Saturday, February 27, 2010

Something Shabby

I was looking over my cricut cartridges this morning and saw something that inspired me to create a companion card to my blog.  Here it is!

I am not very proficient at photography, so I will have to work on that.  But, isn't this sweet?  I used the Home Decor Cricut cartridge to create the chandelier.  Everything else was just using scraps and ribbon I had around with a little light distressing done with a Colorbox Chalk inkpad in yellow Ochre and Chestnut Roan.  I also added a little Radiant Pearls in petal pink on top of the flower.  This was my 1st attempt at a little shabby effect, and I think I did pretty well.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Pencil Sketches

Here are a couple drawings I did recently.  Both are drawings of 2 of my sons and their wives.  I gifted them to my daughters-in-law for their birthdays this winter.  It was fun creating them and I was kind of surprised I was able to part with them after they were finished.  I hope they liked them.
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Rubber, Rubber Everywhere!

Quite a few years ago I was so much into rubber stamping that I even designed images for different online companies. It was a joy to me to see my drawings turned into cute little stamps that people actually wanted to buy. I did that for 2 years, but economics changed and once I started working outside the home, I didn't have the time to work on these designs and keep up the relationships I had with the companies I designed for. Besides monetary gain from my designs, the companies would also send me samples of the stamps once they were manufactured. Needless to say, I acquired ALOT of rubber stamps. Some, I have never even used! Some are still unmounted in their original rubber. To compound my problem, I also purchased a lot of stamp sets from companies doing home parties.  My addiction became out of control!  It became a problem to store all of the mounted-on wood-stamps and I collected them in bins and baskets. I didn't even know what I had, to be quite honest. I would also feel overwhelmed if it came down to creating a card, because with so many choices, it's difficult to narrow it down to the best choice. Sounds like a dilemma, right? Too much of a good thing? Impossible!

I ran across a company back in the 90's that sold an unmounted system called, HALOS. The stamp rubber is mounted onto a loop tape. (a lot like a velcro sheet). After the rubber is mounted, you simply trim around the rubber and voila! You have a stamp mounted with the cushion already built in. Then, using an acrylic block that has grooves that contain hook tape strips, you simply attach the hook tape to the loop tape (once again, like velcro) and your stamp is adhered securely while you stamp. It's pretty nifty! I mounted a lot of my stamps onto this product and it worked well. I was able to store them in file folders with more strips of hook tape for organization.
But, I still had about 8 storage boxes full of wood mounted stamps. And while I like the look of the wood mounted stamp, it isn't always the most practical when it comes to stamping. Unless the rubber has been mounted perfectly straight, it is hard to line up the image and many cards and scrapbook pages can be ruined because of #1 an improperly trimmed and mounted stamp, and #2 not being able to find correct placement. What's a girl to do? I will tell you what I did. I kept them in the bins and never used them much for quite a few years. Yes, I could have mounted them all on the HALOS too...but, locating the product and the ordeal of it all became daunting.

Recently though, I discovered another system that is even better! It's called the EZ Mount Stamp n'Stor. It uses the same principle as HALOS but involved a foam cushion and static cling vinyl. I LOVE this system. I recently unmounted most of my stamps and applied this product. I am very happy. I store the rubber sets in plastic jewel cases from cd's. It works great, takes up very little room and I can use the backside of my HALOS acrylic blocks so I incur no extra expense from having to purchase new acrylic blocks.

Now I feel much more organized and I can easily see what exactly I have without having to dig through bins, boxes and the chaos of my stamp collection. In all fairness, I did leave a few of my original designs mounted on wood, because they remind me of little trophies. I also have not tried to unmount any overly large stamps because finding an acrylic block that large is difficult and it uses a lot of static cling product, so didn't seem like a good idea.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Easter Card

This morning I was feeling a little crafty, so I threw together this cutesy card.  I used the Easter cartridge from Cricut and scrap paper I had.  I used my Texture Boutique to emboss 2/3 of the background paper, using the Swiss Dots folder from Cuttlebug.  After adding some ribbon, I decided to add a few little stickles to the lamb.  To finish off the card I added a sentiment with a rubber stamp.  I don't know which company this was from but I bought it recently at Archivers and it was CHEAP.  There were 22 sentiments included and it was only $3.99!  Love a bargain!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Crafting Room

This is where I create my projects.  Take a good long look because it is usually not this organized!  In this picture is where I store my paper, my awesome new cricut that my hubby gave me for Christmas and miscellaneous other tools.  He also built in the desk for me. It's a wreck underneath....my dollhouse that I have never completed because the instructions were apparently translated from Yiddish or some other difficult language.  One of these days....

On top of my shelf is my Ipod inserted in my Bose Player.  Love that!  I usually listen to music, but tonight I was in the mood for listening to "Twilight".  I have read that series about 4 times now.  Well, I actually read it only once but have listened to it more.  What can I say?  I love a good romance.  *sigh ...

The wooden horse next to my Bose is a traditional (albeit modern version) horse figure from Sweden.  I bought it when I was in Stockholm a few years ago.  Ironically, I bought it at an Ikea.  I had never heard of the store until I visited there.  It reminded me a lot of a glorified Home Depot.  But, hey...at least it was actually an Ikea IN Sweden.

The next photo is my stamping and crafting table.  On the shelf to the side are most of my unmounted stamps in CD cases.  I mounted them on static cling vinyl to be used with acrylic mounts.  All my adhesives, inks and embossing powders are in the drawers.  I love my Texture Boutique.  It uses the embossing folders for Sizzix, Cuttlebug and Quikcutz.  I have a mess of those in the basket on the table.  I also have the nifty Zutter paper cutter.  I plan on doing demos of these products in future entries.  At this point I don't have a video camera, but I will figure something out through photos.  I also want to share more about my unmounted stamps.  Some are mounted with the HALO's method.  I am not sure if that product still exists, but it was something I discovered over 10 years ago when I was designing rubber stamps for various companies.  But, more about that later.

The 3rd photo is another view of my craft room.  It's not very exciting.  A lot more storage of misc items and some wood mounted stamps I don't have the heart to unmount.

So, that's a tour of my creative space.  And here is a picture of me.  I hope you come back and visit again soon.  I will try to add something new as often as I can.

~Shelley

Monday, February 22, 2010

I-Top Brad Maker

I thought I would share a very fun new tool that I think I will get a lot of use out of.  It's called the I-Top Brad Maker and it is made by Imaginisce.  As you can see from the following picture, you can also purchase special punches that will make the perfect size paper circle to wrap around your brad.  In this example I used the smallest 16mm "Brad Daddy".
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You simply place the Brad Daddy head on the clamp, then cover it with the pre-cut paper and clamp down.  After that you will place the Brad Daddy bottom on, clamp again and you have created a nifty little embellishment.  Think of the possibilities.....fabric, ribbon, patterned paper, photos....the ideas are endless.  There is also a medium and large Brad Daddy available for more versatility.
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Here is a cute little card I made using my newly created brad.  To make this card I used my Cricut Expression and the Sweethearts cartridge.  Combined with some scrap paper and  decorative ribbon I bought from Archivers...and voila! I have created a sweet little card to give to a friend.
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And so it begins

I have decided to blog my adventures in crafting. It's something I have been very interested in doing for quite some time. So, stay tuned for updates very soon!