Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Other Ways With Thinlit Dies

The newest scoreboard die by Eileen Hull is the Folio Book die which is another wonderful addition to her collection of creative dies.  Along with the main folio die are different thinlit sets. The first of these are the Mandala motif and a set called page pocket and flowers. These thinlet dies were used for this card design and will share some of the uses in this post. 

NOTE: This card uses a gel press print that was previously created along with several others on a day spent playing with gel printing and stamping. The print was large enough to use the majority of the print as elements on the outside, inside and envelope. Again, I chose to include a bit of fabric. A torn piece of homespun muslin becomes the first layer on the card front. The inside message also has a small piece of fabric as a layer. 

The flower embellishment instructions can be found it the previous post from this blog called, "Working With Cereal Bags".

Here are the steps to create the card:

  • Prepare the fabric for the layer on the front and inside. Iron and reshape if neccesary. 
  • Tear the the gel-print to fit. Tear the paper randomly or use a tearing ruler or deckle edge decorative scissors. 
  • Make a mask/stencil with the mandala design. TIP: I used the release paper from iron-on fusible to make my mask. It is a thin paper, but the coating on it works well for cutting and stenciling with paint. 

  • Use the mandala mask/stencil to add the design as a shadow to the print. The design can also be used on the inside of the card if desired.
  • When all components are ready, position them to the front of the card. TIP: They can be put in place with glue, double-sided adhesive tape and even stitched on with a sewing machine. 
  • Add a strip of coordinating washi tape onto the front, vertically, before adding and embellishment of choice.

For the inside of card: 

  • Use the mandala mask if desired to stencil the pattern onto the inside of the card if any fashion.
  • Stamp a sentiment/verse onto paper or other material.
  • Layer the stamped image onto a torn piece of fabric.
  • Layer these onto a torn piece of the gel print paper.
  • Run a strip of the washi tape horizontally across the inside.
  • Attach the three layered piece over the washi strip. 

Additional ideas:

  • Add a corner pocket to the card using the pocket thinlit.
  • Cover a square of card stock with a coordinating washi tape.
  • Die cut the corner design from the tape covered paper piece.
  • Use a bone folder to go over the crease line at the 2 sides to help with folding them in.
Attach the folded corner design with double-sides adhesive or glue to a corner of the card. Use the pocket to insert a gift card, check or personal note. 

  • Add a strip of washi tape and a strip left from the gel-print to the envelope flap.  


          Thinlit die, Mandala
Big Shot
Washi tapes
Fabric scrap, muslin 
Metallic paint
Sponge applicator
Blank card with envelope
Card stock, off white
Verse stamp
Double-sided adhesive tape or glue
Any extra embellishments of choice 

Monday, February 8, 2021

Working With Cereal Bags

There have been some questions about cereal bags and how they can be used. I will try to both show and explain how this found material can be reused in crafty projects. 

In a previous blog post I showed a way I made pockets for use in a junk journal. Here is a link to that post.  https://madelinesthoughts.blogspot.com/2020/08/junk-journal-my-way.html

Several years ago I had seen an article in the magazine, Cloth,Paper, Scissors using cereal bags for journals. There also have been articles and videos around for some time showing the fusing of plastic bags for repurposed projects. Some ideas still can be found on the web, so search away to see what you can find. For myself, after reading and watching what I could, I felt it was just time to experiment and see where it leads me. 


Now there are tips to working with materials like the cereal bags that need to be considered before beginning. 

  • Always cover ironing surface with something like a non-stick, heat resistant sheet of some type when fusing cereal bags, no matter the content layered inside. 
  • Use a non-stick material to cover the cereal bag layers for fusing. I use parchment paper or backing sheets from fusible products for sewing or release sheets from double sided adhesives.
  • Open the seams on the bags and wipe the inner surface with a paper towel to remove any residue from the product. 
  • Trim away any raggedy edges with scissors or rotary cutter or utility knife.

