Thursday, December 20, 2007

A little goes a long way.

If there is one thing I can say about my travelling, it is that it gives me so much perspective. Most of us in the US have an amazing life, one for which, I am grateful each and every day. And everyone here can shoulder a small amount of responsibility to make the world a better place.

There are so many ways to make even the smallest difference. DH and I are 'giving' the boys a goat for Christmas through Oxfam, because we feel it is important for them to remember that in this season of coveted electronics and other expensive gifts, something as simple as a goat will really make a difference to a family in an impoverished nation.

So...how can you help? Have a little fun and challenge yourself at FreeRice . It will take you back to your SAT prep days, LOL! The premise? For each vocabulary word you get right, there are 20 grains of rice sent to a needy area by the UN. All of it is paid for by the advertising on the site, which I don't even really see when I'm on there! (Shh, don't tell the companies that advertise there!)

My challenge to you is to go, and in this season of giving, take 10 minutes and donate some rice. For those of you with older kids, ask them to give it a whirl, too. Wally and the Beav go there regularly, and while most of the words are still a little beyond them, they still get a good feeling about making a difference - no matter how small.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Nestabilities in the Cuttlebug

As you probably know, I'm joining the Spellbinders design team at the beginning of 2008 (which, as it is, is just several days away!). Part of my starter kit is a brand new Wizard die cutting machine, which I'm very excited to learn inside and out.

In the meantime, though, I've been using the Spellbinders Nestabilities in my Cuttlebug machine. (For fear of sounding like a commercial, these dies are universal, so with the right sandwiches, you can use them in any manual die cut machine. Check out the Spellbinders website for more information.) There's been a lot of chatter on message boards about what just the right sandwich is for the Cuttlebug; part of the problem is that the B plates can break pretty easily (they're meant to be 'disposable'; I think of it planned obsolescence on Provo Craft's part). So here's what I've been using with my 'bug without breaking B plates:

CUTTING SANDWICH: (top to bottom)
B plate
cardstock
die - rough side up
B plate*
3 pieces chipboard*
A plate

FOR EMBOSSING: (top to bottom)
B plate
die w/ cardstock down
tan mat*
B plate*
1 layer chipboard*
A plate

* I have these layers taped together for ease of layering when using them. So I have a cutting layer and an embossing layer, kwim?

Now this might be what works for my machine and not yours, but give it a shot. The calibrations on the machines don't seem to be consistent, so your machine may be thinner between the rollers than mine. But if you're looking for a sandwich that works, give this one a try!

Have you seen the latest release from Papertrey Ink? They're so sweet! I'm expecting mine to arrive today or tomorrow - and it was really hard not to order them all! I did order Sweet Love (I'm a sucker for a great swirl!) and Limitless Labels (year round possibilities!). I am blown away month after month by Nichole Heady's ingenuity!

Well, in case I don't get back here before Christmas, I hope you have a very Merry one! Enjoy the glad tidings and time with family. Be well! ~ Jenn

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A little holiday gift idea




For quite a while now, I've been playing around with the idea of making personalized scratch pads. The question was how, right? Well, as it turns out, it is kind of easy (albeit, a bit tedious, but here goes).

This is a small padfolio and coordinating pen made with Papertrey Ink's Spiral Bouquet. I wanted this to coordinate with the digital kit that was available from Paper Crafts magazine for World Card Making Day. The cover is stamped (SU Creamy Caramel, Palette Burnt Umber) and has highlights of white from Liquid Applique. The oval tag is stamped (same colors) and made into a Making Memories metal tag. The ribbon is stamped with Burnt Umber.

Inside, I made a personalized pad from the digital kit. I created all of this in MS Word by setting my margins to 1/4 of a page, inserting a 1" strip of the patterned paper from the kit at the top and typed in "from the desk of Jennifer Ellefson" in a font called Little Days. I copied the design to be printed 4x per sheet, cut and gave all the bottom sides a decorative edge. To make the pad, I cut a piece of chipboard the same way, stacked it all up and applied PVA along the top edge. I held it together with clamps (yes, my fun, colorful clamps that I wrote about here) until it was dry. I adhered the pad to the folio with red line tape.

The pen is simply lined with a piece of the digital paper that I mis-cut. ;) It is a Pentel RSVP pen (available at WalMart and Staples, amongst others, I'm sure).

It always seems like this time of year leaves you scrambling for little gifts for teachers, bus drivers, etc. and I think these might just fit the bill. And since I'm about as far from an expert as you can be with digital scrapbooking, I'm sure you can do this as well! If you do, I would love to know where you post it, so leave me a link!

Be well! ~ Jenn

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I love to read!

One thing that I really love, but have to make time for, is reading. There's nothing like finishing a good book. With DH having been out of town, I was able to finish two that I really loved:


The Meaning of Night (shoot, bloggin' on my Mac, and I don't know the code to underline - just know I know it should be there!) by Michael Cox - very cool book! I can't say that it is a mystery, but it is full of intrigue and holds your interest. It is set in Victorian England, and presents the main character as a bad guy, yet one for whom you gain a large amount of sympathy. Great story and very well written - a challenging book, but one that I am very glad to have read.




P.S. I Love You - the book that the movie is based on. (I always hurry to read a book before seeing the movie, and usually end up not seeing the movie because I'm afraid it won't live up to the book. That is probably going to be the case here.) I guess this technically falls into the category of "chick lit" but I enjoyed this book quite a lot. I wanted something a little less difficult to read, and this was perfect! Such a sweet love story - I laughed, I cried... :) Enjoyable story!

I'm busy starting bar mitzvah invitations for our dear friends. Larry, the father, is a professional - he works in print marketing with my DH at American Eagle. Just a little intimidating doing this for a professional!!! We all sat down last week for the initial design consultation, a self-folding mailer; I awoke in a panic at 2am, realizing the pocket we thought was perfect wouldn't hold the inserts in the mail. We all got a great laugh from that! (And at least I know the professionals have the same DUH moments as the rest of us!) The design flaw has been solved, the perfect color has been found, so we are on our way. I'm really enjoying learning about the whole tradition behind this ceremony.

