Monday, June 30, 2008

Tuesday Technique

This Tuesday, I'm going to show the start of a project I called Monochromatic Distressing. I'll do a second step on this project (and a whole new technique idea) next Tuesday.

First, choose a cardstock and stamp pad that matches. I used Holiday Red for both. Choose a stamp set with bold images. (I used Happy Easter to create a cherry type of print.) Once you've stamped the images across the cardstock, crumple it thoroughly. In fact, crumple it more than once, but not so much as to make the paper soft.

The next step is to sand the folded edges of the paper. A coarse grain could make holes in the paper without much work. A fine grain may not show the sanding

effects to their fullest. Choose a medium grain to make the sanding go easily, but not so much as to tear up your paper.

After you have sanded the paper to reach the effect you were working toward, you need to tear off about 1/4 inch from each edge. When you are using white-core cardstock, tearing it always leaves such a nice white edge to it. To make sure you get the white edge, remember that whatever you tear toward you is what you are discarding.

Once you have completed this step, you will want to lay out the cardstock flat. I use the rounded edge of one of my Acrylix blocks to make sure the cardstock is laid totally flat.

This piece is finished and the next steps for the project will be next week's topic.

See you then!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Monday Momentum

This is a sample from one of my Scrappin' Happy workshops. We spend only a couple of hours creating these layouts and it makes for SUPER-EASY scrap-booking when you're ready to add pictures and embellishments.

This workshop is always different and ALWAYS FREE if you bring your own Close to My Heart "My Reflections" paper packet and

card stock bases. Each participant should also bring what I call a “Basic Kit” which consists of a 12” paper trimmer, adhesive, pencil, ruler, and scissors. A stylus, distressing kit or sand paper, paper piercing tool, corner rounder, and
coordinating stamp pads are also very useful.

This gets the biggest part of the scrap-booking process done, giving you 4 or 5 double layouts ready for pictures! Below, you'll see the final result from one of these great workshops.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mini Retreat weekend

I love the end of the month! That is usually the time when I have my monthly mini retreat. I usually do some sort of workshop on Friday night and a Scrap-booking workshop on Saturday afternoon. Saturday night is reserved for my club members to come over and crop or use my stamps or work on whatever project they want.

There are always all sorts of ideas stirring and chatter going on. Last Friday night we made a set of cards using the Whoops-a-Daisy paper pack. My plan came from a CTMH workshop-on-the-go plan from a couple of years ago that had used a paper pack since retired. There were 7 of us in all and we talked about everything from our parents, to our kids, to our weddings, and (DEFINITELY our scrap books) with a little card-making in between. What a great time! I'm terribly disappointed, though! I totally forgot to take pictures of everyone! I'll have to do better next month!

Then on Saturday, we had 3 gals come and work up a set of layouts using different paper packs. (I'll explain my Scrappin' Happy Workshop on Monday!) After that, we ordered out for our dinner and cropped all evening until about 10:30PM. Two of my club members made their sketch challenge pages while they were here and it was a lot of fun to see their creativity!

I gotta tell you, these mini retreats offer things a regular retreat can't. For one thing, many different people can take advantage of the opportunities at the mini retreat, dropping in and leaving as they need to. At a regular retreat, everyone is pretty much there the whole time. It is just too hard and often too far to come and go. Also, the mini retreat offers projects, scrap-booking, and free time while the regular retreat is set up primarily for free time. Finally, the only cost of the mini retreat is the Friday's workshop supply fee. The others are free - a BIG discount from the $150-200 of most retreats.

You know, wherever you are located, even if you're not a consultant, these can be a great Gals weekend for you and your friends. Seriously consider setting one of these up and respond to this post if you have any questions or suggestions.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Flair

I think I mentioned in an earlier blog how I offer a workshop every month for my customers. The thing they want most is to get a chance to use the things that they have purchased and I give them that opportunity with my "Scrappin' Happy" workshops. I love these! We make up 8 to 10 layouts in no time and they are ready for pictures, titles and journaling. Oh and (YIKES!) embellishments.

