Sep 28, 2013

Stampin' Up Artisan Award Entry: Card #1

Hello, Hello! What a fabulous Saturday... the weather is gorgeous and I'm spending the weekend with some fabulous new peeps at the Scrap-A-Way Retreats weekend. Many of the girls stayed up late last night, so I thought I'd pop on the old blog and share with you a card a made for the Stampin' Up Artisan Award earlier this year.

This is a close up of the card. I used glossy cardstock and embossed the large white doily images using versamark and white embossing powder. Then I used Stampin' Up's colored embossing powder in Pool Party for the smaller flower image. After I heat embossed the random patterned images on the glossy cardstock, I took a sponge and sponged Crumb Cake ink over the entire front of the glossy cardstock. Then wipe off the excess ink using a paper towel (this will also take any of the ink off the embossed images, too).

Add a few layers of paper and some brads as accents and you have the finished card:

This emboss resist technique is one of my absolute favorites. While Stampin' Up doesn't carry the glossy cardstock anymore, it is still readily available in the crafting market... it's super fun and I hope you'll try it!

What is your favorite technique these days?

Sep 16, 2013

Stitch Fix #2

I am anxiously awaiting my next "fix" today. So I thought I'd share with you my last Stitch Fix delivery so I'll be all caught up when my new box of goodies arrives!

For those of you who are not familiar with Stitch Fix -- let me explain. Stitch Fix is a clothing subscription company. You can schedule "fixes" as often as you want (once a week, once a month, once a year -- whatever you like). You pay a $20 stylist fee and then one of the Stitch Fix stylists selects five items specifically for you (based on your style profile you fill out when you join) and has them delivered straight to your door. It's general four pieces of clothing and an accessory, but you can opt out of the accessories if you'd like.

I've had two "fixes" so far and I love the excitement that comes from these little surprise deliveries! You can read about my first fix here. If you decide to keep anything from your "fix" you get to put your $20 stylist fee towards that purchase. Or if you purchase all five items from your box you get a 25% discount on everything. If you don't keep anything, the $20 stylist fee is lost. The items are a bit pricier than what I would probably pay in most stores, but they are very high quality and things I would never pick up for myself generally. So it's pushing me out of my comfort zone a bit.

What I really love is that you don't pay for any shipping! The "fix" arrives - you try everything on in your home with your other pieces and then decide what to keep. Everything else you pop in the pre-paid envelope and send back to Stitch Fix. Easy Peasy!

So on to the photos.... let me again apologize for the crappy photo quality and the toilet in the background! My bathroom is the only place in the house where I have a full length mirror - hence the bathroom backdrop.

My first item was this adorable top. (And I forgot to write down the official names of each of these items again! I promise I will with my 3rd fix!). Probably not a print I would have selected for myself - but I really liked it. Unfortunatly it was a bit tight in the shoulders and the hips. Verdict: sent back.

Next up was this super soft cardigan sweater. I wasn't too sure of the colors on this one, but oh my gosh it was such a comfy fabric!! I tried it on and it fit pretty well, but I felt it wasn't doing me any favors in the hip and buttocks areas (where I already have some concerns). The pockets seemed to give me a bit more width than I'd like. Verdict: sent back. Although I must say this is the one this month where I question that decision a bit... what do you think?

My third piece was this black and white tank top. I'm not a big fan of gold so the gold buttons turned me off to begin with (I did update that in my style profile) and then other than that it really just didn't excite me. Not to mention I'm kind of moving on from the tank top... it's time to think about fall a bit more. Verdict: Sent back.

My final clothing piece was this gray and ivory top. It was a very different style -- it had a cute pleating on the back (which I couldn't get a good picture of), but I felt it was a little box-y. Verdict: Sent back.

Sorry this photo is really bad -- I'm missing half the shirt... but you get the idea. My last item were these cute silver earrings:

I really like these earrings but wouldn't normally pay $28 for them -- especially since I don't remember to wear earrings very often (in fact, I think I'm going to have to re-pierce my ears in order to wear these!), but because I was going to lose my $20 styling fee if I didn't buy anything, I decided to spend the extra $8 and keep these since I really do like them. And since I now have shorter hair, they will look super cute peeking out from under my 'do. Verdict: Kept.

