Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year Everyone!

I was trying to simplify my card this year but then it did end up still taking me awhile to complete them--it's using markers on the stamps--gets me every time & takes longer than I expect! I used the "Snow-Swirled" set & the negative of the Top Note Die. I had tons of them left over from my craft fair packaging so I thought to use them as frames for the picture of my kids.

Just in case you didn't get one in the mail, consider this my Christmas Card to all of you :-) Thanks for reading my blog & encouraging me in my creative endeavours this year!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Truly Inspirational

Way back in the summer I posted about SU!'s generosity in donating to my favorite non-profit Divine Mercy Care. Well, the DMC Gala was in November & I'm just now posting about it (had to wait 'til all the recipients got their gift frame pictured below).

The theme was about the parable of the seeds that fall in the good soil & grow because DMC has really grown this year! I was excited to be able to share with Heather the Decorations chair that Stampin' Up! has a "wheatgrass" stamp in the "Inspired by Nature" set. They used it on the menu cards (pictured), which went nicely with the REAL wheatgrass centerpieces! Cool, huh?

I've also included a picture of the Stampin' Up! basket (which was bid up nicely in the silent auction, I might add)--note the gold wheatgrass on the description frame too.

Finally, I made nine of these gift frames for the top donors and the gala co-chairs. This fall I was honored to become a Board Member so I wanted to do something a little special. The frame was made using a masking technique & sponge daubers to apply the ink. The Mother Teresa quote that comes with the set was just too perfect--I had to find a way to use it! Then, I incorporated a personal message from the Founder & President, Dr. John Bruchalski. This stamp set got a nice little workout for a great cause!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Free Shipping & 10% Off Retiring Sets!

Get 10% off retiring stamp sets & free shipping on any orders over $70!
Wow, this is fantastic!! I've never seen free shipping from Stampin' Up! so I am all over this. I've been eyeing "Summer by the Sea" for years too! Take advantage of this limited offer (Dec. 9 -Dec. 23) by ordering now through my website: http://www.stamp4life.stampinup.net/


Monday, December 8, 2008

Craft Fair Musings

So I finished my craft fair season--whew--I did 3 shows in all. I thought I would just post my general conclusions. This is the third year I've done them & I learn new stuff every year. This year I was doing the biggest ones I'd done so I didn't know what to expect & ended up making WAY more than I needed to.

Of course, most of it can be used next year. The items that had chocolate in them that didn't sell--well, I'm going to recycle the containers for next year & put the chocolates in stockings this Christmas. Those cute jars I made with nuggets? Well, I didn't sell many--I suspect it was because there are cheaper ways to buy chocolate & not because they weren't cute--I did get compliments on them (the purses did sell pretty well though--maybe because they were more Christmasy). So, I'm going to make them "card candy jars" & put my card candy (punched flowers, images I didn't use) in them. Then I'll advertise as for the "scrapper in your life". All of a sudden it's a much more unique gift & I think they'll do much better.

I also made tons of the SU! baskets (easy & fun to make--kind of addictive, really) so I still have a lot left. So instead of chocolate kisses, I'm thinking about making them into "gift card holders"--& lowering the price. Regular gift card envies from the store won't fit, but if I custom-make smaller ones, I can do it (see my Beach Basket from back in August).

I'm glad I had a lot of variety but I'd say next time I wouldn't make so much of each item except the ones I know from experience sell really well. So, next year the only items I really have to make are my best-sellers (the post-it holder sets, ring wine charms, domino pins/magnet ornaments (see pic--these things FLEW! I sold them at $3.50 or 2/$6), photo clips, altered notebook sets, rhinestone beaded pens, christmas card holders--but I'm not going to make as many of these items as I did this year) & I have enough of the other things left over to make the table look interesting. For example, I might have 20 post-it holders, 50 domino ornaments & 10 of the other things mentioned (that's to last 2 craft fairs). I like that the two craft fairs I want to do have some time in between to replenish & adjust pricing if necessary. Of course, if inspiration hits, I might try a new item---I did just get a "Melt Art" melting pot so you never know...

If you're going to sell cards, I definitely recommend a nice display rack that makes it easy for people to look through & of course, label the subjects. I didn't make cards specifically to sell but just used cards or cardfronts (put them on cards) I already had. The lightly embellished ones in clear envelopes on my spinning display rack sold much better then my cheaper, plain ones that I had on my table. I did have regular envelopes available if they wanted them in addition to the clear envelopes. I personally would not make extra cards to sell if you already have some lying around--I had less than ten cards for each subject and that was more than enough.

On a logistics note--don't forget a water bottle, a snack & some tylenol! I had a raging headache yesterday. After weighing all the time I spent preparing (usually during naptime on school days), I'm cutting back to 2 shows next year (besides--my youngest won't be napping next year). I've decided on the two shows I did at schools--St. Timothy's was my best in terms of profit & it's great because people I know shop there; Fox Mill Elementary, while less profitable (but definitely still worth it), allows me to sell as a demonstrator & is very close to my neighborhood & only half a day. The Herndon Community Center one was the most expensive table fee but I only made a little more than Fox Mill. It's also the same weekend as Fox Mill & that's really hard on the family. I woke up this morning panicked that my kids didn't have clean clothes for school but thank goodness, my husband had done the laundry on his own accord.

