Easy leather-style card wallet for Father’s Day

Category : Blog, Events, Father's Day, Featured, Projects, Sewing

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Rating: Beginner / Intermediate Time: 1 hour

I have multiple wallets.  There’s the formal one I use that my wife bought me at the Coach store.  It’s a great looking men’s wallet.  Then there was my regular everyday wallet I used to use, it had place for cards, cash and coins.  But it was bulky!  I don’t like a bulky wallet, so I had this other little thing that basically just held credit cards, and I guess you could fold bills up in it too.  The thing was that it broke, well the plastic covering the cards broke and so it now had these sharp plastic jagged edges and the cards tended to get stuck in the torn plastic.  After using the card-wallet like this for a while I finally had enough and I could not find anything as a suitable replacement.  I studied the existing card-wallet to see how it was made.  It looked fairly simple and I figured I could make one.  Easy, right?  ;-)

My first attempt was using real leather. The problem with the leather I bought at the craft store was it was just too thick to put through the sewing machine.  The heavy-duty nylon used for sewing the leather kept getting stuck in the leather and the leather folded over didn’t really go through the sewing machine.  Hmmmm, what to do?

One day while walking through Jo-Ann’s I took a look at what they had and found this great leather-looking vinyl.  It was perfect, because the inside was like a felt and it was thin and plyable enough that it’d fit through the sewing machine folded over.   I bought about 2 – 3 yards of it!!!  Way too much, but it was SO cheap and I then had enough should I ever need to remake my wallet.

For this wallet I used regular cotton thread because sewing with the heavy-duty nylon was just painful!  I’m not expert when it comes to sewing machine, and this I think was my first attempt at the sewing machine!  It’s my wife’s machine, that she’s used once to sew a halloween costume for my daughter a couple years back.  I needed a plastic to cover where the cards go.  But what to use?  In the stationery section of another store I found those plastic folders used for covering pages when filing.  I have no idea what they’re called, I’m a guy!  :-)   I see what I think will work and buy it.  If it works, great!  If not, try something else!  Luckily these sheets worked perfectly!

The next steps was to closely examing the existing broken card-wallet, get the dimensions, etc.  I found that the cards fitted really tightly into the existing wallet so I made mine about 1/8″ bigger all round, so 1/4″ wider in total.

First thing to do is to cut the plastic sheets.  Cut this basically 1/4″ bigger than your credit card size. LEAVE THE PLASTIC DOUBLED UP!  Yes, don’t separate the plastic.  You want 2 layers so that the plastic has a good feel to it, else it’ll be too thin and flimsy feeling.  Cut out 2 double layers like this, one for each side of the wallet.

Next step is to lay this out on your vinyl fabric, exactly the same way it’d go in the wallet.  Use a scissors to cut the fabric, but CUT IT ABOUT 2″ OR MORE WIDER ALL ROUND.  Yes, cut it way bigger than it needs to be.  Trust me!  :-)

Cut another 2 strips as long as the plastic and about as wide as the plastic too.

Now get your machine all tensioned up and ready to go by practicing on an off-cut of the fabric.

Now fold 1 of the strips over the long edge of the plastic, so that it’s basically folded in half and overlapping on the plastic.  You could use paper-clips to hold things together, because the plastic will most likely be slippery.  Sew this as you see in my completed wallet.  You can cut any over-hang off and then use a scissors to trim close to the stitching, making sure to cut straight and the same length on either side of the plastic.  Do this whole process again for the other side / piece of plastic and vinyl.

You see why you cut things bigger than needed?  Because you get to trim it down later, and it makes it WAY easier to sew with a big overlap instead of trying to fold over a little flap of vinyl that wants to straighten out all the time.

Basically you have to repeat this technique above for the same 3 sides of the plastic and then trim down the over-hang.

When you done, BAM!  You’ve got yourself, or Dad, a VERY nice wallet!!!  I use mine all the time!  When I told my wife I was going to be making a wallet, I got the eye-rolls, and the look of “yeah!”  Once I was done though my wife was pretty impressed, and said it turned out really well, and way better than she thought it would!  What I like about my new wallet is that doesn’t look home-made.  I can whip it out places and pay without people looking at my wallet thinking, WTF is that?  It looks and feels like a regular wallet.

If you’re one of the ladies following my blog, I’m sure a vinyl in a pink, purple or floral print would really turn this into a cool ladies card wallet!

Hope you enjoy this tutorial.  Unfortunately I did not take any photos during the process of making the wallet, but I’m sure that if you follow the steps above and with photos of the final product below you’ll see exactly what I mean and how things are to be done.

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Mother’s Day wrapping paper

Category : Events, Featured, Mother's Day, Photoshop, Printables, Projects, Scrapbooking

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Rating: Beginner/Intermediate Time: 30 minutes

Downloads Links:
PNG file
Photoshop PSD file

I decided instead of using a gift bag for the Mother’s Day gifts from my daughter we should wrap them. I’ve made “wrapping paper” before. The secret to this is to use a very thin light-weight paper, otherwise if using regular paper it’ll have too much bulk when folded.

The Tiffany’s box is already blue so I’m continuing with the blue theme and so the paper’s background would be blue. I like the idea of writing in crayon on the paper, but instead of doing it by hand, which could be done, although crayon tends to smudge if handled too much, especially by kids. ;-) So I used Photoshop to “draw” over some text. I made 12 different colours from the original and ended with this.

Click to enlarge:

In Microsoft Word I simply pasted the graphic images randomly on the page at random angles. I printed a few sheets and am ready to wrap!

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Vintage-style photographs

Category : Cricut, Events, Featured, Mother's Day, Photoshop, Projects, Scrapbooking

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Rating: Intermediate Time: 2 hours

For Mother’s Day the last few years I’ve created a type of memory item for my wife, from my daughter. The first Mother’s Day was a photo book, from My wife loved the photo book! The 2nd year I did not want to create the same thing, so I created a DVD (disc and cover) on my Mac, which used a theme to look like it was paging through a photo album. The background music was 1234 by Feist. My daughter helped by introducing the video, saying Happy Mother’s Day, etc. and then for each different set of photos in the video she introduced (audio) the venue / event for the photos. My wife loved the video and I put a copy of the video file on my desktop and my daughter still loves watching it over and over and over! :-)

So we’re coming up to our 3rd Mother’s Day. What to make? I thought of a camera and the photos inside it. I’ll document the build of the “camera box” separately, but this post is about the photos inside the box. I wanted the camera to look oldish and the pictures inside to have that old vintage look to them. I did not just want a photoshop effect on the pictures, I wanted each individual photo to be a piece of work. Together with the camera and pictures it would be a memory of the last year since the previous Mother’s Day and it would be a keep-sake together with the photo book and DVD. (I already know what we can work on next year, but that’s another post!)

First I had to know the dimensions to make the images. I worked out the dimensions based on the camera box I had made. I wanted each picture to be mounted on black cardstock, but I wanted the photo to be level with the cardstock. So each photo is glued/mounted to the black cardstock and then a border is placed around it, to give the effect of sunken in and level with the complete card. I also wanted rounded corners for the card and the inserted picture. Square cuts are easy and wouldn’t be that unique.

With this project I had to ensure that each picture turns out looking the same as the next. Best way to do that is to cut everything with the trusty Cricut machine. That way they’ll be exactly the same.

Because of the dimensions of the camera box I had to work out the thickness of the cardstock and figure out how many cards (doubles) I could fit into the box. I picked 19 pictures to mount, showing my wife and daughter together over the last year at various events and doing things together. 19 gave me a bit of wiggle room in the box.

So now I know enough to get started. Dimensions, numbers, style, etc. As mentioned previously on my blog I have Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator on my Mac, but not on my PC, so on my PC I use Gimp and Inkscape (but when I talk about software I’ll refer mainly to Adobe’s software instead of jumping around). Inkscape’s very similar to Illustrator. I use both of those programs to create SVG files that I can use with a program called Sure Cuts A Lot (v2) to cut out the SVG shapes on the Cricut machine. All the cuts could be done by hand too, very easily. But the Cricut makes sure everything is cut precisely the same and rounded corners are all exactly the same too.

First I drew the shape of the card in Illustrator. I drew a 4×6 scale border in red to get an idea of scale, because with some pictures there’s not too much to crop off to get it to fit the shape of the cards. I had to make the cards a bit less wide because the cards were too narrow in their dimensions, which meant if I fitted say a person in the photo there wasn’t enough room on the sides to get the image to fit, so if I made it fit the one way then the person was too big and I’d have to cut them off somewhere. So play around with what works for you.

Click on the image for a larger view.

Once I had the dimensions worked out I picked elements from the design and saved each as an individual SVG file.

Click on the image for a larger view.

These SVG files were then used to cut all the black card stock on the Cricut machine. I did not use floppy cardstock, it’s got a bit of weight to it, and so it doesn’t actually bend. It’s not actually cardstock, but that’s what I’m calling it. The weight’s about 3 – 4 cardstock pieces glued together I’d guess.

