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Saturday, February 22, 2014

I've been such a slacker!!! Time to pull it all together and tell you about Stamp-n-Storage!!

I want to start by saying that I've been purchasing SNS products since August 2013, and have documented the before and after shots each month on Splitcoaststampers.com. I mean to move it to my blog but I believe that you, dear reader, know that I'm constantly a day late and a dollar short-as the old adage goes-so you can't be TOO surprised I've taken this long. Back in December, I won a 50 dollar rebate in their monthly drawing. I wanted to let you know this for disclosure's sake AND that I have not been paid or prompted to endorse for this company. I'm doing this because I'm proud of my craft room and this company is incredibly special; I really want you to take a closer look at them and put them at the top of your list when it comes time to purchase storage.

Here's some before shots of the nightmare that was my craft room and the crappy storage I tried to make use of BEFORE SNS.







I said that I bet I had Ebola hiding in here somewhere. And tetanus. And a couple of those water bugs. I hate bugs beyond comprehension.

I'd rather have Ebola.

Anyway, I saw SNS in an ad on Splitcoast and it appealed to my OCD nature. Yes. I'm clinically OCD. Not the good kind, where my house is always clean, but the one that makes me rip cards up because something is askew enough to trigger it. I have mini panic attacks when it comes to mounting or stamping...I'm never without my Stamp-a-ma-jig or my dental floss for immediately peeling a paper layer up because of the whole askew thing I mentioned.

So, I ordered my first two pieces from SNS. An ink holder for my Tim Holtz and one for my flat punches.


That's all it took. Here's how it grew over the next 4 months.

(At this time, I set up 2 six-foot tables to my right and moved everything over. It was too crowded to work, even with the organization. Besides, y'all DANG well know I wasn't through!)



I took this in mid-Dec. By this time, I was starting to refine my choices. I knew I needed a ribbon holder for all the craziness to the left. I had also outgrown my Stampin Up ink holder and knew I would not only need one more, but would need to accommodate my growing reinker collection. There was only one problem. SNS only offered this:






My OCD peeps will know IMMEDIATELY why this ink pad combo holder wasn't an option for me. Remember I mentioned needing storage for my ink refills? I didn't say anything about pens. I don't use SU! pens. So here's a quick lesson in OCD...if I ordered this thing, I would go nuts until I could fill all the marker holes with the corresponding markers. It didn't matter if I never used them in my life. Filling them with markers I used wasn't an option because it wouldn't match the ink. Those without OCD are sneering at me right now. That's ok. You can kiss my...OK JESUS....IM TRYING HERE...sigh. It was easier before He and I started talking again. Ok, ok...easier before He talked and I listened.

I call Brett Haugen-he and his lovely wife own the company-and explained my dilemma. He said "No problem. I'll just custom make you one with just the refill holder."

"Great," I said. "How much extra will it be?"

Pause here...yes...I know that the custom job seems less work without having to drill marker holes but I also know that I know NOTHING about woodworking/business/much of anything and the bottom line is that it IS a custom job!. I'm a Capitalist, people. If I order a custom piece, I know there's going to be a premium. I don't have a problem with this. Except that I WAS a little taken aback when he said:

"Nothing extra. I'll get right on it."

WTF???

But far be it from me to argue!!!

As I write this, my craft room is 2 pieces short of being finished. While it's addictive, I have to put the brakes on it eventually because I'll run out of room for storage. That's a conundrum I don't want to play at.  Here's what I have now:







The last two pieces I'm ordering are another large die tote with magnetic sheets and another whale-tail punch holder.

I won the contest after this order, so I have my 50 bucks to play with. That'll help with this order. However, I've got a FEW more things to do and I want to share a few mistakes I made with this room in hopes you won't make the same mistakes. Pay attention:

1-I should've gone with my gut and not talked myself out of ordering the ink pad/refill holder the first time. Now, I'm going to have to order another down the road. Why? Because I love SU! ink and I have to have the refills. I filled up the first 60 pad holder a couple of weeks after receiving it but am now transferring a lot of the ink to the new one because I have the refill. Soon, I'll run out of space on the new and be stuck with an empty pad holder, which I can still use but I'll have to put the reinkers in a drawer and I'm back to square one. That being said, the good news is that this holder, while it fits SU! ink perfectly, there's a way to customize it in minutes to fit almost ANY ink pad from ANYWHERE. Here, you can check if yours fit.  Go here if yours will fit...it explains how to make them.

