Saturday, December 29, 2007

January Stampin' Up Classes and Events

Hope everyone had lots of fun opening their many beautifully embellished, gifts--Stampin' Up giftwrap, embellishment (recognize that charm from our chipboard class?) and, if you're lucky, products inside! Well, I've got one more fabulous gift for you to open. It's the upcoming class schedule! I know you're thrilled. Now now, no need to thank me. Just contact me to sign up and because this is a gift that keeps on getting better, don't miss the coupons that are being offered as well! Do I hear an angel chorus hailing all this goodness? '

Trash to Treasure: ATC's Demystified

Nope, we're not going to learn about riding off road motorcycle thingies, I'm talking about Artist Trading Cards--a fun, inexpensive and highly creative hobby based on using up those little tips and tails of your leftovers from cardmaking and scrapbooking--the bits you either throw away or end up keeping stashed somewhere ad infinitum.

Instead of letting your extra bits of ribbon and cardstock moulder away in a box, use them to create these tiny works of art--like an itty bitty scrapbook page, or a mini card front, or just a way to show off your mad stampin' skillz. We'll talk about what they are, how and where to swap them, and most importantly, how to make them. Then, we'll make 10 of them to get you going!

Class Fee: $10

Class Date: Tuesday, January 8. 7:00 p.m.

RSVP: by Jan. 5

Club Card n Crop

Every month we'll get together to make 10 greeting cards so you're prepared for every event on your calendar--by the end of the year, you'll have filled every slot in your card keeper (See January's project, below). After we make the cards, we'll crop for a couple hours, just to hang out, have a good time, and get some work done on whatever projects you bring. The fee each month is just $15 and it includes all the materials you need to make the cards of the month.

January's Card n Crop Club project will be an extra-special one you won't want to miss. Not only will we be making the cards for this month, but at no extra charge--you only pay the regular class fee--we'll be decorating a Stampin' Up Forget-me-not Keeper ($11.95 value) to fill with the cards you make for the rest of the year! Not bad, eh? It's not a hostess club, so there's no major commitment. It's just a year-long series of classes and crops I hope you'll choose to attend each month. RSVP now! This is the only month I'll be offering the Forget-Me-Not class special!
Class & Crop fee: $ 15

Class Date: Saturday Jan. 12 6:00-8:00 (crop till 11!)

RSVP by January 1st to reserve your Keeper!

New Year's Resolution: Organization

Make a handy calendar notekeeper using our On Board 5"x 8" Art Journal (loads of pages!). We'll embellish the cover, make a full 12-month calendar, and decorate every last page inside with Accents and Elements stickers, Stampin' Up papers, stamps (of course!) and even a few favorite photos to keep you inspired all year. The fee includes all materials except your photos!

Class fee: $30

Class date: Tuesday, January 15, 7:30 p.m.

RSVP by January 5th to reserve your spot and materials.

Mini Calendar Clipboard Class

Like the calendar in the 2008 Catalog Preview? I'll help you make it! ! We'll create a cute clipboard calendar using a photo or (or a few tiny ones) of your choice, cool Stampin' Up papers, stamps, and the 4.5"x9" On Board Clipboard. A lovely gift or a cool decor piece for your home. Neat, huh? Haven't received the Catalog Preview Brochure? Let me know and I'll send you one right away!
Class Fee: $15

Class Date: Thursday, January 10 7:30 p.m.

RSVP by January 3 So I can make sure all your supplies arrive in time!

Birthdays? Done!

In this class you will make 20 (yep, I said twenty!) birthday cards with 10 different designs so you will be prepared all year long with a birthday card for everyone on your list. We'll make a variety of styles for the different types and tastes of your friends and family. Total cost? $1 a card!
Class Fee: $20

Class Date: January 31, 7:30 p.m.

RSVP by January 15

February will be here before you know it!

There's a lot to look forward to in February, too.

Charity Night for Dogs Deserve Better

Dogs Deserve Better is an organization that works to help end the chaining of dogs. We will be creating handmade dog-themed Valentine cards for their annual Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Campaign. You can read more about last year's campaign at: Join me Feb. 2 to make cards to donate--I provide the supplies, you provide the imagination. As an added bonus, 10 percent of the merchandise total of all orders placed with me that day will be donated to Dogs Deserve Better!
Class Fee: Free!

Date: Saturday, February 2 3:00 p.m.

Donate 10% to Dogs Deserve Better

Just place an order on Sat. Feb. 2, 2008 and 10% of the merchandise total will be donated to Dogs Deserve Better, an organization devoted to improving the treatment of dogs. Pass along to friends, family, and animal lovers to let them know to place their orders Sat. Feb. 2 too! Phone and email orders will also be accepted for this event!

Offer Expires: Feb. 3, 2008

Valentines: Romantic Watercolor Cards

Okay, maybe many are more cute than romantic, but nonetheless, we will make 8 watercolored valentines for your friends, family, and schnookiepie. There are a lot more ways to watercolor than you'd think--and they're easy as pie to boot!

Fee: Only $10 for a fun evening of luv.

Date: Feb. 5 7:30

RSVP by January 30

Dogs Only! Album in an Evening

Pick out your photos now or make the pages and add your pics later. We'll make 10 festive, colorful and cool 6x6 pages that will honor your dog's...dogginess!

Fee: $30 includes all you need to create all 10 pages or $42 to include a Stampin' Up ring album we will dog-theme the cover of too!

Date: Feb. 17.

RSVP by February 1st or sooner, please.

