Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Side of Irreverence

I have found over the few years that I have been selling cards, that the more outlandish they are, the more people seem to like them. There is always the need for "normal" cards, like Birthday, Anniversary, Sympathy, etc. but even within those categories (except for Sympathy, maybe) people seem to be buying more of the "out there" ones.

I love it when people come into my booth and stand there flipping through the cards, and laughing! Of course, I like it better if they actually buy something, but the entertainment factor is so much fun!

So, I am always on the lookout for irreverent sayings. I have, in the past, done them on the computer, but I find it easier when I can just stamp it where I want on the card. And part of the fun is trying to figure out which images to use them with!

Here are three cards I made by dipping into my new selection of irreverent sayings from River City Rubber Works.

This one was easy. I had an unopened set of transportation stamps from Technique Tuesday, and the ship just screamed to be used with this sentiment. (I guess this now qualifies as a Stash Dive entry, too!)

I kept it simple, pairing the Basic Gray with Soft Sky, so the sentiment is the star. I love how it turned out!

Recipe: Stamps - Ship & smoke by Technique Tuesday, sentiment by River City Rubber Works; Paper - Soft Sky, Soft Sky DS paper, Whisper White, Basic Gray; Inl - Basic Black, Soft Sky; Other - blender pen, Soft Sky double-stitched ribbon, Barely Banana and Going Gray markers.

For this one, I matched the saying up with this lady that I just love. She is fun to put with funny sentiments, and I thought this one was perfect for her!

I always try to give her a patterned dress, so I stamp her on patterned paper and cut out the dress part - it comes out in two pieces; then I just stick it on the main image. I really wanted to use a different piece of this Charbon DS paper, but the pattern was too busy and I could not see the lines of the image to cut it out! So I settled on these dots. Love it!

Recipe: Stamps - lady by Art Impressions, sentiment by River City Rubber Works; Paper - Sage Shadow, Going Gray, Very Vanilla, Charbon DS paper; Ink - Basic Black, Blush Blossom, Sage Shadow; Real Red and Basic Black markers, Vintage Brads, Dimensionals.

And then there's Wanda. This is one of those sets I had to keep after it retired, and I am glad I did. Like the lady above, this image of Wanda in her comfy chair will hold up to almost any sentiment. So fun!

I got carried away with the layering, as I kept thinking it needed "a little something". I finally stopped when I added the much-under-appreciated Bravo Burgundy layer.

AND, this one qualifies for the UFO challenge on SCS, where UFO = UnFinished Objects. Okay, maybe not, but then it does qualify as a Stash Dive entry. The card base of Sage Shadow has an image of the Floral Background stamp on it. I did a stack of these earlier this year, then changed my mind, so being 1/2 sheet of card stock they went back into the Sage Shadow supply. I just re-discovered them this morning when looking for Sage Shadow for this and the previous card, so I USED them! At last!

Recipe: Stamps - Wanda's Wit & Wisdom, sentiment by River City Rubber Works; Paper - Sage Shadow, Bravo Burgundy, Very Vanilla, Basic Gray; Ink - Basic Gray, Sage Shadow, Bravo Burgundy; Other - Basic Gray taffeta ribbon, blender pen, markers.

Almost forgot one! Here we have the lady with the curlers and the attitude. I love how I can have her say anything I want! ;-) So she got matched up with the Fat People sentiment.

Like the other lady, I stamped her twice, once on the Vanilla and once on the DS paper, then cut out her dress and stuck it on the other image. You can make her as frumpy as you'd like! In other projects, she has had pink slippers...too bad they are not bunny slippers!

Recipe: Stamps - Lady by Eat Cake Graphics, sentiment by River City Rubber Works; Paper - River Rock, Really Rust, Very Vanilla, Apple Cider DS paper; Ink - Basic Black; Other - River Rock double-stitched ribbon, misc ribbon, blender pen, markers, HPH, dimensionals.

That's it for to do something domestic. Scary, non?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Little Rework

One of my scheduled tasks for this long weekend was to rework some of the ornaments I made last year. The reason for the rework is because even though people who came into my booth at my craft shows said the ornaments were beautiful, no one bought them. (Well, okay, I sold 4 out of 24...not a rush in my world.)

In an earlier post, I referred to a conversation I had with a customer at my November Craft Bazaar who suggested they were pretty from the top, but not from the side, and hanging on a tree, people would look at them from the side. I had never thought about that, not having a tree myself, so ... the rework.

This is a very bad, fuzzy shot from the side of one of the original ornaments. It has a layered topper of three Outlines stamps, a moss-colored gold-edged ribbon on the outside, and some glitter snow for something on the inside.