2-Ditto with the Tim Holtz. I use the distress markers a great deal and need the combo holder over what I have. Same thing with the marker holder. Got the basic, need the bigger one that allows me to separate into color groups.

3-If you're a serious crafter, order the units so that they connect to the wall. My husband didn't want me to do that because he didn't want to have to drill holes in the wall that he'd have to fix and repaint over the years. Now, he regrets it because I can't grow my storage UP. Take that into consideration. Again...go with your gut. The money I thought I was saving ended up costing me more to get what my gut said to go with in the first place!!!!

Lastly, I want to share this with you. For many years, I was a self-proclaimed atheist. I gave up on God. Not that it mattered to Him, because He never gave up on me. I'm a work in progress. My humor is still ribald and my language deplorable but I'm trying. Always trying. :)

I made the decision several years ago to, no matter how short money got, never buy products from China or any other country but my own. While it's impossible to do 100% of the time, it's becoming easier. I also decided I would support companies who shared my beliefs. Hobby Lobby is a big one. I go there first. Always. Brett Haugen and Stamp-N-Storage is another. In every package, you receive a CD that shares the love of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the Gospel. Brett states that he is humbled that you have chosen to spend your money on his products and that the focus is well-made products, good prices, emphasis on customer service but that the main purpose of the business is the opportunity to share the Gospel. I like that.

Lastly, before you think you'd be 'wasting money' on storage and could be buying stamps instead-well-I said the same thing. However, I found myself repeat buying things I'd forgotten I'd bought and running out of others because I had things crammed in drawers. It cost me money to be disorganized. I also had problems completing things. Mostly due to having an idea and spending so much time searching for crap that I either lost interest or forgot what I was looking for.

In closing, I have not been asked to do this, nor have I been promised anything or prompted...I looked around this morning and realized I'd been meaning to do this comprehensive post for awhile, but always put it in the background in order to craft. This morning, I have a toothache from Hell and don't feel like doing anything. The only reason I'm doing THIS is to try to stay distracted!

I'm off to put an aspirin on my tooth. Sure fire way to make it stop hurting. My doctor doesn't like the method but unless he's going to give me morphine, then to heck with him.

Love y'all! And a special thanks to Stamp-N-Storage for giving people like me an option to support a business built by faith and run with a higher purpose. It's an honor to trust MY name and reputation with SNS! Not that either is worth much. If anything.

Lord...where is that aspirin????


Monday, February 17, 2014

My Mum's Craft Shop-Emboss, Emboss, Emboss!





Our DT theme this week is embossing. Our sponsor, My Mum's Craft Shop, is wanting to see your embossed entries! I love dry embossing...it's a big impact for mere seconds of work.

Yeah...I'm lazy.

But I think it's also fun to make embossing the main part of your card, when possible. Here, I used SU! Soft Suede paper and took Aged Mahogany Distress Ink and stamped randomly with my blending tool. Then, I ran it through my Big Shot using Cuttlebug's Tiny Mosaic EF. Taking VersaMark and rubbing it over the top, I then put clear embossing powder all over it and heat embossed for that shiny, leather-like look. After that, it was 2 leather thongs knotted and topped with a western style brad, underneath a Copic colored pic from my SU! Wild, Wild, West set and I've got a bang up look, people!! Again....easy.

Oh, Lord-this lazy thing is working out WAY too well!

Head on over to Through the Purple Haze blog and enter to win!

Materials:

SU! Soft Suede and Basic Black paper
SU! Wild, Wild, West stamps
Cuttlebug Tiny Mosaic EF
Clear embossing powder

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Freshly Made Sketches #123 Killing me softly...with circles




The business:
McGill Flower Punches-Large Daisy
Impression Obsession-Hydrangea Stem Die
Flower Soft
1 inch EK Success Circle Punch
Sentiment-Cut one word from 3 different stamp sets. The things you do for love, huh?
Dots EF SU!
SU! Pear Pizazz, Daffodil Delight, Old Olive, Whisper White
Crappy iPhone picture.