January Coupon:

Get a Free Mini Stampin' Up Stamp Set w/ Your Order!

Receive a free mini stamp kit (2 special Stampin' Up promo stamps and a black stampin' spot) with your order of $50 or more! Receive a bonus of 2 additional larger size stamps (that's 4 stamps total!) in your kit when you spend $50 more *or* RSVP for a class (with pre-pay) in addition to your $50 order. Please mention coupon at time of order. One offer per order please. (Stamps included will be chosen by me--I'll do my best to avoid duplicates and choose ones you'll adore!)

Offer Expires: February 1, 2008

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy Happy Holidays!

Wow, I'm like a bajillion posts behind! There were so many events I planned to cover, so many photos to upload. So for Christmas, Yule, or actually it's Kwanzaa at the moment, so for that, I am asking that we all pretend that I've written fabulous, interesting, mind expanding, bold, creative, ingenious blogs every single day since its inception. Which means only, oh about a week has gone by. And what an exciting week it has been, right folks? Wink wink.

Today was fake Christmas here at the ol' Rat's Nest. We're running a couple days late because we spent real Christmas at Walt Disney World, the most scrapbookable place on Earth! I love scrapbooking because it makes every big event twice as exciting since you get to live it, then document it. And with all the cool crap Disney makes, I can totally make my fifth Disney scrapbook and never use the same product twice. Kick ass!

My first was a little rough. I didn't have a real scrapbook, just a photo album with picture sized slots and a little space for journaling. I used store-bought embellishments primarily. That's not a bad thing, but I hadn't really developed my style and was on my own when it came to technique. At that time I was a closet scrapper. Honestly, my image of what scrapbooking was all about was pretty scary. Construction paper cut into circles and stickers shaped like giant headed kids doing charming things, country cutie lettering, lots of gingham. Mix in some titles like "Cool Dude" with a picture of either a kid or dog in sunglasses. Or bubble letters reading "Lordy Lordy Look Who's Forty!" and caption stickers of little clouds coming out of people's mouths saying things like "Ain't I cute?" and "What smells?" Hyuk! I had no idea there were other options.

But, I wanted to record my trip so I hid in the proverbial closet and created my first scrapbook with some Jolees and stuff I had won in a contest online with EK Success. I had tripped over the contest while I was complaining about some stickers I bought to stick on my mail (they were apparently on the shelf a long time--they wouldn't come off the backing, but that's not important.) As I went through the stash of things they sent, I got more excited about working on the book and when I was done, I even showed Scott and one or two other people what I'd done. My first little step out of the scrap closet.

So, Disney has a special place in my scrappy little heart. That mouse is welcome in this rat's nest any day.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Shhh! I'm hiding.

Well, not really, I've just been incredibly busy making Christmas, Hannukkah, and Yule presents for all of you people. I have a ton of things to tell you about, a layout challenge, pics from my classes, new classes to announce, and much much more once I get a free hour to post it all. I haven't forgotten you!

In the mean time, why don't you enjoy a few of my favorite websites?
General Interest: All things so adorable, you'll puke frosting.

Animal lovers: If nothing else, you have to love their logo. And how can you not love those fat furry creatures who keep the world's wheels turning. Learn more about them and maybe you'll decide you need to adopt a fuzzy pal in 2008. in case you do! Hooray for the good guys! Hey, is that *me* with a monthly column? Fantastic selection of dog related books. Hint hint to those who need a gift idea for me. ;)

Scrapping and Crafting: Love their newsletter--it's full of great info on the good and the not so good crafting items out there. I love their challenges! They have a new one every day of the week. While you're there, take a look at my gallery. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Stampin' it up old skool

Cool beans! I got promoted. I don't know why or how, but I am apparently now a "Senior Associate". Seeing how I've only been a demonstrator for a month, I'm curious to see what lofty heights I can acheive in, say, 10 months. "Grand High Princess of All That is Holy" will be hard to fit on a business card, but dammit, I earned it. Some way...I guess.

I'm just shaking off the last sweaty drops of the flu (ick) and gearing up for a weekend of scrapping, stamping, card making, and all around festive tomfoolery. Not a bad way to slide into Thanksgiving week. I can almost see the sparkling bits of colored paper, bows, and holly sprigs rounding the bend just beyond it.

Thursday Nov. 15, 7:00 Chipboard Tricks Class right here at the Rat's Nest. The class is filled up and if those big old boxes that just arrived are what they should be, we'll have lots of new packs of Stampin' Up chipboard shapes and toys to alter them with. There are so many cool ways to take these thick cardboard pieces from a sad, non-descript grey to vibrant fun embellishments, I will be surprised if this class doesn't end up running overtime. We're also going to be exploring some of the applications of finished chipboard to make cards, ornaments, scrapbook pages, etc. Stay tuned, I'll be sure to post some pics and projects.

Saturday, Nov. 17, 1:30 p.m. Holiday Card Compendium: Teresa and I will be tag teaming 16 cards pooling the resources of both our backers: Teresa is representin' for Creative Memories and well, you know what team I'm playing on. I can't believe it, but we still have spaces left...these *need* to be snatched up. You'll leave with 16 sparkling cool handmade cards using our cool new paper collections (on sale this month, too!) and shining gemstyle brads, diamond dust, embossing glosses, and more more more. And let's not forget gift tags. Who doesn't need gift tags? Oh sit down, Ebeneezer.

