Monday, September 27, 2010

Happiness.

Echo Park papers just make me happy!  I bought the three original sets and am loving them--I even love the stickers (and I never love the stickers!).  I had some scraps out on my desk from a recent project and I noticed that they fit Dawn's Color Cue 8 perfectly.  I also wanted to play in the Waltzingmouse Sketch Challenge and shazam--everything came together like magic.
Wheeee!!!  The flowers are from Waltzingmouses's Pic-nic Patterns and the sentiment is from their Rescue Remedies Additions.  I used Colorbox chalk ink in Lime Pastel, Dark Brown, and Maroon (I'm having a Chalk Ink Renassaince after making my ink color chart: sure they stain your clear stamps, but they stamp so vividly!).  Each flower head is popdotted, and each strip is pop dotted.  The button on the Nestie Label 4 is also scarlet, with some fab yellow embroidery thread.

And wait, there's more happiness!  I was so happy when not one, but two! Emilies awarded me this:
Thanks, Emily of My Little Slice of Bliss and Emily of Art from the Heart!  Now to pass it along to seven other happy-making blogs:

Lisa of Lisa's Life Lines
Emily (what's with all the Emilies?) of Emmie Lou Who...Stamps and You!
Denise of Handmade by Me!
Lydia of Understand Blue
LeAnne of Wee Inklings
Jess of Playing with Paper
Brandi of The Squareheaded Stamper

Check 'em out if you need a dose of inspiration!

And my final happy for today...I got these delivered at work last week just because somebody loves me.

I hope y'all had some happy today, too!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A CASE study

I stumbled upon a new challenge site today: CASE Study Challenges.  The card they had to case for this week was just too gorgeous to pass up.  Here's what I came up with:
Flower stamp from Impress, colored with R20 and R22 copics.  Look how I even left white at the ends of the petals! It is so hard for me to leave white when I'm coloring.  I know it looks good when other people do it, but I think people will look at my card and think, "did she run out of marker?"  The background is Ocean Tides, impressed with PTI Book Print and sewn on with brown thread.  The "thanks" is from Impress as well.  Let me just say, I am about to impress this stamp out the window!  As I mentioned earlier, Impress was nice enough to include a handstamped/handwritten thank you in my shipment:
But ever since I saw it, I've been trying to duplicate the perfection of the stamping to no avail.  I've tried it with every type of ink I have: memento, versafine, papertrey, Impress's own Fresh Ink.   I've tried it with every type of paper: gina k, papertrey, even the back of the original notecard.  I've tried it with fun foam underneath, with a magazine underneath, with nothing underneath.  Light pressure.  Heavy pressure.  Inking upside down. Inking right side up.  Inking with one hand tied behind my back.  I've tried an eraser.  I've tried sandpaper. I've tried a nail buffer.  Nothing comes close.  Now, I understand that kraft isn't smooth and therefore won't be as perfect but just compare:
Their suggestion?  Use their ink pad and use a reinker every time.  You know, if I wanted to order ink and reinker (mind you the ink pad was $6 and the reinker is $4 or $5), I would order from PTI, KWIM?  Seriously, this has caused me so much frustrastion and wasted paper I'm about to just chuck it.  How do you get rubber stamps to stamp nicely?

Ok, now that I've gotten that off of my chest, howsabout one more card for today?
I started with the same layout plan as the first card, but then I thought it looked nice without the stripe.  Am I the only one who thinks the colors in this Cosmo Cricket paper look like the ocean as sunset?  I stamped the boat and sails from PTI Men of Life and cut out.  I impressed the sails with the linen impression plate, although it's hard to see.  The thanks is a cuttlebug die cut.  And, yeah, I went old school and put some eyelets in (mostly due to my lack of brown brads at the moment).   AND they actually set perfectly with the cuttlebug!  I used some blue & white twine through the eyelets, looped them around one another, then threaded the ends back through the eyelets and tied it in the back for a nautical-knot look.

Well, I'm about to sit down to the season premiere of The Amazing Race.  Any other TAR fans out there?  It is one of the few shows that DH & I watch the night it comes on every time (we're pretty hardcore tivo people, so that's saying something).  Any new shows you're into this season?  My current fave (since FNL isn't on yet) is Parenthood.  Not only does it employ actors from almost every old favorite show (Gilmore Girls, Sports Night, Arrested Development, FNL, Everwood, and one of the actors just got engaged to Veronica Mars), but it also has an "old gold" in the opening credits.  What more could a girl ask for?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Birthday To My Blog Peeps!

There I was: the beginning of summer, a wonderfully long vacation stretched out before me.  And what better way to spend the first days of vacation than stalking the Splitcoast CAS DT search thread, right?  Especially when Miss Boo forgot that she was supposed to post the results that night!  Anyway, there were quite a lot of laughs that night, and quite a few of my loyal followers are from that thread (and some have even made it to the DT team!).  But the two loyalest of followers and interweb friends are none other than Angela of Paper Cupboard and Emily of Art from the Heart.  You may also remember them from such posts as Birthday Goodies, I'm Awesome, and Paperworks Summer Challenge. Other than their opinions on cold tolerance and meat tolerance, both of them are totally in my head.  And they both make awesome cards that wow me all the time.  Annnnnnnnd, both share the same birthday, which is today! 

I'm hoping Angela might have a chance of getting her card today, but I'm pretty sure Emily won't, so enjoy a sneak preview, gals:
Happy Birthday, Angela!  I just loved this sentiment when I saw it online, and I love it even more spelled out in Echo Park letter stickers.  The green paper as well as Zero the dog are Echo Park papers, too.  Zero is from Eat Cake Graphics, and the party hat is from The Cat's Pajamas, colored with prismacolor pencils.  I used the sunshine impression plate on the red nestie label one because it looked like a party by itself.  This was a hard card to mail off!  Take good care of him, Ang!
Happy Birthday, Emily!  This was another sentiment I saw online that I thought was perfect.  The image is from Rubber Romance.  I've had it forever and this is the first time I inked it up.  I colored the image with my aquapainter and SU markers scribbled on a CD case.  I printed the sentiment in dark brown (no black on this card at all, even though I really wanted to add black hair to one of the girls) using Dream Lover font (which, btw, is a perfect match for PTI's Enjoy the Ride).  And for the rest of you, bless your hearts, we would never judge y'all. ;) 

Hope it's a great day, gals!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Actual Cards!

Once I got my stamping room all organized, I quickly messed it all up again playing with some new items.
This card uses a huge jumble of new stuff!  The flower is the outline peony from Impress Rubber Stamps.  I stamped it onto Gina K Pure Luxury with Versamark and heat embossed it in white. Then I used watercolored it, using Memento Ladybug ink (I stamped the inkpad onto a cd case, then just picked up the ink from there using an aquapainter).  I know, I never would have thought "ladybug" would come out this gorgeous pink when it was watercolored!  I cut out two images to layer, but it still needed a little more here and there, so I cut out a third to add some extra petals. I added a ocean-breeze-but-really-looks-aqua-mist button tied with some linen thread.  For the card base, I stamped the small outline poppy on the top and used Waltzingmouse's Picnic Patterns for the bottom third, adding a Berry Sorbet ribbon in between.  The sentiment was cut from Nesties Label Four. The frame is from Waltizingmouse and the sentiment is from PTI Vintage Picnic (man, a lot of picnicing going on!), both stamped with Pink Lemonade Fresh Ink.  I colored two white brads with a copic to make an aqua mist design triangle (look at me talking all fancy!).

This was a quick card I did for this week's Splitcoast CAS color challenge of red, brown, vanilla, and kraft.  I cased it from this lovely creation by PaperInBloom.  The main panel is from Waltzingmouse--isn't it fabulous?  I covered everything on the stamp itself except the middle with a postit and inked up the red portion, then removed the postits and carefully inked the brown, then stamped it all at once.  The flowers are outline peony and solid peony from Impress.  And got to use some new brown & white twine.

In other news, here are some thing that are making me happy:
1) Students who "pinky-swear" they're going to work harder for the next test.
2) Getting an AWESOME Dr Horrible shirt out of the blue from my DH.  (Hey, have you watched it yet?  If NPH's shoulder shimmy at 5:08 doesn't make you giggle uncontrollably, then you must not be me.)
3) Finding loads of new settings on my camera and taking this adorable picture of Addison using "pet" mode:
 4) "Super Harvest Moon" tonight.  The sun will be setting directly opposite a full moon, so it's supposed to look pretty awesome. I'm going to head out to a high spot with my camera (in its new "sunset" mode) to check it out.
5) My blog peeps--whether you leave a comment every day, drop in a few times to say hello, or are just an anonymous follower, thanks for the interweb love!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Organization: Part Two

Question: What is the one thing that every stamper should start as soon as she buys her first stamp?


Answer: A stamp index!

Here is mine.  I started it last summer, after I had been stamping for about a year.  It took me a solid week of summer, but  I absolutely love it and can't imagine not having it (or starting it now!)  I have four binders: Stamps by Categories, Stamps by Company, Seasonal Stamps, and Embossing/Die Cuts.  My DH was nice enough to buy me pretty pink & brown binders at Office Depot for my project, too.  I use cheap cardstock for it, but heavy-duty page protectors (they were on clearance at the time so I stocked up).  Here are the categories I use: flowers, trees/leaves, butterflies/insects, birds, dogs, domesticated animals, wild animals/dinosaurs [there was no real need to break up domesicated and wild, but it makes me happy], people, things [I wish I would have made a separate food category], things that go, places/scenes, love, birthday, other events (baby/wedding/graduation), doodads, flourishes (two completely different things!), and backgrounds.  For the sentiments, I have an "all" category, then broken down into: love, birthday, thank you, friendship/miss you, congrats/wedding/baby, feel better/sympathy, and quotes.  I also have categories for each holiday.


For each new set, I pull out all the relevant categories and stamp. I also stamp the entire set on the company page.  Then I mark off the section and label it with company name and set number.  Learn from me: don't try to "squeeze" in different sets.  White space is your friend. Especially true for the sentiments-I started going across the page, but it is about 1000 times easier if they are all in a column like this.

This is one of my punch pages.  I punched the shape on the edge, then added the punched shape next to it.  Very handy to see if a sentiment will fit on a tag.


Which brings me to my next resource: my nestie pages!  I hate to brag, but these are awesome. I have these for each nestability set.  They are even color coded so all the circle sets are pink, squares green, etc.  To run them through the cuttlebug, I cut the paper in half (hint: cutting the paper in half at 5 1/2 instead of 4 1/4 makes it shift less).  Both sets of rectangles can fit on one sheet, as can the ovals, but circles & squares need two sheets if you're going to use both small and large.  Then I labeled them as S1, L1, S2, etc and with their measurement.  I don't keep them in a binder so I can just pull one out when I'm looking through my stamp index to see if what size will work.


Hating to throw anything away, I kept the cut portions together in a cd sleeve.  These are great to pull out to see how different sizes will fit in a layout.

And this is what I finally got around to doing last weekend-a stamp ink index.  My sister sent me a solid circle stamp that was perfect for the job.  I stamped all my inkpads on white, cream, and kraft.  And, guess what?  I chucked any pad that didn't work! I know, sounds crazy! Am I the only one that keeps throwing back dried-up old pads into the drawer (SU pigment pads, I'm looking in your direction)?

What are your favorite organizational tips or tricks?  I hope you found a few new ones here, or at least were inspired to do a little organizing with your own system!

ps-for real, start an index now.  The task will only get longer the more you put it off!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Organized: Part One

Time for the weekly post from Meg!  This week is all about my organization, and hold on to your hats, because there's so much stuff I'm going to post over two days.  Yes, that means at least TWO posts from me this week.  Today I'll share with you my stamping room.  Don't you love seeing where people stamp? I went to Michael's and HomeGoods yesterday and scored some great baskets, so I spent this morning purging and re-organizing.  Here are the results:

I stamp in one of the extra bedrooms in our house.  I also get ready in the mornings in here, have my computer set up in here, and this is also where Addie's crate is.  Definitely a hodge-podge, but it works for me.  Anyway, this wall is between the door and the closet.  The bookcase is from Target and I just bought all the red baskets at HomeGoods (in the baby section, not the basket section).  I'm going back to get one more to put all the cardstock in on the bottom shelf.  From the top down, I have a tin for my dies/embossing folders, a spice rack that I use for buttons, a basket for 8x8 paper, a basket for 6x6 paper, 8 1/2 x 11 paper, and magazines.  On the left is another basket that is the perfect fit for 12x12 paper pads and packs.

This is the wall over Addie's crate (we crate-trained her and I have never seen a dog love her crate as much as she does).  The shelves are from Lowe's.  On the top shelf, I have some scraponizer cases for Unity KOMs and other stamps, SU unmounted cases, embossing & sewing stuff, embossing powder in a ziploc container and PTI stamp sets.  On the bottom shelf, I have all my clear stamps.  I made the tote, the basket is from HomeGoods, and the metal suitcase was a gift from my mom.  I also have my SU markers there. 

This is an older picture, but my camera battery died before I could take all of them (plus it has better coloring).  I have SU and PTI paper on top of the storage cube, and in the storage cube (from Hobby Lobby), I have inks, acrylic blocks, embellishments, ribbon (in the fabric pullout drawer from Target-love!), and punches.  The table is also from Target. The red spinny thing was from HomeGoods and an awesome find.  It holds all my prismacolor pencils plus all my tools.


 I was inspired by Dawn's organizational post to redo my nesties.  This tin (also from Homegoods) was the perfect size (with room to grow!).  I use a napkin holder to hold my cuttlebug plates.

Here is what I did for the nesties.  I bought some of the magnetic vent covers at Home Depot-they were about $4.50 for a pack of three 8 x 15 inch sheets, which I cut in 4 x 3.75 inch pieces.  24 squares out of a package = 18 cents a square: a pretty cheap storage solution, I must say.  I adhered the squares onto the Spellbinders inserts (cut in half) and then just used some chipboard (a nice sheet comes in the package of vent covers, too) and cereal boxes for the rest.

They work for SU and PTI dies, too!




So that is all for today, because I'm going to have some lunch and actually STAMP in my stamp room!!!  I'm a bit behind on some birthday cards that need to go out this week.

Hope y'all are having a great time in your stamp space, or wherever your happy place is this weekend.
Meg

Monday, September 13, 2010

Just a Quick Post...

To let you know I'm still here and to share two recent cards.

I got my new stamps from Impress last week, along with a handstamped thank you note, which actually turned out to be quite frustrating because I have no idea how they stamped their image so cleanly and have been trying to duplicate it without much success.  I'll have to take a picture of it and post it because it really is crazy.  Anyway, I do like how these stamps stamped!  I bought some of their ink, and used Pink Lemonade and Slate on River Rock and Ocean Tides for this card.  I also debossed the Ocean Tides layer with PTI Linen Impression Plate (note: if you're sending a kraft card folded over through with an impression plate, you probably don't need to use the cereal box shim.  In a related story, why is it always the "good" B plate that cracks, not the one that you've been needing to replace for the last six months?).
Ok, I know that middle circle is U-G-L-Y.  Imagine that I did it on a white circle.  And that my stamp cleaned up nicely after the first time, so I didn't have ugly spots on the "29th" when I tried to use orange which I then had to cover up with the blue.  Really just focus on that fun medallion.  This was for today's CAS challenge to use this wreath as inspiration.  I markered up my medallion using SU markers, stamped it, cut it out, and mounted it on Raspberry Fizz.  Then the middle circle part just went downhill, but now I'm totally over making this card.  Do you ever get that way sometimes?  I might come back to it later this week and try to fix it, or I may just put it in the "donate" pile.

I hope y'all have had a non-donate pile crafty day today (unless, of course, you were actually making the card with the purpose to donate, in which case, rock on, sistah!).

Monday, September 6, 2010

Caution: Extreme Sweetness Ahead!

Don't say I didn't warn you....

Good thing my DH is used to such sugary sweetness from me. I've had this photo in my google notebook for ages-it was posted on the Pioneer Woman Photography dog photo contest. And then when I saw the sentiment sticker in my Echo Park paper pack, it reminded me of this mug I just bought for DH, the inside of which reads, "Life doesn't get any better than this." So everything came together in one perfect storm of a card! The boy and girl image is from Rubber Romance, colored with copics. Her dress is paper pieced from one of the Echo Park papers--it even has little hearts on it. His pants are cut from kraft. The dog is from Eat Cake Graphics, I masked his foot and her leg before I stamped her. I colored her with copics, then used prismacolor pencils to add some fur texture.

The frame is another birthday gift. It is the Spellbinder's polka dot frame die. I cut it from PTI Dark Chocolate, then sponged PTI Hawiian Shores for the polka dots. I really wanted to use the frame, but it was originally too small for the image. So I cut it half and used some extenders that I then covered up with the sticker and ribbon:
I decided to just leave it as a frame piece and not make it into a card, so my final step was adding a stand to the back-just a 2x6-ish strip of cardstock scored about 1/3 of the way:

You can also see where I stuck the sticker onto a piece of scrap paper. ;)

I hope everyone is enjoying the extra day off. I think I may stay in my craft room and give today's CAS challenge a try! Thanks for stopping by today!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Birthday Goodies!

Some more birthday cards came my way this week!  Yippee!
This gorgeous creation was from Emily.  It uses a beautiful PTI impressions die (that did not want to be photographed) and -OMG- is that butterfly perfection or what?  I love the twisted wire body!  She's a clever one, that Em! 
This card is from a coworker who is a scrapper that I'm trying to bring over to the dark side.  She knows I love any and all October Afternoon, so she filled my card with all sorts of cuteness!!  I think every girl deserves a pink polka dotted flower on her birthday.
And I finally sat down yesterday to make a card with some of my new birthday goodies!  The paper is from one of my three new Echo Park paper packs--I'm in love with all of them.  The blue paper is the back of the floral, and PTI Hibiscus Burst matched perfectly for the base.  The sentiment and frame is PTI Fillable Frames #4.  I had to handcut it since they were out of the die (what a shocker).  I stamped it with a dark brown, even though it looks black in the picture.  Here's a trick for sewing the edges without sewing the twill ribbon: lay it across the front of the card, but only adhere the portion that will fold over to the back.  Then cut the ribbon on the front where it will be hidden by the sentiment panel and let the two ribbon ends hang off the sides of your card.  Stitch around your card (I did two rows), then adhere the ribbon across the front.  I then used my fingernail to ruffle up the edges.

So here's something weird.  I bought all three of the new Crate Paper 6x6 paper pads (school spirit, snowy days, and restoration).  Now most of the 6x6 paper pads I buy are scaled down versions of the original.  I've never bought one that is actually made up of 12x12 pieces that have been cut and glued into a pad.  Which means (a) none of the papers are exactly the same piece, which doesn't really bother me, (b) the patterns are not scaled down, which only partially bothers me on a few, and (c) some of the patterns don't work at all--as in, the snowy days one has 3/4 of a tree on one page and the top 1/4 on another.  Has anyone else run into this weirdness from other paper companies?

Hope everyone is enjoying the three-day weekend!  We are about to take the corgi to the park and enjoy the beautiful weather.  Happy crafting, everyone!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

VSN Cards

I didn't want to be a whole week before I posted again, so I actually held back posting cards I made this weekend.  I wish I could have participated in VSN more, but it just wasn't in the cards (ha!!!).  This first challenge I did required using the Cuttlebug Wax Paper Resist technique, which I had never done before.  Even though it involved (a) ironing and (b) a slightly burned finger, I will definitely be doing this again.  How can I "resist" results like these (I am on fire with the puns tonight, aren't I?)
 I used the SU Vintage Wallpaper embossing folder with Rose Red ink.  I didn't want to cover the paper up, so I just added the ribbon tag with PTI sentiment on a PTI Dark Chocolate twill ribbon, then mounted it on a dark chocolate base, corners cropped with my new corner chomper (love!).

The second one features an embossed panel that Angela sent me.
It's from the Cuttlebug Sentimental embossing folder 4-pack, which I must buy immediately.  The VSN challenge was to use water to make your card, so I used the misting with water technique with this SU Just Believe image.  I had printed the map for a different project and it was the wrong size, so I had the piece in my scrap bin.  I pulled it out to use the white part of the paper, but then thought it would be a fun vintage-y touch to stamp it on the map.  I added a deckle rectangle mat.  I'm down to my last piece of Soft Suede, so I cut it as a card front, and of course it doesn't exactly match up with the cream base.  Doh!

My awesome fact for today that a student pointed out to me, but turns out is actually a big deal in LA with parties and such:  today is 9/02/10, as in "Beverly Hills, 90210."  If only I still had my Dylan shirt that I wore in middle school to put on for the occasion!