My Paper-Crafts Blog Has Moved!

This will be my last post from this website because I have moved my blog to a new and improved location:

www.CardsByStephanie.com

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and sharing your comments since March 2010.  You’ve made blogging fun because you interact and use my blog.  I’m very excited about the new capabilities offered on my new site, so if you’re an email subscriber, RSS blog reader, or if you’ve bookmarked my site – please visit Cards by Stephanie for new content as well as all of my old blog posts.  I invite you to subscribe to blog at the new location and… I’ll see you there!

Organizing My Ink Pads

When I started accumulating lots of ink pads for stamping, I thought it would be a good idea to have a visual display of every color.  I’ve had this ugly-but-useful display in front of me at my craft desk for years and it has been so helpful as I hold colored paper up to the stamped ink pad to determine which colored inks would work best in my card.

My Old Ink Pad Chart

My Old Ink Pad Chart

Now I live in a new place, have a new craft room and wanted to get more organized, so I grabbed a really pretty Hawaiian flower (Hibiscus? Plumeria?) stamp from local Kent, WA company Denami Design and made it work really hard!  This took me HOURS over a few days.  Maybe if I were more organized, this would have gone faster?  It took a lot of time to clean off the stamp after each impression.

Step one: stamping and stamping!

Step one: stamping and stamping!

I have two jumbo multi-colored raised felt ink pads that I finally made samples of.  I also FINALLY colored each of my stamp markers onto the stamp so I could see which colors I had.  If you’re not an avid stamper, you may not know that brush markers are useful in coloring acrylic and rubber stamps – yes, you color ONTO the stamp and stamp it onto your paper.  This is how you can get a stamped image with several different colors.

 

If I can see the colors of the markers and ink pads I have, I am more likely to use them.  I don’t keep all my stamps out on my work space because they are all different shapes and sizes and they don’t stack well.

Step two: more stamping!

Step two: more stamping and labeling!

Once this was done, I trimmed out each stamped image, grabbed my repositional adhesive and organized them by color.  I got them onto three clean pages – ahhhh, this is a breath of fresh air!  I didn’t realize how stressful looking at that old chart was.  This is much cleaner:

Ink Chart Project: Complete!

Ink Chart Project: Complete!

Click any image to see a larger version.

So, if you haven’t taken the time to do this for your ink pad and brush marker collection, I suggest you pick a rainy Saturday afternoon and make a chart like this!  Thanks for reading my blog.  🙂

Calling All Graphic Designers!

Yesterday I bought a new domain for my card-making blog: CardsByStephanie.com with the plan to export my existing blog to its new home.  I like the ease of stamping my logo / fake company name on the back of my handmade cards and I also like to use the same design as a watermark when I share pictures of my cards.  The swirl symbol is my signature, so I will continue using that.  Here is a rough design – ultimately I’d like to smooth out the rough edges before making a watermark and ordering a new rubber stamp:

Cards By Stephanie - swirl logo

Cards By Stephanie - swirl logo

I forgot a lot of my graphic design skills, so I’m asking my graphic designer friends if any of them are interested in smoothing out my logo and/or offering suggestions.

I also think it would be fun to run a contest!  I’d like to see what you come up with for a business card I can hand out at craft expos and card classes (to share my blog and YouTube channel with tutorials).  If you could design a banner for my website, I’d love that, too.  I’m thinking of collecting ideas and making a decision as soon as possible, so if you think you’d like to participate, please post any questions here and help me figure out where you can post your finished pieces.

THE PRIZE: Twelve all-occasion handmade cards made by me and delivered or shipped to you!!  What do you think?  Can you help me out?

Video Clips from the CTMH Fall Weekend Retreat

The last time I went on a retreat was when I was a teen and went to FC Camp in Salem, Oregon for a week each August.  Now that I’m an adult who has discovered her favorite hobby, I’ve learned that there are weekend get-aways for crafters who want to concentrate on working on as many cards or scrapbook pages as possible!  This past weekend, I went on one such retreat.  Christine David and Alicia Bard are Close to My Heart Consultants who have joined forces (yes, they are superheroes) to form Skinny Tree Retreats.  I attended their 12 Hour Crop on National Card Making Day last May, so attending their first retreat on World Card Making Day (October 2nd) seemed only natural!