So there you have it, my second Stitch Fix. What do you think? Are you ready to try a "fix?" If so, I'd love for you to use my referral link (disclaimer: I do get a $25 "Fix" credit if you use that link). And please link me up to any reviews you do -- I'm sort of obsessed with looking at people's Stitch Fix reviews.

Sep 14, 2013

A Stampin' Up Artisian Award Entry 2013

Hello there! Happy Saturday... it looks like this is at least becoming a weekly thing - this blogging. I'm working on my consistency folks... bear with  me!
I'm actually hanging out at the Cool Crops Scrapbooking Retreat this weekend and had a few moments to check-in on the ole' blog and thought I'd share with you a scrapbook page I made as one of my entries for Stampin' Up's annual Artisan Design Team.
Demonstrator selected for the team receive a box full of FREE goodies each month to play with. Fun, right? Just another perk of being an SU demo. Unfortunately, I didn't make the cut this year, but there is always next time.
The good news is that I can now share these samples with you as the winner announcement was made at convention. I'm a little behind in posting them, so most of the supplies on this layout are retired, but it can still be a great starting point for a page if you have one special photo you'd like to showcase.
This page features my Mom. I've had so many stories bouncing around in my head since losing her last year. So many things I want to be sure I remember for the rest of my life.
The journaling on the page reads:
There are thousands of little things that make me think of you each day: birds chirping in the early morning, the fragrant smell of lilacs, musty old antique stores and beautiful gardens, just to name a few. Your wisdom is often repeated in my mind just when I need a little shove in the right direction. You may be gone, but you'll remain in my heart forever.
I think scrapbooking can be really therapeutic when you are dealing with loss. And I really hope to do some more pages about my Mom and her influence. She was such an amazing woman and I never want to forget all the stories...
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Sep 7, 2013

Quick Tips for Stress-Free Handmade Holiday Cards

Hello and happy Saturday! The weather is absolutely beautiful today so after spending the morning in my stamp room working on some projects for the upcoming Cool Crops event, I'm headed to the beach!

But I wanted to stop by with some quick tips for making your own holiday cards this year -- but without the frantic last minute stress.

So without further ado, here are my thoughts:

1. Start early! Well, duh... that's why I'm posting this in September. Of course we all have good intentions of creating beautiful hand-stamped cards for our friends and loved ones, but as time slips by (because clearly September is too early to be thinking about this -- or is it??). Start now! Start with this:

2. Write a list of who you would like to send cards to. Once you get to the point of creating your cards (and hopefully ordering SU supplies), you'll need to know how many finished cards you'd like so you know how much paper and envelopes to order. And just think how great it would be if you created a nice little list with addresses and everything so when you get to the card-writing part, you can just snuggle up in a chair write your merry wishes and have all of the addresses at your fingertips. Easy Peasy!

3. Decide what style of card you would like. Do you want a whimsical card? Religious? Winter-y card (this is always great because if you do happen to get behind and send them late it can be a happy winter card instead!)? Another note: this Snowman set is perfect if you'd like a winter-themed card. Once you've decided the style(s) of card you like (I always make at least two designs because I get bored), then browse for some stamp sets that might do the trick.

4. Select the colors you'd like. Do you want classic red and green? Maybe some less traditional blue and silver (this paper would be perfect) or maybe you prefer a  more natural coloring with just a pop of red or a pop of green? Really... anything goes!

5. Set a "create" day on your calendar (or two). It so much less stress (and more exciting) to pick a day a few weeks or even a month out at this point when you plan to sit down and design your card(s). Then you know when you're going to do it and it's not looming in the back of your mind. (It's even better when you recruit a friend to stamp with you... and so much more fun!). Don't forget to order your supplies at least two weeks prior to your "create" date so you'll have everything ready.

6. Set a "produce" day. Once you've designed a card(s) you love. Now set a day to mass produce all of these cards. If you were quick on "create" day, you could even pre-cut all of the supplies you need to produce the end product and then when "produce" day comes you just sit down and assemble. Or you can save all the cutting and assembling for the same day or two new days in the future. Again, just make sure you put it in your calendar. Treat it like a dr.'s appointment or family obligation -- this is important to you. Make time for it.

7. Set a writing day. Last on the list is to find a day when you're going to cuddle up in that chair and write little notes to your family. (If you do a general family newsletter this will be a super quick day). I personally like to send a hand written note in each of my cards, but I am a little crazy (especially considering I send out over 200 usually! Hence why I need to start now!)

If you need any ideas the Stampin' Up Holiday Catalog is full of adorable samples. Check it out here. And feel free to shoot me any questions!

Have a great weekend... Until next time, I'll be By The Shore Stamping (or maybe at the beach)!

Sep 2, 2013

My First "Fix"

So I'm going to venture away from crafts a bit today... I had been seeing lots of "Stitch Fix" reviews in recent months and was so intrigued by all the reviews that I signed up!

If you're not familiar with Stitch Fix - it's a monthly (or anytime you want, really) subscription where you pay $20 for a stylist to pick out four pieces of clothing and one accessory for you and deliver them right to your door! How cool is that? What's even better is if you decide to keep anything in your box, the $20 stylist fee goes towards your purchase and if you buy everything in your box you get 25% off everything.

I can't tell you how excited I was when I received my first box. I mean seriously giddy.... like run off and hide it like a dog with a special bone! Well, except that I could wait to open it and see what was inside!

So.... here I will show you what I got in my first Stitch Fix box.

First let me apologize for the poor photo quality (I was using my Smart phone to take the photos) and for the toilet in the background! Gah. What can I say the only full length mirror in my house is in my bathroom!

Anyway, onto my first item. (I don't have the official brands and names of these items as I've already sent this stuff back -- my first "fix" was a month and a half ago!). I really liked this shirt a lot. The pattern was fun and flattering. Unfortunately, it was too tight in my upper arms so... it went back.

Next up was this brown and black dress. I wasn't a huge fan of the brown and black color combo. I just felt it was sort of drab. However, looking at it now I see it was rather flattering. But alas, I sent it back.

Next up was this fuschia top. I loved the color (something I so wouldn't have picked up myself), but it was a little big and box-y. So I just wasn't feeling fabulous in it. So I sent it back.

Here is the last article of clothing they sent me. This adorable "crisp cantalope" chevron printed top and beige cami is super fun. I thought it was flattering on me and loved that the color matched the new Stampin' Up color! (Ha! added bonus). I ended up keeping this one. While it is a little more than what I would normally spend on a shirt ($58)... I like that Stitch Fix is breaking me out of my style staples and making me try different things (I've actually had a second box since this one -- I'll post that review in a week or so). And it's so awesome to try things on in your own house with your own accessories, shoes and pieces.

Not to mention how insanely happy it makes me to see the Stitch Fix box on my doorstep. And then when you open the box and see all the pretty colors and patterns! Maybe it's the stamper in me, but it just makes me so excited! Weird, I know!

Ok... last item was my necklace. And can I just say that I saw this piece in someone else's review before I signed up and L.O.V.E.D it! I was so excited to see it in my box and kept it without even needing to try it on! It was just $28 and it's a great length. It falls perfectly and adds a little something special to classic shirts. Without further ado here it is:

Isn't it cute? I know... these pictures are horrible. I used my regular camera for my second box so hopefully they'll be a bit better. Although for my next one (which is coming in just 10 days! Did I mention you can schedule the day you want your fix to arrive?) I might have to enlist a friend to take photos!

If you'd like to try Stitch Fix, too, I'd love it if you used my referral code so I can get a $25 credit. (Who doesn't love free clothes, right?) It's so much fun and it really is some of the happiest mail I get! It's just so different and the clothes so far have been great quality and beautiful colors and patterns.

If you do sign up and you do reviews of your items, please send me the link! I love to read Stitch Fix reviews -- it's almost as fun as getting your own box of goodies -- well, not quite, but still a lot of fun!

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