Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Being a reader of 'Our Idea Book'

Dear All,

Am blogging after ages and must say the motivation to do a blog post was actually India's Premier Art and Craft magazine- Our Idea Book.

The Magazine invoked a hell lot of emotions in me first as a Crafter and second as a voracious reader who has a reading range on 'anything under the sun' ..yes, you heard me right! I love reading any topic from religion, spirituality, fiction, non fiction, self help and even young adult and kids books including magazines ranging from fashion, politics to crafts and kids again!!

There is a disclaimer to this post- anything that may appear negative or a rude remark needs to be considered a passionate call for the magazine publishing team to understand it and if possible take in the suggestion if they want. Am not here to pull down the efforts they have put in. Believe me being in the media industry I know what goes behind to bring in front a good looking product and in no way will I pull it down just for the sake of it.

Lets start with the detailed review.

Thumps Up:

1. As a crafter I love that someone came up with a craft magazine in the first place from my own country. The efforts that must have gone into it is incredible.

2. The cover was interestingly designed to pique a crafter's interest.

3. The pricing is awesome making it a moderate expense for a beginner or a veteran to subscribe to it.

4. The magazine selflessly promotes a lot of Indian Craft Sellers (understanding that the publishers are also craft sellers and seeing the cat fights that happen daily on social forums this was the most positive feeling that I got as a mere crafter)

5. The craft store listings across India towards the end of the magazine was a  superb effort. Now one can even check out stores in other cities and town when on a casual trip.

6. Adding a digital pattern page at the end is the highlighter moment.

Thumbs Down:

1. Too many topics with no cohesiveness in theme.

2. Fonts vary throughout the magazine which is a big no no for me as a reader as I have to adjust my reading range of eyes to accommodate the font sizes and dimensions. (Headings and important quotes etc have been excluded while considering this point).

3. Tutorials have a long list of instructions with NO photographs to support the process. The process in art and craft are intricate and talking about it makes no sense unless one sees the effect of the process. Also the supply list can have a consolidated photograph of the supplies so its easier for crafters to connect instead of the listing being so long.

A few CU of the cards being made would definitely help any person wanting to learn the process involved in it.
Too many instructions and written material make a reader of a magazine loose interest. Specially if it has a process involved that needs to be seen and learnt.

Distressing is a tough process and cannot be understood with only instructions and one sample photograph which not even points out which part of the tag is done with what steps.

4.Grammatical and Sentence Formation printing errors are a big put off for a true reader.

5. Some articles had old creations of crafters which cannot be considered as fresh and current content.

6. The book binding photograph in the cover piqued my interest as a crafter but I felt cheated as the inside instruction was just a basic process. :(

7. The interviews of crafters had overlapping questions and overlapping information in the answers which could have been edited to be more interesting.

8. Some Indian and rather very Mumbaite language for headings are a big no no when you have International Crafters also participating and showcasing their works.

9. A simple border to Photographs would look neater and not clash with the original craft that needs to be the highlight.

10. The Digital Pattern Paper was clashing with the craft store listings. In case one decides to use it they would have to let go of the listings information. :(

Having listed my "Thumbs Up" and " Thumbs Down", would like to say that the downs are mere technicalities that can be modified if considered by the team and is not to phase out the magazine all together. The Ups of the magazines are definitely heavier than the Downs for me and I would definitely recommend a subscription to the magazine.



Monday, March 13, 2017

Create Your Own Planner Dashboards

Hi Folks

Am back with my second video! This video is all about creating your own dashboards from usual these dashboards can be made for any planner you are using.

Click on the link below to see the video!

Create Your Own Dashboards

Hope you like the idea and create your own dashboards. Thanks for watching



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Mini Happy Planner Pocket Pages

Hi All

I have been MIA for the longest time ever and my return to the blogging world is thanks to my new addicting to Planners!

I have been crafting too but have not been active on blogs and I promise to change that.

Today am here to share a video tutorial (My FIRST ever) on how to make pocket pages for Mini Happy Planner. These of course can be adapted and resized for any size and kind of planners in the market. If you know me and follow me, you know I have been making a lot of Birthday Planners and selling them in my exhibitions for close to 4 years now. I have taken the same process and adapted it to fit my Mini Happy Planner.

