Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Breaking out of the 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" box

I love Love Notes.

What are they? They are 3 x 3 inch notes that Stampin' Up! sells with envelopes. And they are truly *fun* to design. We get so locked into that standard size we all make that when you get a chance to break out and do something a little different, it is incredibly freeing!

This next month, you'll be able to get the Love Notes in 3 of the new In Colors. I had to do the swap for my upline's meeting tonight, so I decided to use the new Quick Cards set which I had bought and not played with nearly enough. At first I made this card:

And I like it, but I didn't really want to make multiples of this. Mostly because of that teeny piece of wire I used to make the ornament loop and because the Crosshatch background is embossed. More work than I wanted to do.

So instead, I made this. It's a Love Note that isn't one...I didn't prepurchase the Love Notes in the Holiday Mini. Instead I had the new 3 1/8" x 3 1/8" envelopes and they are Whisper White instead of the ivory in the Holiday Mini Love Notes. Isn't it CUTE?!?!?! These little notes are just cunning in person; seeing a picture just doesn't do it.

I got a few Love Notes the last time they were offered in the Winter Mini from the ControlFreaks Swappers and before that I couldn't see the point, but once I got them in my hot little hands, I fell in love.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Watercolor FX, among other things

I live a pretty sad life, let me tell most thrilling moment today (besides getting the kids all off to school...let's pause for a moment and savor that...they are's quiet here and cleaner...ahhhhh...I have to enjoy it because in 30 minutes I have to go pick them up...okay, turn "savor mode" off!), oh yes, my most thrilling moment was buying a new mop.

I went to Target and just for grins, went down the mop aisle. You have to understand that a) my kitchen floor is out to kill me, b) my husband is aiding and abetting the floor by saying we should wait until the kids are gone before we replace it since they will trash it anyway, c) my kitchen floor is very old and very hard to clean, d) I've tried nearly every kind of mop in existance in the war between the floor and me, and e) the floor has been winning. Mostly because I don't want to get on my hands and knees...I want the dream. The dream they sell us on television of the nicely dressed woman who waves the magic cleaning solution bottle over the floor, picks up the magic mop and little sparkles float through the air, following the mops as it effortlessly removes every bit of dirt on the floor. The chick behind the handle of the mop never breaks a sweat.

I gave up on romance novels long ago, by the way. I don't believe that someday my prince will come...I believe I have to find the prince in the husband I have. And realize that usually the prince I longed for as a girl was really a jerk with a crown to prove it. But I refuse to let the dream of the magic mop and cleaner die. I won't let it.

Before I went to Target, I'd pulled out one of my failed weapons, the Swiffer Wet, and had removed the top layer of filth from the floor. My house has been steadily becoming dirtier and dirtier as 4 extra people lived here 24/7 for 3 months. I have cleaned, but it has been a losing battle and the floor has been exulting in victory after victory.

So I'm in the mop aisle and I see it. It's the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Mop!!!

And I am thrilled. Because I love Magic Erasers...I honestly think that the person who invented them should be crowned king or queen tomorrow and rule the world. Magic Erasers have cleaned things that I could not clean any other way...they are wonderful! And here that person had put one of these beautiful things on a mop...just for me! I went to the register with it and said, "What kind of sad and pathetic life I must lead that I am excited about going home and trying my new mop!" And the cashier said, "Oh, I *love* Magic Erasers! I'd be excited too!"

There are the obligatory pictures on the back of the packaging showing the new mop cutting a swath through the filth on your floor. I wasn't really expecting that to happen...but ya know, it really did! I got home, ate lunch, unpacked the mop and wham bam, I was at that floor. The part that is the hardest to clean is under the dining table where the finish has been worn away from chairs scraping across it. Dirt gets into all the little scratches and will not move without major effort and I dunno about you, but major effort is something I'd rather save for other, more interesting pursuits.