This is the top of the original ornament. Each image was stamped on vellum or specialty paper, gold-embossed, then cut out. I cut out a hole in the center of each to fit over the top of the ornament. I made 24 of them (that's 72 stamped, embossed, cut images... do I sound bitter?), and I thought they came out great. Until they did not sell. ;-(

So ANYway, I decided to take off the topper and put an acetate snowman inside, taking full advantage of the existing snow to cover the bottom of the image.

This is another fuzzy shot showing the snowman version of the ornament. I stamped him on acetate (really overlays from an office supply store) with Staz-On, then colored them on the backs with Sharpies. I applied 2-way glue to the body and put glitter on him.

Once he was rolled up and stuck into the ornament, he sat nicely in the snow. I added the red ribbon and he was done!

I reworked about 10 or 11 of these guys. I did leave 6 or so of the original ornaments in my collection - who knows, maybe someone will buy them next week!

Oh, and this counts as a Stash Dive creation since I had to blow the dust off the snowman image (by All Night Media) to use him. ;-)

So what did I do with all those toppers? Never fear - they became cards! Last year I actually had one set of images left after I'd made the ornaments, so I made one card with them. I just used a photo of it (I photograph everything I make ...) as a guide for making these today.

Note: If you are going to use Versamark for both embossing and stamping a background, you should stamp and emboss the one image first, THEN stamp the images for a background. I messed up the first card and had gold EP stuck to everything. It was a mess.

Recipe: Stamps - Outlines, Peaceful Wishes (SU); Card Stock - Mellow Moss, Shimmer Gold, green paper, red vellum, white vellum; Ink - Versamark; Other - gold EP, misc button, 3/4 inch circle punch, gold cord (retired), dimensionals.

That's all for now. Tomorrow is another day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's a Frenzy!

Yes, it has been a creative frenzy here these past few days! I think I was productive because I had that lovely 2-day weekend. I do not think I even got out of my jammies on Sunday!

There was some MAJOR stash-diving going on here! I got all of these stamps last year, and am just now using them in earnest. I have had all these ideas in my head for about a year now, so it was wonderful to put them to paper! Once I started, I was on a roll!

This card is all one stamp...can you see why I just had to have it??!?! I tried embossing it in black, but I could not get a good, clean embossed image, and I really tried!

Second shot was Staz-on, and while it was not as much of a pop, it stamped very nicely. I used a blender pen with Bashful Blue to color the window panes to look like the sky. It was a very fuzzy-ended pen, which worked out very well, indeed! I like the mottled look - it seems more like a real sky than if it had come out nice and even.

I used a red glitter gel pen to color their bows, and that piece of ribbon is from my Really Reasonable Ribbon shipment.

Recipe: Stamps - Rubber Cottage; Card Stock - Sahara Sand, Real Red, Whisper White; Ink - Staz-on black, Sahara Sand, Bashful Blue; Other - Red glitter gel pen, SU two-hole punch, SU ticket corner punch, ribbon from ReallyReasonableRibbon.

Now this guy I have also had for a year, so this counts as a stash-dive card, too! I got the sentiment at the same time I got the moose, and they were just asking to be used together!

The card has many layers so it is a bit hefty. The moose and sentiment were actually stamped on separate pieces of card stock, because, well, it increased the chances of getting them straight, and heaven knows I can use all the help I can get in that area! ;-) The ribbon covers up the seam quite conveniently.

As an added touch, I put the retired SU brown Flock on his antlers. They are fuzzy!!!! And I got a bag of those tiny candy canes last year, too, so I USED them! This card was a lot of fun to make, and I am glad it made its way from my brain to card stock!

Recipe: Stamps - Moose by AAA Rubberstamps, Sentiment by Whipper Snapper Designs; Card Stock - Very Vanilla, Mellow Moss, Real Red, Dashing DS paper; Ink - Basic Gray; Other - Red glitter gel pen (hat band), Real Red marker, 2-Way glue pen, Brown Flock, 5/8 inch Olive gg ribbon, Natural hemp, Ticket corner punch, Candy cane.

Next up is my Folding Frenzy. I made about 4 of these origami cards last year, and people loved them. Soooo, when I walked by my stash of Parent Sheet papers (Parent Sheet = BIG) I got at the Paper Source, I thought I'd USE them to make some more of these cards.

This first one uses SU Dashing DS paper, and I have to tell you, it is FAT! I finally figured out why - the DS papers are thicker than regular scrapbook paper, so it is a little (okay, a lot) on the hefty side.