Sunday I'm helping with a private hostess party--my first. Wish me luck! The training video they send actually shows you an entire party acted out (it's a *really* long video) so I think I know when the guests should be cued to laugh now. And, tempting as it is, I think I'll forgo the "getting to know you game" that's offered on the website. True, it's hard not to be temped by the whimsy of the opening lines:
This little game is easy to do.
You just add figures like two and two.
Multiply and subtract and when you are done,
There’s a prize for the highest sum!
So take your pencil, do as I say,
Perhaps you will be a winner today.
To those of you who came from afar,
Give yourself 5 points if you came in a car.
Were you on time, not a minute late?
Punctuality pays; give yourself 8.
Now if you’re one of those lucky girls,
Give yourself 7 for natural curls."

And it goes on for 5 more stanzas!

Readers, have any of you ever been to a Stampin' Up event where this game was played? Was it during the Eisenhower administration? Leave a comment, please, if you have. I really want to know how people reacted to this? Were they actually charmed in a delicate, ladylike fashion? Scandalized by the second to last stanza? I want to know.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Oh more!

Yep! This is a pic of the Rat's Nest itself...another Fiskateer challenge was to show everyone your scrap space. Welp, there you go! I like it. It's comfy and full of rats: Twinkle, Kitty, Glitter, Spider, and Fuzz, my cute little marshmallows. Awww!

Fiskateers Roundup: Last of the Challenges

Okay, I'm finally down to the last couple of challenges to post. Thanks for bearing with me--I just wanted to make sure my Fiskateer pals could see what I spent the weekend desperately trying to upload. A few went through (but showed up as the oldest posts on my profile instead of the newest) but a lot never worked. I'm going to have to go in, clear all my posted pics and see if that fixes it. It's the only thing I can think might help. Maybe I'm just too darn prolific. :)
So, this challenge was to make a layout about something you like in your town. So...I chose Fur Free Friday. I think it's cool that every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, there are people who care enough to devote their day to remind shoppers that buying real fur isn't nice to the animals. I've participated some years, some years I've shopped instead, but every year I've lived here I've seen groups of people standing in the cold handing out pamphlets and holding their signs. It's nice to know that people care consistently.

What's a Stampin' Up Hostess Party? And Fiskateers Stamping Challenge

Have I mentioned yet that I'm in love with Stampin' Up's Whisper White stamp pad? It's by far the thickest, densist white ink I've found to date (and I was really digging the Brilliance one until I tried this one.) Anyway, this is the prototype for a set of invitations I am sending out for a Stampin' Up Hostess party (for those who've never been to one, it's like a Tupperware party with make-n-takes and Stampin' Up stuff to play with--people sign up to have one at their house, I send homemade invitations to all their guests, then on the big day I come over and help them make some crafts to take home fo' free, then let them shop the catalog and take orders for stuff. The hostess gets free stamp sets and things based on the amount of stuff she and her guests purchase. See? A craftsy tupperware party. :))
So anyway, this time the hostess (my lifetime bestest friend and all around cool chick, Jen O'B--we've been soul buddies since we were 10 years old!) has chosen a Christmas theme, so I'm making the invitations and products all related to that. We're going to make an ornament, a Christmas card, and several uber-cool Christmas gift tags with all the guests, plus I'm making a super-secret surprise gift for the hostess for booking her party with me since, hey--Stampin' Up reps aren't exactly hard to come by. I love doing all the extras (handmade invites, gifts, letting my hostesses pick their own craft themes for me to come up with and whatnot) because hey, I decided to become a S.U. demonstrator because I love making stuff. It's *fun* for me to get to play with the new products with everyone and let my friends and I make cool things together with all the stuff I get to share. Okay, I'll stop waxing sentimental now about my silly little job. :)

Fiskateers Sketch Challenges

I almost gave up on this one. I had a moment where I just didn't think it was going to work at all, but then it became kind of fun to use red and green for something non-Christmassy. :) I chose the red paper to go with the little smock thing Daniel (another of my nephews) is wearing. I've never seen one of those things before so I thought that was kind of neat to focus on. The heart is a little chipboard piece I covered in paper and the buttons...well, I was walking around my scrap room and noticed that I had a ton of red ones so...they add a little shine. :)
So, this one's from the other sketch challenge. I love how this one came out, but then, I never get enough of scrapping pics of my animals. In case you can't see it well, that's a "Bad Dog" price tag Revco's got on his head. (I wrote "good" with a stamp of a dog on the flower to balance it out. I don't want to give the little guy a complex.) All the papers and embellishments on this layout (other than the stamp and glitter pencils I colored him with) are from one of the Stampin' Up scrapbooking kits, so I feel like I cheated a little, but I have to say it was fun to put together. It's nice to relax and do something pretty with pre-matched papers and a slew of neat stickers to choose from.