The Magic Eraser Mop cleaned all the dirt off of that part of the I am sold. The worst thing about it is that once it gets a certain amount of dirt on it, the mop just pushes it around the floor, much like the handheld variety, but I'm okay with that...I can handle it. As long aas it moves that dirt to begin with.

Well, enough about mops (for Pete's sake, this is a stamping blog!) Here are the projects we did at class last night which I had called Watercolor FX:

Watercolor pencils with blender pens:

Watercolor crayons with aquapainters:

Watercolor crayons direct to rubber:

Smackin' Acetate and markers direct to rubber, then misted
with water:

Saturday, August 26, 2006


I suffer. I am a paper addict.

Oh, I used to be addicted to stamps, sure. Selling them sort of cured me of it. I finally got convinced that no matter how many wonderful stamps there were to buy, some day there would be even more wonderful stamps to buy and that a) I didn't need to keep all the ones I had ever bought and b) I didn't need to buy all the ones I liked. Phew! It mostly works that way (let's say...about 75% of the time.)

But I'm still addicted to paper. I haven't yet convinced myself that no matter how much wonderful paper there is to buy that a) I didn't need to worry about using up the paper I had and not having enough or b) I didn't need to buy all the paper I liked. So what happens is that thanks to both a) and b) I keep buying the stuff.

I suppose there isn't really anything WRONG with buying lots of paper. It's cheap after all. Cheaper than, say, yarn, to which I am also addicted, I will say. So addicted that I have to carefully stay away from yarn stores now because I finally twigged to the idea that if I go in a yarn store, I will come out with more yarn. I can't knit it up fast enough is the problem.

With paper, though, not only don't I stay away from stores that sell it, I hardly use what I buy at all. I don't scrapbook the way I used to, but I still stockpile scrapbooking paper. And so much of it is soooo gorgeous that once I buy it, I have a problem finding a project worthy of it.

Here's just part of my paper storage. This tower is my 12 x 12 patterned paper, plus my SU! 12 x 12 patterned paper and die cut stuff. I think I will probably run out of space here soon.

Like a lot of messy types, I am addicted to buying storage options. Instead of getting rid of stuff, we tend to just buy more ways to store the stuff we have, then we acquire more of it and the whole problem starts over again when we max out the storage we have. I'm thinking I should switch to a vertical system; I already have my solid paper in the units SU! sells, but in order to do all of those, this whole dresser top has to be cleared off. That means some of the stuff on it has to find other homes...sigh...decisions, decisions.

I'd show you more of my stamp room...but not yet. I need to clean it.

This is the paper I acquired in the past week or so...I have a weakness for shabby-chic, you'll notice:

Here we have paper by Bohemia, Sentiments, and Wild Asparagus. I bought the 12 x 12 patterns for Bohemia and Sentiments last week, only to find that they had put all the paper do dads to match out this week, so I bought a bunch of those plus this selection of Wild Asparagus paper. I love this stuff. Now if I could only USE it, I'd be happy.

I also used to have an addiction to scrapbooking and stamping tools. I had to have the latest and greatest everything. Now I just stick, for the most part, to stuff I sell, but since I've bought most of that, I am rarely tempted by the latest gadget. It has to be super useful for me to even want it. So while my friends are all lusting after Cricuts and Wishblades, I'm content not to have one. Not that I'd turn one down if somebody gave it to me.

In the meantime; if you want to subscribe to the blog, I've added a button for Bloglines, which lets you keep track of the blogs you like to read. It's over there on the right side of the screen.

Right now I'm working on the On Board Bitty Book in the Holiday Mini. I decided to make it a mini BOO Book and put Halloween pictures in it. A mini scrapbook of sorts. I thought it would also make a great teacher's gift with all the kids' class pictures in it. But now that I have an Epson Picture Mate, I can print my pictures in half sheet size and wallet size and this little book will be perfect for those little pictures.

I'm not totally satisfied with the outside's cute, just doesn't look DONE. The paper is also from the Holiday Mini.

