Tuesday, September 29, 2009

You Love Them at the Mall!

And now there's one at Stampin' Up! What the heck am I talking about?? The Clearance Rack, of course! Just launched today, when you go to the SU online store, there's a link for the Clearance Rack. To take a look, go to my website, click "shop now" on the upper right, and on the next page that comes up, there's a list on the left that includes the link you will need.
Check out it out! There are fantastic deals on surplus Stampin' Up! products, including Designer Series Paper, ribbon, rub-ons, even some tins that you can alter for gift packaging and the like. Like the mall, when this stuff is gone, it's gone, so order it online so you're not disappointed!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Look what I saw when I opened my blinds!

If you're on my customer mailing list, you may have thought I was jumping the gun when you opened your email this morning to find information about holiday stamp camps. But hey, if you saw what I saw outside my window earlier today, maybe you'd understand!!
All right, it's not really snow, but just the leftovers from one heck of a hail storm we had last night. Even after 12 hours there were still ice pellets in my yard! My 17 year-old son was just a little concerned about what might be happening to his vehicle that was getting pelted by this stuff: "I've got insurance for this, right?" he choked out while we all stared out the front door. (Well, no, honey, being that you're driving an 11 year-old minivan with 150,000 miles on it, we don't have it insured to the hilt--but we didn't mention that last night, and the van was none the worse for wear this morning.)

Actually, I almost forgot that it had hailed last night, so I was pretty surprised to see this as I opened the blinds this morning, so no, the holiday stamp camp announcement was not inspired by the weather but by the fact that I finally scheduled myself for much-needed carpal tunnel surgery. I'm squeezing the October (9th or 10th) camp in beforehand, and will have much of the prep for the November (13th or 14th) camp done early, just in case the recovery estimate I've been given is off some. More than ever, Melissa will be my "right-hand gal" so I don't have to go through too much stamping withdrawal.

I'll post a sneak peek or two of camp projects in the next week or so, but for today, I wanted to share a card that was inspired by the project that's been keeping me busy for the last couple weeks, namely getting my kitchen floor replaced. No, no, I didn't replace it myself, but as with most home-improvement projects, there's always that domino effect, requiring moving, painting, cleaning or replacing of almost every item even remotely related to the affected room, taking WAY longer than ever expected. Haven't had a ton of time to "play" lately so I decided I NEEDED to create one more "domino" and link stamping to the floor project somehow.

I made this card for Steve, my wonderful tile guy. I used retired "Outlaw" Designer Paper to "recreate" the tile design I now have in my kitchen and laundry room. The floor is a combination of 12-inch and 6-inch tiles, so I used 1-inch and half-inch squares of paper for the card.

The colors in the DSP are Really Rust, Chocolate Chip, and maybe Creamy Caramel or Close to Cocoa, some of the same colors in my tile, so I thought this paper was a good choice. Have to admit the colors didn't photograph very true. My punched out "thank you" looks more like Pumpkin Pie than Really Rust, but I like that I'll be able to send a note on a very appropriate card (that looks much better in real life.)

This is what the floor looks like:

Again, the colors are off--my cabinets look like cherry or something, instead of oak, and the tiles are shades of caramel. Guess I need to add a photography class, or at least a good sit-down with my camera manual, to the to-do list!

Enjoy these last days of September!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Getting Ready for Stamp Camp. . .

I'm having new tile installed in my kitchen and laundry room this week (FINALLY!) and so I've sort of had to stick close to home for much of each day. One of the advantages of this is that, without operating laundry or kitchen appliances to compete for my time (shucky darn!), I'm actually getting to the things I need to do for this coming weekend's "Fall Splendor" stamp camp before the very last second!

Don't want to ruin all the surprises, but I thought I'd share one of the projects that we'll be doing.

This cute little "nugget" box is an idea that crossed my desk in the past couple weeks. I think this is such a clever use of the "Pumpkin Patch" stamp set that is in the Holiday Mini Catalog. With the exception of the black circle behind the pumpkin, (Oh, and the Word Window punch out--because I oops'd the stamping that I did directly on the DSP!), the box is made entirely from the "Cast-A-Spell" Designer Series Paper. I love that 16 of these boxes can be made from just one-third package of paper. (Wish I could tell you who originally created this neat project, but all I have is a blog address that doesn't work. Please let me know if you know anything so I can give due credit.)

The cover of the box is actually a "sleeve" that slides over the box bottom. For the cover, cut a piece of the striped paper to 3” X 5” and score it on the long edge at ¾”, 2¼”, 3”, and 4½”. For the bottom, cut a piece of the black print to 2-15/16” X 4-7/16”, and score at ¾” on all four sides. Strips of the orange and green prints get cut to 1-1/8” X 3” for covering nuggets. (This size box holds 3 nuggets, but if you increase the first measurement for both the sleeve and the bottom one inch for each nugget you'd like to add to the box, you can easily increase the length/capacity of the box. I've seen nugget boxes that hold 10, although I think I'd make sure to use cardstock for the box bottom to better support the weight. Great way to make favors for parties!)

I'd love to have you come join us for stamp camp! There are still spots available on Saturday afternoon--just let me know! Come "review" the new tile!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Home Improvement Projects are REALLY Doomed Now!!

I'm still trying to finish up a few projects that I started while my family was in Australia last month. I have a feeling it's going to take even a little longer to finish those up now, as the UPS man showed up today with my copy of "My Digital Studio," a new scrapbooking tool that is in the Holiday Mini Catalog.

I'm pleased to report that getting started with the program is quite easy! I was able to play just a little last night and got two pages done lickity-split! There are pages in the program that are already designed and you can just "drag and drop" your digital pictures into them, or you can do your own thing. Stampin' Up!'s colors, stamps, embellishments and Designer Series Paper are all loaded in there. It's pretty cool!!

