Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Little Everything

It's time once again for our CTMH consultant Stamp of the Month blog hop! If you've come here from Traci's blog, you're on the right track. When you're done here, you'll want to move along to Laurie's Scraps From the Beach blog. I do hope you'll look around a little while you're here, and if you like what you see you can click in the sidebar to "follow" me and read my ramblings on a regular basis!

I personally can't wait to see what everyone has come up with for this hop, as this set has "A Little Everything" in it. I wanted to feature only this stamp set, to show how great it would be even for a beginner. So even if you only scrapbook, you can add one stamp pad to your order, get this set for a discount (or even free), and be on your way to making some fun cards with your scrapbook leftovers. And I'm sure you stamp addicts will love the hip retro feel of these sentiments; what a great addition to your collection!

Now, on to the artwork!

This second, less well-lit image is just so you can better see the dimension on this card. I chose the colors Tulip, Sorbet, and Ocean (the lighter "backside" of my textured CS) for my card. The base is 6x6 Sorbet CS. I cut my pattern paper (from the Jingle paper pack) at 5.5" square and layered it on Ocean textured CS (backside) cut a tad larger than 5 5/8" square.

I used my Cricut and Make the Cut software to cut a 4.5" circle in the center of the two layers, then adhered them to my card base. I stamped my sentiment with Tulip ink, centered top to bottom but off to the left. I cut my Ocean circle "wreath" with my Cricut and MTC software. I stamped my border on it by laying my stamping block over the circle, then lining up the stamp to match the curve of the circle. (Where the stamped border overlaps is where I put my flowers.) The circle wreath is adhered to the card using 3-D Foam Tape.

You've probably seen these fun paper flowers by now; they're all over the internet! I created mine by cutting graduated circles on my Cricut using the George cartridge. I sprayed the circles with water and crumpled them up, then unfolded them. Once they were dry, I assembled them using Glue dots and added fun Clear Sparkles for the centers. They were then added to the card using more Glue Dots.

Now head on over to Laurie's blog and see what she has created for us this month!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Swaps That Pop!

Well, more than just swaps, actually. But I've been talking about swaps lately, and thought it would help new swappers to have a little tutorial of sorts! For those who don't swap, I'll start with a few helpful hints that will make any page elements "pop".
I'm not sure how well you can see the differences in these two items in the picture, but even the one on the left is an improvement over a basic die-cut! I'm currently finishing up some items for a St. Patrick's Day swap, and one of my items is this pot of gold from the Paper Doll Dress Up Cricut cartridge. Unlike some of their cartridge images, this one cuts like a standard die-cut, all one piece with a few cut lines in it. I opted to cut the same image twice, once in black cardstock and once in gold vellum, and cut the gold one apart. Then I cut an additional image, the shamrock, from Topiary green CS.

Now, as I said, this is an improvement over a plain die-cut any day. But let's make it pop! Before adhering my layers, I gave each piece some dimension. Using sponge daubers and coordinating ink, I sponged the edges of the pot, plus the two cut lines across the pot. I did the same with a clean dauber and Topiary ink on the shamrock. (I love these little daubers, because they fit on your finger like a thimble, last a long time, and clean up in the sink!)

Next, I adhered my layers. I used my Xyron, and it works great for the vellum because of the even application. Finally, I used Lime Stickles to highlight my gold coins. I chose this color because it IS leprechaun gold, after all, plus the contrast helps it stand out more. Contrary to it's name, Lime is not all green; it's kind of green and gold mixed so it's perfect for St. Pat's!

Now here's a picture of all three items I'm submitting for my swap:

All three items were cut from the Cricut, using Paper Doll Dress Up and A Child's Year cartridges. I used the same three colors of green CS and ink (plus black) from CTMH, and Stickles on all 3 items so they coordinate. The stamped image on the top folder is a Studio G stamp I picked up at JoAnn's for $1!

Now, on to the swap tips!

As a seasoned swapper and hostess, I've seen my fair share of brilliant swap items. I've also on rare occasion received a swap and wondered if they read the same swap rules I did! You can't fault anyone for being new or for following vague swap rules. But there are a few easy ways to not become "that person" in the swap.

If you're new to swapping, or new to a certain group, make sure you get specifics from your swap hostess before you begin. Some groups have very specific rules and will give you the exact colors and brands to use. Others, like this swap, will just give you general colors. There are pros and cons to both types of swapping, so it's personal preference. If you are unsure of your abilities or just want to get a feel for things, many groups allow a couple of "store-bought" spots per swap. You could choose a spot for ribbon or buttons for your first swap or two, to get a general idea of how your new group works. Your swap hostess should specify how much of a store bought item you need for each person, like 2 yards of ribbon pp (per person).

If you choose to make your items to swap, please do your best work. Straight cuts should be straight and stamped images should not be smudged or partially stamped. A photo mat does NOT mean two layers of plain cardstock and you're done! Again, your swap hostess should give you details, but a general rule is to embellish twice. Don't go overboard though! Sometimes less is more. Not sure what counts as an embellishment? Usually, anything that isn't paper counts, but sometimes paper is (fun folded photo corners on that mat?), and sometimes stamping can be an embellishment. If in doubt, make a prototype item, take a picture, and ask your swap hostess. This is a great way to make sure you're on track with the group the first time or two!

Finally, if you commit to a swap please BE ON TIME. Many swap groups have rules about "flakers" - someone who signs up and doesn't follow through or is perpetually late. If you flake too many times, you may not be allowed to participate in that group again. Life happens, and there should definitely be exceptions for emergencies. The key is to COMMUNICATE. If something comes up and you are able, please contact your swap hostess. She may be able to find an "angel" for your spot, or everyone may be able to make one fewer item. (An angel is someone who fills in a swap spot that someone is unable to complete.) Most of us have enough drama in our lives without adding swap drama, so be understanding when others have issues. That doesn't mean that you should constantly be waiting on the same person to complete a swap, or that you have to put up with a hostess who repeatedly hasn't returned swaps, but we can be nice about it. I like to think that my online friends are friends, even if they're new friends. If someone seems to be AWOL, I should be more concerned about my friend than my swap item, at least until I find out what the deal is, lol!

Now, if you're ready to start swapping but don't know where to begin, I do know a couple of groups for you. I take no responsibility, however, for your experience with these groups! It's up to you to check out the group for yourself and decide if it's for you. One group I belong to is Down_Paper_Lane. This is a Yahoo Group, so if you already belong to Yahoo Groups you can just go search. There are tons of other groups on Yahoo that you can search; I suggest searching on the terms scrapbook and swap. You can also join the Fiskateers - there is a section for swaps there, as well as "local" sections where people post crops & other hapenings. A final option is to check the message board of your favorite magazine or manufacturer - some of them have a swap section. But realize that the MB owner does not own the swap board and will not be able to help you if you don't receive your swaps, etc. Most of these swap groups are self-policed, and any "bad" swappers or hosts will be weeded out.

Happy swapping! Any questions, let me know...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

You Say Recycle, I Say ReSTYLE!

Wow, this is my first post in quite a while which has nothing to do with scrapping or stamping! My inspiration today came from a recent trip to the consignment shop with some kid clothes. My daughter had outgrown a DARLING little shirt that I just couldn't bear to give up. It's kind of ridiculous, really, because we paid like 75 cents for it at a garage sale. But it's vintage Gymboree, which while super-cute does not sell well anyway. Oh, and by vintage, I mead O-L-D; back when they didn't use number sizes at Gymboree old.

Now technically, I think this was originally a toddler jumper dress (the kind under which you wear a shirt), but all the Gymbo-gals I know use them as swing tops in their bigger girls. And my Holly looked so darned cute in this top; we even had her wear it for her Kindergarten picture. (She's now in 1st grade.) As luck would have it, this little top had real tied shoulder straps - not the kind that look tied but are really sewn. So, here's my great idea for not only keeping this treasured item, but using it and seeing it often:

A sweet purse/tote bag! Now is that cute or what? The girls are already arguing over who gets to use it, but I told them it is MINE!

I totally should have taken pictures during the process, but I honestly wasn't thinking it would turn out this well. All together (including hunting for lining), it took me about 30-40 minutes to make. I will note that due to the pockets, I did not construct a flat bottom for the purse. The pockets are so darling, I wanted to keep them usable, hence the tote styling.

Look here, I left the tag in for cuteness factor! I cut the lining from plain old white broadcloth by simply tracing around the shirt. I cut a double layer and sewed the sides together. I slid the lining up under the lining in the top of the shirt (pinning comes in handy here), and sewed through those two layers only on my machine. (You'll want the shirt turned inside out if you do this.)

Next I used my rotary cutter and ruler and cut straight across the bottom through all layers. I sewed the bottom seam on the shirt, then sewed the bottom seam on the lining, leaving the center 4" or so unsewn. After turning it all right side out, I topstitched over the lining seam to close it completely, then stuffed it back down inside the purse. I was looking for speed, and since it's for me I didn't bother whipstitching the remainder of the seam!

Finally, I pulled some matching buttons from my scrapbooking stash to sew the "handles" together. I took both front straps to make one handle and both back straps to make the other. I alternated the direction of the straps and decorative buttons for balance. I did not bother sewing the handles other than through the buttons; I guess I like living dangerously!

Finally, here's the former shirt owner happily displaying the finished product:

Update: I am looking for a "before" picture of the shirt - other than the school portrait. It doesn't show the whole thing, so I'm looking for something better!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

DPL Swap Spoiler - Valentine

SPOILER ALERT! If you're in Mandies Valentine scrapbook swap on Down Paper Lane, I am about to show my contribution. If you don't want to see, don't look any further!!

There, all covered! Now, on to my fun swap items. I signed up to do mini file folders, which I haven't done in a while, so I thought it would be a little challenge. I'm happy to say that this went so quickly, I got them all done start-to-finish yesterday. I know V-day is over, but since we scrapbook after the fact we can make stuff any old time!

Here's one set of completed folders. I used my Sizzix File Folder die to cut all the folders. Cardstock used is White, Blush (Close To My Heart), Hollyhock (CTMH), and Cherry Splash (Bazzil Basics Paper). Ink colors used are Blush (CTMH), Hollyhock (CTMH), Riding Hood Red (Stampin' Up!), and White Daisy pigment ink(CTMH). I also used white embossing powder with the white ink. Unless otherwise noted, stamped images are from the All My Love stamp set (CTMH).

For the top folder, I punched a 3/4" strip of white CS with the new Pinking Hearts Border Punch from SU! (This is available through 4/30 in their Occasions Mini catalog.) The square with the heart is cut from an old piece of patterned paper scrap, layered on Cherry Splash CS, and all covered with a square clear epoxy sticker. I then added a heart eyelet for a finishing touch.

For the center folder, I random stamped the entire front with a heart stamp from Anita's Rubber Stamps. I again used the Pinking Hearts punch, added some white grosgrain ribbon, and a Hollyhock nail head (snap). The square heart image is from a discontinued stamp set, but it is easily substituted by one in the All My Love set.

The final folder uses another leftover scrap of paper for the strip across the front. Mini brads are from Oriental Trading Company. The round image is stamped in Riding Hood Red on Blush CS, then covered with a round clear epoxy sticker.

I can see these lined up on a layout as shown here, or angled randomly across the bottom of a layout. I would probably use a photo turn in my page as a means to keep the folders closed that would allow them to be opened easily for viewing.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My "New" Scrap Room

I have finally finished reorganizing my scrap room! Well, almost; there is still paper to put away (there's always paper to put away, lol) and a few other things I haven't tucked away yet. But the major work is done, and I'm now set up to scrap to my heart's content. The room is now convenient for two scrappers to work at once, or, what I really can't wait for, to use as various stations during a crop.

Thanks to my husband, I was able to spend about $400 at Ikea. I bought the largest Expedit bookcase in black-brown and 2 Expedit desks to attach. I also purchased some clear drawers that fit in the bookcase to store my alterables, chipboard, acetate, etc.

I already had a stash of the Cropper Hopper vertical paper storage files. I had a mix of black and frosted since I built up my stash over time and based on what was on sale. Generally, I have my cardstock in the black and other papers in the frosted files. I love my cute labels I made for the majority of the paper files! I left my Close To My Heart paper files labeled with the old P-Touch labels for now. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to label those.

I tossed my rotary cutting mat on this desktop, as this is where I'll work when I'm scrapping alone. I can reach all my paper quickly, and all my fun embellies are in arm's reach! (You can barely see here, I have my homemade clip-it-up at the end, in the center of the two desks.) As a bonus, I can whip out my exacto knife any time without needing to find a cutting mat.

The other desktop is set up with my Cricut Expression and a jukebox. My cartridges are all store in Scraponizer cases, and they fit right in the nearest cube. There's plenty of room to use my 12"x24" mat with this setup, but if I' m scrapping with a friend we can easily move it all to an alternate location.

On this side of the bookcase, I also have my Stickles (stored upside down in a window marker stand I appropriated from a store once it was empty), my fibers, and my favorite idea books. Also over in the top cube of the center row are all of my sketch books for layouts and cards, plus some consultant publications I like to refer to.

I have loads more underneath, including my rolls of Cricut vinyl, my baby Cricut, another clear drawer, my embellishment boxes, and more.

The computer desk holds lots of assorted stuff, including some artwork from the kids, boxes of cards I've made, and assorted computer paraphenalia. You can also see my Christmas present - a nice new desk chair! (I'll probably switch the locations of the two chairs; just haven't bothered yet!)

Can you believe this is the size of my first scrap space?! This countertop was installed in a closet in our first house. My space requirements, as well as my collection of "stuff" has grown dramatically over the years! I keep all of my ribbons and buttons over here, along with my CTMH order forms, hostess info, etc. I also have a little bookcase stashed underneath to hold my favorite magazines and crochet patterns. The plastic drawers here hold my CTMH order bags and my large ziploc bags for paper and swaps. This is also a great place to work if I feel like standing for a while. (Also a great place to set my iPod Shuffle and speakers.)

Here's my stamping station. The shelves hold all of my stamp sets separated by category. The envelopes the CTMH stamps come in fit great in the little $1 CD crates from Wal-mart. So I also put all of my other brands of stamps in these envelopes so they can fit in the same boxes. I also have a zipper 3-ring binder for my large alphabet stamp sets, and some SU! storage cases for my stamping wheels. (The top shelf holds boxes of duplicate photos and more.)

My remaining wooden stamps are in a cart of drawers right below the table. These are also separated by category. The other cart holds my stamping accessories, mini albums, and my "hot" tools in the bottom drawer.

My paint rack holds all of my paints, reinkers, stamp cleaner, glossy accents, etc. The other spinning rack is from Close To My Heart and holds all of my ink pads and markers. I also have my gel pen case and pack of permanent markers, my stamp scrubbers, baby wipes, and stamp blocks set out.

This area holds my Sizzix Big Kick, my few dies, and my embossing folders. On the wall is my parts bin where I store all of my chipboard and acetate letters, numbers, etc. I also have soem miscellaneous stuff in the larger bottom drawers. The tall cart on the left houses my adhesives, card blanks, cutting templates & tools, and more miscellaneous.

The "file" rack on the wall holds completed layouts I've made during home gatherings, etc. that don't yet have photos on them. It's actually getting rather full, so it's probably time to start using some!

The closet hasn't changed - this is where the hubby & I keep assorted other craft stuff. It's mostly counted cross stitch books (hubby's) and crochet books & stuff (mine). I also have some assorted larger alterables and completed items.

Finally, the peg board wall. this is where I used to keep a lot of my paper packs and coordinates before I got my bookcase. It currently holds my Cricut mats, brochure racks, rulers, and specialty items like shrinky dink plastic and "sticky pages". I also try to keep my camera handy here (although I still sometimes can't remember where it is, lol), along with my color wheel, and my Glue Glider Max I use for larger projects.

Hope you enjoyed this peek at my space! It's been a lot of fun setting up, and it's even more fun to use.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bombshell Bookmark

Just wanted to share a fun bookmark today. I'm tired of boring old slips of paper, cards, etc. sticking out of my books, so I made this:

Supply List:

  • Butterfly Queen unmounted stamp set, Bombshell Stamps (also available mounted)
  • Storybook Cricut cartridge and any cartridge that cuts circles, Provocraft
  • Blue Ribbon level 2 paper pack, Close To My Heart
  • Parchment cardstock, Close To My Heart
  • Archival Black stamp pad, Close To My Heart
  • Dye-based stamp pads in Outdoor Denim and Honey, Close To My Heart
  • Amore Uppercase and Lowercase stamp sets(Discontinued), Close To My Heart
  • Exclusive Inks Markers in Buttercup, Cranberry, Indian Corn Blue, Outdoor Denim, Parchment, and your choice of hair color, Close To My Heart

  • I stamped my image on Parchment cardstock - it's light enough to color with the other markers and eliminates the need to color in all of that skin, lol! I use a Parchment marker to go over those areas that should be darker, such as the "behind" leg, bend of the elbow, etc.
  • Using Archival Black ink will eliminate bleeding when you color with water based markers.
  • I made my Honey colored circle resemble a spotlight by sanding the center lightly and sponging the edges with Honey stamp pad ink.
  • To keep my bookmark in like-new condition, I slipped it in a vinyl bookmark sleeve.
Disclaimer: I do receive a commission on Close To My Heart products that I sell, and I do stand by our products. I receive no compensation from any other manufacturers or stores listed or linked to in this post. I have had a good experience with these linked vendors, but cannot guarantee that your experience will be the same. All purchases from 3rd party vendors are at your own risk.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hearts for Haiti...

And a great deal for you! During the month of February, purchase any textured cardstock combo pack and get 1 FREE, and with every offer purchased, Close To My Heart will donate $2 to Operation Smile’s Haiti relief efforts. That means for only $14.95, you get two packs (48 sheets) of our high-quality textured cardstock and you help this urgent, important cause.

Offer valid February 1–28, 2010. Tax and shipping/handling charges may apply. Donations to Haiti will be made by Close To My Heart on your behalf to Operation Smile’s relief efforts. To learn more about their efforts visit

If you haven't tried our textured cardstock before, let me tell you a little about it. This is two-toned cardstock - one of our Exclusive Colors on one side, and a lighter tone of the same color on the other side. It also features our signature white core, for great distressing possibilities! Plus, it's still easy to stamp on using our terrific My Acrylix stamps and included stamping pad.

You can shop 24/7 on my website, or contact me via email to order.
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