Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Before Beary Christmas Retires

In a few days, the Holiday catalog will go away and the Seasonal Expressions will come to life, as happens every year. It will be time to move on from all the Christmas stamps for a little while.

But first, let's take one more look at the Beary Christmas Cardmaking stamp and die set without the lens of Christmas and see how it can still be used going forward. 

The twig wreath and the tree jump out at me for their potential uses for non-Christmas projects. I did a little test stamping of the twig wreath image, repeatedly stamping it on top of itself several times, with only a slight twist of the post-it between inkings. Surprise! I'm liking the result! 

Here's the card using the wreath, stamped multiple times. 

I used a 2.50" circle punch to cut it out and popped it up using a slightly smaller fun foam circle. 

Beary Christmas Cardmaking is here if you want to pick it up before it goes away!

Before you put away those Christmas stamps take another glance at them and see if they can work in some non-Christmas projects. 

Until next time, happy stamping in the new year!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Retired Stamp Love

Stamping has been a part of my life for more than twenty years. (Do I say this too often?) While I understand the need for our favorite stamp companies to retire stamps and move on to new, it's always difficult for me to move on, leaving the sets I've come to enjoy creatively or sometimes even parting with them in order to keep my stash manageable. New designs are fun, of course, but saying goodbye is not so much. 

So with this in mind, I'm going to do something here that I have never seen another consultant do--I'm going to do a regular feature called *Retired Stamp Love* where I go back and create with sets that are retired but still loved. Why? For the sheer love of stamping. :)  Sometimes I'll pair up retired sets with things that are currently available. Usually retired sets can still be acquired on eBay, or through the many Facebook groups that exist for buying and selling second hand craft items. 

Today, in Retired Stamp Love, I'm playing with the stamps from the Sugar Rush Cardmaking suite. Can't go wrong with cute donut stamps, right?

This is the Sugar Rush Cardmaking stamp set from back in 2016.

The Stamp images that are outlined in blue are the ones that have coordinateing dies. As you can see there are several wonderful, universal sentiment images in this set--that "Happy Birthday" is a great size for making paper ribbon. More on that in a moment. 

I paired the Sugar Rush suite from last year with the Silver and Gold suite that retires in a few days for these two cards. 

--The two lighter brown donuts are created using second-generation stamped images. This is a good technique to use when you need a lighter color of ink that you don't have. (This happens to me often.) To achieve this look, simply ink up your stamp, stamp the image on cardstock, then immediately without re-inking, stamp it again. The second image will be much lighter than the first. 

Frosted donuts can be made in many color combinations. For the above card, I skipped the stamping steps and just used the dies with cardstock. I did use the sprinkles stamp to jazz it up a bit. 

I happen to think the sentiment in this set that says "Happy Birthday with sprinkles on top!" is just perfection. I really like the font that Happy Birthday is written in. It's perfectly sized for carding and can be added to any card design. 

For convenience, I performed a bit of stamp surgery on this image and separated the Happy Birthday from the rest of the sentiment. They can be now be used together as shown above or individually as shown below.

I wanted to make it easy to incorporate this Happy Birthday sentiment into some future projects, so I took just a few minutes and stamped out some paper "ribbon" strips using the Happy Birthday repetitively. Each paper ribbon is about 1/2" wide and 11" long. When I use these sentiment strips, I will add a matching colored gem or sequin in between each phrase. 

So there you have it.
Retired Stamp Love.

Until next time,

Thursday, December 21, 2017

No Room for the Story?

Stories are super important to me and in my world, it's the point of scrapbooking. The story matters! Without the story...well it's just not right. However, as people who love page design, sometimes great blocks of written journaling present a dilemma--what's a more appropriate use of real estate--the journaling or the pretty things?


So once in a while, I give in to the designer side of my crafty soul and stick the journaling  in a less obvious place--today it's *inside a flap*. 

Yes, that title is stamped on vellum. 

This reminds me...this is another installment in my "If you can make a card, you can make a scrapbook page!" series. Look again. That flap hiding the journaling is basically a card. 

Also note that I've used a few little products from Close to my Heart. On the lower left corner of my layout above, you'll see the word December stamped on the label. 

The word December comes from the Stamp Set of the Month set from November. Obviously, it's no longer the Stamp Set of the Month, but it's still available if you need it. It's called "Through the Year" and as you can see, it's a full set of all the months. I can see it being so very useful. 

The papers for the page come from the Silver and Gold suite of products (shown partially below). While there are some holiday-specific embellishments and papers included, there are also some items that could be used effectively at any time and with any theme. (These are always my personal favorites because I'm not a rule follower.) This Silver and Gold kit goes away on December 30, so if you like it, you know what to do. 

I also used a good bit of vellum on this page. Vellum is so dependable. It is always a good way to give your pages points of contrast. It is so easy to use! There are several things I particularly love about vellum. 1) It's easy to run through the printer. 2) It tears beautifully. 3) It tones down busy or bold patterns. 4) It's an easy way to direct the viewer to look at a specific part of a page. 5) You can stamp on it! 

A pack of vellum contains three 12x12 sheets and costs $5.95. 

A gorgeous new catalog will debut on January 1, 2018.   That's just a few days away. Stay tuned for some art made with kits from the new catalog --coming on Tuesday!  If you would like one of the new catalogs, email me. 

Thank you for making it all the way to the end of this slightly longer blog post. If you would like to be entered into a random-drawing for a mini-selection of papers and embellishments from the Silver and Gold suite of products, as a token of my appreciation (from me to you), please leave a comment and answer this question: what will be the title or theme of the first scrapbook page you will create in 2018? Entries accepted until 11:50pm CST December 30, 2017. 

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

12 Days of Handmade Christmas Cards--Day 5 and 6

Because I can't seem to remember to post them here after I share them on Instagram every day, I'm going to do two days at once to catch up. 

Day 5

Taking a little turn into the land of baby blue Christmas cards...I am always drawn to the calmness of pale blues. No fluff, no fussiness. This is one sentiment from the First Noel stamp set.

White glitter paper adds texture and a bit of sparkle without overpowering the project. 

Day 6

This card was heavily inspired by a card made by a fellow CtmH consultant that I follow on Instagram. Here's her creation:

Until tomorrow,

A Little Scrapbook Advice

I've heard versions of this statement so many times: I would love to have scrapbooks for my children but it's such a monumental job--I have thousands of pictures--I'll never catch up. There's no way. I don't even know where to start. 

I get it. 

Let's take a moment an examine the problems here. 

If you look at scrapbooking as something you must do to preserve every photo, you will absolutely be perpetually "behind" and completely overwhelmed. Currently, there are 3500 photos just on my phone from this year. That's far too much scrapbooking to ever even think about. (More on this topic later.)

Task #1
Stop telling yourself that you must Scrapbook every photo. We all know that's not a realistic plan anyway. Relieve the pressure. Instead ask yourself these questions:
What photos/events/memories do I want to preserve?
If I could only scrapbook one page per year, what photos would I make sure were included on it?
What details/thoughts/memories are most important to *me*?
What information/details from my own early life do I wish had been preserved for me? 

Use the answers to these questions to help you select what's really important to you to include in a scrapbook.

Based on these questions, my personal scrapbooking philosophy has evolved over the years to this: 

I try to scrapbook two kinds of pictures--those pictures that help recall a memory or a thought that my sons might not be likely to remember on their own and those pictures that are poignantly representative of our life. To me, these two kinds of pictures are the most important and are most worthy of the space in my scrapbooks. When I have covered these two areas well, I will feel like I have arrived as a memory keeper. No pressure needed. 

Task #2
Write down the details now so you can Scrapbook factually whenever you choose to do so. Maybe this means using a photo safe pen to write the date on the back of the printed photos as you print them. Or perhaps it means bullet journaling in an email to yourself to be read again later when you are ready to Scrapbook. Whatever way you choose, lay down the facts in a place that is accessible because you will forget things. We all do. 

Task #3
Change your thought process about the looming insurmountable pile of photos that are languishing in your phone and your closet and your "ready to be scrapbooked" file. Stop saying "I'm so behind, I'll never catch up." Just stop. This is not helping you. In fact, it may be exactly what is paralyzing you. 

Instead be grateful that you have the opportunity to preserve so many details and photos. As the saying goes, you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time. Likewise, you can only tame that big pile of photos, one (or maybe two) pages at a time. 

Spend a little bit of time on the task of arranging maybe ten pages worth of photos so they are easy to access and ready to be scrapbooked. If it's appealing, give yourself a directive such as "I'm going to reach for a few of these older photos and scrapbook them after I finish the current page I'm working on." 

You can only tackle the big pile one page at the time. However, every page is progress. Don't forget that. Every memory captured, every moment and thought you have written down is important. 

Which brings us to...
Task #4

Enjoy what you have already accomplished! Whether you have just completed your first scrapbook page or you have volumes  of work achieved, spend a little time enjoying your body of work. Don't criticize or edit. Just see the achievement. Let your work inspire you to move forward. 

I think if you alter your perspective just a tad and think of the potential of that big pile of photos, rather than just a monumental heap, you will feel less overwhelmed by it and more inspired to take it on one page at a time. 

Take it as a great compliment that you have lived a full life--you have much to show for it. That's an awesome gift! 

And finally, remember that you don't owe anyone a scrapbook. Enjoy your hobby. Whatever you manage to do in terms of memory preservation will just have to be enough. Down the line, no one is going to say "It's not a complete scrapbook so just throw it away." 

Seek not to do it all, seek to do what you can, really well.

Until next time,

Friday, December 15, 2017

12 Days of Handmade Christmas Cards--Day 4

12 Days of Handmade Christmas Cards
Day 4
Continuing with the glitter paper theme, it's a crisp clean Christmas card with lots of sparkle and a merriment. 

The tree die is from the Beary Christmas--Cardmaking Set. 

Just on a whim, I thought you might get a kick out of this card throwback to 2009. This was the Christmas card I sent to family and friends that year. 😀

Until tomorrow.

CTMH Technique Blog Hop - Glitter is Glamorous

Merry Christmas, stamping friend! Welcome to the CTMH Technique Blog Hop for December featuring all things glitter! 

I know you enjoyed your stop at Belinda McLane's blog which then brought you here. 

My glittery project is a Christmas scrapbook page using three different sets of dies--the Silver and Gold Cardmaking set, the bow Die, and of course, the Block Alphabet--all cut from the red glitter paper. Surely the holidays and glittery paper are a match made in glitter heaven! 

My quick tip for this project is this--if you are not someone who prints your photos at home (like me), you can use a piece of scratch paper cut to the size that your photo will be to stand in, while you are working on your page. See that green piece of paper? That's the stand in for my photo on this layout. I just use a tiny bit of adhesive to secure it in place while I'm working. Then when I have the photo, it's easy to pop out the temporary paper and permanently attach the actual photo.

Above shows the work in progress, with the photo popped in. I used a 6x8 photo on this page--I'm loving this size right now. 

Here's the finished page. The patterned papers and the journaling card are all from the Beary Christmas Workshop kit. 

Close to my Heart offers glitter paper in red, black, silver, gold, white and Bashful pink. It's a sturdy weight but still easy to die cut.

You will notice that I added the loopy bow to each ornament. I simply trimmed the legs off the bow die cut and glued the simple bow to each ornament. 

Glitter paper is so festive--I hope you will give it a try soon on a scrapbook page! 

Your next stop on the hop is Cat Nowak's blog

Thanks for hopping with us today! Please feel free to leave a comment so I know you stopped by, telling me your favorite way to use glitter in your papercrafting. 

Until next time,

Thursday, December 14, 2017

12 Days of Handmade Christmas Cards--Day 3

Day 3 finds us assembling a crisp and clean card using traditional colors of glitter paper and a grouping of three ornaments, each with a loopy bow. 

This die set is made to accompany the Silver and Gold suite of a few days we will make use of the ball-shaped ornaments too. 

Until tomorrow,

12 Days of Handmade Christmas Cards--Day Two

Day Two 

A good bow can make everything more grand, I say! And an excellent sentiment stamp. 

Don't you agree? 

Monday, December 11, 2017

12 Days of Handmade Cards

It's Christmas time! I love Christmas and I must admit on of the reasons I am a card maker is for the joy of making Christmas cards! 

So let's do this!
12 Days of Handmade Christmas Cards--Day 1.

This top-folding card uses an awesome technique--paper tearing! It's so simple and when done with white-core cardstock, you get that cool white edge. I did a little free tearing on the leaves but punched the holly berries with a circle punch because it's a little more challenging to tear glitter paper. 

I'm warning you--there will be a stocking-full of glitter paper in this series as I am all wrapped up in the sparkliness this Christmas! 

If you happen to use Instagram, I am sharing this series there using the hashtag #12daysofhandmadechristmascards  If you are a card maker, feel free to use it as well. 

Until tomorrow, go and be glittery!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Crafting Christmas Cards

Some say Christmas cards have gone the way of the rotary phone and the turntable (just send an email or a Facebook post, they say) but I do still love to make and send them, so here we are. 

There's something magical about receiving a physical hand-crafted card in the mail box. Some things are just worth the effort to hold on to, don't you think? I do.

So here are a few of the Christmas cards I've crafted this year.

I hope you get to craft some Christmas things too!