DH's office holiday parties were last night (two of them, on the same night!). I did the invitations for the department party, so it was nice to hear all the positive feedback in person. They were pretty quick and easy, but I forgot to take a picture of them! Can you believe it?

I'm already thinking about New Year's goals - this coming year, I have to get better organized! I'm great about writing everything down, but I need to get it all in one place. I have this invention that I'm going to go ahead and post here, since I'm not capable of producing it, and don't know who would be - BUT I NEED THIS! I want a screen to mount on my refrigerator that I can beam my Palm to and have everything in synch and readily available to view by the other members in the family. Push a button and everyone knows what is going on. Because therein lies my problem - I keep two calendars, one for me on my computer/Palm and another traditional paper one in the kitchen for the family; and invariably, something gets put on one and not the other.

So if you know of someone able to produce that, please pass it along. All I want in return is one when it's finished! Deal?

I think that's all for now. If you have any good books that you recommend, let me know!

Be well ~ J.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

I've been on solo parent duty, so I apologize for my absence! My DH has been away on an amazing trip for work (yes, if you're sensing I'm a little green, you are right on!). He came home last night, so the boys and I have been showering him with attention. Take a look at this!



That's what you think it is - the pyramids in Egypt. He came home with some amazing pictures. In addition to visiting Egypt, he spent time in Israel, Jerusalem, Jordan and Hong Kong during this trip. Mind blowing stuff!

While he was away, I tackled the mess that was my craft room! I have no idea how I accumulate so much, but I couldn't ignore it any longer. It was a bigger project than I anticipated, but I am glad that it is finished. My closet still looks horrendous, but I have contained it -- and you can't see the mess from the hall any more. That's my pet peeve; it can BE messy, I just would prefer that it not LOOK messy. (And if my mom is reading this, she is laughing hysterically - this has been as much of a lifelong affiliction, much like my love of paper.)

If you're digging out from snow like us, stay warm! I hope you have a great weekend. Be well! ~ Jenn

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stamping with glitter!




I've seen a lot of talk about stamping with glitter lately. I think this technique is a lot of fun, and here's my latest card using it. The glitzy sparkle just can't be beat!

So, here's the burning question: How do you get this look and more importantly, how do you get this look to stay?

My answer? Tsukineko Essential Glue Pad. I know a lot of people aren't enjoying this pad, but I have a tip that might just change your mind. I think it is pretty common knowledge that you really have to juice up your pad often (I do it every other inking). What I don't think is common knowledge is that once you stamp the glue, give it a little time. I wait about 8-10 minutes, letting it get a little set up and tacky. I sprinkle the glitter, tap off the excess gently and LEAVE IT ALONE (which, if you know me, you realize is just absolute torture!). Overnight - seriously! Don't touch it - don't just gently check it or anything.

Trust me! Give it a try and LMK how it works.
Be well! ~ Jenn

(Stamps, Paper and rub ons - Paper Salon; Die Cuts - Spellbinders; Ribbon - Martha Stewart/EK Success)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Spell bound

We got the ok to post our entry pieces from our DT coordinator at Spellbinders, so with a little trepidation, I will post them here. The trepidation is two-fold; I've been on the end where I've submitted to a team and not been chosen, so I know how tempting it is to compare. The second part of my trepidation is because I've seen some of the other work out there, and it completely leaves me in awe! I'm so honored to have been chosen, but now after seeing some of the other entries, I know just how difficult the decision process must have been.

I have little notes on each photo, so you will get to see a little bit about each piece. I hope you like them!

My 12 x 12 layout: (I don't consider 12 x 12's to be my strong point, so this was challenging. I do more 8.5 x 11.)


My card:


My stamped piece:



My altered piece (made almost entirely of Spellbinders dies):



My digi/hybrid piece (already seen on this blog):



There was also an essay that I wrote. I felt pretty strongly that I wrote a solid essay, so I'm sure that helped. I won't bore you with it, though! I have to say, I generally don't have very good luck in this sort of contest/call - and trust me, I have tried (and tried, and tried...) in the past. The key is not to get discouraged and just keep trying, and I try to view each time as a chance to better my skills. LMK if you have any questions!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

More gushing about Charlotte!

Well, here it is, a week later, and I still think that spending time with the ever-so-talented Charlotte Lyons was the highlight of my Silver Bella experience. I love this adorable picture that Kim Haynes took of the two of us:


So what exactly was so inspiring about her? Well, I already mentioned her effortless grace (something I so long for in my life - maybe I will grow into it!). More so than that, I enjoyed her teaching style immensely, probably because we have a shared philosophy - in art, you need to make it your own. So for all of her teaching/guidance, she was eager to learn from her students as well. We also have a shared affinity of Anna Griffin products - although I was pleased as punch to use them in different ways.

Should you ever get a chance to take a class with her, I would highly recommend it. You will come away inspired and longing to spend the day crafting away! Her book, Between Friends is wonderful, and if you happen to pick it up on your birthday, you may get a special birthday message in it! ;)

Changing gears, do you happen to see this project on the ]Paper Salon blog? It is a desk calendar that uses PS Glad Rags paper, Spellbinders Scalloped Rectangle Nestability Dies and the Bind-It-All. It was relatively easy to make - scoring the chipboard and creating the individual pages were probably the most labor intensive. I hope you like it!




There are a couple deadlines coming up on Monday, so I am trying to get a couple of things done for that. I want to sit and play and learn how to solder (thanks Heather and Valita - all I need is a new craft!LOL) but time just isn't allowing for it. On a good note, Wally and the Beav have gone back to school; PA only allows the teachers to strike for a certain amount of days. Of course, they then only have to teach for a certain amount more, which in reality means our districts' teachers may go back on strike in January. Hmph. Let's hope that a fair settlement is reached before that becomes an issue.