So, if you're looking into doing this craft fair thing, it's great fun but it does take a while to learn the right work/family balance (as in all things). Since I do this for a little extra play money & for fun, I think I've made the right adjustments for me. Hope this helps some of you :-)


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Post-it Holder & Matching Beaded Pen Sets

Have I mentioned how much I love Freecycle.org? Last year I scored a bunch of acrylic frames (6" x 4") from someone & this year I had a revelation of how I could use them: post-it holders! This was my first time making these things but I'd heard of them from so many crafters through splitcoaststampers.com.

I LOVE making them. I just used a piece of designer paper & then adhered a cardstock block so I'd know where to attach the post-its later. Then I made some kind of matted stamped or rub-on image to match & adhered it on the paper. Put that into the frame & then added the post-its, ribbon & generic dew drops directly onto the frame. The finishing touch is a beaded pen made from matching designer paper. I almost sold out of them at my first craft fair so I went out & bought more frames to make more for my craft fairs this weekend.

Come find me at Fox Mill Elementary in Herndon on Sat. Dec. 6 from 9-1 & at the Herndon Community Center on Ferndale Rd. in Herndon on Sun. Dec. 7 from 10-4!


Monday, December 1, 2008

I Believe Too!

Just wanted to give a shout out to my friend JoEllen who started a counter ad campaign to the American Humanist Association ads proclaiming, "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake," that will appear on Washington, D.C buses through December. The I Believe Too campaign has raised $2400 so far to place ads of their own on DC buses! The ads will say, "Why Believe? Because I created you and I love you, for goodness sake--God." If you'd like to be a part of it, please visit their website at www.ibelievetoo.org & donate to the best Christmas card this season!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Successful Craft Show!

This past Saturday was my first craft show of the season at St. Timothy’s Catholic School in Chantilly. For my fellow crafters who are always looking for ideas on display or what sells well, I shall indulge you :-)

My set up was a 6 ft. table & a 2 ft. table under one tablecloth. The white shelves are just plastic snap together ones I used in my old dorm room & just rediscovered in my mom's attic-lol. The wire basket stand is one of those "narrow laundry shelves" with the caskets removed. The stand alone card rack I got free from Freecycle.org from Eileen Hull (thanks again Eileen!) who used to do craft shows--so it never hurts to ask! If you can get one, I highly recommend it--I sold more cards than I ever have & that might have had something to do with it. The other items are just dollar store trays or xmas containers I had around the house. The wire basket that the bookmark clips are on I usually use in my bathroom for lotions, etc. I used my kids' play magnet board to display the magnets. I have 2 more fairs to do so I definitely had more stuff than I needed!

Some thoughts on some of my items …I had my nicer cards in clear envelopes in the rack. I was pleasantly surprised the individual Xmas cards did well--the lady said she wanted special envelopes to put money in for family. I did explain to people how to mail in the clear envelopes but they could take a regular envelope if they really wanted (no one asked). I think they did well (first cards I've sold in three years of fairs) because of the rack & the clear envies--just made them look so much more classy & easy to look at.

Card Totes/purses—These fit 4 cards with envelopes & I meant for people to choose cards for them but it didn’t really work out (didn’t sell any). I’m planning on whipping up some generic cards to put in them. I’ll have each set look the same & say they’re a gift set.

Lollipops—I sold 7 out of 18 at 25 cents each. Of course, three of the sales were from my own kids…

Gift Tags (set of 10)—I only sold 4 out of 26 at $3 so I’m going to lower the price to $2.50 & advertise they can be used on cards or in scrapbooks. I heard one lady comment she wished they were bigger so that’s a thought for next year.

Christmas Card Holders (altered letter sorters): One lady commented she wished I had some any season ones so she could use it year round. Another idea for next year.

Post-it Holders with matching beaded pen--Wow, these were popular at $6 each. One teen asked me if I’d take $5.46 (all she had) so she could get one for her mom (I said yes—& an awww inside). Another commented that she liked the ones without sayings because they were great teacher gifts & you never know if the teacher wants to “Live with Passion” (as 4 of mine said) Hee.

So…yeah, I’ve been working every naptime & then some since Aug. for all this stuff. I’m very pleased with the results & I have plenty left for my next 2 shows (not til Dec. 6 &7). The only things I’ll be making more of are the lg. notebook sets & the post-it holders (I’m going to make some magnet ones this time too) & then the cards for the totes. Then, I have a couple of other small projects I just thought of. Anything that doesn’t sell will be Xmas gifts or put on my etsy store or saved for next year.

