Tag Archives: Stampin’ Up!

My Favorite Things – New Stampin’ Up! Catalog

The new 2016-2017 Stampin’ Up! catalog has been out for about a month now and I’ve been through it a few times, turning down corners and circling my favorite items.  My wish list has a couple dozen items on it at the moment — it’s actually shorter than normal, but I’m trying to be good.  I keep a running list in an Excel spreadsheet so whenever I’m ready to place a new order I know right away what I’d like as well as what supplies I’m running low on.  It also helps me keep track of how much any given order might cost so I can optimize any Stampin’ Rewards I might be able to earn (they begin when you spend over $150 on any given order), as well as my overall spending on my crafting.  Good for budgeting purposes and at tax time.

Some of my favorites from the current catalog include:

Floral Boutique Designer Series Paper

Floral Boutique Designer Series Paper (image c. Stampin' Up!)

Floral Boutique Designer Series Paper (image c. Stampin’ Up!)

Floral Boutique Washi Tape

Floral Boutique Washi Tape (image c. Stampin' Up!)

Floral Boutique Washi Tape (image c. Stampin’ Up!)

I absolutely LOVE Stampin’ Up!’s color Night of Navy and the Floral Boutique product suite highlights this beautiful color so this was an immediate choice for my wish list.  Needless to say, I’ll also be buying more Night of Navy cardstock as well to accompany my new creations.

Serene Scenery Designer Series Paper

Stampin’ Up! has done it once again with creating a Designer Series Paper stack with photographic quality images that are incredibly realistic — so realistic in fact that I hate to cover them up with anything else, including a sentiment!  Images this time include sun-sparkled wheat fields, seashores, and leaves.  The reverse faces of the pages are complementary contemporary designs – equally versatile for all sort of paper crafting.

New 2016-2017 In-Color – Dapper Denim

Dapper Denim Card Stock (image c. Stampin' Up!)

Dapper Denim Card Stock (image c. Stampin’ Up!)

In keeping with my love of blue, one of Stampin’ Up!’s new “In Colors” for 2016-2017 has really caught my eye – Dapper Denim.  It usually takes me a little bit of time to warm up to the new In Colors when they first come out.  I don’t even have any of the 2015-2016 In Colors.  But this blue will definitely be making it’s way into my collection soon.

Vertical Greetings Stamp Set

Vertical Greeting Stamp Set (image c. Stampin' Up!)

Vertical Greeting Stamp Set (image c. Stampin’ Up!)

I love things that are different and this stamp set (available both in wood and clear mount) fits the bill.   It’s also great for when you have a tight space and a traditional horizontal greeting just won’t fit.  The font caught my eye as well – clean and crisp and easy to read.  This stamp set is definitely going to be on my next order.

Joyful Nativity Photopolymer Stamp Set

Joyful Nativity Photopolymer Stamp Set (image c. Stampin' Up!)

Joyful Nativity Photopolymer Stamp Set (image c. Stampin’ Up!)

Sometimes a stamp set has just one stamp that speaks volumes to you — for me and Joyful Nativity it’s the giant “JOY”.  I like the other silhouettes in the set and the longer sentiment as something to stamp inside Christmas cards, but that “JOY” could be used for so many things – a new baby card, a celebration card of any kind, or a pick-me-up card of some sort.  Yup, this set is definitely on the “to order” list as well.

Me = Grateful

Me = Grateful Stamp Set (image c. Stampin' Up!)

Me = Grateful Stamp Set (image c. Stampin’ Up!)

Similarly, there are a couple sentiments in the Me = Grateful stamp set that aren’t seen in a typical “thank you” collection.   This set is appropriate for creating cards that you can send for more serious thank yous (“thank you for seeing me through some dark days”) as well as on a more lighthearted note (You = Awesome; Me = Grateful).  But it lets you get more of a message across in what’s stamped.  Sometimes people have trouble writing thank you notes because they don’t know what to day – this set gives you a little help with that.

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To view the entire Stampin’ Up! product line, you can visit my demonstrator website.

I’d love to hear what some of your favorite new Stampin’ Up! products are.

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Filed under Card Making, Christmas Cards, Stampin' Up!, Thank You Cards

Tips for New Card Makers

Eleven card designs using just one 12x12 sheet of pattern paper. Image (c) Stampin' Up!

Eleven card designs using just one 12×12 sheet of pattern paper. Image (c) Stampin’ Up!

