Saturday, January 06, 2007

Follow me....

Okay, I've officially moved this blog to Typepad. I haven't totally figured out how to add stuff to the sidebar, so while Feedblitz folks will find a place to subscribe easily, I couldn't figure out how to add hunks of HTML code to the sidebar to put Bloglines subscribers in. Sigh...I had gotten used to Blogger and now I have to get used to this, I guess.

I haven't figured out the comment thing yet either. But at least it's workable, it's doable and all my previous posts have made it over. Luckily, there weren't that many!

Follow me to the new Stamps, Paper, Scissors

Friday, January 05, 2007

Just my usual brilliance (yes, I love myself)

First let me thank you, my loyal readers. See that Stamping Top 50 thing over there on the right...notice I'm at 22 now? Wow! From 322 to 22 in about a month. You all rock!

Are you ready for good news/bad news? Ready?

Good news first:

I redid my Pursue Your Art purse last night (http://www.pursueyourart.com). And I will say, it is STINKIN' cute (yes, I love myself!) I was having a mini creative block after buying all that Cuttlebug stuff; I just was having a hard time altogether getting inspired, I think because there was just too much stuff to choose from. Time to narrow the focus, which is what always helps me. If I intentionally choose a very small amount of supplies, focus on a stamp set or technique and limit myself to a certain color pallette, I can break out of my creative block and really get going.

So I decided last night that I really NEEDED to redo the purse, so that would be the perfect creative unblocker. If you recall, the last (and first) time I did the purse, it was all Halloween and Fall. Well, I've gotten a lot of compliments on that purse, but since the end of November I have had to say in reply, "I've been meaning to update it for something more in keeping with the season." I mean, people probably started wondering if I'm lost in my only little world, where it is perpetually Halloween and Thanksgiving. I *am* lost in my own little world, but the seasons change there just like everywhere else! I meant to redo it for Christmas, didn't and now, here it is, winter and nothing to show for it yet. And what with cooking and cleaning and paying bills, life somehow got in the way.

I started it around 8 PM last night after my kids were well immersed in a movie, but then had to take a break and put them all to bed. Then, my children being what they are, I had to make sure they stayed IN bed, so once they were finally all asleep and I had gotten that bowl of ice cream out of the way that insisted on being eaten, I went back down around 10:45 and finished around 1 AM. 'Cause this is my purse, you dig? I had to have it done so I could use it today! And I was bent on showing it off to you, my loyal readers, so I got up this morning and fixed one ATC that was bothering me, took pics and came to Blogger to post them only to be met with the ultimate frustration...oh...yeah, haven't told you the bad news yet!

Here it is: since Blogger was upgraded so that the beta version is now THE version, we are all having tons of problems getting photos to upload. I've been trying all morning and zip, nada, nothing. Needless to say, this is incredibly FRUSTRATING!!!! I'm ready to kick someone and since Dan is home, he is staying out of the way! This is so horrible I've been contemplating migrating my blog to Typepad...any instructions on how to move everything without having to start completely over post-wise would be appreciated...I can't take many more days of this! I'm too ornery to be patient! (Yes, as wonderful as I am, I do have my flaws!)

ANYWAY I decided to try a work around for now and I have posted the photos of my purse on Webshots, which allows me to link them to here. This isn't as cool as having the photos loaded here, since the linking photos are horribly tiny and if you want to see a bigger photo, you will have to go to Webshots, but at least you can see my pics of my fabulous project! I couldn't deprive you of that wonderful experience, could I? Of course not!

Okay, ready to look and admire? Here's the photos; click on any photo to go to Webshots for a better view, or click here to go to the whole thing as a slideshow.

Pursue Your Arts Winter Mini Version Front
Front

Sweet on You ATCLike It a LatteBig Pieces ATC

M & M ATCLike It a Latte

ATC's on the front.

winterback0107Pursue Your Arts Winter Mini Version Back

Back

Carte Postale ATCMagic Beans ATCPerennial Friendship ATC

ATC's on the back

Tonight I will take the ATC's from my old purse and make cards from them. Hopefully Google will have this thing fixed soon and I can post them!

