Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is over and now I get the opportunity to post a few cards and projects that have kept me busy the past week and a half. It’s so hard to refrain from posting when I’ve been so excited.

I want to start by saying that I have the most supportive, empathetic, sweet and patient husband, EVER – for me. Everyone claims they have the “best” husband but everyone has different needs. So I don’t want to say that my husband is better than anyone else’s – just that Stephen has been and IS my true companion in life. He’s been taking Liam to daycare this month, which allows me to work an extra 45 minutes every morning. I can’t expect anyone to have any idea how helpful that has been – but it’s made a tremendous difference in my day and how much overtime I can accomplish during the week – it add’s up! And during a few extra hours when he happens to get home early, he’s thoughtful enough to do build me things for my craft room!

I told him my handmade magazine holders were just fine, but he kept planning to make me this and I LOVE it! You can see how my paper was stored before to the right when he had only completed one paper tower. I butted up my punch holder to it and it is perfect.

paper tower 1

Here’s the finished set up (minus a few shelf boards):

paper tower 2

My upline, Cindy, told me to not store this units anywhere in direct sunlight because the paper color may fade, so one night, Stephen helped me rearrange my entire office/craft room.

ink storage

I got these basket-like magazine holders from the dollar section at Target and I think they separate everything nicely. My old gray rotary cutter is at the bottom. On top of that, a paper trimmer I got from Christmas (from my husband, of course).

accessories shelf

Alright! Now – to share my two latest Valentine’s Day cards! The video tutorial can be found here. Dawn makes a template out of window sheets, but I made mine out heavy cardstock that I had on hand. She also used Stampin’ Up! white craft ink. I opted to go with StazOn white ink. I’m not sure why – but it works. I have to admit, I just didn’t pay enough attention to the details when I watched her video. Mine is not nearly as great as Dawn’s but it still turned out well. Here is the first card I made for my friend, Karen.

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You Plus Me KH VD

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You Plus Me KH VD3

I started with a piece of white cardstock and sponged it with Pool Party ink in a x-like form. I took a picture of while doing a second card for my husband – here’s what I mean:

sponge

Then I sponged the rest in the main color. On this card, it’s Perfect Plum, which is also the color of the card base. I used heart framelits to cut out hearts in random places on a piece of heavy card stock in random places (3 to be exact) and started sponging the hearts in random places, at first more transparent and than more opaque to get the “bokeh” effect – like filters on a camera.

On the card I made for my husband, I used Tangelo Twist and Real Red. The sentiments are from the You Plus Me stamp set.

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You Plus Me SP VD

I’ve been working so much – my husband has not gotten a chance to get in my craft room to make a card for me. While I was working yesterday, he came in and made a card behind me while I was working my overtime. I think he did a great job! He used a stamp from the Painted Petals stamp set to create the dotted background and used some framelits to cut out the hearts. Isn’t he the sweetest?

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Here’s a card I got from Karen. It’s sweet card made using the banner punch:

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and a box card I got from my friend Jessica with a packet of hot cocoa:

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and some treats we got from my mother in law – made using the January Paper Pumpkin Kit. I got her a 3-month subscription for Christmas. I think they are such great gifts! Check out the website if you’re interested in these pre-packaged sets. It’s everything you need in a box for a cute monthly project if you don’t have time or money to invest in all of Stampin’ Up!’s products. Sometimes, it’s cards, sometimes its treat bags like these:

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If you ever want any of these products and need help, please let me know! I hope you enjoyed this post.

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Storing Dies

I’ve made quite an investment in die sets – they’re metal cutters that you run through a die cut machine to cut your desired image. If you’re not a card maker or papercrafter – you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s OK! I learned very quickly early on that there are many options in the ways of cutting paper from scissors to punches and dies (and lots of different types of dies – dies that cut, dies that emboss, dies that cut and emboss…are you dizzy yet?). I can’t tell how many times I’ve gotten overwhelmed by building this collection – often wondering what I’ve gotten myself into and asking do I want to keep going with this? There are hundreds of stamps, hundreds of dies, hundreds of inks and markers and more options for adhesives than I ever knew existed. Because I love doing it so much and because it is the only thing I can justify spending my spare time on, the answer is 100% positively, undoubtedly, YES.

Everything comes in a small packages for stamping/papercrafting. Just about every kit comes taped on paper and wrapped in plastic! My OCD at first told me to keep everything as the come – in the original package. Of course, this comes with disadvantages – you have to pull everything out every time you want to do something! So, I decided I had to stop that – I needed to find another way to organize all my dies. Stamp-n-Storage makes storage products for stamping products!!! Once upon a time, there was a woman who loved to stamp and her husband, who loved her very much, built storage cabinets for all her inks and tools (sounds a bit like my husband and I…hehe) – true story. It is seriously how Stamp-n-Storage came to be. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my ink/marker storage unit is one we built from inspiration off one of Stamp-n-Storage’s units. I had a point to this story – really!

