Monday, July 26, 2010


Hi everyone,

It's time to show all of  you just how bad "I" can mess up while making a grid border template!!  I know that the majority of folks who follow/read my blog have many other things going on in their lives other than crafting so it's really quite difficult to find the 'quiet' time you really do need when making a grid template.  For me, I have all the quiet time I want/need because I'm a retired senior and although I do have several 'life interruptions' from time to time, I can usually work around them quite handily :))  

Well, please note that I said, above, I can "usually" work around  the interruptions and continue on with wherever I left off on my template prior to the interruption.  NOT the case on one of the recent templates I was making, thus the title of this post.......DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE!!  Not only did I really mess up the template I'm going to share with everyone, but I did it again on the next template I made after this one.....UGH!!

It's rather important you do have enough time and a quiet place to work on your grid border templates.  I was almost done with this one when my phone rang.  Now, usually I do not answer my phone when I'm making templates.  It's my theory that answering machines were made for just that purpose when one is busy!!  For some reason.....and I still have no idea what the reason was.....I DID answer the the conversation out of the way and hung up.....sat back down at my parching table and began where I left off......I "thought".
Now, when I am doing grid work of any kind, I always set up a series of "sequence counts" and it's my way of making sure I'm embossing, or perforating, the exact same thing over and over until that particular pattern sequence is complete.  This is the front of the template and the errors are always more visible on this side of templates....even after all corrections have been made.  In this instance, you can see the bottom of the border template is royally messed up with all the RED error marks.  Ummmm, there are only a portion of them still visible on the image because I was so angry with myself for being so 'not paying attention ' that I did not do a scan as soon as I finished that part of the border and realized every pattern sequence was ONE EMBOSSED DOT off!!!!  Of course, this caused every pattern sequence across that whole area to also be moved over by one embossed dot so by the time I reached the bottom right corner......well, you know the rest!!!!  Nothing ended the way it 'should have' and I knew I had to get my fine tip RED marker out and begin the journey of making some sense of what was sitting in front of me.....there is never any way I will trash/throw away/hit the bin with a template.  It can always be salvaged!!  Of course, none of this would even have happened if......I HADN'T ANSWERED THE PHONE!!  **NOTE**  It will never matter how messy or bad the FRONT of your template is or looks.  It's always nice when you can make a template with a minimum of errors (because they are kinda nice just to look at once in but it is the BACK of the template you will always be using as your "working pattern" when you actually begin a parchment craft project.  You must be looking at the completed template, sitting close by, exactly the same way you are looking at your parchment paper secured to the grid and ready for embossing.

 This is the WRONG side of the template.  As you can see, I have now 'cleaned' things up a bit.....well actually, I've cleaned things up a LOT!!  If you refer to "Updated - Making a Grid Border Template" tutorial, I speak of marking your embossed errors as you go along with a colored fine tip, felt tip marker and also having a WHITE gel pen at hand as well.  All my errors are marked AND the WHITE gel pen has been used to 'un-mark' the embossing to make it correct once again.  The grid border template is now clearly what it should be (although a bit messy) and there is absolutely no reason not to use it for any future parchment craft projects you might want to use it for. Remember:  use the wrong side of your template as your 'visual' working pattern when you begin embossing on your project on parchment paper. 

Well, I hope I have brought a little chuckle to everyone with my 'adventure'!!  There are a few reasons I wanted to share this with you.  First, as I try to remind everyone, continually, the reason we make grid templates to begin with is so we CAN make errors (sometimes LOTS of them) ON the templates and not on our parchment projects.  Secondly, a template is almost always 'fixable' and it takes no more time to fix it than it does to make a whole new template from scratch, so before you throw the template away, that's riddled with error marks and corrections made with white gel pens, see what you can do to salvage all the work you've already done on the template.  Lastly, it's really not a 'chore' to make a template.  They pay for themselves many, many times just takes the three "p's" to become proficient at it!!  Practice, practice, practice :))

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Updated Tutorial - How To Make a Grid Border Template

Hi all,

I have been promising an updated, easier to follow, tutorial on making a grid border template and I hope this will provide a better step by step, visual learning experience for everyone who has tried to, or wanted to but just couldn't, make grid border templates to work from.