Be well! ~ Jenn

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Very excited!

I have had to keep a little secret the last couple of days, but I can now shout it from the rooftops (although, on second thought - I've had a bad history navigating a staircase, rooftops aren't really advisable!).

I am honored to say that I have been invited to join the Spellbinders design team! I am really looking forward to working with this innovative company. I can't wait to see what they have waiting in the wings. This team was my mid-year goal, and given the caliber of talent that entered this contest, I am humbled to have been able to reach this goal. After speaking with Stacey Caron from Spellbinders earlier this week, I know she was thrilled with the entries, but it did make it a very difficult decision. I am very excited and grateful to get a chance to work with them starting in the new year.

I was also thrilled to have an Anna Griffin piece picked up by Scrap and Stamp Arts on Friday. It will be my first time appearing in that magazine, so I'm looking forward to it.

It has been such an exciting week! Between Silver Bella (and that list would go on for paragraphs!), my birthday, having a piece picked up, and joining Spellbinders, I am one incredibly fortunate girl! LOTS of material for a gratitude journal, I would think! It does get slightly better, though, as I haven't worn my cast since returning from my trip (Yippee!), and Wally and the Beav are returning to school tomorrow!! I'm so happy for them - they are really ready to get back to the books and their friends. I hope the issues will be settled so we aren't faced with this again in January. (Wish us luck)

So in this season of being grateful, I hope you will think of a few things for which you are grateful, too.

Be well! ~ Jenn

Monday, November 12, 2007

Blown Away Bella!

Silver Bella was MIND BLOWING!!!! It was such an amazing collection of ARTISTS - not scrapbookers, per se, but women who have such varied talents and a love for beauty in common.

I arrived in Omaha Thursday night. All the Bellas were gathering at an antique store called Second Chance, so I quickly dropped my bags at the hotel and went to meet them. I met my fabulous roommate, Valita Baxley, and the other TX girls (Heather Ales, Jennifer Stewart and Jana Perenchio) and after antiquing a bit, we went to grab some dinner at a gorgeous bistro.

Friday morning came way too early; I started out with a class at 8am with Kim Kwan and went on to a 10:30am class with Carolyn Peeler.Kim's class was fun and high-energy. Carolyn's class was wonderful - we played with some fun products and learned great techniques. I've always wanted to take one of Carolyn's classes, so it was extra special!

Friday midday was our big luncheon. It was so well done, with the tables set beautifully in this grand ballroom. I will probably forever be known as Blushing Bella because the girls at my table started singing "Happy Birthday". I was soooo bright red - everyone was commenting on it all day long! ("Oh - you're the birthday girl - boy, were you red! Happy Birthday!" - to which I would promptly blush again!)

Friday night was our FUN night! We all dressed up in Junk-Gypsy style (totally out-of-the-box for me) and had our Vendor Night. There were about 40 tables of the MOST TALENTED gals out there! I bought entirely too many fun things (although I tried to stick to my rule of not buying things that I could make myself). One lady, Susan Jacoby, had the BEST t-shirts; the one I got "Princess of Paper" is brand new and not on her website yet, but it is similar design to one here. I also found really cool stuff from some of the other ladies, like vintage seam binding and German dresdens and excellent wood cutouts screaming to be decoupaged. (I don't intend to take up woodworking any time soon!)

Our swap night was after the vendor fair. I ended up doing three swaps. You would not believe the gorgeous things I received! One was a to/from tag swap, one an ATC swap and the third was an ornament swap. I was blown away! I had never done a swap before, so this was really eye-opening!

One thing that was pretty consistent with everyone I talked to was the inability to sleep! You know how when you're at CHA and you have 'sensory overload' - you're laying trying to fall asleep and keep getting flashes of color and textures, etc? Totally happened here! It was crazy! Very little sleep had by most of us, I think!

Saturday morning was the one I was most looking forward to - back-to-back classes with the talented and gracious Charlotte Lyons. I don't know how to express my immense admiration for this woman and her talents without sounding a bit stalkerish! ;) I will leave it at her classes and kind words were the highlight of my Silver Bella experience.

My last class was with Corinne Ayers; it was a fun little holiday organizer - very cute project. It went together very easily and will be fun to use this holiday season.

Have any of you ever been to Omaha? Can I just say WOW - what a great little city! The Old Market section is fantastic - full of the coolest shops and restaurants! You can't help but love the old brick streets lined with gorgeous restored brick buildings. This place has serious character!

I was so glad to have Debby Schuh on the same flight to Chicago on Sunday afternoon. Debby is from Buffalo, so between that and Anna Griffin, Inc., we always have something to talk about! She is one of those special people that you may only see a couple of times a year, but when you do, it is as if you have had no time apart. She is another gracious, talented woman whom I admire greatly. She's a real gem, and I was so happy to have a little extra time with her.

I will be back later with a few pictures - although, I didn't take all that many! I guess I was more into having a blast than taking the pictures! I'm sure there are several anecdotes I need to share, as well! But right now, I really have to go in search of a cup of coffee or a nap - whichever I get to first, probably!

Be well! ~ Jenn

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A quick post on process




Do you ever feel like you need an extra hand when you're paper crafting? I do, and think this is probably a very common feeling. The solution, at least for me, are these tiny clamps! I can't tell you how often I turn to these. (I work pretty quickly and have limited patience for drying time, etc.) They're relatively garish, but oh, how I love them! That tube you see about is how they came packaged at Harbor Freight and they are really inexpensive. They're about 2.5" and are made from plastic, so they hold well but don't leave a mark on paper. In fact, when I picked them up at Harbor Freight, Ward looked at me and laughed - "Those things are useless!" was the jist of his remarks. Hmm, I think not! If you ever come across some, I can't recommend enough getting some!

