CSF Birthday Envelope Books

Birthday Envelope Books

Following the huge success of the birthday circle books last year, I thought we should find another way of celebrating our birthday and raising money for our charity – the Lymphoma Association.

This year, we will be making our books from decorated envelopes

There will be three sizes:

  • DL
  • C5
  • C6

The themes this year are:

  • Messy and Grungey
  • Going Postal
  • Love Letters
  • A Blast from the Past
  • Floral Memories
  • Nature’s Wonders
  • Seaside Fun
  • Childhood
  • Bugs and Critters

Each theme can be made in each size of envelope – so we could get three books for each theme!

And as with last year there will be teams of 6-8 people (who will elect a leader who will also be responsible for making up the books )

Each team member will obtain an envelope of the right size and cut a piece of card that is 10mm smaller on each dimension than the envelope.

The team will decide whether the envelopes are to be bound together in a landscape or portrait fashion (so that they all work together in the book)

And then you just decorate away – both the card insert and the envelope

Everything is to be sent to your chosen team leader by the published date – ready for the auctions….

Launch Date:

Monday 17th March

Sign-Up by:

Sunday 30th March

Teams Allocated:

Tuesday 1st April

Team Leaders Selected:

Friday 4th April

Theme/Size Preferences submitted:

Monday 7th April

Theme/Size Preferences announced:

Tuesday 8th April

Envelopes sent to Team Leader by:

Tuesday 6th May

Auctions start:

Monday 19th May


To sign up, visit the forum and follow the instructions there.

Published in: on March 17, 2008 at 12:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Crime Novel Competition

Would you like to win a copy of a crime novel set around the world of Scrapbooking?

It comes complete with recipes and scrapbooking tips!

It is called Keepsake Crimes by Laura Childs.

To enter, all you have to do is answer this simple question:

What is the name of the other series of mysteries written by Laura Childs?

Email your answer to simon@craftswap.co.uk by day 31st March 2008 and the winner will be announced shortly afterwards.

Good luck and happy reading!

Published in: on March 16, 2008 at 12:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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Aunty Crafty….

No-one has emailed in any crafting queries for our new agony aunt service. We did get one email but it is too rude to mention here… Mrs S – you should be ashamed of yourself. What you want to do to a certain famous crafter is not for public consumption….

Seriously – if you do have a crafting query – we are here to help you!

Email auntycrafty@craftswap.co.uk and we will do our best!

Published in: on March 16, 2008 at 12:03 am  Comments (8)  
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Challenges and Swaps

Have you seen the new challenges – the Moo cards, the Skinnies and the new project style – exclusive to CSF – Hidden Depths? These are going to be set every fortnight – check out on Good Friday for the next set.

Challenge themes:

The Scrapbook theme is still Springtime – I am sure Lesley will welcome lots more layouts in the forum bucket.

The new Fat Book theme has been set by Shaz and, very appropriately for this time of year, is Easter.


Next week is the 100th ATC challenge – watch out for details of an exciting prize for all who make one for this!

A quick word about our on-going swaps. I am certain that Wendy would really love more people to join in with her ATC swap club and Jean would love more Inchies for her swaps. Check out that relevant sections of the forum and join in. We have some amazingly talented artists on the forum – swapping is a great way of getting new inspiration.

Published in: on March 16, 2008 at 12:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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Decoupage Debate

Some of you might get a bit hot under the collar with this next segment!

I have to be honest this is one paper craft that I just don’t get. I can appreciate the work that goes in and I know many people derive a lot of pleasure from it. But in the end, I keep coming back to the question … WHY BOTHER?

I can see with traditional 3D techniques where you – as a crafter – get to choose which elements to cut out and layer. But the advent of step-by-step decoupage and die-cut project sheets means that any real creativity is lost.

I also really don’t understand how a certain leading crafter can say that decoupage is a hot trend. It may sell on tv shopping channels – but it is not a hot trend. It is a craft that has been hanging around for a long time and the buyers for the shopping channels can pick up the materials cheaply from Holland.

If you enjoy decoupage – great. You should only ever do crafts that you enjoy but sorry, I won’t be joining in!