As this is my first video, there is a lot that could have been better and I personally felt there is a hell lot of scope for improvement but I feel I need to start from somewhere and the improvisation can be a part of my growth! 

My husband has been very sweet and patient with me to edit this video as I was nervous. He has spent some sleepless night to get this going to the best of his ability...not to forget tried his best to cover up my flaws in the video too.

Hope you guys like it and find it useful! Enjoy seeing the video and have fun making the Pocket Pages on your own!

Scrap Your Idea Youtube Channel



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Planning the Planner!!!

Hello folks….Its good to be back on my Blog!!! I have been MIA for a long time now but have been crafting a lot behind the scenes…

Just to fill you up on what I have been doing all this while:

1. I did the show Beintehaa on Colors TV
2. While on a full time hectic Indian Televison job I also did my first Mumbai exhibition which received a fabulous response (even long after the exhibition I have got orders, exhibition offers, online deals etc)
3. Started kids workshop at my home on every weekend (will share pics on that soon on a separate post)

Phew…thats all but loads of planning…patience and efforts went into all this…and today am here to share a fetish of mine…STATIONARY and PLANNERS….I survive on fancy stationary and this is pretty evident to people who know me very well …evident also to first timers who come to my house….they find stationary in every nook and corner of my house :P

Planners are another weakness but thanks to Happie-Scrappie I have found another passion….customising my planners…and today am here to share what I have done inspired from Happie Scrappie …I had made up my mind that I would not buy or use anything new in my stationary stock to customise my planner…so except the Planner everything has been lying in my cupboard/drawer for more than 3 months!!!

But first I shall share my stock of pens and other cute stuff that I usually use…please note this is just a fraction of my stock ….hehhehe

This is for easy DOODLING….my new addiction….and my new venture to learn and research on!!!

That almost completes my pen series…I have loads of pencils too..but lets leave that stock for sometime latter….

Post its…I can't have plain square yellow post-its ever…I need fancy stuff!!!

Paper Clips…my collection from Hong Kong, Japan and Antalaya….

Highlighters..some may say…whats so great about these…the Flair Highlighters are wax tip….and have a crayon effect when you highlight…but very pastel in the colour effect…the other one is a regular felt tip but  is special thanks to its size and design!!!

My correction stapler…and mini glue tape runner for some quick and easy sticking!!

My Flash Card booklet for quick jotting of websites…blogs…ruff notes and at times online magazine subscription passwords …

So these are my regular essentials that I always carry with me to my office…coffee shops…anywhere and everywhere…..

Now its time to have a look at what I have done with my Planner…

Open Form 
I have had this plastic folder for donkey years and so I thought of putting it to some good cause…and what best than use it in my planner….I wanted to use the quote with the three friends…as I mostly have group of threes in various friend circle of mine….Tejal, Khush and me..Prieti, Harshada and me….Ishany, Rhisha and me….Antara, Pujita and me….Dharmesh, Garima and me…so it somehow summarised my friend circle……so I chopped it off to size in order to be the first page in the planner…and act up like a dashboard!!!

What a happy feeling it gives to see this first page…reminding me of all my fun friends who have stood by my side through thick and thin!!!!

This is what I meant when I said Dashboard…stick the post it on the back ….easy to use…the next page I need to write a note on myself…on my dreams…my aims and inspiration so its still blank!!!

Another set of shaped post its and flag post its….just punched holes and have inserted it there….

 This is a plastic folder I bought at Japan Disneyland ages back…actually meant to hold fancy writing paper with matching envelopes….punched holes and inserted to hold some nick nacks of papers that I may want….

In the open form…

My first divider….for the Inspiration Quotes section…

When you open the flap…space either to stick a few favourite/memorable pics or to have post its put for easy reference without making it look untidy it would close up…or push in small chits of paper with the help of paper clips…

Again the back of the divider can be used for post its or pics…this Inspiration section has some coloured fabriano card stock ….space where I may pen down some inspiring quotes similar to or important for me to read on regular intervals to be motivated towards my aims!!!

The second divider is more colourful as it involves my Idea Section…….

Again open space for pics and post its….

As I said…I don't like plain stuff…so I tore off all pages from a writing notepad I had bought long back…punched holes and inserted it here ….

