Wednesday, June 4, 2014

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

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