Like so many other times, I wondered if I could buy magnet sheets to hold my dies. But I realized that would be too flimsy and I would have to have a backing to make them more sturdy. To avoid all that work, I caved and purchased Magnet cards from Stamp-n-Storage as a Christmas gift to myself – BIG SMILES.  I anxiously waited for them to come in the mail and as I waited, I also made labels for all the dies I had and their coordinating stamp sets, vice versa.  Here’s what I mean:

This Holiday Home Stamp Set comes with 3 matching dies that cuts out the homes for you (I seriously debated getting these dies…because it’s not hard to cut out a house! But of course…it was a deal and I had to get them!). My OCD has been re-routed! I put my dies on this Magnet card and it just holds it in place with no fuss (much better than how they came stuck to paper with very strong tape).

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Here’s the inside of the stamp case. I put a label in there to remind myself that I have coordinating dies for my stamp set.

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I LOVE it!!! I have all my magnet cards sitting in an open box that I cut from a used cardboard box wrapped with heavy duty wrapping paper. It’s easy to access – I just flip through it and get what I need. My embossing folders also fit well in this box in front of my dies.

If you don’t want to go through all this trouble – invest in an electric cutter instead! You don’t have to buy all these die sets and with an electric cutter – you can cut any shape in any size using your computer! I’m already in too deep with these dies, so it’s not an option I’d consider at this point. I hope this is helpful for those of you who are considering what’s best for you.

My Craft Room

I’ve never had a designated craft area before. In our last house, Stephen and I shared an office even though he was only home during the weekends. It was my occupational work space and that was the only purpose the room served. Since moving to our new house, I’ve claimed a room for work and crafting. During working hours, I face a two computer screens at a desk with my back against all my crafting supplies (which is a good thing otherwise I’d want to craft or make cards all day).  I wanted to share with how how I store my supplies and how Stampin’ Up paper, stamp sets and ink come. I’ve spent far too much money building this collection, but I’m sooo happy with it!

 Stampin Up Ink Holder

During a neighborhood garage sale, I went to a lady’s house to see what she had as far as crafting supplies. Her entire basement was converted into a crafting space. I had never seen anything like it. Her walls were lined with shelves to hold paper, punches, stamp sets and ribbon. On one of her walls, she had a mounted stamp set holder and I WANTED IT! So I took a photo, came home and googled other shelves like it and saw one from Stamp N’ Storage that I replicated. I drew out plans and my awesome husband built this for me – to hold all my Stampin’ Up ink pads, markers and refills. I have yet to invest in refill bottles, but one day very soon, it will be done! The nifty ribbon holder is just a rod that goes through some wooden plaques that my husband drilled holes in for me.

Stamp Shelf

On a shelf, I store all my stamp sets. I make an effort to only get clear-mounted or photopolymer (clear) sets because they come packaged nicely in a thin clear dvd-sized case and don’t take up much space at all. As you can see, I have a few sets that are not sold by Stampin’ Up which I have made labels for in the bottom right hand corner. I had a little collection before I started heavily into my addiction for Stampin’ Up products. Oh, in case I haven’t shared yet – I LOVE Stampin’ Up. I was buying sooo much that I finally agreed to sign up to become a Stampin’ Up demonstrator so I can get rewards for buying so much. If you’re interested in any of Stampin’ Up’s products, please let me know and I will be happy to place orders for you.

To view their products, visit this site: http://www.stampinup.com/ECWeb/default.aspx

DIY Paper Holder

Before I decided to invest in paper, I stored a sample pack of all the Stampin’ Up paper in a file folder (which is now being used to house all my scrap paper). I don’t have the space for a fancy shelf to hold paper, so I decided to make these vertical boxes that are similar to magazine holders out of USPS boxes. This project was practically free and so easy to do. I cut them all the same size and wrapped them with packing paper and labeled them with some tags that I had on hand. The pot to the left was purchased from a Dollar General store and it holds all my sharpies, miscellaneous pens, punches, some heavy duty scissors, and a ruler :D. Stampin’ Up has their colors in 4 categories – Neutrals, Subtles, Regals and Brights. I have a whole box of white paper since it goes the fastest when making cards. There are little tags at the top of each box to flag colors. At some point, I’m going to have to make something more durable to separate the colors.

My punches used to be stored with my ink pads where I had extra slots. But my husband soon realized that wasn’t going to do it – my collection was growing too fast. So he built me this awesome punch holder. As you can see, he’s going to have to build me another one soon…it’s almost completely filled up! My punches are a mixture of EK Tools and Stampin’ Up punches (which I think are manufactured by EK Tools since they are so similar in design). I like to save money where I can with this stuff – it’s so expensive!

Punch Holder

I have some plastic sterilite drawer units and a little white dresser that used to belong to the kids that I store my other supplies in. All my eyelits, inks, glues, embellishments are all in separated baskets purchased from the dollar store.

So that’s it – the space is small, but it works.  I’d love to have a designated craft table one of these days that isn’t holding a shelf or other tools so I can work in one space instead of three when I’m creating a card. I’m going to try to go back and post each of the cards I’ve made and try to write a little something about each. You don’t realize how many you’ve made until you’ve uploaded over 70 photos of cards!

Thanks for reading a long and taking an interest! Your support means everything to me!