General tips—try to do a sample set up at home to make sure stuff fits. I had the SU! kid tattoo kits & when a kid shopping with his mom looked bored, I offered to do a free tattoo & they really seemed to like that (I had a stamped sample so they could easily choose which one they wanted). Pretty packaging seemed to help. Having samples of how to use things helped (like the tealight in the candle, the card holder with a card in it, a wine glass with the charm on it). The most popular items in a nutshell: altered domino pin or magnet ornaments, large notebook sets & the post-it holder sets.

This was the largest (& most expensive table fee) show I’ve done in three years so turning a profit & all the positive comments were definitely affirming. Will I do it again next year? I think I’ll wait til my other shows & maybe just pick one to do—as much as I love it, ours is a very time-consuming hobby!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Just in Time for Thanksgiving--another Hostess Gift

A big thanks to Katie at Katie's Niche for this inspiration (& the tip about adding the scallop punch around the neck): Wine Tags! I saw those & thought they'd be perfect to make for my craft fair tomorrow (and the only one I have before Thanksgiving).

I'd seen these before but for some reason, the purpose didn't click with me until I saw Katie's blog. Duh! Use them as gift tags on bottles you bring as a hostess gift (instead of paying a bunch for a little wine bag). I always looked at them & wondered "Why would I want to put that on my wine bottle?" What does that say about my resistance to giving my wine away?

Anyway, here are some samples all using SU!'s Top Note Bigz Die & a stamp from "Frames with a Flourish" embossed on the bottom in gold with a sentiment inside. In the first picture, for the Christmas one I used the Snow-Swirled set with markers. On the Blessed one, I made a pumpkin with punches (sponge the edges with ink--really makes it pop) & the vine is from "Baroque Motifs."

In the second picture, I used the hostess set "Fall Flair" for the Thanksgiving tag and the retired "Glorious Garlands." If you enlarge the picture, you'll be able to see that there are little snowflakes that I stamped with Versamark & embossed with Irisdescent Ice--adds a really nice subtle sparkle.

Ok--off to bed--got to get up early for my first craft show of the season!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Snowflake Die Projects

My poor husband is starting to feel like a "Craft show Widower." I don't know when to stop. I was inspired by the blog "Addicted to Stamping" to buy SU!'s Snowflake Die & I'm so glad I did! (By the way, you have to look at her reindeer punch projects--SO cute!)

Anyway, I came up with a couple of projects using this die. First is a Christmas card holder (or letter or napkin holder). I saw these mesh letter holders in a store & then I was browsing the Oriental Trading catalog & saw a card holder project--combined the two & this is what I came up with. I used an old holiday scrapbooking kit for the paper & sentiment (it's a matted sticker--gasp!). Then I added SU!'s felt snowflakes, brads & Stickles to the snowflake die cut (used a thin white chipboard that backs SU! designer papers). I've had fun decorating each one differently to sell at my craft fairs (made ten--at least if they don't sell, I'll have cute teacher gifts!)

Next is a pretty straightforward snowflake ornament. I layered three die cuts together. They are held together with clear snowflake buttons tied with a bit of silver elastic cord. I also decorated them with Liquid Pearlz & Stickles. I used Shimmery White paper & while you can't tell from the photo, it's quite glittery.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Like Mother, Like Daughter

If you're a crafter with kids, I think you'll be able to relate to this situation--whenever I steal away into my craft room, before long "they" find me! & when they find me, especially my 4 yr.old daughter Maddie, they insist on doing what I do.

Okay, so last February I did a class on creating 16 cards in a tote made from half of Stampin' Up!'s Boho Blend Simply Scrappin' Kit (see pics--got the idea from a local SU! meeting). It's been sitting out in my craft room ever since then & numerous times Maddie has eyed it.

Yesterday, I was in there an inordinate amount of time trying out a couple of new craft fairs ideas. There's kind of a point of no return when my time becomes non-productive because one of the kids will inevitably come in looking for attention. (My craft room is right off their playroom so I can keep an ear on them.) With Maddie, it usually involves me having to stop what I'm working on to help her make "something pretty." This time she wanted to make the Simply Scrappin' tote & cards.

As you can imagine, you're trying to get stuff done, the creative juices are flowing, the last thing you want to do is stop & figure out a way a 4 yr. old can make something complicated without using your good supplies! (I keep a stash of "dispensable" supplies for the kids & taught them not to use my good stuff.) Anyway, on her own initiative, Maddie goes to get her paper & proceeds to cut it up(using my Stampin' Up! tabletop cutter--safe for the kids!) & puts on glue stick, & then brings me the pieces to fold together to make a tote. When we were done, she asked for the handle, which I did. Then on her own, she made a bunch of "cards" to put inside & here's the result!

So, while I know as a good mother, I should probably spend more time making stuff with her, I also can't help but be tickled & proud of what she does when left to her own devices with just a little assistance :-)

Monday, November 10, 2008

SU! Virginia Beach Regional

This past weekend I headed to VA Beach for the SU! Regional. It'll probably be the closest I'll ever come to making it to a convention. This was my second Regional, but the first one Shelli (the founder) was at. So, I had to get the requisite Shelli on stage pic.