I added the ovals and sentiment (Paper Inspirations) then decided I did not like it, so the rest of the cards did not get sentiments.

Also, in this version I cut the card stock in the usual 1/4 inch increments, so it fits on the card, but there was a big empty at the top. That's when I broke out my Cat's Pajamas Holly stamp and added that to fill in some of the space. I like how it came out!

These next three cards are variations on the same theme. They use different pretty papers, and I paired them with card stock colors that coordinated with the papers, which made them non-traditional holiday colors.

For this one I broke out Pale Plum and the retired SU Carribean Blue, then decided it really called for a black accent.

I really love the texture and feel of this green paper! It almost feels like fabric, but it is not fabric paper - I have some of that, and this isn't it. But there was much enjoyment with the folding process for these! ;-)

I paired this paper with Elegant Eggplant and Sahara Sand card stock.

Last up is this very pretty, soft paper, and I think it is my favorite of all of them. I paired it with Garden Green and Rose Red.

All of these have a gold 'star' brad at the top of the tree. This was another Stash Dive, as I have had them forever! Well, at least a year or so.

So all in all, I think I did pretty well putting a dent in the ole Stash! Papers, brads, stamps, flock ... not too shabby! The other thing I liked about this exercise is it forced me back to using SU's 48 colors, many of which I have been seriously neglecting since our In Color colors hit the market. It was nice to visit old friends. ;-)

Next up - more Stash Diving with my re-worked ornaments. I dug out the perfect snow man stamp from the Stash, and he looks great in the mock-up I did. I'll work on these this weekend and post one of them.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Busy, Busy Day

Today was the first Saturday I have had to spend all to myself since ... oh ... May? I love doing the weekly Farmers Markets, but after October, I kinda lose my desire to sit outside in the wind and the cold (it finally did get cold here) for 6 hours and not sell anything, so I cancelled today's appearance and did some much-needed catching up with life.

Silly me, I posted my SU stamps for sale on SCS last week in addition to here (see the link to the right - hint, hint) thinking they would probably get lost in the masso list of other people's lists of stuff for sale, but I have been flooded with responses. Yay! I am selling these babies as fast as I can answer the emails. I am VERY happy with the results. So this morning I hit the Post Office with 4 envelopes to get postage pricing, then I responded to the emails so people could get their payment to me.

Then I went to [shudder] The Store to look for new jeans and slacks for work. No one told me stamping would be FATTENING! This sedentary hobby is deadly in combination with the sedentary Day Job. So having outgrown my blue jeans, I first decided to just wear my chinos instead - not gonna buy new, she said. Nuh-uh. Well, it became tough to keep up with the laundry and getting to work and having anything to wear with only three pair of pants that FIT! So I caved and went shopping today. Did I ever tell you that I am allergic to shopping malls, and I think shopping in general?

So the local stores only fit those skinny minnies. Even their larger sizes are slim-cut...what's up with that?!?!? But I grabbed a few pairs of chinos in hopes they will fit and escaped the nasty place. Then I was off to the Outlets about an hour away, where they have Eddie Bauer, Liz Claiborne, etc. Liz saved me (found some jeans) and I came home. Not bad for a Saturday morning.

Then it was time to start stamping. First, I decided I should include a Thank You card in the bubble envelopes I am using to mail out all these stamp sets, so I whipped up the following card.

I re-discovered this stamp set when I was rummaging through my stamp storage drawers in search of retired sets to move to the Out Box (for sale). I had already done Phase One of The Purge last summer, but I decided if I have not looked at a set since July, I really do not need it, so out they went. It was quite liberating! And all the income should help me be in the black for Uncle Sam this year. A bonus!

Anyway, I ran across Artfully Asian, and I remembered I bought it because I LOVED it, and I still do. It is one of those sets where it is tough to mess up - cards just work with it. I am very pleased with how it turned out.

Recipe: Stamps - Arfully Asian; Card Stock - River Rock, Purely Pomegranate, Very Vanilla; Ink - Purely Pomegranate, River Rock, Wild Wasabi; Other - Purely Pomegranate double-stitched ribbon, Ticket Corner punch.

Then the mail arrived, and what a bounty it was! I got my latest order of irreverant sayings from River City Rubber Works, and also my first pack of ribbons from my latest cave-in - the monthly Ribbon Club at ReallyReasonableRibbon.

I have two weaknesses besides stamps - paper and ribbon. With Recollections closing, I should be saved in the paper category. Kidding! I am sad Recollections is closing, but I know I am weak when I go there...I'll just have to find a new paper source to haunt.

