Tag Archives: we r memory keepers

Playing with the We R Memory Keepers Fuse Tool

As I mentioned on Friday, I got suckered by a half price offer – an offer, apparently, I couldn’t refuse, and even though in my head, I’m walking back the tools, the products, the photos, I bought the We R Memory Keepers Fuse Tool.   For those of you who have never seen this product, the fuse tool is like a wood burner but for plastic – the tip melts the plastic, creating a seal, and ta da – your own pockets, shaker cards, and whatever else your heart dreams of in plastic.  It comes with this flimsy stand, the cattle prod looking thing, a ruler and two tips – a sealer and a cutter.  The cutter apparently seals and cuts at the same time, and I suppose it’s good for cutting out shapes, or pocket tops, but I haven’t had a chance to use it yet.

So, here’s the new guy, all plugged in and ready to go.  The instructions say to let it heat up a good ten minutes, so while I waited, I mulled what I was going to make. Because, the truth is, I don’t really need any custom pockets, or shaker cards, or anything else – but I have it, so I’m going to use it.
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Because I don’t do any traditional scrapbooking, or cardmarking, or anything for which I’d need a sequin, I don’t really have anything to fill a shaker pocket – hadn’t thought of that.  Luckily, I do have this sequin die that I bought a few years ago from Papertrey Ink when I had grandiose dreams of making my own snow globe, shaker card holiday cards.  Didn’t happen.  So, I finally took the die out of the package, and made some sequins.  This die actually fits in the itty bitty machine I talked about on Friday, real name Diamond Press, available only at HSN until June, I think.  I also think itty bitty machine is a better name, but what would I know.

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Sequins made, I put them in a pocket with some acrylic stars and a camera, probably from a Studio Calico kit that I could never figure out what to do with since I don’t make shaker cards, and voila, a shaker pocket!

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As you can see, my seal line isn’t so straight, and it’s a little gloppy.  Basically, you run the tool, which has a roller tip, against the ruler.  Naturally, I went too fast, and went a little rogue, but it worked – it’s sealed.  Unfortunately, once it was done, I didn’t really have any use for it, and I found that one of the other pockets was defective.  No matter, I cut it open, and reused the acrylic embellishments.

Not having any need for any shaker pockets in my current PL week, I went back and found this pre-Fuse insert I made for my parent’s 50th Anniversary Party, because I couldn’t just be done with one pocket that I ended up destroying.

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Definitely sloppy enough to justify a redo.  So, I took a 12 x 12 page, and laid out my candy bar wrapper, and found it was wider than the invitation.  So, I made little pockets on each side to fill with sequins.  Oh yeah, I don’t have any sequins, so I again endeavored to make my own.  This time, I used cards from a frankly crappy Heidi Swapp gold foil filled PL Value Kit, and went to town with my sequin die –

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Glad to use that gold foil for something.  I’m also a sucker for a Michael’s clearance bin sale.

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Yep, so much better than the original, washi tape engineered original insert.  As you can see above, I did miss a little spot with the roller tip right above the word anniversary on the chocolate bar wrapper, but after I took the photo I spotted it, and fixed it.  One thing I learned is that if you can use the ruler that came with the kit, you should.  While it’s short, and doesn’t stretch across a 12 x 12 page, it is heavy, and does a good job of pressing down whatever is inside your pocket, ensuring that you have plastic pressed to plastic – because if there’s even a little air in between, and the pages aren’t touching, you aren’t going to be able to melt them together.

Here’s a closer look at the seal –

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And, here it is in the album:

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Had I been thinking, instead of just gleefully melting full steam ahead, I would have thought of the other side of the insert.  The invitation has a nice pattern on the other side, so that’s ok, but the other side of the candy bar is upside down – I probably would have cut the wrapper, and turned the other side around, but eh, whatever.

Feeling like a super fuse expert, I then went back to April 2014, and made this insert for my niece’s birth announcement:

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Now, even though my 2014 album is finished through July, I hadn’t included this back in April because my sister-in-law sent them out probably in June, and I was long done with April.  But, I had it saved in a box of stuff anyway, so now seemed like a good time to make an insert – I have a new tool to play with dammit!  So, again, I started with a 12 x 12 page protector.  I fused along the side of the invite first, cut off the excess, filled the bottom with stuff, and then fused a line across.  The first time I made this pocket – yep, first time fail – I made the line way too high – and I thought, no matter, so the top shaker will be narrower, no biggie.  But, the problem was that I hadn’t really put enough stuff in the pocket, and it turned out really top heavy.  So, I tried to poke a hole in the bottom of the pocket with a craft knife, so that I could shove some more stuff in, but I ripped the whole thing open and had to start again.  Oh well.

And, if you’re wondering where I got all of those sequins and baby like die cuts, when I just finished saying I don’t really have anything like that in my stash – well, those little “goodies” came in the birth announcement.  And, since I didn’t know they were loose, just shoved in the bottom of the envelope, when I pulled out the announcement – Bam! They went flying in my face, on the hall table, on the floor, everywhere.  WHO DOES THAT!!!!!  It’s not a party in an envelope – it’s a mess in my foyer! Cardmaking friends – please never do that.  It was such a mess.  I was finding random sequins in my foyer for months.  Shaker cards, cardmaking friends, not loose in the envelope.  I know none of you do that, anyway.  Because no one would do that, except for  . . .

Ehem.

Anyway, after playing with the Fuse for a few hours, here are my thoughts:

  • I can see myself using this tool a lot for inserts, and very infrequently for making actually shaker pockets on the Design A page.  Since I try to keep up, week to week, I don’t think I want to commit to how the pocket will be used in the next week – what if I NEED that space!
  • While I am trying to be more selective with my photos, I will definitely use this tool for making pocket flaps to add more photos, or perhaps to add an interactive element to hide journaling, or something like that.
  • As for the tool itself – it’s easy peasy to use – plug it in and it’s ready to go in about 10 minutes.   Forget about the stand though, and get yourself a ceramic mug, then you don’t have to worry about it flopping around and burning yourself.  And, instead of a glass mat to protect your surface, I have a ceramic tile that I bought at Home Deport for about $5 when I was going through a soldering phase.  Works great!

So, if you’re thinking about buying this product – don’t pay full price.  I don’t think it’s necessarily worth $30 – I paid $15 plus shipping.   Use a Michael’s coupon, or get the bundle at HSN – for $15 over the retail price, you get a ton of stuff – plastic sleeves for waterfall pages, the extra fancy tips, fusible paper!  This clearance price is a steal, and I wish I had seen it first.  Drat.  And, even though I bought the itty bitty machine on HSN (I am a total sucker for the show stopper on Craft Day!), I don’t work for HSN or anything like that – no monetizing on this blog with ye ol’ 11 subscribers.  I just think it’s a good deal, and I’m always happy to enable -er share!

And, I guess if I ever get tired of making pockets with it, I could always use it instead of my foodsaver machine.  Happy melting everyone!

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Project Life Redux

Yesterday, I referred to ye ol’ blog as a patiently waiting home for my stories. I’ve been thinking about stories a lot lately, the who, what, where, when, why and how of them, because I’m just finishing up Ali Edwards’ class, Storytelling with Project Life. Ali’s basic philosophy is fill your pockets, create homes for your stories, tell your stories. Simple, right?

But, what about when your stories are hard, like your father died, your parent/child roles are reversing, your niece has reached teenage, dark and grumpy years? I can’t really blame hard times on my Project Life stalling out – I blame that on excess, but I’ll get to that in a second – but I can blame it for my lack of motivation for starting it up again – who wants to slog through those “good times” again? But, surprisingly enough, Joe was really insistent that I resume documenting our lives, and finding homes, in his mind, for our photographs, and in turn, their stories.

So, at the end of last year, I signed up for Ali’s class, and started going back through my two completed albums, and the half started year, to see what worked, what didn’t, what went wrong. This turned out to be the first week of the class, as well, so I already had a bit of a head start. I found some interesting things. First, having a gazillion photographs and trying to use them all was a real stumbling block for me. I look back on some of my digital layouts, where I had full control over the number and size of pockets, and I’m overwhelmed – why did I use so my photos? Would it have been so terrible to just pick the best one? For instance, at my niece’s birthday party a few years ago, I took a series of photos with Danielle and my parents, and used a collage in a 4 x 6 pocket. The photos are pretty tiny, and two of them are just eh photos – why didn’t I just pick the best one? I look at the mini photo of Danielle and my Dad, and wish it were bigger, wish my hard drive hadn’t crashed, and I could just redo it. The one perfect photo is completely diminished the collage. And, to really put an exclamation point on the idea that too many photos is too many, the last full spread I did in my half complete album was our week long beach vacation, which is spread out over four pages! Too much. Step one, simplify my photo process.

Next, I compared the completed digital album to the completed paper album. There were things about both I liked, but the bottom line was I liked the simplicity of Design A of the Becky Higgin’s line of Project Life products, and I liked the physical process of putting things into pockets. However, on the other hand, I liked the look of typed journal cards so much better than my own handwriting. So, if I liked the paper based version better, what was the problem? Stuff, that was the problem – too much stuff, the need to use all of the tools and products I had purchased. And, it was really a pain in the neck to use my Silhouette. We have no room on the desk in the computer room, and the machine lives in its box. When I want to use it, I have to take it out of the box, hook it up, etc. and there really isn’t a very good space for it even when it’s in action. And, what did I really need it for anyway? When I look back at the pages that had Silhouette cut embellishments, that at the time I thought were just brilliant, I don’t even like them. It had all become just too complicated. And, I think the final straw was the Letterpress platform for my Evolution machine. What was I thinking? I was thinking it would be fun – but it so wasn’t – messy, messy, messy, and zero fun, and not such great results. Big fat fail.

And for whatever reason, at that point, I just wasn’t able to walk it back – wasn’t able to trim back the photos, abandon the embellishments and the machinery. I guess Ali gave me permission to do that – put the card in the pocket, tell you story, call it done, and whatever else is icing.

And, that’s what I did.

But . . . everyone has to have some product, right? So, I pretty much put away all of my previous core kits, and in the first few weeks of the year, I tried a hybrid thing, with The Lilypad’s Monthly Pocket kit, and typing my journal cards. I quickly abandoned that — not simple enough, and I was guzzling printer ink, and I bought One Little Bird’s new Project Life Core Kit, Currently , and for the most part, that’s what I’m using. Here and there, I’ve got an old Studio Calico card from my kit club days, and I do like MAMBI stickers, and photo overlays, and I’ve learned to live with my handwriting. Oh, and I buy this teeny die cutting machine from HSN.

Cute, right? And, it’s so much easier than hauling out the Silhouette – and it’s really all that I need – labels, arrows, tags.  It sits right next to me on my work space, I put the little dies in a small plastic folder, crank the handle, and done!  And, so everything kind of matches, for paper I use journal cards from the Core Kit.  There are so many doubles, its so not a waste.

So, here’s where I am – caught up!  Well, at least as far as this year is concerned.  I am planning on going back and filling in – I suppose, but I’m keeping current, and I think that’s a big thing.

This first month or so, like I said, I was experimenting with a hybrid system, but it was a hassle.  And, I know at this point, if it becomes a hassle, I’ll quit.  Better to simplify than have nothing.

As you can see, things started to go bad the third week, with the car accident, anniversary of my father’s death, etc.  Oh, and look at poor Olive with her hood – she was chasing her ball and ran into the door of the t.v cabinet, cutting herself right under her eye.    But, strangely, writing my way through it was a good thing – I think it would be harder to go back and revisit this period rather than just living in the moment, and moving forward.

And by February, my hybrid experiment was over.  The above two weeks are the Currently core kit, some stamps, some tags I cut with the itty bitty die cut machine, and a few stickers.  Easy peasy.


And, ta da – just like that, I’m current!  This last week I used the kit that Ali Edward’s put together for the class – journal cards, chipboard stars, wood veneer labels, some tags and frames.

It’s all very scrappy, and it’s working for me. And, it’s done. I’m not making art, I’m just making a record.

And speaking of records, Ali talks about putting longer stories in Project Life, and she creates 8 x 12 inserts, mostly using her photo/story templates. For me, there’s some journaling, some longer stories that I don’t need other people reading when they’re flipping through my books. So, what I do is put a card behind the photo. The original Project Life core kits came with these tabbed cards, they were 4 x 6, scored so you could fold them in thirds, and tabbed on top. I’ve run out of them, and I can’t seem to find them anywhere, from any product company. So, I’m just cutting tabs with my itty bitty machine, taping them to the top of a 4 x 6 card, and slipping them in behind the photo.  You can see on in the upper right corner behind the photo of Joe and I.

 

And for my next trick – the fuse tool! Yeah, I know, I’m supposed to be walking it back, but it was on SALE. I mean a really good SALE. But, when I got it, the sale wasn’t as nearly as good as the bundle that’s on HSN now. If I had any local scrappy friends, I would total give them the one I bought, and buy the bundle, but unfortunately, I have no scrappy friends. The paper is fusible people! How cool is that!
 
Anyway, I’ll let you know how my fuse experiment goes. I can’t imagine using it very often. Every once in awhile I like to add a flap to card, and I guess I could experiment with some shaker pockets. We’ll see.

Have a great weekend!

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