Thursday, September 28, 2006

Versatile Versamark

I had a class on Monday and will have it again this coming Monday on Versamark ink. Here's what we did and will do:

Poppin' Pastels & Watermarking

For Poppin' Pastels, you stamp with Versamark and gently rub pastels (or chalks) over the ink and it sticks! I like to use eye make-up applicators for the most part; the little ones that come with our pastels are great for detail images but they take forever to do bigger areas. Sponge daubers also work but I find there is a tendency to press down too hard and smear the Versamark. With an eye make-up applicator, you can pick up a lot of pastel powder, so it's fast, but you tend to be gentler with it. The watermarking is just stamping with Versamark; that is it's original purpose...the ink will darken the color of the cardstock behind it.

Versamark Resist

With this technique, you stamp with Versamark on glossy paper, then brayer over it with a color. The Versamark images will show up as white (unless you brayer first with one color, stamp with Versamark and brayer another color over that.)

Pearl Ex with Versamark

This works the same as Poppin' Pastels, but with Pearl Ex. I use a Swiffer cloth to clean off the excess Pearl like a charm. I usually do not seal this unless it is something will get a lot of handling. Then an acrylic spray sealer works well or simply hair-spray.

Cracked Glass

Stamp the image, then cover completely with Versamark. Pour on Glassy Glaze or Ultra-Thick Embossing Enamel and heat emboss. Add more Versamark and more GG until you have three layers on the piece. Then cool it off; you can either let it sit for a while or you can stick it in your freezer to speed things up. Then you gently bend the cardstock and the coating will crack. If you aren't getting cracking, you either didn't put enough GG on and need to add another layer, or it isn't brittle enough yet. If you crack it too much, you can always remelt the glaze and do it over again.

I know some of you are saying to yourself, "Why is Cracked Glass a Versamark technique?" Because you need a clear embossing ink to do it and Versamark is perfect for that. So many embossing pads are tinted so you can see where you stamped and that works fine when you are using colored embossing powders, but the tinting does not go away after you emboss, so if you use clear EP with a tinted pad, you are still going to see the tint. Either you need a non-tinted embossing ink pad or you just use your handy Versamark. Stampin' Up! doesn't even carry the Top Boss pad anymore, I guess because whenever anybody wants to emboss they grab the Versamark pad or their Encore or craft inks.

I've wanted to do this technique in a class for a long time, but it is VERY messy. The Glassy Glaze or UTEE has bigger grains, so it has a harder time sticking to whatever you are using as ink and it blows all over the place. Plus you have to go through a lot of the EP to get just one card, so if you are a demonstrator, you might consider going to one of those craft stores we don't like to talk about and buying a big jar of that other brand.

My upline's meeting was last night and they all liked the Smackin' Acetate card I did for my Watercolor FX class and wanted to learn how, so here is the new version (since Bud Basics was in the Summer Mini.)

And this is my swap for the meething, which was a fall theme. I had gotten one of these cards from the Control Freaks swap from Vicki Maduzia; it's called a "donut" card because of the hole. Hers was in Basic Black and Cool Caribbean, mine is Chocolate Chip, Apricot Appeal, and Pumpkin Pie. I made mine a tad bigger and decided to put the word "Fall" in there to increase the fall theme. I have a stamp that says "Happy Fall Days" so using Happy Everything was a great fit with Big Deal Alphabet. And I put some ribbon on mine. I really love the Flannel Plaid background, don't you?

Monday, September 18, 2006

I got a layout done!

I don't do as much scrapbooking as I used to. Anyone else suffer from scrap guilt? I know I do. As the photos start to pile up, I avert my eyes. That's what so great about digital photograph...all those photos, safely stashed on your computer, out of sight (and unfortunately, out of mind.)

When I became a Stampin' Up! demo, I had already gotten behind. Card making was just more fun at that time (I swing back and forth...started with cards, then got hooked on scrapping and did that more, then switched back to cards.) But after I started doing this as a business, I got even MORE behind.

I can remember receiving a phone call in my first year from someone thinking of signing up. She said, "I want to do this to make more time for scrapping." I felt uncomfortable. Because since I had signed up, I had done LESS scrapbooking than before and seemed to have less time for it. Should I say anything?