In other news, Wally and the Beav are STILL home - Strike, Week 4, Day 3. Not fun, not nice.

On the upside, nice and fun are on the way TOMORROW!!! I'm Bella Bound, baby!! For all the weeks of planning, creating for swaps, and general giddiness have finally come to fruition! I've even sewn a crinoline to wear for Vendor Night as all the Bellas are dressing in junk-gypsy style. If you're like me, an East Coast gal, this style is kinda out-of-the-box. My new TX friends set me straight and assured me that I have to give this a try. I doubt it is going to stick for me, but one night should be fun! I'm sure there will be lots of pictures next week!

And the packing isn't going quite as well as I would hope! I decided to take my DH's very large suitcase (you know, the one that he takes for weeks at a time while traveling to third world countries all over the world. The one he packs his entire life in because he takes it all since he can't exactly run to Walmart for whatever he needs. Yeah, that one.). Well, it may not be big enough. I don't know what I'm going to do! So far, I don't have my clothes or my tool bag in it and it is half full! I may have a repack situation on my hands. Oh, woe is me! (ROFL)

Have a wonderful weekend - I'll post when I get back! Lots of pictures to come!

Be well ~ Jenn

Friday, November 2, 2007

BOO!


I have to start by saying how sad I am - I forgot to change the settings on my camera before snapping this picture of Wally and the Beav. They were in such a hurry to get going - hence, quite hesitant to have their picture taken - that I barely squeaked this in. Well, despite the lack of focus, here are my two - a hippy and a hockey player. They had a great time trick or treating and made out like bandits! So much fun!

I've been working on some projects for the Paper Salon blog this week. The mid-show releases, Glad Rags, KN Sorbet and First Blush, are such great collections! You can check out the blog HERE. It is full of great ideas for all occasions - you're bound to find a bunch of inspiration there. I will post those new projects just as soon as they go up over there.



This card came together so quickly and yet, so elegantly. The background is kraft cardstock embossed with the Script Cuttlebug folder and inked with SU Creamy Caramel (love this color). I then cut two oval with my Spellbinders Classic Ovals Nestabilities; the background one is stamped with a Stampabilities stamp called Tapestry Pattern (I'm not completely sure about the availability of this stamp; I checked their website and was unable to find it.) and black VersaFine. The smaller oval is stamped with PaperTrey Ink's Faux Ribbon set. I layered some green Prima flowers behind the larger oval, mounted each with foam tape and Voila! A gorgeous, yet simple, card sure to brighten a loved one's day.

A week from now, I will be in Omaha for SILVER BELLA!!! Whoo hoo - I can't even express how excited I am for this event! I'm taking classes from some incredibly talented artists. Plus, there are going to be so many talented students there - makes me sooooo glad that I'm not teaching! I'm certainly going to enjoy sitting back and absorbing all the new ideas and techniques.

One last personal note, I head to the orthopedist today for a follow up on my foot! Wish me luck - maybe I can get rid of my newest 'fashion' accessory!

Be well ~ Jenn

Monday, October 29, 2007

How was your weekend?

I had a sports filled weekend. Wally's soccer game ended in victory; the Beav's hockey game did not have the same result, but he had a ton of fun regardless. The team finally received their jerseys, so the boys were very excited.

I did get a little time to create! I was in the mood to do some things that weren't for design teams, and not for possible publication - I was in the mood to just create with some stuff that I hadn't used in a while. I had such a great time - it was just what I needed to get my mojo flowing again.



I started to do this one has a horizontal design, but as I was photographing it, I realized that it worked vertically, as well. I used patterned paper from Amy Butler/K&Co., a piercing template from American Traditional, a stamp from Stampendous and (of course!) some dies from Spellbinders. The color combination is really unusual for me, but I loved it! So much so, that I ended up doing a mini-production line to yield twelve cards. I've been thinking about branching out into craft fairs, so I'm trying to make a bit of inventory.



While I had all my scraps out, I quickly did this card. It has the same papers, but I used some May Arts ribbon, and a stamp from the Stampin' Up! set "Touch of Nature". After stamping the bird in Olympia Green Versafine ink, I colored it in with some watercolor pencils (I haven't used these in ages - and this was perfect to remind me how much I enjoy using them).



I love how darling this card came out. It was done with Memory Box papers, chipboard from Maya Road, ribbon from the craft store and stamps from PaperTrey Ink (sentiment from Faux Ribbon, square from Borders & Corners). I think it is just too cute; the sentiment, "Wishing you well" is tough to make out because I stamped it onto a checked paper - just too much going on for the camera to pick up, I think.

Wally and the Beav are still home - we are on Strike Day 11 with no meetings scheduled. Wish me luck - I'm starting to go a little batty and the boys are certainly ready to go back!

Be well! ~ Jenn

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I'm smiling!



I just received the newsletter from GiftMaker magazine, and as I was going through it, I noticed the new issue has a project of mine on the cover! My CD Folio is pictured above! While I knew that it was going to be in this issue, seeing on the cover is a total surprise, and a great one at that!

Thanks for letting me share!

Be well ~ Jenn

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Boo'd and Tagged! (And a new Spellbinders technique)

My sweet friend, Julia Sandvoss (you find her blog at www.buzybunny.blogspot.com ) tagged me! This is the first time I've been tagged, and I'm afraid that I don't really have anyone to tag that hasn't already been tagged. But, if you haven't been yet, consider yourself tagged! You're supposed to link back to me and list seven things about yourself then tag seven others.

Here are seven things about me:

* I did a commercial when I was in college for a little restaurant that I worked at - but I never saw the commercial! I can't stand seeing myself on tv/video. (This little tidbit was brought upfront in my memory because Nichole Heady was talking about her recent tv appearance on her blog today.)

* I am a candy inhaler. And the candy I love most is probably the worst stuff out there for your teeth (think orange slices, Swedish fish, Skittles...).

* My husband & I joke that our pre-nuptial agreement was that I learned how to drive a stick shift. I'm still driving one today!