For the first time in a long time, I really enjoyed card making this past weekend.  I took my time, relaxed, and am pleased with the results.  Over the course of two days, I made 22 cards – using just 2 sheets of 12×12 Stampin’ Up! Designer Series Paper, in addition to 6 sheets of Stampin’ Up! Whisper White 8-1/2 x 11 card stock and about 14 sheets of various other colors of Stampin’ Up! card stock (also 8-1/2 x 11).   Now that may seem like a lot of paper for 22 cards, but 11 of them are needed for the card bases, which means I used 7 sheets (plus the Designer Series Paper) for card covers, frames, etc.  More about that later.

There were several things that felt different about the weekend’s card making.  First, my goal wasn’t to make cards to sell or to give or send to family or friends.  Instead, I was making these cards to give to the residents of two local nursing homes.  I decided a few week ago that I needed another outlet for my cards – a charitable one.  So I contacted the activities departments of the nursing homes (having read online that nursing homes often accept handmade cards for their residents to use) and was very happy when my offers were met with great enthusiasm.  Second, I found a great sketch on Pinterest for the eleven card designs and was determined that for once I was going to stick to a sketch.  I was pleasantly surprised at how useful it was and at the results.  Third, I was patient and forgiving of myself – something that it’s often hard for this Aries girl to do.  But rather than Ram-like rushing through things, I took my time and enjoyed the process.

Along the way, I kept in mind my comments from my last post — about having accumulated too much stamping “stuff” too quickly.  Not only did slowing down allow me the time to think more about which tools and products – among all the ones that I have – did I want to use, it also gave me time to think about what I’d do differently if I were to start all over, and what advice I’d give to those just starting out in this great hobby.  Here are some of them:

Tip #1:  Set a budget and stick to it.   Do whatever works for you.  Let yourself spend $20 a week, each and every week.  Or put $10 in an envelope each week and then every month go spend your $40.  Whatever works, but figure out how much you are going to let yourself spend on this hobby and work within those means.  It took me a while to do that, but now I have it down to a science.   I keep a spreadsheet with my “wish list” on it.   Every couple of months when I put in a new Stampin’ Up! order, I know exactly how much I’m allowing myself to spend so I pull up my wish list (which is an ever-evolving document) and tweak my order to come within a dollar or two or my spending limit.

Tip #2: Be realistic about your budget.  Yes, this does somewhat contradict Tip #1, but if you want to be a card maker, there will be some initial start-up costs, and some on-going ones as well, that you need to be able to invest in.  For example, you’ll need a paper trimmer and a good pair of craft paper scissors to start out.  And don’t forget storage containers / systems of some sort.  Maybe you already own some things that can be repurposed, but you may need to buy some new ones.  Paper and other supplies will need to be stored somewhere.  In terms of on-going costs, your adhesives will probably be the items you most frequently need to replace.  I buy mine in bulk on-line; I’ve found that to be the most cost-effective option.  But it’s still an expense you need to take into consideration and allow funds for.

Tip #3: Speaking of adhesives….make sure your adhesive runner isn’t permanent the moment you stick it down — find one that is temporarily removable and then becomes permanent.   Nothing ruins a card quicker than putting something down crooked and not being able to quickly peel it back up again to readjust it.

Tip #4: Always keep a spare cutting blade for your paper trimmer.  Crisp cut lines vs. ragged, dull cut lines can really affect the quality of a finished card.

Tip #5 Watch out for the copyright mark on patterned paper.  There’s nothing like finishing your masterpiece only to realize that someone’s copyright is standing front and center.   Been there, done that.  Either cut off that edge of the paper, or strategically cover it.

Tip #6 Measure twice, cut once.  This is particularly true if you are working with patterned paper that has a design that goes in only one direction.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve been rushing and cut patterned paper for a horizontal card in the vertical direction – or vice versa – and then the dimensions are all wrong – and paper is wasted.  Well, not quite; I end up doing some sort of work around, but it never feels as nice as it would have if I’d just been paying more attention to begin with.

Tip #7 Don’t be afraid to admit you made a mistake.  It happens.  At least when I make cards it does.  I think I’ve come up with a GREAT idea, but then I step back, look at it and think, yeah, that’s just a little too loud, or too “out there” for anyone but me to like (or even me to like).  So I pull apart the pieces, salvage what I can of the card stock I used, and start over.

Tip #8 Find a Brand and Stick with it.  As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on my blog, I’m an independent demonstrator with Stampin’ Up!     I started card making with their products and have stuck with them because of the high quality – and the wonderful coordination of product lines and colors.  I’ve tried getting random paper stacks from the brick and mortar retailers, but find it difficult to use them because it’s so hard to match colors.  Sticking with just Stampin’ Up! paper means I can buy a package of their designer series paper and it will coordinate with five or six of their solid color card stocks that I already have.   This year they’ve started selling solid color card stock assortments to match the designer series paper.  It’s a great, economical way to stock up on the coordinating colors.

Tip #9 Copy and Share Everything (CASE).  CASE is a very familiar acronym in the paper-crafting world.  There are so many talented card makers and they share their gift with others through blogs, on Pinterest, and with videos demonstrating how they achieved that perfect design.  Set up your own Pinterest page and save those card designs you like and would like to copy either directly or use as inspiration for your own design.  But remember, it doesn’t take much to make a design your own — turn the design 90 degrees; add a frame of coordinating colored card stock around every piece of patterned paper (this simple technique really boosts the look of a card); when a sketch shows a solid line, remember it can be a ribbon, card stock, a row of buttons or punched flowers – anything you choose to represent a “line”, etc., etc.  So keep a separate Pinterest board just of sketches, here’s mine and stretch and challenge yourself often.

Tip #10 Don’t Save Every Scrap, But Organize the Ones You Do.  The tag line for Best Friends Animal Society, one of the country’s largest animal rescue organizations which runs an animal sanctuary in Kanab, Utah (I hope to visit someday), is “Save Them All”.  So true for homeless pets.  Not so true for paper scraps.  Too many and too small ones can be a burden if you feel you “have” to use them.  Then the scraps are forcing your design and it is not a good thing.  True, I’ve seen some beautiful cards that take advantage of scraps, but not all the 1×1 inch ones I seem to accumulate!  So be judicial and throw out anything that is really too small to do anything with.  And sort the other pieces in some logical manner so you’ll know you’ll be able to find them to use again.  I sort mine into plastic bags by color group.  So when I need to find a scrap of a particular shade of green, I go to the green bag.  I’ve seen other demonstrators who have more sophisticated storage systems do the same thing except with file folders by specific color name.

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I hope you’ve found these tips useful.  I’ll add more in another post as I think of them.  I’ve included below the sketch I used this past weekend and a few close ups of some of the cards I created.

 

Sketch for Making Eleven Cards from One 12 x 12 sheet of patterned paper

Sketch for Making Eleven Cards from One 12 x 12 sheet of patterned paper; from Sylvie Drauer Images (c) Stampin’ Up!

Cards by Certain Smiles Images (c) Stampin' Up!

Cards by Certain Smiles Images (c) Stampin’ Up!

Cards by Certain Smiles Images (c) Stampin' Up!

Cards by Certain Smiles Images (c) Stampin’ Up!

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Filed under Card Designs, Card Making, Card Sketches

Masculine Card Designs

Thank You Card created by Certain Smiles. Images c. Stampin' Up!

Thank You Card created by Certain Smiles. Images c. Stampin’ Up!

A card making group I belong to had a challenge this month — give away two of your cards at random.  Easy enough, right?  Well, maybe not.  I decided that one of the mine would go to a contractor I’ve worked with in the past.  He was coming over to give me an estimate for some additional work on my condo.  I thought it would be nice to make a couple thank you cards for him to have on hand for clients or coworkers.

But when I sat down to design the cards, I found myself a little stumped.  These were different than most cards I make.  There were for a guy to possibly give to another guy.  That seemed to eliminated probably 90% of my card stock, punches and stamps!  OK, maybe I exaggerate slightly, but it definitely made me rethink my usual “go to” designs.

According to the Greeting Card Association, women purchase 80% of all greeting cards, and spend more time selecting the ones they do purchase than men do.  So it wouldn’t surprise me if similar numbers (or more) of women than men make cards and so logically the designs on those products are naturally geared towards a female audience.  Butterflies, flowers and bright colors seem to dominate the design landscape.  No wonder men stay away.

So what makes a “man’s card” and how does one make one?  The card at the top of this page is what I ended up giving to my contractor.   It was pure coincidence that Mary Fish, a spectacular Stampin’ Up! demonstrator whose blog I follow daily, posted today about masculine cards.  One of her tips for these designs is to keep it simple, but don’t be afraid to add a splash of color – pretty much the path I took when I added the medium blue accent to set off the browns.