More Fiskateers Roundup Projects

Whew! I know I said I'd put these up over the weekend, but between doing challenges, uploading projects (or trying to--one I actually tried 17 times before giving up.) and cropping with Laura and Kitty on Saturday and going to Jen K's all-day crop-a-roni on Sunday, I was drop dead exhausted and in so much pain (because of my spine disease, not because of anything Jen did to me! :)) I thought my eyeballs would fall out.
So, the picture you are seeing to the left was for the "Round Up Challenge", meaning it had to have a cowpoke/on the range theme. Being the persnickety little vegan I am, suffice it to say, I'm not typically the "lil' buckaroo" type, but I found this pic of my nephew, Drew, enthusiastically riding a rocking horse, and decided since "Drew" rhymes with "Bucaroo" I'd cave just this once. So, I added some other wildlife one might encounter if peacefully wandering on horseback through various environs *not* harassing cows. And, of course, I had to make sure to add a little note indicating my hopes that he'll grow up far too gentle to enjoy the brutality of rodeos (more info at:

Friday, November 2, 2007

Fiskateers Challenges

The Fiskateers site is being really difficult about uploading photos to my gallery, so I am posting my entries for the challenges, here. Besides, this way my non-Fiskateer sisters can see what I am working on today...
This is the Thank you note I made for the "Thank You" assignment. Basically lead Fiskateer, May, asked everyone to make a card to send to the Fiskars HQ to thank them for all the work and money they put into the Fiskateers program. Apparently they need some more web team workers to make their site work during high-density events like the Fiskateers Roundup, but we don't want to be greedy now, do we?
To make this challenge a bit more challenging, I decided I could only use printed paper. Plus, I played with tearing paper again, since it's my new "thing". :) I also used a new (to me) Stampin' Up retired set I just bought. Love the swirls!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

After Hours, After All.

Jen is painfully creative. The kind of person who makes me hang my head in shame with the shear munanity that is life before meeting her. I never miss a crop she hosts, and I'm never ever disappointed. If you're cool (and you know you are!) you'll be clickin' this here link to sign up for her Meetup group:

So, here's a pic of Jen and Alex, chilling after an After Hours crop last week. I got really sucked into the movie (French Kiss, admittedly one of

my girliest favorites.) so I only got a few cards made and a couple of pages finished on my in-progress honeymoon album. Unfortunately, I left a page at her house while the stickles dried so that one won't make it into this entry, but here are the cards (above). I was playing with tearing paper because it's not something I've done much. In a constructive manner, anyway.

As the name would imply, After Hours is an uber-hip kind of crop. There's typically a cocktail of the evening, candy strewn tables (very Warhol), and some type of yummy takeout or dinner by Jen. Dessert is generally provided as well, and since Scott and I discovered Henry's Gelato nearby, I sometimes pick up a sorbetto assortment to share. Mmmm.

On the big (TV) screen, there is usually a girlie film selection (get your head out of the gutter, you know I meant a romatic comedy. Yeesh.) to increase the XX chromasome energy. A good time is to be had by all.

In unrelated news, this weekend is the big ol' Fiskateer Roundup. Fiskateers is something of a secret society of scrappers and paper crafters. Well, not entirely secret, but you do have to contact one of the lead Fiskateers and tell them you were sent by Joe (or me, Veronica, rather) to get in.

Once inside, they look deep into your soul and assign you a number in the order which you joined (apologies to Homer Simpson). From that point, you can visit the blog, edit your homepage, upload your projects, chat with other Fiskateers, and post on the message board. It's cooler than it sounds, trust me. My favorite thing they do are the challenges. Restricting what materials you can use, giving you layout maps to follow, etc. It makes you really think about the pages and stuff you're making, which helps keep things interesting. It also keeps your layouts from falling into a rut. Sometimes we need to be forced to navigate away from our regular habits.

So, this weekend is the Round Up. It's a four day (Thurs-Sun.) online crop with challenges and prizes and all kinds of stuff. While it's hard to forget that it's really a consolation prize for those of us who were passed over for the real live Fiskateer weekend in TX, it's still pretty cool. There's a ton of talk going on on the message board (much like the chatter at a real crop) and the challenges are a-flyin'. (See my entry for the Stitches challenge to the left.) They throw out various assignments with deadlines to have them posted on your profile, then give prizes to people they select among those who turned their projects in on time. If you're a challenge-junkie like me (no, I did not say "a challenged junkie", snickerpuss) it's worth devoting a weekend to. I just picked up a Fiskars paper cruncher thing that corregates paper into neat wavy ribbons, so I'm totally psyched for the tool challenge.

On that note, I'm off to booby prize central. (Oh come on. Like you wouldn't have wanted to be one of the 50 who got to go on the real trip?) Seriously, I love being a Fiskateer. If you like an active, supportive, friendly kind of scrapping place to retire to daily, you'll love it too. The more active you are, the more devoted you'll become. If you aren't one to check in often (daily or at least bi-weekly), you may not like this group as much though. It moves fast and keeps you on your toes! It's worth the time, though, so if you're on the fence about it, jump in. It's really my favorite crafting space on the web by far.

Fiskateer #1135. Signing off.

Monday, October 22, 2007

More Pajama Fun

Here are the other hosts! Terri, my recruiter :) is the one on the right. Love those silky jammies. Hubba hubba! We had the whole Masonic Lodge to ourselves which was pretty neat too, since I'd always wondered what was inside that huge building. Lots of halls, mostly. It kind of reminded me of a labrynthian elementary school. If that was the case, the room we were in would be the cafetorium. Tables had 2 or 3 card stations set up and I travelled around them with my peeps, helping demonstrate the techniques when needed.

Despite my best efforts at instruction, there were two Crop-a-dile injuries in our group. Since I was one of them (I'm the one with vaguely purple hair in the third pic here), it's possible that Laura (right there next to what I'm writing right now) was just copying my finger crushing technique. I don't think I'll try teaching it to anyone else. Eyelet setter pinches really hurt, even if our injuries didn't show up so well on our film documentation. Now we'll never win our lawsuit to obtain one of every item from the Stampin' Up catalog for each of us. I doubt they'll even try to settle out of court for half (Laura and I decided we could just crop together all the time and thus it would still be like we had everything in the catalog. Pretty clever, huh? In real life you can still see my Crop-a-dile scar, and I think that makes me pretty hardcore no matter how you look at it.
Okay, so I just uploaded this picture of me and it's really an awful one, but the truth must be known. The people must be warned! Beware the jaws of the Crop-a-dile! Their attacks are unpredictable and may prove deadly if you somehow manage to wedge your carotid artery in the eyelet setting part. Or if the cut on my finger gets packed with razor sharp glitter, then infected with anaerobic bacteria. Lockjaw kills, people.

