Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year in Review

I was just looking through several weeks of Google Reader blogs.  I have been loving the "Top 10" posts that so many are posting.  I wanted to join the fun, but I would like to do it with a twist.  Yeah, I always like to change things up - it's how I roll.  :)

2010 has been a year of abundant blessing, much growth, many memories, a few tears (at times with much pain), and a year that I will always cherish.  Instead of picking my top 10, which is probably the last 10 cards I made, I wanted to do a year in review.  Just like life, my card making is a process.  One that is full of growth, sometimes pain, and many great memories.  So enjoy my stroll through 2010 while I choose a card that I made each month.

For January, I choose to share this card for the first time on my blog.  Yes, I do have things I don't blog about.  It happens; it happens more than I would want.

Credits:  All papers and elements from Birthday Boogie by Miss Mint at Peppermint Creative

My February favorite is really a picture I took of several cards I made.  This was for an order of many cards.  I might have shared one or two of these, but most are unseen.

I would love to include credits, but this would be crazy.  If you have something you want to know about, ask me in the comments and I will be sure to give you an answer.

March - I really need to use those butterflies more.  They are so beautiful!

Original Post Here

April - I was really starting to get into coloring with my Copics.

Original Post Here


Original Post Here

June - I love using so things from so many sources!

Original Post Here


Original Post Here


Original Post Here

September - I was trying to make all the teachers a card.  I still haven't finished.  *crawling into my shell*

Original Post Here


Original Post Here


Original Post Here


Original Post Here

Thanks for joining me in my stroll through the year.  It is so fun to see my style, growth, and change throughout the year.  I would have to say that I have finally found my "voice" in card making.  So much of what I did do was bad, a copy, or heavily inspired.  I am still inspired and influenced by many of you, Nicole Heady, and so many in the PTI community.

Goodbye 2010.  Welcome 2011 - I cannot wait to see what you bring.  (may it be a whole lot of crafting money and time *wink*)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Verve Project Parade

I am squeaking in at the last minute for the Verve Project Parade.  When I read about the challenge, I was intrigued and knew exactly which stamps I wanted to use.  Although I love winter, I am a sunny kind of girl.  KWIM?  I wanted to make something for my husband as he has basically nothing in his office.  No seriously.  He has two pictures (one of each child) on this huge, beautiful bookcase.  So, I wanted to cheer it up a little, and I think he is going to love it.  That is the kind of husband I have - I know - so lucky!  :)

Here are my projects all together and close ups to follow.

How fun is this?  Right!  I just love all of these together.  I think it makes it more fun and more special when you know what you have created is going to bring someone you love so much "sunshine".

Here is a close up of the card.  I created the background paper by stamping and coloring the sunshine.  Then I had to add some polka dots because what is a card without them?

This is the altered canvas that I made for him.  I can see this sitting on his bookcase already.

This is just the bag.  I stamped the sun on the front but the polka dots go all around the bag.

I wanted to show you a close up of the tag and sunshine on the bag.  Do you see the sparkles?  I couldn't  make a cream colored bag look right and trust me that there are no Harvest Gold or Smokey Shadow ones to be found.  So, I made do with the kraft color.

Thanks for looking at all of my projects.  I had a blast!

Stamps: Let It Shine (Verve); Polka Dot Basics, Fillable Frames #10 (Papertrey Ink)
Ink: Smokey Shadow, Fresh Snow, Vintage Cream (Papertrey Ink); Harvest Gold-a-like Generic Michael's Brand
Paper: Vintage Cream, Harvest Gold, Smokey Shadow (Papertrey Ink)
Other: Harvest Gold Bitty Dot Ribbon (PTI), Vintage Cream Satin Ribbon (PTI), Copic Markers, Copic Spica Markers, Limitless Labels Die (PTI), Tag Sale #2 (PTI), Craft Paint (Aleene's), Canvas (Hobby Lobby)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Happy Birthday . . . Dad

I am about a week late in sharing this, but I wanted to anyway.  I made this card for my husband to give to his dad for his birthday.

