Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Quick Note

Pretty much every summer I take a short blog break, and this is no different.  Need some thinking time!

I'll be back on the blog later in August with more ReDesign on a Dime, Sunday Savings, etc.  See you then, and thanks for all the comments lately. I read, enjoy, and listen to every one.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Simple and Soft

This came out exactly as I imagined, and I like what I imagined.  Now that doesn't happen very often!

While it looks like a one layer card, it is actually 4 pieces:  (1) an A2 white card, (2) the portion above the die cut flowers, (3) the die cut flowers, and (4) the portion below the flowers.

Because I wanted a deep indentation, I pulled out a piece of #110 lb white cardstock by Recollections, rather than the 80 lb Neenah that I often use.  Worked like a charm.

Die by Memory Box.  Colored with Copics.  Glue by an international conglomerate, sucking the money out of our pockets.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Oh Hi and Keeping the Eye Moving in One Direction

When I seea card that I like, I try and do a very quick analysis of why I like it.  One of the things I look for is whether my eye has a place to go.  Does the design move my eye in one direction?  Here, I aimed for a top left to bottom right direction. 

How I Made This Card:

1.  Cut the phrase Oh Hi on yellow patterned paper using my Silhouette, making sure it would be a bit larger than the opening in the frame.

2.  Cut the frame with the black patterned paper also using the Silhouette.

3.  Enlarged the frame a bit and cut again, this time with the blue striped paper so that the center piece would be large enough to adhere to the back of the frame.

4.  The yellow patterned paper didn't work, so I colored it with a neon pink Copic marker.

5.  Decided that the card needed another pop of bright pink.  Apparently washi tape can be used on a card.

6.  Wanted some beige color to tone down the card and added the wooden heart and twine.  Bow tied on the right to keep the eye moving from top left to bottom right.

7.  Adhered it all, making sure that the stripes on the paper went from top left to bottom right.  The entire panel is popped up with teeny tiny dimensionals.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Always grateful to be able to stamp. It really is a luxury to have time for a hobby.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Savings: Anatomy of an Impulsive Purchase

Part One -- The VA Made Me Do It

Last week, in this post, I went through my new -- up until last week -- successful approach to crafty spending.  Careful, deliberate, with lots of research.  I now have those tag dies in my hands, thanks to the wonderful Starlit Studio, and I would be having fun using them, except I took a side trip to Impulsive Hell.

Three things converged:  (1) the Veteran's Administration finally stopped putting money into my mother's bank account and took back all the over payments,  (2) Impress Rubber had a sale, and (3) I took off a day from work.  

Ever since my Mom died in February 2013, the VA has continued the automatic deposits of her widow's check (my father was a disabled veteran).  That money made a huge difference in her life, and mine, over the years, but unlike Social Security, which ceased payments immediately upon her death, the VA kept paying.  The VA told me to keep open the account as it would eventually recoup the money, so I did.  But it really bothered me.  It was the last loose end of handling her affairs.

I knew that when the VA finally took back the over payments, the balance of the account would be my "inheritance" and I promised myself I would spend $100 to buy something crafty.

So, a couple of Fridays ago,  the notice came that the VA had "reclaimed" its money.  Saturday morning I was at the bank's door as it opened and I walked away with a check for the balance (it was a joint account so easy to close).  I walked into the sun, sat in the car and looked at the $1100 check.  I was the handler, of the paper, the money, the life.  And this account was the last thing to handle.  My job was done.

After depositing that check in my account I went home, saw a notice that Impress had 25% off and I decided to spend the $100, then I looked for something to buy. 

That, stampers, is the order of thinking that causes trouble.  It has nothing to do with crafting and everything to do with emotion. 

Here's what I got:

3 ink pads -- love the ink, wanted the colors

2 embossing folders -- wanted them and will use them

A Quick Stik -- to pick up sequins that I never use

Wink of Luna Metallic Brush Pen in Gold -- because I will magically have gorgeous handwriting if I have this pen

Pretty Pink Posh Sequins -- to use the Quick Stik

The POUNDER  -- because ??????????

Do More Stamp -- the saying spoke to me....

Impress Clear Flower Power Stamp set -- I like it.   And then it went out of stock so it must be fabulous, right?  (Can't link to it because it is no longer on the site).

Did I "save" $25 because all of this was 25% off?  I don't think so.

Part Two -- My Mother Made Me Do It

A few days later, I took off a day from work because I needed to run a few errands.  And I did.  And that felt great!  But the errands were done by early afternoon.  Plenty of time to use those new tag dies.

But, in a dissociative fugue, I found myself at Angela's the best local stamp store in the world, and, because I was still thinking about my Mom and how she would love for me to use just a bit more of that money to make me happy, I had another impulsive binge.  Let's just say that I have more ink.  And a Ranger Christmas stencil and some Peerless Watercolors.  And probably some other stuff. 

How can one small bag cost so much?

I'm not used to this anymore and feel like I ate a bag of potato chips and then, because I needed to wash away the guilt, had a milk shake.  All this new stuff (the Impress order isn't even here yet) makes me anxious.  I don't have the space for it and I'm not spending more money to store new stuff.  

I want my clean white space back! 

Hopefully, The End

If anyone wants to come over and emboss with me in, say 2023, I'll still have enough embossing powder for both of us.  Thanks Mom!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Congrats Is Not a Word

But ....

I gulped and used the stamp anyway (from Label Love by Altenew).  I love the crisp lines of the sentiment with the soft curves of the background.

How I Made the Card:

1. Making the background was fun -- and easy.  Using cream card stock (Recollections from Michaels), stamped an Impression Obsession background with Versamark and embossed with clear embossing powder (more on that stuff on Sunday...).  

2. Sponged Peacock Feathers Distress Ink and set aside.

3. Stamped the sentiment and embossed in clear.  Cut.

4. Decided the background needed a bit of the purple ink so I swiped it over parts of the background.

5.  Adhered as shown (sentiment popped up).

MOOD WHEN DONE = Celebratory

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Watercolored Hello

Used this flower from Savvy and the Hello is part of a sentiment in Hero Arts Dauber Bunch.  Cut the sentiment.  It's easy and no one cried.

Here's the beginning of the project:

Since the stamp is wood mounted, used a stamp positioner to place the flowers around the sentiment.  That's an old wood cutting board I use for water coloring and embossing.  As I painted the flower, I placed the board outside in the sun for a few minutes to speed dry the layers.  On a hot sunny summer day, the paper dries out so quickly. 

Die cut those little green things.  Hmmm.

Used additional markers to add some shading.   Matted and adhered to a very lime A Muse Studio card.  Yum. 


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Savings: Anatomy of a Purchase: Careful Spending

There are two ways I spend.  One is careful, planned and smart.  And one is impulsive and not so smart.

I wanted a tag die and for once, bought it the smart way -- research, comparison, waiting, and then purchasing.  I also made an impulsive purchase last week -- no research or comparison, no waiting, and I'll talk about that one next week.

Why buy it?  Well, this isn't medicine or a quart of milk.  Craft purchases are fun, not necessities.  I have a Silhouette and can cut any tag.  However, I want a tag die so I can make tags out of watercolor paper and the Silhouette will not cut through paper that thick.

Will I use it at least as many times as it costs to buy it?  In other words, my rule of thumb is that if something costs $10, I should use it at least 10 times.  Yes.  I love tags. 

What Kind of Tag Dies are Out There?  

Oh boy.  

My Creative Time
Clearly Besotted
Papertrey Ink
Sizzix Tim Holtz
Sizzix Other
Stampin Up
Avery Elle
Mama Elephant
Clear and Simple Stamps
My Favorite Things
Memory Box
L'il Inkers
CAS ual Friday
Elizabeth Craft Designs
Hero Arts
Paper Smooches
Impression Obsession
Lawn Fawn
Lifestyle Crafts
Paper Smooches
Penny Black
Taylored Expressions
Simon Says Stamp

It only took my tag obsessed fingers about 30 minutes to compile this list and check out these choices.  Searching stores with a variety of companies, such as Ellen Hutson and Simon Says Stamp, helps.   There are probably more tag dies, but this was plenty.

As I quickly browsed, I noticed big price differences, styles of tags, and number and shapes for the money.  Some offer multiple dies in one package, some have fancy edges or trim (dots, lines), etc.  Some are closed dies (you cannot see inside), and others are open design.   Since I only wanted an open die, that eliminated a lot of choices.

Eventually, I settled on this set of framelits tag dies by Sizzix/Tim Holtz:

For the manufacturer's suggested price of $19.99, you get a lot of dies and they are open, meaning I can see where I am cutting and use them as a stencil.

And, since Tim Holtz designed these, or blessed them, I will produce tags that are just as beautiful as Tim's, right?

Where to buy?

Like most stampers, I want it fast and I want it cheap.  But I will not buy from companies with which I've had bad experiences.

Turns out that there were not a lot in stock.  I found 3 places, and like Goldilocks, the prices were $15.99, $19.99, and $24.99, with "free shipping" (fairly high minimums to get free shipping, and I'm not willing to pile on to get free shipping).  So, I ordered them from Startlit Studio, a very reliable vendor with discounts every day.  The dies were $15.99 plus $7.95 shipping.   $24 for 8 open dies.  I'm happy and hope to share some creations made with these dies in the coming months -- need to use these babies 24 times!

Next Sunday:  Anatomy of the Impulsive Purchase