Friday, May 25, 2007

Let's Talk Money...

Think back to when you first started stamping. When I discovered this hobby eight years ago, I can remember excitedly telling my husband how much money we were going to save on greeting cards. And I seriously believed that. HA!! This hobby can get expensive very quickly, and there have been many threads about that over on SCS lately. Her Royal Rubberness, Julie Ebersole, offered her thoughts on her blog.

But my love of papercrafting isn't about "cheap" cards, it's about having an outlet for my creative energy. That being said, we are not independently wealthy so the money does matter. And I've spent a LOT of it on this obsession. Way more than I should have, and it has negatively affected our family's financial situation.

So what have I learned? Frankly, I've made a lot of mistakes. Just because something is cheaper doesn't mean it's a bargain. It's a waste of money if it's only going to last a few weeks. Or if you're not going to use it. How many doodads have I collected simply because they were on clearance?!? And "grab bags" of paper/rubber are generally not a wise investment for me personally - it's better to pick out what I truly love and buy just that.

What else? Well, I don't have to have it all. Neither my space nor my wallet will allow it. I don't need every design of every paper printed this decade. Not to mention ribbon and inkpads. New tools and contraptions are wonderful, but wait awhile before making the plunge. Let the bugs get worked out, and listen to the comments on message boards. When you do decide it's a worthwhile investment, wait for a good sale.

As for the stamps themselves - I can't buy something simply because it catches my eye. I have a box full of mistakes I bought in the first year or two, images that I thought were cute - but I had no specific plans for. How I wish I had invested in some basic floral motifs and sentiments, then taken the time to discover my personal style before impulsively purchasing virtually everything I could get my hands on. And just because I like what someone *else* has done with a certain image doesn't mean that it's right for me. Think of building your collection much as you would a wardrobe - start with good basic pieces then add fun elements.

How I wish I could do it all over again. To be better organized right from the start. To use what I already had. To watch and learn, to look at all the pretties without actually buying them right that second. I'm still working through my craft pit, trying to determine what's worth saving and what should be sent to a new home. Earlier this week, I learned a friend of ours will be replacing her kitchen cabinets, and it looks as though we might take their old ones to revamp my craft pit. Definitely an economical solution, but the sad thing is that my room is so over-run right now that there's not even room to get in there and measure. But I see a bright, sunny future with organized cabinets!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

"Boredom Busters" Jar

No stamping on this project, but I think it has a lot of potential and I still wanted to pass it along. I actually received the original "Boredom Busters" jar as a birthday party favor, contained in a decorated formula can. Well, our kids demolished the can after the first day, so I then transferred it to a peanut butter jar and embellished it with a bit of scrapbook paper (Daisy Ds).

Here's the general idea: when the kids say they're bored, have them pull a slip from the jar. Red activities are for inside, and the yellow ones are better suited for the outdoors. The list was originally found on Simple Mom, but you could also make up your own list of activities. Great project to make as a family!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My BasicGrey - Dove ATCs

When I was trying to decide what to do for my ATCs, I stumbled onto my stash of Dove wrappers - I had saved several that had fun sayings, but hadn't decided what I wanted to do with them. Well, I decided to mix them with another of my favorite things - BasicGrey paper - to make these fun little cards.

For those of you who might not be familiar with ATCs (Artist Trading Cards), I'd really encourage you to give them a try! They're 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches (same size as baseball or playing cards), and rather addictive... Plus you could mail one off and end up winning a House Mouse stamp and other goodies (see post below).

Monday, May 21, 2007


I recently swapped some ATCs with Chia, and received these lovely little works of art. They really are much lovelier in person, and the little details are just great. I've now made a grand total of *FOUR* of these puppies, but I must admit that I'm having fun. Anyhoo, these are the ones I received, and I'll share mine tomorrow.
Would you like to make some? Chia is holding a contest right now, with some very nice prizes up for grabs. Check out all the details here!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Sweet Bella

I posted my first Bella card a couple weeks ago; this little darling was actually the first image that I colored and was happy with, but she had yet to find a home. I pulled out some BasicGrey gypsy papers last night (6x6 pad size, so the scale is good for cards), and then added the sentiment from Rusty Pickle. Finished size is 5x7
(The red ribbon looks much better in real life, but for some reason the reddish tones in the paper appear very orange in the photo)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Needed a simple card for some friends of ours. Doesn't get much easier than this! I stamped a large background image along the edge, then embellished with a bit of ribbon and added a sentiment. Gotta love those quick and cute cards!