Pajama Party for National Card-Making Day

Well, you can't call it a Hallmark holiday. Honestly, I'd never heard of National Card Making Day till this year, but I'm always happy to have an excuse to celebrate any holiday. If it involves making lots of paper crafts, all the better!

This was my first Stampin' Up event as a demonstrator, so I was nervous. The other demos did most of the work, having made tons of card kits, reserving the venue, etc. My job was to provide beverages, invite my friends, and help them make the card kits into actual cards.

Since I wanted to make my guests feel extra special, I made them little page-making kits to take home. The two pages pictured show the pages the kits made. It was fun, but I had no idea it would take so much time to get all the pieces together for each kit. I had to consider how to make it work with only the pieces included, make it look good, and use only Stampin' Up products. I think I mentioned previously that I'm really into working in the 6x6 format at the moment, enjoying the challenge of taking such a small space and making it interesting. The size is also good for little make and take, but sometimes I wonder if other scrappers find the size too weird for use in their own albums. If they're using an 8x8 album, it's easy to mat the page to fit, but 12x12 seems to be the most commonly chosen size. Should I just have done a single 12x12 kit instead of two 6x6's? Or would it inspire scrappers to try something new, maybe pick up a 6x6 album even?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

2 Days with Deb!

On the left is an assortment of stuff I made with the help of Deb Gerlach who hostesses a Stampers' Six class and an occasional crop. She's also got the most laid-back dog, Molly, who mostly watches everyone come and go, offering her fluffy sweet little ears for a pat. Deb herself is great at coming up with cool ideas and has a fun, chatty manner that's really encouraging. She let my friend Kathleen and I experiment with all her cool toys during the crop. I had no idea how much the S.U. markers rock, though the cost of a full set nearly made my swallow my tongue. That'll have to stay on the wishlist awhile. More affordable are the brads which I liked because they are freakin' razor sharp--they poke through the paper so easily. On the other hand, if you have a strong aversion to punctured fingertips, you might not like them as much. Me? I don't mind bleeding in the name of craftsiness and pretty sparkly brads.

So, on the left is my favorite project we did, mostly because...well LOOK at it. There's a cute orange kitty poised amongst some great Addams Family-esque images. The fence totally reminds of the part in the credits where Gomez (Admit it! He's a mad hottie!) is shown sharpening the finials on the iron fence that surrounds the Addams home. The house, while not as spacious as the Addams' is still one I'd move into any day of the week.
The moon? Yeah. It's just a dot that comes with the set. Uninspired, yes, but it worked for the layout anyway and could be handy, I suppose, if you lack anything, you know, round. Loved the tree so much, I had to find a way to cram it in, even though it wasn't included in Deb's original design. I was torn about including the witch. No, I'm not anti-witch, but quite the opposite. Is the whole pointy-hat, flying, big-nosed image insulting or charming? Not one of my friends who is of the witchy persuasion has a visible wart or greenish tinge (unless they eat something scary, which pretty much makes anyone green, regardless of religious persuasion). So, what's the consensus? I'd really like to hear. I just think it's kind of worrisome any time I see an oversimplified depiction of the people of any religion. On the other hand, if they made a stamp depicting a little bald black-robed zen monk, I'd buy it myself. But what if it had, say, the features of a character on an old anti-Japanese WWII propaganda poster? That changes everything.
Anyway, I loved the project overall. I'm really into making itty bitty 6x6 scrapbook pages all of the sudden so it fit in nicely. 12x12 is my usual preference (8x8 once was. I'm interested in trying some 8.5x11 next.) but I love how the shape and size of the paper totally changes the way the whole project turns out.
The cards were fun too. Watercolors are always fun since water is always fun and paint is always fun. I liked pretty much all the methods. The crayon kind were new to me so that was probably the most fun. I immediately picked up some of the watercolor pen thingies at an online yard sale (cheap!) on yahoogroups that I really like:
You can only get retired stuff (not currently available from a rep) but you can find some pretty great stuff really really cheap. If you happen to know of something similar for Creative Memories stuff I would be ever so happy to hear about it. :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Carte Postale: My Favorite stamp set from the current Stampin Up catalog...

Well, it had an unfair advantage being French and all, but damn, it also has a lot of stamps in it. They take advantage of *all* the space in the box. :) There's no extra shaking space in there.
Okay, so maybe you think I just picked this to talk about because I'm skipping down the yellow brick road toward Stampin Up demohood, but no! This project was done as a plug for Pizzazzill cardstock (if you look very carefully, you'll see itty bitty polka dots on the pink paper.) Yes, you may call me a corporate whore, but indeed, I did enter a project for every single day of the Pizzazzill (still bugs me that its name looks like an attempt by Pizza Hut to make pizza look slightly different so you'll think it's somehow totally new) contest, except for the days when I had the flu. I went through a huuuuge stack of their cardstock ( I see...truly they are the winners. What a fool and errant knave am I!) At any rate, this is one of the many.
The base is pink polka dot cardstock. The next two layers are from a K & Co. cardstock stack book, including the nifty little photo corners. I then stamped (using Elegant Eggplant S.U. ink) the birds and words, then just for kicks, added a black fleur de lis to grab attention at the forefront, adding a little depth. It still seemed lacking...too "hey, it's layers!" so I punched a hole halfway down the back half of the card, one on each side, then threaded the ribbon through both. I should have taken a pic of the back to make it easier to replicate, but essentially you want the majority of the ribbon strip to lie flat on the back, with the ends threaded through each of the holes, then tied around the front of the card to hold it closed. Add a little buckle, either from the Hodgepodge Hardware set or perhaps something similar found at a hardware store (I need to do further research on this topic...stay tuned!)
One thing Scott pointed out--I made this for his mom--is that if the recipient isn't too familiar with "interactive" type cards that they might need a hint to know that they are supposed to untie the card and open it. I figured his mom was smart enough to figure it out on her own. If I hear otherwise, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Scrappers 10 with Terri

I loooove this group! We week once a month to make things from Stampin Up products. You'd think I was a consultant from how I gush over all their stuff. I spend waaay too much on stamps and I'm completely addicted to their cardstock now that they've pretty much spoiled me for anything else, as far as blanks go. The colors are great and the texture is better than any others I've found. Creative Memories, I'm sorry, but a lot of yours is too akin to construction paper for the price (though the prints are pretty neat, and I adore their little scrap pack things with the journaling boxes...I could go on, but we're talking about something else here.) and's great for a lot of things, but not for stamping. It's got that weird grid texture.
Anyway, check out the cards we made. Terri had some really fun ideas this time, my favorite being the one on the far left with-get this!- scratch and sniff embossing. Too cool! It's just Kool-aid powder and some heat and stick powder. Now I have to get to the store to scope out different to try. You can also use spices, like pumpkin pie spice for Thanksgiving cards, and being totally goofy as I am, I'm totally thinking we need some chili powder embossing powder for a taco night invitation. (As an aside I love the invitation they made on Scrap! on PBS, but I just don't have the wherewithall to go find all the various types of industrial plastic required to make each guest lifelike tacos, hand delivered. It was incredibly cool, yes, but come on...poly this and that? Oh my. I believe I just walked into a dirty joke. Anyway...)
It's not easy to see in the picture, but there is a neat technique on the sympathy card that I'd never seen before. Terri showed us how to use an atomizer thing along with one of those incredibly expensive Stampin Up markers to blast tiny flecks of color across the entire card. It had the effect of unifying the layers, though if you are squeamish about it and put too little, it could end up looking like you spilled something on the card. Overall, I give it a thumbs up. I don't know how expensive the apparatus is, but if it's not too pricey, it would be neat to have. I doubt it's going to be a core tool for anyone, but it would be fun to pull out for something extra now and then.
The tiny card was done to show off this catalog's punch box set. The punch is a line of 3 little flowers and, of course, you also get a stamp set to match. If you ordered it last month (and, of course, I had to. A cool new toy *and* a deal to go with it? Like I could say no.) you also are getting a set of little gift card blanks to start playing with right away, just like the one you see in the pic. I love those tiny little cards for throwing into care packages, hiding for friends to find, and for a little gift topper in place of an overwhelming birthday card. I like birthday cards, of course, but they seem like a bit much when they're huge honking things on top of a cute little present. Mail the big card and use one of these for gift delivery. The recipient gets two surprises (and who doesn't like that?) and your present is less cumbersome when you're juggling it, a purse, and your shoes at the sushi place.
So, I'm very excited to go to the next Stampers 10! I was sad last time that my friend Jen K. couldn't make it (she was being held hostage by her inlaws, I think.) so it'll be doubly fun at the next one. Whoo hoo!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Remember me?

Sorry about my mysterious disappearance. I had some weirdo flu thingie. All is not lost! I had some time to make things. :)

This layout was particularly fun. I wanted to make something for the Pizzazzill contest at Creative Imaginations:
I couldn't find any of their cardstock at A.C. Moore, and Archivers was pretty limited too, so I'm having to vary the projects quite a bit to keep it interesting (you can enter every day). ATC's, greeting cards, layouts, etc.

I like contests and challenges a lot because it gives me some basic rules to springboard a layout or project off of. In this case, it was pretty basic. I only had to use their brand of cardstock. So, I hopped over to another site's challenge (Ooh! A double challenge!) and though I didn't enter their contest, I swiped the theme: Nouns. Sure, that's easy too, but putting them together made it a bit more interesting.

As a vegan, I never imagined I'd be making a page about liking milk, but in this case, I was writing from the point of view of Squeezle, a squirrel I rehabilitated. I love the drunk look she has in the final picture. It totally cracks me up. A few syringes of puppy milk and you'd swear she (and her newfound "littermates" Folsom and Rikers) had been sipping too many martinis instead. Oof.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Short Opossum Tale Project

For some reason, though I uploaded this picture second, it showed up first on this entry. Please join me in a nice afternoon scroll...down please, to where I actually begin my commentary...

Here's the cover of a project I did Sunday. It's a mini album containing pics of the Short Tailed Opossums that came through our rescue group after being surrendered by an abusive zoo. I used green and blue Pizzazzill cardstock (it bugs me that it's so tempting to say their brand's name Pizza-Zil in my head, though I know that's not what they intended, I the only one who gets annoyed by these things?) to create the books, tags, and pockets. On each insert is a picture of one of the STO's and on the back of each is a little bit about them. The ribbon, that just looks kind of loose here ties the album shut. The hinges are small lengths of ribbon too. I actually grabbed this idea from the ScrapBook Club catalog. They're actually my favorite book club, though I also subscribe to the Crafters' Choice Book Club which has its perks too. Here's my take for anyone shopping around for one of these type book clubs:

The ScrapBook Club

The ScrapBook Club is by far my favorite. It opens with a pretty good deal, several free and one discounted book, usually, with a free magazine issue of some type (I got an organizational one that was actually very useful.) Their prices are better than at the scrap book stores I tend to go to, though if you can find the books at one of the big box craft stores like Michaels or A.C. Moore, those 40% off coupons they give out in the paper are very handy. The key word being *if* you can find the books there, which you usually can't. The selection at the ScrapBook Club is quite good, if you are looking for new and hot titles, though I don't buy as many of the supplies unless it's something I absolutely have to have and I can't get it locally, since the prices don't seem all that fantastic on those. I have been extremely happy with their books, their book prices, and especially their shipping cost which is free if you pay when you order. Do be aware, though, that free means slow...sometimes taking a month to get to you. I don't much mind since it's like a cool surprise when they show up, but if you must have your order today, you may want to look somewhere else.
Their selection is what I'm most hooked on. I can't look at the site without ordering something. They add new titles all the time and I have not yet found a website, store, or...well, I don't know where else I'd really look for books, but the point is I have not found anywhere that has even close to the selection the ScrapBook Club has. Discounts abound, they give out coupons periodically (yay!), and their featured selections usually rock. You don't have to worry about losing their little cards they mail to you either, because though you can answer whether or not you want their monthly selection that way, you have the choice to do it online--they send you a reminder email too so you don't forget to take two seconds to check yes or no at their website. For me, this totally made my deep fear of book clubs disappear and I'm glad it did.
I've been a member for a year or so now, and I'm very happy with it. Their point system for free book rewards did change recently so that you need more "points" (earned when you buy books from them) to get free books than you used to (you now need 6 to get a free book), but honestly the points thing wasn't the biggest draw for me--though they do rack up quickly. I like getting free ones and of course, when I do, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling toward the Club, but the main draw for me is the huge selection of titles and the competitive pricing with free shipping. I also like their hard-copy catalog which is where I hear about most of the new releases that come out in scrapbooking. Oh and where I manage to swipe a free project ideas from fo' freeeeee!
Now the sleazy part, if you decide to join, it would be ever so nice of you to mention me as your referral. You can find my name in my profile (click the thingie to your left). That's not why I said nice things about them, but hey, I might as well ask my lovely friends who I care for ever so much to throw me a bone should they join. Eh? Anyway, most of the books I will be reviewing can be found there, if you're looking.

The Crafters' Choice Book Club

The url for this one is: It's a more broad-spectrum craft book club, so if you're looking for something more than scrapbooking and paper crafting books, you might like this one better. I like polymer clay and some sewing (easy hand-stitching, cross-stitch, and needlepoint) so at the suggestion of a friend, I gave it a try. It's not bad, certainly, it was just less obsessional that I found fitting for my own likes--it's not as in-depth within its catagories though man, does it have categories. There are so many different crafts represented, you could try a completely new craft every month for the rest of your life with their monthly selections. This can be a little awkward in its own way, though. I, for example, joined primarily for the papercraft books yet the monthly selections are rarely from this category. The last one was a quilting book so if I got it by accident, I would definitely need to send it back or find someone to give it to, since that's so far from anything I do.
Don't get me wrong. This club is a good one for a lot of crafty peeps out there. The introductory offer is really great too. You get four books for $1 each which is pretty generous. You also get a "free tote", though the one I received was truly ugly. Think Dress Barn 1987. Eeek! They have the same online yes/no system when it comes to the monthly selection, so I love that, and they have a point system as well, though so far I haven't been able to figure it out.
If you prefer hardcover books, you'll love this place since they have a ton of really nice-looking ones that would be excellent for gift giving. Of those, I was most drawn to the cross stitching card making compendiums and some of the cool drawing books. As far as scrapbooking, though, you're likely to find yourself a little...bored. The selection is pretty small (along the lines of most scrapbook and craft stores' stock) and several of the titles I bought were pretty thin on content and pages. On the other hand, if you're a shrewd shopper, they offer some great deals and specials, lots of clearance items, and some handy reference titles you'll want in your library. Their hard copy catalog lacks the beauty and usefulness of its competitor's but nevertheless always tempts me with a few interesting titles, and I always manage to have a full wish list.
This club also has a point system, though I haven't yet figured it out. Their prices are decent and they seem to have some good hard to find titles. They send you a bajillion different sale info emails (be aware, those who hate ad emails as well as those who love a sale). While the ScrapBook Club is more of a provider of the new and offers a reliable selection and price, Crafter's Choice is for the adventurous shopper who enjoys the thrill of the chase, sniffing out the best deals and sales, and the diamond in the rough. You have to sift through some junk to get to the good stuff (some things resemble a remainder bin to me) but you can find some cool stuff if you try. The books aren't as well organized, either, sometimes including some weird titles completely unrelated to crafting, like weight loss cd's and aromatherapy inhalers (???). The shipping is not free, but it's faster, and they offer a ton of tools and things, though nothing has appealed to me in that category, really. It seems lackluster and overpriced on that end, but I feel the same way about its competition. My main suggestion to the proprietors of this site? Focus, people. Quality is more important than quantity.
One interesting note...the book reviewers on their site are super hateful for some reason. They loathe every book they've ever read and can't wait to read another so they can slam it too. I don't know why people pick on the books on this site more than any other, but geez, they can get ugly. If you need to vent, had a bad day and want to take it out on a book, apparently this is the place to go.
Despite my somewhat ambiguous feelings when it comes to this vendor, you are again, welcome to use me as a referral. I don't know if it matters to them in any tangable way, but why not, right?

