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Techniques with Ink Refillers:: A Scrapbooking Tutorial by Natalie Elphinstone

techniques with ink refillers:: a scrapbooking tutorial by natalie elphinstone @ shimelle.com

Much like my very own nature, my scrapbooking style tends to involve the combination of clean straight lines and a little bit of arty ‘mess’ thrown in. I think there’s a big trend right now for the addition of mixed media techniques into more traditional layouts, and today I’d like to share with you some fun ways to use ink refills to achieve that look.

I’m using the Color Theory Ink Refills from Studio Calico, but there are many brands out there that would work just the same. The beauty of these is they’re water soluble dye inks and so they blend really nicely, which is important for this first technique of creating an ombre ink pad.

techniques with ink refillers:: a scrapbooking tutorial by natalie elphinstone @ shimelle.com

What I’ve done is place a folded up baby wipe (still wet… but clean!!) onto a hard plastic surface. I’m using a plastic take-away container lid because I’m not concerned if it gets stained by the ink. I squirted the Ink Refills across my baby wipe making sure to use three colours in the same spectrum so they blend without creating muddy browns.

techniques with ink refillers:: a scrapbooking tutorial by natalie elphinstone @ shimelle.com

A good stamp to use with this kind of technique is either one that’s big and bold, or a background pattern stamp so you can really appreciate the ombre effect. Use your freshly created stamp pad like you normally would to get your stamp all nice and juicy!

techniques with ink refillers:: a scrapbooking tutorial by natalie elphinstone @ shimelle.com

Before you plonk that stamp down on paper though, a good trick is to give it a quick spritz with water to ensure all the colours mix nicely into one another. Using water colour paper is another trick to use.

techniques with ink refillers:: a scrapbooking tutorial by natalie elphinstone @ shimelle.com

Inspired by my own success, I went ahead and created a second ink pad using a blue-green spectrum of colours this time.

techniques with ink refillers:: a scrapbooking tutorial by natalie elphinstone @ shimelle.com

Both look good, and it gave me some options for when I finally construct my layout. Stamping them onto scrap pieces of paper like this gives me more control – I can keep practicing until I get one that’s perfect. Then I simply trim around it to stick onto my page later.

techniques with ink refillers:: a scrapbooking tutorial by natalie elphinstone @ shimelle.com

Another, perhaps braver, technique (only because you never know what the outcome is going to be) is to use the ombre ink pads to create some interesting background effects on your page. Squash an acrylic block directly into the ink pad and then apply it straight to your paper.

techniques with ink refillers:: a scrapbooking tutorial by natalie elphinstone @ shimelle.com

Do this haphazardly, or repetitively to create a kind of pattern.

<techniques with ink refillers:: a scrapbooking tutorial by natalie elphinstone @ shimelle.com

When you’re done creating for the day don’t throw the ink pads away! Store them in plastic containers to use again another time. It doesn’t even matter if they dry out. Because these Ink Refills are water soluble all you need to do to revive them is make them damp again by spraying with some water.

techniques with ink refillers:: a scrapbooking tutorial by natalie elphinstone @ shimelle.com

Here’s my finished page. It’s a 6×8” page which will slip directly into my Handbook opposite some pocket pages with continue on with the series of photos and better explain what’s going on here! The ‘Fancy’ stamp and all the scrapbook supplies for this page all come from the Hercules Add On from the latest Studio Calico Sandlot Kits.
Thanks for letting me share today. I’d love to know if you’ve ever given anything like this a try before, or if you have any other techniques to use with ink refills. Leave a link in the comments and I’ll be sure to pop by!





Natalie lives in Melbourne Australia with her Trophy Husband and two beautiful girls. She works full time as an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist but still manages to set aside lots of time to play with pretty paper. She is a Studio Calico Creative Team member and a current Australian Scrapbooking Memories Master. She shares all her stories on her blog One Scrappy Doctor and her Facebook Page.