What do you think? Why not post a comment ?

Published in: on March 16, 2008 at 12:02 am  Comments (14)  
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Altered Book by Hels Sheridan





Altered Art is becoming more and more popular and there is no end to the possibilities of altering ordinary, every day items, making them into little works of art. For this project I have altered a children’s board book.


Ingredients 1Ingredients 2Ingredients - SealAltered Book - Front Cover

  • Board book
  • Bind It All Machine & Wire
  • Maison Papers
  • Slide Mounts
  • Tags/Mini Envelope
  • Rubber stamps
  • Chipboard
  • Plain cream cardstock
  • Grungeboard
  • Brads
  • Fragments
  • Charms
  • Wax Seals
  • Distress Inks
  • Adirondack Acrylic Dabbers
  • DS Tape/Scissors/Silicone glue
  • Sandpaper Paper
  • Distresser

I started by tearing all the coloured laminated covering from all the pages, leaving me with plain grey chipboard. I took some Adirondack Acrylic Dabbers and some Crackle Paints and painted parts of each page.

Once the paints had dried completely, I used my finger to smudge Gold Dabber over the painted parts of the page.

Painting - part 1Painting - part 2Painting - the gold

I used papers from the Maison Range by K & Co. To make the papers look more worn and old, I used Cut & Dry foam to smudge Walnut Stain Distress Ink on the edges. I also used a paper distresser and sandpaper to grunge up the edges of the papers and the book. I took care to tear the papers so that the painted parts of the pages were on show.

Distressing Part 1Distressing Part 1Distressing Part 2

Once I had decorated all the pages, I began to build up the design of each page using a selection of rubber stamps, embellishments, chipboard and Grungeboard.

Grungeboard and Chipboard

The stamps that I have used in this project are from a range of manufacturers, namely;

The Stamp Connection/Artistic Stamper – Pgs 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10

Invoke Arts – Front Cover, Pgs 1, 2, 4

Stampers Anonymous, Tim Holtz Collection – Pgs 4, 6, 8

Crafty Individuals – Pgs 7, 9, 10, 11, 12

Paper Artsy – Pg 9

Stamps Away – Alphabet

Catslife Press – Pgs 6, 8, 12 & Back Cover

Lost Coast Designs – Pg 12 (inside envelope)

Stampendous – Pg 1

I hope that you have enjoyed looking at this project and you will have a go at altering things for yourself.

Hels x

Here is the book:


Pages 1 and 2

Pages 3 and 4




Page 6 Open

Pages 9 and 10

Page 9 - File Folder

Pages 11 and 12

Page 12 - Envelope Contents

Back Cover

How to do the Bird

Bind It All Page

Published in: on March 16, 2008 at 12:02 am  Comments (9)  
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Simon’s Altered Bag

I thought I would showcase the lovely new Fleuriste papers by Cosmo Cricket on an altered-style project.

I used one of the Creative Imaginations Bare Essentials bags (called Amy – a clutch purse style blank) and 2 of the new Fleuriste papers.

First, I took off the closures to make it easier to cover and then I took measurements so that I could cut my papers efficiently. I traced round the ends so that I could cut those to fit in advance.

Once the papers were cut, I distressed the edges so that they would take on a more shabby look.

The next part was using Matt Mod Podge to adhere all the papers to the outside of the blank. It doesn’t take very long to dry (luckily – as I am very impatient). I used a foam brush as that seems to be the quickest way of getting an even coat.

Once dry, I cut three strips of paper (and because I had chosen double sided papers – I could use the contrasting side) and adhered two of these on the leading edges of the bag – to frame the opening. The final strip was scored and then adhered over the seam at the back.

Now I could start getting messy!

Using various shades of Distress Ink (Worn Lipstick, Shabby Shutters and Brushed Corduroy – I think) I inked up the edges and the surfaces in a random fashion, blending as I went.

Then I attacked with various shades of glimmer mists. I allowed these to drip and puddle in a random fashion.

Grabbing some sandpaper, I roughed things up along the edges and went in again with the inks and mists.

