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