it with a red permanent marker before dabbing Versamark Ink allover it and heat embossing it with red glitter. I created a washi tape rosette which added a lovely texture to the page. Stop by and visit the ladies at Practical Scrappers to see all the great projects featuring Red, White, & Blue.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Love is in the Air

Weddings are the feature today at Practical Scrappers. I chose to stamp a flower border on transparency and heat emboss it using gold powder. I punched some simple butterflies on glossy white cardstock and used mini pearls to embellish the body. The card is striking because the colors are limited and the design clean. To create an elegant wedding card, use a color simple palette such as white, black, & gold and add minimal embellishments. I just wish I knew someone who was getting married or celebrating an anniversary so I could send this card to them. Don’t forget to stop by Practical Scrappers and see all things WEDDING.
(the design team has been fabulous!)

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Wonder of Washi Tape

Oh, the wonders of washi tape! It is such a versatile product. I created a shaker embellishment by enclosing confetti between acetate and cardstock and sealing it with washi tape. First, I created my ocean scene with pearlescent watercolors and some torn scraps of mulberry paper for sand. After I closed 3 sides with washi, I added the confetti which contained sand, glitter, sequins, sea shell foam shapes, pearls, & seed beads. My beach themed shaker wasn’t complete without a string of bunting flags and some mini flip flops. I just couldn’t resist adding them. Stop by Practical Scrappers to find the most inspiring & clever ways to use this decorative adhesive.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Scalloped Edges

I really do love scalloped edges. This is one trend that has become a standard technique for many of my projects. Once you try them, I must warn will be addicted. Do check out the Design Team at Practical Scrappers to see all the fantastic ideas they shared for using scalloped edges.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Tiny Things...

I chose tiny gems to use as my “tiny item” on this sunset layout.  I scattered a random confetti-like array of gems to add a twinkle.  They were the perfect finishing touch.  Don’t forget to visit the ladies at Practical Scrappers and see what tiny things they used.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

To Title or Not to Title

I’m not usually inclined to use titles very often but for this double page layout I used 2 different fonts and mixed capital and lower case letters to add interest to my title. I also used lots of gold peel offs (which are usually only used for card making) to add frames, photo corners, and quirky sayings. The layout really came to life when I added the gold stars, mini gem stars, and tiny gold half beads. Stop by Practical Scrappers today to find more clever ideas on ways to make your titles pop.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Watercolor Challenge

The DT at Practical Scrappers was challenged to use watercolors. I stamped directly to fabric with permanent ink and then used pearlized watercolors to shade the flowers and leaves. I also created the background with some random splatters. I really love how you can see the texture of the fabric on the petals. This is a fun technique that I must try again.
Visit Practical Scrappers to see what other techniques they tried with watercolors.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013


I love to use fabric on layouts to create yo yo’s, ruffles, flowers, or just for a bit of texture. This week I used netting/tulle to form a gathered section across my layout. Visit the girls at Practical Scrappers for more inspiring ideas using fabric.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


I noticed that the paper towels I use have a hexagon embossed design so I cut them out to embellish a simple card. Check out the girls at Practical Scrappers to see more designs inspired by hexagons.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Baker's Twine Challenge

The DT was challenged to use Baker's Twine. I chose to subtly add it to embellish the hot air balloon and title.  I love my over-embellished layout and how my little clouds finished it off.  Notice how I added a tiny splatter of glitter behind the balloon. Actually, I splattered glue mixed with a bit of water and then sprinkled dry glitter over it.  Visit the girls over at Practical Scrappers to see all the clever ways they use Baker's Twine.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Silly Card

Sometimes you don’t need any words to bring a smile to someone’s face. I found this quirky stamp by Penny Black to be priceless. You can’t help but smile when you see it.  Visit the girls at Practical Scrappers to see more silly and humorous ideas that can be brought to your next crafting project.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Life Paper Scrapbook - Issue 1

Life. Paper. Scrapbook is an Australian quarterly, online publication that is dedicated to showcasing designers from all around the world to inspire each other, explore current trends and techniques and most importantly to celebrate the love of scrapbooking and paper crafts. I am so thrilled to have one of my layouts included in the first issue of Life Paper Scrapbook (Autumn - Issue 1). There is a tremendous number of talented ladies from around the world to admire and be inspired by. You can download a free digital copy of this brilliant new magazine HERE. You can see my creation on page 75. What an honor to be among such pure talent. You must check this out. There are 100 pages of beauty to behold. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Rubber Stamping

I stamped onto transparency to add playful circles to this layout to emphasize the circle design on the tie. This is a less stressful way to include stamping since you can move the transparency until you are satisfied with its placement. I attached the pieces of transparency with brads and eyelets. Visit Practical Scrappers for more inspiration.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Cute as a Button

I embossed grey buttons to match my rainbow layout because I didn’t have a purple or white button in my stash. I embossed three layers to give a super shiny finish. Visit the ladies at Practical Scrappers to see what fresh and clever ways they used buttons.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Zippers are a fun addition to paper crafting projects.  The DT was challenged to incorporate a zipper in their card or layout.  I used a zipper to create a mock sweatshirt for a boy's birthday card. I used the sewing machine to add zig zag stitching detail to emphasize the zipper. I chose a zipper with a fun but bulky zip pull to add interest to the page. Washi tape was used to make some mini flags to finish off the card. Visit the girls at Practical Scrappers to see how they used zippers.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Using Vellum

Today, I used vellum to cover a large section of brightly striped background paper to mute the overpowering colours. My cheerful Halloween layout was then super embellished. Visit the ladies over at Practical Scrappers to see their unique ways to use vellum.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Stamping on Transparency

The Practical Scrapper Design Team was challenged to use something sheer and transparent. I used permanent ink to stamp a bracket frame on the transparency and then used Versamark ink to emboss the flowers for a sophisticated sympathy card. Attaching acetate is always tricky so I added a dragonfly brad to help hold it along with some small dabs of glue beneath some of the larger flowers.

For this second card, I stamped the flowers with Versamark ink directly to the card base and chalked the flowers. Then I attached the clear bracket frame over the image. To see more ideas, visit Practical Scrappers.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


My layout features a loop of wire that was strung with buttons and attached with staples. Visit Practical Scrappers to find more inspiration using staples & paperclips on your next project.