Here is the latest layout that I completed. I'm really pleased I finished the journaling (in the pocket), set up the titles (instead of just jotting down my title plan on a sticky note!) and added suitable embellishments. (I'm wondering if you can tell that I'm one of those people who gets an idea and starts a project and then boxes it up to finish later - another bad habit I'm working on!)

Actually, the pages are flip flopped in my book, creating a "mountain" in the center of the double and putting the green borders along the outside edges. I added a "Just Blooms" 3-inch blossom from the "Pinks" package and used some vellum paper tags for my girls' initials hanging from the polka dot grossgrain ribbon in the "Blush Ribbon Round" collection. This was the first time I used our new Dimensional Element Monograms. I inked up the "t" in Cocoa and matched the color on my printer when I printed out the rest of the title onto a transparency. I'm beginning to LOVE using transparencies. I don't have to cut out every letter, but I can use them almost ANYWHERE!

So does this need anything else?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Try It Out Thursday

In a few weeks, CTMH will be opening the curtain on their plans for this next year! I can't wait! I'll have all sorts of new "Try-it-outs" then!

But for this one, I want to use an older product that I have never tried! I'm so ashamed! I've had a jar of the Sculpting Foam ever since it came out, but just never used it. I think I was just daunted because I had never used it nor seen it used. Well, after doing this particular "Try-it," I'm beginning to come up with some other ideas for it. I'll keep you posted on it!

This is so versatile! It is terribly easy to mold, and remarkably lightweight. (This is no Playdoh!) I did find that I needed to have plastic down on my work surface. (I used plastic wrap.) When I didn't have the plastic down, my project stuck badly to the paper and had to be recreated completely. I wanted to work with stamping, so I just rolled it in a ball and then smashed it with the lid of the sculpting foam to flatten it evenly. I also learned the hard way that I need to let the foam dry out for a little while, but not until it is set. I waited about an hour after I flattened it before I stamped into it. Well, that was actually the 2nd time! The first time, I stamped it right away and got my stamp thoroughly stuck into the foam. It rubs off easily enough, but again it was a start over. For that project, I let the footprints dry completely and then highlighted the imprints with some ink on a sponge dauber. I really liked this formula! I'm thinking I'll make another like it. Maybe for next week? You'll just have to come back and see if I was successful!
To one of the balls, I added 2 drops of reinker. That made the sculpting foam have the consistency of melted cheese. Make sure you don't add too much reinker as this will alter the chemical makeup of the Sculpting Foam. (USE GLOVES!!!!!) Again, it just needed a little air (about 30 minutes worth) until it could be rolled without sticking to my glove. For this little ball, I flattened it and aired it out for about an hour, then stamped it with a hand print. The imprint was really cute, but wouldn't show up in my camera. I stamped it again after it was thoroughly dry, this time using ink to set off the imprint.
My final project is still drying on the sculpting foam lid. (Which should be closed at all times to keep it all moist and usable.) For this one, I decided to ink up the stamps when I made the impression. Sort of like the opposite of the one above it. Oh, that gives me another idea! I can't wait to use these!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thanks for coming by!

I'm experiencing internet surges. We get great connectivity, then none. Had this problem last night and it took me over an hour just to post the Midweek Makeover! Yikes! All this is to say, (while I have the connection to say it!) that I might appear MIA for the next day or two while we get the necessary cords and move the necessary furniture to fix the problem. I already have the next few blogs started and awaiting artwork, so they will be up at least by this weekend!

By the way, please accept my gratitude for visiting my blog! I'm overwhelmed at the responses and delighted to know that you have come. Feel free to email me or leave comments. I will post them along with any artwork you want to send! Also, keep watching for the July sketch challenge. I'll be putting it up in the next couple of days.


