Monday, December 31, 2012

State of the Stash #12: Smell That Photopolymer

Another overdue State of the Stash, but for this one I have a better excuse: this ought to have gone up on the 22nd. But by then I was at my parents' house for Christmas, and I hadn't edited the photos before I'd left.

I mean, the photos aren't that great anyway, but they look a lot better edited than unedited!

Anyway, that week's haul consisted of stamps from Joann, which hit me with a 50% off online stamp sale. After using the Hero Arts and Lawn Fawn stamps I'd bought in the last few weeks, I was feeling very much that I needed more photopolymer stamps.

They're just completely different than acrylic stamps. It seems unfortunate that the craft has grouped acrylic stamps and photopolymer stamps as "clear" stamps -- for beginners like me, it's very confusing. And for makers of photopolymer stamps, the lack of differentiation has got to be hitting them right in the wallet. After all, if both types are just clear stamps, why should I bother paying more for photopolymer? Of course, now that I've had a little experience with both I know exactly why: they're a heck of a lot better. Think of all the things that annoy you about "clear" stamps... yeah, photopolymer doesn't do that. Or that. Nope, not that either.

Also they smell a little funny when they're new. The sweet smell of quality.

So I bought some stamps! I know Stampendous uses photopolymer (hint: anyone who uses photopolymer probably says so explicitly), so I picked these cute swinging kids and some cause ribbons.

Then I looked at all the rest of the stamps on the Joann website. Literally. I'm pretty completely sure that was not a good way to spend those hours. But I did find some more photopolymer sets that appealed to me.

I have a tropical foliage set by Inkadinkado ("Flashy Floral") that I use a LOT. Well, I used it a lot before I started doing challenges, because for the lifetime of this blog they've pretty much been Breast Cancer Awareness, Halloween, Fall/Thanksgiving, and Winter/Christmas. None of which really scream "tropical foliage" to me.

But anyway, when I saw this set by Technique Tuesday, which is very similar except a) it's photopolymer and b) it's delightfully sketchy, I knew I had to have it. Heck, I know I'll use it!

And then I found these delightful silhouettes of children playing, which could only be more wonderful if they were children reading. I admit I didn't read the description carefully and thought they were going to be a 4"x6" set, but heck! Since bookmarks are skinny, and that's what I want them for, small is actually better.

I was all excited to discover Crafty Secrets, the maker of the happy children, because hey, here was a stamp company whose website I hadn't stared at for hours yet! Unfortunately this stamp set is just about the only one of theirs I like... I guess I only like vintage when it's full-body silhouettes.

And that was all the photopolymer I found that I couldn't resist. But dang it, I bought more Inkadinkado inchies, acrylic though they be, because gosh darn it those cat inchies are way too cute. And I like the pretty holiday scrollwork. And those firework-y things are definitely useful all year. And... oh heck, Inkadinkado, why do you have to hire designers whose work I find appealing?

Joann stamp haul:

Saturday, December 29, 2012

State of the Stash #11: Lawn Fawn "Stocking Stuffers"

I seem to be awfully behind on chronicling my ever-growing mountain of crafty schtuff. I blame the run-up to the holiday, and then the being-away-from-my-photo-editing-computer of the holiday itself. And therefore, I'm out of excuses. Here, then, was the state of my stash on the 15th:

First, my Black Friday purchases from DCWV Deals finally arrived. I got this heavily discounted Spring mat-sized stack... which turns out to be paper-weight rather than cardstock, but has some really nice patterns.

I also got a neat little owl pendant and some beads; apparently DCWV is also Blue Moon Beads. I don't know what I'm going to do with the owl, but he was way too awesome to pass by.

DCWV Black Friday mini-haul:

And then the real event of the week! My new Lawn Fawn stamps arrived.

I was incredibly lucky -- okay, credibly lucky but at long odds -- to win both the stamp sets from Lawn Fawn's December release, and I took advantage of the "Stocking Stuffers" sale going on at the time to round out my package a bit:

And of course Lawn Fawn included a little "thank you" stamp, always a fun extra in shipments from them.