* I find four leaf clovers all the time. All the time. I just look down and there they are!

* My favorite color is yellow, although I rarely use it in my work, and it is hardly even seen in my home.

* I don't watch reality tv.

* I have a really difficult time coming up with lists like this - plus I think I'm really kind of dull!


So, as you can tell by my title today, we were also Boo'd by our neighbors. I only mention it because I wanted to show you the bag I did for my guys to boo someone else:




This is a frosted coffee bag from PaperTrey Ink, stamped with stamps from Paper Salon (XL Alpha plus Fall Frolic) and a die from Spellbinders. This is a technique that I think I will be using much more often - I put the die INSIDE of the bag and embossed it. That is the rectangle you can see in the second picture. Here's the cool part - not only can you do this with bags, you can also do it with envelopes! Give it a try! Let me know how your project turned out!

Be well ~ Jenn

Monday, October 22, 2007

Can You Resist?


I did this 12 x 12 layout with the October kit from Cool Blue. This was a great kit to work with - full of October Afternoon and Scenic Route papers! The pictures are from our recent trip to Italy when we stopped and shared gelato every afternoon. I loved how the gelato was piled into mountains in the cooler - like it was daring you to walk by without conquering them! It was such a simple thing that we did while on our trip, but one that I had to record!
































One thing that I love to do when I have a little extra time is make a general purpose card. I always like to have one or two on hand for the occasions that always pop up! This is one that I did with Nestabilities dies (a classic oval and classic square) from Spellbinders. These dies have become an indispensible part of my card making process. As you can see in the close-up picture, the embossed square is actually underneath the flower, so the corners peek out for a gorgeous added detail. The stamps are from PaperTrey Ink (from the Borders & Corners Ovals set and the Faux Ribbon set). I find it easiest to stamp my image before die cutting, that way I can place the die in the correct place. I haven't picked up the new Magnetic plate from Spellbinders (yet!) so I am using masking tape to hold my die in place. (You may remember the old trick of placing your tape on your clothes a time or two to remove the bulk of the stickiness and essentially make your tape repositionable. This is what I've been doing. I tried using repositionable adhesive directly on the dies, but I didn't care for it. This method works best for me, so far.)

I'm off to figure out what to do with Wally and the Beav today, as we are now on Strike Day 6. Unfortunately for them, this cast is making driving a real pain (sorry for the pun), and since I have to take it off to drive, I'm limited to how much I can do it. Luckily, I have the greatest, most understanding 10 and 11 year olds out there, and they're finding a lot to do right here in the neighborhood. We have been very lucky with the weather, though, so that is making things much easier. It should actually be around 80 today, which is just unbelievable for this time of year!

I hope your day is filled with warmth and sunshine, too!
Be well! ~ Jenn

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

An eventful week!


This is a picture of my newest fashion accessory! ;) Ends up, when I sprained my ankle two weeks ago, I also broke a bone in my foot - and I only found out on Friday. So now I am stuck with this contraption for three weeks. The upside? I should (insert me crossing my fingers right here!) be able to be out of it in time to go to Omaha on November 8th for Silver Bella. Otherwise, I may just have to make this a bit more sparkly than it is now (and I will have to remember to take my camera with me to the orthopedists' office to capture his look when he sees a blinged out cast!). LOL - can't you just see it now!

So, what else is going on in my house? Well, Wally and the Beav (as I affectionately call my two guys) are actually home from school indefinitely. Our teachers have gone on strike, and the two sides seem as far apart as can be. There is lots of rhetoric, accusations of media misrepsentation, etc. but all of it boils down to the children losing. After doing some research, I found out that all but nine states have deemed teachers essential workers unable to strike - and PA is one of those nine. Coincidently, if you are a resident of PA, there is legislation currently in the House of Representatives that will ban teachers' ability to strike. You can find more information here or through your State Representative's office. While I don't intend to make politics a topic very often on my paper crafting blog, this issue is important and BIPARTISAN. There is just no excuse in my mind to hold childrens' education hostage. And please let me state very clearly, I have the utmost respect for our educators; I started out as an education major in college and spent a good deal of time in the classroom. I also spend many hours volunteering in my children's school - teachers are shouldering a huge responsibility, one for which I am very grateful. But it is a responsibility. I hope it is all resolved quickly - there are many young minds depending on it.

I was going to upload a couple of things I have been working on, but Blogger is having a hard time uploading pictures since my stand on the soapbox! I will be back tomorrow to show you a layout from Cool Blue as well as another project or two!

Be well! ~ Jenn

Monday, October 8, 2007

Digital?!




Yes, something, somewhere is freezing over - I have dabbled in digital!

In honor of World Cardmaking Day, I tried something new! Now, to be quite fair to the fabulous digital designers out there, these are actually hybrid (I printed out digital elements and used them in a traditional manner) pieces. These images are from the Digital kit called Spring Bouquet Boutique by Nichole Heady. It, and several other fantastic digital kits are available at the Paper Crafts Magazine website for quick, easy & free downloads. If you've ever thought about trying digital, this is a great way to do it. Nichole even wrote a foolproof tutorial on her blog for the implementation of the kits. I highly recommend giving this method a try!

Oh, and on the card above, I used my new Nestabilities dies from Spellbinders. These are such a must-have - and such a great deal! I seem to be reaching for them with every single project of late!

Be well! ~Jenn

Thursday, October 4, 2007

whoops - there went Wednesday!

How did that happen?! Actually, I have a pretty good idea; would you believe that I sprained my ankle on Monday? Yep, took a dandy lil' spill down the last couple of stairs and now I'm a hobbling fool! Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on the way you look at it, I have a fair amount of experience with this and did all the right things immediately. I have to say, though, this getting older stuff is a real bear!