How else can you add that extra “something” when ribbons, buttons, and (gasp) glitter are off the table?  First, try bold, not bright colors.  Pastels, though pretty, aren’t going to cut it.  Go with strong colors — red, blue, orange.  Second, find boldly patterned papers to add some interest.  In its 2015 Occasions catalog, Stampin’ Up! recognized the “man niche” with its Adventure Bound Designer Series Paper stack.  These designs, with some plaids as well as some photographic images of bricks, trees, logs and stones, give a wide variety to let your imagination soar while still coordinating with several of Stampin’ Up!’s card stocks.

Homemade "Designer Series Paper" using Stampin' Up!'s Gorgeous Grunge Stamp Set

Homemade “Designer Series Paper” using Stampin’ Up!’s Gorgeous Grunge Stamp Set

Or, make your own patterned paper.  This “Designer Series Paper” made with Stampin’ Up!’s Gorgeous Grunge stamp set, and several Stampin’ Up! inks — Cherry Cobbler, Chocolate Chip, Sahara Sand, Not Quite Navy (retired), and Pumpkin Pie on a piece of Whisper White card stock. I just randomly stamped, starting with the thin parallel line stamp, followed by the thick slanted line stamp, and finishing with the random spots stamp in two different colors.

As noted, I used Gorgeous Grunge for my paper, but Stampin’ Up! sells many sets that can be used to make your own paper.  These include, but are not limited to:


Stampin’ Up! Hand Carved background stamp (available in wood and clear mount)

Stampin’ Up! Hardwood background stamp (available in wood and clear mount)


Stampin’ Up! Positively Chevron background stamp (available in wood and clear mount)


Stampin’ Up! Work of Art Stamp Set (available in wood and clear mount)


Stampin’ Up! Geometrical Stamp Set (available in wood and clear mount)

Stampin’ Up! Eye-Catching Ikat Photopolymer Stamp Set

Here are two of the cards that I created with my paper:

Birthday Card Created by Certain Smiles, Images c. Stampin' Up!

Birthday Card Created by Certain Smiles, Images c. Stampin’ Up!

Thank You Card Created by Certain Smiles. Images c. Stampin' Up!

Thank You Card Created by Certain Smiles. Images c. Stampin’ Up!

You’ll see I also used some textured embossing in the birthday card for some added interest as well.

So remember, when creating a card for a guy, a good rule of thumb is to keep it simple, but add a splash of color or a striking design element.  Just be sure to leave the glitter at home.

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Filed under Card Designs, Masculine Cards

Happy New Year 2015!

Handmade Happy New Year greeting card

Handmade Happy New Year greeting card

Out with the old, in with the……old?

Started the new year bound and determined to “kick it up a notch” on my card designs! Bring new life to my Etsy shop! And so, I sit down to craft and look at my Pinterest page to check out samples of cards I’ve pinned over the past year. And what happens?  Yup, despite all the lovely and creative designs in front of me, I end up going back to my basic “go to” design — which involves using a large piece of Stampin’ Up! designer series paper as the feature.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  You see, I can’t get enough of those designs and colors.  They just call out to me.  They are so pretty and inviting and I hate to cover them up with any embellishments or other pieces of card stock…..  Here are a few samples….See what I mean?

Handmade Encouragement Card by Certain Smiles

Handmade Encouragement Card by Certain Smiles

ThreeDSPStripGWS_Version1_1

Handmade Get Well Card by Certain Smiles

SoSorry_ForYourLoss

Handmade Sympathy Card by Certain Smiles

Not bad.  The paper is the star – as it should be.   I have a theory as to why I let the pretty paper do most of the talking in my designs:  Someone else has already done the job of making it beautiful.  Why mess with perfection?  The coordinating colors, the intricate details, the fun and funky patterns – what do I have to add?

Answer: A lot!  So stay tuned.  I know I’ve been saying this for a while now, but I’m going to keep trying, keep creating and will eventually find my own style, my own groove, my own “look”! 2015 is going to be wonderful.

Thomas Edison on Failure

Thomas Edison on Failure

 

 

 

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Filed under About Me, Creativity

World Card Making Day

Yesterday, Saturday, October 4, 2014, was World Card Making Day. I celebrated, appropriately enough, by making cards.

This is a fairly recent holiday – yesterday was the 9th annual marking of this occasion. It was created in 2006 by Paper Crafts Magazine as National Card Making Day, but due to its popularity that year became known as World Card Making Day in subsequent years. It was intentionally held in early October as now is the time to kick off holiday card making. I was making cards that I hope to sell at two craft fairs I will be attending this holiday season. One will be in time to hit both the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays; the other will be focused solely on Christmas.

Here is one of the cards I made yesterday. I’m thinking the last panel can be used for the giver to list out what they are thankful for about the recipient, or it can be used at Thanksgiving gatherings for everyone to add their own item of gratitude and kept then as a keepsake for that year’s holiday.

Thankful For Card - Outside; images copyright Stampin' Up!

Thankful For Card – Outside; images copyright Stampin’ Up!

Thankful For Card -- Inside; images copyright Stampin' Up!

Thankful For Card — Inside; images copyright Stampin’ Up!


 

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October 5, 2014 · 7:09 am

My Fall Cards

Alas, no time to write this week; I’ve been busy posting my fall line up of handmade cards on my Etsy shop.  Despite the shorter days and the onset of cooler weather, I love the rich colors that fall brings.  Stampin’ Up!, whose products I use to make my cards, brings those colors to life in their papers and inks, making it easy to produce gorgeous fall designs.  Here are some of my favorites creations:



Give Thanks on Ivory

Give Thanks Card with Five Leaves and Embossed Background

 

Maple Leaf Trio "Thankful For..."

Maple Leaf Trio “Thankful For…”

 

Maple Leaf Duo - Gratitude Can Transform

Maple Leaf Duo – Gratitude Can Transform

 

Happy Thanksgiving Card

 

Falling Leaves Thankful For Card

Falling Leaves Thankful For Card

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Filed under Card Making, Certain Smiles Etsy Store, Fall Cards

What to Say in a Retirement Card

My second cousin retired a few months back from a job she held for over 40 years.

Greeting Card with Enjoy Sentiment

Greeting Card with Enjoy Sentiment (all images copyright Stampin’ Up!)

By the way, and the archivist / genealogist in me finds this interesting, I checked out a site at Genealogy.com to figure out the exact nature of our relationship – second cousins –because we share the same great-grandfather. The site has a very good description of how all those confusing relationships can be figured out – daughter of my mom’s cousin – and a nifty chart to help. But I digress….

Needless to say, retirement is a BIG step in life so a celebratory card was in order. I have a stamp that I’ve found myself using a lot lately; it is just one word: enjoy (That doesn’t capture the font of the stamp – that’s something truly unique to Stampin’ Up!,the company whose products I use almost exclusively in my card creations) but it does convey the sentiment.) Here’s a picture of the stamp on another card I’ve made (in a beginner blogger error, I didn’t take a picture of my cousin’s card…)

I could have used “Congratulations” or “Celebrate” but I like “Enjoy” better. Enjoy means “to have a good time” or “to take pleasure or satisfaction in”. What more appropriate descriptions could there be for a well-deserved retirement? To me, it embodies the long term nature of a retirement, rather than marking the single day on which the retirement actually takes place.

After I made the card though, the next question was what to write on the inside of it. So I did what I do best when I have a question these days – I “Googled” it and came up with LOTS of ideas, many of which were appropriate for coworkers to use and others which were more suitable for friends and family. I had to laugh when I found two different sites, but by the same blogger, one of which advised that on a card for a coworker it was (a) appropriate (site 1) and (b) inappropriate (site 2) to express your jealousy towards the retiree no longer having to work. Guess it all depends on which site you hit first as to which advice you got!

Here are my favorites of all the sentiments I found. The first one is what I used for my card:

1. Congratulations on your retirement; the end of an era but the start of a whole new chapter.

2. Retirement is when you finally stop doing whatever the boss tells you to do and you start doing what your heart tells you to do.

3. Retire from work, but not from life.   M.K. Soni

4. Just as your work has been long and satisfying, we wish you a long and satisfying retirement.

5. We are only limited by our own thinking, even at this stage in life, you can think big

6. Opening a new chapter in life can be a huge adventure

7. Let the sand between your toes tickle your feet, you’ve earned that!

8. This next stage of your life can be filled with adventures, take the leap

9. Retiring is not just leaving your job behind, it’s embracing your future. Enjoy the best part of your life.

10. Pack your bags and set sail for the trip of a lifetime, where the alarm clock is silent, the time-clock is obsolete, and you can stay in your pajamas till noon. Enjoy!

Which is your favorite?

 

 

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Filed under Genealogy, Retirement Cards