As it happened, I never did hear back from her, so I didn't get the chance to explain about my struggle to find time for scrapbooking. But it probably would not have applied to her anyway.

The truth is, we are all different. I was behind before I signed up...I have really just continued the same. And part of the problem was I was taking duplicate photos and redoing layouts with Stampin' Up! products. Rather than taking new photos that had not been scrapped yet, creating all SU! layouts with them that can be slipped into the scrapbooks when their business purpose is over. So I've started to do that. And I've gotten more done.

Before, I spent 5 nights out of 7 scrapbooking for 3 to 4 hours. I'd get one or two layouts done a night. At least 7 layouts a week. Now I'm lucky if I get that done in a month. I'm still looking for a solution.

Yesterday I went to my friend Mary's house to scrapbook. First, let me say that I am not a person that goes to crops, at least not very much. When I started scrapbooking, I did it at home on my dining room table. After I got an area set up in the basement (now my classroom) I did it all down there. I like scrapping alone. I get a lot done. It seems counterproductive to me to pile all my supplies in a tote (which can take an hour!) and go somewhere else to scrap. Inevitably, I find that I have left something at home that I need, so I can't complete what I was trying to do. Why not just stay home where it all is and I can get at it?

But scrapbooking with other people can be a lot of fun. So I have resolved to do more of it. When I showed up at Mary's house, she nearly fell over backwards in surprise (yes, she had invited me!) And I stayed for 2 hours and finished a layout. Here it is:

I've blurred the faces. I'm sorry...I just have gotten a little worried about internet safety. This blog is a bit more open to the public than a lot of other places. So I hope you can survive not seeing how very cute my kids are...or were...this was 2002.

This layout uses the new Simply Scrappin' Kit called All the Trimmings. I've also used a chipboard letter from the new On Board Simon Lower. This was fun. I'm not going to put any journaling on the page, because it would just be the usual: "The kids had so much fun decorating the tree...yada yada yada." The fact that they had fun is evident. No need to repeat it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New stuff is always good....

Got some new stuff...oh, yeah, baby!

One of my new recruits emailed me about her kit coming tomorrow and said, "It's going to be like Christmas!"

And it still is, 3 years later. I really enjoy being a demonstrator. There have been times I've wanted to quit, usually when I've overextended myself and took on too much. After Christmas this past year I really thought about it. I was tired, at a creative low ebb, and I was feeling like I just had too much stuff and should stop while I was ahead.

Then the Spring Mini came out and I was a goner again. I got very excited about stamping with the new sets in there and the summer mini was also a winner.

I'm not as thrilled with the Holiday Mini (for which I was thankful, having bought almost everything in both Spring and Summer minis!), but I already had to order one more set than my initial order. Here is what I've made with it so far. I really like playing with this set! I embossed with black EP on Naturals White, then painted in with Aquapainter and the ink from the pads. While I like the watercolor crayons, I don't have any for the In Colors, of course, and this one uses Cranberry Crisp, a color which I dearly love. Stampin' Up! recently issued us a new In Color matching chart with color combos containing the new colors and our regular colors, so this is the first combo I picked.

Since I had actually borrowed this set from my upline, Sharon, before mine came, I ended up making her a copy of this card when I returned her set; she is doing the same with the sets she is borrowing from me. I also need to make a copy of the Ornamassortment card I posted last time for her.

I've got all my new sets almost cut...see "Latest Acquisitions" in the sidebar for what I got!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Fun in the stamp room

What else is there to have there?

My friend and upline, Sharon, came over on Wednesday and we had a ton of fun stamping! Here's what she made (she actually made two and gave me one!):

Cool, yes? I am so lucky. I called Sharon to sign up with Stampin' Up! when I had never even met her. She had done a workshop for my former SU! demo who was going out of business and wanted to turn her customers over to someone else. Stampin' Up! recommended Sharon and I didn't go to the workshop, but got a catalog and was going to place an order. Unfortunately, the workshop was just before 9/11 and after that, stamps didn't seem very important for a long time. As a result, I never did place the order.

Then a couple of years later, I decided to sign up. I didn't have a demo, but I still had that catalog, so I called the number on the back of the catalog, made an appointment with Sharon to go fill out the paperwork and we hit it off immediately. Now I not only have a great upline, I have a wonderful friend too!