After days of struggling with artist block, I managed to break through it today!

PAM (Pre-adderall moment) I began to use "artist constipation' and struggled with myself...almost knock-down drag-out, people...to force myself to use 'block' instead. Not only does it sound better, I convinced myself, but it allows me to use the words and phrases like "break through" and "had the urge" without ruining breakfast. You have no idea what it's like to wrestle with a brain that has yet to be harnessed by amphetamines. You're welcome.

Freshly Made Sketches challenged us with a sketch that has to be one of the most intimidating I've seen...yet, I knocked it out (another phrase I can use with the aforementioned phrase "artist block". Again, you're welcome.) without a problem.

Last week, the sketch was very workable...few elements. Yet, I spent days-uploading my card only 15 min. before the deadline-trying to figure out how to work it. This week, I almost heard the whimpers from my card-making allies, myself included, when we saw the challenge: it was a sketch that would've repelled Mr. Mephistopheles himself. 

AND IT IS AWESOME!!!!

I figure the more basic a sketch is, the harder it becomes to work. But as I worked on this one, it became apparent that even though it offered more elements, it wasn't much easier because creating a CAS card that offers a whole BUNCH of options is just as hard.

Or, it could just be that last week I was blocked and this week I had the juices flowing again. 

Crap. I wish I hadn't used that phrase...or word...or...sigh. How about I stay off the Internet until I can wipe my mind clean of...I mean...I...ahhhh...bye. 


Friends-Pretty much everyone who reads this blog knows I'm a humor writer. not a good one, mind you, but the intent and purpose are consistent. This post is not reflective of anyone or anything...just a brain that is running amok and waiting for the sweet focus that comes with Adderall to channel my energies. FMS is an awesome site and one of the best I've found for sketches and I LOVE the fact that 'winners' are chosen based on merit instead of a drawing. Their design team rocks and I've learned more from this site when it comes to CAS since I began this hobby (obsession) 13 months ago. SO-if there is anyone who doubts my intent or is determined to believe I am slandering the sketch or the artist or this site, then I would appreciate you kissing my a** as you leave the building. HEY! I mean that with love...really! (not)  :)

Sorry for the helluva disclaimer! I've managed to get rid of most troublemakers but you never know when a new one will pop up!!! LOL

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Teapot Challenge and the wisdom behind "It takes a villiage to raise a child"

 I'm one of the very few Conservatives who believes in the saying "It takes a village to raise a child." Don't get me wrong...the Conservatives I know are very much into helping...they just don't believe it's their DUTY to take responsibility for your kid. That is, after all, YOUR responsibility.

But I disagree with my fellow Conservatives. I absolutely believe it takes that proverbial village...or myself...to help you in raising your children.

Now don't get too excited...I'm certainly NOT going to feed or clothe or pay money for your little ankle biters. I'm talking about the most critical and most important part of having that village...or me...help raise your children and that is in educating them about the things that you (the parents) apparently forgot....the IMPORTANT things. The things which should not ever be forgotten.

Case in point: yesterday, I had to look after a neighbors sick kid. I stuck it in a back bedroom with a TV and Nintendo, then dosed it with medication (with age appropriate dosages of sleepy time medication to sugar water) and told it to sleep. Imagine my surprise when I turned around to see "Johnny" standing in the doorway to my craftroom, with nary a bit of sleepy time look in hiseyes.

"Ummmm...Hi?" I said.
He studied me for a moment.
I tried to act casual...it will never do to show them you're afraid. They can smell fear. "So...what's happening?"
He stared a me a few more moments. "What's a Rock Lobster?" he said.
I froze.
"I heard it on some commercial on youtube." he said.
It was that moment my fear gave way to a deep, resounding grief. "You mean," I choked, "You mean your parents? They never? They never told you? About the B-52's?"
He shook his head.
All at once, the grief was replaced by anger. How did those horrible walking reproductive machines even CALL themselves parents?

