Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Organizing Spellbinders Nestibilities and A Muse Studio Metal Dies

7.5 x 6.5 x 2.5 inch binder
Storing thin metal dies such as Nestibilities from Spellbinders and other crafting companies has always been a problem for me. The dies typically come in a stiff plastic case or flimsy zip bags. Great for retail display, but not so good for organizing and accessing the dies. Personally, my dies were a big nasty mess. Unorganized, sometimes tangled, and it was never easy to put my hands on the dies I wanted to use. But, my computer geek background inspired a storage idea. I could use the two-ring, metal binders that software manufacturers use to package and organize computer discs, CDs and DVDs. CD - DVD Metal Ring Binders! Here's how the binders can be used.
By placing the metal dies in the individual sleeves that would normally hold a CD, you can fit quite a few dies in each sleeve and at least 30 sleeves in one binder. I have 86 dies in a binder that measures 7.5 x 6.5 x 2.5 inches! And there is room for more. All I have to do is add more sleeves.
Here are some additional tips:
  • I used my label maker to create labels and included the number of dies stored in that pocket. This helps me keep the dies in each set together as well as to remind me how many should be there. That is especially useful when I take my dies to stamping and scrapbooking events and allow friends to use my dies.
  • I used double-sided tape to adhere the instructions for using the dies with my Big Shot die cut machine to the inside front cover.
  • I glued magnetic strips to the inside back cover for dies that were just a little too big to fit in sleeves but yet small enough to fit in the binder.
  • I created a label for the spine and slid some additional instructions under the clear overlay on the front of the binder. The binder has a clear overlay that allows you to create a custom cover, spine and back cover.   
You can get these awesome, quality binders from WTS Media. This link will take you directly to the 1 - 30 Disc Metal Ring Binder.  There are two color choices, white or black. As of 12-28-2011, the price for less than a case of 24 is $3.50 each. Not bad for protecting and organizing your thin metal dies.
You'll also need to purchase sleeves to go in the binder. The sleeve information is located at the bottom of the web page or you can do a search. The two sleeve choices are the white easy access sleeve which only has a pocket on one side or the doubled sided sleeve that has pockets on both sides.
WTS Media is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee and their products are manufactured here in the United States. WTS Media's customer service is outstanding. When I've called with questions, the customer service reps are glad to help. I've found they're just as helpful if you are buying a few items or if you are purchasing in bulk. And a Christian company as well.
Let me know what you think of this idea. I know I love it and I hope you will as well. Comments welcome as always.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Santa's Boxer Shorts Card

I couldn't help myself. I had to do it. I combined the boxer shorts from the A Muse | Studio Hey Man set with the Santa Suit from the Naughty or Nice set. This is an unfinished card, so please look at the parts and pieces and ignore the unfinished background details. I have a naughty mind, even at Christmas. The parts:
  • Stamped Santa's jacket on white cardstock and again on red cardstock. Used a glue pen to make the cuffs and hem on the jacket sticky so I could add white glitter.
  • Stamped the boxers with black embossable ink, sprinkled the boxers with clear embossing powder and hit it with a heat gun to make the dots pop a little.
  • Used the A Muse Studio snowflake die cut to cut out the snowflakes, swiped the snowflakes across a red ink pad and sprinkled on iridescent embossing powder and hit the snowflakes with the heat gun as well. Note that I layered two snowflakes and added a red creative candy gem to the middle of the snowflakes.
  • Layered white and candy cane ovals.
  • Stamped a small tag with the Naughty and Nice along with red and white twine.
  • Glued down the pieces with the exception of using pop dots to make Santa's jacket pop off the page. (Or should I have popped Santa's Boxers?)
Do you think Santa will leave me coal in my stocking? OK, enough of the naughty Santa references. Next blog will cover a couple of new organizational tools I found. Stay tuned, I really think you will like what I've come up with for a hard to store set of essentials.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Black, White and Red Christmas Card

I knew this needed a better scanned picture, so I took the time rescan.
Wanted to try something unconventional for my latest Christmas card creation. I used A Muse Studio's Winter Wood stamp set, white ink, white embossing powder on black background. Used A Muse Studio's snowflake die cut to create black and red snowflakes. Added some bling. You'll also see that I used A|S 'Twas the Night Before Christmas cardstock along with the A|S Candy Cane cardstock.

