Friday, July 27, 2012

SUPERHERO, aka Superman . . .NOT

Oh my gosh do I have a lot of catching up to do! The Sonoma special workshop really put me behind. I haven't posted these layouts. This is with our Superhero Paper. The first page shows our son in his little halloween costumes. The fuzzy ones on the lower left page are of him in his Superman costume. I actually made him a Superman costume, complete with a Satin cape. I was so suprised that it turned out great! My title is "Superman NOT" because the next page shows him from a week when we got his Jr High photos (Thank God!), cause I got a call right after I got at work to come pick him up--he had gotten hurt at school. He needed emergency plastic surgery to put his nose back in place after playing around before school and we had to go get one of these photos for the surgeon to take into the operating room with her to try and put his nose back together to look like him!

This next layout is when is younger and wanted to play soccer. Oh my gosh did we have fun and laugh. He was so excited by his little costume. He was truly ADHD. (Meds worked great but he wouldn't take them because the kids teased him. They were the only time he maintained decent grades and learned well in school without disrupting everyone.)  But below, was his first soccer match. It was all I could do to get his photo. He was playing frisbee beforehand. When we got to the field, they put him as a goalee I think it was. That didn't work. He got tired and sat down to look for 4-leaf clovers for awhile. Then when the ball came near, he started running and playing with the other team. We didn't care and were just happy to see him having fun. In one shot you see another playing looking at him when he is sneaking a wave to us. The other team wasn't happy at all. Soccer didn't last--much too serious and competitive and not at all about fun at such a young age. We didn't mind him giving that up at all!

Note: The directions said to sponge everything in black. Black is such a dynamic color, that I learned in art classes, a little goes a long way and it can be overpowering. I sponged in Outdoor Denim--it is much more subtle and lets my faded photos be more dominant which is my ultimate goal.

Products Used
G1037 Superhero Workshop On The Go Includes
      X7152B Superhero Paper Pack
      Exclusive Superhero Stamp Set
      Z1688 Comic Badge Buttons
      Z1680 Dimmensional Elements Stars
      Instructional Brochure
Z1488 Honey Mini-Medley Accents Collections (for Ribbon)
E1022 Hero Alphabet My Acrylix Stamp Set
S1204 April Stamp of the Month, You Are My Acrylix Stamp Set
X5903 Cardstock Shade Packs Light Blue
Z2334 Moonstruck Exclusive Inks Marker
Exclusive Inks Stamp Pads: Z2134 Moonstruck, Z2150 Sunflower, Z2162 Honey, Z2194 Sky,
      Z2116 Cranberry, Z2140 Outdoor Denim,  
Z1151 3-D Foam Tape
Z534 Micro-Tip Scissors
Z1471 Ruler

Other Products used--I have Arrow brads pointing to our son in the soccer photos.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Happy Anniversary and Is There Such A Thing As Too Many Photos . . .YES!!!

I have so many photos--2 huge boxes printed, that I decided I'm going to try doing Studio J for new ones and traditional scrapbooking for my heritage or printed photos. Well one day when I wokeup with every part of my body hurting (thank you Mr. Fibromonster!), I opened the computer and went to Studio J. I created 12 pages in one afternoon, in my comfy recliner, under a blanket. No moving around, getting up and down to get different things. It was all in one space! Plus I have access to bunches of papers, embellishments, layouts, "inks," stickease, ribbons, and more--FOR FREE!!!

That's right. You can go to My Website and click the links until it takes you to Studio J. You will need to create a password and log in. Once you upload your photos, you have 90 days to play. During that 90 days, you will need to buy one 2-page layout (JUST $6.50 Starting 8/1!) and your 90-day period will start all over again. Plus you'll get a free JPG so you can post your own layouts on your blog or facebook to share with family and friends. There is no software to purchase or memberships to buy. Faster, Simpler, and MUCH EASIER, than the others and I have tried them. You also have access to old papers and layouts.

This first layout was made with Elegant Bouquet. I cannot remember how many paper packs of this one I bought. It was around a few years ago and we were all heart-broken when it was retired.I used it below for photos of when our granddaughter presented us with a beautiful collage she made for us of pictures throughout out 39-years together. On the left page, there is a picture above my husband's head. I wanted to crop it out, but didn't feel like learning how (yes, it does have photo cropping capabilities), so I just built a bouquet of roses with digital My Stickease--just like our paper, cardstock stickers except I don't run out.