**Note:  I will also post this updated tutorial on the Tutorials page so it will be easily accessed once this post rolls it's way down the home page!!**

The very first thing that will make life much easier is this:  I do all my work on my Steadtler 11X17" Cutting Mat which is permanently mounted on my parching table work area.  However, any cutting mat you prefer is quite suitable.  Now, because I make all my parchment greeting cards the same size, which is 5 inch X 7 inch (US Standard Measurements), I have marked off, with permanent felt tip markers, an area on my cutting mat to represent those measurements.
The next step is to also mark off the actual size I want all of my parchment border templates to be....and that is 4.5 inch X 6.5 inch to accommodate the 5 inch X 7 inch completed card.  
I realize the images may be a bit difficult to see, but I have measured IN 1/4 inch from the outside dimensions on all four sides and put new marks on my cutting board which now equal the 4.5 inches X 6.5 inches.

You now have all the measurements you need to work with, when making your grid templates, permanently established right there on your cutting mat.  Now, we are ready to move on to the next step.

When making grid templates, it is my very strong recommendation you not use parchment paper.  It's not cost effective.....templates are not going to be kept as keepsakes....and you do not need to use quality paper for your templates.  After many, many uses from each template, they then are remade onto a new piece of 40# HEAVY WEIGHT VELLUM from the old template, which is then disposed of.  These sheets of VELLUM are 8.5 inches X 11 inches and are sold in lots of 10 sheets for a very reasonable price.....and International shipping fees are very reasonable as well.
Next, cut a sheet of VELLUM in half.  This will give you two equal sheets of 5.5 inches X 8.5 inches VELLUM.  Gently rub BOTH sides of the sheet with a strip of tumble dryer sheet.  (I always cut my dryer sheets in several strips....again, very cost effective!!)  I fold the dryer sheet in half......cut it.  Fold in half again....cut it.  I then have four strips from one dryer sheet which can be used many times over for wiping down my parchment paper prior to beginning any work.  Okay, now it's time to mount your piece of VELLUM to your cutting mat OVER the marks you have made and evenly situate the VELLUM over those marks and secure to the mat with low tack tape.
Using a 12 inch ruler, you will now make your border lines (with pencil, to be erased later) following the INSIDE marks you have made on the mat as shown above.  When this is completed, remove the VELLUM from the mat and set aside.

Next is picking out a grid border pattern you like and will be using in your work more than once.  I have chosen Arie v.d. Linden's pattern #15  (which I have permission to use) and I will have to alter it to suit the measurements I require for my work.  On regular printer paper, print out the grid pattern in a size that is easily read and also print the sample card of the pattern for your own visual reference as you work.  Set the pattern and the sample aside.
We are now ready to begin making a grid TEMPLATE!!  For this tutorial we will be using a Pergamano Bold Diagonal grid.  The very first thing you MUST do is read, on the pattern, which way your VELLUM is to be placed ON the proper grid!!!  In this case we are to place the bottom edge of the VELLUM on the LONG side of the grid.  Making sure your paper is aligned straight on the grid, secure it to the grid with short shank mapping pins.  You may also use low tack tape, however it does not adhere well to the Perga grids, thus I recommend the mapping pins.  When making any grid template ALWAYS begin with the embossing and ALWAYS begin in the top LEFT corner.  Following the printed pattern begin your embossing INSIDE (as shown below) the pencil border lines.  Continue working across the TOP to a short distance from the right corner and stop.  Now return to the LEFT corner and work down that side to a short distance from the bottom left corner.  You want to leave enough room at the top right and bottom left corners to make any adjustments required in the pattern for the SIZE you need your template to be.
**VERY IMPORTANT**  Please have a colored fine tip felt tip marker at hand and a white gel pen.  As you are embossing your template, following the printed pattern, you WILL make errors.....we all do.....even ME!!  Your template IS where you WANT to make your errors so you do not make them on your actual parchment paper projects.  As you make an error, take your colored fine tip marker and GENTLY mark that embossed dot.  Then proceed on with your embossing.  Now, most times the error mark you just made will become a 'correct' emboss for another row of the pattern so you now have to 'undo' the error you marked earlier.  Take your white gel pen and GENTLY dab the embossed error with that (to make it as close to white as possible) and your ready to proceed again.  It sounds like a lot of work, I know, but in the end you'll see how it all works out :))