Update: The move to Typepad is underway...it will take me a few days because I can't access my Blogger template right now (one of the wonderful things about the "new and improved" Blogger...grrr...) so I have to move one post at a time. I figured out how to ante-date the posts, but it's still going to be a lot of work; I may end up losing all the comments, some of which are hilarious, so I will see if I can salvage them, if only for my own amusement.

This blog will stay in place for quite a while longer and I may or may not move my other blogs...right now, the most active blog is the one I am currently going to move and The Tearing Edge may just stay put since it doesn't have any photos. Once the move is complete, I will leave this blog in place for quite a while longer with a link to the new site; don't worry, I won't delete until I am sure you all have followed me over!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy Almost New Year!

And I'm kicking it off in style by posting a new creation, just for you...aren't I nice?




I made it with my 'Bug! I immediately thought of the Eat Cake sete when I saw this tag in the Fancy Pants Alphabet set.

I have to say that since the last time I posted, I've bought more embossing folders and dies....I have no sales resistance! Don't send me any websites with cool deals, 'cause I can't resist!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Bit by the Bug and Birthday Card Class

I've come down with a deadly disease. No it's not Glittertosis...that's my other deadly disease. Or Swapitis...that one is only a seasonal disorder.

Nope...this disease affects mainly my pocketbook (my what an old-fashioned word that is!) And the disease that is affecting my bank account so severely is (sob) Cuttlebugitis!

"What is that?" you say, "I've never heard of a Cuttlebug? How does one go about being bit by it?"

Well you may ask. THIS is a Cuttlebug:



I'm afraid it bit me over Christmas vacation. It was all my in-laws fault (ain't it nice to have someone to blame things on? That's why most people get married...that way, you end up with a husband to blame things on and when that gets tiresome, you have these handy new relatives...but I digress...) They sent money to buy presents.

So anyway, we went to Joann's to see if we could find a Christmas ornament for my mother on December 22nd (a day that will live in infamy.) William had fallen on top of all the Christmas presents that my kids had bought from the Santa shop at school and terminated the little ornament he'd bought Grandma Meeth. So we had to find a replacement. Not only was it my in-laws fault, as you can see, it's partly Williams fault, but he's cuter than they are, so I'm overlooking it....just this once.

We looked at Dollar Tree and didn't find anything and then Joann's was right next door. They put it there....ON PURPOSE!!! I even had my Joann's coupons in my purse, I was just set up for this, I tell ya! I almost never remember to put coupons in my purse...could it have been...ALIENS?!?!?!

There it was on a display they had put in the aisle...just to tempt me! I looked at it and suddenly, lust sprung up in my heart for this thing...it was $89.99. I'm sure they had some sort of machine inside the display that generates psychic resonance, much in the way that Shelli Gardner (may she live forever) does for SU! Could it be a coincidence that the Cuttlebug is made by Provocraft and Provocraft is in Utah, near the center of the known universe?!?! I think not!

And it doesn't help that there is a whole thread in General Stamping on Splitcoaststampers just talking about this thing! So...it's their fault too! All the people who post in that forum and are enablers! You did this to me!

I swear on a stack of Bibles (and I have a stack!) that I did not go in there planning to buy this thing...it just happened, honest! I would challenge YOU to resist when you have a) free money from in-laws, b) psychic resonance generated by the store display, c) enabler types posting their cool creations on Splitcoast and d) the alignment of stars, planets, and other circumstances which led me to be present at that very spot at that very moment.

Well, anyway, I had only $50 to spend, but I also had a 50% off coupon. Well, you can see where this went...