  • I have an iron designated for projects like this. Never place the iron directly onto the top layer of he bags. IT WILL MELT AND STICK TO THE IRON. 
  • Temperature settings could vary, but using the wool setting is a good starting point. After some experimenting and depending on the iron itself the temperature might need to be increased or even decreased. (Techniques like these sometimes just need some “trial and errors”.)
  • IMPORTANT: These cereal bags are a plastic product. Plastic can emit fumes! It would be a good idea to work in a well ventilated area and wear a mask when fusing. 

Almost any items can be inserted between the sheets for fusing. Again, search for information online. A good article is the one I mentioned above that is found in the summer 2013 issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors. It was by Kristen Robinson.

To add color also took some experimenting. Experiments can be messy! I have used a variety of coloring products to the bags before fusing. I’ve used different paints an inks. Crayon shavings are a possibility that I have not yet tried but were suggested in some info I found. ***I have stayed clear of using alcohol inks.***

As mentioned above, adding the paint for color can be messy! The mess comes from the amount of paint used onto the inside and how it spreads when encased in the two layers. TIP: I placed the layers cereal bags between paper towels to press out excess paint before fusing. TIP: The paints can be brushed or moved around the surface of the bottom bag before covering and allowed to dry slightly before fusing.  It’s best to spread the paint and not have any puddles.

These two photos are examples of adding and mixing colors and different paints. The process of fusing the paints between to layers of bag ended with a piece with a good amount of color BUT much of the paint was pressed out around the edges of the entire piece. Like I mentioned it can be messy!

Here is another fused colored piece showing the difference in the amount of paint and coloring added and the fused results. Still somewhat messy, but not as bad as the yellow sheet.

 It seems that I haven’t been able to find detailed instructions on adding color between the layers of the cereal bags. Most instructions are for adding snippets of paper and threads.  When it comes to adding color it was left to experimenting.  I tried various paint products. It’s probably best to brush it on or sponge it on and possibly allow it to dry some before fusing the layers together.  If using too much paint, it can spread too much and leaks out around the edges. 

When pressing the layers together with the iron, allow it to cool slightly before lifting. Expect wrinkles after fusing and uneven movement of the paints. After the layered pieces cool and stiffen, they can be die-cut.

 If it happens that any of the edges of the die-cut pieces seem to come apart, place them between non-stick materials and press again lightly with an iron.  

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

New Die Release - Folio Fun My Way

 It’s always fun creating with Eileen Hull dies, but really exciting, interesting and fun when there are brand new designs.  

The newest Eileen Hull dies released by Sizzix are the Folio, Mandala and Folio Page, Pocket and Flowers. I will be showing how I combined these dies for my creation. 

Though I will not be giving step-by-step instructions, this post will give a description of the process I used. 

When creating projects with Sizzix dies I have a tendency to try to combine a variety of materials and also play around with with the designs of the dies by altering them or combining them with others.  

The folio die will likely become another favorite! I think you will see that with the creations by the  others participating in this blog hop.  It’s always inspiring to see the ideas shared. This project begins of course with the folio die-cut design. It does have a old, shabby distressed look because of the materials used, plus the surface techniques used. The addition of the mandala design, the red, wool hearts and ribbon each add a little touch of warmth to the finished project.

  • This version has a spine that extends as far as possible. This gave me the opportunity to include several sections inside.
  • The outside of the folio was painted with a metallic copper paint. Brushed over with a wash of brown paint. Old dictionary pages are torn and applied to the inside of the folio cover with gel medium.
  • Corrugated board is cut to fit the front and back covers, as well as the front and back inner flaps.  
  • Apply adhesive for foiling sheets randomly into the corrugated pieces. Press foiling sheets of choice to add bits of the metallic foil on the covers. 
  • Use glue or adhesive sheets cut to size to add the covers and flaps to the folio.  
  • Cut a mandala design from a copper colored paper, backed with adhesive for the front cover. 
  • Cut the same mandala design from another type of paper for the back cover.  Gel medium was used to apply the design to the back. Heart shapes were cut from a felted wool sweater. Two are layered to the front cover, one to the back. A ribbon tie is added for a closure.

The inside has a variety of sections

  • The first section is enclosed as a holder. A couple folders were made to be inserts into the holder. Each folder has a tab added to the edge for removing and inserting them into the holder. 
  • The next insert is a folder made from card stock cut from an older Eileen Hull scoreboard die (Album). Pockets are added in two different directions from coordinating decorative paper.

  • The next insert is made with the older album die, cut from a acrylic folder and altered to create a narrow album insert.  The covers are embellished with the mandala cut from white copy paper. Use a gel medium to adhere them. Pages are made from copy or newsprint paper. 

  • The next two inserts are small lined notebooks. Each is covered with coordinating decorative papers. 

  • The last folded section also hold a small covered notebook and has a pen holder. The pen holder shape is from the Journal die. TIP: One or more pocket folder could be added to this section too. 

Finishing the folio
Follow along the list of participants to see a wonderful variety of ideas and styles. 
Welcome to the Chapter 1 Eileen Hull/Sizzix Release Party Blog Hop! Just wait till you see all of the fun options the new ScoreBoards Folio Journal die has in store for you! You will also love the Mandala and Folio Page, Pockets and Flower Thinlits dies that coordinate ❤
Please hop through the blogs and be inspired by the work of the talented Inspiration and Educator teams! Leave a comment for each designer and you could win a Folio Journal die (as soon as it arrives!)
Join me and specials guests for a Facebook Live on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at noon Eastern. Comment on our Facebook Live and be eligible to win either the Mandela die or the Folio Pages, Pockets and Flowers die- two winners! 
Winners will be announced on the Facebook Live show on February 9 at 6:00 EST. 
We appreciate your love and support, friends!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Simple Way to Say Love Card

 Material List

Blank card with envelope, 5” x 5”

Card stock, colors of choice

Fabric scraps 

Dies: EH Mandala, Thinlit #664882

Folio page, pocket & flowers, Thinlit #664883

 Mitten box, #664510 (hearts)

Journaling words, Thinlit

Borders, Thinlit #659200 (zig-zag)

Adhesive foam

Adhesive sheet

Adhesive tape



Metallic foil sheet



White gel pen

Here is the process of creating this card and envelope-

After choosing a color palette, I gathered papers and fabrics too suit the project. 

Prepare all pieces to be die-cut.

Cut adhesive foam and metallic foil slightly larger then the mandala die (5 1/2” square).Apply foil to the foam piece. 

Die cut the corner pocket from colored card stock. 

Cut 2 leaves from green card stock.

Cut the word “love” from a piece of white decorative paper that is adhesive backed.

Cut hearts from felt or wool that can also be backed with adhesive if desired.

Cut a flower from two pieces of fabric fused together with adhesive and one from colored card stock.

Cut a backing paper for the card face with a border approximately an 1/8” around the edge, the n and to the card face with adhesive tape.

Add a piece of decorative fabric over the card stock square. Make the fabric piece the size to have approximately a 1/4” space on each side. Apply over the paper with adhesive tape.

Create a tag to insert into the pocket corner. I chose a Kraft colored tag with a simple doodle of white ink around the edge and simple message. Add a piece of ribbon at the top and heart if desired.

Corner pocket placed inside is finished with a tiny gingham flower with button center and paper leaves.

Optional are die-cut pieces for embellishing the envelope such hearts and a zig-zag design or others.  

