Saturday, January 25, 2014

Unleash your creativity

Ok, so I know I've said it before.  I'm positive I'll say it again. 

I love Close To My Heart.  LOVE IT!!!!

I'd shout it from the roof of my house if I didn't think my hubby would have me committed.

But seriously.  I love that their kits are perfect for all crafters.  From the brand new beginner to the old hat scrapping pro.  If you can follow simple directions, you can complete one of the kits - no prior experience necessary.

So I've been working on the January promo for the last eh, hem...  week-ish.  I know, I'm slow.  But I've got good reasons.  Three of them actually.  One I married and the other two I created.  I'm the CEO of the house.  They don't do anything without my permission or knowledge.  That kind of responsibility means putting me on the back burner to take care of them most of the time.  Yes, it gets frustrating.  (Sometimes I scream in my head, " Just 5 minutes!  Is that too much to ask?!?"  Then I glance at their faces and realize I just said that out loud.)  But I have six more years until my oldest is out of the house.  And at the rate my kids grow, the other one won't really be too far behind him.  Then I'll have all my crafting projects to keep me busy in my old age.  And the cat.  That cantankerous animal will outlive us all.  But I digress...

Any way, so I finally got the first two cards done today.  I cut out all the paper I would need first (to make it easier), punched out and stamped all the die-cut pieces and organized them by card style (the kit makes two cards each of five designs).

You can see my attempt at organization here:

See how nice and neat the piles look?

I say attempt because that's as far as I got for about four days.  I tried to be as organized as possible, because I took over the dining table to get my creativity on.  And once I pulled all my stuff out of the closet, I wasn't putting it away until I got it all done.  The boys have been happy with this arrangement so far because we've been hunkering down in the living room to eat our meals. 

What I decided to do was make one card following their instructions completely - no derivations.  And then make the other card using various techniques I've picked up along the way.  So for this first card, I didn't want to go crazy.  I wanted to stay pretty simple.  (And in the interest of actually getting these puppies made.)  You might be able to see in the side by side shots the subtle differences.

As you can see from the mess in the background, my organization didn't last long at all.  My baby is learning that if he gets up on his tippy-toes and reaches really far with his finger tips, he can get at almost anything.  Everything got smooshed to the very inside of the table.

The card on the left is made according to the instruction sheet in the kit.  But for the card on the right, I inked the edges of all the papers (including the die cut and the card) in Lagoon ink.  I wanted to tie the teal shimmer tape into the card more than just some random strip of glitter running down the card.  (I'm one of those weirdos who likes everything in my card to compliment each other.)  I also popped up the "Thanks" die cut with pop dots.  (Love those little things!)

See, here you can see up close what the original card is supposed to look like.  I know there's a wonky line going down the middle of that one line of gold circles.  The washi tape is only so wide and to make this card work, you have to use it twice by butting it up against each other.

You can see in this card, I reversed the washi tape and used that wonky line in a different way.  You can also see the Lagoon inking around the edges of all the papers.  I didn't want to get too much ink on the edges, I didn't want to detract from the card itself.  I have a hard time making simple cards, so I wanted to try and keep this as close to the original as possible.  I know you can't really see the shadow showing I popped up the "Thanks", but it's there.  I wouldn't kid you.

I hope it doesn't take me a week to get the next set of cards done.  But if it does, I hope you'll come back and check them out.  And if you like this kit, please order it here.  You only have until January 31st to place your qualifying order to get this adorable kit.

Friday, January 24, 2014

That ugly little word...

I have a little morning routine.  It's not fancy, it's not much.  But I do it.  Like clockwork.  (I guess that's why they call it a routine.)

After I get my kids off to school (today it was only my oldest), I settle in on the couch for a quick round of, "let's see what happened on Facebook overnight while my youngest was practicing his pugilism skills on me" before I start my day.

It's not like I can't get my laundry done, my house cleaned or my errands accomplished without getting online.  I can.  (Although, my husband would disagree.)  I'm just nosey.  And some mornings I'm grumpy.  So I want to see if someone posted something a little bit snarky to put a smile on my face.

But this morning as I was trolling through all the posts, I came across the one that brought a tear to my eye.  A friend of mine lost her sister to cancer this morning.  I hate that disease.  I really despise it.  It's that nasty thing that doesn't discriminate, it just takes.  And leaves emptiness and destruction in its wake.

I watched my grandfather die from it.  And now my grandmother is battling that awful thing, too.

I used to belong to a "card" club.  Me and a group of other paper-crafting junkies would get together about once a month.  We'd go out to dinner, gab it up, and pass around cards that we'd made.  We made one for each person in the group.  And every month was different.  Some months we picked a theme, or a paperpack, or a technique.  Some months we made a "use your stash" card.  There were six of us in the "club", so we each left with six new cards.  All different designs and each was hand crafted.  These women stuck with me from the beginning when I didn't know what I was doing, supported me through botched techniques and helped bolster my confidence with their praise and laughter.  She was a part of this group.

It was at one of these dinners, that we coined the phrase "card worthy".  In order for someone to be card worthy, we had to be willing to design and create one of our own masterpieces.  (Which we always laughed was a month long process.  Every single one of us would just about come in and say, "don't judge me, I finished these on my lunch today".  None of us ever judged.  We were all in the same boat.)  Not everyone in my life has been card worthy.  Even though I have a stockpile of hand crafted cards ready for a stamp and a salutation, I still drop by Walgreens for one of those 99 cent Shoebox cards occasionally.

We started spacing our dinners further and further apart.  And eventually, we stopped getting together.  Our lives just pulled us all in different directions.

But when I saw her post, I knew a Shoebox card wasn't going to cut it.  I pulled out my handy-dandy Originals card making book, flipped through the patterns and pulled out my tools.  It took me all day.  The baby was at home and he was only happy to keep himself entertained for short periods of time.   And I took full advantage of the time he gave me to create this sweet little card.

I wanted it to be simple and elegant, like my friend.  I liked the sparkle that the teal shimmer trim added and used the Lagoon card stock behind the image to create a little extra pop of color. I had a hard time with the stamped image.  I wanted to go with a different stamped image, but it clashed with the pattern paper and I wanted to keep that.  Luckily, I'm a stamp junky.

I have a hard time with sympathy cards.  Not because I'm not sympathetic.  Because I am.  Especially in this case.  I know what it's like to watch this nasty, horrible disease take someone you love for no apparent reason.  I have a hard time because I want the card recipient to know how truly and deeply sorry I am for their pain.  I want it to be pretty and  peaceful.

I hope this card eases some of my friend's pain.  If only for a moment.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I love it when I get surprised

 So I got my Cloud Nine National paper crafting card kit (if you want it, order it before the end of January) and I couldn't wait to get my fingers inked up playing with it.  I don't mean to get dirty, but it always happens.  It's a paper crafter's inevitable curse to go through life with blue or pink or orange fingertips.

I've been a stamper for a while.  Before I became a consultant, I fell in love with stamping and paper crafting, and became a collector of all things related (my husband uses the term habitual horder).  I love stamping.  I love the endless possibilities that stamping brings - the variety, the colors, the possibilities.  But yesterday as I pulled the above stamp out of it's plastic sleeve, I noticed that little circle on the card.  See it up there?  The little Juniper-colored circle right under the snap?

So I took a closer look.

Cuz I'm also a nosey broad (in addition to being a craft addict), I did what it said and pulled the card out to take a look inside.
Imagine my complete and utter shock and pleased surprise that it opened up and had care instructions inside!!  I mean, I knew how to do all this.  I learned it through trial and error.  But those genius, creative minds at Close To My Heart decided to make sure that even the newest stamper would have nothing but bolstered confidence with immediate success. 

This little care card talks about the three most important aspects of stamp maintenance; conditioning, storing, and restoring stickiness for your most loved (and used) stamps.  Not only is Close To My Heart the "Let me show you how" company, but they also know that sometimes you won't be with your consultant and you'll need to have these instructions within easy reach.

While we're on the subject of how much I love Close To My Heart and the awesome stamps we sell, I'm going to add one last thing.

I'm far from perfect and so is my stamping.  I make goof-ups all the time because I'm usually crafting around my kids - which leads to stamps that haven't been inked up properly or bumped elbows smearing stamped images.  But our stamps are completely clear.  And while that won't fix smeared images, if I don't get a stamp completely inked up, I can load it back up and line it up through the clear block and the clear stamp and restamp the image.  I can't tell you how many times I've done that!  And I bet you can't tell from the above picture where I goobered...

For the moment, I'm done crushing on Close To My Heart.  I have to run and take off my crafter's hat and put my mom hat back on (if I don't pick them up from school, they won't get home).  But check back from time to time.  Because when I get wonderfully surprised by CTMH, I'm going to share it here with you.  And I hope it makes your day as happy as it makes mine.

Monday, January 13, 2014

National Papercrafting Month Cloud Nine Cardmaking Kit

Do you love new product as much as I do?  Do you love it even better when you can combine new product and FREE product? 

Then this is the promotion for you!

January is National Papercrafting Month and Close To My Heart is doing it up right with bright, springtime colors and brand new product out of the upcoming Idea Book.

This card kit which makes 10 cards (2 each of 5 designs), contains die cuts, cards and envelopes, a D-sized stamp set, colored and patterned cardstock and BRAND NEW durables, gold washi tape and teal shimmer trim.

With your qualifying order of $35 placed here, you can get this promotion for only $15! (Retail value of $46 - FREE product!!)  But you have to hurry.  This promotion is ONLY good for the month of January until supplies run out.  So order yours today.