But the course of infection rarely runs smooth, much like that of true love. I took the thing up front with a couple of embossing folders and a set of dies to buy with it and they wouldn't take the coupon. I had my kids with me, so I didn't really feel like arguing and I left without buying it, but the more I thought about it the madder I got. The item was not on sale and was not listed as excluded on the face of the coupon. So I emailed Joann.com and complained.

That got me a call from the manager of the Joann's store while we were in Kalamazoo. She left a message on the answering machine explaining that this was a Cricut product, so it was exluded. Well, a) it's not a Cricut product, it's by the MAKERS of the Cricut and says so right on the box and b) the coupon says "the Cricut electronic personal die cutting machine", not all Cricut products. She said she would be out on Wednesday, so I steeled myself yesterday afternoon to call and argue.

Apparently, though, in the intervening time, she must have actually read the coupon and discovered the store's error. Because when I called yesterday, she simply told me to bring the coupon in and they would honor it. Within 30 minutes, I was at the store buyin' my 'Bug.

You'd think, with the time I had to cool off and get away from the psychic resonance generator, I would have simply changed my mind, wouldn't you? Nope, not me! Because the whole situation became a matter of principle! It was bait and switch! They HAD to sell it to me now, it was the only way to Teach Them A Lesson! It was not for nothing that I grew up in the 70's! Stick it to the man! Right on!

I also had gone to Michael's the day before with THEIR 50% off coupon and bought a set of alphabet dies and some embossing folders. I tried the dies and embossing folders in my Sissix and while the embossing folders worked well, the dies...not so good. So I had to buy it, right? You can see the logic, can't you?

Last night I played with it and ended up cracking a cutting plate on a derned Sissix die....but wait...are you still wondering what this thing does? Well, it embosses AND it does die cuts. It's cute. And, while I have a Sissix...I just had to have it, okay? Quit asking so many questions!

Anyway, I called Provocraft this morning because of the cracked B plate and they are sending me new ones. 'Sokay, though, 'cause after I stopped at Joann's and bought my 'Bug, I stopped at Michael's again and bought another set of dies with my Joann's coupon (hey...the sets of dies are cheaper at Micheal's, so it made sense!) and just happened to pick up a couple more embossing folders and another set of B plates...just in case I might need some more! Right?

The plate cracked, I think, because the Sissix die I was using was not full sized and that put too much stress on the plates...I'll know better next time. But I don't think I'll use this with the Sissix dies after all...I don't plan on getting rid of my Sissix anytime soon, so I'll just plan on using the Sissix dies with that and everything else with my 'Bug!

ANd then last night I went online, ya know, just to read up on my new toy and then Heidi (pinkhedgehog) on SCS posted a link to Happy Scrappin' Scrapbooking, where they have more embossing folders and dies and at such good prices! So I bought 4 more embossing folders...it's a disease? Where will it end??!?!?!

Well, enough of my ailments! On to the Birthday Cards....

My class was last night, and in true procrastinating fashion, I waited until the very last minute to make the cards. I was stamping by 10 AM yesterday morning and was done around noon. I started with this one:




Then as I was feeling singularly uninspired, I CASED this design by Crystal Erzen from Stamper's Showcase. She had used the Rebecca (or is it Sara? I confuse those two!) paper and pulled the colors from that, but I wanted to highlight the Loves Me paper from the Winter Mini, so I changed it (plus, I just think the colors are more birthday-like):




Then I wanted to use Taggers Dozen and I wanted to have at least one card you could give to a man without contaminating him with girly-ness (I don't know any metrosexual guys, so glitter was out!) This is what I came up with. I had to add the brads, 'cause guys like hardware!




And then I turned to Carte Postal and the French Flair background. I decided to stick to the color in the Enchante paper and I really like how it came out. I especially love how the punches work with this medallion: the 1 3/8" square punch fits it perfectly, then the 1 1/4" circl punch punches the circle out of the middle perfectly too! ANd then I cut the central floret from Vanilla (all these were stamped using Perfect Plum) adhered it on top and used 2-Way Glue and Dazzling Diamonds to add some bling:




Oh, and here's another card I made the day before; I'd actually started this card way before Christmas came along and hadn't finished it. It's okay...I'm not thrilled with it, but I thought you might enjoy it anyway.