My next layout is with a current and (HURRAH!!!) a future paper pack . . . Victory. This one was my favorite out of the spring/summer book. It is so versatile. You will see from other layouts coming soon that Victory is fantastic for boys, military, camping, or just change a few sheets of paper and you can make it work for girls and as I did--our anniversary. My friend Candice was over and she was going to treat us to dinner. I chose this pack because I like to be different. I also thought it went great with my husband's shirt, my granddaughter's hair, and my jacket. But what to do about our sweaters??? I changed the buttons. When you go to change the buttons, you are given suggested colors. Well, the color I selected isn't one of their choices so they I went outside the box and opted for one that matched the pink of our sweaters almost perfectly.

Our marriage has truly been an "everyday adventure" so the Stickease went perfect with the situation. For journaling, I learned that you have to have a journaling box for each spot you want to "write" on. So in the top right corner, you see I created a little tiny journaling box or journaling spot. In future layouts, you will notice that I got smarter and just left the spot empty and filled in my jounaling later with a marker or pen of my chosing.  


Studio J was perfect for this layout. I had 3 photos and wanted to use this Cruisin' paper so bad because as you can see--it is PERFECT. However, I didn't want to buy an entire paperpack and Stickease/stamps or a Workshop On The Go for just 3 photos. Plus, I don't print photos in oddball sizes like the one on the left page. I think it really is a magical program. I drag and drop my photos and it enlarges them or shrinks them to the perfect size! No cropping for me. Cruisn' has been retired, but not on Studio J.


One last Studio J layout to share: Roxie. The perfect layout for teens. But I would have rather not shared it with our poor granddaughter hooked up to IV's. However, The Snuggie was a gift to me from my dear friend/like-a-sister Susan--she's up on the right of my blog front page. It is a hug from her when I am hurting and need warmth. BUT Sam couldn't resist those animal stripes and snagged it! When she is in this sort of shape, I have a feeling Susan would rather it be wrapping her up!

 Roxie is such great paper. I really hate to see it go because animal print is still, look at the plaids and flourishes; Just great. I actually covered the switch plates in Sam's room with Roxie. On this layout, I built some layered Stickease. You cannot tell that they weren't "officially" adjoined." I also left space on the tab on the right page to hand journal. If you want actual thickness to your pages, when you get them home, add some bling, real brads, or real buttons and you're good to go.


Products Used: Studio J and a journaling pen--how simple is that?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Crop Chocolate's July Challenge

I LOVED doing this Crop Chocolate Challenge!

We had to base a layout on a favored book. Because of these photos, my layout is based on the Bible!

When these photos were taken, there were more things going wrong than right in our life. The only place where we felt peace and comfort was when we went to church. I joked with my friends that I was going to pitch a tent in the church parking lot if we didn't get a break soon so when a new believers class opened up, I just signed us up. It was a review for me, but we met a wonderful couple in the leaders, who had experienced many of the same difficulties we were facing. Our souls were eased, we spent quality time making new friends, and had a good time ourselves.

The bottom line is our marriage has survived 39 + years with God, faith, and love; God's word never fails to keep us going through the bad times!

 Crop Chocolate Products Used
Cardstock: Fancy Pants Lilac House and My Family
      Making Memories Vintage Findings

Embellishments: Making Memories Je t' Adore Embellishment Box
      Making Memories Springtime Shapes Butterfly Brad (In the center of the flower on my photo.)
Making Memories Slice, portable die cutter

Non Crop Chocolate products
Faith Design Card for Slice
The layout pattern is from

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pemberley Bonus Layout--I Like This One Better!

The Workshps On The Go are so great. You get professional looking layouts and don't have to do the hard work of figuring out what to do--it's all been done for you, complete with dimensions!  Pemberly was one of my favorites from the Spring Summer book and I'm thrilled to Say it IS in the Autumn Winter book.

This is of my dad's cousins. They were such super-nice people. If you look close, the little kid in the photos on the right page--that's me.


G1033 Pemberley Workshop On The Go Kit Includes the following:
      X7148B Peberley Paper Pack
      Pemberley Stamp Set--exclusive for this set
      Z1694 Bouquet Assortment
      Z1707 Bitty Opaques Pearl Adhesive Gems
      Instructional Brochure T
Z1686 Cricut Art Philosophy Collection
Exclusive Inks Stamp Pads: Z2118 Desert Sand, Z2140 Outdoor Denim, Z2162 Honey
Exclusive Inks Marker: Z2421 Outdoor Denim
Z1327 Sparkles--Blue & Green Assortment
Z1151 3-D Foam Tape
Z534 Micro-Tip Scissors
C697 Sponge

Other products used: Thickers (for the letters)
I have to say . . . Thickers are beautiful; they have some fantastic colors. BUT that is where my affection stops for them. I HATE them!!! The adhesive doesn't stick to them I pulled out my trustee Xyron, it didn't stick to them. You basically have to glue each and every letter down to get them to stick. Life it MUCH to short. If I'm doing that, I will be cutting my own letters, thank you very much. I will be donating my Thickers to a preschool.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Pemberly Workshop On The Go, Mary Style!

When I saw Pemberly, I loved it and knew I wanted to use it for special photos. What could be more special than for my dear sister Patty. Patty was always the one I wanted when I got hurt. I wanted Patty to fix me. Patty bought me my first doxie. A red Susie dog for my 2nd birthday. I grew up with Susie. Patty taught me lots of things thoughout my life. For my high school graduation, she got me a Thesaurus that I still have and cherish! I love Patty and I hope she sees that in this layout.

The original layout has a solid scalloped Outdoor Denim Circle, 2 small photos, and one large on the left page, and two wallet-sized photos on the right page. The ladies with which I scrap and I prefer better use of our pages so I promised I'd change that. Here is my version.

I left all the same pieces as Close To My Heart suggesed except for the large round Outdoor Denim Piece. I changed that to take advantage of the Cricut Art Philosophy Cartridge. Instead of leaving it solid, I cut it using the Decorative Layer on Page 31 (Top right corner of your Art Philosophy Book), using the same dimensions as your WOTG suggests.

I also double-sponged the tag, letters, and Desert Sand circles first with Honey, and then with Desert Sand--try this it really gives more dimension. I sponged all Blue circles with Outdoor Denim, and sponged the pages with Desert Sand.

I also created an arc with my photos instead of just two wallets on the far right and the 3 on the left.

The other change was I added 3 blue Sparkles to the first "s" of Sister. Patty deserves a little sparkle!

Oh and one other tip, to affix your decorative layer to your page, use spray adhesive--can get it at your local craft store. It is much easier than trying to glue it and hoping the glue stays wet!

Products Used

G1033 Pemberley Workshop On The Go Kit Includes the following:
     X7148B Peberley Paper Pack
     Pemberley Stamp Set--exclusive for this set
     Z1694 Bouquet Assortment
     Z1707 Bitty Opaques Pearl Adhesive Gems
     Instructional Brochure   
Z1686 Cricut Art Philosophy Collection
Exclusive Inks Stamp Pads: Z2118 Desert Sand, Z2140 Outdoor Denim, Z2162 Honey
Z1327 Sparkles--Blue & Green Assortment
Z1151 3-D Foam Tape
Z534 Micro-Tip Scissors
C697 Sponge

Other products used: Spray adhesive

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Just a quick card before we take our granddaughter to the store. We're so thankful to live in the US an be able to have her with us, have stores to go to, a home to go to afterwards, with a nice meal of hamburgers and corn on the cob this evening. Hope you all have a safe happy 4th of July!
Products Used:
Like the USA, a Melting Pot of products make up this card.

Cardstock: Close To My Heart White Daisy, Stampin Up Brilliant Blue and Real Red
Decorative Paper: Jenni Bowlin from November 2009 Mercantile Papercrafting Kit
Stamps: CTMH D1458 America Celebration,
    Stampa Rosa B25-2662,
    Stampin Up Big Wheel Punch:
Creative Memories Shape Maker Star
    I hand cut the center blue star with CTMH Z534 Micro-Tip Scissors
Making Memories Wire
3-D Foam Tape

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Stamp Care

If you dhave a stamp that doesn't give you a good stamped image, there are some things you can try. (Most are for CTMH My Acrylix or but I did throw some tips in for traditional wood stamps too.)
  • First off, our stamps all come with a foam insert. This keeps the stamps from sticking to the papers enclosed or the envelope, AND most importantly, it replaces the cushion that your traditional wooden stamps have in between the die (red rubber) and wood. Place the foam cushion underneath your scrap paper, noting where the edges of it are on the scrap paper. Then place your project paper on top of the scrap paper, inside of the edges you just noted, and stamp. Most small stamps don't need cushion, but we cannot apply even pressure for larger stamps and this is where the cushion comes in handy. Try it with your traditional wooden stamps too if you have problems, this little cushion actually has helped with some of those.
  • When you stamp, you should press straight down, with an even downward pressure, and pick  straight up. Don't push down and/or rock back and forth. This will give you shadowing or ghosting images, or even breaks in your images.
  • Use a block that fits your image. You can use a 2" square block to stamp a 1" image if you are careful and place your stamp in the center of your block, but don't try to use a 4" x 5" block for a 1" image. This will be more problems for you than it is worth. You are likely to get ink on your block and then on your project or misstamp your image from using a block that is too big. Blocks are an investment, get the best ones you can afford. While you don't need every size out there, do get an assortment of sizes so you can get enough variety that you aren't fighting your blocks.
  • Try inking your image and stamping it a few times on scrap paper.
  • For clear stamps: Take a clean eraser and erase the stamp; it could have a release agent on it (like using Pam when you bake). I went to the Dollar Tree and bought some white erasers. I carry one in my toolbox.
  • For Rubber Stamps: Use a FINE nail file and VERY LIGHTLY sand the image in one direction.
  • Try uing embossing ink, does it work better? or even try inking your stamp first with an embossing ink and then with the dye ink; don't clean the embossing ink off. At one of her workshops, Sandra McCall shared that clear embossing ink is actually conditioning to traditional rubber stamps.
  • Clean your stamps (and the block if needed) immediately after use. The longer ink remains, the more difficult it will be to remove. (Pigment inks such as Close To My Heart Archival Ink and Staz On will permanently discolor the stamp image. As was the case with rubber, you will also notice that over time darker inks like reds and purples will also cause some discoloration.) I actually like it when my stamps get stained. They're easier to find when I drop them !
  • Use stamp cleaner. When Close To My Heart first came out with My Acrylix stamps (premium-quality polymer) and said to use their My Spritz Cleaner, I thought it would be too expensive, but thought I'd give it a try. I bought 4 spray bottles and one refill. Since then I have bought 2 additional refills and am just now getting to where I need a third. I have used the cleaner straight out of the bottle. This year, because I was running out I started filling my little spray bottles with half water and half cleaner.
  • DO NOT use baby wipes or paper towels, on clear stamps, at least not CTMH My Acrylix. They both have lint which will stick to our My Acrylix and the directions say not to use them. I have favorite My Acrylix alpha stamps that came out years ago, even as a test before My Acrylix came out. and they are still sticking to blocks just perfect and holding the ink. But I don't use baby wipes or paper towels on them as directed. I pretty much use CTMH stamp cleaner or after a weekend of heavy stamping with friends, I will put all of my stamps and blocks in a bowl of warm water with a partial pump of Joy or Palmolive dishsoap to clean them. (I have a soap dispenser built in the back of my sink. This may equate to 1/2 teaspoon.) I use another bowl of warm clean water for rinsing. I dry them on a Kirkland (Costco brand) paper towel. They seem to be pretty lint free.
  • Use soap and water to restore tack. Dust, dirt, and oils may cause your stamps to become less sticky over time. If you find they seem less adhesive, simply wash the stamps with dish soap and water to restore their original “stick.” (Continual use of soap and water will eventually cause a build-up. CTMH recommends using this method occasionally, only as needed.) Don't forget to wash your blocks and even the carrier sheet on which your stamps are stored. If you have a set that us used alot, the carrier sheet will get irty and need to be cleaned occasionally.
  • Use alcohol to remove residue. If you notice a residue on the back of your stamps, rub them with alcohol using a non-abrasive, fiber free cloth. DO NOT USE ALCOHOL ON MY ACRYLIX BLOCKS. (Extensive use of alcohol is not recommended. Use this method occasionally, only as needed.) If you cannot find a fiber free cloth, look at my post on soak-off gel nails, I haven't had to do this yet, but would probably use one of the latex free round sponges I bought when looking for lint-free wipes.
  • Staz On ink was designed for permanently decorating non-porous surfaces such as glass, metal, and ceramic, not for use in albums or with paper crafts. The ink has no effect on the stamp or block, other than discoloration. CTMH recommends cleaning your stamps with the My Spritz Cleaner as outlined above, immediately after use for best results. Although it is safe to use on your stamps, we do not recommend using StazOn cleaner (or any oil based cleaner) on My Acrylix blocks. Personally, I wouldn't use the cleaner on my stamps. I have a friend who used it all the time and now some of her stamps are quite gummy. Her blocks have clouds and now I know why. They may have changed the formula, since I found this information but why chance it when there is something that does work. I am NOT a StazOn fan. It isn't a good ink for someone with asthma. Also, I got some to try before it was available to the public, even when working with glass you have to use a fixative like Krylon or your images will wash off in the diswasher.
  • You can stamp with bleach using your My Acrylix. Just carefully clean your stamps immediately after use. TIP: When stamping with bleach, I like using gel bleach, Viva paper towels, and a glass dish. I fold the towel in quarters and put it on the plate, then pour on enough gel bleach to make a "bleach pad." I have found that this method gives me enough wetness that I don't have too much to splash bleach on myself and it gives me enough to create the images for which I am aiming.
Hope you found something useful here.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Latest News . . . Crop Chocolate June Challenge

I have submitted 4 things to magazines in the past and one to CTMH, 2 were picked up by Stampers Sampler and published. I think those are pretty good odds. It has always been my desire to participate in some of the challenges out there and submit some more entries.

There is a company that I have been buying from for some time now and I really like them: Crop Chocolate. The have great prices and excellent customer service. When they advertised for a Design Team, I saw the notice with just a few days before the deadline. I rushed to submit something (and will post my submissions later), but didn't make it. Unfortunately, I don't think they photographed well and I didn't take my time enough on the projects. Plus, our projects had to be 50% Crop Chocolate product and I really couldn't find enough of their products at the last minute to make myself happy.

So now I have organized my products all into one corner, bought some more, and surprise, surprise, they put out a call for a Focus Group. I had a few different options to go with, but the one I selected had to be a technique I never did before, and the project had to use patterned paper, buttons, and stamps. Again, it had to contain 50% CC (Crop Chocolate) product.

This was my entry and I was selected to be part of the group through the end of the year!!!

I think it is going to be fun as we already have our first challenge; and
you'll be seeing more artwork posted here.
I'm loving the challenges as they're making me think.
Those of you who know me--quit laughting. I know this could be a challenge in itself!

The Echo Park Theme kit focuses on "Mother," but I used it for my parent's wedding. What you can't see so well is on the lower right corner of the left page are two flags. These are stickers. They both had other words on them. On the top one, I just cut out some of the dotted paper, slightly smaller to leave a little border and turned it into a mini journaling box. On the next flag, I think it originally said "hello" and I covered it with a sticker that says "Missing you." I put really pretty carved buttons on each flag. On the next page, I used an actual journaling box for journaling.  Then there were 3 doily stickers onto which I put tiny, see-thru, pink buttons in the center of each.

The stamping is a thin blue scallop on the left page and next to that is a yellow border. Both were super easy to stamp and I was thrilled at how well the colors went with the layout.

My new techniuqe was that I used an Echo Park Mini Kit for the first time.

It's a different look for me, but I was pleased with the results.

Crop Chocolate Products Used:
Echo Park My Dearest Mini Theme Pack, it comes with patterned papers, journaling boxes, and
    stickers. It's a mother's day kit, but I used it for my mom and dad's wedding photos.)
Letters: Making Memories Paperrie Greenhouse Shimmier Alpha,
Inks: Tim Holtz Distress Mustard Seed & Tumbled Glass.

Other products Used:
CTMH Layout pattern from "Magic"
CTMH Colonial White cardstock
CTMH D1332 Boutique Borders Stamps,
Doily and Vintage Buttons sources unknown (Thanks Candice for the Doily!)