And my newest obsession . . . the inside.  I don't know why I have never decorated the insides.  Lately, I have been putting a bit more focus on them.  Enjoy!
-All Papertrey Ink unless noted-
Stamps: Because of You, World's Best (Verve); Sheltering Tree (My Favorite Things); Fly Away
Ink: Simply Chartreuse, Lemon Tart, Summer Sunrise, Orange Zest, Dark Chocolate
Paper: Rustic White, Orange Zest, Summer Sunrise, Harvest Gold, Lemon Tart, Simply Chartreuse
Other: Sheltering Tree Die (My Favorite Things); Tissue Paper

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

My Process and How My Organization Reflects It

Today is going to be a LONG post.  Sorry.  There was some discussion at the PTI boards about organization.  I wanted to snap some photos to help some of my fellow crafters out.  So, I thought a blog post was in order so that I can explain it all in one place.  So, you may see these on the boards, too.

My Process

Here is a little overview of my little stamping space.  Otherwise known in our house as "Mom's Closet". This little room is off the back of my bathroom, which is off the back of our master bedroom, at the very end/corner of our house, as far away from humanity as humanly possible, out of ear shot of any goings on in my house . . . you get the picture.  This was a very purposeful little space - just for me (well, or any kids who wander in because that's the kind of mom I am).  And seriously, it is small.  But, when you are building a house and each square foot costs you, you realize really quick that an oversized closet will be best.  And, when we sell, someone will get two walk in closets and one extremely large one.  I will be making some woman VERY happy.

I have lots going on here.  I will come back to the specifics later throughout my post.

I almost always (and without fail, every time, seriously) start with the stamps.  I just do.  Nothing is more frustrating than trying to put a stamp or fit it with something I want to use.  It just frustrates me.  So, I have two things I use for this.

The first is my "stamp book".

This is it. No frills.  Here are some peeks inside.

Yes, I actually stamp each stamp in this book.  YIKES!  I find that it helps for a couple of reasons.  One, often times the stamps need conditioning before they can be used.  I almost always buy PTI, but no matter what brand, I go through the same steps.  As soon as I get my stamps, I open them, stamp them into inventory, and store them in CD cases.  I have had to discipline myself to do this.  But, it makes the rest SO much easier.  Two, I like to stamp them because I get an accurate example of its size.  And last, I can see any trouble spots up front and get a feel for the stamp before it ever hits a project.

This little book offers a bit more than meets the eye.  I write down EVERYTHING I can think of about the stamp on the back of the pages.  I like to write the release date (if I know it), the stamp company, what date I purchased it, how much it cost, does it have a matching die or punch (even if I don't own it), does it have coordinating paper, was there a reason or project that made me purchase the stamps, etc.  You don't know how many times I will see a stamp set and go, "I remember the most adorable card that Nicole made with this."   I can turn the page over and see that it was released in April of 2010 and head straight to her blog.  You would be surprised at how you think you will always remember that these were PTI, Verve Stamps, or whatever.  But months or years later (and 100 stamps sets) you cannot for the life of you remember.  I know this seems obnoxious.  I am slightly embarrassed to share this side of me.  OCD?  But, I am a chain remember-er.  One little bit of info triggers so much.

The second stamp organization tool that I use is my iPad.  Well, actually it is an app on my iPad called HanDBase.  I use it to organize all of my sentiments.  Here is a screen shot of some of my stamps with their sentiments (sorry it isn't rotated).

I use this app to sort sentiments by theme.  I can also do a search for any sentiment that has the word "love" in it, etc.  I don't feel like I have to use the sentiments that are included with a certain stamp set.  I get so much more mileage out of them this way.

Now that I have picked my stamps, I will go looking for any matching dies or punches.  And sometimes, I will just go looking to see what I have that I may want to use.  This is where my "Punch and Die" book comes into play.

Again, no frills.  This little book has lots of surprises.  So let's take a look inside.

I use each page to typically only punch one shape.  I made an exception for the little circle because they were the same brand.  I label the punch with the brand and description.  I don't bother with coordinating stamp sets as this is always changing and referenced with the stamp.  Also, I don't bother with electronic die cuts.  This is only for metal dies or punches.

You may wonder why I kept the negative.  Well, check out what I can do with them.

I can actually use my stamp book to visually see exactly what it is going to look like on my die or punch.  The only downside is that I made my book 4 inches by 4 inches.  I want to go back and make a bigger one to accommodate the PTI Mat Stack Dies.  Who knows?  I may make them their own book.  Obviously, this is always a work in progress.

So, I have my stamps and my die cuts or punches chosen . . .

Now, I take the opportunity to select my color scheme.  I have yet another little handy, dandy book for this, too.  :)  My Color Book!

I made this book the same size as an A2 card - 4.25 by 5.5 inches.  I thought I would show you my little inside secret.
Reused "chipboard".  :)

Here is a picture of one of the pages in this book.

Let me point out a few things.  I adhere a piece of card stock to a white piece of paper.  I like the white because it allows me to stamp directly on it to showcase the ink as well.  I stamp all of my matching colors in the upper right hand corner.  And I of course write in the name.  I don't put PTI on any of these as I only use PTI.  If I went with a different company, I would have to decide if I wanted a new book or add to this.  ???  I am sticking with PTI for now.  Also, on the top left corner of the colored card stock, I have stamped with Versamark.  I like to see what my options are.  I keep thinking that some day I am going to go back and stamp tone on tone as well.  I haven't yet, but this may be the catalyst to get me going, who knows.  The only other thing I have considered and haven't done is adding stamping on Vintage Cream.

I also keep a little book of color schemes. :)  Seriously, I need "little book" therapy.
Do you recognize those?  The PTI team did these for the Anniversary (I think).  Anyway, I not only cut out and paste the color scheme idea, I use one of the dots from Polka Dot Basics to stamp it onto the card.  I have little color challenge pictures cut and in here.  When I see a color scheme I want to keep, I put it in my book.  If I am ever stumped, I just pull it out and go from there.  Sometimes I copy the colors exactly and sometimes they inspire me in a similar or whole new direction.  It is sized at 4.25 inches by 2.5 inches.

Here is a quick look at how I store my paper.

I keep them in their packages and in a magazine rack on my shelf.  This sits desk level on my shelving directly to my right.  I don't keep very much pattern paper, but the non-PTI paper is in the drawers to the right.  The PTI pattern paper in on the shelf to the right of the drawers.  I keep them in their little matchbook holder things.

Now here is where I start thinking about my paper - not just the color.  Do I want to use a pattern, stamp a pattern, emboss, or impress.  For this, I am making another little book.  :)  I don't have a photo of it as it is still under construction, but it is copies of the front of the PTI pattern paper holder.  I don't have a magical answer for other patterns.  I just rummage through the drawer of paper.  Nothing scientific.

If I am going to stamp a pattern, I have already picked it out in my stamp picking process or I can go back to my Stamp Book.  Now, if I want to emboss or impress, well . . . I have a book for that.

It is exactly like my punch book - same size and made from the same materials.  I just took each page and either impressed or embossed.  It is easier if you write on the paper first and then emboss.  But I do that on the back of each page.

This is also where I will go through my border punches and dies.  And, yes, I have a little book for that.  Only my son made cards yesterday.  He was so excited that I had some pre-made cuts for him to use.  :)  He honestly didn't know it was a book.  I had them on a binder ring, but I didn't put any chipboard on it. He saw it laying on my desk and went to town.  So, I will be making another.  It was long like a short ruler.  I cut 2 inch by 6 inch papers and punched the hole.  THEN, I punched the border.  That ensured that all the pages lined up on one side.  I am AR like that.  :)  I will say that when I remake this, I will make it 2 inches by 8 inches (if I were a scrapbooker, I would consider 12 inches).

Now is the fun part.   The embellishments!  I keep most of my embellishments organized by color.  The tall tower of drawers is little bits and pieces all sorted by color - regardless of manufacturer or "set".

Look almost all the way to the left.  See those drawers?  That is all sorts of buttons, flowers, jewels, little pieces of ribbon that didn't get used, etc.  I will run through quickly how I sort some of my other things.

This is how I store my ribbon.  These are Cropper Hopper 3 X 3 embellishment drawers.  For me, this is THE perfect way to store ribbon.  I would love to have a couple more, but they are not made anymore.  I keep all of the same color together and it is sorted according to the order in my color book.  So, if you opened the top left drawer, you would find Scarlet Jewel ribbon, Pure Poppy Ribbon, Terra-cotta Tile Ribbon, and so forth from drawer to drawer.  Yes, I have to readjust with each color release, but I never have to guess where a color will be.  Because I do have to readjust every other month or so, I haven't put the colors on the outside of the drawer.

This is my ink colors.  They are situated on the shelves to the right of my desk.  They sit atop a kitchen organizer.  It is really a pantry riser.  I fits my PTI inks perfectly.  So, dreading the new inks for storage purposes.  I have no idea if this will still work.  I have a few of my reinkers out, but they are usually in a white box (more on those in a bit).  I used a hole punch to punch a small piece of card stock to adhere on the outside of the inks.  I also have them arranged by color groups.  It is fast and painless to find what I need.

I have a bunch of these photo boxes on my shelves.  I like that they are all the same size and fit perfectly on my shelves - maximize the space.  I store all kinds of things in these.  You can see some of the labels. You can find the bulk of the "other" stuff in these boxes: PTI felt, Cricut Catridges, Glitter, Embossing, Tools, Markers and Pens, punches that are seasonal or not used as frequent, non PTI ink, reinkers . . . just to name a few.

The bottom drawer is where are where I store my PTI dies.  Yes, they all fit in there quite well.  Have a peek inside.

The top right is where I keep my Fillable Frames series.  The bottom right is all of the small punches like Up Up and Away, Beautiful Blooms, etc.  The bottom left is for Mat Stacks.  The top left is just for my Christmas Tree.  :)  It is one of the only single, larger dies.

So, where do I store all of my "little books"?  Well, they are typically kept in the metal bin directly in front of me at my desk all the time.  Take a peek.

 I like having them right at my finger tips so that they are a tool to my process.  I really do use all of these things - multiple times per card sometimes.  They greatly increase my productivity by allowing me to put my focus on the fun and design and not what "stuff" I have that would work.

I don't scrapbook much anymore.  Ok, I don't paper scrapbook at all.  But, if you do, I have a tip for you.  Do you see the pink paper poking out of the top right side of my basket.  In that baggie, you will find templates of all sorts of common photo sizes (several of each 4 x 6, 5 x 7, 4 x 4, 3.5 x 5).  I used to be able to plan and make my pages even before I printed my pictures.  It made for MUCH faster work.  No more printing a 4 x 6 only to want a 5 x 7 when you began making the page.

I wanted to point out a couple of last things.  I have created a "U" around me.  All of my supplies (with exception of a few seasonal things or weird things I don't use much) are within reach.  Anything I use a lot is at my finger tips.  All of my adhesive is found in the metal basket right at the front of my desk.  My paper trimmer is hanging on the wall with my Score Buddy right next to it (look beside the drawers).  My scissors are hanging at my fingertips.  I even have my iPad right in front of me.  I can use it to access my stamp database, my inspiration files (I have all of them synced to my iPad), and even watch TV while I work.

I love my space.  I really do.  I am ALWAYS looking for ways to improve.  So, I don't necessarily claim any of the ideas here.  I have seen things and copied them, adjusted them to fit my needs, or yeah I actually thought of a thing or two.  So, what you see today may not be here tomorrow, but I have reached a point where I tweak more instead of change.  But, I am always open to the possibility.  :)

Thanks for bearing with me and all my ramblings.  I hope that this will inspire you, give you a push to improve your space, or impress you (ok, just kidding!).  Seriously, this craft (for me) is so much about community.  I sincerely hope that in even a small way this would help you out.  If you have questions, let me know.  I will do my best to answer them.

Edited to correct:  I had originally put my iPad app as HandyBase.  It is actually HanDBase.  I know it caused some confusion for those of you looking for it.  I am so sorry I missed the spelling.