Lawn Fawn haul: So that's that week of acquisition caught up on... onward to the next!

Monday, December 24, 2012

So Long, And Thanks For All The Socks

My mom sent me some socks -- thick, warm, soft knee-length washable wool socks. As far as we're concerned that's pretty much the Holy Grail of sockness, especially at this time of year.

So I thought I should make her a sock-y thank-you card. Now, I don't have any sock stamps (note to self: acquire sock stamps), but I do have a Christmas set with a stocking in it, and that seemed close enough.

It also provided an opportunity to try out all the new blue inks in the Deep Sea queue got recently. I stamped with abandon! Well, okay, with some caution: I heat-set the ink between most of the layers.

Then, ta-da, I had an excuse to go buy some blue paper. Clearly the center needed blue, not turquoise!

I am very pleased with it.

I'm entering this thank-you card in the following challenges:


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WOYWW #185: Organizing Stamps

It's been a spectacularly un-crafty week: I blame a new computer game and finishing the semester's grading. But many new stamps have showed up in the last few weeks, so this evening I spread them out so I could figure out a) what size plastic envelope they should go in and b) whether I needed any more envelopes.

I have half of a stamp storage system: I have each stamp set tucked in a polypropylene folder with white cardstock, inspired by Scrapperia's clear stamp storage. This takes care of the stamps very neatly. But I haven't yet figured out what to put the folders in... I want to be able to flip through them. Meanwhile, they live in a box, fairly tidy but not optimally set up for flipping.

It turns out I need a bunch more 4"x6" folders. I'll probably get some more 5"x8" when I order them, as I'm starting to run low.

For the curious, the folders are "Econolopes" -- the brand seems to be either Angler's or Advantus (maybe they're the same company?). Last time I bought a bunch, the best deal I could find was at (I'm not any kind of affiliate... but as I've been frustrated looking for other people's storage solutions before, I figured I'd link these.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WOYWW #184: New Stamps, Not Much Mess

My desk is in a rather in-between state this Wednesday. It was gloriously messy on the weekend and on Monday with the last couple of projects; yesterday I didn't do much but shuffle it into an imitation of tidiness and clean the stamps and stamp blocks I'd used. And the only mess I added to it today is that bunch of Lawn Fawn stamps! And while they were very exciting (I was actually jumping up and down), they hardly count as proper crafty mess.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Layers of Blue

The current challenge over at Christmas Challenges with Sketches is to use the sketch on a gift bag. You can follow the link to see the sketch if you'd like; they ask that people don't repost it.

It's a very layered sketch. I like it, but normally I wouldn't attempt it -- lots of layers start looking really silly on a 2-inch-wide bookmark! However, I figured that a bag ought to give me plenty of room.

So I rummaged around in my wrapping supplies and found a bag I'd saved from some gift or other. It was blue, which was perfect: clearly I should do something wintery and snowflakey with the layers of the sketch.

I invested my creativity in making paper designs rather than altering the sketch much -- I decorated all the papers myself (except for the black one with big glittery white dots, which was a scrap). I think the black with silver snowflakes is probably the prettiest one... too bad it's mostly covered up!

Tip: My craft sheet was pretty messy after creating the first three or four papers -- white ink, silver ink, shimmer spritz and even some stray glitter and embossing power were everywhere! Don't waste this lovely mess -- take another piece of paper and rub it all over the craft sheet. Now you have a cleaner craft sheet and a cool piece of paper -- mine's the darker blue piece with the dove in the upper right.

I had a specific color inspiration, hence the use of black as well as blue and white -- but I can't show it, because it's the present inside the bag, and the recipient reads my blog.

(Hey Anya, I have a present for you...)

I'm entering this bag in the following challenges:


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bluebird of Winter

Well, anyway, the bird is blue, even if it's not a bluebird. And the birdhouse is pretty wintery!