So, today, my class is done, I have nothing scheduled until the end of January, my Christmas tree needs to come down, my house is a pit and needs cleaning, I have mounds of laundry waiting to be washed, dried and/or put away, all the Christmas decorations really need to come down and here I am posting on my blog and planning how much 'Bug and Stamp time I get to have today AND I'm watching several Ebay auctions for my Cuttlebug dies...I'm sick! Is there no cure? Do I want there to be one? Stay tuned.....

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!


Here it is Christmas Eve and if it isn't done by now, it ain't gonna be! So relax and enjoy what's left of the evening. ANd if that includes a little stamping, I'm not one to object! I did a little myself today.


We've been to church (twice) and had a really interesting service this evening, I will say. A new organist who missed the doxology (I told her she wouldn't be the first one to do that!) and my children: William, as he likes to be known now, singing at the top of his lungs in the choir, so loudly that people sitting in the back pews were turning around to see where the big voice was coming from, and Laurel, who was an acolyte, up front and yawning so wide over and over that I thought her head was going to split in half and the top half was going to fall down her back. Of such things are memories made.

Of course, once she got home, she couldn't fall asleep...I've just given her and Emily some melatonin to help the drop off! Only when they are totally zonked will the presents come out of the closet downstairs and make their way under the tree. I still have a few to wrap and stockings to stuff...yawn...I think I will be able to fall asleep quite easily!

William has been bouncing around, much like Tigger, and it's a blessing to have him in bed at last. It's also a blessing to have gotten some little gifts made for the ladies in our choir and our worship team AND to have sent out my Christmas cards at last. Family and friends went out Thursday and Friday and customers, downline and a few RAK's went out yesterday. I made 42 copies of one card on Friday night. Yikes!

Now, I know you guys...you want everything! And I'm SO nice, that even though, by the time I got around to taking pictures, the sun was allllll gone, I decided I would just have to take them using my natural light bulb on my stamping desk and fiddle with them in Photoshop. They aren't as nice as pictures taken by daylight, but they will have to do.




This was my first effort. I like it, but I rejected it because there is just too much work here to make 40 some cards. Onward and upward...er...I guess that would be downward for you!




Here is my second effort. I liked this quite a lot, but I still wanted to simplify things a bit, I wanted stitched grosgrain ribbon and I wanted to get away from the green sky. So I went on to this:



I liked changing the card so the fold was at the top, I liked the layout and the ribbon, but I thought this was just too dark and I didn't like the cranberry. So I went on and got my final edition:



The white gel pen star was not added until I got to this edition. I stamped the trees once with Buckaroo Blue and then overstamped with Whisper White. It gives it a nice dimension. This is what I sent to most of my customers, though some of them got extras of some other cards I made earlier. My friends and family got cards I had already made; either retired samples from previous years or extras from classes or swaps.

Today the kids and I went to buy a few more presents and after we came back I got busy making gifts. I had made a candle at my local stamp and scrap store and had stopped and bought similar candles at the Dollar Tree. So this afternoon I made five of these to give to ladies in our choir and on our worship team:



I don't usually give out gifts at church, but the ladies who have stepped forward to be worship leaders and to give me the chance to get off the altar for a change and back on the organ and in the choir deserved something. And the ladies in the choir, of which I am now the defacto leader, deserved something too. I hoped they like them. Just small enough to make them feel like they aren't obligated to give me anything in return, but nice enough to feel like they got something worthwhile and from the heart, I hope.