  • Gather all materials before beginning project.
  • Prepare and precut all papers, fabric and adhesives before die-cutting
  • Measure materials for layering background for the front of the card, by using 1/8" increments. NOTE: Any measurement between 1/4" or less will give a nice border.
  • The fabric is torn to give a frayed look to the edges.
  • Decorative scissors could be used on the edges of any of the elements if desired.
  • All heart shapes are cut from felt. The felt can be backed with double sided adhesive if desired or cut without and then applied with glue.
  • The flower is cut from fabric that is made from 2 pieces fused together with double-sided adhesive before cutting. An additional flower was cut from pink cardstock and they are layered together so the petals can be folded up for more dimension.
  • For the mandala design, a sheet of patina metallic foil was added to a square of foam backed adhesive sheet before die-cutting.
  • Since I do not have a "precision plate" for use when cutting intricate dies like this, I carefully ran the "Sizzix sandwich" through the machine more then one pass. 
  • For easier removal of the intricate design from the die, I placed a piece of thin tissue paper on both sides of the piece before cutting. Because of the adhesive sheets there may be some issues with removal of the tiny cuts. NOTE: Use a brush tool or a stiff toothbrush to help removethe small remnants from the die. There may still be pieces that may need to removed with a die pick, a piercing tool or pin. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Making Bells and Candle Holders With Sizzix Dies By Eileen Hull

Tutorials for Making Bells and Tea-Light Holders with Eileen Hull Dies

Bells, bells and more bells ... Bells will be ringing everywhere. One of my favorite Christmas songs is the "Carol of the Bells", thought I would share it here in this post about bells for a little sound of the holiday! 

Now, on with some making! I dont know why but I almost always look passed the original use of the designs of dies to find other ways to use them.  This happened with the new die teacup design by Eileen Hull for Sizzix.  

This tutorial will walk you through the way to use the teacup die in two different ways to create bells.  

These tips given, are for both type of bells and should be helpful in constructing them. They are given as a starting point, adjust the procedure to suit your own making style.

  • The first thing is to cut a template from a piece of chip board (something sturdy). This is to mark where to cut the cup shapes to create the bells.
  • The handles need to be removed to form both the bell designs.

  • This cut edge may not be completely smooth as the opposite side of the cup. No problem! Marking with the template, then removing the handle with sharp scissors on those marks will be fine.
  • Another template can be cut from plain paper to mark the center fold for the three-dimensional bell. This will help in folding and construction.

  • Fold this paper template carefully in half and crease well.  
  • For either bell design, color the edges with ink using the technique you prefer.
  • The 3-dimensional bell can be made from most types of paper. If using a heavy card stock, it may be helpful to mark the fold line and then use a score board to crease the center fold.
  • Refer to the NOTES given in the instructions.
  • Add any embellishments of choice to the lower edge of the single bell shapes, paper or other. A simple bow may be all it needs if using a paper with lots of pattern.
  • Roll the two shapes to curve slightly before joining together with the clapper/spoon if desired. 
  • To adhere paper for clapper/spoon I used double-sided adhesive. This type of adhesive may be helpful to use for some of the embellishments also. 
  • If thinner paper warps from gluing, placing the folded pieces under something heavy may help or carefully press with a dry iron along the edges. 
3D Bell

  • Cut 6 bell shapes from paper of choice. (NOTE: The amount of pieces can vary if desired, but I would use as few as 5 or no more then 7.)
  • Place the folding template on each cut shape and line up edges well. 
  • With a pencil, draw a line down the center of each to fold on.
  • Fold each in half, matching edges well and crease with a bone folder.  
  • Glue the folded shapes together, one at a time. Again, line up the edges of each well. (NOTE: Thinner papers may warp slightly when using a liquid glue.)
  • Before the final two sides are glued together create the center for the bell. 

  • Thread a jingle bell onto a ribbon or cord or wire, long enough to be folded in half to hold the bell and also become the hanger.  
  • Glue or adhere with double-sided tape, the center hanger and string with bel, along the center of the folded bell shapes. If gluing, let the glue set up. 

  • Glue/adhere the last two sides together. Adjust the center hanger if needed.
  • Make one or two bows from ribbon and glue to the top of bell on one or both sides of the hanger if desired.