Even though I wasn't able to meet up with the other lady from my SU! team there, I found a place at a table with some other VA demos. I've found stampers in general to be a friendly bunch (& a bunch of enablers!) They had some great projects for us to make (I'll post those later) & I learned a bunch of cool tips. I guess I've been doing this long enough now that I've at least heard of most techniques (at least the ones they showed us), but it's the little things that I love learning the most!

This "Snowman Kit" was a project demonstrated on stage. I doubt I'd ever make it but I still thought it was the cutest thing. She made the buttons (on clothespins) out of foam run through the Big Shot. So of course today I had to run out & get some foam! She had buttons, a styrofoam nose, foam eyes & a scarf all in the top hat to form the kit. A cool little tip was how she made the little snowman tag's face. Sorry--I didn't get a good picture of it, but instead of punching out little black bits for the eyes & teeth & sticking them on the white head, she punched out circles & squares for the eyes & mouth & then put black cardstock behind his white circle head so it only looked like she'd messed with itty bitty punch-out pieces.

The neat little idea I got from this card on one of the sample displays was simply using the Photo Corner punch to make a Christmas tree. How simple but cool is that?

This last project Shelli showed us from the stage. It's a little game where you try to rest two little BBs in the punched out holes. The display shows all the pieces. First a box of Designer Paper, two layers of foam, watercolor paper (the layer you stamp the image on) & an acetate top (click to really see it). Then you just punch a hole in the top foam & watercolor paper layers. The whole thing was about 3" x3". Probably not something I'll get around to making, but who knows--maybe stocking stuffers for the boys since they won't want my pink barrettes?


Monday, November 3, 2008

Fun with Shrinky Dinks Pt. 2: Barrettes!

While browsing the jewelry aisle at the local big box craft store for my wine charms (& thus with shrinky dinks on my mind), I saw some barrette clips & inspiration hit. It took a while of trial & error to hit on the correct measurements to fit the barrettes (ended up with a White
Shrinky Dink strip of 1" x 5 1/2" for this size barrette). Next, I used a 1/4" hole punch (to thread ribbon through) close to either end of the strip & rounded the corners.

Then I decorated the strip with various stamps (the Christmas trees are re-purposed Birthday party hats from "Party Hearty" by the way). I just used craft ink. On a few barrettes not pictured, I stamped ballet slippers in Staz-on Black & then colored in with markers since I didn't have the right pink in a permanent marker. The water-based dye beads up which creates an interesting polka dot look. That's okay with the small images produced because it still gives an overall pink color but for larger images, I'd splurge for the $1.99 permanent marker :-) I also found that simple shapes worked best since they shrink so small. I tried one intricate pattern & colored it in with permanent markers. However, it was all lost when the image shrunk & everything just blended together. When choosing colors, also remember that the color gets darker or more intense when shrunk.

Once the strip was stamped, it was time to shrink. I simply used my heat tool, holding down one end with a craft tweezer in one of the holes. This also took lots of trial & error because the long narrow shape was very tricky to shrink without it twisting & folding up on itself (& thus getting stuck & ruined!) The best I can describe the winning technique is to start on one end & let it shrink about a third of the way then switch sides. When the strip is shrunk, quickly flip it over & put the barrette onto the back of it. Then, with one side pressed down, pull the other side of the strip up to touch the barrette. You need to do this step quickly so that the strip forms to the curve of the barrette before cooling completely.

Before attaching the strip, I added an optional step of embossing the whole thing. I pressed the strip onto a Versamark pad & then scooped Iridescent Ice Embossing Powder over it. Then, I used my Heat Tool to melt the powder. If you do this too long, the strip will straighten out again. If this happens just re-shape it with the barrette as described before.

Finally, I attached the strip by first putting some Crystal Effects on the barrette & laying the strip down on the barrette with the holes on the strips & barrette lined up. When it was dry, I threaded the ribbon through the holes & tied a bow on each end (this helps the strip more closely fit against the barrette since the shape will not be perfectly contoured). My packaging, once again, is SU!'s exclusive Top Note Die.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Preserving Stamped Candles

tealight in stamped candle
As you know, I made these candles to sell at my upcoming craft fairs & it occurred to me that people might be concerned about buying something that will eventually melt away. So, I remember reading about a way to keep the image intact so that you can use these candles year after year: make them into tealight holders!

I decided I needed to make a sample to show people that it can be done & I also typed up instructions to go with each candle I sell. Basically, I just burnt the candle until the crater was wide enough to fit a tealight (took about an hour). Then, I simply scraped out the bottom of the crater a little more until I could fit the tealight in so that the top was fairly even with the top of the candle. Now I can just replace the tealight when it burns down. Cool, huh?


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Holiday Hostess Gifts: Fun with SU Big Shot Dies

My Moms' Group (for which I made that bulletin board) asked me to show them how to make some "Holiday Hostess Gifts" for a fun crafty morning meeting. I picked two projects using SU! Big Shot dies: the 3D Ornament die & the SU! exclusive Baskets & Blooms die. With a group of at least 10 people, using dies makes it SO much easier to prepare the materials! I could cut 4 sheets of the Holiday Treasure designer paper at a time for the baskets & three for the ornaments. More than that & where the paper is supposed to be scored for fold lines gets cut instead. I recently bought the Premium Crease Pad which is supposed to help you get better fold lines so I'll let you know how many sheets I can cut with that. This picture shows my friends Shannon & Danielle (of Stamp 4 Life Award fame & yes, she wouldn't have missed it three weeks after a C-section!! That's my girl!) crafting away.