The Scrap Goes On :: A Weekly Round-Up

the scrap goes on :: a weekly round-up of scrapbooking craftiness

In the days since the closure of Two Peas in a Bucket, we found ourselves still wanting to work together as a team, even though we were no longer ‘the garden girls’ as it were. We’re working on a few little projects, and also keeping on our toes by putting together a weekly round-up of what we’ve been making for our own scrapbooks, and we invite you to share what you’ve been making too.

For some scrappy inspiration today, have a look at…
Mel’s project with new Jillibean Soup goodness,
Marcy’s projects with the Studio Calico Sandlot kits,
Lisa’s Wardrobe Wednesday layout,
A guest post from Kirsty Smith on Wilna’s blog while Wilna is beavering away on projects behind the scenes,
Jen Kinkade on learning new, artful things,
A lovely and delicate mini book from Stephanie,
A video from Jen Gallacher featuring new Echo Park dies,
Pretty painted projects from Celine,
Jill’s lovely layering, mists, and custom school supplies too,
Laura getting a jumpstart on Halloween,
Nancy’s beautiful travel scrapping,
Paige getting colourful for American Crafts,
and a baby book update from me.


A Project Life layout fom the Shimelle collection

project life baby book with supplies from the shimelle collection by american crafts @ shimelle.com

I think it has taken me nearly three weeks to finish this spread, working just a few minutes at a time, but it’s complete now! Week four in Wonder Boy’s baby album is made almost entirely from supplies in my American Crafts collection. I added some Studio Calico wood veneer hearts and that Amy Tangerine stamp I’m using throughout the album.

project life baby book with supplies from the shimelle collection by american crafts @ shimelle.com

I guess my two colours this week are aqua and orange, though I didn’t specifically set out to do that from the first step like I had in the earlier weeks. It’s not a combination I think I would pick often, but I like it here, especially balanced with the vanilla.

There is actually a coordinating Project Life kit for the collection, but it hadn’t arrived when I started working on this, so I started with the 12×12 papers, plus the sticker book and the smaller set of stickers that include words and letters. Plus plenty of the half-height pop dots!

project life baby book with supplies from the shimelle collection by american crafts @ shimelle.com

That 3×4 photo is cut down from a 4×6 print I ordered in my first try of the Free Prints App. This app (available for Apple and Android) lets you order up to forty-five free 4×6 inch prints each month, though you do pay for postage, which runs between £1.49 and £3.99, depending on what you order. In comparing these prints to the same from Photobox the free prints were just a smidgen darker and the paper is just a teensy bit lighter weight, but I was certainly happy with the quality. I order more than forty-five prints per month so I think I will continue to use both printers. If you’d like to give the Free Prints app a try, you can use code SLAINE3 for five extra free prints for each of us, then you will get a code to share with your friends to continue getting the extras.

Start the timer now: let’s see if week five can be completed a little more quickly!

Using Thickers as Masks with Watercolors​:: A Scrapbooking Tutorial by Carson Riutta

using thickers as masks with watercolours:: a scrapbooking tutorial by carson riutta @ shimelle.com

I’ve been playing around with my Thickers and my watercolors as of late and I want to share my new favorite technique with you all today. I absolutely love combining watercolors with my Project Life and I’ve found a way to make filler and journal cards using Thickers as masks with my paints. The concept is simple. Place your Thickers firmly on white cardstock and paint around them with your watercolors. The possibilities are truly endless.

For this you shall need, watercolor paper cut to PL sizes (I love mixed media paper for this), watercolors and a palette, brushes, Thickers (an assortment of sizes and fonts), water, paper towels and washi tape or painters tape.

using thickers as masks with watercolours:: a scrapbooking tutorial by carson riutta @ shimelle.com

Let’s begin by designing your cards and placing your Thickers. Herein lies the beauty of this, you can say anything you want! Go ahead, get silly, curse a bit if you must, customize your cards to your heart’s content. Don’t pay any attention to colors at this point, the Thickers won’t be on the final product, remember we’re simply using them as masks. You’ll want to focus on font combinations and the graphic look of the words, letters and numbers. They aren’t going to look like much at this point, but I promise it gets so much better.

using thickers as masks with watercolours:: a scrapbooking tutorial by carson riutta @ shimelle.com

Now you want to get your watercolors set up and your colors mixed. Once you start applying the paint, you’ll want to move fast so it’s best to have your colors ready to go. Pick your brush and start painting. This is where things get really fun. You can be painterly with splashes and splatter…

using thickers as masks with watercolours:: a scrapbooking tutorial by carson riutta @ shimelle.com

…or you can keep things very linear by doing some further masking with washi tape.