Would you believe that it's October and it is unbelievably WARM in Pittsburgh? My A/C just kicked on, which I am going to hobble over and turn off just as soon as I'm done here! I have a personal quirk of avoiding climate control costs for at least two months a year, given that it is usually feast or famine with the weather in Pittsburgh. If you're not paying astronomical heating costs, you're paying unbelievably high A/C costs - and I think we all deserve a break! (And it is all the more money for crafting supplies!)




Here are a couple of sketch cards that I did for personal challenges. On my first sample, I used papers from October Afternoon, die cuts from Spellbinders and ProvoCraft and stamps from PaperTrey Ink (the lower rectangle that is off-white w/ tan circles is stamped, as well as the 'sending joy' sentiment). You may notice that both scalloped circles are also embossed, although I'm not sure just how well that shows up in the photo. I also did a little faux stitching on the larger circle with a white pen. On my second sample, I used paper and a sticker from Making Memories. The sentiment is stamped with a stamp from My Favorite Things. There is stitching on it, as well. LMK if you have any questions! And if you're interested in the sketches, you can find them at the Sketch This Cards blog

Don't forget! World Cardmaking Day is this Saturday. Check out the Paper Crafts WCMD website for more information, as well as the Paper Salon WCMD blog for some great give-aways!

Be well! ~ Jenn

Saturday, September 29, 2007

TWO posts in one day?!

I'm floored! I guess I just have a lot to share today!

Next Saturday is World Card Making Day, as some of you are aware. Paper Salon is a proud sponsor, and in anticipation of that, there is a little challenge at the PS WCMD blog. The deadline has just been extended to next Friday, so you still have time!

My fellow design team members really stepped up to the plate with this challenge! We were given an assignment to make a birthday card, but we were to incorporate a technique or two. You should see what these ladies came up with - it is a virtual encyclopedia of techniques! I hope you enjoy the eye candy over there.

Be well! ~ J.

Want to see something fun?

Then you have to check out the new October kit at Cool Blue Scrapbook Store! I love the kits that Jennifer Kirk puts together - she has a great eye for mixing patterns! Part of what I like most about being part of this team is that there is no subscription to this kit, you only buy the kits you like. The other part of what I like most about this kit? Jen always finds the coolest things to put in her kits! This month is no exception, just take a look at this adorable wood house!



I drilled a hole on either side to accomodate for the wire (20 gauge). I cut a heart on my Cricut and sewed it onto the background paper. So quick and easy! That sweet little chipboard bird is from Maya Road - you get a whole tin of them in kit!

I just wanted to share this with you before they are sold out! It is so versatile that I'm sure you are going to inspired!

Be well! ~ J.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It's Wednesday!

I just want to give a "I'm not worthy" bow to all of you bloggers who update daily! I'm so in awe of the time you put into your blogs - so if that's you (and you know who you are!), YOU ROCK!

As for me, weekly is a challenge enough! I am hoping, however, that soon that will be easier, and I will make it up to bi-weekly. Baby steps, right?



My wonderful new PaperTrey Ink stamps arrived, and I'm working on our family's cards for the year. This is from the Believe stamp set. Just look at that Santa - isn't he darling?! He "holds" whichever image you choose - here I used the heart with swag. You may notice the embossed rectangle surrounding the image; that is the result of embossing with a Spellbinders Nestabilities die. I can't reach for these often enough - they're the perfect touch on a card like this (where you're making a lot, and trying to keep the costs down - while facing the inevitable fact that many are going to be *GASP* thrown out by their recipients!).

Thanks for stopping by - be well!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Have you seen?

There are so many new stamps coming from my favorite companies! (Insert image of me doing a little happy dance right here!)

Paper Salon is coming out with a new stamps - they can be seen HERE! I can NOT wait to get Eclectic Medley! I have been itching for a crown stamp and this one is just perfect! Very exciting!

The other new releases I'm excited about are the stamps from PaperTrey Ink. If you're still thinking about holiday cards, looking at these may be just the right inspiration!



This is a holiday card I was playing around with recently. It is 5" square with lots of Paper Salon products; the background is Snow Days paper. The large center snowflake is stamped with the large tree from the Peace On Earth set - the top of the tree is toward the center and repeated in a circle! I used Sky ink, trimmed the edges with small scallop scissors and highlighted it with a Sakura glitter pen. The tag is done with the Making Memories tag maker and the snowflake embellishments are from Creative Charms. The stitching was done on my sewing machine.

I've finalized the design for my family's holiday cards and all I need now is for my
stamps to arrive! (And that should be tomorrow! ;) I've embossed all my card fronts with my Nestabilities, printed all my cards with an interior sentiment, signed them, so all that remains is to stamp and color. Which is perfect busy work for this soccer/hockey mom! I'll post them once they're finished.

Be well! ~ Jenn

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Let's Talk Holiday Cards!

Every year about this time I start thinking (stressing?) about holiday cards - how about you? For the last five years, I've sent out around 70 cards. If there is anything that you can learn about making that many cards, it is that they have to be simple, low-cost, yet pack a punch! There are many techniques that do just that!

Of all the techniques out there, I always find people get the most ooohs and aaaahs over embossing. Since there are almost all non-stampers on my list, you can only imagine what a great thing it was to discover! ;) Now comes your decision - which type of embossing? Pigment ink/Versamark with embossing powders or dry embossing? Here's a couple that I thought you might like to see:



This card is stamped with one of the Thomas Kinkade images available from Cornish Heritage Farms. I ran into Lisa Strahl at CHA in Chicago this summer, and she generously passed along this gorgeous stamp to me (thanks so much, Lisa and CHF!). Let me tell you - what an image! Talk about punch - this image will make the person on the receiving end drop their jaw! I simply stamped this in SU Night Of Navy onto Creme cardstock (Cardstock Warehouse) and cut out the oval. I then embossed an oval onto light blue textured cardstock using one of the new Nestabilities from Spellbinders (more on these in my next post). Voila! Instant punch! ;) To finish off the card, I mounted the stamped oval with foam tape right in the middle of the dry embossed oval and tucked a couple short pieces of GORGEOUS ribbon (from Creative Charms). Ink the edges and you're done! Suddenly, 70 of these don't seem so tough. Just think of the comments you'll get from your family and friends!