I used a Tim Holtz staples stamp over the joins in the papers – brown staz-on was chosen as the ink as it went with the colours. I also used the Tim Holtz swirly flourish stamp on the ends of the bag – gold ink and a transparent gold embossing powder to a bit of glitz.

I also used gold ink on the edges of the box and a red-gold embossing powder to finish off these in a more interesting fashion. Once cool, the distress inks were used to soften the effect a little.

In the paper pack were some die cuts which I pressed out, gave them a spritz or two of toning mists and adhered to the surface. I altered some brads using various inks and used these for the centre of the flowers. A final wipe over with some more distress inks to integrate all the elements and the box was ready. (Once I had fitted the clasp back in again!)

This was a fun blank to decorate – relatively simple to cover. It is a more a showcase for the lovely papers than anything technically really tricky. I could have added some fibres and other bits – but I felt that, in this case, it was just right.

I hope you agree!

Front of Bag

Bag of the Bag

End Details

Published in: on March 16, 2008 at 12:02 am  Comments (5)  

What is Altered Art?

Altered art is simply taking an object and, by use of various creative techniques, transforming the look and / or purpose of it.

You can alter anything! I know lots of people transform aluminium cans or dominoes or their heat guns. But you are really only limited to your imagination and then things you can lay your hands on.

There are no rules – other than to enjoy yourself. You can use near enough any product – as long as it is suitable for your chosen surface – and any technique.

If you are looking for products that are ideal for altered art – Ranger is the company to seek out first.

  • Alcohol Inks
  • Crackle Paint
  • Acrylic Dabbers
  • Distress Inks

For anyone who knows Tim Holtz, you are probably well aware of these products already. Alcohol inks (now only available in the UK in individual colours) are fantastic, transparent inks that dry onto all surfaces and can be blending to create amazing results. The Crackle Paint is the newest addition to the Ranger range – and is a simple one-step paint that dries to a cracked finish – the thicker you apply it, the bigger the effect. The colours of the paint match those in the Distress Inks. There are amazingly versatile. You can stamp with them or use them in a range of direct-to-surface techniques. They blend well, react to water in interesting ways and are, perhaps, the most useful ink pad you can add to your collection. (Oh yes, there is a range of matching embossing powders!!)

Acrylic dabbers are great for applying colour to your surface – the range has vibrant as well as more muted tones. In theory you can apply these without getting messy – but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t end up with paint somewhere unexpected!

Another product you might want to consider are Luminarte Radiant Rain Dabbers – these are wonderfully vibrant colours that will go onto a range of surfaces. And of course, where would many people be without Glimmer Mists? These are a glittery ink that you spray on. Loads of colours and very addictive….

I would say that a Cropadile is an essential for altering stuff – you can punch holes to add brads or ribbons or just for decoration. Sandpaper or a sanding block is also very useful for creating great texture and distressed effects.

But you can use anything – papers, stamps, ink pads, embossing powders, glitters, paper flowers and other embellishments – all the things you have in your stash.

The only limit you really have is time!


Why not post a comment with a link to things you have altered? There is much inspiration to be had from blog surfing!

Published in: on March 16, 2008 at 12:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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Blog Candy Winner!

I am delighted to announce that the winner of the CSF Blog Candy is……


Congratulations – please email me (simon@craftswap.co.uk) with your address and favourite colours so that I can get your goodie bag to you!

Published in: on March 16, 2008 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  


Leandra from Paper Artsy has donated an amazing prize to celebrate our first podcast – 1 of each of their new ‘Squiggly Ink‘ designs! This is a massive prize (well over £100 pounds at retail prices!!!) and one that is sure to be hotly contested!

To enter, please email me at simon@craftswap.co.uk with the answer to the following question:


The deadline for answers to reach me is 6pm on Wednesday 19th March 2008. All the correct entries will be put into a hat and the winner announced on Friday 21st March 2008

Good Luck and thanks again to Leandra and the Paper Artsy team for some great stamps and such great generosity.

Published in: on March 1, 2008 at 11:57 pm  Comments (4)  
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