Wow, I really had no intention of going into a diatribe on book clubs, but there you go. I hope I haven't bored you terribly in the process and maybe helped a few of you who might be considering choosing a book club type sales thingie. Myself? I'm sticking with The ScrapBook Club (not to be confused with the similarly named "Scrap Book Club") and will likely buy one or two more titles I want from Crafters' Choice and end my membership.

More layouts from the CM crop...

This layout would probably embarass my poor brother (Nicky of Scars and Stripes) to death. I'm proud of his keyboard work in their punky rock-n-roll band ("they" including my other brother Mikey, the bassist/frontman last I heard though it seems like they switch around all the time so I could be wrong.) Anyway, a bit of Nicky's musical foundation is exhibited in this die cut sprinkled page. Yeah, it's a bit on the dorky side, but I wanted to reflect the rather dorky feeling one always has posing for their mom before a high school choral concert circa 1990. I used the blue flowers to pick up that colonial blue in the decor in the background--a color oh so very popular at the time, and of course, I had to match it with duty rose to complete the 90's ish "decorator" style. Notice the other artifact of the period style? Yep. There's a painting of geese in the background. You'll be glad to know that yes, mom has updated the look of the house. To prove that I'm decendent of a craftygirl, check out the little blue stuffed cat by Nick's rented shoes...she made that!

Hooray for a snowy layout! I hate summer. I hate the heat. So why not escape into some paper flurries. I used the brand spankin new snow-blossom punch from Stampin Up to make the flakes, then punched some brads (from the Fiskateers again...Heidi Grace, I think--the soft blues went very nicely with the Stampin Up cardstock cutouts), then added some nifty Creative Memories stickers and a journal box I got at the crop. I really like the icy look and the way the stickers ended up looking like they were falling. If you can see the pics at all, that's my little dog Usagi enjoying the snow.

Okay, I made an effort to turn this rightside up and was probably better off sideways. Sigh. Well, it was a very cute rat layout using some lovely products I received via a Fiskateers contest (Whoo hoo!) I loved the paper, loved the stickers, the tissue paper that said it was good for backing photos...looks good, but was a total pain to work with. I'll keep the rest for fluffing up gifts or possibly for decopaging stuff. Cool designs though. I think we need more gift wrapping stuff to go with altered gift bags, the tags we work so hard on, etc. So, it's a good product, just don't try to mat photos with it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Craft Blog, Episode One

Just posting a few layouts I did this weekend. The first one is a baby page--something I rarely get to do, not being the kid-type. It's for the mice, Victoria and Albert who were found, orphaned, in the street (sound Dickensian enough for you?) I hand-raised them by feeding them off of a paint brush. Take note of the painfully adorable baby mouse stickers. I couldn't believe how perfect they were! They were the very last set at Archivers so I splurged even though those EK Success 3D stickers are often prohibitively expensive. The jellybeans are there to remind me of how small they were--they were even shaped like jellybeans (okay, the big Easter kind, not the Jelly Belly size, but still. Since I was at the Creative Memories Crop, I took advantage of the circle cutters they have. I totally want a set of my own, but rumor has it that they're coming out with a new and improved blade system for them so, perhaps patience is called for.

Hmm...I'm having a bit of trouble posting the other pics. I'll have to put them into another post shortly. I have had a plain blog at MySpace, but craft blogs are new to me. I really like reading them so I thought perhaps I'd try writing one. If it looks funny or I sound like an idiot, please forgive me. I'm new at this kind of thing.

Saturday I attended the Creative Memories Luncheon Crop at Teresa B's. She's always a gracious crop hostess with lots of ideas and toys to share. It was not far from maximum capacity Sat. afternoon. The previous one was more sparsely attended so we each had an entire table to ourselves. This time I shared mine with Kay, which was cool, since we still had enough space and we like looking over each other's shoulder anyway. I don't know if all CM reps have this, but Teresa's scrap room is like a craft store unto itself, which is dangerous for my bank account. If I'm flipping through my bag and can't find the exact color of paper I want, I unwittingly find myself flipping through the displays. And of course I can't just go to the single sheet file, I have to pick out a whole paper set. Oh, and then I need the sticker set with the sugar gliders in it. And Kay and I both decide we can't live without the spring set with the lop rabbit doesn't take long for me to end up horrified at my tally total.

If you haven't seen the new products that just came out, don't miss the cool new "Vintage" line. It looks like CM is daring to be a little more interesting than in the past, with more vibrant colors and distinctive patterns in the place of plain cardstock and single-colored mats. I'm really into their journaling boxes that match the papers. They have large-sized ones for people like me who arrived at scrapbooking via keeping diaries and journals vs. from the photo angle. I rarely find journaling boxes that give me enough space.

One more thing while I'm on the topic. Teresa's crops include really excellent not at all scary (I'm looking at you, Archivers) food. She even made sure there were plenty of vegan options for picky ol' me. Is that thoughtful or what? Keep an eye on my blog. I'll post the dates of the next ones I hear about that she's hosting, so those of who want to see for yourselves can come along.