Tell me what you think! (I don't know why all comments appear as anonymous, so ID yourself please.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Keeping it Simple

In late November two years ago, I tore my rotator cuff. Surgery was not an option. To heal naturally meant avoiding as much movement as possible in my left shoulder and arm. What to do about Christmas? I couldn't lift and tug and reach. I had to depend on Mike, my husband, and Michael, my son to do the decorating.
Mike and Michael did a pretty good job of decorating the tree and the house as I pointed (with my right arm) and gave direction. They tolerated my orders pretty well at the beginning, but at the end of the second day, they'd just about had enough of me.
Christmas came and went. When it came time to put everything away, I left them to the task without supervision. Mistake, big mistake.
Last year when it came time to decorate for Christmas, I was ready to decorate big. Shoulder had healed and I was ready to make up for the previous year. Mike and Michael brought all the decorations and tree up from the basement. Michael and Ashley put the tree together and got the lights working. We started to pull out the decorations. At first, I was annoyed, then angry. The decorations were a mess. Ornaments were tangled and broken. The baby Jesus was missing from the Nativity. It got really ugly from there. The tree was up and I decorated as high as Ashley and I could reach. (Ashley's not much taller than me.) At the end of the day, everything was partially done. We never finished. The ugliness hung over the holidays like a fog, nothing substantial, but the disappointment was there every time I entered the living room and saw the partially decorated tree and mantel.
This year just before Thanksgiving, I asked if we could decorate early. My family was coming for Thanksgiving dinner and I wanted for them to see our house decorated for Christmas. Mike turned me down flat. I was frustrated and just on the verge of angry ... just like last year. I let the anger go and concentrated on Thanksgiving. Mike and I did a fantastic job getting the house tidied up, decluttered, and prepared for Thanksgiving. Mike did most of the cooking and my family cleaned up after the big meal.
I felt so thankful for such a wonderful Thanksgiving, I decided I was not going to obsess over Christmas. But how could I make that happen with the Christmas decorations a complete mess? My blood pressure went up any time I thought of seeing the boxes of decorations coming up from the basement. Maybe I should just skip decorating or maybe put out a couple of things and let it go. If I did that, my mom would be so disappointed in ME. She loves decorating for Christmas. I knew I had to do some decorating or I would be mad at myself for giving in to the anger.
Last Sunday I gave Michael instructions to find a 5 gallon bucket and a shovel. I asked Mike to put on a coat and get in the truck. I explained the plan to find just the perfect tree. My plan was to drive along the road by our house and dig up a tree. Not an evergreen, just a bare branch tree, lots of limbs, no leaves, no needles. Mike and Michael got caught up in the moment and started pointing out potential trees. No, too big. Nah, not quite enough limbs. Not that one, it's not got a good shape. Then we saw it, a pretty good tree. Well, it looked pretty good from the truck.
Mike and Michael jumped out and started to dig. I drove down the road and turned the truck around. Michael dug for a while then Mike. Then Michael. Then Mike. It took a bit of digging, but we got most of the taproot and a good bit of dirt to hold the tree in the bucket.
The tree was much bigger in our driveway than it looked from the truck. It took quite a bit of manuevering to get the 16 ft. redbud in the house. We knocked pictures off the wall and glasses off the counter. But instead of getting mad, we laughed at ourselves and the simple tree.
We didn't bring a single decoration up from the basement. A quick trip to the Dollar Tree and two or three trips to Michael's. Simple clear LED lights. Simple homemade paper ornaments. A few small silver balls. A few small red balls.
I am keeping it simple this year. So far.
Merry Christmas.
PS I found the baby Jesus. I'm planning on braving the basement to retrieve the rest of the set. Call 911 if you don't hear from me.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Countdown to Christmas

I didn't get the Christmas Spirit in 2010. I was a spectator, not an active participant.I didn't even send out Christmas cards last year. I am making progress with my Christmas Spirit AND cards for this year  Here are a couple of my favorite cards so far.
Stamp images, paper, twine, window bag, maple tag and washi tape are from A Muse Studios. Contact me at kentuckystamper@gmail.com for purchase info.
All the images are colored using Copic markers. Even the coloring on the maple tag. I love coloring with my Copic markers. I'm not a natural artist, but I am improving. I'm glad that I've not let my lack of natural talent get in the way of my love of coloring. My excitement for Copic markers compares the same feeling I had when I opened my first big 64 color box of Crayola Crayons. Copics are crayons for grown ups.
Here's brief information on the "not so obvious techniques" I used. The icicles on the tag and inside the clear window on the bag were created using the A Muse Studio Grass die cut. I added a sparkle effect by dabbing the "icicles" with a clear embossing pad and then poured on iridescent embossing powder. Used a heat tool to melt the embossing powder. Clear glue and glitter would give the same effect. The maple tag on the linen bag was stamped using the stamp set Vintage Christmas Postmarks and colored using Copics. Santa's beard was made with the most awesome white uni-ball gel pen. Washi tape is a color, patterned tape that mimics a ribbon. Washi tape is easy to use and can be lifted and repositioned if you need. Thanks for reading. Keep creating. **Note** A couple of you have mentioned that you are having problems commenting and/or viewing this blog. My intention is to allow everyone to view and make comments, but I can't figure out why my settings aren't working. I'll keep trying. Please be patient with me as I learn the ins and outs of blogging.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Man Card and communication