As you can see, I have now worked my way across the top and down the left side of my template with the embossing of the pattern I chose.  Now you can easily simply repeat the right side and bottom of your template directly following what you have already done on the opposite sides......or you can continue to work from the printed pattern.
This particular grid border pattern also has grid work inside the border, however, because I have re-sized the original pattern to a size I need for my own work I have made ONLY the outside part of the pattern FIRST.  Now, I will return to the printed pattern and continue on with the design inside the border and then finish up the remaining embossing for the border edges.
I know I'm repeating myself, however, my template is a different size than the original pattern, sooooooo the designs inside the border are NOT going to work out as they are on the printed pattern!!  I have had to make the top and bottom embossed designs exactly as the printed pattern instructs.  The center design now has to be centered (as closely as possible) between the two designs already embossed.  There are other options you could use, however, we'll concentrate on following the original printed pattern as much as we can.   Counting the border designs on the left side, find the center design and make a a line with a pencil (to be erased later) in to where it will be centered between the two existing designs.  Next, beginning in the CENTER of the third embossed design (and aligning it so it coincides with the other two embossed designs) continue to make the third design (from the center out as shown below).
Remember at the beginning of this tutorial I mentioned the importance of marking errors as we work?  As you can now see in the image above, "I" make boo-boos too!!!  Mine are always marked in RED.....a clear warning sign when I use my templates that there is something I've done there that is very wrong.
Okay, now we have the three embossed designs placed inside the border and you can either leave them 'unattached' to each other or attach them as the printed pattern shows.  Don't be alarmed if when you attach them, as I chose to do, they may be one, or two, grid holes difference.  If you look VERY close to my template, you will see my diamond shape between the middle and bottom embossed design is a four dot diamond and the one between the top and middle embossed design is only a three dot diamond.  It's okay folks....nothing HAS to be absolutely perfect!!!
Now, finish up the remainder of the border embossing.
Double check all of your embossing.  Make sure you haven't missed any spots!!

Now, remove the template from the grid.  ERASE ALL THE PENCIL MARKS.  Flip the template over so that it's right side is facing you.  Place the template back on the grid being VERY careful to align all your embossing with corresponding grid holes....while at the same time make sure the template is aligned straight on the grid.....with the BOTTOM edge of the template placed on the LONG side of the grid.  Secure the template to the grid as before.

Now, you are ready to make all the perforations as the printed pattern indicates.
It is not mandatory, but I always perforate around the outside of the border while it is on the grid.  You will find this will help tremendously later on when you actually use your template to make a parchment project.  **Explanation to follow later**
So, here we are at the last step in the process.....and it is the most important step.  Refer to the image above and write (in ink or marker) the name of the pattern/the grid it's made on and VERY IMPORTANT.....the direction the template goes back on the grid when you want to use it for a project.

Finally, the explanation on why you should also perforate around the outside edge of the border on the template.  When you are ready to use your grid border TEMPLATE on a parchment craft project you will place the template FACE UP on the grid, in the direction your notes on the template state, and you will ALWAYS begin with PERFORATING.  Place your parchment paper OVER the template (right side up) and arrange it according to how you want it to surround your image on the parchment paper.  Secure BOTH the template and parchment paper with short shank mapping pins and proceed with SHALLOW perforating according to the template beneath the parchment paper.  When all perforating is complete......remove the parchment paper AND the template from the grid.  Set the TEMPLATE aside, (with the back side facing up) close by.  Flip the parchment paper over (right side facing down) and place it back on the grid in the same direction is states on the pattern.  Begin aligning the perforated holes accordingly on the grid and make sure everything is also aligned straight.  Now, move the TEMPLATE close by, visually, as this now becomes your working pattern for all the embossing on your parchment craft project.  Remember, any embossing you have marked as errors on the template are not to be embossed on the real project and those you have corrected with your white gel pen, are!!   When the embossing is completed, remove the parchment paper from the grid, flip it over to the right side, place it back on the grid (in the proper direction) and perforated DEEP, in ALL perforations, to complete your grid border.   Remove the parchment craft project from the grid and finish the project in your preferred manner.  Don't get discouraged.....all this takes practice, just like all other parchment craft techniques :)) 

I recommend you store your grid border TEMPLATES in the appropriate size zip bags OR greeting card sleeves.  You can store many templates in one zip bag/sleeve and I recommend you mark them as "Perga Templates" and "PCA Templates".  As you gather a good sized collection of templates, it much faster and easier to find what you're looking for if they are relatively organized and storing them in zip bags or sleeves also protects them and they will last a very long time and withstand lots of use.

Best wishes on your journey through this updated tutorial.  Take it step by step.....and slowly.....and you will make it to the end!!!  Maybe not the first time around, but with a wee bit of determination, you'll accomplish it :))

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Christmas in July thru November!!

Hi all,

I know, I know.....don't say the word "Christmas" in July!!  Well, this is when I begin making my xmas cards each year and I try to make 6-8 of them each month until November.  I then take advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday to get them all signed/sealed and ready to take to the post office during the first week in December.  Sooooooo, having said that, I thought I'd share what I have made in July!!  
This one made me a bit homesick while I was making it as I'm originally from the White Mountains of New Hampshire and still have lots of family in Maine.

This one just kinda struck my fancy as I have two indoor kitties and most of my friends/family have pets of one kind or another.

 This one was made on a day when my polio arm was fully functional and I didn't have to do any printing to parchment to make something!! 

Here we are back to printing direct to parchment and then surrounding the image with a traditional grid work border.

This card, believe it or not, has exactly the same grid border on it as the one above it.  What I have done is totally reverse all the perforations and embossing and you can see what a difference the very same border pattern has simply be making a very minor alteration to it!!

On this card I, once again, made some minor alterations to a Florence Holmes grid border pattern on which the design is based on a floral theme.  I changed the flowers to snowflakes to better suit the winter scene I chose for my image.  I point these things out because you don't 'have' to follow a pattern detail by detail....any pattern can easily be altered to better apply to what your own preferences may be, yet still have the same foundation the original designer placed on the pattern.

This card is quite simple and easy to make up very quickly.  It is one of the larger Siesta Christmas grids. 

And these last two cards are printed directly to parchment surrounded by a border made from a Spanish Tarjeteria pattern with grid work.

Actually, these were a nice break from writing an updated tutorial on making grid templates that I promised a few posts ago.....that will be ready to post next week, so stay tuned :))

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Roses and Lace

I know.....I'm wearing everybody out with TWO new posts  Well, I just finished a second project using another new border template from the Lady Manita pattern packs (this one is from pack #1) and thought I'd share the finished card with everyone. 

This one is made with my "Etched Glass" technique and as you can see the focal point shows the roses very clearly, while the areas outside the 'etched glass' show the roses as fractured which makes them look totally different!!  

I absolutely love this border design and will be using it quite often in the future but I must warn you is a real challenge to make this template!!  One would think that anything made on a Perga Bold Straight grid would be a snap BUT I have found "I" have more difficulty making templates for that grid than any other, so in a later post I will share a few tips I use to overcome that issue.

Grid Template Project Completed

Hi all,

The previous post showed  how messy  a grid border template can end up when you discover a pattern you really, really like and know you will be using on projects in the future!!   Well, 'life' sort of got in the way of what I had planned to do in the previous post (make a second 'clean' template from the first messy one) so the plan never got done.  Needless to say, it is NOT mandatory to always make an additional 'clean' template from one where you feel there might be too many errors for you to remember what is what many months down the road when you want to use it for a project at that time, however, I sometimes do and I always try to do it as soon as I can after I've completed the first (messy) attempt from a new pattern.  I do this because everything from the first try is still fresh on my mind (yup...even as old as this mind and because it's what I've always done!!  So, my point do whatever is comfortable for you.  You will find, very quickly I might add, a way to make your grid border templates, that's not a chore for you. 

This is the finished project made from the 'messy' grid border template in my previous post!!  Even though the template itself had a LOT of errors on it that had been marked in two different colors, with fine tip felt markers, I was still very easily able to simply mount the template to the correct grid....lay my parchment paper over the template and align the printed image exactly where it needed to be, over the template, and complete the border on the Christmas card.....totally ERROR FREE!!!!

Thanks for stopping by.....

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Making of a Grid Border Template

The making of a grid template!!! This photo is to provide lots of support to those of you who may be having difficulty making your grid templates. The pattern I chose for my template is from Lady Manita Pattern Pack 16. It didn't need any adjusting for size, however, I certainly didn't want to have to do all the counting each time I wanted to use the pattern for my work, soooooooooo, a template was in order!! As you can see, my first attempt at even getting it put to a template (for future use) was a definite challenge. There are a LOT of errors on it and now it is ready to make a brand new template from, that is totally correct and ready to use whenever I want to make a project using this particular border. All I have to do is get it from my template collection....mount it on the appropriate grid and I'm ready to complete any project.....totally headache free.

So, the support I'm lending you ladies is that, although all of you might think I can make my grid templates totally error free the first time around, that simply is not the case!! I have to struggle with them just as you do (and always will) the first time I take on a new pattern. Please don't throw them in the bin/trash bucket just because there are too many errors on them. Continue on and then when it's complete, and if you wish to do so, make a new, error free, template from the one you just made with a cabillion errors on it and put the nice clean one in your collection to work from......then you can put the UGLY one in the bin/trash bucket and everyone will think you are a genious at making perfect templates the first time

Now I'm off to work this template up a second time (directly from the first template) with no errors and it'll be added to my collection of templates for future use ;))