Questions about embossing powder, envelopes, and clear stamps

I asked for questions about crafting…any questions.  You responded.

Becky Bitting asked:

Make my own envelopes or purchase them?

Make my own envelopes or purchase them?

Sophie’s Choice asked:

HELP!  Embossing powders.

HELP! Embossing powders.

Karen Woolsey asked:

Clear stamp storage

Clear stamp storage

I had a couple birds help me with today’s video.  Thank you, Maureen Criss Mathis, for the long ago gift of the birds.  😀

Becky Bitting asked if I made my own envelopes.  My answer, in the video, is not really but I do.  I have the WeRMemory Keepers Envelope Punch board.  I have used it to make envelopes and the gift tote, for the 3 x 3 note cards I have been giving out to the medical staff helping me through my breast cancer.

Envelope punch board

Envelope punch board

Note cards with tote

Note cards with tote

Sophie’s Choice asked me about embossing powders.  She is considering these products to be her next purchase and wanted some advice.

Black embossing powder

Black embossing powder

My stash of embossing powders

My stash of embossing powders

Karen Woolsey asked me about my clear stamp storage.  There are a MILLION videos (well….that might be a slight exaggeration) on YouTube featuring various ways to store clear stamps.  Well, let’s just say that my method is not so original.

Clear stamp storage

Clear stamp storage

I don’t have many stamp sets.  Why, you may ask?  I am a terrible, horrible, absolutely worst ever stamper and I don’t enjoy the process.

While I was clearing out old files on my computer I found a photo you might be interested in seeing.  My craft room November 2003.  13 years ago next month.

November 2003

November 2003

September 2016

September 2016

Here is today’s video 😀

YouTube Subscriber Question Monday – Original Sizzix Machine.

Last week I received a question from one of my YouTube Subscribers.  The question was regarding the “Old Sizzix Machine” and how to use it.  Mary Kim Nance’s question is as follows.

Hi Leslie, I love watching your videos.  They are inspiring!  I have a request to see how to use the original SIZZIX machine.  Lol…the big red heavy one your husband bought you.  I picked one up at Goodwill and I don’t know how to use it or if you can still buy folders/dies (?).  I thought I would give this a try before investing in a new model.  Any input would be appreciated. Thank you for inspiring me!  Take care.  Mary Kim.

It has been a long time since that, once loved, machine has seen the light of day.  Answering this question was an ideal time to get reacquainted with the old thing and get into my stash of dies.

Original Sizzix machine with some of my dies and embossing folders

Original Sizzix machine with some of my dies and embossing folders

Currently, many rubber stamp companies are making coordinating sets of dies and stamps.  They make it easy to be creative.  Stamp an image then use the appropriate die to cut the image out.   The dies for the stamp sets are all super thin, much like the Spellbinder dies.  In the photo above, the Spellbinder dies are above the Original Sizzix nesting together on a magnetic sheet that doesn’t work so great.  :/

I have created a 34 minute video showing how to use each of the dies I display in this photo.  I have included how to use the embossing folders which are to the top right.

Like many old “Work Horses”, they are put out to pasture when the newer versions come along.  :/

There are a few dies that will NOT work with the Original Sizzix machine.  The die body is too wide to fit through the throat of the machine, under the presser head.  Tim Holtz Alterations dies will not work on this machine.  His border dies WILL work with this machine because they are narrower, about half the size of his other dies.

I have used two cameras to create this video.  I found out that I can do “Picture in Picture” using my iMovie program during editing.  I have used this feature to highlight portions of the tutorial on making this old machine work for Mary Kim.

If you watch the video, keep in  mind that most of the time I don’t think things out very well.  Especially the portion using the Spellbinder dies and the “shimming” required to get the best use of the die sets.  I should have cut the shims to the size of the cutting plate making it easier to make the die work correctly.  :/

Oh, well… least the viewer will see what NOT to do when working with this machine.  😀


Step INTO your fear.

This is what I fear most.

This is what I fear most.

I’ve used lace before.  I’ve used beaded ribbons before.  I’ve used flowers, too.  Doesn’t mean that I no longer fear the silly things.

Inadequate.  Judged and found wanting.  Self recrimination.  Self abuse.

