Friday, March 19, 2010

Let's get Hopping!

Hi everyone! It's Bloghop time! I hope you're ready for a busy day... I've seen some of the entries already and they're wonderful! If you've been following along with the hop you should have come here from Nancy's blog... if you didn't, you can find the start of the hop on the Stars and Stamps blog: http://www.owhstarsandstamps.org - there's a full list of hopping blogs there in case you get lost. As you probably know, Operation Write Home collects handmade greeting cards and notes of encouragement to send to the folks who are serving in the military overseas. I love making cards and sending them in whenever I can - anywhere from 30-250 cards in a batch depending on how much time I've had to make them lately. Did you know that you can squeeze a full 100 A2 cards into a flat-rate priority envelope if you pack them into stacks of 25 and wrap a sheet of plain paper around each pile? And it's only five bucks to mail the envelope? That's a bargain in anyone's book! But even if you can only send in one or two cards, it will make a difference to somebody's life, and that makes it well worth it. The only hard-and-fast rule is no glitter - it's a safety hazard to the troops because it could shimmer in a pair of night-vision goggles! If you want to use store-bought glittered items on your card, give them a good hard rub with your fingers first - some glittered papers could go through a hurricane without flaking, but others are totally unsuitable. If even one speck of glitter comes off on your hands, save that item for your own stash and use something else instead. Glitter that's embedded in acrylic or 100% sealed into plastic is perfectly safe, but even one particle of loose and flaky glimmer is too much for safety.

Now on to my entry-proper...
I was scratching my head about what technique to share with you today... and I decided to share my new toy - my cropodile. I'm sure everyone knows what a cropodile does - it punches holes and mounts eyelets with the squeeze of a lever so you don't have to bang and thump and disturb the neighbours when you're making cards at midnight... they've been on the market for the best part of a decade, but I preferred brads, which don't need any kind of special tools to set. Then I saw a pink cropodile on sale and thought 'what the heck'... I was immediately impressed, not just by how easy it was to set an eyelet into my card, but by how much else I could think of to do with it.
The cropodile has not one sized hole punch incorporated into it but three.  The eyelet-mounting end has a little poky prong to hold the eyelet in place, and if you put a sheet of paper in there, it'll make an extra-small hole for you. If the paper doesn't pierce all the way through, poke it to the back with a needle...
The only snag with the hand-held cropodile is the depth of the tool is very limited - you can only poke holes near the edges of your card and not in the center or along the inside fold. Which is why they also made a larger table-top version with a full 12-inch reach (one of these days I'll have to get one of them!)

So what to do with all of these holes? Here are just a few ideas for you...
  • if you'd like to put a bow on your card, you can poke two holes close together on the card and thread the ribbon through...
  • turn a punchie or a handcut cardstock shape into a homemade 'button' in moments (to make it look really flash, coat the finished button in UTEE and give it a raised, shiny finish.)
  • combine one or more of the hole sizes with other small decorative punches to make a border.
  • Make a corner decoration on your card with embroidery thread or wool - punch small holes and thread the yarn through. You could also make a cross-stitch border, or other threaded decoration on a strip of cardstock.
  • A row of holes can become a laced decoration. Or else punch holes at either end of the card and thread the ribbon through instead of wrapping it right around the card or leaving loose ends. 
  • Punch a border just with holes! I used all the different-sized holes on the threaded strip so you could get an idea of how they'd work...
Here's a card I made using my cropodile to punch various holes... I used the largest hole for the threaded ribbon, the middle-sized hole for the border, and the smallest hole to make button-holes in my cardstock buttons.
And now for your challenge - make a card or other paper item using your cropodile for something other than just setting eyelets! If you don't have a cropodile, use whatever size small round hole punch you do have. I'm not going to be using a ruler to measure the size of the holes. :P Make one hole, make a dozen... do whatever you like. Leave a link to your completed card in your comment, and somebody will get a prize!

I hope you'll come back and leave me a note if you attempt this challenge... in the meantime, on to the next blog in the hop - Scrappily Ever After. Lainie has a very moving story to share, and a personal challenge we all can help with.

41 comments:

Caro said...

Oh, my, what a lovely card but I'm rather crop-a-dile impaired.. will give me an incentive to get the hang of it with your card.. it's so unique!

Tami B. said...

Such a fun way to use the cropodile! Great tutorial.

Anonymous said...

WTG, Karen! I like the way you explore your new tool!

Daniel/Looser

...Darlene said...

Thank you for sharing your the patterns you can make with your cropadile. It makes a nice effect.

darlene a

Operation Write Home said...

