Coming Soon!

Under-Construction

Hello Everyone!

I hope you are doing well.  Just a brief post to say – I’VE MISSED YOU!  It’s been 8 months today since I made my last blog post.  I’m sorry!  As many of you know, my Stampin’ Up! hobby is funded by my full-time job.  Well, that’s been a little hectic to say the least.  That, and I’m recently engaged (more to come on that!) and am in the midst of planning a wedding!

With all of that said, I have missed you, my loyal blog readers.  I decided with a new Stampin’ Up! Catalog coming, when better a time to make an appearance.  I’m going to change the theme on my blog a little bit since my second favorite Stampin’ Up! color, Baked Brown Sugar, will be retiring on June 2nd, and make a few other changes.  I’m excited for you to see them soon!

Stay tuned for more updates, projects, and fun things to come!

In the meantime…

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

Throwback Thursday, a Concept Card, and a Contest!

Hi Everyone,

I hope everyone is having a good week. It’s been a very busy week here. A coworker and I were just talking that 4-day workweeks are often busier and crazier than 5-day weeks, perhaps because we inevitably have to fit 5 days of work into 4, or because we feel like we’re already behind when we start our week on Tuesday – who knows! Anyway, even though it’s been busy, I wanted to post tonight two “newbie” topics to my blog:

Throwback Thursday:

First, if you follow social media, Facebook and Instagram, a lot of people post pictures from years past with captioned with “Throwback Thursday” or hashtagged #tbt or #throwbackthursday. While I haven’t gotten into that fad on social media (yet!), I figured I’d give you a card on here from last year. As (I hope) you all know, the 2014 Holiday Catalog was released last week! With its release each year, I begin thinking about the holiday card I’m going to make (in large quantities) and send out to friends and family.

In honor of Throwback Thursday, here is my holiday card from 2013:

TBT Holiday 2013The stamp set I used for the trees was the Lovely As a Tree Stamp Set (Item #128655 – Wood or #127793 – Clear), which is still available in the 2014-2015 Annual Catalog.  The card base is Night of Navy and the card front is actually a piece of Whisper White cardstock. To give a shadow effect, the trees were first stamped with Staz On Jet Black ink and then re-stamped with VersaMark ink for wet embossing. Now, most people that know me know that I’m not a huge fan of wet embossing; it’s just not my thing. However, to make a pretty holiday card, I’ll take a deep breath, a deep sigh and get out the embossing powder and my heat gun! For this card I actually mixed Iridescent Ice Stampin’ Emboss Powder (Item #101930) and White Stampin’ Emboss Powder (Item #109132) to give it a white and shimmery/glittery effect. I applied both at the same time, heat set, and voila, a beautiful effect! From there, I used my Stamping Sponges and Night of Navy ink to color in the sky and Sponge Daubers and Pool Party ink to shadow the snow.

The Greeting Contest:

I cheated a little bit with the greeting. It’s actually from a retired stamp set. Without using Google (please no cheaters!), can you guess which stamp set the greeting came from? Using past holiday or annual catalogs is acceptable, or if you know it by heart, I’ll give you credit as a totally awesome stamper. Anyway, the first person to COMMENT on this post with the correct answer will win a holiday-themed Stampin’ Up! prize! Again, to win you need to guess the stamp set the greeting came from and comment on my post. I have to approve all comments, but will take the first correct commenter. In order to receive your prize if you’re right, I’ll email you to get your address or if you’re local I’ll drop it off! Good luck to everyone!

Concept Card:

I receive a number of questions from fellow stampers and blog readers about how I come up with some of the ideas for my cards. Most card ideas come from my head and some come from inspiration from Pinterest or other blogs. Very rarely do I “CASE” cards, which means “copy and share everything” or “copy and share exactly” – essentially, copying an idea exactly as it is demonstrated by Stampin’ Up! or another demonstrator. (By the way: I have no problem with CASE-ing and encourage anyone that does so to give proper credit to the author!)