Mid-week Makeover

I got this card idea from the blog site called "Stampin' Inspirations by Maria.." She has some incredible cards there and I recommend it if you are looking for card sketches. (At least now, until I have my site up for longer than a week!) You can see the card here and visit her blog spot at this link: http://stampininspirations.blogspot.com/
Here is my made-over card.
I used the "Good Times" My Reflections paper pack and one of our new Acrylic buttons as the focal object on the bottom right. I really liked the idea of creating a raised texture using the cut-outs and 3D foam squares. Make sure you DON'T use PopDots on cards that you plan to actually mail. They raise up the image too far and are too dense to squeeze thinner. You will likely have to pay package prices to mail a card with these. (Yes, I learned that the hard way!)

I almost missed it in the original card, but the very top is dry embossed. I used our Fiskars personal trimmer with the scorer to create the pattern. The center striped section is highlighted with Cocoa ribbon and Colonial White loop accent from the "Chocolate Shades Mini Medley."

The button was fun to work with. It is already etched with little dots and was easy to adhere to the solid side of the Background and Texture paper using Liquid Glass. I gave it a little more acccent by adding some Colonial White brads, also from the "Chocolate Shades Mini Medley."

So how would you remake this card?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Technique Tuesday

I learned how to make these cards and fell in love with them. They are PERFECT for graduation cards, but can work extremely well for birthday or Christmas cards (with the presents spinning down the slope). It is also really cute the the slope as an arch (using a circle coluzzle). I put a flower stamp in it when I did that!

To make this card, you will need to start with a 9 x 11 1/2 inch black cardstock. You'll score the long side at 2 3/4 inch, then again 3 inches more, and at 3 more inches beyond that. I created a dollar holding pocket by freehanding a cut-out on the first section (2 3/4 inch).

Then fold the outside edges toward the center to see how the card will be set up. The 3rd section (3-inch) is where the slope should be cut. I just used my 12-inch paper trimmer to create the slope. It is 1/2 inch thick and leaves about a 1/2 inch edge between the edge of the card and the cut slope.

The stamping was done in CTMH white daisy and had to dry for a full day since it is pigment ink. I used the "For All Occasions" stamp set.

For the grad cap, I cut a square out of black and edged it with white. I put a mini brad in the center with a bit of waxy flax wrapped around it for the tassels. I worked at the waxy flax with my awl (paper piercer) to separate the pieces and make it look more like a tassel. Then, to put it all together, I attached a PopDot to the center of the "cap" and attached it to a nickel on the other side. I've used a quarter before, but aside from costing 20 cents more, I couldn't see any benefit to the quarter. I then inserted the nickel into the gap of the slope and let it roll up and down. - Done!


I had a request for some more information on this technique so I mapped out a sketch of it. Hope this helps you! Please send me a digi-pic of your card and I'll post it here!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Monday Momentum

I was cleaning out my cabinets the other day, really going through it all carefully! I found a business planner that I had totally forgotten about! This was a really well-organized binder and even though I hadn't used it (yet!) I have used elements of it in my computer files. I want to share some of the organizational tips I use.

  1. I have an Excel file with my customers in it. (It is actually too big for just one file so I broke it into 3. One is for my core customers, club members and those that purchase or attend workshops regularly. Another is for buyers. This file isn't just for 1-time buyers, but for those who are semi-regular purchasers, but not as involved. The last one is for contacts and those who haven't purchased in a long time. The main page of each of these files contains an alphabetical list of the customers involved as well as their home addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. I also had birthdates down, but I never used them.

  2. Each customer name on the list was linked to its own particular sheet. Across the top was the name and data for the customer from the main page. The left column is reserved for email addresses of those who give gifts to my customer. I also have a small section to list gathering/workshop dates that she has attended. I don't really use this information anymore, though. I added a second row at the top where I explain how I know the customer and through whom or what outlet she came to me. (I have a TERRIBLE memory!) In the middle of the page is a wishlist. Sometimes they send me one before Christmas or their birthdays. Oftentimes, my customers keep one active so I can choose for them in case they forget to order. Finally, I list everything my customers purchase on the far right side. I know they keep this data on the website, but I started this before they did and I prefer to have a backup, in case there is a mistake on the website.