My third section is for my Workshops…

Again tore of another writing notepad to punch holes and fill it here ….

 Another Disneyland folder meant to hold writing paper with matching envies...

In open form….

The back of the folder…and few sets of post its again….

Few more Post its….

My last section…this divider I made into a pocket for pushing in slips of bills or paper with quick notes….This is a regular daily planning section…consisting of the original pages of the planner when I bought it recently…

This is the only plain page section …I left it as it is as I need the dated pages to jot down my daily plans and schedules….

I got an after thought…for a few of my fancy paper clips…in dog bone shape….

I love the way the paper clips hang in there...

The closed planner …..

I am feeling happy about the space I have created to plan my projects and ventures and am sure if the space is exciting me so much…what I write in it will surely be exciting and will inspire and motivate me to do better each time and innovate better!!!

Thanks for being a part of my excitement…do leave your feedback of my work…..

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Decoupage : Tools and Equipments

I have decoupaged quiet a lot even when I didnt know what exactly the use or advantages of it can be. It all started with an old box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. I used just a random sketch and got it decoupaged with my normal craft glue and as I grew and went deeper with crafting I have realised a lot of other materials and tools that can help us get the desired results that we wish to. I have experimented with most of them to recommend them and some I am still experimenting with and hence I am sharing MY EXPERIMENTS and VIEWS.

Heres the picture of my first venture long long back in 1995....phew thats really long back in grade 6!!!

Coming Back to the Craft...I am going to talk and literally talk on the different tools and equipments here...its a DAMN TALKY POST.

1. Cutting Equipment: You will need a large pair of scissors for general cutting out, a smaller pair for cutting out motifs from gift wrapping paper or magazines or stamped images, and a pair of nail scissors for cutting out intricate shapes.

A craft knife or scalpel can be useful, especially if you have to cut out delicate shapes. Remember to work on a cutting mat. The special rubberised mats that are sold in craft stores are best because they are not damaged by score lines. Kitchen chopping boards can be used, but the best kinds will quickly blunt your blades while the cheaper kinds will eventually become marked. Kitchen boards are useful when you apply adhesive, however, because they are easily wiped clean.

2. Sealants: Paper must be sealed before it can be used for decoupage in order to prevent it from absorbing paint or varnish, to stop discolouration, and to inhibit colours from running. In addition, when a water based adhesive such as white glue is used with paper, the paper tends to stretch when it is applied to a surface, causing wrinkles and air bubbles. Sealing the paper beforehand helps prevent this.

I prefer to use a sanding sealer or button polish, which I apply to both sides of the image. This gives the paper a slightly crisp feel, and it makes intricate cutting out easier. If you want an aged or antique look, use shellac, which is honey-colorer. This is one of my favourite sealants.

Sanding sealer, button polish, and shellac are available from most hardware stores and from many craft and art stores. They are alcohol based and dry quickly.

You can also use spray fixatives, water based varnishes, or white craft glue, which should be diluted to the consistency of paint. Again, coat both sides of the image and remember that water based preparations take longer to dry than alcohol based ones.

3. Adhesives: All the projects done by me were decorated with motifs glued with white craft glue. However, some have mod podge on it but most of them are just plain craft glue. This water based adhesive is white or yellow when it is wet and transparent when it is dry. It can be thinned with water and used as a varnish. When it is dry it has a hard,"plastic" feel. When you use it to apply individual motifs, always wipe away any excess adhesive from around the edge of the design with a damp cloth. White glue is available in craft and art stores and in hardware and stationary stores.

4. Paints: Water based latex and acrylic paints are easy to use because they dry reasonably quickly and you can wash the brushes in water and detergent. (If you wish, use a hair dryer to speed up drying times).The projects I have done were painted with flat latex paint.

Artists' paints can be used to colour or decorate objects. Acrylic paints, which can be bought in tubes, cannot be used to bring out the cracks in a crackle varnish, however, because they are water based and the paint will adhere to the second coat of crackle varnish, which is also water based, and will smudge when you try to wipe it off to highlight the cracks. You can use artist's acrylic paints to tint white latex paint both to create a background colour or add lines and details to finished objects.