Now for ribbons - I succumb very easily to the Mike's enablement threads on SCS and I have the collection of ribbons, mostly unused, to show for it. I DO NOT need more ribbon. So why join a Ribbon Club? So I get a small selection of ribbon, delivered to my door every month, I am not going out looking for it, I am not tempted by "other things" I pass by, and I still get my fix. See, I think it might work!

So here is what I got today - a silver & light blue collection. VERY cool! Not things I would have picked out, but definitely things I could use. They will serve as inspiration for me.

Last week's cave-in purchase was from The Cat's Pajamas, and I still had not touched the stamps yet. Well, I touched them, but just to put them away. Very sad.

Given that I have a Holiday Show on Dec 1st, I thought it was time to work on some holiday cards. I love this pooch with the menorah on his nose, and since most of my Hanukkah cards are blue, I incorporated some of my new ribbon in the design. I am not jumping-up-and-down crazy about it, but I like it all the same.

Recipe: Stamps - pooch by Cat's Pajamas, sentiment by SU; Card Stock - Going Grey, Night of Navy, Whisper White; Ink - Night of Navy craft, Black, Close to Cocoa and Going Grey markers, Bordering Blue (sponging); Other - ribbon, sponge dauber, gold gel pen, double-hole punch, Marvy oval and scalloped oval punches, clear EP.

Tomorrow I have plans to make more holiday cards and to re-do my ornaments from toppers to ones with an acetate image inside. We'll see how far I get.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Quote Du Jour

When I first got hooked on stamping, I referred to my Demo as my "supplier"; "pusher" worked, too.

Now that I am in that same position, I get it back. Twice this week I have been accused of being a pusher, or selling crack cocaine.

One of my customers just sent me the funniest email, and it summed it up completely: Craft Crack.

LOL! Made my day!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Begging for new homes

I have just updated my list of SU stamps and punches for sale. See the "Stampin' Up! Stamps in need of a new home" link on the right side of my blog, just under the Legal Stuff. Please take pity on these poor stamp sets...they need to be loved again.

A friend and I are working on putting together a Flea Market for early next year, but I have to step over all the boxes and bags until then. Please - have mercy and buy some of my stuff!

Ahem ... done begging now .... ;-) Off to do some stampin'!

Monday, November 12, 2007

A little catching up ...

What a whirlwind ten days it's been! The Holiday Stamp Camp actually happened, my first one of two Craft Shows is behind me, as are my November workshops. Time to breathe!

Lessons learned this time around: (1) Do not stuff more than 8 people into the condo at one sitting; (2) Do not plan a Holiday Stamp Camp for the weekend before the weekend that has you doing both a Craft Show AND a series of workshops/classes; and (3) Start making your Holiday cards for your Craft Shows before November.

First, the Holiday Stamp Camp. Most of the projects went well, and people were impressed with their new-found skills. I, of course, over-estimated what we could accomplish in 3 hours, so we only got to 7 of my planned 11 projects. I did make sure to include the one project that incorporated Chocolate, as I felt there was a not-so-subtle undercurrent of anticipation that might have exploded into a full-out riot if I had chosen to skip that particular project. "So, is THIS the project with chocolate?!" I instructed them to take ten - TEN - pieces of chocolate to fit into the tin they were altering. Amazing how many people "miscounted" and had to consume the extras. Then I discovered a bag of Dark Chocolate pieces in my stash and it had to be passed around so that pieces of dark chocolate could to be "exchanged" for the plain pieces previously selected. Then I lost all control of the situation. But The Ladies were grinning and giggling, and a chocolately-good time was had by all. ;-)

I do have to add that the not-so-successful projects were even well-received, and everyone was a pretty good sport about it. I thought maybe it was because they got copies of the instructions to take home with them, but then I re-thought it and I really think it was the chocolate.

Now for the over-booking part. I honestly thought I could pull off the Holiday Stamp Camp on a Sunday, work a full week, set up for the Holiday Bazaar on Friday night, attend the Holiday Bazaar all day Saturday, come home Saturday evening and prep for the Sunday workshops, and still be able to stay vertical. I must have been smoking something.

I can be slow, but I do eventually get it. SCS has a Christmas card plan that has you making 10 cards a month for 10 months. Silly, you say, to make Holiday cards in January - NOT SO, she said, as she tried to figure out how she could make some new cards and still get any sleep before she had to go to work .... I have all these great ideas, but no TIME. Sigh ... pesky Day Job.