Because I rarely ever have a blueprint to work from when making my cards, I typically make a few iterations of cards over the span of a few days. My early cards I call concept cards and very rarely does any concept card I make become my final product. I usually add, delete or change something. It could be as drastic as the color scheme, card base or card front, maybe I reposition a greeting or change stamped images, but I usually do something!

Here is a card I made tonight. It’s meant to be a very simple Halloween card:

Halloween Card Concept

This is my first attempt at this card and it’s a concept card. Since I’m finished with it to my satisfaction for now, I’ll leave it on my display shelf. I’ll probably look at it once more tonight and again over the next few days. I’ll probably come back to it on Sunday or Monday and recreate it from scratch – keeping the same concepts but changing something. I’m not sure what I’ll change yet, but as I work through my iterations I’ll post pictures.

One rule I have about how I handle my concepts: I never alter the original or iteration cards. They were my original works and ones that I learn and modify from. I recreate from my concepts rather than add or change the original. Now, after I’ve settled on a final product, I don’t waste my concept cards either. I typically take a picture (or multiple pictures of them) to see the progress I’ve made. If they’re of acceptable quality, which they typically are, I’ll package them and give them away as I would my final card. Just because I wasn’t happy with my creation doesn’t mean someone won’t be happy receiving it!

Each stamper, creator, imagineer, artist, inventor (or whatever you call us!) has their own method to creating cards. It may not work for everyone but I enjoy going through this process. It makes it fun for me and I also feel accomplished when I look back at the pictures of my various concepts to get to my final product!

I hope you enjoyed learning about my process a little bit. Like I said before, when I come back to the card above in a few days, I’ll post the next iteration/concept. It *could* be the final product or there could be many more rounds from there. Stay tuned!

Wishing you all a very happy Friday and weekend! I’ll be back tomorrow or Saturday with September party dates… looking forward to seeing you all soon!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

A Bowl of Cherries!

Hello!

I hope everyone had a good week. I can’t believe it’s Saturday already! I also can’t believe we’re winding down summer and it’s already Labor Day weekend! I hope everyone enjoys it. If you are traveling this Labor Day, please be safe. I’ve spent the last two days with friends and will be spending the rest of the weekend with friends and family, both in D.C. and York, and I couldn’t ask for a better weekend!

For some of my friends (and for me), this last week was long and rough! School started this week and I spent a good part of the week finding classes that would both satisfy my remaining few credits I have left in my MBA and ones that I would be able to survive for the next 15 weeks! I think I found two good ones on Tuesday night and Friday afternoon. Wish me luck!

Surviving a difficult week got my creative juices flowing. I started to think about the Giggle Greetings Stamp Set (Item #131062 – Wood or #131065 – Clear). This is a great stamp set to own because the pictures and the greetings are just TOO CUTE! Here’s a picture of the stamp set:

Giggle Greetings Stamp SetThe other reason this is a cute stamp set is because you can use Blendabilities to color the images. Based on the title of my post, you can probably tell which image and saying I decided to use on a card! Here is the finished card:

Giggle Greetings Card

The card base and matching Blendabilities color is Coastal Cabana. I also used Cherry Cobbler Blendabilities and cardstock, and 3/4″ Chevron Ribbon in Cherry Cobbler to provide accent. The greeting is from the Gifts of Kindness Stamp Set (Item #130441 – Wood or #130444 – Clear) punched using the Modern Label Punch. This card is dedicated to anyone and everyone who had a difficult week like me! My hope is that next week life will be a sweet bowl of cherries and not the pits!

So with this post, I also wanted to let you know about a few other announcements!

#1 – the Holiday Catalog was released this week! That’s right, it may only be the last week of August but it’s not too early to start looking at the holidays. The 2014 Holiday Catalog includes Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s! Feel free to click on the link above to browse the online catalog on the Store. If you’d like a physical catalog, please feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to drop one off or mail one to you! I just started my second year as a demonstrator and this is my second holiday catalog! This one is even more exciting than last year’s. It’s more colorful and the new stamp sets are so cute. I’ll be spending some time over the next few days making some cards from the holiday stamp sets and will post them on here and Pinterest! Stay tuned!