And since I whipped these out so fast (dang, I'm GOOOD!) I had enough time to whip up some gift bags and tags too:



It was good to get some more use out of those Holiday Mini sets, including Quick Cards, which I decided I will keep because it made making these tags sooo easy. The back of the tag is done in Old Olive and the front in Real Red, then you just cut it out and fold it. Super easy. A quick wheeling on a white lunch sack and I had a great gift package.

Well, my husband tells me that I don't need to make a big dinner tomorrow, so I think, after we get the present opening out of the way, that I'll clean up my stamp room and start cards for Thursday's class, as well as trying to actually use all those Winter mini sets and Sellabration sets I bought, but haven't even had a chance to play with yet! But before I go tonight, I'd like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Panic mode and...I won, I won, I won!!!

Okay. All you folks that have those tickers in the bottoms of your email and forum posts that have a Christmas countdown..you know, "5 MORE DAYS TO CHRISTMAS"...I want you to stop...right now. I'm in major panic mode here. I just realized that my children's last day at school before Christmas vacation is Wednesday, not Thursday. I don't have my Christmas cards done. I don't have any presents wrapped. I don't have them all BOUGHT, now that my mother-in-law sent me money to buy presents from them because she can't get around right now. So cut it out.

BUT...on a better note, did I mention I won? Well, just in passing, but I'll enlarge on this subject...



I FREAKIN' WON!!!!



I won the Wonderful Winter Mini contest with this card, which I showed you a few days ago:



How holy coolio cow is that?!?!?! I've never won a contest with Stampin' Up! before! I've gotten on the "BIG SHOW" (Stamper's Showcase) 3 times, but never a contest. And all because I forgot to order the set I signed up for to begin with!! I had signed up to use Perennial Friendship and, in the process of engineering my preorder for maximum hostess benefits, took it off my main order meaning to put it on the hostess bennie part or 'tother way 'round, I can't remember, ANYWAY, I forgot to put it back on. So I had to use something else and this is what I picked! As part of the swap, Lisa, our gracious swap mom, sends a copy of every swap to Stampin' Up! if we put an extra one in for them, which I always, always do.

When I got the email yesterday, I was already riding a high from getting the free set in the mail from Shelli as well as receiving my Dirty Dozen Gift Exchange present from Chantel...this:




Is it not just gorgeous? How lucky am I? HOLY COW!!!! Not only did I get this in the mail, plus the free set (more of that when I get a chance to stamp with it), but then, oh then...

I'm cooking dinner (humble hamburger stroganoff) and I sit down at the computer to check my email and obsessively check this blog to see if I got any comments on yesterday's post, and there it was in my inbox...the email from the editor of On Stage mag saying I won. I won, I won, I won...a MAJOR AWARD!!! (Yes, I am A Christmas Story freak!)

For this achievement, I get my picture in On Stage magazine next to the picture of my card and...it gets better...3 free stamp sets! Yay!!!! I'm dancing around the living room and Dan is on his cell phone thinking, "What is up with my wife?" Then I started emailing and calling people. Because I'm so....freakin'....excited!!!

So, my gracious public, Life is Good...except for the panic. I could do without that. Think of me, rejoicing and panicking, panicking and rejoicing. Today I am going to be SUPERWOMAN and bring the Christmas tree inside the house, start my Christmas cards, do laundry, wrap presents, panic, make cards, panic, and don't even ask about bringing home any bacon and frying it up in a pan, 'cause I just don't have time....

Oh...did I mention I won? Ooops...guess I did!

Monday, December 18, 2006

THEY ARE DONE...JanTink's Laws of Swapping

First, let me thank those who came to visit in the past few days. If you didn't notice the Stamping Top 50 button further down on the right side, you folks took me from lowly 332 to 68 in 3 days!

Of course, this puts enormous pressure on me, you know (and it's all about me, let's just admit it!) How do I follow up such a successful post? But, I'm so nice (you knew that!) that I just have to try and do my best.

The swaps are done, done, done; in spite of swapitis, church obligations, having to take a bash at cleaning and cooking now and then and dealing with whining children ("Mom, I don't have any clean underwear!", "Mommy, I don't have any warm pajamas and I'm sooo cold!", "Mom, I need a Secret Santa gift for school tomorrow!!" (it's 6 PM on Sunday when I hear this, BTW), "Mommy, I need you to put the sheet back on my bed!" (ya know, if you didn't JUMP on your bed like Kevin in Home Alone, you wouldn't have to have me putting your sheet back on all the time!!!))



ANYWAY, here they are, ready to pop in the mail. Are you looking, Lisa? You don't need to worry about getting mine in time and you can call off the hit squad of stamping goons you were poised to send after me. You don't think Lisa has a squad of stamping goons? Well, you just try and send your swaps late and you'll find out! Lisa, I really, really like you...please don't hurt me!

Anyway, in the process of getting these wonderful swaps done, I've developed the following:

JanTink's Laws of Swapping (or other mass production of cards)

Law #1: You will choose at least one material for your swap that you are going to run out of before you finish, necessitating calls to stamping friends, upline, downline, anybody that might have some of what you need. Mine is always ribbon. I had to make a run to my upline's house last night to borrow more black gingham. I picked her because she always calls me when she runs short, plus I had some stuff that was hers I needed to deliver. The last time, I came very close to running out of pink gingham, but I switched the positioning of the caramel and pink gingham ribbon on the very last swap and squeaked by, but just barely.

Of course, you will not discover your shortfall in time to order more. And that item will be the one thing that makes your card absolutely perfect, so you can't substitute or leave it off altogether. And on occasion, you have to resort to finding the next best thing at that store we all try not to talk about too much...you know, the one with the [whispers] C-O-U-P-O-N. Shhh...

Law #2: You will have at least one step on your swap that you hate doing. Sometimes it's more. You will ask yourself many times, "Why, oh why did I decide to (cut out, do polished stone, watercolor the image, emboss...fill in the blank) when I could have just done something much simpler instead???" These steps are not hateful when you only have to do one, but when you have to make many, many, many of them, you grow to hate doing it.

Law #3: Something that usually works brilliantly will stop working in the process of doing your swaps. Glue dots that stuck wonderfully when you made your sample will stop sticking. Dimensional backings start refusing to come off. Embossing powder will not melt the way it did before. You may find your own hands, that normally are so skilled, will betray you. Tying knots becomes a challenge, you burn yourself embossing, you end up with ink on body parts you never thought you could get ink on, glitter gets up your nose (not that there's anything wrong with that!), in your eyes, in your hair.

Law #4: You will spend a lot of time asking yourself, "Why do I do this to myself!!!"

Law #5: You will get your answer when you get lots and lots of lovely swaps back.

Law #6: You will get the swaps back and never mind that they whole point of doing them is so you don't have to buy so many sets from the mini catalog, it will cause you to buy more sets from the mini catalog anyway. It's inevitable. At least that's true when you swap with the awesome ladies I swap with. You know what I think? [lowers voice and moves a little closer] I think that Shelli Gardner (may she live forever) has some of these people on her payroll. They make these objects of psychic resonance and send them to me and then I have to buy more sets. It's the only explanation I have for it...yes, these ladies are talented, but I think there is more to it than that! It's a conspiracy!

Law #7: Your stamping space, after you are done making your swaps, will look like hundreds of mischievous elves were partying all night in there when they were interrupted by a herd of stampeding rhinocerouses who were all running from the cyclone that came sweeping in immediately afterwards.

So now this swap is over with. It only remains to package them up, print my label off the USPS website, and give them to my carrier.

But you know what? [glances around, furtively] I haven't made my customer Christmas cards yet, so you can guess what I'll be doing for the next few days! I have a ton of cards already made that I can send to my family and friends, but nothing for the customers yet...I feel a bad case of Christmas-carditis coming on....send chocolate!