The rest of the afternoon, Johnny and I sat while I taught him, not merely the words, but the all-important sounds that each sea creature made. It was touch and go when Johnny kept messing up the porpoise sound but, in a fit of inventiveness, I told him to try to sing like Brittney Spears and it all came together.

I was a little sad when Johnny left. I knew he wouldn't stand a chance in a home that kept the B-52's out. But I didn't lose hope. I knew I'd have more chances to 'raise' Johnny and the rest of the neighborhood kids. Their parents might be lousy but I would never let them down. I waved good-bye and walked past the craftroom, filled with purpose. No need for me to shape paper when I could shape the future.

I just wished I'd asked him what size parachute pants he wore.


Here's the business, y'all: For a woman who has had a TERRIBLE time with her health. Her fave song is "How Great Thou Art" and favorite color is SU! Eggplant. SO..here we go. Stamped flowers with two different inks, directly on the cutout. A dry embossed card underneath that and all layers have mounting tape. Card size is 4.5x4.5  On the inside, sentiment by Sweet N Sassy with mat being Elegant Eggplant. 
Rubbernecker Stamps #782 "Layered Flowers"
Rubbernecker Stamps #467 "Floral Silhouettes"
Sizzix Rachael Bright, Thinlits Die Set, Decorative Accent & Label, 2 pk
SU! Lattice EF
SU! Cardstock Elegant Eggplant, Whisper White
Distress Ink Picked Raspberry, Seedless Preserves, Peeled Paint

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Superbowl of Nachos and Tears: A Love Story. (With Cocktail Weenies)



This Superbowl was something special. It was the first that my 15 year old son participated in, and he watched along with his step-father. Naturally, they rooted for opposite teams. I had a decent time, playing them against one another, until my husband said something stupid to irritate me. Then it was game on: I was going with my kid for the Seahawks all the way.

It was about this time the Hawks let everyone know they were going to win. So, my son and I really let the hubby have it. Now, I don't think I'm stupid...it's more that I really suck at 'timing'. Because it really WASN'T the moment to ask the hubby what he thought about the card I slaved over for hours. But I did and he squinted and said, "What is that green crap at the bottom?" Wounded, I said "It's Hosta...I love Hosta's...you know this!!"

"Whatever...it just looks...well...clumpy, I guess."

I cried at the loss of the love we once shared, but after devouring leftover nachos and a third of a crockpot of cocktail weenies, I was able to gain control and perspective of the situation. It's obvious he said what he did-not because his team lost and he was teased about it- but because he has a 21 yo girlfriend stashed somewhere, who lives on nothing but air and sunshine and thus stays a permanent size 2. Furthermore, her father is wealthy and she and my husband will travel the world, feeding caviar to each other (with no thought to their unwashed hands, I bet) on her sailboat, all while I'm stuck here with a teen, a tween and a 7yo autistic kid who was unhappy with some of his stuffed animals and sentenced them to the gulag, which happened to be the oven. (How was I supposed to know they were there? Besides, one was some zombie thing...it was already ugly...what did a few scorch marks matter? It just added to the whole concept of the zombie, right?) I realized I couldn't do this alone and that I would go apologize and I'm going to do that right this instant.

Hold on...there's still some tortilla chips and cheese available, and a cocktail weenie on the carpet. Hey...it's no big deal...just rinse it off!!! What was I talking about?? Oh, look! TWO weenies!!!

Sassy Studio and Through the Purple Haze Challenge!





Unlike the last digital challenge-you know-the one where I almost had to be medicated and taken out of my home to a place where adults can 'rest'? In straight jackets? Yeah...that one. Anyway, I got this new Sassy Studio Designs girl and fell in love! I actually completed it immediately! She's so much to color! I felt like I really couldn't get it wrong if I tried!

I began by printing the image out on Bella's BEST Stamping Paper (White) and had my light source coming from top right to bottom left. Using Copic combo BV01, BV04, BV13, I outlined her dress, folds and pleats and just continued to draw the colors out. Heavier in the shadows, lighter on the light source side.