Awesome! Thanks for sharing this - now maybe I need a cropodile...LOL!

Thanks for being such a special part of the hop!!

Meg Bean said...

Great use of your cropdile! Happy Spring!

Rhonda Miller said...

What a great card. Thanks for sharing how you use your cropodile.

SuzAnn said...

Great thinking outside the box!

Betty said...

Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing it and I love the card :)

Dawn said...

love the spring colors you've chosen for this card. I'm having fun hopin' along too!

hiscreation2 said...

Great tutorial Karen, makes me wish I had one of those gizmos!

Jan Hunnicutt said...

Love your cards from both posts! You're right, there is a ton of inspiration on this blog hop, I'm so glad I joined!

Merry's Musings said...

wow...that is one handy tool, thank you for all the inspiration in how to use it. I would like to just wear that card, love the colors and the ribbon weaving. Someone will just be thrilled with the card as well as hearing from their heroe.

Fabre said...

Wow - a new way to use my crop-a-dile! Thank you so much for a great lesson and for joining the blog hop today!

Bekah's World said...

Great card and great tips! I have a crop-o-dile and hardly use it. Now I know better tips to make more use of it! YAY!

And as a military wife I must say thank you for helping OWH keep families together in heart despite being apart because of duty.

JenMarie said...

Great use for the crop-a-dile!

Julie said...

Love that threaded ribbon in your card!

Renee said...

Thanks for all the great cropodile ideas!

rstuck2003 said...

Thanks for thinking outside the box! Great card!

Marci said...

I love to see you scraplifting already!

Kas said...

wow, I didn't know what a powerful little tool I had sitting in that drawer! Thanks. the border is great

~Jeri~ said...

Great card!!! I love my crop-a-dile! You done great work!!!
As a military spouse and someone new to OWH, I thank you for taking part in this awesome blog hop and in OWH!

Whispers and Wishes said...

don't you just love that pink heavy thing! (i used mine for my bloghop card!) Great ideas and thanks for sharing with us all.

-- said...

I don't know how many times I've needed a hole punch and forgot I have a crop a dile. HA! Great use of the tool

Gloria Westerman said...

Thank you for this idea....I too have a cropadile and don't even think about using like this....thank you for sharing....I don't think I will have time to make something but will try.....gw0109@gmail.com

Cathy... said...

Great tutorial and tips on getting more use out of my cropadile! Thanks for sharing!

Lauretta See said...

nice cards :) thank for the tut.

hugs x

Rufus said...

What a great exploration of a papercrafting tool!
R/

Trinity Paper Arts said...

Kajikit, What great information for those of us who have been thinking about whether they really needed a cropodile or not. Your card says that I do! Great use of color in your card - I wouldn't think I would like the pink and red, but I do. Thanks and blessings, Louise

Martha said...

Karen I didn't make all the way through the hop yesterday so I am getting another day of eye candy and fun. I loved seeing the cards you were inspired by and those you were challenged to make. Your passion for creating shows in all you do. Thanks for sharing it with us all.

Lyneen said...

Great tutorial. love the ribbon laced through the middle. Thanks for sharing and supporting OWH. I appreciate you stopping by my blog during the hop and leaving your kind words. Good luck in my OWH giveaway!

gorotajo said...

What a great idea. I had never thought to use my Cropodile for other things.

Carolyn Bounds said...

Your card is beautiful!!! I don't own a Cropadile; but after seeing your fabulous tutorial, I can see why they are so popular!! I just may have to get my hands on one of these babies;o) Thank you for the tutorial...I love this kind of enabling;o) Now, I can show my hubby why I "need" it:o) Hahaha!!

Hugs!
Carolyn

debb said...

Oh I am going to have to try this with my cropadile! Thank you!

Shelly said...

Nice card! I like the way you ran the ribbon through the center of the border. very pretty.

Thanks for the great Crop A Dile ideas.

Purple Princess said...

Beautiful card! Thanks so much for showing me what else I can do with my crop a dile!!

this is fun said...

Great ideas and fun card! Thanks for all the hard work on the tutorial!

JPScraps said...

I love seeing new uses for tools. Love the card!

Cut n Paste said...

Beautiful card! Thanks for the tips on the cropodile! I don't have one...but have never seen it used except to set eyelets. :D

Kimme said...

Wonderful use of your CAD. I love the lacing you did!

Collette said...

Some great cards ! thank you for being a part of the OWH blog hop, as well as your tips 'n tricks re: the Cropadile ... will give 'em all a try.