I did my best to live up to the theme for World Card Making Day ~ I made 18 cards Friday, 28 cards Saturday and 6 cards Sunday, for a total of 52 cards made in one weekend!  Alicia and Christine gave us fun prizes and goody bags full of supplies, making it easy for us to concentrate on our crafts.  Here is the video I made of our really fun weekend!  One of the clips I meant to add somehow didn’t make it into the video, so I’ve added it below.  I’m probably going to regret uploading that second video.

I’ll share pictures of my cards in my next few blog post.  Thanks for reading & watching!

I’m Concerned About My Dog, Sage

Sage 9/1/10

Sage 9/1/10

I have three different blog sites and none of them are really appropriate for talking about my dog, but I decided this is where I’ll take a step back from crafts to write about my sweet dog, Sage.  Sage is my first dog and he’s a half-Golden, half-Lab that my husband and I raised from a puppy of 9 or 10 weeks.  He will be 7 years old in early November, and anyone who has ever met him just loves him to pieces.  Sage is very humble, delicate, gentle, loving, sweet and funny.

He’s a very active dog who goes on lots of hikes with my husband, Jake; chases his ball; loves to swim; jumps off the dock at the cabin; lets small children ride him like a pony; and loves to run.  He is very fit and people often think he is just a puppy.  Sage has a good life – he is loved very much and when he’s not sleeping on his giant “Sage” embroidered L.L. Bean dog bed, he’s being cuddled by my husband in our bed.  He enjoys weekly showers or hot baths, and I dry his fur with my ionized hair dryer.  He’s like our furry son and he lives inside our house and sometimes goes to work with Jake.  After he was born, I sent “It’s a Boy!” announcements out and we had a welcome party for him.  I’ll have to post pictures of the invitation and the thank you cards I made.  🙂

Last February I was at an open house when Jake called to say he was taking Sage to the animal hospital for pain.  For a few weeks that month, Sage would let out a few yelps when Jake would dry his hind quarters.  Sometimes Sage would walk very stiffly or abruptly stop chasing a ball.  Starting in February, something seemed wrong.  His skin was also hot and red and he was very itchy, but flea medicine didn’t help.

After spending an obscene amount of money at the vet for prescriptions, x-rays, blood-work and other tests, it was deemed that he was fine.  Jake thought he might have a hairline fracture, allergies or a blood disease.  We tried Benadryl, changed his food, poured apple cider vinegar on his food, reduced the amount of hiking and playing he did… I feel we tried everything.  He would seem okay off and on as the months passed.

I was in Anaheim, CA last week and my husband stayed home with the dog.  Jake, Sage and Jake’s dad were going to hike part of the pacific Crest Trail from Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass that week I was gone, but I was worried Sage would “break down” during that week.  We decided it would not be a good idea for Sage to do all that walking and playing, so Jake and Sage stayed home.

Yesterday Sage went to work with Jake and a 135 pound Rottweiler mauled him most of the day.  Jake is a general contractor and if Sage comes along, sometimes he’ll play with the owner’s dog.  This dog was too big and frisky for Sage.  When I got home late from work, Jake was at Bible class and I found Sage shivering on the living room floor.  He was wet and had just had a bath a few hours ago, so I covered him with blankets and dried him with my hair dryer.  Normally he greets me at the door so originally I didn’t think Sage was home!  The cats stayed nearby, concerned for Sage.  He didn’t move much last night and Jake had to lift him up onto our bed because he couldn’t jump.

Today I was with clients or in the office all day and had a feeling I should head home early to let him use the “bathroom.”  I got home just after 5 pm and found him huddled near where he was last night – shivering and twitching but his skin was hot.  I put a blanket on him and called Jake, who cancelled his 7 pm appointment and called the vet.  I brought Sage’s breakfast bowl over and coaxed him to eat and have water.  I’ve been sitting on the floor for the last 90 minutes, just computing and petting my sweet dog.

When Jake called the vet, they told him that whatever happened to him to cause his problems in February has obviously not stopped.  He is getting worse, and dogs age more rapidly than people.  The vet said we simply must stop him from running, hiking and exercising.  Jake is losing his best hiking buddy and this was hard for Jake to hear. We plan a lot of our activities around Sage and dog-friendly hikes and campgrounds.  To think we have to leave him home or kennel him while we go out and have fun is a new way of thinking that we’re not comfortable with.  However, we’ll do what’s best for our sweet dog.  Jake is on the way home and will stop at the vet to pick up some prescriptions.

I know this post was long and not written eloquently, but I had so many friends from Twitter show concern and ask about Sage and thought writing a quick a blog post would be the best way to explain what’s happening.  I love my dog and just want his pain to go away so he can feel good again.

Thanks for reading.

Sage as a puppy!!!

Sage as a puppy!!!

My Recap of the Scrapbook Expo

I had never heard of the Scrapbook Expo until a friend gave me free tickets when I worked on card-making at her house in mid-May.  She used to be part of the group who created and promoted the Scrapbook Expo and she traveled all over the country.  She still has local connections, including her son-in-law, who works for the organization.  I was very thankful for the tickets and when I asked for more free passes for friends, she delivered!  I saw at least six friends there, which made it more fun.

Friday 7/16 and Saturday 7/17 were the dates that the Scrapbook Expo was in Puyallup, WA at the Puyallup Fairgrounds.  I attended both days and was a “teacher’s pet” for two classes, and was a student for another class.  I’ll spare you the unfinished cards I made and will show them to you later.  I won’t bore you with pictures of the stuff I bought – well, maybe.  I’ll just talk about my favorite find and I also have a video for you.

My prized find at the expo was an incredible kit from The Stencil Collection.  For years I’d thought about buying special paste and stencils to make raised textured pictures on cards but I didn’t know where to begin.  The kind folks from the family owned business The Stencil Collection demonstrated the ease of use and offered a huge value with several extra goodies.  For $99, I knew now was the time to pick up this limited edition kit:

The $99 Stencil Collection Set

The $99 Stencil Collection Set

Look at everything that came in this kit!!!   I’m going to have to do a blog post especially about this company and the kit after watching the DVD’s and making a few cards.  They let me pick a small, medium and large stencil.

Everything in the Stencil Collection

Everything in the Stencil Collection

My New Stencils!

My New Stencils!

Below is a picture of the sample Dan made for me with the stencils his wife and daughters designed; a fun make & take from Christine David’s CTMH booth (it’s supposed to have a sentiment but I skipped it and will add another phrase); and a make & take from Stampin’ Up!

Sample and Make 'n Takes

Sample and Make 'n Takes

If you were there, what did you think of the Scrapbook Expo?  I heard it had been absent from our state for ten years and finally made a comeback, so attendance may have been less than expected.  I think they’ll do better if they keep returning and become something we all look forward to.

Thanks for reading my blog post!

A D-I-Y Planter We Made for my Client

I love my job because I love what I do.  It’s a people business and I have met some really wonderful people through the years I’ve been selling homes.  One of the fun parts of my job is when the stress is over and the happy home-owner has moved into their home.  I enjoy surprising them with a special closing gift and a house-shaped card.  Nobody gets the same “thank you” gift from me because no two people are alike.  I put a lot of thought into everything I do, and selecting a gift is no exception.

So, when I wanted to welcome a special client to their new home, I enlisted my husband to build a planter with me!  I had shopped for pots at several stores and I didn’t see anything I liked in the size I wanted.  My clients purchase a grand house with three levels, tall ceilings and a marvelous entry-way.  The owners before them had a large planter beside the door with a potted tree inside.  I liked that and so I purchased the supplies needed to build them a proper planter.  My husband is very handy – in fact, he’s good at just about everything he tries – so when I asked him to build this for me, I knew it would turn out beautifully.

Sure enough, he did a fantastic job!  I stained it and painted the inside black with a tar sealant that would make the pot water-tight.  Jake drilled the holes in the bottom, I loaded it into my car and took it to a local nursery in Issaquah.  Working with the experts there, we selected a handsome group of plants for the planter.  The person who helped me was impressed with the planter and asked again – “your husband MADE this?”  Yes, he did!  She planted everything for me with two kinds of soil and added beauty bark to the top.  I think it came out very nicely!

My husband met me at the nursery and we delivered the plant and planter to my clients.  They really enjoyed it and wrote me the most incredible thank you/referral letter ever.  The evening went very well as we met a friend for dinner – until my phone range three times and I realized it was the nursery… I had left my car there and they were closing in five minutes and would lock the gate at 6 pm!  I called them back and apologized for not noticing when they closed.  We left the restaurant immediately and picked up my car at 6:12 pm.  Whew!

Here is a picture of the planter we built, just before I loaded it into my car:

Planter Box in the Garage

Planter Box in the Garage

This is the planter with it’s lovely plants on the tailgate, ready to go to my client’s home:

Planter Box with Plants

Planter Box with Plants

I’m sorry if you were expecting me to reveal I made this out of cardstock – this post had nothing to do with cards but I thought I would share this here because it’s something I helped make.  Thanks for reading my blog, anyway!

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