Artist's oil paints are used in an antique glaze or to bring out the cracks when crackle varnish is used. The paint is applied by dampening a cloth with mineral spirits, squeezing a small amount of paint onto the cloth and rubbing it over the surface of the decoupage item once the second stage varnish is dry abd the cracks have appeared. Raw umber is often used to enhance the cracks after the second stage of crackle varnish, while burnt umber creates reddish brown cracks.

These days you get Camlin Crackle medium but for that the method is different. You need to paint the colour which you want in the cracks first and then apply the medium and then the colour that you want the major base to be. This is no doubt a easier and faster way but not the authentic way and the results will tell you that clearly.

5. Primers and Undercoats: Use a red oxide metal primer on metal. Clean your brushes in mineral spirits. If you are decorating untreated wood, use acrylic primer followed by white acrylic undercoat.

6. Varnishes and Finishes: When you have glued the motifs and the adhesive is absolutely dry, you must apply several layers of varnish. The aim is to "lose" the edges of the motifs in the varnish, and some people apply up to twenty coats, while others find that three or four coats are sufficient. However many coats you apply, you should leave each one to dry thoroughly, then sand it very lightly with the finest grit sandpaper before applying the next. Do not sand the final coat. make sure that you remove any dust adhering to the surface of the object before applying varnish.

The kind of varnish you will use will be largely determined by the use to which the object will be put. Trays and table mats, for example, will need a tough, heat resistant, gloss surface that can be wiped cleaned. A lamp, on the other hand, will look attractive if the light reflects from a smooth satin finish, and some pieces of furniture need a wax polish over a flat varnish. If you do not like your first choice and if you have not applied a wax polish, you can sand the surface gently with fine sandpaper and apply a varnish with a different finish.

As we have already noted, white glue can be diluted and used as a varnish. There are, however, several other kinds of varnish that you might prefer to use.

a. Acrylic Varnish : This water based varnish is especially easy to use. You can wash your brushes in water, it does not have a strong, pungent smell, it dries fairly quickly, it is waterproof when it is dry, and it does not yellow with age. acrylic varnish can be bought in hardware and do-it-yourself stores and in art stores, and it is available in flat, gloss, and silk finishes.

b. Water Based Varnish: A water based varnish takes only 10-15 minutes to dry, making it especially useful when you are trying to build up several layers to blur the edges of your cut-out motifs as quickly as possible.

c. Polyurethane Varnish: Polyurethane wood varnish is available in all hardware stores, and it comes in flat, gloss, and satin finishes and in a range of tints, including clear. It does have a tendency to yellow slightly with age, and so it can be used when you want to give an "aged" effect to your work. Many people prefer polyurethane varnish to acrylic varnish, which has a rather hard appearance.

d. Shellac: You can use shellac to seal most surfaces, including paper and new wood, but it is not heat resistant and you must apply a coat of varnish to finish off. Shellac is honey coloured and is often used to "age" pieces. It is also useful as an insulating layer between two incompatible paints or varnishes. Clean your brushes in denatured alcohol.

e. White Polish: Like shellac, of which it is rather more refined version, white polish is alcohol based. It gives a transparent finish that will dissolve in denatured alcohol, even when it is dry. Use it when you do not want an antique effect.

f. Crackle Varnish: Also sometimes known as cracklure, crackle varnish is solid in a two stage pack in art and craft stores. The first coat is oil based, and it continues to dry under the second, faster drying, water based layer,which causes the top coat to crack. It is a fascinating varnish to use because the results are always unpredictable.

Drying time vary, depending on the thickness of the varnish and on the temperature and humidity of the room in which it is applied. You can speed up the second stage by using a hairdryer, set to medium, held about 2 feet away from the surface. When it is dry, the cracked varnish can be aged with artist's oil paints to reveal the cracks to best effects. If you do not like the results, you can wash off the second coat and try again.

You can buy a wholly water based crackle varnish, which is available in some craft stores. It is simpler to use and gives more predictable results than oil based cracklure. You can choose from a variety of "cracking" effects and sizes, which do not depend on temperature or humidity, and you may want to experiment with this type of crackle varnish until you feel confident enough to tackle the oil based version.