Another reason I chose these projects is because they look really cool yet are pretty easy to make. Here's my friend Sue, a self-proclaimed non-crafty person, displaying her handiwork. She even had time to watch Danielle's new baby so Danielle could have her hands free (maybe the Starbucks helped!) :-) I thought it was pretty neat teaching this group because I'd been introduced to stamping myself at a moms' meeting in that very room four years previously. When people get intimidated by this craft, I try to remind them that I was there once too & I'm still learning every day. I love that when it comes to being creative, there's no right or wrong. Besides we're all crafty in different ways. For ex., I'd go to Sue for cooking advice in a heartbeat cuz that is just not my forte. My mom, the gourmet cook, still wonders where she went wrong...

I've made a bunch of these baskets & ornaments to sell at my craft fairs too. For the baskets, I added one of our felt Snowflakes & a bling brad. They are filled with Hershey's kisses. For the ornaments, I used our taffeta ribbon & added a simple bead at the bottom. The paper is "Ski Slope" from the Holiday Mini.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Handstamped Candles

Now we come to what has to be my favorite project of all: handstamped candles! I finally decided to figure them out (just google handstamped candle tutorial & there are plenty out there!) Actually, there are so many tutorials out there that it can be kind of confusing since they all have different nuances.

The easiest way I've found is this: stamp on white tissue paper (not the Kleenex kind--the gift bag kind). I've found that Staz-on, Dye-based inks, Markers (the wreath & snowflake images), Watercolor Crayons (the Madonna image) & colored pencils all work. I haven't tried craft ink or embossing (but I've read embossing works). When using the Watercolor Crayons with an Aquapainter, just try not to have the tip too wet. Then you cut the image out closely & lay it on your candle (cheap & white work just great!) Next, wrap a piece of wax paper around the candle & over your image (this is an important step that some tutorials leave out) & hold tight. Then, heat the image with your heat tool until you see the tissue "disappear" & melt into the wax. The wax paper keeps the image smooth. Next, just peel back the paper & that's it!

If you'd like, you can embellish too. I tied matching ribbon around the candle & added some Stickles (glitter glue). I've had 3 Stickles for over a year now & really fell in love with them for this project--so much so that I went & ordered a bunch more (plus "Liquid Pearls"), thus spending my craft fair profit already. Sigh. I found the best prices at Cutters Creek (cuz shipping ended up being free), by the way. I'm not really cheating on Stampin' Up! I swear--they don't sell them!
This second picture is of the back of the candles--so yes, you can add as many images as you want to your candle (these are 3" x 3").

I'm hoping these will be popular at my craft fairs--so, my pricing advisees (& you know who you are)--I'm open to pricing suggestions!! (Please!) Oh--& which one do you like best? (i.e. what kinds of images should I make more of--I have Christmas trees & snow men too!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fun with Shrinky Dinks Pt. 1

Ah, the craft fair fun never ends :-) My work was just accepted by the Herndon Community Center's Holiday Arts & Crafts Show. So, if you can't catch me at St. Timothy's on Nov. 22, come by the Herndon Community Center (on Ferndale Rd. in Herndon) on Dec. 7. I just hope I have enough stuff!

I can't remember where I first saw Shrinky Dinks used with stamps, but I saw some wine charms (both kinds) on splitcoasterstampers (in the gallery) & decided to try them out. I had all kinds of jewelry-making stuff from when I had the inspiration to make my own jewelry a couple of years ago (got as far as supply shopping!) & I had the Shrinky Dinks from some other inspiration but hadn't used them yet. Now I remember--I saw someone make a baby mobile embellishment on the Carol Duvall Show years ago!

Using Shrinky Dinks is super easy. You can use your heat tool instead of an oven like when you were a kid. Simply stamp with either Staz-on & color in with permanent markers or stamp with pigment ink (I used Stampin' Up!'s Craft Spots.) I punched out the images & made sure to punch a 1/8" hole so I'd have a place for the jump ring or wire. The plastic shrinks to 1/3 its size so keep that in mind. For the ring wine charms, I used crimp beads as extra security that the beads wouldn't slid off & then twisted the end of the ring up too. The new "Cheers To You" set is perfect for wine charms, don't you think?
Another way of making the charms is to use just wire so they twist around the base of the stem. You could even use them for napkin holders or other kind of embellishment--on a key ring or backpack, for example. These take a little more time than the rings (& more beads of course) but I just beaded while watching TV. Jewelry pliers are useful too. I think the Tart & Tangy set is especially cute--think fruity summer drinks!

The other thing I'd like to point out is the packaging. The tops are simply SU!'s Exclusive Top Note Bigz Die folded in half. Super fast & easy.