  3. My organizer also had several great sections for organizing my business: A double gathering page which included client data, project design (drawing area), and places for follow ups, thank you notes, and purchase delivery. A double open house page where I could analyze my open house themes and dream up the details that would follow the themes. A single swap page where I could list the hostess details for the swap and draw my design the I've planned. A double swap page for swaps that I host allowing me room to list names and details of the participants as well as a check off list of receiving artwork and shipping swaps. A page for customer contacts and another for consultant leads. Finally, a page for those things that I say I'll do, but fail to remember anything about it! I call it "Promises" for lack of a better title.

  4. I keep a business card pouch in my daytimer for collecting business cards. (I make sure I give whenever I get!) Each card gets boxed AFTER I get the info into my contact Excel spreadsheet. Each person also receives an email informing them of my email tree with a sample of the information they will be receiving and an opportunity to say no thank-you! You never know when a random contact will become your next best customer or the next top-selling consultant!

I hope these tips and ideas have offered you some food for thought! Have a terribly profitable week!!!


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Good First week!

Well, I'm really pleased with the way this blog turned out this week. I'm even more thrilled with the fact that people from all over actually visited m.e.!

In the next few weeks, I intend to continue the plans that I've already set out. I'll have new projects, business ideas, and techniques to share each day. In addition, I'll be learning how to add guest artists (already have a couple of those lined up, but would love to add others!) and I would like to set up a Design Team to help with inspiration and postings.

I expect this site to grow and continue to be usable and helpful as it does, but I also know it is an infant right now! So each guest is VERY important for me! Please consider adding a picture to my guest book, or at least sign in! Also, I've made it easier to add comments - you can now add anonymous ones, and I'll post them periodically.

Happy Crafting to you!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Flair

This blog is going to be dedicated to embellishments. I must confess, I've always considered myself to be embellishment challenged, but I'm determined to overcome my disability! CTMH has so many awesome accents and I just need to figure out which ones to use and where.

So this is my offering for this first Friday Flair. You may recognize it! I made this card for my Mid-week Makeover post and after I looked at it online, I felt that it needed something. So I added a few somethings. First, I added Blush Waxy Flax around the neck of the vase and attached a charm to it. The Charm was from a customer loyalty promotion and worked . . . well, like a charm . . . on this project. Then, I added a small amount of Liquid Glass to the center of the circles on the vase, just to give them texture. And I added Liquid Glass and microbeads to the centers of the flowers. I'm really pleased with the final outcome. I think it is enough without being too much, but I would love your impressions and suggestions!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Try-It Out Thursday

I just got in the new "Clear Inspiration" tags and I was totally blown away! I really thought that I would be getting a set of small tags maybe 1/2 inch tall. But these are beautiful and all of them are 1 1/2 to 2 inches tall! I couldn't wait to use them on a project and I chose the layout I made for . To make the etching stand out, I covered the smooth side with coordinating paper. Cardstock is too thick for this, but if you want a solid color, just use the backside of a B&T duo.

Then on the other side, I used chalk to fill in the etchings.

I love these! They have become my new favorite embellishment and at only $3.95 for the set of 8, they are economical, too!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mid-Week Makeover

This is the day that I get to show my CTMH snobside! I find a card made with other products, like this one designed by Laura Canale. (view her blogsite here) I gotta tell you, that I'm a little nervous about this blog. See I'm confident in the CTMH products, but I'm not so sure of my own creativity. I'm hoping you'll find that the card I've made is easily as good or better than the one created with a competitor's products. So, here is my offering.

I used the Sonata paper package and the "With Love" stamp set, which is the Stamp of the Month for June.

I covered the card with the small pring (4 1/4 x 5 1/2) and then added 1 x 4 1/2 inch of the blue stripe along the opening and another 1 x 3 1/4 inch of the blue stripe along the bottom. Then I used 3/4 inch pink strip to criss-cross over the blue stripe.