#2 – please stay tuned to the blog! My upline, Wendy, and I are working on finalizing dates for September for a few great parties – our monthly Paper Pumpkin Party AND a Holiday Wreath Party! We will be coming together to share company and make the Frightful Wreath Simply Created Kit, found in the Holiday Catalog! Please consider joining us for these awesome workshops!

#3 – through September 10th, the Paper Pumpkin Promotion is still going on! Remember, if you sign up by September 10th, you’ll receive the September 2014 and October 2014 kit for 50% off! I know you’ll love your Paper Pumpkin kits, but remember, Paper Pumpkin is a monthly subscription, so you can try out Paper Pumpkin for September and October and if it’s just not for you, that’s fine; you can stop your subscription and/or take a month off if you’d like! To sign up for Paper Pumpkin and receive the 50% off offer, simply click on THIS LINK. When prompted for a Promo Code, enter HALFOFF2 and you’re all set! Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

#4 – Finally, please remember that Stampin’ Up! posts new Weekly Deals each Tuesday. Since the Weekly Deals will be ongoing, I will be posting a permanent link on my blog for you to preview the deals each week! Please remember that Weekly Deals expire (and new ones are posted) each Tuesday at 12:00 a.m. MT!

Again, wishing everyone a very happy, festive and fun Labor Day weekend! Please be safe and enjoy! I’ll be posting holiday cards soon and the dates for September parties! I look forward to hearing from you and possibly seeing you at a party soon! Take care!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

 

Anniversaries and Blendabilities

Hi Everyone,

Happy Saturday! I am so happy it is the weekend; it’s been a long week. The not so fun part, which I’ll only briefly mention, is I had a medical procedure at Johns Hopkins this week that was supposed to be a quick few hours procedure. Well, because of low hemoglobin, it turned into an overnight hospital stay. Not so much fun – but I’m home, recovered and luckily that was only a small part of the week!

The larger parts of my week and the fun times – there were two! First, today our family celebrated my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary. Individually, my parents have always served as amazing role models to my sister, to me and now to their four grandchildren (my nephews and niece). My father and mother each have their own unique personalities, life journeys and life lessons to teach. They are amazing mentors and advisors to our entire family. Together, their love is inspirational. Every relationship has struggles and tribulations, but my parents have shown our family what unconditional love is – to each other and to all of us. With 40 years under their belts, they show us that a relationship can be built on love and trust and to never give up!

We celebrated today as a family at Hickory Bridge Farm in Orrtanna, Pennsylvania (just outside of Gettysburg). My sister chose the restaurant, which is also a bed and breakfast and event site for parties and weddings. It was beautiful. Not only that, but it was great to celebrate this occasion with our parents complemented with a “family-style” meal. The food was delicious and home-cooked and the ambiance of an old barn setting was beautiful. We were greeted upon entry with cheese and crackers and fresh, homemade apple juice. Once seated, we enjoyed cucumber or spiced peaches, iced tea and lemonade. Our salad course was topped with bacon infused dressing. For dinner we enjoyed chicken and gravy topped dumplings, baked ham and crab imperial. Finally, for dessert, we enjoyed apple crisp and cherry ice cream pie. Needless to say, if you left Hickory Bridge Farm hungry, it was entirely on you!

After dinner, we visited the country store on site and spent some time in the scenery to take some pictures of the happy couple!

Photo Aug 16, 6 12 40 PM

It truly was a beautiful evening and I’m so happy (and grateful) for my parents!

The second fun time had this week was a Stampin’ Up! get-together on Monday night to learn, play with and create using Blendabilities markers! I hosted the event at my house for another demonstrator and 16 guests. It was a great time! This is the second time I’ve had the opportunity to teach others about Stampin’ Up!’s new Blendabilities markers. It’s such a great experience and since the product is brand new, it’s always fun showing someone who has never used Blendabilities markers or may be afraid to try them out all about them, and to see their comfort once we’ve gone over the basics!