Single Bell for Ornament or Banner

  • Cut two shapes for each bell from card stock. 
  • Use template to mark and remove the handles from each cup shape (NOTE: Use decorative or plain papers. Plain papers can be embossed with embossing folders after cut and handles removed if desired.) 
  • The bell clapper is cut from the spoon shape for each bell. (NOTE: Two pieces of metallic paper are fused together with double sided adhesive before die-cutting the spoon shape.)
  • Line up two bell shapes with the clapper (spoon) in between. 

  •  Adjust the spoon so the handle sticks out the top slightly and the bowl of the spoon shows at the bottom slightly.  
  • Mark with a dot a spot to punch a small hole to place a paper brad to hold the three layers together.  

  • Embellish the front of the bell if desired. Use other die-cut shapes or other embellishments. 
  • For single ornament - cut a length of thin ribbon or cording for a hanger.  Thread through the top of the bell, placing the hanger (cord) behind the spoon shape where it catches below the paper brad used to hold the layers together. Form a knot at the top of the hanger.  

  • For banner design, thread a longer length of cord through each bell so it lies under each paper brad.  (NOTE: To keep each bell in place, apply a small amount glue where the cord lies.)

Another seasonal favorite song to share with you, by John Williams, from Home Alone ... A Candle in the Windows.

The house ornament die was easily adapted to create a simple holder for battery style tea lights.  
As with instructions on adapting the tea cup die into bells, I will include some helpful TIPS.


  • They can be made of a kraft colored card stock for a gingerbread look.
  • Because this is a steel rule die, they can also be cut from a thin corrugated board.
  • Each holder will need 4 cut pieces. 
  • Practice simple doodles, lines, dashes and dots before decorating. The use of white ink looks like icing.


  • Cut 4 sides from paper of choice.
  • Refer to template to remove specific areas and areas to crease.
  • Mark each with pencil lines before cutting.
  • Use a ruler and craft knife to remove the unused areas.
  • Score the two crease lines.
  • Decorate each house piece with doodles in white ink. 
  • Add double-faced tape to the flap along the side of each house piece.
  • Some epsom salt can be sprinkled inside before inserting the candle. Use another type of fake snow if desired. 

  • Remove the backing from tape and align the other edge of the second house piece onto the adhesive strip. Continue till all four sides are connected.

  • Apply double-sided adhesive tape to  bottom flaps as shown.  NOTE: Notice the top flap in the photo has the adhesive on the outside edge of the flap. The remaining 3, it's positioned on the inside of the flaps.  
  • Begin folding in the flaps with the one with adhesive along the outside edge and alternate each flap till all four are folded onto each other. 

  • Use the handle of a wooden spoon or another device to push down onto the bottom from the inside of the holder, making sure the taped edges hold.
  • Insert a battery tea light inside.


Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Comfort & Joy - Decorating the House for the Holidays

Where does one begin? How does one begin? Is there a right way to begin? When does one begin? 

Well let me just say I begin with a few basics, I stay flexible and I want the house to feel cozy and comfortable and festive when the decorating is complete. I will admit that through the years a few things have stayed the course and for various reasons some things have changed. From the time of being a young married couple in a city apartment, to moving into the first little house with small children, then into a larger home with a growing family, before becoming empty-nesters and downsizing when the kids all moved on decorating for Christmas was a must!  Each brought different holiday decorating situations.  Don’t be afraid to change things around or scale back. You heard that saying ... "been there, done that"!  Some of those"must-do's" can move aside, it is OK!

The holiday decorating usually began the day after Thanksgiving. The long weekend seemed to be perfect to getting the decorations up. For many years we followed a tradition of having a live Christmas tree that usually went up around my December birthday. Many years we as a family would venture out to tree farms around our area to cut our own tree. It was not an easy decision to move away from the “real thing” to “life like”. The Christmas tree will always be the centerpiece of the holiday season. Let it fit your style! My style right now is a tree lit with clear lights and simple snowflake ornaments. There have be different looks in the past. 

An Older Version
Garlands with clear lights are the first things to go up every year. They are hung in archways, above doorways, over large expanses of windows and on bannisters. With so many choices of decorative holiday LED lights, use them where possible around the house. The tiny clear lights add a touch of coziness and warmth.  I find these a help in making the house look like the holidays. 

Artificial greens and seasonal sprays add another layer of a holiday feel, use them in any variety of containers. Just a sprig tucked in somehow can be just the thing. Tying red ribbons onto handles of baskets, candles and containers also add a simple holiday touch. 

It became important for me to keep decorations simple and more seasonal. Snowflakes and icicles and pine ones are easy elements to use for winter holiday and seasonal decor. Add books or magazines, old and new, related to the season in strategic locations. 

Bottle brush trees of all types, sizes and colors are another decorative element that can ce used in simple ways in a variety places.  I began collecting them a while ago and find them a nice addition almost anywhere. Pillow covers sewn from seasonal fabrics, seasonal throws placed over arms or backs of furniture add softness and cozy warmth without much fuss. Even towels embellished with a seasonal design add very simple splash of "holidays"!

If you’re lucky enough to have a mantle, create a scene or fill it with favorite things. Of course it makes the perfect place to hang stockings. 

From Another Year

Add tose other special handmade or "keepsake" holiday decorations in areas for visibility. Now ... Enjoy!

***** Use a section in your Comfort & Joy journal to jot down ideas you want to remember to try. Make sketches or diagrams, paste in images of ideas to try or make. It could be very helpful to also take a snapshot to save as a reminder. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Season Greetings - Sizzix Style

Whether it’s for decorating your house during the holidays or making decorations as gifts or even making packages for gift giving it seems my “go to” tools for making are ususally Eileen Hull Sizzix dies along with other dies by Sizzix that all coordinate so well together.  

Here are some ideas for making holiday decorations for your home or gift giving.

Versatility of dies are a major reason for my purchases of these tools.  Here are three used for gift giving.  All are made from the Sizzix mat board covered with the same paper on both sides before die cutting the shapes.  The square gift box cube holds a cellophane bag of hot chocolate mix and snowflake marshmallows. Another is made using the larger, bottom part of the treasure box die, with wire handles using the twist and style tool added. The third is an older die, the loaf pan die, perfect for a cellophane bag filled with sweet treats.   

Using the Eileen’s mitten box die #664510 here are two versions of a banner garlands. One is made from layering red burlap and red cotton fabric.  Two mitten shapes are cut and placed together with glue, leaving an opening at the top. The banner garland can be made as long or as short to fit your decorating needs.  The front of each is decorated using the zigzag shape from the same die, cut from felt and glued in place.  A small fabric heart is cut with a Sizzix die, and placed on the front between the felt zig-zag shapes. To finish, add a sprig of greenery and a pinecone into each mitten.

Another version was made recycling a white foam sheet of packing material. Cut two for each and glue together with white craft glue. Add a die-cut snowflake shape to each.  At the top edge of each mitten two holes were punched for adding a narrow ribbon for stringing them together. 

 Using the newest teacup die #664797 a three-dimensional bell ornament is made from cutting 6 shapes from silver metallic card stock. The handle is cut from each cup shape, scored down the centers for folding. The folded shapes are matched along the edges and glues together to form the 3D bell. A length of cording is folded in half with a jingle bell added and knotted at the cut ends, then fed through the center of the 3D bell.  Two bows are tied from silvery ribbon and glued to the top of the bell, around the hanging cord. 

This short bell garland was made specially for Eileen using the tea cup die.  The bells are made in her favorite color. The shapes are painted and embossed then embellished with shapes from other Sizzix dies. 

The house ornament die was cut from kraft colored card stock, decorated with simple doodles using a white pen to create little tea light holders. The base from the mitten box die becomes the holder for safe battery style tea lights. Use them on a holiday table at each place setting.