Archive for October, 2010


We are having a MYSTERY sale at CatScrap today and tomorrow!

Can you find this little pumpkin? If so, you'll find some great savings and a freebie or two… or three!


Happy Hunting!

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Hi there! I have got two new products up this week at CatScrap. I made some fun wordart called StoryStarts Vol.1 : The Real Story. In addition, I've put up my latest PDQ (Pretty Darn Quick) Overlays. These are Vol. 11 and they are based on some painted backgrounds I created. I have also put up two previous PDQ collections: Volume 9:Altered and Volume 10: Collage.

When I first created this series of overlays, I meant for them to be used by scrapbookers as a way to quickly come up with a solid color background for their pages. When I paper scrapped, I always had a stack of colored Bazzil papers that I used as a background for my layout. This was the thought behind making these — only instead I wanted to give the scrapper a solid color background with a bit of distressing and texture. As I began to create more, I had professional designers requesting them to use in creating their own papers, so I began to make them CU (Commercial Use) friendly.


I made this video tutorial for my scrapper friends to show them that my PDQ Overlays are not just for commercial use and how you can quickly and easily create a rich coordinating background paper for your layouts.

I hope you enjoy it!



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Halloween Decal Fun!


I recently found a website that sells paper that you run through your inkjet or laser printer to make clear decals to use on glassware, candles, soap, wood, etc. The possibilities for making cool crafts and home decor projects are endless! The website is called DecalPaper.Com. They even sell waterslide tatoo paper  — I think I see a handcrafted "tat" in my future… tee hee

I ordered their Inkjet Clear Waterslide Decal Paper and today created some fun Halloween candles and treat jars for the house using my Oct. 31 brushset. It's alot easier than it looks, come on I'll show you how I did it…


First print out your decals on the waterslide paper, making sure your print is on the glossy side of the paper. Then using Acrylic Crystal Clear High Gloss spray, spray your decals with about 2-3 coats. Allow to dry for about an hour before the next step.

Cut out your designs and for each project, soak your decal in a tub of water for about a minute, or until the decal begins to slide off the backing on the paper. Take the decal and put it on your glassware or candle. Use a clean, dry cloth to gently get all the air bubbles out. If it begins to dry and tear, wet the cloth slightly and go back over it.



Make sure you don't put the decal on anything that touches food. These dried completely pretty quickly – about an hour. I am not sure about putting the glassware in the dishwasher – I think I'll just wash them by hand. Also, I think to be safe, I may not burn the candles! LOL! I will have to check the DecalPaper site to see if this is okay.



Have fun!


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I’m now at CatScrap!!


Woohoo! I have a new digital shoppe at CatScrap and I've got a few new items too… a scary paperset, some creepy brushes and a new set of mixed media backgrounds. To celebrate my debut, all my stuff is 20% off for the week!


Nrj-oct31-papers-200Nrj-oct31-brushes-200 Nrj-mixedmedia2-200

I will also be uploading a selection of some of my older things as I have time. I am thrilled to be able to be a part of the CatScrap team… the designers and CT are so talented and their products are truly unique and artsty. Thank you Kristen, Shen and the rest of the team for making me feel so welcome…it feels like home already!


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Pssst. I have a secret….

That I can't quite share with you yet but I can tell you that I am very excited about this coming Tuesday!

:-} Hint: I am designing again and it feels great!


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Hello! Happy Friday to you!

Today, I have a fun tutorial, and a freebie for you. It's about creating your own brushes in Illustrator. The reason it is great to do this in Illustrator is the next time you pick up your pen to draw on your Wacom, you'll have some nicely textured and realistic doodles!

First, grab your favorite medium, whether it is art marker, crayon, charcoal, etc and draw some strokes on a piece of paper. Using varying widths and lengths. Try and make them a bit straighter but otherwise feel free to make them your own.

For our tutorial today, I used a black art marker, charcoal pencil and some of my Micron pens. I scanned them into my computer as a greyscale jpg and then opened them in Illustrator…

Next, with my brush scan jpg selected, I chose Object > Live Trace > Tracing Options.


You'll get a dialog box telling you the file is large and it may take a while to trace, click OK.


Next, in the Tracing Options box, select Preview and then choose a tracing preset that best fits the style of your brush strokes. I always have the best luck with Black and White Logo or Detailed Drawing. The nice thing about selecting Preview is you can go through the drop down menu and see what each preset looks like.


Then at the very top menu, you'll see a button that says "Expand". Click on that to finish your tracing.


Once your scan has been outlined and expanded we need to clean it up a bit.

At this point even though everything has been traced and is vector, it is still grouped and has a white background behind the image. First, choose Object > Ungroup


Then select the white image background behind your image and hit Delete to remove it.

One more thing to clean up. When we scan and outline we sometimes have white areas that remain in our vector images. Select a white fill area anywhere in your drawing.


Then choose Select > Same > Fill Color.


You'll see all the white areas are active. Hit Delete to remove these.

That's it – we are all cleaned up and vectorized and ready to make some Art Brushes!

Before we do, please save your Illustrator file!


Okay, the process for making Art brushes is the same for each of our strokes.

First, select your first brush stroke

Then from the Brush Palette, we want to choose New Brush


Select New Art Brush and click OK


In the Art Brush Options box, name your brush, choose the direction going to the right, and select it to flip on both axes. Lastly, from the color method, choose Tint. This is in case you want to draw in color, it will color your brush strokes.

The Proportional setting varies your brush width depending on the size of your drawing. I like to leave this unchecked and then choose the stroke width manually. But it's a matter of preference.


Repeat these steps for each of your strokes.

Then when you are done, select all the strokes in your brush palette.


And choose > Save Brush Library


Name your file and save it into your Illustrator Brush Folder


The next time you are doodling your heart out, open up your saved brushes this way.

Go to your Brush Palette and from the right arrow choose, Open Brush Library


From the extended menu, choose User Defined and there you will find your brushset!


Once your brushes are loaded into your Illustrator workspace, just select the one you want to work with and begin to draw! Feel free to change the brush stroke width as you work to get the look you want.

For this tutorial, I've included some doodles I made from my brushes for you (in .abr and .png) as well as the original strokes in Photoshop and Illustrator so you can play along and discover how to make your own Art brushes in Illustrator.



I'd love to see how you are creating your own brushes in Illustrator and any tips if you have them. One thing that I hate when I do create my own brushes is that any place that my strokes overlap, especially if the stroke is wider, I get a white space. If anyone knows how to fix this, let me know!

Illustrator Tutorial 1 (2.0 MB)

Have fun!


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