At the get-together we made two cards. The first is called Snapshot:

Snapshot

This card is made using Blendabilities markers. The camera is stamped with the Snapshot stamp set (Item #133812) using Smoky Slate Blendabilities markers (Item #131005). The card base is Smoky Slate and the card front is Very Vanilla. The top border is stamped with Real Red using the Dotty Angles (Item #133658) stamp set. The greeting is from the Fabulous Four stamp set (Item #134171 – wood or #134174 – clear). Once colored, the camera was cut out and mounted using Stampin’ Dimensionals (Item #104430) on a piece of Flashback Designer Series Paper (Item #133699).

I chose to use the Snapshot stamp set for a make-and-take because, as I’ve been talking about Blendabilities with my customers and about this stamp set, I’ve received a lot of questions about how you color this, or why you would use Blendabilities since it doesn’t look like there’s a lot to the image, in terms of shading, shadowing or blending. However, as you can see above, you can actually get quite creative with Blendabilities. Blending doesn’t have to follow a specific rule or logic even. It can be how YOU perceive the image or whatever fuels your creativity! In this case, as I isolate this image in my mind, this is how I’d picture it – colored and blended exactly as I’ve done it. One additional thing to note: not all cameras are Smoky Slate (grey). In fact, Stampin’ Up! has 11 other colors and I’m sure the Snapshot camera would look good in any of those colors!

The second card made for the get-together is called Bloom for Hope:

Bloom with Hope

This card was made using a stamped image from the Bloom for Hope Hostess Stamp Set (Item #133949 – wood or #133952 – clear). It is colored with Wisteria Wonder (Item #131002), Daffodil Delight (Item #130998AND Smoky Slate (Item #131005) Blendabilities markers. The card base is Wisteria Wonder and the card front is Whisper White. The card front is stamped using Wisteria Wonder ink with Petite Petals (Item #133152 – wood or #133155 – clear) and the greeting is from the Four You stamp set (Item #130535 – wood or #130538 – clear). To make the background, I glued an inch strip of Daffodil Delight to a 2.5 inch strip of Wisteria Wonder from the Designer Series Paper Stacks (Item #130134 – Brights and #130135 – Subtle), angled it a bit and trimmed to fit it on the card front. Finally, the ribbon is 1/2″ Seam Binding Ribbon in Wisteria Wonder (Item #134572) with a rhinestone (Item #119246).

I chose this card for two reasons. First, I wanted to highlight a stamp set, the Bloom for Hope Hostess Stamp Set, as a set you can use with Blendabilities even though it’s not “officially” endorsed to be used with Blendabilities. Simply put, you can use any stamp set you’d like with Blendabilities. Stampin’ Up! recommends some sets that have larger areas to color and blend, but really almost any image has the potential to be spruced up with some Blendabilities color!

The second reason I chose this card is because of the blending technique. As I mentioned above, the flower is colored with Daffodil Delight and Wisteria Wonder, which are fairly easy to see. What may not be easy to see at first glance is the flower is also blended using Smoky Slate (grey). When Stampin’ Up! initially launched Blendabilities back in June, they released six of the twelve colors initially. My biggest disappointment was that they did not release Smoky Slate with the initial offering. In using alcohol-based markers before, I love using greys to further blend my designs. Grey works especially well when coloring with purples and blues (medium or darker blues) but can be added, in moderation, to other colors as well. While it may be difficult to see from the picture above, the shadowing just outside of the stamen is accented with grey, as well as some of the darker shading on the petals of the flower. If you haven’t tried already, I recommend you try adding some grey for blending to your design. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results!

With the time spent at the hospital, hosting the Stampin’ Up! get-together and celebrating with my parents (oh, and working, too – have to pay for Stampin’ Up! somehow!), it’s been a very busy week! I’m happy to have shared the highlights with you and I hope you’ve found some inspiration in the two card ideas! I’ll be focusing a bit more on Blendabilities in some upcoming blog posts.  As always, I’m available to host a workshop, a demonstration or provide more information about Blendabilities or any Stampin’ Up! product. Feel free to contact me. Also, the Bloom for Hope Hostess Stamp Set can be yours for hosting a get-together with some friends to learn about Blendabilities or maybe to take advantage of the great Big Shot Promotion going on right now. Contact me for more details.

