Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cards, cards, cards

Last night was my stamp-a-stack class (everyone makes 12 cards plus matching envelopes--3 different designs, but 4 cards of each design). I had a few of my usual students, but a new student, Debbie, also came. She had requested in advance that I make some masculine cards and some sympathy cards. I was having fun working on the card above as the masculine card while Rick was (finally) anchoring my last 3 shelf units to the wall on Saturday. Now, I can finish moving my stuff into the classroom. I had decided on the colors and basic design, but I thought the background needed something ... the plain Sahara Sand cardstock looked too dull. I had recently replaced my Old World Map background stamp (I had sold mine years ago when it retired, and have regretted it ever since!), so I stamped it with Versamark, and when I added the strips & the artwork, I didn't like it. I decided to go with the Square Lattice embossing folder instead, but I was too lazy to get another piece of cardstock--I just flipped it around, and decided the background could be on the inside ... wa-laa!

Everyone loved it! We usually only stamp the fronts of the cards, but I might start doing more on the inside.
This next card was the sympathy card, but the rest of my students don't really want to stamp sympathy cards, so I also made the same card with a Get Well sentiment, and changed the orientation, so they had a choice with this one. This card wasn't as involved as the first one, but you had to color the stamp with 2 markers, so it was still a little time consuming.

The last card was a very quick, simple card (they're usually all quick, simple cards at a Stamp-a-Stack because you need to complete 12 cards + envelopes in 2 hours), and it might just be my favorite. I love the simplicity and the colors.

Some Versamark flowers for the background with a simple sentiment, a 2-step stamped flower with a single layer, and some Crystal Effects in the center of the flower--done!
The new student sent me an email today telling me how much she enjoyed herself at my class. She said she was so excited that she just wanted to stamp some more when she got home, but she had to get to bed. Unfortunately, she couldn't stop thinking about the class, so she just laid there thinking about stamping and she couldn't fall asleep. I felt so bad for her cause there's nothing worse than not being able to fall asleep. On the other hand, she made me feel so good knowing that she had such a good time and she wants to come to more of my classes! I think next time she comes, I'll send her home with a sleeping pill! lol

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wendy Vecchi Challenge #5

I finished challenge #5 for my Everything Wendy Vecchi yahoo group on time, but since my computer crashed, I'm just getting around to posting it today. Hopefully, I'll get around to making the project for challenge #6 done and posted before the deadline tomorrow night! lol

The challenge was to use chipboard letters and one of Wendy's 'scroll' images (I call them 'flourishes'). I had the base of the card done with the house, and I was showing it to my students at my last class, and we were discussing what I could do with the scroll image, and we came up with clouds!

On to the deets: I used Stampin' Up! Basic Black textured cardstock for the card base and I used a 3x3 chipboard coaster on top. I painted the coaster using Pebble Paint Dabber, and after a 2nd coat, I'd gotten impatient, so I used the heat gun to speed up drying. The paint crackled, and I really liked the effect! Next, I stamped on it with one of Wendy's great background stamps and the black Adirondack ink.

I stamped the house and 'clouds' on grunge paper and cut out. The letters are from one of Tim Holtz's grungeboard sets and I colored everything with Tim's Distress inks and the applicator tool. I also added some Stampin' Up! Crystal Effects to the house.

This house image is really only half the design ... I stamped the entire design on grunge paper, but I cut off the words and colored them differently and adhered them on the inside. I think this will make a really cute new home card. Now, I just need someone to move! lol

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My First Crop Nite!

My first crop nite here was a great success! I had 3 customers come, and we all had so much fun! Frances was working on her scrapbooking, Jen was working on some thank you cards, and Mary was making assorted cards. I managed to finish this page of my great-nephew, Rian. I had started on this at last month's Michaels crop, but there were two customers there who were very new to scrapbooking, so I couldn't get much done because I was helping them so much.

Jen had shopped at A.C.Moore before coming, and the paper she purchased went perfectly with the new stamp set she received when she got here (from Frances' workshop). She made the most adorable little thank you cards with little birdies.

And Frances was putting together the kit she had purchased from Scrap-a-doodle-doo. She said it was the February kit, and it was really cute. I'll have to run up there to see how the March kit looks! I liked the kit because if was one of those 'brainless' kits that comes with photos of the finished layout with instructions, as opposed to the kits that just come with matching supplies and you get creative. I like the brainless kits when I go to crops for a couple of reasons ... 1) I don't have to lug lots of paper, stamp sets, inks, embellishments, etc. It's all in one kit, and I just need my basic SB supplies and pics; and 2) when I'm at a crop, I love socializing, shopping, etc. and I don't focus as well as when I'm working on my own. If I don't just copy something, then I don't get much done. As you can see from the above layout, it took me two small crops to get just one simple page done!

Mary came with all her Stampin' Up! paper she purchased from me and some inks (she didn't realize that she could borrow my inks when here for a crop). She asked me if she could see some card samples so she could use them as ideas to make her cards. I had no problem handing her the boxes of cards from the last 2 years of classes, but I don't think I'll ever do that again. It turned into more of a private class for her than a crop. There were several cards she loved and she wanted to recreate, but she had to keep asking me how to do the techniques. Not only did I not get much done, but not for nothing, that's what my technique classes are for. We also had a small mishap when a drink was spilled, right where she had a pile of my cards!

So, live & learn. Technique classes are for learning the techniques and making the cards, and crops are for working on your own, creating your own stuff, be it scrapbooking, cards, any type of project.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Finished a Challenge!

WooHoo! I actually got a challenge done! The Wendy Vecchi Yahoo Group has been doing challenges almost every Wednesday, and because of the work on the basement, I haven't really had time to play. Well, this week, I made sure I made some time. I've been waiting so long for someone to start these challenges, and they've been passing me by. I do plan on catching up tho!

The challenge for this week was to use Wendy's Perfect Pearls Mist technique from her first book. I have a whole rack of mini misters, and they're all empty! lol It was nice to finally put some PP in a couple and actually use them!

The idea was to get the Perfect Pearls exactly where you want them, as opposed to just sprayed on the background. The fine detail of the background stamp I used makes it hard to see the shimmer in the photo. But, the background was inked with Faded Jeans Distress Ink, then I used Heirloom Gold Perfect Pearls for the technique. Sorry, but I'm not allowed to post details on the actual technique, so you'll either have to buy the book or check out Wendy's blog.

Feeling Right at Home

Last night was the first class in my new classroom, and I must say, we all do love it! It's so nice to have everything in one room, plus extra room to get up and move around. No more squeezing behind each other's chairs! Love it!

One of my favorite customers', Grace, even brought me a new classroom gift ... an Arbonne candle! How thoughtful was that? Thanks Grace!

We had Techniques class last night, so I designed 3 new cards. Everyone loved this one because they learned some wire techniques.

This was my favorite, and it quickly became theirs too. Grace even mentioned that now she needs that Scallop Envelope Die! We punched out several hearts using the Heart to Heart punch and cut them from the Love Letters DS paper. And, I can't get enough of that new 1/8" Taffeta ribbon!

This third card involved watercoloring. I chose to do this technique because Jen had ordered the Brights watercolor crayons back in July 2010, and believe it or not, she just finally got her hands on them last week! I thought I'd surprise her by showing her a card using her new supplies.

It was so nice to see friends I haven't seen since December before we started working on the basement. I think we spent about as much time chatting & catching up as we did stamping! Grace & Jen missed stamping so much, that now they're going to try scrapbooking class next Monday! And, I've got the perfect beach layout for them to create ...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pros & Cons

I received a query about my opinion of the die cut station from Joann's, and I thought I'd share it here for everyone. I'll start out with the Pros ...

I love it that I have all my dies, embosslits, plates, etc. in one spot, and I can do the cutting right on top at a perfect height. I believe the original price was $159.99, and I got it on sale for $99.99 online.

I had to build the unit (which I enjoy doing), but there were a MILLION pieces, and I really worked up a sweat during the 3 hours it took me to put it together! But, I loved every minute!

The top drawer is the shallowest, so I use that to store all my cutting plates, multi-purpose platforms, texture plates, & inserts for using the movers & shapers dies. I also keep my cords in there for my Cricut Expression.

The front has 8 slots designed to hold 12x12 paper, but since I have paper racks, I chose to use these slots to hold my Sizzlit cases and my one Kwikutz alphabet. I'd have preferred more drawers, but this works too, it's just that I have to bend down to see what I'm looking for.

Now, for the cons: Only the bottom drawer is deep enough for the dies to go in upright with the labels visible. I had to re-label all my dies so I could store them sideways, plus they still have to be in the drawer angled to fit.

The drawers aren't on glides, so with the weight of the dies, it's a little awkward opening & closing them. I'm going to look into purchasing some glides somewhere and installing them myself, but who knows if I'll ever getting around to that!

All in all, if I had to weigh the pros & cons, I think it has more cons than pros. Sure, it's convenient, but I think there's a lot of wasted space, and this baby's gonna be full to capacity by the end of the year, I'm sure. For now, it's fine, cause I think it's the only thing out there, but I think somebody's going to design something soon that's much more practical. Just give 'em some time.

Somebody suggested one of the Craftsman rolling tool chests to store punches ... maybe something like that would be good for dies? I don't know, but if you've got a coupon, and you need something now, I think it's a good thing.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Classroom Update

Almost back to normal ... not! I've been so busy moving things downstairs, building furniture, organizing, labeling ... it feels like I should be done! But, I look at my family room, and out the window at my sunporch, and there's so much more to move down to the new classroom.

Here's some proof that I have been active, I swear!

We also ordered a new desk online (wasn't too sure how that was going to work out), and it was a very pleasant experience. We got an excellent price from a company called Hayneedle.com, received free shipping via FedEx, and we received 3 huge, H-E-A-V-Y boxes within days. I couldn't wait to get it together.

I got the L-shaped desk together myself, and the next morning I built the hutch, but it was so heavy, I had to wait for Rick to get home to help me get it on to the desk. It was very heavy, so we rested it on the front of the desk, and I thought I could just slide it back ... oops!

Needless to say, Rick wasn't too happy with me. lol

I had to take a break from working on the classroom to working 'in' the classroom. I had my first workshop down there on Friday night, and I had to get projects together, create a new class schedule, and make sure everything was ready for my guests. Rick came down when I finished and snapped some pics of me waiting for the group.

My hostess was Frances (seated on the left), and she & her sister Jen (sitting next to her) had a horrendous week, and she was such a trooper to still have her workshop. Hopefully, things will start returning to normal for them, and life will start looking bright again.

When everyone arrived, and they all got over the oohs & aahs of the new classroom, we got down to having fun!

We made two projects, and one of them involved dry embossing with the Big Shot and a die cut folder, so here are Frances, Jen & her mom, Barbara at the Big Shot Station.

This was the first project we made ...

I precut all the cardstock for the notecards, and plastic using the pillow box die. All the plastic was re-cycled from packaging from lots of embossing folders, Idea-ology, etc. I've been saving it for a while. The little cupcake on the notecard was made from our new Create a Cupcake stamp set and the coordinating Build a Cupcake punch.

The other project we made was something I called a "present card" because it opens like a present with the fold at the bottom and you lift the top off to see what's inside.

We made this card using the Botanical Gazette Designer Series papers, and the Blossom Petals Punch, which is another new punch. We also used the new huge, 2-1/2" Circle punch and the Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder.

If you're interested in any of the above supplies, you can order them anytime 24/7 by going to my SU website here, and click on the SHOP NOW button at the top. Simple! Plus, our Sale-a-Bration promotion is on right now ... you can receive any stamp set or product from the SAB brochure for free for every $50 you spend. Frances earned an extra free stamp set at her workshop because hostesses receive one for every $300 in total sales! That's besides her beautiful hostess stamp set, her stamped gift from me, plus $35 in free merchandise! She was thrilled!

OK, so ... with the workshop over now, it was back to work Saturday morning. Time to finally start painting those ugly steps! Rick bought a gallon of this special primer that goes over any surface that's hard to paint. I had to begin by painting every other step so I'd be able to go up and down the stairs.

After 3 coats on the first batch of steps (with 2 hours drying time in between), I started on the last 2 steps. When I had finished with 3 coats on all the steps, I called Rick down to show him. He wanted me to keep painting and finish the can of primer cause we're just going to throw it out. I told him that I only used 1/4 of the gallon to paint 3 coats, so I'd have to paint another 12 coats to finish off the paint. He still wanted me to do it! (Now you know why my pet name for him is 'freak'.) I started painting a fourth coat, when he came to me and decided he was being ridiculous, and 4 coats should be fine. He decided he could use the primer to paint the wood in the laundry room that we weren't going to deal with.

So, here we have it ... 4 coats of primer, and now I'm ready to begin painting them with the light brown paint I bought. I have to work tonight at Michaels, so that's my job for tomorrow morning before the kids & I head out to the dentist. Did I forget to mention that my kids came home from college Friday night during my workshop?! Yes, they're home this week, and life is good!