(Paisley & sentiment from SU, Cranberry Crisp Ink and stitched grosgrain ribbon)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Enjoy the glow...

As many of you may already be aware, RubberStampingFun has put together a panel of stamp reviewers. The gist is that they send you free stamps, and ask that you review it on your blog. Well free is already one of my favorite words, and when you mention it in conjunction with stamps you KNOW I'm interested!! Well, I was chosen as one of the lucky participants (sorry, but no more freebies to be had, at least for now...), and as part of the application process we also got a discount code to use on current sets. I picked up this set "Enjoy the Glow," which appears to be out of stock right now as I can't find it on the site. Simple but kind of fun, too! I liked the saying, and figured even *I* could handle coloring birthday candles...

So I finally sat down with the stamps tonight and cranked out this quickie. Stamped with Ancient Page coal, then colored in with SU markers. I did add just a tiny bit of "glowage" with a black marker, and then the flames are all accented with Stickles for some shimmer. Layered it with some yellow cardstock and accented with the polka dot ribbon (Michael's) and it's good to go!
One other thought on RSF: The rubber itself is good quality (soft and deeply etched, not the cheapo plastic-y stuff), but I was a bit disappointed in the trim job. After commenting on this issue, the president of the company personally emailed me and addressed the issue. Now that's customer service, and one reason I really like working with smaller operations. I'll be curious to see how future sets are cut. Stay tuned for more info!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Update on the Stamp Giveaway

I'm afraid I never heard from Ellie, so I'm going down the list. The next closest guess was my friend/customer Sharon at 73. So Sharon, the stamp set is all yours!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

More Twinkling!

Two last cards from Saturday, these also using Twinkling H2Os. The first one uses "Baby's Breath" from Penny Black, and the sentiment is from Eureka. I "inked" the stamp by brushing it with a saturated waterbrush, using Scarab Beetle. That's one of my favorite colors of TH2Os, as it's a dual toned brown-green. Very pretty in real life! I made these on those great Fabriano notecards, so although simple, they're definitely elegant.

Another plus with these high quality notecards made of watercolor paper - if you mess something up, you can just flip it over. Which is exactly what I did with this next card!

I managed to smear the sentiment on one of the "Find Joy" cards, so I did this really simple colorwash on the back side. I used a standard, flat paintbrush on this, rather than a waterbrush, though. Sometimes traditional is better! I just wet the brush, picked up some purple TH2Os, and put down a couple quick strokes. Then I filled in with some pink, then went back and added just a bit more purple where necessary. Very, very fast - and the subtle shimmer is soooo pretty. After it was dry, I stamped the image and sentiment (More Petal Prints & Words of Wisdom from SU) with Ancient Page coal, ripped the edges, then adhered it to this Pink Passion card base. Last, I accented it with a bit of lavender ric rac, which coordinates much more nicely than it appears in this pic :)
I actually ended up doing a little demo of the Twinkling H2Os right before I left, as many people had been stopping by my table to see what I was up to. And we all love sparkle, right? I have a hunch that several people will be putting orders in this week for this great product.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Watercoloring with Twinkling H2Os

More samples from Saturday. Both these card were made with the retired Sketches set - I stamped them with Ancient Page coal, then colored them with Twinkling H2Os and a waterbrush. I love the soft shimmer! Paper is from the DCWV Floral Stack.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Cardmaking Extravaganza

Well, I had a ball at the National Scrapbooking Day crop on Saturday. I didn't crank out as many cards as I had hoped, but creativity takes time, right?!? Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera with me (I was concentrating on my other supplies!), so you'll just have to settle for seeing my creations...

"Perennial Friendship" was a set in the Winter Mini that I had really wanted, but didn't purchase. Turns out my downline had it and I didn't even know it! I stamped the tulips with coal Ancient Page, then colored it with a blender pen and my ink pads. I then paired it with the lovely DCWV "Old World" textured paper, and accented with some American Crafts twill. I needed to layer the tulip panel with something, and the Chocolate Chip cardstock was a nice match, but it needed to stand out a bit more from the background - I stamped Linen in black, which deepened the tone just enough. Love these colors!!

As you can see, I was on a bit of a square kick, as I also made these simple thank you notes. I used the image from the hostess set Riveting, paired with more DCWV paper (Floral Prints stack), white organdy ribbon and then the fun polka dot grosgrain from Michael's. The patterned paper is also mounted on a square stamped with Linen in certainly celery.
I made a few other cards, so will be sure to share more throughout the week!

Contest Winner

We have a winner! I thought it was hysterical to see the wide range of guesses, with the vast majority definitely on the low side. Yes, I have a HUUUUGE stamp collection, and when I worked my way through the retiring list, it turns out that I had:
90 stamp sets that are retiring this year!
Crazy, isn't it?!? Now a couple of those I purchased before I was even a demo (cough - Nice and Easy Notes - cough, cough), and then there are tons more that I earned as freebies... but that's still an awful lot. And I have 12 retiring wheels as well. Yep, I need to keep plugging away at purging this stuff. And a little teaser: I do plan to post a for sale list here within a week or two, so you might want to check back.
So anyway, congratulations to Ellen Sutton, who guessed 87. Ellie, please drop me an email (through my profile in the upper right corner) or send me a PM via Splitcoast (username Tah Dah!), and I'll get that set mailed out to you. If I don't hear back by next Monday, then I'll go down the list.
Thanks, everyone, for playing along!!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Retired List is here... and a CONTEST!

For those of us who are SU fans, we were eagerly awaiting May 1 to see what sets "made it" and which ones are being retired to make way for new goodies. Well, the list is here - all 2 pages of it. Check it out for yourself here.

As you can imagine, I'm losing quite a few sets, and I decided to hold a little contest. Whoever guesses closest to the number of sets* I'm losing - without going over - will receive the set "Bitty Bouquets" (which has been retired for a couple years). See, April showers really do bring May flowers! Sorry, U.S. guessers only (yes, I'm cheap!), and the contest will be open until Sunday night or until someone guesses the exact number.

*including hostess sets, but not wheels

Friday, May 4, 2007

Off for a great weekend!!

Well, tomorrow is National Scrapbooking Day, and I'm headed to a 12 hour crop at one of the large churches in the area. No, I'm not going to be scrapping - it's all papercrafting goodness, though, right?! I'm hoping to take some time this evening to plan out a couple projects, so that I can really crank some stuff out tomorrow. As you can tell from the empty pockets, I'm not ready yet!

And in fallen crafter news, Michael's had these very cool totes around Christmastime. I looked at them numerous times, even putting one in my cart once, then changing my mind as I was headed to check out. I'd regretted not purchasing one - but glory be! They're back, and in this luscious purple to boot!! Used a coupon, and it was only ten bucks. So I broke my non-spending vow (the tote and the Martha ribbon, as I discussed in a previous post)... but I guess I could argue that I'm just finally using the rest of my earnings from the convention. Yeah, that's it! Perhaps I should order some stamps to celebrate!

Yep, it's a sickness.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Martha, Martha, Martha...

(everyone say it with me, now, in your best Jan Brady voice!)
Well, I drug the kids out to run errands this morning, and had to make a stop at Michael's to see the new Martha-ness for myself. It's packaged beautifully and nicely displayed, but I didn't find any must-haves (phew!). And while not outrageously priced, there were no bargains to be had, either. I was rather excited to see the punches, but they were smaller than I had envisioned. I did like their squared off design for easier storage, and I also like that the ribbon spools can stand on their own (as seen here on my single purchase - "Silver Sage Piped Nylon," 12 yards for $2.99). I certainly don't think she's revolutionizing the "dowdy craft business" as the Wall Street Journal proclaimed on its front page - there are much nicer items already on the market IMHO (although admittedly many of those items are not sold in chain stores, so you must purchase from an independent store or online). I know one of my friends (a very creative person, but not particularly into papercrafting, although I've tried my best!) really liked some of the kits, but was extremely disappointed to find that she couldn't use a coupon. Yes, it's good quality. But no, I won't be stocking up anytime soon.

- Just in case you don't live near a Michael's store, you can see the entire line here
- And check out this great response to the Wall Street Journal's article

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Birthday Bella

OK, I've now officially made a Bella card. This was one of the images that I received, and I paired it up with some DCWV papers. Aren't the colors fun? Celebrate is from Everyday Flexible Phrases (on Certainly Celery cardstock), and the ribbon is from Michael's. Finished size is 4 1/4" square.