Man cards are a tough challenge. My husband and son encourage me and love nearly anything I create. My men inspire me. My husband, Mike, is a truck mechanic for a utility company. Mike also has a GREAT eye for card designs and papercrafting projects. He designs, but doesn't implement. He's my go to guy when I'm stuck or feel like something is missing from one of my designs. He is good at seeing my design and then suggesting additions, twists, and new direction with the same set of supplies. Often, he will remember another set he's seen in the A Muse Studio catalog and suggest adding an additional image or element. Amazing. But there are times when I have worked on a design and I really, really like what I have done. I show him the card and he starts to make suggestions. That is what I wanted to hear! I wanted him to say it was perfect just the way it is. I'm hurt and disappointed. He doesn't understand why I'm upset, afterall, I'm always asking for input. When do I want input and when do I want approval?
I've learned to warn him before I show him a design that I feel is my best work. My warning, "I'm not asking for input, I'm just showing you this one" identifies an inconsistent message. That simple communication has saved hurt feelings.
I've learned at least one other lessons about communication with a husband; it isn't fair to spring a love pop quiz with no preparation. In the past, I would "test" my husband and his love or commitment. I would set up a situation and see how he reacted and then judge his reaction or non-reaction. If I didn't get the desired reaction, I was hurt or pouted. Was it fair to give him a relationship "pop quiz" without any parameters or study materials? Learning to communicate that something is important to me has improved our relationship. Pop quizzes in relationships aren't exactly fair or necessary. And with that last tidbit, on to the important stuff about the card.
This is a card I made with Mike in mind. I'm nuts about using a juicy dark colored pigment ink pad and clear embossing powder. Clear embossing powder works well with any dark color pigment ink.
Stamp set: Rock Star (A Muse Studio)
Paper: French Roast Gingham, French Roast solid card stock  (A Muse Studio)
Ink: French Roast A Muse Studio pigment ink
Embossing powder: Clear (A Muse Studio)
Please leave your comments and suggestions. Any suggestions for adding another color or another focal point are welcome. Thanks for looking.
Products available via my website: www.amusestudio.com/Kentuckystamper

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What a mess!!

My craft room has become an embarrassment for me. Stacks of magazines, new products, old stamp sets, and the most embarrassing thing of all, unused organization tools and storage containers.
I'm in the process of sorting, organizing and tossing. I'm ashamed that I have so many new and unused stamping supplies and sets.  I'm thinking of using the best stamp sets and products as incentives as I build my A Muse Studio business. Basically, I'm thinking that with a purchase of  $XX (undecided on amount) you can purchase (or free) retired and discontinued stamp sets from my previous company. Any thoughts, any suggestions? The more you spend, the more freebies you get. Win win. 
Might be a good time to book a party! Call me or email me.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Shipment from A Muse Studio

The UPS man was very good to me today! Lots of new goodies. Now I'm ready to prepare for some demonstrations in a big way. I got a couple of new tools I can't wait to learn how to use. Here's a partial list of what came today:
  1. Washi tape ribbon in five great colors
  2. French Roast baker's twine
  3. Large Mitten die (I have some great ideas for this one.)
  4. More maple tags
  5. A bow tying guide thingy
  6. A paper and ribbon slot punching tool
  7. Several new stamp sets
I don't know where to start and what to use first. Check back in a day or two. I plan to post some project samples and review a new product. Which product will it be? Let me know if you have a preference based on what you know I've listed.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Card Samples

This is an example of a very simple card. Simple format. Simple progression of elements. Think of it as a recipe. Three progressively larger circles, a pop of color in the form of a strip near the bottom of the card with a somewhat sheer ribbon that allows the dots to show through. Recreate you own card using your favorite A Muse Studio stamps and paper. I'd love to see what you do with this idea. Build on it, embellish it, or duplicate, but do it! 
PS. I cut the coffee cup out and put pop dots to give extra dimension.  You can shop on my web page at https://www.amusestudio.com/kentuckystamper
I'm demo # 1380 and I'd love to have you shop with me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Muse Studio - Favorite New Product week 1

When I saw these real maple wood tags, I knew I had to have a pack. (OK, so I bought two packs, I knew I would (wood) love them.) I saw the possibilities. They come in two sizes, 1.5 inches or 2 inches with 12 in a pack. Stamp-able. Punch-able. Color-able with copics and markers. So, so cool. Love the price point as well. A lot of bang for the buck. Used my Crop-a-dile to punch a hole, no problem. I was afraid the wood would split during the hole punch process, but no problem and with my crop-a-dile, it didn't take alot of extra strength.
You can order directly from my A Muse Studio website: www.amusestudio.com/kentuckystamper
  1. Click Shop Online. 
  2. Click on the Accessories graphic and you will be taken to a list of products.
  3. To go straight to the Maple Tags product description, enter Maple Tags in the search box.
Feel free to browse through the great list of A Muse Studio accessories.