Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Notebook & Beaded Pen Sets

I took a break from my making-jewelry obsession to make a few altered composition notebooks with matching beaded pens. I like making these because I can do a lot in front of the TV :)

I made these for my craft fairs last year too and sold out of them so y'know--had to make more! (I sell them for $7 if you're curious. When I sell them alone, the beaded pens go for $2.50.) I always stick with Stampin' Up! designer papers, ribbon & stamps for these because everything coordinates easily,which saves me a lot of time when creating in bulk.

The first set is from the retired Rockabilly Specialty Paper (with tweeners in mind). My seven year old son wants the rock star one of course. That stamp is from the "Little Something" retired hostess set.

This second set uses the retired Good Morning Sunshine paper & coordinating stamp ("Cheep Talk") & retired rub-ons. I also used the Scallop Circles #2 die & the Circle Scissors Plus.

This last one uses the retired Raspberry Tart paper and more dies--SU! Birds & Blooms Sizzlet and SU! Sweetest Stem embosslit.

Few nitty gritties...some people make these by folding the paper over and then covering the inside covers. I simply cut very close to the edge, adhere (with SU! glue sticks), trim off excess and sand the edges. My 5 year old daughter has a notebook I made a year ago and it's withstood her um, lack of order without coming apart so I stand by my methods. My year old pen has held up well too.

I use Pentel RSVP pens--some people roll the paper up and insert it inside the pen. I didn't think you could see much of the paper, so I use sticky tape (the 1 1/2" wide Scor-Tape) to adhere it to the outside of the clear barrel and then use the tape again to adhere the ribbon & then clear micro-beads. SU! now sells Sticky Sheets so you could also cut those to size and use them too. Be sure not to adhere the bottom of the pen while making these because then you can't open them to refill the ink (one of the main selling points of these pens!) Also, add the paper & tape with the cap on--otherwise, you might not be able to close it all the way if you take it off. I also use sticky tape (the 1/4" kind) to adhere my ribbon to the notebooks.

Finally, I love to add some final bling to my images so if you look closely, you'll see I added Stickles to the first two sets and colored half-back pearl embellishments to the last one.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ribbon of Hope

Do you watch So You Think You Can Dance? Well, if you saw last night's episode, Ade & Melissa, to much acclaim, did a beautiful dance about a woman who has breast cancer. How ironic that I was putting the ribbons on my new domino pins made with Stampin' Up!'s Ribbon of Hope stamp as I was watching it!

I added this set (which is really not a set, just one individual stamp on the last page of the catalog for just $7.95) to my last order on a last minute whim and I'm so glad I did. Did you know there's a color associated with pretty much every cause? It's an interesting thing to google. Anyway, that's a versatile stamp.

So, pretty similar to the Christmas ornament domino pins or magnets I make for craft fairs, I decided to do something with this set. I'm making them into pins & I'll also attach an elastic cord so they can be ornaments too. I made these with Staz-On inks and then covered the whole domino with Iridescent Ice embossing powder. For the breast cancer pin, I just wrote "HOPE" myself with a black sharpie.

A few tips when working with the Staz-On. Because it's a solid image stamp and the domino surface is slippery, the stamped image looks mottled at first. To smooth it out, I used a blender pen. It also pushed the color around enabling me to get that darker around the edges dimensional effect. If you get a stray mark outside your image, a Versamarker will clean it up! The yellow image was really light after embossing, so for more definition, I outlined it with a darker yellow fine-tip Bic Mark-It permanent marker (yes, you can write OVER the embossing powder, pretty cool). Since SU! doesn't make a yellow ribbon, it occurred to me to make the ribbons red, white & blue for the "Support Our Troops" pin. I live in a military-heavy area, so here's hoping these go over well :)


Monday, July 20, 2009

Deal of the Week!

This week's deal is item #112454 Styled Vanilla Hodgepodge Hardware on page 178 of the SU! Idea Book & Catalog! Regularly $29.95, from July 20, 10 AM (MT) through July 27, 9:50 AM (MT), it's only $18.99!


Friday, July 17, 2009

Scratch, Sniff & Smear!

Let's do a card, shall we? This one uses the new in-colors, Circle Circus set and Razzleberry Lemonade DSP. I know, it's been awhile...

For my last technique club, I got a request to do a "scratch & sniff" card. So, this is my good faith effort. It's a really easy technique to do but the results are mixed I think.

First, you mix 1 teaspoon kool-aid with 1 1/2 teaspoon clear embossing powder--make sure you use the kool-aid with no sugar because you don't want a carmelized card after heat embossing. Stamp your image in Versamark or with craft ink; sprinkle on mixture & heat set.

The problem I ran into was really having the right color kool-aid and smearing--I used the orange from the Tart & Tangy stamp set but the "Mixed Berry" kool-aid is purpley, so I had to settle for what hopefully passes as a red grapefruit. Then, the kool-aid granules kind of smeared a bit when you touch the image. Maybe it helps to wait a little before handling the image? I don't know because I was impatient. The good news is that it really does smell good & stays that way for a while (good to know if you want to mail it). My friend Danielle can attest that it tastes good too (she couldn't resist, it smelled too good--hee).

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Adventures in Resin: Part 2--Magic Glos

Quick update on my resin experimentation...yesterday I tried using Magic Glos to go over the pendants I'd sealed with my first batch of Colores Doming Resin but were still sticky because I hadn't mixed well enough. Sorry to say, it was pretty much a failure.

Magic Glos is a UV resin, which means it needs either a UV lamp or sunshine to cure but then it cures pretty quickly--maybe in 20 minutes. When I tried putting it over the sticky areas, I noticed that the Magic Glos didn't stay put and the surface got bumpy and uneven as it cured. I was able to remove the Magic Glos crust (reminded me of "Magic Shell", that chocolate coating that hardens on ice cream).

So I tried Colores again on the sticky ones. Some were still salvageable but the backs were pretty messy from the first batch running under. I had to just throw out a couple because they were just a tad sticky still. I must've really done a poor job mixing on those because the Colores from the first batch was still running out from under the new curing Colores. Ugh.

Back to Magic Glos...I'm sure there are some projects that it's great for but I don't really like it for covering pendants. Even if I didn't have the Colores underneath, it still cures too quickly to be confident you have time to fix bubbles or rhinestone placement. Plus, I felt like I had to babysit it so it actually takes longer than using Colores which I can leave inside covered and go about my business. If you cover Magic Glos, you run the risk of the UV light not being able to get to it. I guess investing in a UV lamp and working inside would solve that problem. I tried it on just plain paper which you have to seal with tape or laminate--can't use mod podge or other water-based glaze--and that's kind of a pain to trim around the image to get the extra tape off (got bumpy edges. Plus, I had to apply several layers to get a dome-like effect (which meant even more time).

So, now that I know how to use it correctly, I'm sticking with Colores. I'll have to come up with something else for the Magic Glos because I hate the idea of wasting $10!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Adventures in Resin: New & Improved Pendants

I hate to say it, but Crystal Effects wasn't cutting it for my pendants. After my daughter's first swim meet of the season, I noticed my baby footprint mini-domino pendant (see a few posts ago) wasn't quite so shiny and almost cloudy in one place. I knew I had to upgrade my pendant sealant to a waterproof one if I wanted to sell them.

When I first started making them, I read all about the different ways to seal them and settled on the non-toxic, less-mess route of Crystal Effects or Diamond Glaze. So I knew about epoxy resins but didn't get past the "make sure you ventilate the room" part. I was intimidated. But, my desire to produce quality, lasting work prevailed and just last week I took the plunge into a new world.

After a lot of reading, I settled on "Colores Doming Resin" because it was supposed to be less smelly and have a step or two less than other 2-part epoxies. Colores comes with an 8 0z. bottle of hardener and an 8 oz. bottle of resin which is enough to make hundreds of pendants (but only has a shelf-life of six months so don't buy a lot at once--on etsy, I sold off the second kit I'd bought when I realized I'd never use it! The kit also came with stir sticks (essentially popsicle sticks which you can find at a craft store) and little plastic measuring/mixing cups, which was quite useful because I haven't been able to find them in local stores. It turns out you can re-use these plastic cups if you let the remaining resin cure in them and then peel it out.

Cool--saved some money there because the 12 cups that came with the kit was not going to be enough! You see, this stuff is only workable on a pendant for about 45 minutes to an hour so I quickly learned with my first batch of the full 1 oz. cup that I couldn't use it all in the amount of time. I figured out that I can do about 30 pendants with 1/2 oz in that time. I only did that many at a time because I re-glazed all my existing pendants with the epoxy. So, yes! You can put this stuff OVER the non-toxic glazes. I couldn't find the answer to that question anywhere so I just crossed my fingers it would work. A good overview on epoxy resin can be found here.

The stuff does smell...but not too badly. You should invest in some preventative measures and make sure your workspace is well-ventilated; I bought safety glasses & latex gloves at Walmart and used a dust mask, which doesn't protect your lungs, but at least it kept me from feeling irritated or smelling the stuff. I saw a demo video for it and they weren't wearing the mask. It's recommended that you get a filter mask if you're working this stuff every day.

The demo video gives great tips--definitely mix for the recommended time (about 5 minutes) and let it sit until clear. On my first batch I must not have mixed well enough because my first few pendants are still sticky (not cured thoroughly) days later. Luckily, I stopped and stirred some more because the rest of that batch turned out fine. Also, if you put it on too soon when it's really liquidy, be careful because it's more likely to run--especially if your surface isn't very level. I actually like working with the resin after it's been sitting for about 20 minutes because it's easier to spread when it's thicker. You should really seal your images well with mod-podge or a thin brush of diamond glaze first so that the resin can't soak in or under the image. This happened with some of my pendants and was really noticeable on white or double-sided paper (see pics below). The casualties (like the bird) that I can't sell are now proudly in my daughter's jewelry box. Some, like the skull, still kind of worked because of the image or color, thank goodness.

The ones that are still sticky I'm going to re-do with a new UV non-toxic resin called Magic Glos. It doesn't have to be mixed so it'll be good for doing pendants here and there when I need to. It's also a lot more expensive (got my 1 0z. bottle for $10 with free shipping from 1 Oz. will only make about 60 pendants so if you're making a lot, it's not cost effective. I'll let you know how those turn out!

So, in review, I'd recommend Colores--the pendants (where I followed directions) turned out beautifully!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Deal of the Week!

This week's deal, from July 6, 10 AM (MT) through July 13, 9:50 AM (MT),
is item # 113474 on pg. 194: The Sizzix Big Shot Doctor's Bag....regularly $69.95, sale price is just $49.99!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The New Stampin' Up! Idea Book & Catalog!

The NEW 2009-2010 Stampin’ Up! Idea Book & Catalog goes live today at noon (MT)! Peruse online at

1) For the month of July, we’re having a “deal of the week.” This week’s deal (until July 6) is the Scallop Edge punch on sale for $10.99 (normally $15.95).

2) Mini Starter Kit for New Demonstrators Promotion:
Become a Stampin' Up! demonstrator with the limited-time $85 Mini Starter Kit from July 15 – August 31, 2009. The Mini Starter Kit contains the following products:

Item Code Page #* Description Retail Value**
115360 118 For All You Do stamp set $28.95
115658 155 Rich Razzleberry Classic Stampin' Pad $5.95
115656 155 Melon Mambo Classic Stampin' Pad $5.95
115659 155 Crushed Curry Classic Stampin' Pad $5.95
115654 155 Dusty Durango Classic Stampin' Pad $5.95
115655 155 Bermuda Bay Classic Stampin' Pad $5.95
115657 155 Soft Suede Classic Stampin' Pad $5.95
100730 155 Whisper White card stock (8-1/2" x 11") $7.50
115315 155 In Color assorted card stock (8-1/2" x 11") $7.95

*All page numbers refer to the 2009-2010 Idea Book & Catalog**All products may be substituted for like items; see Mini Starter Kit order form for details.

Signing up is really easy—you can do it through my SU! website (the password is “cheaptherapy”) when you click on "Join SU!". The Mini Starter Kit will be listed as an option on the Independent Demonstrator Agreement (IDA).