Shrinky Dinks--more fun than a Slinky :-)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Magnet Bookmarks

I'm still hard at work on making sure I have enough items (& variety of items) to sell at my craft fairs. My sister-in-law gave me a gift of commercially produced magnet bookmarks a couple of years ago & I've been meaning to re-create them ever since!

So here's my first effort at making them. They are the coolest little things. I love them because you can keep them in your book as you read & they don't cover up any of the words or slide out of place. Plus, they are super easy to make (shhh!) I'm going to show them to my tech club this Friday along with another craft fair project. (So, if you're local & want to join a regular stamping club--think about it--we do cool stuff!!)

Anyway, here's what you do. First, I swabbed up a piece of glossy cardstock using our daubers & a variety of classic ink colors in stripes. Then, on half the page, I stamped small images in Black Staz-on ink. I cut the other half in 2" x 3/4" strips. Then I punched out the images with a 3/4" circle punch. Fold the strips in half & glue the circle on one end. Finally, place a 1/2" x 1/2" magnet square on the inside of each half of the strips. TIP: Make sure you're placing the magnets so they attract each other! If you accidently turn them so they repel, you'll need to glue another magnet on top of one of them in the right direction. You can buy little magnets in craft stores, or I happened to have business card size magnets lying around that I just cut up.

I made 85 of these little guys in one day (in between carpool, laundry, etc.). I'm going to sell them for $1.50 each because I did individually bag them for display & they are ready-made gifts with the little card attached (ok, that part took a second day). Fair price? What do you think?

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Stamp 4 Life Award goes to....

my friend & fellow stampin' groupie--Danielle!!! I just have to recognize her amazing dedication to the craft :-) She just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy one month early on Friday afternoon & she spent Friday morning making cards WHILE IN LABOR. Of course, this was her fourth child & she's never actually gone into labor before so she didn't really recognize it--"Oh, that's what that discomfort was!" Even on her ambulance ride to the hospital, she worried about leaving all those cards undone, which she was making for her mom for Christmas (in 3 months!) & so, for stamping beyond the call of duty, Danielle wins the Stamp 4 Life Award!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Good Works

I haven't posted a card in a while, have I? Well, I've got quite a few projects I'm trying to catch up on as I'm still getting ready for craft fair season so I haven't been making many cards. Still, here's one I made as a swap for a local Stampin' Up! demos meeting.
It uses the Pocket Silhouettes set in Kiwi Kiss, Tango Tangerine & Riding Hood Red & punched out using the Key Tag Punch. I used the "Good Works" sentiment from the Inspired by Nature set. I didn't know if the connected images would reflect a chain (what I was going for), so I opted to be rather obvious about it. The "chain links" were made by first punching a 3/4" hole in More Mustard cardstock & then using the 1" circle to punch around it so you're left with just the sliver circle. People didn't mistake it for Chanel so mission accomplished. I used Dotto to adhere them. Lemme tell you, it took quite awhile for 30 cards!
Let me reflect for a moment on this stamping phenomenon called "swapping" for the unitiated. The purpose is to get tons of variety for inspiration or in my case, my display board. You make a bunch of the same card (just the front of it) & label the back with your name & usually the "ingredients" of the card. At these demo meetings I've gone to, people swap immediately. It's really funny to walk in & have a mob of ladies swoop in on you as the newcomer with fresh swaps! It's a good mixer too because you're ooh-ing & ahh-ing over each other's work & gives you an excuse to walk up to anyone carrying a baggie or box of cards. That's when you usually think "I've got to make a nicer card next time!" I haven't met any swap "snobs" but I've heard about them--they're people who ignore you because they don't like your swap. If you want to do this with your friends (uh, swapping, not being a snob), you can also try a "shoebox swap" where you get together & actually make each other's card designs (you bring all the "ingredients" with you in the shoebox). It's good fun--if you make full cards, you can be rolling in unique Birthday greetings for a couple of months :-)


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Name Frame Class: You can too!

frog name frame
These name frames are from a class I gave a couple of weekends ago to show that you can do it too! Usually I take color & theme suggestions & will make a customized frame to order. For the class, we did it all together with the ladies actually making the frames & I acted as a consultant.

This first one is different from the others I've made because she wanted a frog theme & the only frog stamp I had was a foam one (I was just about to get rid of it too--glad I didn't!) I was nervous the foam stamp wouldn't work well with a dye-based ink, but it was fine (usually foam stamps are used with paints). This was Maggie's first time stamping and I think she did a great job! Her grandson will love this :)bela name frame Her colors were inspired by a frog print she'd bought for her grandson's room.

My friend Danielle, a veteran stamper, made this frame to match her daughter's room. I LOVE the colors she chose. Doesn't the Kiwi Kiss look great with Perfect Plum?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Another Use for Simply Scrappin' Kit

Bulletin Board
The head of my previous parish's mom's group asked me to decorate a bulletin board that will hang in the church's "cry room"--because if you're ever going to find a mom who needs friends, it's going to be in a cry room!