I suppose, like other things in life, you can develop a tolerance for horrid things after you do it/them multiple times.

The tag shown above took me over two hours to make.  I had the heat embossed swirl applied to the tag in about four minutes as I did the tutorial on heat embossing with stencils.  That was the easy part.

For me…facing my fears is akin to finding a spider coming from above on its invisible web.  No matter the size, minute or as big as a quarter, that spider will send me running and squealing.  Calling out for help to my “Spider Slayer” husband.  When he is not home to do this job then I am left to deal with the spider myself.  Most of the time it gets safely away to torment me another day.

A small pile of lace trim sitting on my work table can make my stomach twist, my heart beat faster, dread well up from the depths of my core.  My eyes flick back and forth from the lace trim to the blank tag.  My brain has shut down at this stage and all I feel is the fear.  I find that I have been holding my breath.  You’d think that I was in imminent danger of my very life.

While I’m creating cards or other abominations in my craft room, I start with a glimmer of an idea.  As I begin the process of gathering my supplies that glimmer turns into a spark, then into a fully fledged idea that I will work toward.  Not so when faced with lace trims.

I used my video camera to document my progress from paralyzing fear to actually completing the tag.  As I said, it took well over two hours to make this one tag.  I’ve edited the video down to about 18 minutes.

So anyone out there that is scared out of their minds, terrified to make the first move, and have clamoring voices in your head telling you to STOP…..Take a deep breath and STEP INTO YOUR FEAR.  You’ll never know how it will turn out.  Your first attempt may look like something that needs to be immediately thrown in the trash bin.  That is not the message.

The message is YOU DID IT AND  YOU SURVIVED IT!  You learned a little something along the way.  Your next attempt will be better.

Maybe you will have found a nugget of information to use on your next project, whatever that may be, as you watch my video.


My very FIRST “Finish It Friday” feature.

Usually….unless I have a gift making project….the “How To” video item gets tossed to the side, shoved into a box, hidden beneath a pile of other stuff, and generally is forgotten.

As a fickle crafter, always looking for the next fun technique or idea, I have amassed quite a stash of……crap…..

Seriously folks, I don’t think very far into the future as I create.  I get an idea for a technique.  Make a video featuring the technique.  The end.

These past two weeks I’ve been showing you how to heat emboss items without using rubber stamps.  Getting creative by using what I have on hand.  Saving myself money and time while trying to let you know that the online or walk in craft stores don’t have to be your go to place when you need something for a project.

If your craft space is anything like mine (after 10+ years of creating) you have a rich supply of paper, adhesive, dies, tools, equipment, and just a whole lot of cr….oops STUFF patiently waiting for you to remember them.

No matter your age as a new paper crafter, YouTube is a gateway to creativity.  It can also be a gateway to hell as you compare your work to others with more experience.  I might even go so far as to say quite a number of the 10 Commandments get mangled and abused in our my craft areas as we watch YouTube videos.

COMMANDMENT #1:   You shall have no other Gods before me.

I’m guilty of abusing this Commandment.  Tim Holtz, for example.  Wonderful man and teacher.  When he has a new blog post or video I am on it.  Reading every word of his blog or tweets.  Intently listening and watching his instruction as he creates his art pieces.

Tim Holtz is not the only one.  Stampin’ Up!, Graphic 45, Die Cuts With a View (DCWV), Michaels, Hobby Lobby to name a few.

COMMANDMENT #2:  You shall not make idols.

Yes, I’ve fractured this Commandment a time or two.  I’ve made a few things that I am particularly proud of and often look at the photos of my creations that have been passed on to whomever I made them for.

COMMANDMENT #3:  You shall not take the name of your LORD and God in vain.

Yep.  Smashed this Commandment on numerous occasions when a project or technique goes bad.  Hissy fit with a potty mouth.

COMMANDMENT #4:  Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

When I am in the creative zone one day runs into the next.  The only day(s) I don’t do anything creative are the days when my Mojo takes a hike or I am in a total funk.

COMMANDMENT #5:  Honor your father and mother.

This one gets trashed from time to time.  If I feel the need to speak about my childhood in foster care my father and mother usually get eviscerated in the conversation.