I didn't have an oval template (I must get that next!) So I used a randomly cut shape instead, in chocolate cardstock. I also used chocolate ink with the "Happy Everything" stamp. I cut a few flowers out of the Sonata floral paper and stamped some of the others in Lilac Mist and Hollyhock. The vase was stamped in Lilac Mist and raised on 3d sponge squares. I adhered some of the flowers on the cardbase itself and raised some of the others by 3d foam squares and by attaching it to the vase.

Now that I look at it, I think I want to put a loop of waxy flax around the neck of the vase, but I can't decide whether to tie a bow in it or put a little charm on it. What do you think?

Gather up your scraps and give this design a whirl. I would really love to see your ideas!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Technique Tuesday

I love working with brayers. Texture is a must with my projects, and brayers can give all sorts of texture! A while back, I had an online class using brayer techniques and I used all types of things on it to make different textures.

Plastic Wrap (I use Press n Seal!)

Wrap plastic wrap around the brayer. Make sure there are plenty of wrinkles and bunches in the plastic wrap. Ink it up between each roll so your paper won't be unevenly textured.

Make sure you change the plastic wrap between colors to keep your inkpads from staining and your ink from mixing, altering the color.

Rubber Bands

Simply twist several rubber bands around the brayer from one side to the other, making sure to keep the layers balanced through the middle. You can use just a few rubber bands and get a really good texture. Just make sure they aren't laying parallel. I try to twist a few of mine and criss-cross several of them to give the best design.

Kite String (yarn is also good!)

String can also be wrapped around a brayer, but it offers a much softer effect than the rubber bands. The material make-up of the string actually absorbs the ink and only allows a minor amount of it to be transferred to the project, unlike the rubber which will transfer almost all of the ink onto the project.

Wax Paper Resist (A resist is creating a design where the ink is NOT instead of normal where the ink IS)

One of my favorite techniques is wax paper resist! You start by crinkling up wax paper. Reflatten the wax paper between 2 sheets of high gloss white paper and iron the "sandwich" on a medium setting. This transfers the wax onto the glossy paper. Then you set up your brayer. Inking it with your favorite color, you spread the color all over the paper covering it evenly. You must allow the ink to dry for a couple of hours, or heat-set it with a heating tool. Glossy white paper doesn't absorb ink the way regular cardstock does and it can cause the braying to smear if it isn't allowed to dry. Once the ink is thoroughly dry (I let mine sit all night!) rub off the excess wax, leaving a pebbled texture in its wake.

Braying with Liquid Glass

This last technique gets the best of both worlds! I first textured my tan cardstock using plastic wrap on my brayer. Then I stamped my word across the full width of the sheet. Next, using Liquid Glass, I carefully covered my letters in random shapes. Now the liquid glass had to dry for a full 24 hours, but I made sure it was completely dry and glassy before I went on to the next step. I inked up my brayer and covered the paper with a solid color. When my solid color was smooth and even, I used a cotton cloth to wipe the excess ink off of the Liquid Glass. I really liked the effect of this one.

Below you can see the double page layout that I created using just these techniques. I just finished up this layout with pictures of my daughters in an animal parade - very cute!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday Momentum

My customers frequently tell me that they really don't have time to do the creative work that they have planned out. They have the vision for what they want to do and can imagine the outcome, but not enough hours in the day, nor days in the week to do it.

Impossible situation, I know. But some of them have been helped by a couple of things I've done, some proactive planning, and a good ink pen with their calendar. What I've implemented is a "mini-retreat." Every month, usually on the last weekend of the month, I have 3 different activities. On Friday night I do a card-swap (free for any who wants to participate) and a project workshop. The workshops are often based on the CTMH workshops on the go (if they don't follow the WOTG completely!) and the cost is as minimal as possible. My customers love doing things besides scrapbooking and get the chance to have a girls' night out with new faces each month.

On Saturday, I have my "Scrappin' Happy" workshop where I use 1/2 of a paper package and make 8-10 layouts (4 or 5 doubles) using Cherish or Imagine designs, or some of my own. There is no charge for this workshop as long as they all bring their own paper pack (I do insist on CTMH supplies since I'm doing it for free.) and 8 to 10 cardstocks for their bases. Once I've made my own layouts, it is easy to direct the cutting and placement for my customers' layouts. My customers LOVE this because they get to use the paper packs they've already purchased, and they leave with layouts ready for pictures and journaling! And it's fast! In fact, at my last "SH" we finished 2 full sets of 10 layouts in just under 3 hours!

Finally, at 6PM I have a club crop night for all of my club members. Any that come to the "SH" workshop can just stay over and get a jumpstart. This crop is a benefit of membership in my hostess clubs. They not only meet each month, but they also get the free use of my stamps and inks on club crop nights. (VERY VALUABLE as I have MANY!) We usually order out for dinner and I or my dh make a run for it and we crop until 10 or 11PM. We all get a kick out of this time, sharing our ideas or latest "find" (I'm a CTMH snob, but I don't insist that anyone else be one!) or a technique that we've just learned.

The best part about this set up is that it is the same time every month. Once in a while, I'll have another commitment and have to adjust, but usually, my customers can count on spending the last weekend of the month with me. So while I can't actually add minutes to the clock, at least I can help them set some aside!


Saturday, June 14, 2008

My plans for this blog

Okay, I've figured out how I want to organize this blog. I want to make the stories and tips that are pertinent to you easy to find and use. So this is my tentative schedule:

Monday Momentum - This is a business blog, especially for consultants or for my customers who are curious about what might be coming around the bend!

Technique Tuesdays - I'll offer a technique that I've tried and will also share a project that I've made with the technique. I challenge you to try the techniques, too. When you do, make sure you send me a link to your picture!

Mid-week Makeover - There are examples of cards all over the internet. Some of them are really cute, but as you might have heard me say before, I'm a CTMH snob. However, I plan to take a really cute card that I've found and remake it using only CTMH products. I would love to see your ideas here as well!

Try-It Thursdays - This is the day to use a new product from CTMH. I can't wait to give some of the newest products a try and I challenge you to use them! Send me a picture or a link and I'll make sure it gets posted!

Friday Flair - I usually consider myself embellishment challenged so this day will really be important to me. CTMH makes decorating so easy with tons of unique embellishments. My challenge is choosing which to use and where to use it, but I'm determined to overcome my disability! Join my journey and don't forget to share your creations with me!

That's it, that's the plan. I hope you enjoy the entries and hope you will be encouraged to join in the fun here!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Challenge Art

I started to just delete this from the right-hand section, but I really don't want to delete all my challenges. I decided I would just move them over when the month was over and the new sketch challenge begins. I didn't have any takers on this challenge, but I will post all the collected art along with the sketch each month - giving full credit, of course. If you are a consultant with CTMH, please feel free to join my challenges for bragging rights. (CTMH consultants will be voting on the challenges.) If you are a consultant with another creative company, you're invited, too. Even though I'm rather a CTMH snob (not the snooty kind, just the don't-use-any-other-products kind), I don't want to be exclusive on this site! All ideas are delightfully welcome!

March's sketch information: This was fun to do, but it takes a very long time to complete. Mine had to dry over the whole weekend before I was able to finish it.

First stamp the front of the transparency card (make a sharp fold in the middle of a 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 sheet) using White pigment ink. I used White Daisy ink from Close to My Heart. I also used CTMH stamp sets for the background, "Victorian Snowflakes" and "Playful Flourishes". Set that aside to dry completely.

While it is drying, stamp a 3 x 4 white card with a snowy scene. I used a limited edition CTMH stamp set, but any snowy scene or items will do great.

Also, stamp a sentiment on a light blue 4 x 4 1/2 card. That will go on the inside of the back of the card. Cut one other card, a dark blue one, measuring 3 1/2 x 4 1/4. This one will go on the inside of the front of the card.

Once the card is dry, assemble it putting the white card on the front, and placing the dark and light card on the inside of the card in such a way that they create a mat for the white card.