May 31, 2007

Eat Cake!


Remember when I said this week was about all things home made? Well, that's the truth! This morning, I made 4 batches of 4 different cookies! We're having a garage sale tomorrow and the girls love to sell cookies, pop and bottled water. The little stinkers pull in some good spending cash, and they have a blast prepping for their *business*. They have made signs, got cash boxes, counted their starting stash of change and have taste tested every batch of cookies. Whew, glad that part is over. Now tomorrow is the fun watch them work their magic at the garage sale!

So now it's lunch time and the girls are on their own. I have found these microwavable packet meals that the girls can fix on their own. Their favorite is Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni. Add water, microwave and lunch is done!

Another wonderful thing....toaster ovens!! My neighbor suggested I get one and so I did. We love it! I never had one of these things growing up but boy was I missing out. It allows the girls to able to cook things but without using the big oven. They are careful to use their pot holders and love to cook little meals. They love Bagel Bites and English muffins with various toppings. It's a good thing!

Now for this card....EAT CAKE everyone! For my birthday, my husband bought this huge sheet cake with lots of pink and white frosting. Hence, the inspiration for this card. We ate a few pieces of cake and froze the rest. Not good for my diet to say the least. But it was wonderful inspiration for this card. I wanted a clean, white look to resemble the white frosting on my birthday cake. I used the fork and little cake stamps from the Crafty Secrets set Kitchen Classics. I love this set! The alphabet is from CS too, along with the cute polka dot paper from the 6 x 12 Radiant paper pad. The main image is stamped on white, then also mounted on a white mat using pop dots. I then stitched around the matted image with my sewing machine. White brads finished off the card for a clean look. Oh, and see the sentiment that I stamped inside? It says: Ingredients: Best Wishes.

Tip of the day: If you like the look of ribbon but a bow is maybe too much for your card, try this. Cut a strip of ribbon longer than your card base. Tuck under the top layer and then stitch over the ribbon. The ends are tucked underneath and the ribbon stays in place by the stitching. A fun look without all the *poofiness*.

May 29, 2007

Recipe Time!

These are my two newest recipes...they were served at my nephew's graduation party and I had to get the recipes! Enjoy!! Read my other post below about this week's fun!

Corn Dip

2 cans Mexicorn, drained
1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix all together and chill. Serve with tortilla chips.

Cherry Fruit Dip

1-8oz package cream cheese
1-6 oz cherry yogurt
1 cup Cool Whip
1 cup marshmallow creme

Beat cream cheese and yogurt. Fold in marshmallow creme and Cool Whip.

Crafty Secrets!

Good morning everyone! I hope you had a wonderful three day holiday weekend! The girls and I are officially on summer vacation now, woohoo! I have some exciting news......I was asked by Crafty Secrets to join their design team!! Of course, I accepted because I LOVE their fun, vintage-like products. I added the link to Crafty Secrets under the *Shop Here!* link at the right. You can visit the website to get familiar with their products, which include acrylic stamps, sticker sheets, little cut out booklets, printed cotton scraps, patterned paper and more! And wait til you see the fun stuff coming this summer! While at the site, you can sign up for a fun newsletter and also visit the sample gallery. It's set up just like Splitcoast and is easy to navigate. If you want to view the line of acrylic stamps, click on the Clear Art Stamps link on the right hand side of the Crafty Secrets website. There is a preview of two new sets coming out. I adore that new coffee set!

The Clear Art Stamps are jam packed full of fun images. The possibilities are truly endless because there are so many images included in each set. And the quality is really good...the images are incredibly detailed and stamp nicely. One of my favorite sets is Kitchen Classics. The card above was created using the salt and pepper shakes from that set. I added the sentiment Favorite Recipes and the adorable utensils along the bottom edge. Images are colored using SU! Watercolor Crayons and aquapainter. Patterned paper is Amy Butler series from K & Company, available at Eclectic Paperie(link under *Shop Here* at right). I stitched around the torn patterned paper to add that *home-made* feel to the card. Dazzling Diamonds glitter was added to the salt and pepper shakers.