COMMANDMENT #6:  You shall not murder.

So far….I’m good on that one.  However, I am sorely tempted to act on this when I get a particularly nasty comment on one of my videos.

COMMANDMENT #7:  You shall not commit adultery.

I often wonder what my husband thinks as I babble on and on about Tim Holtz.  At least I only babble about him and don’t actively seek him out.  So…I guess I’m safe on this one.

COMMANDMENT #8:  You shall not steal.

Err, uhm, ahem.  I have stolen someone’s idea from a YouTube video and made it my own.  Not anymore though.  I have learned to give credit where credit is due.

COMMANDMENT #9:  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

I have not sullied this Commandment…..yet.

COMMANDMENT #10:  You shall not covet.

Guilty!  Totally guilty of obliterating this Commandment.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at my craft room tour video if you have AN HOUR to kill and want to listen to my voice drone on and  on.

I’m going to Hell I tell you.

Before I go to Hell I want to share with you the newest video I have created.  It is a scrapbook page featuring all the heat embossing techniques I’ve shown you how to do.  It is a “Sampler” page or a reference.  I can look at this page and remember how I did any one of the techniques and use that on a card or another scrapbook page.

I hope this video helps you to be a bit more creative in your craft room.  Using what you have on hand and make others marvel at your genius.





Do I Need To Buy A Cricut?

Tell me the truth now.  Have you ever watched a craft related YouTube video and was overcome with a welling in your soul so great you heard the angels singing?  Maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration…..but you may know what I mean.

In that brief and excited moment your brain goes from 0 to 120 mph.  Flashes of creative genius stumble all over themselves, like a mass exodus from a burning building.  Your heart beats faster.  A welling in your core grows to such a point you feel sure there will be an explosion of stars and glitter bursting from your chest.

Your heart overrides your brain.  You have to have that gadget.  You must have it right now!

Okay, so you are not quite as crazy as I am.  Perhaps you do know of what I speak but don’t allow your heart to rule your world.

When I first dipped my toe into the world of paper crafting I watched so many YouTube videos on every paper craft subject there was available at that time.  This was back in 2005 when the video channel was in its infancy.

At that time I didn’t have ANYTHING to be creative.  I had a few glitter gel pens of various colors.  That was all I had.  Little by little I began acquiring products and tools only to find the creative genius in me was more of a befuddled person in a straight-jacket.  The things I created were more worthy of the trash bin.

One long weekend in a hotel room in Port Wentworth, Georgia I channel surfed the television.  Bored out of my head I needed to find a distraction.  None was to be found.  That is until I saw an Infomercial on the Cricut machine.  My husband, Joe, was in the room with me.  He had to have been extremely grateful that I had finally settled on something to watch instead of the constant flitting from one channel to the next.

As the presentation unfolded before me I heard my husband say “You need one of those”.

It would be several months later and in Wichita, Kansas that I would become the owner of a Cricut machine.  During another long weekend in a hotel room far from home, Joe took me to a scrapbook store in Wichita and asked a store employee if they carried the new Cricut.

Now, nearly 10 years later, this much desired machine sits on a shelf behind closed doors in my craft room.

My Cricut machine

My Cricut machine

Fickle hearted me has gone on to other things.  A subscriber to my YouTube channel sent me an e-mail with the following question.

“A question I do have though, what do you think about those Cricut machines, are they a must have?”

In order to answer her question I thought it would be best to show her how the machine works.  I am not a professional and I won’t tell you that I know what I’m doing with the machine.  Mistakes and problems I left in the video.  I mean I have to be “Real” and not pretend to be something I’m not.

The Cricut machine has advanced over the years.  Newer models are available and do the same as my old one, even a bit more.  I offer a video for you showcasing my abundant skills in presentation :/.

Oh, one final thing.  This coming Wednesday, August 12, 2015, I will be continuing on in my Heat Embossing series.  This one features Mailing Labels.

Using mailing labels in heat embossing

Using mailing labels in heat embossing



Time for a “Viewer Vote”.

When I was in my early to mid 20’s… the 1970’s…..there was a term known as “Brainstorming” that was used nearly constantly.

