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Meet our New Design Team Member ~ Betsy Skagen!

We are excited and honored to have
Betsy Skagen
Join the Altered Pages Design Team

Please help us welcome her!!!

My name is Betsy Skagen. Skagen rhymes with toboggan--which makes sense since I hail from the snowy and arctic northland of Saint Paul, Minnesota. I share my home with my with my husband of 26 years; two circus-performing kids; our counter-surfing 90-pound dog, Annie Lulu; and Boomer, our Golden Retriever puppy. I am a paper crafter, altered art artist, writer and graphic designer, who brings a fresh approach to the crafting world by infusing my blog-- Paper Calliope with slightly irreverent humor.

 My eclectic crafting style is built upon a foundation of good design principles,forged from my years as a marketing communications professional. Having a strong sense of design allows me to explore new techniques and trends without forgoing excellence.  Last year I took a plunge. After spending decades as a professional writer, graphic designer and business owner, I took a deep breath and formalized my long-term love affair with paper crafting and altered arts by forming Paper Calliope.

Some of my loves include vintage circus, mid-century graphics and plenty of whimsical kitsch. I am passionate about writing from the heart to illuminate and overcome the anxieties of life, helping kids with special needs and lots of belly laughs. Oh yeah, I also despise the Oxford comma.

I have been named to the international design teams of the ColourArte, Robin's Nest, Whisker Graphics and Altered Pages. Please drop by my blog at

Bragging rights: I have a husband; two kids; a 90 pound mixed breed Bluetick coonhound named Annie Lulu and a fast-growing Golden Retriever named Boomer. Two of these beings unicycle, do circus tricks in the air and walk the high wire. One sugar-daddies my craft supply needs and the other two are pro-circuit countersurfers.

To learn more about this amazing Jane Austen ATB visit Betsy blog HERE!

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The Gift Card Card

Robin here and today I have a project for you that is a fun way to give gift cards or cash.  

You will need two envelopes for this project.  One is what the post office calls the 6 1/4 Commercial envelope.  When I was growing up we just called it a letter envelope.  It's a smaller rectangle than the #10, being just 3 5/8" x 6 1/4".  The other is a standard A6.  I chose the A6 because it fits inside the letter envelope when it's folded in half and it's also large enough to hold a check or cash, as well as a gift card.

With the flap against the body of the envelope, fold it in half from side to side.  Cut the flap in half and trim the inside cuts at an angle so that they don't interfere with the fold or get bunched up. 

Decorate the flap side of your envelope.  This will be the inside of your card.  Fold the envelope again and decorate the side that will be the front of your card.

Cut a panel of card stock to fit inside the 6 1/4 Commercial (letter) envelope.  Att…

Rolling with my Gel Press

I love experimenting with different ways to create texture and interest on my Gel Press and for many years now I have turned to fun foam to help do this when monoprinting.  I love to team the fun foam with my dies to create my own stamps and texture plates.  I used this techniques for my prints in January that I shared here on the blog. There are lots of dies that have detail, meaning lots of scrap pieces which you can randomly stick onto cardboard giving you a stamp as well as using the actually die cut shape as a stamp.  Another idea is using them attached to a toilet roll to create a brayer like roller was shared at my local scrapbook store and on a video by Birgit Koopsen last year.  I love playing with this method. The toilet roll is slipped over a paint roller handle.

Here you can see some of my texture creations that I have on hand for my play today.

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Pretty Little Trees of all colors

Make adorable ornaments or decor items.

YOU can make the most colorful trees to fit your style and home.  Surprise someone with a color coordinated gift too!
I did different techniques for dyeing the sisal trees from AlteredPages.  We have 3 inch and 4 inch sizes in natural cream color available.

# 1 Technique used simple food coloring.  Yep, just like dyeing Easter Eggs!

I used an empty glass jar filled with water and dropped about 4 to 5 of green food coloring in and stirred it well.   I then placed a tree in the water.  The sisal is just like jute, so it absorbs the color easily.   I allowed it to be submerged for a minute and took it out.  The first dipping was paler than I wanted, so back into the water!

I did the same with red food coloring and added blue to the green for an aqua, as above.   Depending on how many drops of color you add to the water and how long you leave them submerged will determine the intensity of color.  Pull them out of the water after 30 seconds and check for …