Monday, September 27, 2010

Settle in, it's going to be a long post!

If you're like me you're always searching for a better way to organize your stuff. If you have perfect organization skills, then this post is *not* for you! :)
Most recently I've been needing a better storage solution for my Cuttlebug stuff. Back when I didn't have very many dies/embossing plates/nesties I decorated a box and used that. While pretty, it wasn't easy to find what I was looking for - and we all know that means - you don't *use* it! My nesties outgrew the box and, for a while, I kept them in a small photo holder (cheap at Target, just one of those 4x6 plastic jobs). It worked as long as I didn't buy any of the larger sizes dies - yeah, the tall nesties and the embossing plates didn't fit at all.
Enter Office Max.
Or maybe I should say *I* entered Office Max! :)
While we were there a couple of weeks ago I picked up a package of these three pocket page protectors. While I'm sure that plenty of people have tried page protectors - these are different. They're thick, really thick. You can't really tell from their picture, but these are constructed a little differently than you might think. The front pocket is about 4 1/2" deep, the second (middle) pocket is about 8 1/2" deep. The third pocket is 11" - imagine a page protector with two pockets, then add another sheet of the plastic to the back to create another full page size protector on the back side. Am I explaining this well enough? :) Anyway, that back sheet is important - trust me!
So I brought the package home and brainstormed how I could 'fix' them to be perfect.
You'll need a hot knife (Don't have one? Go *get* one! You rarely need it, but it's irreplaceable when the occasion arises) with a melting edge instead of a knife edge, a metal ruler, an x-acto knife, a cutting mat and a piece of cereal box (I used the backing from one of the Cuttlebug embossing folders). I used a magnetic cutting mat, which made working with that slick material much easier, but you can use whatever you have.
It isn't easy to see, but if you look closely you can see that my hand is in the front pocket and the cuttlebug piece is in the last pocket. That faint line across where the top of the cuttlebug piece is - that is the top of the middle pocket. You can also see that this stuff is translucent, but *not* transparent. That should give you an idea of how thick and sturdy this stuff really is.
I measured my embossing folders and decided that my middle pocket should start at the same height as the top of the first pocket. Once the measurements were done I lined everything up on the cutting mat. I inserted the board piece in the third pocket. That's very important. You want to use the hot knife to melt the two middle pieces together, but you *don't* want to melt into the final sheet of plastic.
So, insert the board into the third pocket, line up the ruler and start melting! :) No need to go all the way from one side to the other. Embossing folders are wide enough that they won't fall through if you leave a half inch on either end. We did have a couple of missteps, nothing major (yes, DH helped a lot). Make sure to leave plenty of space above the bottom pocket edge before sealing (I sealed more than one pocket shut before figuring that out) about a quarter of an inch seemed to be perfect. If you do seal one shut just insert the x-acto knife into the open edge of the bottom pocket (with the blade facing up toward the top of the page) and gently slice open.
Here you can see my hand in the newly created middle pocket. The board piece is still in the back pocket. I wish I had thought to add something to the front pocket - but you'll just have to trust that I didn't seal it shut! :) I think the most important thing to note here is that the third pocket is still undamaged. It's not only helping the structural integrity, I could make more pockets on the back if I needed to.

Whew! Are you bored yet?We're almost done ! :D

Dh helped me figure out exactly what to do to make four pockets on the front (for smaller dies). If you decide to do this (and you need help) let me know and I'll try to explain the process. It's very similar - you just have to be careful where you put the board when cutting and melting. Here are some pictures of what it looks like now:
The embossing folders fit beautifully side by side. The best part is that their weight doesn't cause even a little sag. Excellent for putting in a three ring binder (this is a 3" binder - it barely fit all my stuff!).
Here you can see what the quad pocket looks like when finished. It's the perfect size.
I love how this came together. Everything about this project worked beautifully. I'm here to tell you that it's not only easy - it's ridiculously easy! I'm really glad I didn't let the 'unknown' stop me. Thanks for making it easy on me husband! :)
And thank *you* for dropping by!
See ya tomorrow for a crafty post! :)


Shanarun said...

This looks like a great idea. If you decided to do a video too, please let me know! I read through everything, but would definitely need a 2nd read through. Lots of great details. Thanks for the suggestion! :)

Kelly G said...

I agree, it's a great idea, but you need to read it more than once. I'm not quite understanding what you're doing with the hot knife. Are you shortening the pocket or what?

lauren said...

AHA! your DH is clearly on the LHJ "upper echelon" of helpfulness in engineering! (i actually think LHJ just finds it physically PAINFUL to watch me try to figure stuffs like this out and steps in just to MAKE ME STOP!!!)

this is a BRILLIANT and AMAZING idea! i NEED this! now i just have to find an office max and a hot knife... do we even HAVE office max here? would a soldering iron work for this?? if i tried it with LHJ's soldering iron and it was a giant mess of melted plastic and toxic fumes and ruined soldering iron...can i live with you after the divorce??!?! questions! i have MANY questions!!! :) :) :)