But I do learn while I whine. At Saturday's Holiday Bazaar, while I was busy not selling much (the show was not particularly well-attended this year), people kept telling me how lovely my ornaments were, but they did not buy any. Finally, while chatting with one woman about them, I asked her if they were so lovely, then why weren't they selling? She said she thought they were pretty if you looked at them from above, which most people do not do once they are on the tree and above the eye-level of a small child. Made perfect sense to me after she put it that way. Sometimes it takes another point of view for you to see clearly. So I am now on a mission to re-work these puppies before my next and final show of this season on December 1st.

I'll post the Before and After versions of the ornaments later this week. Right now it sounds like work. ;-)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Day in the Life

Just when I thought I was all caught up and ready for my Stamp Camp tomorrow, I realized I had not made copies of all the instructions yet! Aaaack! So my little printer is humming away making copies, and I hope to be done before midnight.

But the tables are set with Grid Paper and it looks like everyone will fit. This is a good thing because I was very worried there for a bit. (Hey, that rhymes!) Fortunately true stampers & crafters can deal with a little adversity if it means they can play, and boy will we play tomorrow! I am really looking forward to the event!

I did go to the Farmers Market today, even though "Blustery" was today's weather prediction. If you stood in the sun it was fine, but by 1:00 pm my cards were blowing around and I got tired of retrieving them, so I left as little early. I was really glad I'd brought my Christmas stuff, as that is almost all I sold. And I also realized I am almost out of Christmas cards. Uh-oh, guess I know what I'll be doing this week, since I have a Christmas show on Saturday! And I just got some new Cat's Pajamas stamps, so I'll try and use them this week.

When I got back from the Market I finished up some Reindeer Food I'd started last week.

This is really easy to make, it is just time-consuming. The mix is oatmeal and sparkly sugar (Wilton brand). Don't use glitter because it could hurt the birds (or Reindeer) that feed on it. You are supposed to sprinkle it on the snow for the Reindeer to eat while Santa is having his milk and cookies. Cute idea, so I thought I'd make a few for this year's shows.

Note: I had to double-bag them. I dunno, I guess I got some sharp-edged oats or something, because one of the bags was leaking, and heaven knows I do not want that stuff leaking anywhere in here! Double-bagging will protect my space and also the customer's shopping bag and space.

This one actually qualifies as a Stash Diving project since I used up the remainder of a partial roll of ribbon from last year. It came in three colors on one roll, and I only used the green, so this year I used up the red and the gold. Yay!

The Reindeer is from the SU Festive Favorites set. I used a blender pen with Creamy Caramel to color him, and I used a glitter pen on his nose and antlers. He's layered on Pomegranate card stock and attached with a misc eyelet, also from the stash.

I also tried something else new! At my August Open House, one of my Make & Takes was the globe that I have seen posted all over SCS. One of my customers loved it so much she has one in her cube at work, and she also made a pumpkin for her apartment door. She said she moved the strips of paper around so the back was open so it lays flat against her door. Great idea! She decorated it and said it looks very cool! We were talking, and she thought the same technique could be used to make ... a snowman! Three globes, different sizes, so guess what I did tonight when I should have been cleaning the bathroom?

Yep! Isn't he cute? Well, this one is not cute, but I can definitely see if I actually spent some quality time with him he could be cute.

The 12 strips of 1 x 6 work just fine for the bottom. I used 4" strips for the middle and 2" strips for the top. All out of one piece of textured card stock.

Please note: You need to use fewer strips of paper as the balls get smaller. Or make the globes less round...or something. There are too many pieces here and they will not all fan out nicely. The top one has 8 pieces, and it is still too much. I need to play with it to figure that one out. Some day.

And if I had the time, wouldn't he look adorable with a real knitted scarf? Or crocheted? Something his size would take mere minutes to do, too! That one goes on my "some day" list, too.

That's it for this evening. I need to finish copying all this stuff, then get some shut-eye. Maybe I'll clean the bathroom tonight instead of waiting for the morning so I can sleep in. Printer is still copying anyway ....

Friday, November 2, 2007

A little flattery came my way ...

Someone asked me today if they could include a link in their newsletter to one of the cards in my SCS gallery. How cool is that?!?!?! It really made my day!

So tonight I am doing the Happy Dance while I desperately try to get my act together for the Farmers Market tomorrow and my Holiday Stamp Camp on Sunday. I'm taking my Holiday cards and ornaments to the Market to see if people are ready to get in the spirit yet. It is supposed to be blustery here tomorrow, so I may have to lay down on the tree I use to hang my ornaments to keep the whole thing from flying away! Now THAT's a photo op for you! Perhaps some strategically-placed bungee cords would be better. ;-)