Hometown girl makes good . . .

. . . STENCILS. Mary Beth Shaw is the owner of Stencil Girl Stencils and I am happy to say lives near me. I've been a fan of her stencils for years.  This month, we're thrilled to be sharing some of her stencils on our Mini Album Makers Challenge blog.

Since I'm waiting for paint to dry, I'll share one of the first projects I ever did with Stencil Girl Stencils.


Love the detail she gets in her stencils.

And the list of artists who design for Stencil Girl is a who's who list!


(Stencil used on the above book: Bird in Window)

This month on Mini Album Makers Challenge blog, I've re-created a book I did a loooonnnnnggggg time ago. It's a super-easy binding with a flexible spine. Let's get started:

Book 3

For the binding you will need:

  • 2 pieces of chipboard for the covers, each measuring 5" wide X 7" tall
  • 6 pieces of cardstock for the page binding, each cut 6-3/4" tall X 2-1/8" wide

Jun B

  • You will also need decorative paper for the covers, binding and inside pages.  I used an A-4 pack from Prima Marketing.
  • Scor-Tape or your favorite wet glue. I used scor-tape.

For the binding:

Score each of the 2-1/8" pieces of cardstock at 1" and 1-1/8".

Jun C

I call that middle section a gusset and the left & right side a margin.  There is a *right* way to fold on score lines. One side of your score line is a valley (indented) and the other side of the paper shows score lines as a mountain (bursting up). Always fold towards the mountain. It will give you a crisper edge.

So you'll end with 6 pieces that look like this:

Jun D

Working with just one side of each binding piece, place scor-tape on the left and right margins. DO NOT OVERLAP tape on the gusset. 

Tape one margin of one binding piece to the next binding's margin, until you get a look like this:


Jun F

Notice that there will be left & right wing margins that will not be attached to anything. That's how we'll attach this binding to the book (later).

Jun E

 Time to decorate:

1.  Cut 2 pieces of decorative paper for the outside covers. I'm wrapping the cover so I will be cutting my paper 1" larger (all around) than the chipboard.  My chipboard is 5" X 7" so my decorative paper will measure 7" x 9".

2.  Place scor-tape on one side of the chipboard.

Jun G

3.  Remove the scor-tape and center the chipboard, tape down, onto the center back of the decorative paper.  Repeat for the back cover.

Jun H

 4.  Next, I fold all the edges in towards the raw chip. This makes it easy to tape the paper.  Miter the corners being careful not to cut too far into the paper. The idea is to cover the corners without chipboard showing.

Jun I

5.  Place tape on the edges and fold over onto the chipboard.  Repeat with the back cover.

Jun J

NOTE: If you fold the top and bottom over first on the front cover, do the same on the back cover. Looks a bit more professional ; )

Jun K

Adding the spine to the covers.

Cut a piece of decorative paper 3" wide X 7" tall. This paper will show on the outside of your book.

With the front & back cover facing up and the decorative spine paper in the center (also facing up) . . . 

Jun L

attach score tape to each side of the spine paper - 1" on each side - leaving a 1" center spine paper showing:

Jun M

Remove one piece of tape and attach one of the covers to the tape, up to the 1" tape. Repeat with the 2nd cover. 

You will see both covers + the spine paper showing in between the covers.

Jun N



Jun O

Open the book to insert the binding system. This binding system is not attached to the spine. Rather, we will be using the two wings (left & right margins) and attach those to the front and back cover, avoiding taping anything to the spine.

Place scor-tape on the underside of both the left and right margin of the binding.  Attach the left margin to the front cover and the right margin to the back cover. The margins will not touch the spine at all, but will sit securely onto the covers.

Jun P

 Add pages to the binding:

  • There are 5 pages in this book and 5 fins sticking up from the binding.
  • Cut 10 pieces of cardstock measuring 4-1/4" wide X 6-3/4" tall.  
  • With scor-tape, attach one piece of cardstock to each side of a fin.  If you wish, you can add scor-tape to the top and bottom of the cardstock to create a side pocket.
  • Cover each page with decorative paper.

Cut 2 pieces of decorative paper 4-3/4" wide X 6-3/4" tall for the inside front & back cover. 

  • Attach decorative paper to the inside covers.

Book 1

Next up, the cover and Stencil Girl combined with Prima Marketing:

Book A

Select the Stencil Girl product you want to use. I chose this Pressed Leaf pattern.  

  1. Place the stencil on top of the paper (or the substrate chosen). You might want to tape the pattern down with painters' tape so that it doesn't move. 
  2. I'm using Platinum Crackle Texture Paste for my medium and spreading it on top of the stencil.

SG 1

I don't worry about getting it smooth. Let dry thoroughly.

SG 2

 Once dry, there's a shimmering crackle that looks beautiful with a simple pattern.

SG 3

I chose to use the crackle in it's own color. You can add color to the crackle with Prima Marketing Artisan Powders.  Mix the powders in thoroughly with the crackle before applying to the stencil.

Instead, I chose to color the background with Artisan Powders and a small round paintbrush, giving it a bit more depth:

SG 4

And the finished product:

Book 2

Thanks for taking the time to view this Mini Album Makers tutorial.

It was so much fun working with Stencil Girl Products.

Join the Challenge fun on the

Mini Album Makers Challenge blog this month

for a chance to win a prize package 

from our generous sponsor

Stencil Girl Products

Stencil Girl Blog

Stencil Girl Tutorials

Also entering this in the

Vintage Journay June Challenge

Attache for Father's Day . . .

Attache z

My latest Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts is up on the gslcuts blog today. Just in time for Father's Day, this attache is easily put together.

Need a Mother's Day or graduation gift? Change up the paper and you're ready to go.

See more including the inside pages and a quick video on the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts blog today:


Thanks for visiting!

Mini Album Makers May 2018 Edition . . .

Hi Everyone and welcome to the Mini Album Makers May 2018 edition. This month I'm sharing an altered file folder.

MAM Apr 2018 1

NOTE: Bird cage and feather courtesy of Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts.

It's so easy to add extra pages and minis to the inside of these and so very fun to decorate. Let's start.

The folder opens to reveal a large top, small bottom and two side pieces. I decorated these with vintage-look papers and embellishments.

MAM APR 2018 2

A pocket holds ephemera, but the pocket is attached on the inside of the left flap . . . 

MAM Apr 2018 3

I added a postcard to the inside left flap, only adhering on the bottom of the postcard (or actually the far right side) and a touch on the upper and lower right corners. To the exposed corners I added metal corner protectors. 

MAM APR 2018 5

The next step was to create a 4 page signature to sew into the left flap. The cover is shown above with lace trim.

MAM APR 2018 6

MAM APR 2018 7MAM APR 2018 8

Pamphlet Stitch PDF Instructions

And on the right side, I've added a piece of elastic to hold another mini-book. 

MAM APR 2018 9

To add the elastic, punch two holes (see above) and string the elastic through the holes and to the back of the page/portfolio. Make sure to do this before you decorate the back of the page/portfolio. 

Secure the ends with score tape. Decorate over the score tape.

The elastic holds a mini-book and a large portfolio in place. 

MAM APR 2018 A

MAM APR 2018 B

Thanks for joining me on this little foray into altered portfolios. 

Please stop by and visit my Team Mates and see what amazing mini books they've created on the

Mini Album Makers Challenge blog.

Then, enter your own mini book for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate from this month's fabulous sponsor

Lindy's Stamp Gang 
Website - https://www.lindysgang.com/
Blog - https://lindysgang.blog/
YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/user/lindysgang/


Also entering this into the following challenges:

Your Scrapbook Place

World Wide Open Design Team Challenge

Love to Scrap

Your Scrapbook Place

The Challenge Blog of Creative Buying

Love To Craft

If you ever get a chance . . .

to take one of 

Frank Garcia's Prima Marketing classes.

Run towards the store to sign up.


Every little detail in his designs is perfection.


Butterflies, crystals, flowers, pearls and antique shutters . . . 

right up my alley!



. . . and just look at that gorgeous foiled paper . . .



More later this week with Frank's tags!

New Pricing for the Girlfriend Getaway Crops . . .

Price Drop

Because of your amazing support

I've lowered the price of the Girlfriend Getaways.


Beginning with the October 2018 crop,

the cost will be $115

(does not include the price of the hotel stay).


IF you've already paid in full, you will be getting a refund within a week

in the form of a check mailed directly to you.

Remember, I'm only taking 50 people for these crops

so be sure to make your reservations early!

There are still some spots available.


Thank you



Are you going to CKC St. Louis . . .

April Crop 1

If so, you're invited to the 

Drury Inn & Suites - O'Fallon IL

Friday & Saturday 

8 am to ????

and shop my stash.


Dies & Embossing Folders

(gently used or brand new)

from Tonic and Spellbinders.

April Crop 2

Ribbon by the yard.


Graphic 45 Paper & Embellishments


Prima Paper, Flowers and Embellishments

April Crop 3

ephemera, things to alter and more!

April Crop 4

Come on by and visit before going to CKC.

You won't be disappointed!

Everything below wholesale or better!

Playing with a Piano Hinge for Mini Album Makers Challenge Blog . . .

It's the 1st of the month and that means new mini-books are up on the Mini Album Makers Challenge Blog.  I'm creating a piano hinge mini with help from this month's sponsor, Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts.  You can make these books with any cardstock. Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts carries these in both black and kraft. I chose a mix of both for my book.


Piano Hinge A


Here's how easy it is to create a piano hinge:

Piano A

Here's how the pages look from Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts. Of course you can cut and score these yourself, but it's so easy to build this with the help of GSL Cuts pre-prepped pages:

Piano B

You can see that there is a score line on the left and on the right with one score line down the middle. The centers are pre-cut which makes it easy to thread skewers through to create the hinge.

Piano C

Step 1:  Fold each page on the outside score lines (the far right and far left score lines).

Piano D

Step 2:  


Above photo shows an actual piano hinge.  And here's our piano hinge page.  The idea is to marry one side of the hinge with the other.

Piano F

To do that, I used a skewer and threaded every other hinge - first one on the kraft and then alternated with one on the black.


Continue that until every other hinge on each page is skewered.

Piano G

You can see from the photo above that you are using every other hinge on the kraft cardstock and the opposite hinge on the black cardstock.

Piano H

For the 3rd page, use the opposite hinges.  (see video above)

And the finished product with simple inside pages:


Now that you've seen how easy it is to put this book together,

please enter your own mini-book

(all styles highly encouraged)

on the

Mini Album Makers Challenge blog

for a chance to win a fabulous prize from this month's sponsor

Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts.

If you're going to CKC St. Louis . . .

You're invited to stop by 


Drury Inn & Suites: O'Fallon IL

1118 Central Park Drive
O Fallon, IL 62269



If you've been to any of my sales,

you know I sell everything at 

wholesale or below.


The Drury Inn & Suites

is located just a few miles from 

the Collinsville Convention Center.


Collinsville Convention Center to Drury Inn O'Fallon


Join me in the Ballroom of the hotel


amazing products at super prices.

8 am Friday and Saturday until ????

(or while supplies last)

Graphic 45

Prima Marketing

& More!