There are a couple important things to remember at this stage:

1. The more saturated your colors, the more the words will pop. Start strong with your colors, they lighten as they dry.

2. Apply a lot of paint right up along the edges of your Thickers. You want that defined edge and you won’t accomplish that without really jamming your brush into the letter’s edges. Also, watch for bubbles that may form along the edge. These will result in a white spot, so pop ‘em if you see ‘em.

3. You can remove excess water and paint by drying your brush on the paper towel and placing it gently onto spots where too much water has collected. If you leave too much water on your paper you’ll achieve the “bloom” look.

4. Let your cards dry completely! This is a very important step and one that almost none of you will follow, at least I never can, but trust me, you’ll have much better results if you do.

using thickers as masks with watercolours:: a scrapbooking tutorial by carson riutta @ shimelle.com

Once your cards are dry, peel off your Thickers and marvel at your creations! At this point, depending on your PL style, you can use the cards as they are, add a few more layers of watercolor or embellish with stamps, washi, enamel dots, etc. You name it!

This technique is perfect for all kinds of papercrafting. I’ve used it in my PL album, but it would also be perfect for a layout background or a card front. Make it your own! Thank you so much for reading today, it was truly a pleasure crafting with you.





Carson Riutta is one crafty lady! She is a card-maker, a Project Lifer and most recently an art Journaler. She has been crafting with a vengeance since she was introduced to the wonderful world of paper crafts in 2008 when she quit her job as an environmental scientist and decided to develop the other side of her brain. You can see her latest endeavours on her blog Pine & Plum and her past creations over at her Studio Calico gallery. She spends her days running after her two littles, taking too many Instagram photos, and perpetually organising her craft room… Occasionally she does the dishes.

The Shimelle collection from American Crafts is now available at...

shimelle collection :: scrapbooking supplies by american crafts
I just wanted to keep a post with links to where you can purchase the Shimelle collection. I’ll update this as it reaches additional stores. If you know of a store with stock on hand that is not listed, feel free to let me know. Thanks!

First to have it ready to ship seems to be Blue Moon Scrapbooking.*

Also in the US, you can find select products at Simon Says Stamp*, A Cherry on Top, and Scrapbook Generation.

For California shoppers, you can find the collection in store at Paper Tales, a lovely scrapbooking store in San Diego.

Many thanks to kit clubs selecting my products as well! Take a look at Hip Kit Club and Citrus Twist.

In the UK, you can find products at Hey Little Magpie and Craftie Charlie.

In Germany, find them at Scrapbook Werkstatt.

In Thailand, products are available in store at Mind Memory, Bangkok.

There are also four coordinating cut files available from the Silhouette Online store.

As stock arrives elsewhere, I’ll add those links! Have a great week.

*Stockists with an asterisk are affiliate links. Your purchase from these sites helps support shimelle.com, including payment for all our guest artists. For more about what affiliate links do for this site, see the last paragraph in this post. Thanks for your support!