For this birdhouse, I decorated with stamping rather than with scraps. Metallic blue snowflakes in various stages of stamping off decorate the white roof; I stamped the cute little bird on the front, and a snowman on the back:

I'm entering this snowy birdhouse in the following challenges:

Have Yourself a Scrappy Little Christmas

I picked up a couple of little birdhouses at Michaels this afternoon to decorate for this week's Simon Says Stamp & Show challenge.

I painted this one with some red and green craft acrylic paints and then rummaged through my scraps for things I could put onto it.

On one side I put a subtle print... then went not-so-subtle on the roof, covering it in a couple of layers of VersaMark and gold embossing powder.

On the other side I used a more cheerful scrap, then shingled the roof with circles of a third scrap.

It's a crazy little house, but for a first effort I'm pretty pleased with it. Plus, I got to use up a few scraps!

I'm entering this scrappy little house in the following challenges:

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bookmarks LVIII: White Snowflakes, Red Snowman

And here's my third (and final, as it's a three-entry challenge) bookmark for this fortnight's Lawnscaping challenge, which is a color challenge:

Lawnscaping Challenge #47: Turquoise, Kraft, Red

But wait, why fill one prompt when you can meet two challenges? For this bookmark I've used the sketch from this week's What If? Wednesday challenge at The House That Stamps Built, the Repeat Impression. It is quite a simple sketch, and therefore fits nicely in the skinny confines of a bookmark:

However, instead of a square I have a snowman.

Actually, I'm not really certain whether What If? Wednesday is a general papercrafty challenge or a card-only challenge. But it was such a good sketch for a bookmark that I used it anyway; if they disqualify the entry I'll still have got inspiration from it!

I'm entering this bookmark in the following challenges:

Supplies: (washi tape from Recollections/Michaels)

Bookmarks LVII: Crooked Conifer

Well. While I had the turquoise and kraft and red out for this fortnight's Lawnscaping Challenge, I figured I might as well make a couple more entries for it. So this is the second one -- the first was the wordy birdhouse bookmark I posted earlier.

Lawnscaping Challenge #47: Turquoise, Kraft, Red

Of course, I should have actually brought out some Lawn Fawn stamps too. I'm really not sure what I was thinking.

Oh, no, wait, I'm pretty sure I was thinking "I MUST USE ALL THESE SHINY NEW THINGS I JUST BOUGHT," but honestly. Oh well. Next Lawnscaping challenge, I'll use Lawn Fawn stamps -- I can practically guarantee it, because some are coming in the mail, so they'll be the shiny new things.

I'm entering this bookmark in the following challenges:

Supplies: (the stamp is from a cling rubber set by Ditto / Hampton Art, and the washi tape is by Recollections / Michael's)

Saturday State of the Stash #10: Christmas Stamps

I thought this might be a week where I wouldn't have acquired anything new, and I could just talk about whatever small scraps I'd used up for my State of the Stash post. Then I got a gift card from my relatives and an email from Michaels saying that all Christmas papercrafting stuff was 60% off on Friday from 6:00pm to close.

So that was that plan shot. I snagged my bookmarking-making buddy Anya and off we went.

The first stamps we fell for were some elegant silhouette-with-negative-images-inside stamps from Recollections and Hero Arts:

And then of course I'm always up for a more casually cute style as well. Doesn't the little bird in this set (with inexplicable berries coming from its tail) remind you of Lawn Fawn birds?

This little stamp set from Ditto/Hampton Arts also caught my eye -- and heck, at 60% off a $4 stamp set, there was very little reason not to bring it home. I've had a heck of a time finding it to link to, though, which has been quite frustrating. I... might be a little over-concerned about my supplies lists. Just a little.

I hesitated over a set of Christmas-y/winter-y border stamps. I really wished they were vertical instead of horizontal, because I have an unreasonable prejudice against horizontal-image bookmarks. However, Anya persuaded me that I was a crazy person (it didn't take much), so I bought them. I still don't know if I'll use them on bookmarks (I hope so!), but I've been making a few cards lately and they should do well for that use.