OK, how about one more with my checklist in mind? (Just forgive my lackluster photo skills - photographing a white card is NOT easy!)



This one is SO easy! Once again, I embossed with a Nestibilities die. The ornament stamp is Paper Salon, from the new clear Tailored Tin set called Peace On Earth. I stamped it in Sapphire VersaFine and embossed it with clear glitter embossing powder. Since the stamp is clear, you can easily see where to place it. The sentiment is from last year's Tailored Tin called "Winter Wonderland". So easy, so economical and combining the two types of embossing add just the right mix of subtle texture.

With a little inspiration under your belt, I hope you feel ready to tackle your holiday cards! I would love to see them, so if you would like, send me a link to them. I can always use a little inspiration! :)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Two Months from now

Two short months from now, I will be attending my first Silver Bella event as a student! I can hardly wait! I'm fortunate to be taking classes from some incredibly talented women whom I admire greatly. The fact that my birthday falls at the beginning of all this glittery goodness is just icing! So between the fortuitous timing and a summer full of race cars,expensive parts (including re-tooling a new engine!) and entry fees (OMG - I thought scrapbooking was expensive!), convincing my DH of the need for a weekend jaunt to Omaha was unbelievably easy! ;)

School is in full swing, meaning my days have opened back up for fun creations. I've been busy making some new pieces for (hopeful) publication, but unfortunately I've haven't made time to photograph them quite yet. I did want to show you this piece, though. It was recently featured on the Paper Salon Blog. If you haven't bookmarked this great blog yet, I would highly recommend it! We've been hearing fantastic feedback from stores and customers. Our latest challenge was to use a Folio in a new and different way. I can't believe all the beautiful projects my teammates came up with! Here's my addition, a purse organizer; because if your purse is anything like mine, you have coupons and cards everywhere!




This project is really quick and easy to make! Leave a comment if you would like instructions and I will gladly post them.

I placed my first order with Paper Trey Ink this week. WOW - what service!! They shipped my order the same day I ordered it, emailing me with a tracking number right away. They even emailed me to let me know that it had been delivered (which, of course, I already knew because I was stalking my mail carrier!). Anyways, the quality is great! I purchased three sets, but I'm sure there will be many more sets in my future. One of the principles in this new company is Nichole Heady, one of the Paper Craft Pros at Paper Crafts Magazine. Her style always speaks to me - and that style translates into these high-quality stamps SO WELL! I was able to finally meet her at CHA-S, although it felt like I had known her forever. I'm sure she and her partners will have enormous success!

Have you started Holiday cards yet? I feel like I'm really in need of doing this! After all, it is September already! I did cut and score my card bases today, so I'm feeling a little less anxious. I'm thinking of using my new Nestabilities dies from Spellbinders on my cards, and since they haven't arrived yet, I have a little more time to think about the design. I figure that I have a few more weeks until DH starts questioning my intentions (and I do mean START, because until they have actually been mailed, he is relentless!). Sometimes I think he forgets that I make each card by hand. If you have suggestions for gently reminding him, be sure to let me know, because after several years of this, I think I'm at a true loss. ;)

Off to enjoy a little US Open tennis on the tube. Take care!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Room With A View



Back when I was in high school (taking a chance and dating myself here!), a movie called "Room With a View" made a real impact on me - I read every E.M. Forster book I could make time for and saw every Merchant/Ivory film that came after it. It gave me all sorts of romantic notions of love and travel - things that show up in some of my favorite projects to this day. Having just returned from Italy, I spent the better part of Tuesday and Wednesday uploading photographs, when it struck me that the above picture was familiar in a fuzzy way. My DH took it in our hotel room in Florence, and the scenery just takes my breath away. While searching the alcoves of my brain, it dawned on me - Room With A View! The movie poster was so similar to this picture! Just in case you don't remember, here is the poster:


So hubby and I had an amazing time in Florence and Rome, despite a rocky start and a day late departure. The time away was wonderful. Florence really spoke to me - the city is one immense work of art! I took it all in & captured many of my favorite images on film, many of which will eventually show up on scrapbook pages, I'm sure.

So, now that you know my love of "Room With A View", here's a page that I did with the September kit from Cool Blue Scrapbook Store . LOVE this kit! Tons of fun stuff - be sure to check there starting tomorrow to see the full kit!



I came home to a fun box from the kind people at Northridge Media (love them!). Inside was two copies of the August issue of CARDS; I have a fun card on pages 70-71. I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of my comp. copies of Room To Room from the sweet people at Paper Crafts Magazine. I know that it is jam-packed with great projects - many from my friends at Paper Salon. To be completely honest, I have forgotten what projects I have in there!

(And yes, as I am closing in on my 38th birthday, it is a cause for mild concern! Between this and my fuzziness about RWAV, you must think that I'm rather addle-brained! Can I chalk this up to jet lag?!)

Speaking of Paper Salon, there is great stuff going on at the BLOG. We have had two challenges in August; this current one was to use PS's Folio in a new and different way! Wait until you see what the talented design team members came up with! The other challenge was a back to school challenge; those projects are a couple of posts prior, but here's a look at the bookmark and card I did using the new Spice collection:


My boys went back to school on Tuesday - so far, so good! They both seem happy with their teachers (both have male teachers for the main teacher) and no major faux pas with homework (yet!). Our teachers are still threatening to strike, so they may be home soon. To be quite honest, that would be ok with me for a little while - summer vacation went far too fast and there are still several things I would like to do with them! I have no idea how vacation went so quickly!

I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend! Enjoy the last blast of summer!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

psst - here's a little secret!