Because new kinds of crackle varnish keep coming onto the market, make sure that you read the manufacturer's instructions before you begin. If you are in doubt, ask the advice of the store in which you bought in the varnish.

g. Crackle Glaze: Use crackle glaze between two different colours of latex paint to produce a cracked or crazed second colour, through which the underlying colour can be seen.

h. Wax: Ordinary furniture wax can be used to give a polished sheen to an object that has been finished with flat varnish. Apply it with a damp cloth, and get into the habit of polishing the object every time you walk past it so that you not only have a beautifully gleaming finish but also have that lingering scent that only wax polish gives to a room.

i. Antique Glaze: Use this when you want to produce really beautiful objects. as you gain experience and confidence, you may want to make your own glaze with mineral spirits and artist's oil paint. Mix them to a creamy consistency in a small glass jar and apply the glaze with a soft cloth to give a soft "aged'' appearance.

7. Sanding: You will need a selection of sandpapers, ranging from coarse to the finest you can buy. Not only must you prepare the surface of the object to be decorated, but finishing the decoupaged article with very fine sandpaper gives a smooth, professional looking finish.

8. Brushes: In order to complete the projects, you will need a selection of brushes. Good brushes are expensive, but as long as you look after them well, they will last far longer than less expensive brushes. However, there may be times when it is more convenient to use a cheaper brush, which you can discard when it is unusable.

After applying latex paint, wash your brushes thoroughly in water and detergent. It is good idea to have separate brushes for oil paints and varnishes. Clean them with mineral spirits or a commercial cleaner.

a. Varnish Brushes: These flat brushes can be synthetic or pure bristle. They are available in different widths. When you are using water based varnishes and paints, synthetic brushes tend to give better results because they give a better flow and do not leave brush marks.

If you use crackle varnish, use two separate varnish brushes and label them for the appropriate stages because it is important that the two varnishes are not mixed when they are wet or the crackle will not work. Always clean the brushes immediately after use.

b. Decorating Brushes: Look out for a variety of widths in hardware stores. If possible, choose the brushes, which do not shed hairs. It can be extremely annoying to find that you have not noticed a stray hair until the paint or varnish has dried.

Use cheap brushes for shellac because denatured alcohol tends to ruin them. Do not use mineral spirits to clean brushes used for shellac.

c. Watercolor Brushes: Use artist's paint brushes to add fine details and for touching up. You will find a choice of widths and qualities in art stores, and the most useful for acrylic paints are sizes no 4, no 6, and no 9. I use a flat edges oil paint brush for the edges of the table mats because it is easy to control.

9. Additional Equipment: In addition to the above, you will need one or two other items to complete a project.

a. Sponges: Natural sponges produce the best and softest effects when you are sponging on paints, but if you use a synthetic sponge, tear rather than cut off small pieces so that they have slightly rough edges.

b. Roller: A small rubber roller (sometimes called a brayer) or a small plastic roller of the kind sold in hardware stores for smoothing the edges of wallpaper is useful for pressing over glued images to remove all air bubbles and to give even adhesion. You can use the back of a spoon instead in small areas, and when you are applying motifs to large, flat surfaces, such as furniture, you may be able to use your pastry rolling pin. Press down with a firm, smooth motion, pushing air bubbles and excess glue from the centre to the edges of the motif. Do not use you fingers, or you will tear the paper.

If the surface to which you are applying a motif is uneven, use a slightly dampened sponge, pressed evenly from the centre outward.

10. Cleaning Materials: Use denatured alcohol to dilute shellac and button polish and to clean the brushes with which you apply these substances.

Mineral Spirits can be used to clean the surface of an object before decoupage motifs are applied. Use it also to dilute oil based paints and varnishes and to clean brushes.

Clean brushes used for latex paint and water based varnishes with detergent and water. Work a small amount of undiluted detergent into the bristles first, then rinse them thoroughly with clean water.

Another project: I dont have most of my projects pictures thanks to the last year Bangalore Exhibition!!

I just hope I have been able to share my experience with all these mediums to the best of my ability but as I always you yourself experiment with the mediums you will never know what further to do with never shy off from experimenting!!!

NOTE: Mod Podge and its various varieties do give a faster result but if you are someone who loves to experiment and loves to work with mediums only then you may enjoy this post and also these are way cheaper solutions to Mod Podge as the amount spent in one project may go up if using a brand like Mod Podge ...the materials mentioned here can be easily bought cheap from hardware stores!!!