Michael's stamp haul: (except I can't find the Ditto/Hampton Art set to link to)

Anya didn't come away empty-handed either. "I'm buying this paper," she said, "but we'll keep it at your place, because that's where all the supplies are." I didn't argue very much, I must admit.

Apparently she feels like she owes me for using some of my supplies. But honestly, I love the excuse to buy more things, and it's not as if either of us has made much of a dent in the stash I've been so rapidly acquiring. So I think she needn't, but if it results in pretty papers, well. Maybe she was also looking for an excuse!

Anya's paper pads: What about you? Have you given in to any sales, or are you sensibly restraining yourself after some Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping? I really need to get back into that "buy only things you need for a project" mode I was in several months ago, rather than the "look at all the cheap shiny things" mode. Still, I got all five of those stamp sets for about $23, and you can't tell me that wasn't a fabulous deal.

Bookmarks LVI: Dots and Fonts

I wanted to enter this week's Simon Says Stamp and Show challenge, "House Rules", but I wasn't sure how. Did I have any house stamps? A rummage later and I found that I did: one of a birdhouse, and one of a haunted house.

Well, I decided to have a go with the birdhouse, and I took the colors from this fortnight's Lawnscaping Challenge:

Lawnscaping Challenge #47: Turquoise, Kraft, Red

The birdhouse itself is so busy that I kept the rest of the bookmark pretty clean and simple: a couple of pieces of paper and a dotty strip of washi tape. (Well, "printed paper tape" from Target, anyway.)

I'm entering this wordy bookmark into the following challenges:


Friday, December 7, 2012

Bookmarks LV: Cinnamon Steam

I find that when my friend comes over to make bookmarks with me, I often end up making things out of her scraps. And they're things I'm really quite pleased with -- simple and not over-thought.

In this case, she was using a steam-patterned paper as a background for a dragon, and I trimmed the paper down around her stamping, leaving me with a few long skinny strips. Now, I don't have any long skinny dragon stamps (note to self: fix this), but I do have a teapot and a cup of tea with a wisp of steam coming out.

"What this scrap needs," I announced, "is tea."

So I stamped the teacup, went at the edges with ink and then with wet fingers, and when it was dry I glued the strip down on some nice pearlized paper... which was also a scrap from my friend's bookmark. Hey, if someone else is going to do the color-matching for me, I'm not going to complain!

(She also figured out what to put in the empty space... I think at least half the design credit here has to go to her!)

I'm entering this steamy bookmark into the following challenges:


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bookmarks LIV: Green Swirlies

This bookmark wasn't even my idea. My friend was going through my matstacks and said "This paper is so pretty! You could just cut off this side and it would be a pretty bookmark all by itself."

So I did.

Well, I couldn't resist backing the strip on something else and doing a little bit of stamping here, but the paper is really doing most of the work. It was quick and easy and it looks nice: how much more can I ask for?

I'm entering this bookmark into the following challenges:


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

WOYWW #183: Re-Inkers

Well, I don't have only re-inkers on my desk this Wednesday, but I've got to admit they're dominating a bit. They're new, you see, and I haven't figured out where to store them yet.

Also notable are a couple of bookmarks, waiting for photography or just to be finished, and a stack of unmounted rubber stamps topped with a "mounted" one. Well, it is mounted, but not on nice foam and lovely wood -- just on a chunk, because it was too big for me to successfully stamp with otherwise.

"Have you got a chunk of wood about three by four inches?" I asked. "No," was the reply, "but I've got a saw." And tah-dah, such a chunk was made. A little glue stick work later, and some rough trimming with the craft knife, and the stamp was, if not beautifully mounted, at least useable.

(You can see one of the attempts at unmounted stamping on the upper right -- rather smudgy in some places and understamped in others.)