I decided to just use SU!'s new Simply Scrappin' Kit "Summer Home" because it's so much easier to have the professionals coordinate everything & let me get on with it. I used our retired "Letterpress" alpha set for the main title & clear embossed it. If you're wondering how I got them lined up so nicely--the magical Stamp-a-ma-jig--I only discovered this tool this year & now I LOVE it! If I had the time, I'd do a video tutorial, but I don't--so, I recommend checking out fellow Splitcoaststamper starofmay's on YouTube. I use vellum cardstock for my stamped images & just store them with my stamps so I only have to do the placement stamp once.

The Baja Blue letters & flowers are die cuts from the new Naturally Serif Sizzlits strip & Birds & Blooms respectively. I'd also like to point out the vellum "pocket" at the bottom. She wanted something see-through so that people could see the group's business cards so I came up with a template (cut the width you want, then for the length, I cut 4.5" scoring a 1/4" alley right in the middle so that it would have a 1/4" depth to hold a few cards. I reinforced the edges with 3 pieces of paper 1" wide & scored 1/4" in the middle to fold around the open sides & bottom). Oh--& check out the cute buttons in Kiwi Kiss from the new Button Bouquet collection. It was tough giving those babies up but it's for a good cause & I need to fight my hoarding tendencies. Still gonna miss them.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

More Craft Fair Goodies

It's official--I'll have a booth at St. Timothy's School's Craft Fair in Chantilly, VA on Nov. 22. Come visit! (I'll give you a lollipop! ;-) ) So, I've been busy making lots o' things to sell. Here are a few I've completed this week:

Altered Photo Clip This is an altered binder clip that had some kind of medical co. advertising on the white part. These are so cute to use as photo holders. I used rub-ons on the purple binder part. Then, I stamped on black cardstock in white craft ink & used Heat & Stick Powder to adhere blue glitter to the flowers (the flash muted the glitter). Then I spread Crystal Effects over the whole surface to give it a cohesive tile look. I did the same on the other side so if you wanted to use it as a paper clip, you'd have the decoration facing you too. Finally, I added just a dab of blue Stickles to the middle of the rub-on & added ribbon.
Altered Candy Jar These are plastic jars from Oriental Trading. I used more rub-ons on these. The felt flowers on the lids are either from SU!'s "Flower Fusion" (the olive green) or I cut them using SU!'s Basket & Blooms Sizzix die (white & black) & secured with a brad. Inside are Hershey's chocolate nuggets wrapped in stamped address labels. While these weren't hard to make, the rub-ons actually took a bit of time because you have to cut out the images & create your design, often with more than one color. I made 16 of them & each one is unique.

Altered Candy Purse I was really happy with how these little plastic purses turned out! I found the blank purse favors on clearance & got them without knowing what I'd do with them. I decided to make all ten the same with a straight Christmas theme (using up all my Silver Hodgepodge Designer Label holders in the process). I also used our new Holiday Treasures DSP & Baja Breeze 1" Grosgrain ribbon. I stamped the nuggest labels with the new "Snow-Swirled" stamp set.

One tip--to make the holes for the brads, I found it easier to secure the ribbon onto the paper first, place the whole thing onto the cushion in our Mat Pack & poke a hole with the paper piercer through both (instead of using the 1/16th" hole punch). You can then poke the brad through while it's still on the cushion & flip the whole thing over--the brads will stay put & then you can spread the prongs. This way, you don't bend the paper while trying to punch the brads through.

Whew. All I can say is, I've probably spent as much energy keeping these things out of my kids' hands as I have making them! My oldest (6 yrs.) is so cute--he keeps asking how much they are because he wants to save his money to buy them.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Gift Card & Basket

My new SU! Basket & Blooms Sizzix Die arrived last Thurs. & I was leaving Fri. for my H.S. reunion so I had to act fast! I saw a cute beach basket on Colleen Laux's blog & decided to do the same thing to hold the gift certificate for our reunion's organizer. I loved how it went along with her deserving to relax now! The basket wouldn't fit the envelope that came with the gift card so I made a smaller one that just fits the card & then stamped it with some beachy images from "Life's a Breeze" & a sentiment from last year's SAB set "Lots of Thoughts."

I tried using both Sticky Strip & Tombow Mono Multi around the bottom of the basket (on the one my daughter insisted on making for herself) & both worked fine. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it really was to put together. Next time I think I'll stamp it after I run it through the machine, rather than before (you can see the line where the Canvas background stamp overlapped a little). The basket filling is just strips of cardstock that I ran through the crimper before cutting.

I can also report that the basket lasted traveling all day in my purse--it's a hearty cardstock :). I used Kraft by the way (you'll need a strip of 12" x 6" to fit the XL die if you want everything cut out at once.)

& my reunion? A surreally good time :) I was telling one of my good friends (with whom I'd lost touch) that I was doing this now & she asked rather surprised "You're crafty now?" Yeah, I'm still pretty amused by it myself! Of course, we agreed that the scrapbooking part actually does make a little sense because I did always love to take pics & organize them & write captions even before scrapbooking became the commercial behemoth it now is.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Welcome Baby!