I wanted to see how the "do your own thing" worked so I chose all my own pieces for the first page I did. My scrapping style tends to be very simple because I want the pictures and journaling to be the "stars." These outdoor pictures were so pretty, I didn't want to load the page with a bunch of extra stuff. I played with ribbon and brads, and even added some "stamped" leaves whose color I changed from the standard black to Garden Green. I eventually removed the stamps because they seemed to make the page too busy. (I know, some of you will say that this page seems unfinished. . .) I love how the ribbon and brads look pretty real. With this great tool I may get our Arizona/Utah trip from last summer scrapped yet! There's an option where I can send my finished album to a printer and get a printed, bound book if I want to.

For my second try, I just plunked a few pictures into a ready-made page. Even though the pages are in there and ready to go, they are customizable too. This page that I chose to use showed a spot for just one picture, but I was able to add more and resized them too. I did the same with the journaling box, and shifted the position of a flower or two.

(Now that I'm looking at the page again, I see that the pictures could use some mats. I'll just tweak that the next time I play with the program. Everything I create gets saved and can be edited whenever it needs to be.)

I'm really going to like using this and I think you will too! I've loaded it onto my laptop so that I can take it to workshops and show you how it works. I also plan on having a get-together at my house later this month or early in October to demonstrate how it works. "MDS" can also be used to make cards, calendars and other projects too. Additional "stamps" and embellishments will be available to keep the program current with the Idea Book & Catalog.

House projects, I hope you can hang on a little longer!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"Would Ya Update Your Blog, Already!!"

"What's going on with your blog?" "Have you stopped doing your blog?" "Would you update your blog, already!!"

Yes, I've been hearing about my long absence from posting. Why does it seem I have to write one of these "apology" posts about once every 6 weeks?!! Probably because I still haven't figured out how to squeeze 30 hours of projects into the 18 waking hours of each day! Of course it would be better if I could learn to pace myself, delegate or call 1-800-Handyman, but no, that probably won't happen. I'm too stubborn, haven't outgrown that toddler trait of " I do it!!" or some darn thing. Guess you'll just have to take me as I am!

What I have to share today are some of the samples I generated in August in preparation for meeting with a bride-to-be about making wedding invitations. Whenever I talk to someone who is interested in stamping wedding invitations, I collect a little information about the wedding theme and colors, pull out some stamps that may work and then just start trying this and that, until I have a pile of samples that we can use to design exactly what the bride wants.

In the case of this wedding, my information included "Mediterranean" colors and big flowers. My interpretation of those colors included many of the new In Colors so I happily pulled those and three "big flower" stamp sets: "Fifth Avenue Floral," "Kind and Caring Thoughts" (a hostess set) and "Wedding Sweet" (and the coordinating wheel "Sweet Swirls") and set to work.

I try to provide variety in the size and styles of samples I do, since everyone likes different things, and because the size and style is closely tied to the cost of the project.

This first sample is sized to fit in a business-sized envelope and is stamped using the baby-wipe technique. The nice size of the "flower-y swirl" stamp in the "Wedding Sweet" set makes quick work of stamping the cards that get printed on the computer. I used Melon Mambo, Crushed Curry and Bermuda Bay reinkers to make my own stamp pad with a couple of baby wipes, and then after stamping, layered the piece onto Bermuda Bay and Basic Black card stock.

This sample is sized for an A6 envelope and uses Bermuda Bay and Naturals Ivory cardstock. The Bermuda Bay piece is rolled with Bermuda Bay ink. The Naturals Ivory piece features Bermuda "stamped off" leaf images from the "Kind and Caring Thoughts" hostess set. A piece of Very Vanilla Taffeta Ribbon graces the center.

Although it's hard to tell, this version uses Shimmery White cardstock, which always adds a classy touch. To further that theme, I added two narrow strips of the Groom Specialty Paper, a new addition to the catalog this year. It has glossy "embossed" swirls that coordinate so well with the "Wedding Sweet" stamps. This invitation measures 8-1/2" X 5-1/2", a good size if you need more space for your information. It could also work as a wedding program.

A 6" X 6" square version that also uses the Groom Specialty Paper, but traded the Shimmery White for Whisper White cardstock--

Lotsa flowers, a little Groom paper and the happy couple's names peeking out--

I gave it a shot without the Groom paper (and a different stamp), but personally like the little punch of "formal" the black paper adds--

This sample uses vellum cardstock to make a tri-fold wrap for the invitation information. The Bermuda Bay "belly band" is actually the white "Bride Specialty Paper" that has been colored with Bermuda Bay ink and a dauber, a cool way to get the design in any color you desire.

I stamped the inside card with a single image (baby wipe technique), but had a piece of cardstock stamped with an alternate design, just to show an option.

After showing these ideas, and a few others that I had in my files to the bride, we separated them into the yays and nays, tried this and that, chose the stamp set, switched the colors, added the information elements that were needed for this particular wedding, and came up with this A6-sized prototype:
It uses Whisper White cardstock, the Fifth Avenue Floral stamp set, and Real Red, Summer Sun and Lovely Lilac ink. The monogram stamps in the center of the card were just those I had in my retired collection and aren't quite right, but you get the idea.
Inside the invitation a flap folds up to make a pocket to hold the response postcard (that will be made using Summer Sun cardstock) as well as cards giving information on out-of-town guest accommodations, the reception and where the couple is registered.
The whole process is quite fun, and it's rather exciting knowing that the invitations are personalized down to the last detail. If you have a special event invitation you'd like me to help with, just let me know! My services are provided free of charge when you purchase all of your supplies for the invitations from me.

Hope you're enjoying your weekend!
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