I put the paper on with our glue stick...just totally coated the back of the paper or the piece of chipboard and used my bone folder to burnish it down. Now I need to go on to make the little pages and figure out just WHAT is missing here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Welcome to Stamps, Paper, Scissors

It's not enough for me to have a blog for my knitting pursuits, I decided. I have to have one for my other obsessions, scrapping and stamping.

People like me, who like to write, but don't have a novel in the works, are now blessed with blogs: a public way to air all the dirty linen or share what it is that makes us tick. Well, this is what makes me tick. I hope you enjoy it!

To get the boring biographical stuff out of the way first, let me tell you I've been doing paper arts almost all my life. I started out by painting on it, then I fiddled with sculpting things out of it, now I stamp on it and make scrapbook pages. I like paper. I also like color, which is my main inspiration and leads me into other avenues like cross-stitch, knitting, weaving, spinning, and quilting too, though I don't do much of that. I've always made things and I've always sold what I've made one way or another, starting with my pathetic yarn daisy hair ties and Indian bead weavings in junior high. My first sale was to someone from our local university who came to view the art made by children in our local elementary school. I had sculpted a hobo, his dog and his cat out of clay. She bought the cat from me for $2, something I was incredibly amazed by and I guess what set this whole train into gear.

I've been stamping since 1996 and scrapbooking since 1998. I joined Stampin' Up! as a demonstrator in 2003 and I've had a ton of fun doing it.

Now onto todays topic: swapitis.

Swapitis is what happens when you make a beautiful card to swap with other people. It's a lot of fun to make that first card, the problem comes when you have to do more than one. I'm sorry. I get bored...I only like to make a card once, and then I'm done. But for swaps you have to make many of one card, so it's a push for me to get them all done.

You swap with other stampers (or demonstrators if you are one) to get a variety of samples or cards. The group I swap with regularly is called Controlfreaks Swappers, mostly because we are all incredibly anal about detail. And there are a bunch of us. For the swap I've been working on, we are making samples from Stampin' Up!'s 2006 Holiday Mini so we can have a nice variety for our customers.

This is my swap for the Holiday Mini. I used Holiday Trim and I really like the results. To get yellow candle flames, I stamped the candle complete with the flame with Whisper White craft ink, then colored on top of the flame with a Yoyo Yellow marker. Nice trick, eh? The halos around each flame was done with a sponge dauber. It's one of the cards that turned out almost exactly like I envisioned it (a rare occurence!)

But it took me a lot of effort to finish these swaps; 29 of them. I always make a sample first, then cut all the cardstock and plan the different steps so I can make them assembly-line fashion. So I started out by tearing the edge off 29 strips of designer paper that's on the left side of the card, then sponging the torn edge of all 29 strips, etc. etc.

When I'm doing multiples of cards, I have to give myself little treats to get through them. Because after I've done 3 pieces of the same step, I start feeling desperate to leave, do ANYTHING but finish these things. I listen to Garrison Keillor do Prairie Home Companion monologues to take my mind of the horrible boredom of doing the same thing over and over.

And I'll say to myself, "Just do 10, then you can get up and get a Diet Coke" or "Get through this step and then you can go read your email." Sometimes I get encouraged by how quickly I got those 10 done and I'll do more. But sometimes nothing works and I run away from the swap and only finish because the deadline for mailing is upon me.

With this swap, I got stuck at the ribbon part. I got three of the cards completely done and simply could not stand it. I ran away to read a mystery novel and try to ignore the fact that I needed to get those swaps out of the way. I went back down and did two more and gave up again.

Finally last night they were done. They are labeled on the back with the recipe, packed up and ready to mail out. Phew! And I can rest until the next swap, which is much smaller; the swap my upline has every month at her meeting. Only 11 cards necessary for that one!

Here are the other samples I've done with the Holiday Mini sets I I have that swap out of the way, I hope to make some more!

I've also been working on cards using the set Stampin' Up! has to benefit the American Heart Assocation, A Light Heart: