Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Paper Pumpkin Pinwheel Party Bouquet

I am in love with the latest Paper Pumpkin kit! I wanted to make something that wasn't a card just to feel somewhat accomplished. Our new home is in need of some decor anyway. With Independence Day right around the corner, the Pinwheel Party Paper Pumpkin kit was a perfect place to start. All I had to add was a vase, stones, and a piece of Night of Navy Seam Binding Ribbon. It really was that simple. It took me longer to find somewhere well lit to take the photo than it did to put the whole thing together! The refill kit is available to Paper Pumpkin subscribers while supplies last. If you don't need the ink or stamps that came with it and didn't subscribe in time, you can order the refill kit for $7.95 if you sign up for Paper Pumpkin today. It's quite a steal at that price!

I never thought I would like kits. My only regret is waiting so long to sign up! I have all kinds of creative plans for the Pinwheel Party set. I even ordered 2 refill kits already! As lovely as the little pinwheel bouquet is, the greatest Paper Pumpkin moment for me was when I handed a finished pinwheel to my 3 year old daughter. Her whole face lit up and she was so excited. After thanking me at least 20 times she proceeded to run off to proudly show everyone in the house her new treat. Of all the things I have missed while being almost completely incapacitated, it is the time I spend creating with one of my children by my side. Being able to make her a treat made my day. 

I'm going to make a stepped up version of this to give Mom. I've fallen behind on my weekly gifts. I can't wait to share the next one with you! I have been learning a few new techniques that I've always wanted to learn but never had time for. Check back in a few days to see my latest Paper Pumpkin creating. Thanks for stopping by!

All supplies are Stampin' Up! unless noted

Stamps - None
Ink - None
Paper - From the Pinwheel Party Paper Pumpkin Kit(June 2014)
Accessories - Real Red Straws, Silver Brads(both from June Paper Pumpkin), Night of Navy Seam Binding Ribbon, Glue Dots, Vase, Polished Rocks

Monday, June 23, 2014

Salt Shaker Vase

I've decided to blog some of my previously unblogged creations during my downtime. This was one of my first original ideas for something other than a card. 

For some reason I chose to add the Spiral Flower Bigz die to one of my orders. From time to time I like to chose an item that I have no interest in to add an to a large order. Usually I do this using my Hostess benefits so I can justify it as "free" to myself.

I did this long before becoming a demonstrator. Long ago in the world of business I learned that inventory was not just about what I liked. I carried that lesson with me and applied it to all areas of my life. Whether it be books, groceries, clothing, or crafts. You can't expand much if you don't try new things. Some of my favorite outfits, meals, and craft supplies were actually acquired this way.

Ok, so the concept of the vase itself is quite simple. It was an inexpensive salt and pepper shaker set. Not from the dollar store, but under $5 for the set. I like it. It has just enough style, yet is still plain enough to be embellished. 

The flowers were made using the spiral flower die. I used hot glue to set them after rolling tightly around the handle of my paper piercing tool. Prior to rolling them I pierced a hole in the center of the base piece of the flower. After allowing the glue to cool I threaded floral wire through the hole, into a button, then back down through the other button hole, then back down through the hole in the flower. 

I stamped the image from the By the Tide set and hand cut the image. Yep, someone is still regretting all of that "saving" they did by not buying all of the circle punch sizes. I tied Crushed Curry Chevron ribbon around the shaker itself, then used linen thread to tie the stamped image to that. The floral wire was cut to the appropriate length, then placed into the shaker through the holes in the lid. 

This one was made with Mom in mind. She loves her beach theme. She also has about 400 shades of turquoise in her bathroom alone. I know it sounds awful, but somehow she pulls it off. Only Mom could do such a thing. 

This is a really easy project. It can be done it surprisingly little time. I would suggest stocking up on glue sticks, shakers, and floral wire. It's a tad bit addicting. I'm planning on doing an upgraded version for craft fairs. Mom gets all of my first runs, but she's more than ok with that. Happy crafting!

