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Ask the Artist

Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions

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  • May 24, 2017
    Q: Jean asks: "I have a lot of 12" cardstock in solid colors. I'm wondering how other stampers deal with this size. I feel if I cut it to a smaller size (11" x 8 1/2" or card base size) it would be handier."

    A: I did cut down a lot of my patterned paper to 6" squares, and I'm more likely to cut into a 6" piece than a 12" piece. For solid colored cardstock, I would probably cut some to 6" and some down to card size (you could get 6 layering pieces for A2 cards from one sheet at 4" x 5 1/4"), but I'd also leave some uncut. Many of our special fold cards and box projects require larger paper, or you may need a piece for a belly band or larger card.

    May 17, 2017
    Q: Rebekah wants to know: "What are some everyday common objects you use to aid in your crafting?"

    A: Fun question! I keep a hymnbook on my desk to weigh down card layers while the glue dries. I use a tiny souvenir mug to hold my glue bottle so I can store it with the point down. A lot of the other household items in my crafty space are used for organizing - I have some markers in a sour cream tub, and pens and other tools in coffee mugs and other pottery pieces rescued from thrift stores. I have a tension rod set up between my desk and filing cabinet - that holds curtain rings with clips on them for business cards and other 'don't forget' papers. I also have a tiered pant hanger on there with multiple clips that holds a variety of craft sheets. Some of my inkpads are in an old 8-track rack. When I take photos of my cards, I lean them up on the cap of a spray paint can, and set my camera on a teacup.

    May 10, 2017
    Q: Marie asks: "I'm making a number of cards using a glitter cardstock as one of the layers. On top of this layer I wish to stick plain cardstock. What type of glue would be most suitable to use so that this will stick properly?"

    A: I'd try something with body, like a tacky glue, PVA glue, or a gel medium. You can spread any of these adhesives onto the back of the plain panel with a palette knife, and create a little texture that will sit down into the texture of the glitter. Be sure to weigh the cardstock down with a book or block to set it into the glitter layer, and to prevent any warping a heavier adhesive might cause.

    May 3, 2017
    Q: Jane asks: "I have sentiment stamps that have a variety of stamps in the package --- like birthday, thank you, a holiday, etc... Do you separate the stamps into the categories or keep them together? If you keep them together, how do you remember you have them?"

    A: I have done it both ways - when I had less stamps to keep track of, I kept them in sets sorted by manufacturer. I had a binder with a stamped index, including a sheet of paper (or more than one!) for each category, and stamped the sentiments where they fit. Some fit more than one category, so I'd stamp them on each appropriate index page (for example, "Wishing you a hoppy day!" fit with Birthday, Animal, and Happy Day). Each entry was labeled with the company name. As my collection has *ahem* expanded, I have moved to using Evernote to catalog my stamps. I've broken up sets and the sentiments are stored by category; in Evernote I can tag each sentiment with its manufacturer, set name, and whatever categories it falls under. I can also search for multiple tags, so I can easily find that "hoppy day" sentiment by selecting Animal (or Bunny) and Birthday at once.

    April 26, 2017
    Q: Lisa wants to know: "How often do you use scrap papers and what do you do with them?"

    A: Scrap backgrounds are some of my favorites to make. I have a hard time throwing scraps away, and actually many of my favorite scrap and color combinations turn up when I'm cleaning off my desk! I often end up with strips of paper that are about 2 inches wide, and I like to use them in horizontal blocks for a background panel. I also enjoy making Herringbone and Starburst backgrounds. A tip for all these background styles - use adhesive label paper as a base for all your background pieces. It's lightweight, easy to use, and less mess. Once you have all the pieces in place, you can use a die to trim the panel to size.

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