Another week in the Project Life Baby Book

project life baby scrapbook by shimelle laine @ shimelle.com
Keeping with that idea of choosing two colours per week for Wonder Boy’s album, week three is blue and yellow. I started with the Dreamy collection from WRMK, which I think may be exclusive to Target. I picked it up there when I was at CHA and searching online, I don’t seem to see it in stock at any specialist scrapbook stores. It caught my eye because the colours weren’t particularly girly, but it wasn’t the standard baby blue either. Not that it’s baby themed in anyway, but it just seemed like a versatile set with a different colour scheme to my usual.

project life baby scrapbook by shimelle laine @ shimelle.com
I knew when it came to scrapping this week, I would want to beat myself up about the photos, but I think I waited long enough to just have a bit of perspective about it. By this point in Wonder Boy’s life, he had plenty of energy, and I was trying to keep up with him but I was nowhere near back to health. I think I was only just starting to process what had happened, because although I knew our labour experience looked rather scary on paper, it felt relatively calm and collected. Just getting from one hour to the next kept me from realising how much strength I had really lost, and it just caught up with me. The evidence is how someone who photographs seemingly everything took remarkably few photos in this third week of Wonder Boy’s life. These things happen! This resulted in a week wherein the entire right side is just from the weekend, and indeed all but one photo there is from Saturday. As that was his first big night out, I think that really worked out okay in the space, and this week can just be a reminder to me that I’d like to take a few more shots of the everyday too.

project life baby scrapbook by shimelle laine @ shimelle.com
That divided photo was the result of some tinkering with the Fuzel app on the iPhone. It has all sorts of templates (some plain squares and rectangles, some filled with fancier shapes) so I just picked one and filled it with my photos. To get the split image effect, I needed three copies of the photo in my library, so I edited it slightly to have a different colour cast to each section of the image. I’m not sure it’s a look I would use as a highlighted photo on a 12×12 page, but with so many photos going into this album, I like the idea of worrying a bit less and giving new things a whirl. The white text on the images on the right hand side was also done in the Fuzel app, under the ‘stickers’ tab.

Thanks for taking a look!

My first project with the Shimelle collection!

scrapbook page by shimelle laine @ shimelle.com
The situation was incredibly surreal. Wonder Boy was sound asleep in bed, which was surreal enough, and I was staring at a desk full of papers, embellishments, and tools with my own name on them. Exactly where does one start in this scenario? I figured I had to just start cutting paper or I might stand there paralysed by fear, and I know that is never a wise decision in those short windows of time in which a baby sleeps contently!

scrapbook page by shimelle laine @ shimelle.com
And so, I’ve done it: one completed scrapbook page to get me started using my own supplies! Nearly everything here is from my collection, with the exception of three aqua enamel dots, Mister Huey’s green mist and gold Color Shine mist. There are five patterned papers (one cut-apart and one branding strip), some of the die-cuts and stickers, three designs from the stamp set, glitter hearts from the rub-ons, the ‘lovely’ steel die, and all three lettering options – two kinds of gold Thickers plus a small tile alphabet in grey.

I know Wonder Boy has a Project Life album and then I go and scrap him on 12×12 pages. I promise there is method to my madness: the Project Life album is a baby book made for him; the 12×12 pages are for my chronological albums. I would call those family albums but I make them for me, most of all. When others enjoy looking at them, that’s a definite bonus, but I create them for my own wellbeing first and foremost. Plus I don’t like choosing one extreme or the other. Having both album options keeps me happy, no matter how much time I have or what mood I’m in. Sometimes more is more, right?

scrapbook page by shimelle laine @ shimelle.com
It’s been gloriously sunny, which is lovely but does produce some rather extreme shadows!

To answer a couple product questions, the collection is shipping to stores imminently, and when it arrives I will post links here to a variety of places where you can purchase what you like. (Thanks so much to anyone considering a purchase!)

I’m looking forward to making more with these now that I’m past the fear factor of it all! And even more excited to see what you make with it. Cannot wait for that!

Return to the Collection :: Sign up now!

Return to the Collection :: an online scrapbooking class @ shimelle.com
In 2012, I taught one of the sessions for True Scrap 3, and my contribution was a forty minute video workshop entitled The Perfect Collection. The idea was to take a collection pack of patterned papers and use it until it was all gone, creating a stack of layouts that stretched that paper investment to lots of scrapbooking! That workshop remains available, but it is time to return to that idea with something new.

Return to the Collection is a new workshop here at shimelle.com. Earlier this year, it was open for Early Bird Registration, but it is now open to all and will remain available. Unlike many of my workshops which are PDF based but with some accompanying videos, this one is video accompanied by notes. Those of you who prefer to watch will find plenty of new material here – none of the video in this workshop has been shared in any other class nor on the blog – it is all exclusive to the workshop. There are also some printable notes to help (and so you can have still shots of the completed layouts) but these notes support the videos rather than the other way around.

Return to the Collection showcases six layouts from start to finish, using one collection pack – the Wild & Free collection from Glitz Design – but instead of the limited embellishment focus of The Perfect Collection, this time the pages feature a more embellished style and a range of techniques.

…Examples include both single and double page layouts and a variety of numbers and sizes of the photographs. My pages are all 12×12 (making a 24×12 double page) but you could adapt the ideas to other page sizes if you prefer.
…Techniques and design ideas are easily adapted to the collection of your choice. You’re welcome to follow along with Wild & Free, but my aim is to give you the confidence to use these tips with the papers you love. In fact, many of the early bird participants reported that Wild & Free was really not their style, but they were still able to apply the strategies to papers they loved. That’s exactly what I hoped for, since my goal is always to help you find things that will work in your own way so you find some creative independence rather than just duplicating any particular project.
…The design process for each layout includes building and embellishing, with all of that explained on video, including my reasons behind each choice. I do not teach in a ‘glue this here and stamp that there’ fashion, and always value the ‘why’ more than the ‘do’ in sharing my scrapbooking process.
…The page designs can be used together for a cohesive series of pages or separately across a variety of photos and albums – whatever suits your needs best!

Once you purchase the class, you’ll receive access within 24 hours, with details sent to you by email. (If you don’t receive a message within 24 hours, check your spam folder just in case, then get in touch so I can help!) Shimelle.com classes are accessed via a forum, so if you’ve taken a class before, this will be added to your account. If it’s your first class, you’ll also receive login details for your new account. When the class is live, you will have access to everything all at once – it’s not a daily email class. Like all shimelle.com classes, you’ll have permanent access to all the materials so there is no rush to work through the videos. You can view them any time you like.

Choose your currency and click to sign up for the class. You can pay by credit/debit card or by logging into your PayPal account. The email address on the payment is where your registration will be sent. If that email address is not correct (or if you want to give the class to a friend as a gift), then leave a note in the ‘notes to seller’ section with the correct email address. If you accidentally forget that step or have any other problems, email me. You’ll receive a PayPal email receipt when your payment has been made, then class access within 24 hours.

Questions and Answers
Do I need to take The Perfect Collection first?
No, it’s not a requirement. There are a few references in the dialogue of the class, but they are simple enough to understand without having taken the class. If you prefer more embellished styles, The Perfect Collection may not be the best class for you – it is more aimed at stretching a collection page to many layouts without having to sacrifice colour and pattern. But of course you are welcome to take both! The Perfect Collection is still available here.

Do I have to have the same collection pack for the workshop to make sense?
No, not at all. The papers are all referenced with explanations and descriptions that make it easy to apply the same tips to any paper collection of your choice.

What other supplies are you using in this workshop?
For the embellishment, you’ll see many little things from different manufacturers and collections. The idea is to start with a collection pack of papers, but not to feel you have to then buy every pack of embellishments in the line. Instead, pick from your existing stash to find frames, die-cuts, stickers, brads, and stamps to create unique combinations. You don’t need to use the same exact products as in the video. For example, there is a fabric-covered brad by Cosmo Cricket on one page. You wouldn’t need that pack of brads specifically. You might have fabric-covered brads in your stash, and if so it’s easy to select one that will work. If not, that’s still fine – use a plain or epoxy brad. No brads? No problem – substitute an item that is of a similar shape and size – like a button or a maybe a flair badge. This way you are free to use what you love and what you have on hand, while at the same time learning to embellish on your own so you can add as much or as little as you like without needing to keep looking back at a reference point once you have the hang of it. That’s the goal!

Any other questions, please feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Thanks so much!

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