I had the pleasure this past weekend of giving a workshop to a group of ladies who either had just had babies or who are pregnant. Between the mom (God bless her!) who needed to rush home to a colicky baby & the fire alarm going off on the floor of their apt. building, it was tres exciting :-) Thank goodness the elevator started working again cuz I did not want to schlep my big ol' cart down four flights of stairs. I'm just very impressed they all had the energy to go out! & I should mention that the hostess found me through the Divine Mercy Care Gala's program so Stamp 4 Life donated a portion of the earnings to DMC--yea! (If you want to host a workshop, just ask & I'll do the same for your workshop too!)

onesie card

Anyway, I thought I'd share the baby projects we did. I first showed them how to make this baby onesie card with our punches. My great-upline Jeannette told me about them & then I got the directions from Lauren Meader's blog except I used a key tag punch to make the indentation below the sleeves instead of cutting with a hobby knife. Now that we have the scallop edge punch, we can scallop the sleeves too!

Happy New Baby card

Next, everyone got to make this gender neutral Happy New Baby card. I used the new In-colors, scallop edge punch & showed how sponging the edges really gives cards a little extra sumpin' sumpin'. For both cards, I used "Wild About You"--one of my favorite kid themed sets.

My new catalog goodies (including the Big Shot) are coming this week! Yea!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Stampin' Up!'s Generosity!!

Donation Basket As mentioned in a previous post, I've been helping my fav. non-profit, Divine Mercy Care, in various ways for the past few years. Last year I wrote to SU! to see if they'd donate to DMC's Annual Gala Fundraiser & they sent a huge amount of retired products. Well, I did the same thing this year & they sent even more. All the product in this basket adds up to $442 in retail value! Isn't that awesome? Some of the items (markers, craft spots) are current too--just in old packaging.

I looked up some of the stuff on ebay to see how it's selling--the "Knobbly Gnomes" set went for $40 (it retailed for $22.95!) So, anyone who wins this basket in the silent auction is sure to get a great deal! The DMC Gala is Nov. 15 in Herndon, VA if you're interested in attending and/or bidding (or if you trust me--I'll bid for you--I can send a list of everything in there too :) )

Alrighty---just three more hours before the new catty goes live & then you won't hear from me for awhile (LOL).

Friday, August 8, 2008

Beaded Pens

I know it's only August, but I've started getting ready for the holiday craft fair season by making various projects to sell. (I'm trying to get a bunch done before the new catalog & school craziness starts. Plus, I'm going to try to hold more events at my house this fall, which'll keep me busy!--Go to the "Classes" link above for more details or email me!!)

Anyway, I decided to try my hand at "beaded pens"--a lot of crafty ladies say they sell well, so that's good enough for me. I think they should be popular with tween girls who seem to love little things like this--my 4 yr. old daughter certainly tried to abscond with a few!

Stamped Beaded Pens

I stamped on Avery labels (cut to fit) using the "Always" stamp set. You need smaller images for this. Then you wrap sticky tape (I used a 1" width & then added a 1/4" width cuz I'm too cheap to buy the full sheets). Roll in clear microbeads. I finished it off with coordinating 1/4" grosgrain or twill ribbon. These are Pentel RSVP pens by the way.

Silver Beaded Pens I tried silver microbeads with these. I'd found some Scotch tape that's meant to hold up posters & small frames super cheap; they were thicker & cushiony, so I thought I'd try a different tack. First I put on the rhinestones, then rolled in the beads. For some of them, I filled in the gaps with glitter too. They're pretty darn sparkly in person.

Here's another variation--with these, I used Designer Paper (the retired "Cerise"), then covered composition books to match so I have a set to sell. The designer paper is trickier than the labels because you have to put the sticky tape on both sides to make sure it adheres to the pen. At first I tried running the paper through a Xyron Sticker Maker but that wasn't sticky enough. I figured that out when I saw them "splayed" open the next day---Horrors!! Anyway, that's why I'm not making as many of these :) Covering the notebooks is super-easy (shhh!). You just cut the paper a tidge bigger, glue stick the back (the SU! glue sticks rock for this!), stick it on the notebook & then gently sand the edges so it looks perfect. Then embellish. I used ribbon to hide the "seams" where different papers meet.

Finally, here's my favorite--made from the now retired Designer Paper "Enchante" I believe. Of course, it was my daughter's fav too, so well, you pick your battles, right? Besides, after I gave it to her, I saw that I'd put stuff on upside down! Too funny. I stamped the flowers using my markers on the stamp (from "Carte Postale"--now retired--I tend to use up retired stuff for craft fairs & the retired sets I keep are my favs anyway). The purple pen was my very first attempt--I used all purple glitter on it (sticks pretty well, actually). That is also now in my daughter's possession.

Okay, so the new Catalog is coming out on Monday, August 11!! There are tons of promotions going on with it too ($99 starter kits! 15% off a bunch of new sets!) Be sure to visit my SU! website for more details!!