For the images I did a Google search for vintage-style photos and found some pictures, of what I wanted the image to look like, but not an effect to get the look I was looking for. So I changed my search to vintage-style paper texture and that brought up a lot of blank images that had that old feel to them. That was what I needed as an overlay in Photoshop, as well as a bit of sepia toning. You can see an example of the before, during and after in the images below. To get this effect play around like I did in Photoshop.

Now that I had my pics selected and the effects applied to the size / area of the image as needed I got the pictures printed at the local photo place. I used the Cricut to cut out each individual photo, again to ensure precise and exact cutting of each picture to exactly fit the cutout space on the cardstock.

Next steps in the assembly line! For this project I used a sheet of miniture glue dots, called LetraTac adhesive glue dots as seen below.

First I laid down the front of the card stock on the glue dots, to coat them in glue dots. While still down on the glue paper I placed the cutout picture in the middle to also coat in glue dots. This worked better than putting the back down because little glue dots can be seen in the little seam between the cardstock and picture. So when lifted off I first placed the border on the backing and then picture in the middle and my daughter helped squish them down really hard and make sure the glue won’t come apart. Repeat 19 times! :-)

So there we have the pictures done. But where and what are they? Each picture needs a date, for when it was taken, and also the name of the event on it. At the craft store I bought this white pen, which draws really well on the black cardstock! I’m not very neat with my handwriting so what I did was create a Word document with all the text on it in the font I wanted. Then using a pencil I scribbled on the back to make a “carbon” layer, then placed the text lined up on the card and wrote over the print out. This gave me a traced out version of the text I needed on the card. All that was needed was to write over everything with the white pen. And bingo, done!

And that’s my vintage-style photos done for the camera box (which I’ll blog about later).


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Mother’s Day Envelope

Category : Events, Featured, Mother's Day, Photoshop, Projects, Stationery

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Rating: Beginner / Intermediate Time: 30 minutes

I’m working with my daughter on this year’s Mother’s Day project.  One of the things we’ll need is an envelope.  I’ve created envelopes before, but won’t be doing that for this task.  What I do want though is an envelope with fancy printing on it, with the word MOM on it.  I’m looking for something with lacy detail, but not lace, and something that looks like it’s floating but not.  It has to be awesome, like Mom!  ;-)

Usually I create my graphics in Photoshop on my Mac, but sometimes I’m using a Windows PC and  I don’t always have Photoshop available to me.  Sometimes I therefore use the free software program Gimp.  Gimp’s not a bad tool, for quick editing of files, but it’s got some powerful easy-t0-use features too!

Before we dive into Gimp, we need to know how big this image needs to be.  Too big and the detail of the lace work may be lost, and too small means it’ll need to be blown up and will be pixelated when printed.  There’s an easy way to figure this out.  Printing at say 150dpi or 300dpi (dpi stands for dots per inch) should be sufficient for the eye.  The envelope’s a standard 5×7 size (inches that is).  I’m going to work with the lower res image, but feel free to create it any size you want.  The image size I need to create to print 5×7 at 150dpi would be 750×1050, and that’s measured in pixels.

In Gimp, create a new document with the dimensions above, specifying a transparent background.  This can easily be done in Photoshop too.

Use the Text Tool to create the word MOM as big as you want it on the envelope.  Gimp will put this text on it’s own layer.  Choose a big bold font.  I used Sigmare One, a font from Google Fonts.

You should have something like this, so far.

Right click on the text layer and select Alpha To Selection.  This is easily done in Photoshop too.  Create a new transparent layer, and hide the text layer for now.  With the new layer selected and the MOM outline still selected, choose the the brush options as I’ve selected below and paint over the selected area to create the same effect.

This is just to get some random shades of grey for the next step.  I also created a temporary white layer so the effect will be more visible when viewing.  We’ll turn off the uneeded layers when we save later.

Under Filters, Distorts, Mosiac, select a largish tile size as I’ve done below, which is what we want to produce the lace effect.

Do another effect with Filters, Artistic, Predator.  Then another effect, Filters, Alpha To Logo, Chalk, and choose a grey color.  Adjust your curves (Colors, Curves) so the image gets darker, like I’ve done below.

Next, add a drop shadow, with the options I’ve specifed.

You should have the final effect, as below.

Printed out your Mother’s Day envelope will look good!  Some pics of the final product are below.

This graphic effect tutorial can be applied to other events too, for example, Father’s Day, etc.

You can either follow these instructions for the effect, or soon you’ll be able to purchase the final image file (in png format) ready to print from our store.  If you’re interested in purchasing the final image file now, please email me at

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