This is what I made. I don't have this set, but Sharon brought hers over and I have borrowed it for a little while. I used sponge daubers to "burnish" the color inside the images, then highlighted using the Signo white gel pen.

I've decided to let you see inside my stamp's not exactly clean (don't tell Flylady!) but it's fairly tidy...comparatively anyway! You don't want to even see it after I've spent time getting ready for a workshop; then it's a disaster area!

Here's some pictures. I've scrounged more than half of what I use in my room from other areas of the house. Shoe organizers were in my daughters' room until it became patently obvious that they had no intention of putting anything but trash and dirty clothes in them. The closet shelf pieces were in all the bedroom closets and were "liberated" to become my stamp shelves. Rolling carts used to be used for toys, but no longer! Old dressers, an old filing cabinets with a piece of countertop over them that used to be our computer desk, and my grandmother's yellow formica kitchen table all have found a home in here.

Usually, my bulletin boards are full of display cards, but you can see this one is I need to make more samples, obviously! It's time to start working seriously on Christmas stamping, so I placed a large order on Monday evening and will be getting it next week. In the meantime, I can play with the stamps Sharon lent me. But today, alas, I have to go and set up for the big retired stamp sale at my church our group is having, so playing with stamps will have to wait until tonight.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Fun New Project

I'm not a big purse person...I mean, I have to carry one like anyone else. I don't get how men can get away without one, but I guess they just have more pockets than we do.

I have a definite preference in purses. I prefer black leather. It can't be too big or too small. I want a shoulder strap, not a handle (though handles AND a shoulder strap are an ideal combination.) I want a pocket on the outside for my cell phone. I would rather have a zip down compartment on the side for my money and credit cards than have to put a wallet inside it. And I hate anything that looks too loud or messy. I like quiet and unobtrusive, clean lines, nothing fussy and nothing too modern or plastic looking.

However, I'm willing to compromise to a certain extent. So I found myself intrigued by all the Z Becky Brown purses I saw on people's websites and Splitcoaststampers. They are really cute made up...but I had some objections to them:

Hard plastic
No shoulder strap

I thought about it again after seeing Michelle Laycock's ZBB at convention, I really, really considered doing one after all. It was just spectacular!

But something's happened to the supply of Z Becky Brown purses. They seem to be disappearing; even the Z Becky Brown online store is unavailable these days. And they are kinda pricey. I'm looking at them on Ebay and going "hmmmmm...." But it would have to be a fabulous price.

Then I found PURSuE Your Art through a post on Splitcoast, followed the link and immediately ordered a purse. I liked that it had a shoulder strap and was not hard plastic. I only had it for a week before I finally got down to business. And this is the results:

After I got it, the decision was should I make it more of an art piece (and possibly intimidate the heck out of people who saw it) or should I make it more of a sampler piece that would get people intrigued with stamping? So I noodled around and decided on the latter. I wanted more of a showcase of fall ideas using Stampin' Up! stamps. I'll change it once we get closer to Christmas and then I'll have a Christmas purse for a while. The inserts are made of museum board...a very heavy chipboard. You can buy extras, but what I ended up doing was using Dotto so I could peel the paper off and reuse the least until they get old and bent.

The little cards are Artist Trading Cards or ATC's. This is a trend that some stampers really like; they are easily transportable, take less cardstock than a cardfront, and are fun to trade to get new ideas. I'm not really hooked on them...yet, but it was fun to make the ones for the purse. After I'm done with these, I can put them on a card front with a few embelishments and have a real card. These cards slide into little pockets attached to the inside flap and the inside of the back, so the tops of the cards aren't getting friction like another bag I have that is made for photos.

This is not the most practicle purse, I have to say. I was able to get the essentials (Stampin' Up! Convention wallet, Palm, cell phone, business card case & pens) inside without making it bulge.

I used some of the new Four Seasons double sided designer paper for the inserts and I like it a lot. Just be sure you plan carefully how you are going to cut BEFORE you do it...I ended up having to make the front and back different (which I ended up liking a lot) because it didn't work out quite right to have them the same. I even ended up patching one piece when it was short (but I'll never tell which one! ;-) )

Now, I need to get downstairs and do some more stamping...I'm still working on samples for the Holiday Mini and hey, Mary, I *need* to get Best Fiends and Just Between Fiends back!