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November Mini-Class 10/30/2008

November is a month for counting our blessings and reflecting upon the little things and the bigger things for which we are thankful.

More than anything in the world, I am thankful for my children. Their smiles and hugs and kisses bring me joy.

I am also thankful for Studio Calico. I am thankful for the opportunity to have a job that nurtures my creativity. I am blessed to have a community of women with whom to share my passion.

What better way to celebrate our blessings than to document them through our scrapbooks and journals?

Although this mini-class was originally designed to be a technique tutorial, I hope it will also help you focus upon the blessings in your life, no matter how large or how small they are.


November JACKSON’S ORCHARD add-on kit
NOAH Alphabet Stamps
Ali Edwards TODAY YOU Stamps (optional)
Basic Grey Precision Files
Craft knife and self-healing mat
Adhesives and stamping inks

Technique One: Chipboard Borders and Precision Files

The Maya Road chipboard borders in the November kit can be used in a variety of ways, but my favorite way is to dress them up with patterned paper.

The first step is to completely coat the top of the chipboard with adhesive. (I used a glue stick.) Next, glue a strip of patterned paper to the chipboard and rub to make sure that the paper is evenly adhered.


Now, with the patterned side down, use your craft knife to trim around the edges of the chipboard. Trim as closely to the chipboard as possible, but rough edges are fine.

After you have trimmed away the excess patterned paper, use your large Basic Grey file (the one that resembles a fingernail file) to sand the edges of your chipboard. I generally file in a downward motion only, rather than back and forth. Concentrate on the larger areas and don’t worry about the grooves
and curves in the chipboard.


Next, go back with one of the metal files and sand the grooves and details. On this border, I used the file that is flat on one side and curved on the other. I used the curved side to smooth the indentions. The result is a very smooth chipboard border covered with patterned paper.



Here is the layout I created with my chipboard border:


After completing my first layout, I started on a second chipboard border. I used the same technique again, covering the chipboard with patterned paper, trimming the excess paper away with a craft knife, and using the Basic Grey Precision Files to sand the edges.

This flower border was a little bit different because of the holes in the center of the flowers. After sanding all the outside edges and inner diamonds, I used the round file to poke through and sand the holes. I poked through the holes from the back side of the chipboard, and then I turned it over to sand the inside. Still using the round file, I sanded straight down and then back up with a circular motion. This up-and-down technique works best with circles.


Here is the layout I created with my second chipboard border:


Technique Two: Stamping Over the Edge

You might have noticed that I used the same stamping technique to create the titles on both of these layouts. Just as you have probably learned that it is okay to stamp images off the edges of your paper, it is also fun to do the same thing with alphabets!

Here are a few tips:

Use scrap paper under your layout so that you don’t stamp on the table.

If you are starting at the top off the paper, consider stamping off the top and side of the page. Also… don’t be afraid to hide part of your stamped letters under patterned paper or photos.

If you are stamping a title vertically off the right side of the paper (as I did on my “favorite fall photo” layout) it may be helpful to write the words on a piece of scrap paper before you begin. Since you stamp the letter on the edge of the layout first, you will not be stamping the letters in order. It helps to have the letter placement visualized before you start so that you can avoid spelling mistakes. This stamping technique can be very tricky for the brain!

Don’t be afraid to let your letters overlap!



Technique Three: Rip Strips and Walnut Veneer

If you have visited the November Design Team Gallery, you have seen the Rip Strips (from November's FOUNTAIN SQUARE kit) and the Walnut Veneer (from November’s JACKSON’S ORCHARD add-on kit) used in a variety of different ways.

I used mine to create a small journal.

First, I used my craft knife to cut the veneer in half, creating two 4x6-inch rectangles. I decorated one piece to be the cover of my journal.

Next, I cut three sheets of kraft cardstock in half, making six pieces. Then, I cut 4 inches off each piece, leaving me with six 6x8-inch rectangles and six smaller pieces. Put the smaller pieces aside… you’ll use them later!

Fold the large rectangles in half individually. Then unfold and stack them. Use your sewing machine (or a needle and thread) to sew the pages together down the seam, creating a booklet.


You will see that the outside edges do not line up correctly. Use your craft knife to trim off the excess so that your booklet has a smooth edge. Sand with your large Basic Grey file, if necessary.


Glue the top page of your booklet to the back side of your front veneer cover.
Trim about ¼-inch off one long side of your back cover. This will ensure that your booklet will be able to open all the way.

Glue the back page of your booklet to the back veneer cover, lining up with the outer edge.


Finally, you will use the rip strips to create a faux binding for your book. The rip strip will not actually hold your book together, although it appears that way!

Removing the rip strips from the backing is simple. Find the score marks at the top of the strips. Use your fingernails to get a grip and then rip with one hand, while the other hand secures the rest of the strips. I actually ripped three strips off the sheet at one time.


Adhere the rip strips to the book, wrapping from the front around to the back (as you would use bookbinding tape). Trim off the excess.

Here is my completed journal:


Now… what to do with those little scraps of kraft cardstock?

How about making a set of gratitude cards to hand out to your family before Thanksgiving dinner! Give them out ahead of time for your family members to fill out then share your answers at the dinner table. Or… as a twist… fill them out yourself and let your family members know why you are thankful for them.

Use the stamping technique mentioned above to create your cards. They’re so easy to make if you approach them assembly-line style. Stamp the same letter on each card before moving on to the next letter.


When you are ready to stamp the year, start with the “8” first and work backwards.


If you have the Ali Edwards TODAY YOU stamps, use them to stamp the finishing details. Embellish with buttons or clips.




The Basic Grey Precision Files are available in our Supply Store.

The Studio Calico exclusive NOAH Alphabet stamps will be restocked. Please email if you wish to be notified when they become available.