Monday, 30 November 2015

Paper tree ornaments

I put our tree up this weekend and I am really excited about the new ornaments I made from paper! 
I used the instructions from here and found that they could be improved... so below is my step-by-step protocol. 
It is really easy, which is good when you plan to make twenty! The principle is to have plenty of discs and alternate glueing them at the top then bottom to create a ruffled looking ball (like those collars in the mid-sixteen to mid-seventeenth century). I personally like the ball-shape ornaments but note that you can change it starting from any shape you fancy and obtain a really elaborate ornament like that.

1: Cut circles in paper (mine have a diameter of 8cm).
I chose two plain colours and (white and brown/craft paper) and distressed the edges with a walnut-stain ink pad (rubbing the whole stack works well enough, no need to treat them one by one!). The original instructions suggest using patterned paper. You can also use three different papers.

2: Fold each circle in half.
3: Arrange them in an order so that you obtain two consecutive papers of the same colour. 
a> b> b> a> a> b> <b <a <a <b <b <a 
4: Connect them all together, either by sewing at the top and bottom of the fold, or alternatively using a stapler. If you use a staple, make sure you fold the discs as pictured so that they don't crease or create too much of a gap.

Glue at the top (if you imagine it as a clock, from 12:00 to 14:00) and press together. On the following page, glue to the bottom (from 16:00 to 18:00). 

I cut a slit to pass some ribbon and voilà!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Photo Album & ATG 700

Today's post is about the photo album I made about our previous three-days trip in Florence. There are plenty of ways you can proceed to make an album from scratch, the challenging aspect being the hinge. I like that it looks very much like a book and mine is rather small (size A5). The hinge is especially compact (which is not the case if you do the accordion style) and the pages are opening wide flat (I mean not folding, which happens if you sew them). 
I simply took coloured paper sheets and used gummed craft paper tape to keep them together. I love this tape, you can reposition it and still after several repositionings, it sticks very well. As it is flexible, it folds and unfolds happily. Here is a picture of the opening showing the junction of two different sheets.
This is another page where I folded a sheet and connected it to the rest from the outside. This allows me to have the whole space available as there is no tape in the middle. As mentioned earlier, you can see that the album opens fully and flat.
Here is an example of one of my pages, where I kept the brown tape apparent as I felt it was blending well with the colour scheme.
I also used inserts, in the style of Donna Downey. I hid the brown tape for this page, covering it with Washi tape.
More generally I used different widths of sheets, so one can have the neighboring page adding an interesting border.
I included tags as well to add some interest.
That's a photo of the hinge that I covered length-wise with a strip of tape, then at the top and bottom across to reinforce it, even if there is no obvious tension.
I decided to leave a couple of millimetres between the decorative paper and the edge on the cover so that the paper does not get its edges damaged.
All this would not have been possible without my new tool: the ATG 700 (Scotch). I do not like using glue stick as it sometimes gets thick, uneven and all my fingers gets sticky - which is not what I want when handling photos. I have been using "mouse" type glue dispensers but at 8.5 meters per roller I go through them really quickly. After some research, the ATG 700 - despite its hugeness - seemed the best option. I put a banana for scale.

This is what it is like in action. It leaves a trail of glue, "dry" and clean (left part, the shiny bit) You can touch it with your fingertip and won't get glue on yourself. Yes it is huge but still manages to be confortable, not bulky nor heavy. The way it is designed makes it easy to see what you are doing (where you are putting glue on), which is a very important parameter. 
Yes it is huge. Like a machine-gun.