Next, I used. E000, E00, E11, E21 combo for her skin, following the light to dark technique. I used R20 to lightly touch her cheeks and lips. B24 was the blue I chose for her eyes.

For her hair, I used E11, E13, E15, E18. This is a wonderful reddish-brown combo and I love how it looks on curly hair!

From there, I fussy cut her and placed her over a piece of SU! Vanilla that was dry embossed with  Cuttlebug's Cherry Blossoms. Now, you KNOW it wouldn't be one of my designs without an entire roll of mounting tape and you can trust I used a ton of it!

My design paper came from American Crafts Botanical 6x6 Collection and I used Spellbinders A and B set of rectangles to make the frames. Then I distressed the insides of the frames and hot glued the pearl/lace trim to the inside of the second mat. The image was last and then-to complete it-I used a button and two flowers in light but different colors to compliment the image...I didn't want to compete with it. On the back, I attached another one of my Tim Holtz small easel arms so it would stand, making another piece of Home Decor.

She's a pretty thing! I promise you'll love her and love COLORING! I thought I was more a papercrafter than colorist but I'm doubt it, now!!

Thanks again to Sassy Studio Designs, along with Through the Purple Haze" for all the fun!


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Freshly Made Sketches and a 'safe place' for those abused by their papercrafting.


          


So, a couple of days ago, I decided to use my McGill punches to (painstakingly) put this rose together. Every piece was shaped and edged with Distress Ink, the leaves were shaped and I actually put EVERY vein on them!!! Then, having no earthly idea what to do with it, I put it on top of my Copic Marker stand and there it sat, until today, when I found the perfect use for it with a site I stumbled on-and just love to pieces-called Freshly Made Sketches.

I was overjoyed, because this rose has been taunting me all this time:

"Look at me! One of the best flowers you've ever done! And you have NOTHING planned for me? What kind of stamping loser are you? Just when I think I've seen it all, YOU come along and take the cake! Why bother if you can only create me yet can't find a decent idea for me! And you call yourself a papercrafter?? You want to know the truth?? WELL YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!" 

It's strange when my hallucinations take on the voice of my mother.

Anyway, I saw the sketch and used my rose. It must be happy because I haven't heard a peep since.

Now, if those &%$%#$ leaves would just stop whining about being "stuck up the rose's butt"...

Ingredients:
Rose:
McGill Paper and Leaf Punches
Distress Inks Worn Lipstick and Peeled Paint
Crafter's Pick Ultimate Glue
SU! Pretty in Pink and Garden Green
McGill paper shaping mat and tools

The rest:
SU! Whisper White and Blushing Bride
DP from MME Blush
MFT Label Die
SU! Thank you kindly set
SU! Lattice EF
Paper Crimper
SU! Ticket Corner Punch



I want to be QUEEN...

This is for the ColorQ challenge, over HERE
Our color palette was Kraft, Blushing Bride, Primrose, White and Pink Pirouette. 
In order for me to process all those colors, I kept thinking of what kind of scene I could create out of all of them-WITHOUT having some kind of nervous breakdown. 

The girls in the ColorQ challenge are fantastic. Chances are, I'll be thrown out for over-the-top 'ness', or something like that so why try to sneak in and hope I won't be noticed? I'm going in with guns...I mean...ink pads a'blazin'. 

For the record, I think it loses a little something in the 'ink pads' part. 

So here it is and let's hope that the ColorQ posse won't be waiting for me tomorrow morning, saying nothing...only holding up their cards, one by one, and shaming me. 

You know that's my nightmare, right? Except it's Tim Holtz and his Goons. I shudder to even think about it.

I'm going to bed...I'm flat out exhausted! This Queen stuff is hard business, I need a cookie and some decaf to actually simmer down from a hard workday of making cards.

xoxo Carmen
ColorQ Challenge

SU! Everybunny Stamp Set
SU! Ink: Blushing Bride, Primrose
SU! Paper: Primrose, Kraft, Whisper White, Eggplant, Pink Pirouette, Pear Pizzazz
Copics