There is a FANTASTIC tutorial up on the Paper Salon blog. Jessica Witty put together this amazing project tutorial using the new Tailored Tin Clear Set called Hip Hip Hooray. If you aren't familiar with Jessica's work, you are in for a treat; she is one of the most talented stampers I know. I hope you will take the time to read through it - it is very clever!

We just came back from a little trip to Toronto - one of my favorite cities. We had a great time! We walked all around, hitting the Taste of Danforth food festival, walking all along Queen St. and BEST OF ALL - seeing Crowded House and Pete Yorn at Massey Hall!!! Neil Finn is my all-time favorite songwriter and a remarkably talented musician. He is equally at home at the piano or on the guitar and his vocals are just effortless. I've been fortunate to have seen him perform several times before, once with his brother Tim two years ago in Pittsburgh, on a solo tour in London about seven years ago and then with Crowded House in 1989 when they performed at my college, SUNY Fredonia. He never ceases to amaze me.

Speaking of amazing, Pete Yorn...wow! I've been itching to go to one his shows for about a year now, so when this panned out, I was pumped! So, funny thing is, I've been SO looking forward to just watching him play guitar; what did he play in Toronto? DRUMS. I seriously laughed out loud when he was given drumsticks. (He did play two mellow songs on guitar, which was great, but not exactly his most challenging guitar work, kwim?) Well, as it turns out, the drummer was detained at the border and not allowed into Canada, so Pete decided to play drums. Can I just tell you that he ROCKS as a drummer?! Blew me away! Yep, new crush...sigh.

While I realize this is a paper crafting blog, those of you who don't know me will find out that music is a huge part of my creating process. I love having great music blasting while I'm doing submission work!

OK, so for some paper crafting! This is a Back To School card featuring Paper Salon! It uses Karen Neuberger's Celebrate papers, as well as coordinating Year Round Celebrations stamps. It also has some Making Memories trim and brad and some Prima flowers.


My guys start back to school in two weeks! I can't believe how fast this summer has gone. I'm actually leaving with DH for a quick trip to Florence and Rome this weekend - we'll be back the night before school starts (as long as our teachers don't follow through on their threat to strike!). So between Toronto and Italy, I will have lots of pictures to share! I'm so excited! Ciao!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

It's August - already?!

WOW! These first few days of August have left me with my head spinning! There are several magazine deadlines happening, so that always fills the days quickly. Having worked in publishing for nearly four years now, one would think it would get easier...hmm, got to work on that! I just never seem to be organized enough!

I pre-ordered the Spellbinders Nestabilities from Paper Trey Ink this morning! I am positively giddy at the fact that I will soon be cutting and embossing perfectly with these little marvels! There will be several posts come early September about these, I promise! This product concept is the single-best thing I saw at CHA Summer.

Saturday is my mom's birthday, so in anticipation, here is a peek at her card. All supplies are from Paper Salon's KN Serenity line:

Monday, July 30, 2007

Making a commitment!

Making that initial commitment to maintaining a blog is such a mental hurdle for me! So much so that I had forgotten I started this in March - but, I love the title (and that little part of me is so happy with that. Perhaps that is just the incentive I need to stay with this!).

There is so much to catch up on! CHA Summer was a great experience! The business aspects always fascinate me. It is mind-boggling that companies are able to come out with such exciting new releases so many times per year. Paper Salon had a great introduction which included four new paper lines and 12 - yes, twelve! - new stamps sets. The stamps aren't only the most beautiful designs, but they're CLEAR!

Now, if I ran into you at the Paper Salon booth, I very likely told you that I've always considered myself to be a red rubber girl, through and through. I'm going to have eat those words, because I can't find anything wrong with these PS stamps! I am so pleased with them! My biggest fear was losing the detail that so many acrylic stamps are infamous for - not with these beauties! Sharp detail, no beaded up ink, no smooshed lines - a dream come true! I'm a convert! If you're interested in seeing more of the designs, head on over to the Paper Salon Style File (http://www.papersalon.typepad.com/).

If you're a blog surfer (like I am), you have undoubtedly seen some of the buzz on the new Nestabilities dies from Spellbinders (http://www.spellbinders.us/ ). I had an opportunity to see these first hand in Chicago, and let me tell you, the hype is WELL-DESERVED! I am so very excited about these! The capabilities of these is fantastic - die cutting in multiple, concentric sizes, PLUS an embossing feature?! Talk about brilliant! And then there is the storage of them, they are flat (i.e., no metal plate backing that you see on competitors' dies). Since they all nest within each other, they should all fit right in a CS case.

(Now, imagine if you will, all my Paper Salon Tailored Tins neatly stored away with my soon-to-be-purchased Nestabilities. Ahhh, neat freak heaven! Such a happy thought, LOL!)

I will leave you with a summery card featuring Paper Salon's Sizzle collection. This appeared in the PS booth at CHA. There is some Liquid Applique, some Stickles and a Glaze Pen from Sakura.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Attempting to blog again!



I have fallen into the habit of blog-surfing lately, following so many inspiring posts from very talented stampers and paper crafters. I felt it was probably a good time to start my own, sharing some of my latest creations, and sharing some of my newest finds.

My Easter Wishes card is a sweet favorite of mine. I used some of my favorite things! (Paper Salon Harmony papers, Paper Salon bunny stamp, a chipboard bookplate from Everlasting Keepsakes, JHB International button and Stardust pens from Sakura.)

I must be in the mood for spring, because I did some heavy-duty purging in my craft room today. I even put together a nice little shelf from IKEA to house some of my alterable items (DH was tired of seeing my closet with the lived-in, exploded look, I believe!). The closet only looks half-exploded now, and DH was pleased with the improvement. :) The last couple weeks have seen me part with some old, out-of-date projects that either were published or went unloved. I finished my craft room purge today and went out to the mailbox, only to find two more projects coming back from publishers. Yes, that is the never-ending cycle. There's humor in there somewhere, I'm sure.

Thanks for checking in! More to post soon.