I made this card for my neighbor, who wants a few recipes I shared at a party. Stay tuned this week as my theme is going to be all things home made! Crafting, cooking, sewing, and gardening are a big part of who I am. I grew up on a farm and these activities were a way of life when I was little. So it just comes natural that they are now my hobbies as an adult. So check back for some fun recipes and I even have my mother involved in a special project that I can't wait to show you!

Tip of the day: When I add stitching to my cards like the one here, I cut the green cardstock as a card front only. Then I adhere the torn paper and ribbon strip and stitch the entire card front. THEN, I add it to a folded white card base. This conceals all stitching and the end result is a nice, white card inside to write a message.

Where can you get Crafty Secrets products and stamps? Check out Sweet Miss Daisy's blog......Anna Wight has a ton of CS products and offers excellent customer service!

May 24, 2007

Colored images.....

I'm glad you all have been enjoying my tips on mass producing cards. Today's tips are for stocking up on colored images. Lots of us LOVE to color images but lots of us don't because it takes up too much time. If you break the process into several steps, it will be much easier.

Here's what I do: Stamp images in black onto scrap pieces of cardstock. For these samples, I used Bella images. Next I cut a full sheet of patterned paper into 4" x 4" pieces. You can get 9 pieces out of one sheet of 12" x 12" cardstock. I then match up a piece of the patterned paper with each image. This will dictate the colors I will use when coloring the images, and in turn takes the guess work out of matching up my colored images to patterned paper later on. I pack up these images and whatever coloring medium I want to use in a little tote. I take this tote with me when I sub, or to soccer practice, dental appointments, etc and just color them when I have time.

Then when the mood strikes, I take out these colored images and create cards. There's not a lot of thinking involved because the images are colored, the patterned paper is already picked out. I created these three *think thin* cards in about 15 minutes. I just pulled out some matching ribbon, brads and solid cardstock and I was good to go. I even had time to add some other embellishments like piercing, the prima flower and glitter to the bathing suit.

Tip of the day: Don't you hate it when you make smudges on your nice colored image or color outside the lines? Don't throw it away! Get out your white gel pen...I like SU!'s......and simply color over the smudge. I have saved many a card by doing this. Or you could always cover a smudge up with an embellishment like the Prima flower I used on these cards. And another favorite cover up of mine is to use the air art tool and marker. Simple spritz on color over the smudges. Presto!

May 21, 2007

The production line...

Ladies! Thank you for all your wonderful responses to my blog. I really appreciate all your comments and just love to share with you all! I would like to give a special shout out to my friend Pam and all my West Virginia followers!! Hi girls!!!!!

Now let's get right to the stamping! This week we're talking about mass production and getting those cards stockpiled for the month and mailed out. Today I'm going to walk you through my process of how I mass produce. I thought this might be kind of silly because you all do this, but in reading some of your comments I realize that maybe it's not so silly after all...that maybe you don't have a system in place yet. Well here goes!

This photo shows another one sheet wonder that I created using a jumbo SU! wheel. Then I added stamped images to create my own sheet of patterned paper. Again, do several sheets of these if you need to make lots of cards or label a file folder and stick them in there for future use.

Now I'm moving on to how I usually stamp. I almost always mass produce cards when I have a stamping session. I realize that some of you, a lot you actually, probably only stamp one card at a time as you need it and it's probably late at that, right? Well we need to get past that and think more efficiently girls! I always produce in two's since you can get two cards out of every sheet of solid cardstock.

Tip: Score your solid sheet of cardstock first then cut it in half. I score my cardstock using a bone folder and the groove in my Fiskars paper trimmer. You've saved time because you scored once but got two card bases! That is grand!

Then I move on to my card design. I usually design one card first to get it just right, then I move on to the production line. I get out all of the supplies I need so that I'm not going back and forth to my supplies. I cut all the cardstock I need for the card bases. Then I cut up my patterned paper, all mats, ribbon, etc and lay out my embellishments like brads, eyelets and more. Stamp all the main focal images and stack them up too. I do not make one card at a time. I create all the little pieces and parts and lay them all out. For this stamping session, I knew I could get 8 pieces out of the patterned paper. So I cut out 8 of everything.

Then I start the assembling of my cards. I adhere all the pieces together with adhesive, starting with the patterned paper that goes on the base card. Then the main image to the mats. Then I tie on the ribbon, layer the pieces and add the embellishments.

Tip: When adding embellishments like brads and eyelets, I secure them before the card is all assembled. This hides the back of the metal and it does not show through on the inside of the card.

So here's my finished products. Eight finished cards that are ready to go into my personal card basket (see yesterday's post if you missed it). And I put any extras into my sale basket to start stock piling. I tell ya, I'm like my own little Hallmark warehouse! Ha! Throw in a visual of Lucy standing at the chocolate assembly line and there ya have it! Now some days I don't have time to stamp in mass production. Some days I don't want to stamp in mass production, I just wanna mess around and have fun. Do what works for you but try this method when you need lots of cards or want to get a stash going. It works and it will save you time.

Tip: If you create cards that are *generic* in nature like flowers, etc you can change out the sentiments. For these cards, I used 3 different Papertrey sentiments.

Tip: You may not want to hear this one, but DO IT! Clean up your crafting area after EACH stamping session. You will thank yourself time and again. I know you just got your new Papertrey ladybug set and you're dying to try it out.....but you know that other mess is still there from all the graduation cards you were scurrying to make. Clean it up, Missy!

Okay, now I've totally inspired myself to go stamp again! It's the last day of school for the girls which means I get to quit my job for 3 months! Woohoo, school's out for summer!!!!! Happy Stampin' everyone!!!!

Note: This design was cased from Val who cased Vitality from a SCS challenge. Awesome layout that will go straight to my sketchbook!

Make and mail 'em, girls!

Do you ever feel like you don't have enough time to stamp? That you purchase all these wonderful supplies but then don't make and send out cards? Then stay tuned this week cuz I'm gonna give you my best tips for organizing your card list, mass producing cards and getting them mailed out! We all know how wonderful it feels to receive a hand made card....and on time. So let's get on the ball and get rolling!

Tip of the day: Organizing your list of cards to send out. First, get all your birthday, anniversary, etc dates on ONE calendar and keep addresses organized in an address book of some sorts. We all have some sort of system...get it in order all in one place. Next, make a monthly list of all the cards you need to send out. Refer to your master list and also add occasions that pop up like get well cards, sympathy cards, baby cards, etc. So for June, I would look at my calendar towards the end of May and make my list. I just use sticky notes and write the name, occasion and date. So for example, my list might look like this:

June Cards:
1-Mary birthday
13-Sue birthday
13-Jane birthday
Mark-get well

I keep my list with my postage stamps in a little basket with some nice writing pens. As I get cards made for the month, I add them to the basket. I also write the birthday or occasion date on the corner of the finished card envelope where the stamp would go. This way I can look at the cards and send them out a few days in advance. When it's time to mail out a card, I place the postage stamp over the date I had written. Easy peasy and my cards get sent out ON TIME!

Okay, I gotta get to work so I need to wrap up. I take that sticky note list that I compiled and then stamp all my cards for the following month or months if I have time. Those cards go in that organized basket. For today, I'm showing you one sheet wonder samples made with the two step stamping technique. I chose Papertrey's new Little Lady ladybug set, so cute! I stamped one sheet of ladybug and flower images but you could stamp several sheets depending on the number of cards you need or to keep in a file for future use. I got 4 cards out of this one sheet. Depending on what occasion cards you need, stamp different sentiments on one style card. By using images that are *generic* like the ladybugs, flowers, etc, you can make a lot of cards out of one style.

Stay tuned tomorrow for some tips on how I actually stamp in mass production. Have a great day!

May 19, 2007

Strawberry Delight

Hi Ladies! Thank you for the overwhelming response to my new hair cut! I have to say, it's wonderful to feel refreshed and have a new look. Your comments have made me feel so good! You're great friends.

Today's creations are a gift ensemble for a friend who got her master's degree. We had a little party for her last night and this was my gift. It was all done in a strawberry theme, which I just adore! Every year Target comes out with a summer display of delightful, whimsical plastic dishes and cups, etc. This year they have ice cream sundae and strawberry stuff. So fun! My friend is dieting and really wants to give herself the gift of losing weight by the time her birthday rolls around this fall. So I got her a cute little place setting just for her. I've given this type of gift to lots of friends and they just love it. It includes a plate, bowl, glass, place mat, cloth napkin and some paper plates and paper napkins for her little girls so they won't feel left out on the fun. Lori can fix her salads and low fat foods and dine with strawberry delight all summer long.

As I propped all of these goodies for the photo, I wished that I had all this fun stuff!! Oh wait, I do!!!! Cuz I bought this same stuff for me and the girls to have little porch picnics this summer! I am so spoiled! I'll have to post some yummy strawberry recipes soon so you can enjoy some of my favorites too!

For the stamping part: I stamped 6 delightful cards using Papertrey's Green Thumb set. Nichole's strawberries are so fun to work with. Lori can use these for thank you's for all of her graduation gifts she received. I also wheeled the gift sack and tissue with a swirly design and made a matching strawberry tag. Then added lots of curly ribbon for a finishing touch. She loved it.....and I had the cutest gift wrap there!!

On a side's my birthday today! I'm 38 years young and life is good to me! I have a wonderful husband and two cute little redheads named Josey and Jordan that make life so special. They are in town right now buying my birthday gift and some ice cream for brownie sundaes tonight. My DH is taking us for a country drive later to pick a huge bucket of wild flowers. All this rain has made them bloom and they are beautiful!!! There is nothing like seeing two fiery reds running through a field to pick their mama flowers. I couldn't ask for anything more. Then I'm gonna stamp some goodies with my new Little Lady set from Papertrey! I hope you all have a blessed day too!

Tip of the day: If you're like me, you are always rushing when it comes time to wrap a gift. Go to Walmart and purchase some plain gift sacks. Stamp them, wheel them, etc and make some matching gift tags, gift cards and tissue. Fold the tissue up neatly and place inside the sack with the tag and card. Store them in a drawer with other gift wrap items. When you need a gift sack, you will have a darling little ensemble just waiting for you.

May 17, 2007

My New Do!

Okay, here's my new hair cut. Do you know how hard it is to take a decent photo or yourself? Well, after many shots of my butt and gut I finally figured out the timer feature on my camera. Then there's the cropping out of the gihugic boobs and flappy arms. HOWEVER, I do like my haircut! Washing my hair took a teeny amount of shampoo and I dried it in like 5 minutes. Then came the tricky part....using a flat iron!! After my $37 haircut, my convincing stylist sent me to the beauty warehouse place for a $68 flat iron! Geez Louise!! I better get to making some crafts to sell pronto!

If you have curly hair like me....we're talking mega waves know how hard it is to keep a straight hair style. I was holding onto that long, curly hair but once we got a nice, hot day those feelings changed. I wanted something new and sporty that wouldn't curl up the minute I walked out the door. So the flat iron did the trick. The hard part was not fluffing my hair up with the pick. I just put some waxy junk on and it was done. My biggest fear is that I will fry my hair over time..we'll see!

Okay, that's it for these photos of me. Don't expect anymore for a loooooong time! I'm off to make a cute graduation ensemble for my friend.......strawberry theme! I can't wait to post it!

May 16, 2007

Best Tips of the Day!

Hi ladies, I just got back from a wonderful day of shopping and getting my hair lopped off! I got some wonderful gifts for graduations, some cute strawberry place settings from Target, an expensive flat iron, Archer Farms kettle chips from Target, some chocolates for a friend, a few scrapbook supplies, the new Home Companion magazine, a new scrapbook idea book and filled the gas tank...big $$ but oh so fun! It's my birthday on Saturday so I'm celebrating all week long!

Sooooo, since I've been shopping all day and admiring my new haircut, I certainly haven't had time to stamp today. But I got a ton of inspiration for the upcoming week. However, I did do some blog browsing today and found some wonderful tips for you......lots of tips.....wonderful tips......FANTASTIC TIPS! I highly suggest you visit Julie's blog for some wonderful thoughts on spending less money on crafting! I know, it sounds horrifying right? But I bet we can all be a little more frugal and a lot more selective in our purchases.

And then, you've got to head over to Pine's blog(Heather Nichols). She has photographed her design and thought process for the Papertrey samples she created for the PT Design Gallery. If you've ever wanted to be inside Pine's mind, here's your chance! It's so much fun to see other stampers at work!

So there you have it ladies, a lot of good information from the BEST stampers and friends a girl could know! Hopefully I will have some goodies to post tomorrow and I might even show you my new hair cut!

My tip of the day: Okay, this is going to sound weird but here goes. I brought home a sack full of my hair trimmings. See, told ya! But.....did you know that birds love stuff like hair and yarn and lint to put in their nests? Well, now ya know! My husband is going to think I'm totally off my rocker but what's new right? What you do is scatter this stuff around your yard and tuck it into little spots that birds might hang out. Then try to find their nests later on and see what goodies are in there. I promise you, it will be in there!

May 15, 2007

Faux Ribbon Contest Entry

I entered this card in the Faux Ribbon contest at Papertrey. Although it wasn't the winning entry, I was thrilled to get an honorable mention from Nichole on her blog. Thank you Nichole for mentioning me! This is one of those cards that is probably one of a kind. I thought and thought about the design of this card and was very pleased with how elegant and *stationery* like it turned out.

Supplies: Stamp set is PT Faux Ribbon, floral paper is from My Mind's Eye, aqua color card stock is Bazzill and ribbon is from the Martha Stewart collection at Michael's.

Well Nichole and her partners have done it again! Another SUPER DUPER CUTE set was released last night.....probably sold out by now as fast as they go! You better head over there NOW if you haven't done so yet. The set is called Little Lady and is the most adorable ladybug set you've ever seen. Once again, Nichole has put a lot of thought into the tiniest details such as the ladybug trail which will also work wonderfully with the butterfly set....the little polka dots.....the different styles of antenna, etc. She is SO clever!! A big hand to her partners also as I'm sure they are packing and shipping like crazy right now!!! Can't wait to get my hands on those goods!!

Tip of the day: When you get your acrylic sets and transfer them to the CD case, keep that hard plastic portion that the images are stuck to and store it in your CD case. This helps to keep the images from sticking together when you re-open the case.

May 14, 2007

Purse Pail

I made about 10 versions of these clear gift pails. This particular one has K & Company 3-dimensional purse stickers on it along with velvet ribbon along the the top and bottom edges. Scallop circle punch from Martha Stewart at Michael's. Sentiment from Papertrey Inc. Clear pails from Eclectic Paperie. Giant flower on top from Cindy's Star Lit Studio online store. You can find all the links at the right. I like to leave the pail fairly unadorned and then fill with irredescent filler stuff so that the inside gift can be seen.

This little pail will be filled with chocolates and a gift certificate to Eclectic Paperie! My friend is gonna squeal with delight when she gets it!

Tip of the day: Many of you ask about how I price my craft items. I will leave the exact dollar amount for you guys to figure out, but here's what I do: I figure up the total cost an item costs me to make. Then I usually double or triple that cost. If it seems too high or low then I will round that cost up or down, keeping in mind what I would pay for an item like this. Keep in mind that you do not want to just break even. You need to make a profit on your craft items and also get paid for your time.

For example on the purse pail in the photo.......I figured the cost of each item: about 1 yard of ribbon, about 1 yard of velvet trim, 1/2 pack of stickers, paint pail, giant flower, filler stuff and a small price for the tag/string. Doubling or tripling the total of these items will include any glue/adhesive that I use. Once you get the hang of it, you'll know what seems right. Also, ask the advice of friends or family. Say, *what would you pay for this?*

Hope the tips help, ladies!

May 11, 2007

Sweet Tin Ensemble

This week I had over a few teacher gals after school to shop. I had a bunch of cards, tins, clipboards, etc made up for them to choose from. Easy money, I tell ya! I work and work and work until I have enough goods to fill my kitchen table, then I invite friends over to shop.

This little *sweet* tin ensemble was left over. And whaddya know, I need a little going away gift tomorrow for one of Jordy's little friends who is moving away. I think I'll throw in a few postage stamps, a cute pen and some notecards so she can be pen pals with Jordy. It's always nice to be able to *shop* out of your own stash. I'm rarely without a short notice gift. My mom has come over three times this week to shop! I think she likes her family discount!!!!!

Supply List: The paper is cute isn't it, too bad I forgot who makes it!! Maybe Paper Salon? Sorry! The Maya Road tin is from Eclectic Paperie (link at right), along with the Cuttlebug letters and flowers on the small tin and clippie bookmark. Giant clips for bookmark from Walmart. Small tin from Provo Craft. Ribbon is May Arts from Cindy's ebay store. Pink velvet trim around sweet tin is from Michael's.

Tip of the day:
1. When applying paper to tins, I prefer to use redline sticky tape. It sticks really good and you don't have the mess of modpodge. No buckling of the paper either.

2. Also, and maybe I've mentioned this before, when you are looking to sell your papercraft items, look for people who DON'T stamp or craft. Usually we're looking for stampers if we are a demonstrator, but if you want to sell your goods, find friends and family who are not crafty but who DO love to gift unique, fun gifts. They will become loyal customers again and again, and they look forward to what you create next. Plus, they tell their friends and then your business grows. It's a GRAND thing!

May 6, 2007

Anniversary Cards

Recently my family attend a double anniversary party. 30 years for my neighbors and 60 years for their parents! It was a cards only/no gifts party so I made up these two cards. The size is larger than a regular card and I added a ton of glitter, even to the envelope. My cards had the most decorated and shiniest envelopes of all!! I know that you all can appreciate that proud moment in my life.....whereas everyone else would be like *big deal, Michelle!* I know you know what I mean cuz we stampers fall from the tree right?

Well anyway, it's SOGGY here in Kansas with a capital SOG!!! My garden is half washed away and the timber behind our house is totally flooded. Plus my plants that I just got done planting are under water, poor little sprouts! Sooo, I'm staying indoors and stamping! I have some teacher friends coming over after school on Tuesday and I need GOODS for them to look at! I must mass produce lickity split! So I'm off girls! Have a great week and I hope you get to stamp!!

Tip of the day: If you need to give a card for a really special occasion, line the inside of the card with white or vanilla cardstock. This makes the card look very polished and professional, and provides a crisp writing surface.

May 1, 2007

Cupcakes Anyone?

This month is my birthday month! So what better way to start the stamping this month than with birthday cupcakes?? The first tent topper card uses all A Muse sentiments and images for the stamps. I love how it all ties in perfectly with this new Junkitz cupcake paper. I used my Cricut to cut out the cupcake diecut and attached some Doodlebug flower sequins for bling.

The second set of cards are made with all new Doodlebug papers and clear stamps. Aren't they cute images? Doodlebug is brilliant at coordinating all their stamps, papers, and embellishments. I used bright and cheery cardstock and markers to match the papers. The black birthday sentiment on the orange is outlined in a matching orange marker for a little extra punch.

Tip of the day (I know, a second tip today!!): Pay attention to the little details, especially if you sell your cards. Your customers look for this and the recipients of your cards LOVE it! For example on the Doodlebug cards, I used dimensionals for added depth, pink glitter on the cupcake and orange Stickles for the candle top. A cute ribbon always adds a nice finishing touch. None of these items are very expensive either so you add several little accents and still come out ahead. I think you need another trip to Eclectic Paperie (see link at right), they have some awesomely fun stuff!!! Can you tell I like their store?
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