What’s for supper?  I don’t know.  Let’s brainstorm that idea.

Ahem, uhm…..I tended to get myself in trouble with that phrase on a frequent basis.

Once, while I was at work at Arizona State University, I overheard a group of young men talking about something.  Don’t know what they were discussing but a phrase one of the men stated, excitedly, was “Let’s throw things around and see what sticks”.

I’m sure you can relate somehow to this.  That young man’s words brought back a teenage memory, from the mid 1960’s, of a trip to the Denver Zoo in Colorado.  My sister and I were taken to the zoo by our father who had come to our foster home for a short visit.  Anyway, we were at the Great Ape exhibit.  A huge white backed male Gorilla was being taunted by the large crowd of human males.  These human males were beating their chests and roaring loudly.

The male Gorilla was making his noises while he skittered sideways, back and forth, across the exhibits floor as he was being taunted.

These human males were so caught up in their show of “Gorilla Bullying” they didn’t notice the female Gorilla that was getting fed up with these stupid humans taunting her man.

Behind me was a zoo attendant quietly sitting on a concrete bench holding a section of a large garden hose.  To me that was the weirdest thing to see during this increasingly escalating agitated scene happening in front of me.  His presence would soon make total sense.

The raucous noise of the human males bating the male Gorilla got on his partners last nerve.  She moved to the left side of the enclosure (to the right as I was watching her).  She squatted down and pooped.  That wasn’t the best part….or the grossest part.  Once she had a good pile of excrement, that female Gorilla scooped up a portion and hurled it like a missile at those human males that were being so disrespectful to her man.

Poop flew through the air.  One human male was hit in the right eye with the stuff.  For his sake the glasses he wore took the biggest part of the hit.  Several other human males were hit by the incoming missiles in their hair, on their shirts, and spatters on their face.

Let me tell you.  All at once the bullying crowd of human males went totally quiet.  Then the guttural taunts became cries of complaints and whimpers of disgust.

That zoo attendant with the garden hose…..he was there to wash away the female Gorilla poop.  Those not hit by the volley of poop immediately left the Gorilla exhibit.  That exhibit emptied as if someone had called out “Fire!”.

So, as you can imagine, hearing “Let’s throw stuff and see what sticks” brought on a fit of giggles as I walked passed that group of young men.

Why, you may wonder, am I writing about Gorillas and poop, brainstorming, and viewer voting?

Because I’m trying to make some changes to my YouTube Channel’s video offerings.  I have a tendency to hop around.  Willy Nilly.  No consistency.  Several videos uploaded during a month or two then nothing for several months.

Now that I’m home and only cleaning my personal toilets, not a bunch of public toilets, I figured it is about time to learn how to use my video camera better, light my crafting area better, and create videos that have substance.

As a viewer of my channel and a person wishing to learn something, I have a video requesting your input to guide me in what you want to see.  What you want to learn.  Leave questions for future videos.  You can watch the video below.  Leave a comment here on this blog post or go directly to my Channel and leave a comment.

I promise there will be no poop hurling going on.


Heat Embossing videos inspired by one of my YouTube subscribers

It has been quite a long time since I’ve been in my craft room.  Mainly because I have had a mental block.

An e-mail request from one of my subscribers has dislodged the boulder in my head and I am busy experimenting.

My first video is in answer to the questions raised about finding the tools and products to do heat embossing.

You might say “I don’t have any rubber stamps to do heat embossing”.  Don’t worry about that.  The videos I’m creating are meant to get you working with embossing powder successfully.  Applying it over large surfaces so you can see the reaction and to know when you have achieved the desired results.

The second video I put up is using painter’s masking tape on paper.  Create a grid to watch the changes occur as the plastic resins and embossing ink react to heat.  In this video I have three FAILURES to show you the progression of my newly formed idea that wasn’t quite well thought out.  These failures are shown AFTER the successful application of my idea.

Currently, I’m working on a video featuring mailing labels and embossing powders.  This is more experimenting with the heat embossing medium.  The results are a mixed bag of tricks and I’m only moderately happy with the end results.

Heat embossing with mailing labels

Heat embossing with mailing labels

Stay tuned….there will be more to come.


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