All supplies are from Stampin' Up!

Stamps: By the Tide
Ink: Coastal Cabana
Paper: Daffodil Delight, Bermuda Bay, Coastal Cabana, Very Vanilla
Accessories: Crushed Curry Chevron Ribbon, Linen Thread, hole punch, salt shaker, Spiral Flower Bigz Die, Big Shot, Floral Wire, Brights Collection Buttons, Regals Collection Buttons, hot glue gun

Saturday, June 21, 2014

My First Paper Pumpkin - Just in Time!

I know, seeing as I'm a demonstrator you'd think that I wouldn't have waited until now to subscribe to Paper Pumpkin. There are a few reasons that I held back as long as I did. The first reason is easy, I'm cheap, hate spending money, I'll admit it. Hate spending money, and I will admit that this mentality has always ended up being more costly in the long run, but it's a tough habit to break. I'm working on it.

The second reason is probably a bit more common, I like to be creative. I see the kits in the catalog, or the subscription based ones and regardless of how cute they are, I find myself thinking that it seems to much like cheating. I mean, I want to envision something in my head, dig through every basket of my supplies to find just the right pieces to use, and end up with a creation that almost sort of resembles that seemingly unattainable perfect vision I had. It makes me feel like I did something. Sure, I didn't change the world, I probably didn't even make a difference in anyone's life by creating it, but I end up with a tangible product that is of my own creation.

The third reason? I like surprises, I do, but not when it's "surprise! your checking account went negative by $1 because you failed to remember that all of your scheduled monthly payments, regardless of when they are SUPPOSED to be debited from your account, were all taken out on the same day, which just happens to be the day your husband "forgot" to go to the bank and put his check in."

It doesn't seem to matter that you scheduled these automatic transactions at staggered dates throughout the month, or what kind of calendar you track them on, SOMETHING always seems to go amiss, and that $36 could have been spent on something useful! I don't do monthly subscriptions, not unless I can just pay for it ahead of time and not have to worry surprise overdraft fees.  

Last month I saw that Stampin' Up! was now offering a prepaid alternative for Paper Pumpkin. Yay! I thought about it for a few days, and figured why the heck not? I didn't want to wait until it was too late and see a whole bunch of cute creations start popping up in the blogosphere, and kick myself for not taking a few minutes and spending $19.95 to at least see what this Paper Pumpkin thing is all about.

At the time I also had noticed that it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to create much of anything, so I figured it really couldn't hurt to have something on hand that could be assembled without getting off the couch if need be. I have always just pushed through illness and injury, so it was more of a doomsday preparation than anything. I'm glad I had the foresight. About 3 weeks ago it became more than just "taking it easy". There was no pushing through, that made things hurt more. I had to admit defeat. I had to move from my new position on the couch, a piece of furniture that I have never spent much time with, to my bed. 

Bed? During the day? This isn't me!  Help! Fix it! Fine, I will see a doctor, or 10, just tell me what I have to do to get my life back. Not so simple. Getting to the doctor hurt, I'm no longer even driving, but the car ride hurts. Sitting in the waiting room hurts. But he has steroids, and he's the best around, and since he doesn't look panic stricken, this means I'll be back to myself in no time, right? Not so much. Steroids have always been synonymous with relief for me, seeing as I have Crohn's Disease. My logic says that even if he injected them in my big toe, I should feel slightly better. Why do I not feel better? It makes no sense. Back to bed for me after that appointment with nothing but more question marks looming over my head. I have the TV off, not necessarily because there's nothing worth watching on. No, it's a matter of principal for me. If you're at home during the day and staring at a TV screen, you have failed. I'm not judging anyone else, this is merely a picture in my head of what I did not want to do with my life, so the TV stays off. 

Ok, well that's great. I love a good book. Wait, books are all still the garage. With the exception of my Bible, my quad, and a few beloved Joyce Myer books and the Glenn Beck books I had autographed last summer, everything else is packed. Ok, love Glenn, let's read that. A few pages in, I realize that I don't need to feel more helpless. My head already feels like it may implode at any moment. But I can't think about anything like that right now, not when all I have is time to think and no way to do anything. Joyce Myer, yep, but they don't fill the whole day. Same for the Bible and all of my Scriptures. Definitely need them, but I can't spend the entire day reading anything. My vision is far too bad for that and my good hand is going numb. Can't have cubital tunnel surgery now, don't want to have it later, can't have arm in book holder mode longer than 15 minutes at a time.

Well ok then. Candy crush is only fun until you have no lives left. I'm not paying for them. I'm certainly not spamming the friends that I have managed to keep with requests for extra lives in Candy Crush. Plus, same as the book, can't hold an iPhone or iPad at that angle either. I've already skimmed through the last 10 years of Stampin' Up catalogs and miscellaneous magazines on crafts. I even read through Mom's stash of random magazines that she kindly brought over. Heavy on the pictures, because at this point there isn't much energy left to even think. 

I figure if I have one of the kids bring in some of the new catalog stuff that I will be inspired. Maybe I can envision something and turn it into a real creation. Ok, maybe, but even after trying this repeatedly, having them fetch the needed supplies from my desk and all, I find that I've gone through 3 whole sheets of Whisper White card stock just trying to stamp a simple sentiment to cut out. Not a one of the stamped sentiments was even close to useable. I can't explain why this is, but I certainly know that the frustration did not help boost morale any. 

So there I am, left with just my thoughts, and the 3 cats that are piled on me in a tumor-like fashion. This is not a good thing. I give in and take something for the pain, thinking that maybe if I'm able to eliminate just a bit of it I'll be able to do something other than lay in bed. Or maybe it will take away enough pain and my brain will be able to think creative thoughts. Ha! Feel so funny that creative thoughts are clearly not on the agenda. Yes, I'm a lightweight.

Scrap that idea. Even if I can relieve some pain and make it out of bed, I know darn well that I'm not going to take enough of it for a long enough period of time for that funny feeling to not bother me. At this point I am driving myself insane. I feel bad for those who have no choice but to be around me. I don't even want to be around me. 

And finally the doorbell rings. The neighbor is holding that little orange box that I have been looking oh so forward to seeing. Not sure why it was delivered to her mailbox instead of mine, but that's ok, because my husband is in charge of retrieving our mail these days, and had it been delivered to our box, I would probably still be waiting a few weeks more for it.

As clearly demonstrated here, not having something to occupy one's time can indeed lead to insanity. I was so happy to have that little orange box. I had no idea of what the box actually contained. But I did know that there was hope inside the box. I didn't care if I was just copying instructions. Any previous negative thoughts that I had harbored about kits being too simple or unoriginal were long gone. What had only one month ago been something that I was curious about turned into something that represented hope, a reason to smile, a break from my thoughts, and the highlight of my month. What seemed so simple not very long ago had become more than just an orange box that I had to worry about justifying spending $20 on if my husband saw it. Yes, this really was what I thought when I ordered it. Yet another benefit of the prepaid subscription.

I was finally able to make something. It sounds really simple. Even having lived for many years with a chronic illness, I don't think I could have fully appreciated just how big an impact something so seemingly small could have. It was the first time I felt something other than hopeless, frustrated, or upset in 3 weeks. No, it doesn't cure me. But I know all too well from experience that maintaining as much "normal" as possible in the face of adversity goes a long way to preserve one's mental, physical, and spiritual health. 

I apologize for making what could have been short an incredibly long story. I'm just happy to finally have been able to make something! This month's kit is awesome, too. I was hoping it was going to be something patriotic, and it is, but it's also a whole lot of cute! Even if I felt awesome, it would take a lot of time to track down the "ingredients" to recreate this. It would certainly cost a lot more, which was surprising to me. 

I plan to continue when I make a full recovery. You never know when you might need to make something on short notice. If this month's kit is any indication of what's to come, quality and cuteness are included, so you don't have to sacrifice those. I will admit that I was afraid that maybe the "ingredients" would be not quite the same quality as similar stand alone items sold in the catalog. They far exceed what I was expecting. And hey, if you ever find yourself down, it wouldn't hurt to have a stockpile of little orange boxes on hand. As I have found, this reason alone is more than enough. The beauty of the prepaid subscription is that you can buy it now and activate it whenever you want, or as a gift.

I won't lie, I'd love nothing more than for you to order some, but that isn't the reason I'm posting. I'm posting because for the first time in weeks I have a reason to. I imagine the other reason is probably fueled by pain meds, so I will apologize for that. Now you see what I mean when I say I don't like them. Mostly though, even though I thought I knew the value of this while I was anticipating its arrival, even I was shocked at just how much of a difference it made. I plan to buy a few one month prepaid subscriptions to hang onto and use as gifts in the future when someone else is going through a rough patch or needs some cheering up. 

I could have never imagined just how much one little orange box could make. Now that I know, I can use my experience to hopefully put a smile on someone's face in the future with the simple gift. And here is a picture of the 3 that I created last night. I know, they aren't an original creation, but I created something. Also, I love the little straws. I've been wanting to buy some for a while now, but the cheap voice in my head always won that battle. Loving the pinwheels too. To be honest, I'd forgotten how to make them! These are 100% idiot proof. They are also 100% cute! I'm in love with the paper.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Clean & Simple Stamp a Stack Using New In Colors

I'm not able to get much done these days, but I can't stand not being able to create anything. Today I figued that I would remember not only the rules of clean and simple, but also the rules for stamp-a-stack. Keeping my supplies to a minimum and reducing the number of steps from start to finish means creating a stack of cards in the same time as one more detailed card would take. I had yet to make a new In Color set, so choosing the colors was easy. I picked the Dotty Angles photopolymer set to get a background created in one step rather than multiple steps. This would normally take me no more than 10 minutes to create. I love the versatility of this set. And I love the yummy new colors! 

All supplies are from Stampin' Up!

Stamps: Dotty Angles, Bravo, Hi There, Lots of Thanks, Four You, Delightful Dozen

Paper: Whisper White, Blackberry Bliss, Hello Honey, Lost Lagoon, Mossy Meadow, Tangelo Twist

Ink: Momento Tuxedo Black, Blackberry Bliss, Hello Honey, Lost Lagoon, Mossy Meadow, Tangelo Twist

Accessories: Stamp-a-ma-jig 

Monday, June 9, 2014

My New Catalog Order Finally Arrived!

It seemed to take forever. That might have something to do with me waiting until Thursday to place an order. I've been feeling rotten enough that even new goodies and having the money for them wasn't enough motivation to sit down and place an order. I apologize for the lack of posts in recent days. My pain level is at extra super sad face 24/7 anymore. The pain meds put a dent in it, but they make me feel so icky that I still can't get much done. A bit less agony, but no gain in productivity.

Anywho, my son was kind enough to grab this off the doorstep and bring it to me in bed. He even carefully unpacked everything, neatly laid it out on the bed, and verified that everything on the packing list was present. He's the best son a mother could ask for! 

I know what you're thinking. How can you have so many new goodies and not want to play with them? I find myself asking the same question. This makes me realize that whatever is going on has gotten far worse than I thought. I can't wait to play with the new stuff! Maybe the new doctor that I see tomorrow will be able to help. I've learned not to get my hopes up. Prayers would be appreciated. I hope to be back to crafting and posting soon. Happy stamping!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Rainbow Rubber Duck Birthday Card

I just had to make a special birthday card for my stepson. He has a love/hate relationship with rubber ducks. I have always included a rubber duck or two with each gift that I've given him. I couldn't just give him one of my random birthday cards. I knew this set was going to come in handy for Eddie. This is pretty much what I had envisioned when I first saw the set at the catalog premiere. It took surprisingly little time to create, and I think it's quite cute. I'm looking forward to using this set in other creative ways in the future. It's one of my favorites!

All Supplies are from Stampin' Up

Stamps: Endless Birthday Wishes, Something for Baby
Ink: Real Red, Pumpkin Pie, Crushed Curry, Gumball Green, Pacific Point, Momento Tuxedo Black
Paper: Whisper White, Polka Dot Parade DSP
Accessories: Baby's First Framelit Dies, Envelope Liner Framelit Dies, Big Shot, Stampin' Dimensionals, SNAIL Adhesive, Project Life Corner Rounder Punch

Simple Steps to a Clean & Simple Start

Have you ever found yourself staring at the catalog wondering where to even begin? I know I have. Over the years I have learned how to make the most out of minimal supplies. I love clean & simple cards, not because they are easy, but because I hate clutter. Here are a few tips to keep from getting overwhelmed. You don't need all of the bells and whistles, or should I say buttons and ribbon, to make something pretty and presentable. Somewhat new or feeling overwhelmed? Read on.

  • You need a good, multipurpose greeting set. You may not be feeling the Christmas spirit right now, or have no need for birthday cards until January, but that doesn't mean you won't find yourself needing a Christmas sentiment next week. You'd be surprised. A good greeting set will be spendy, around $27 to be exact, but you will need one more than any of the cute little image stamps that you could spend the money on. Trust me, it took me a long time to learn this lesson.
  • Designer Paper. You can create your own with stamps, but it is nice to have a pack on hand. A good place to start is the first one that draws your attention in the catalog that you have matching card stock and/or ink for. It's fine if you only have one or 2 of the ink colors, as long as they will work. I still don't have all of the ink or card stock colors. The In Color or Brights Collection Designer Paper Stacks are a great start. Also, the new 4 1/2" x 6 1/2" stacks are a great value. They each come with 48 double sided sheets in 12 patterns and cost only $6.95. They're also quite cute!
  • 3 to 4 themed stamp sets. Think of what you make cards or scrapbook pages for. Kids? The girls at church? Men? Women? If you only want to make cards for kids, you clearly don't need any wedding themed sets. I would recommend one good set that covers more than one occasion, such as Feathered Friends. Find something that you like. 
  • Dies, you'll want them. If you're new to stamping, it probably isn't the best time to run out and buy a Big Shot. Assuming you didn't just start stamping yesterday, my advice is to buy the Big Shot, or something that is compatible with all Sizzix dies. I bought my Big Shot when we were on the brink of losing everything. Was it the best way to use the money at the time? Probably not. Do I regret buying it? Absolutely not. It is the one thing that I use every day, usually multiple times a day. 
  • White and Vanilla Card Stock. You'll want at least a pack of each. If you want colored card stock, you can buy a set of each color family. You won't use Real Red on every card, but you will use white or vanilla on 95% of what you make. This depends on budget, but as a rule, if I don't have at least one sealed pack of each on hand, I know I need to order sooner rather than later.
  • A good paper trimmer. This is a must. You will spend far more on replacing the paper that you don't cut straight than you will on a simple trimmer. 
  • Adhesive. SNAIL holds better than anything I've bought elsewhere. I think I've tried them all. This is my recommendation. Stampin' Dimensionals are great for added dimension, worth every penny if you ask me.
  • Envelopes, don't forget them! I know, you'd rather have the stamps for that money. I get it. I still do it, which is why I only have 2 Whisper White envelopes left. Oops. White, Vanilla, and Kraft/Crumb Cake in medium size are what you'll want to have on hand. 
  • Pick a simple embellishment or 2 to start. Find something that you know you'd use, that you could use on something you've already made. Just because someone else makes them look adorable doesn't mean you're going to find them overly helpful. Buy what you like.
  • Stamp Cleaner. The best way to ruin your ink pad is to not clean your stamps right. You can also do some damage to your stamps. Do you save a ton of money by not buying Stampin' Mist and Stampin' Scrub? You sure don't when you have to replace only one ink pad and one stamp set. There are others out there, but the fuzzies come off on your stamps, then they go into your ink, and then they make a mess when you stamp. Yes, I've learned this one the hard way. 
  • An embossing folder or 2. This is assuming you have a way to use them. Start with something versatile like polka dots. Simple patterns that can be used for birthdays, babies, and sympathy cards are a good investment. They also make for some pretty cards. Great way to keep it simple without risking making it blah. 
  • Ink. If you don't have much, start with StaZon Jet Black as a first. Work on adding a few ink pads here and there later. It is cheaper to buy the bundle, but it's an expensive purchase. I added mine to each order, 3 at a time. The in color color kits are great, they're affordable and they match. They have packs with ink and paper. It's a cheaper way to stock up on the basics, and they're pretty.
  • Stamp-a-ma-jig!!! This is last on the list, but one of the first things you should buy. Read the directions and use it! Don't just set it aside for later. This little tool saves a lot of time and materials. Mine collected dust for 5 years. Yes, that was stupid.
 That's about it. This is just a guide. It will take a while to get what you need. Start one piece at a time if you have to. I know I was clueless when I started. I sure as heck wasn't going to ask anyone. I would have saved a lot of time, money, and frustration had I known what to start with. And here is what I created this morning. It only took 10 minutes or so from start to finish. If someone had their stuff better organized, it would have taken half that. Notice that I've made the most of what I have. It isn't blah, but it isn't the fanciest thing ever. That's the way I like it.

All supplies from Stampin' Up

Stamps: Something to Say, Sea Street
Paper: Night of Navy, Whisper White CS, Maritime DSP
Ink: Coastal Cabana, Night of Navy
Accessories: Stampin' Dimensionals, Stamp-a-ma-jig, Bitty Banners Framelit Dies, Arrows Textured Impressions Embossing Folder, Big Shot, Whisper White Envelope

Free Gift on All Orders Over $100!

Don't forget that today is the last day to order from the 2013-2014 catalog! If there's anything on the retirement list that you want, you'll want to place your order today!

I will be giving one prepaid month of Paper Pumpkin with each online order of $100 or more placed through June 20th! Your merchandise total must be over $100, and does not include shipping or tax. It will be separate from your order, as it is a gift from me. You must place your order online to qualify. If you have ever wanted to try Paper Pumpkin, now is a great time! Your kit, and shipping will be totally free, you won't have to commit to anything or worry about cancelling anything since it is prepaid! Offer is good on all orders placed through me by 11:59 PM Mountain Time June 20th! 

Click here to shop now!

Contact me if you have any questions!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sea Street Birthday Card

I just love the new Sea Street set. The matching Maritime designer series paper is too cute! I combined the two to create something for Retro Sketches #117. I was able to color my Basic Pearls with the Blendabilities markers to create a matching embellishment. I stamped the fish in VersaMark and heat embossed with clear embossing powder to give it some dimension. Flat cards aren't easy for me to do. I always feel like something is missing. Having the little fish, and their added texture makes it feel alive enough for me. That's about it for today. I have to get my new catalog order placed. Yay!

All supplies are from Stampin' Up, with the exception of the twine, which is from Doodlebug. 

Stamps: Sea Street, Something to Say, Gorgeous Grunge
Ink: Coastal Cabana, Crumb Cake, Night of Navy, VersaMark 
Paper: Crumb Cake, Night of Navy, Whisper White Card Stock, Maritime DSP
Accessories: Red & white twine(Doodlebug), Envelope Punch Board, Clear Embossing Powder, Basic Pearls, Coastal Cabana Blendabilities