Have a great week! For my readers who are teachers and heading back to the classroom this week, I wish you my best! Thank you for all you do and cheers to you for a great school year ahead!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

Weekly Deals – August 12th

Weekly Deals Banner

Hello Everyone!

I hope everyone has had a great start to August and you are enjoying your summer! I am sorry that I’ve been out of touch or disconnected for the past few weeks! I haven’t been feeling well for the past few weeks and have been majorly distracted by medical tests and procedures. While I’m not feeling great now, I’ve also missed all of you, my Stampin’ family, and I’m glad to be back online and reconnected.

I have a number of things to update you about and will be posting here over the next few days. On this post, however, I wanted to provide some Stampin’ Up! news about Weekly Deals and the Big Shot Promotion.

Here are the Weekly Deals for this week:

08122014This week’s Weekly Deals are amazing.  From a price point-of-view, some of the more expensive items in our catalog are on sale at great savings! Also, most of the items on here are a great value because you can use and reuse them, like the Envelop Liners Framelits Die and Rosette Designer Bigz XL Die.  Click on the Weekly Deals Banner or the picture above to check out all the deals.

Do you like the Weekly Deals but are you thinking — “I don’t own a Big Shot yet?”

If that’s the case, Stampin’ Up! is running an excellent promotion for the month of August:

Promo PicHere’s how it works – buy a Big Shot for $99.95.  During the month of August, you’ll also receive a free stamp set and Framelits dies (specific bundles) for free. You can choose between wood mount or clear mount. The value is up to $60!

Own a Big Shot already but want one of the cool bundles?  For the month of August, the bundles included in the link above are 15% off! How great is that?

Click on the picture above for more information and to see the stamp sets and Framelits bundles available under this promotion!

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the Big Shot Promotion or any of our Weekly Deals! I’ll be placing a workshop order this week, so if there is anything you’re interested in, please let me know!

Thanks for your emails of concern while I was AWOL. I appreciate the concern and I’m sorry for my absence!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

 

 

Current Stampin’ Studio

Hi Everyone,

I hope everyone had a good weekend! I’ve been very busy since I got home – cleaning, organizing and catching up! Because I was working on swaps up to the very last minute before I left for Salt Lake City, my “Stampin’ Studio” looked like a hurricane came through. I had stamp sets piled everywhere, paper on every possible surface, and ink and punches in shameful disarray. My project today was to get that all organized and I’m happy to say I was successful!

Before I get all creative again (i.e. in the “stampin’ zone”) and make my room messy again, I figured I’d post a few pictures and give a little tour. I also want to preserve these memories because in October I’ll be moving to a new location in my house because I’ve outgrown this room. So here is a tour of my Stampin’ Studio (a term used at Convention that I actually love as it sounds more masculine than “craft room”! – not that there is anything wrong with that!)

Stamp Set Storage

Stampin Studio 1

Along a face wall in my room I have two shelving units set up where I store my stamp sets. These shelving units were built from materials obtained from IKEA and customized with parts from Lowe’s to adequately store stamp sets. Each unit holds approximately 505 stamp sets and the two units combined hold 1,010 stamp sets. I store my stamps by catalog (i.e. Annual, Holiday, etc.) and then in alphabetical order. I also keep some of the retired stamp sets that I am fond of and couldn’t stand to part with! As you can see from the picture, the top two shelves (which I can’t reach on a regular occasion) and bottom two shelves are currently being used for storage. They’re available for future stamp set storage when needed (*smiles*).

Paper, Ink, Ribbon and Punch Storage

Stampin Studio 4The side wall of my studio holds my paper, ink, ribbon and punches. I purchased the ribbon holder, lock-down punch holders (x2) and 60 insert Combo holder (for ink, refills and Stampin’ Write markers) from Stamp-n-Storage, a company that I highly recommend. The shelving unit was built from materials obtained from IKEA. For paper storage, I use 13″x13″ kraft paper storage boxes available at Hobby Lobby. I have a box dedicated to each color where I store 12″x12″ cardstock, 8-1/2″x11″ cardstock and project scrap to be used later. I also have a box for specialty paper (i.e. Kraft, window sheets, glimmer paper, vellum, etc.) and for each type of Designer Series Paper. Today I added new boxes for Designer Series Paper that will be available in the upcoming 2014 Holiday Catalog. Each box is labeled and color-coded with the paper color and the boxes are organized by color family (regal, bright, subtle, neutral, In Color 2013-2014, and In Color 2014-2016).

Work Table

Stampin Studio 3

My work table is the Norden Extendable Dining Room Table available from IKEA. I keep the extension in the table, which extends the table to 10 feet so I can spread out. On my main work surface, I use a self-healing cutting mat with a silicon sheet on top. This allows me to work on pretty much any project at any time without having to worry about damaging my work surface. Plus, the cutting mat provides nice cushion when stamping to make sure I get a nice, even impression, especially with background or photopolymer stamps. I have a few electrical outlets in the floor right under my work table to allow me to plug a hot glue gun, heat tool, sewing machine, or any other tool necessary to complete my project without running cords all over the room.

Tools Station

Stampin Studio 2

The final stop on the tour is my tools station. This is where I use my Big Shot, Texture Boutique Machine, Simply Scored, Paper Trimmer and where I do wet embossing. The work station is the IKEA Varde base cabinet, which works well for these functions because it is counter height at 36″ rather than table height at 30″. I store my embossing folders and framelits in storage solutions I acquired from Stamp-n-Storage. The framelits are mounted to magnetic cards, available with the storage solution. Finally, I have a TV mounted above my Tools Station for background noise, or to watch YouTube or other training videos. My work table in the previous picture faces the TV, which allows me to easily pause and play tutorials, as necessary, when creating.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my Stampin’ Studio! As I mentioned before, I’ll be moving from this room in a couple of months. I’ll be moving to my basement, which is a walkout/daylight basement with plenty of natural light. Down there, I’ll have a little more room to spread out and create! I’ll post pictures after I’ve settled into my new creative space!

Have a great week. I’ll be back soon to finish my Convention recap and post pictures of some new projects!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

 

Mark Your Calendar – August 19th

paperpumpkin

Paper Pumpkin Party

Each month my wonderful upline, Wendy, hosts a Paper Pumpkin Party where we all gather to put our fabulous monthly Paper Pumpkin kits together. In August, Wendy will be out of town and she has asked me to host her Paper Pumpkin Party! I’m so excited!

Please join us for our monthly Paper Pumpkin Party on Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 from 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. If you are a Paper Pumpkin subscriber, please bring your August Paper Pumpkin kit, snips (scissors) and your favorite adhesive. Everything else will be provided. I will be serving refreshments, including drinks and wine or sangria.

If you’re not a Paper Pumpkin subscriber and would like to “test the waters,” Stampin’ Up! is currently running a promotion. Receive 50% off your first two months! So for about $10 per month you can join our August party and September party and see if you like it. If you do (and I’m sure you will!), you don’t need to do anything to continue. If you don’t, you can cancel anytime.

Click on the picture below to access the Paper Pumpkin website if you’re interested in signing up!  When you sign up, make sure to use Promo Code “HALFOFF2” (without quotes) to receive this phenomenal offer. This promotion expires on September 10, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. MT.

50pct paper pumpkin j

If you are still unsure, I will have a few August Paper Pumpkin kits available for purchase. The cost is $23.00, which includes tax and shipping. To make sure I have enough one-time kits, you MUST let me know you’d like to purchase one when you RSVP.

Please RSVP for this event by August 12th, 2014 to stevenlovesstamping@gmail.com. If you have never been to my house before, I will provide you directions and further information in my confirmation email.

I look forward to seeing everyone who can attend on Tuesday, August 19th!

See you soon!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven