Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I can spill the beans!!



Keeping secrets has never been a pleasant task for me, but I can finally let this one OUT! See that sleak, gorgeous machine? That is Xcaliber - an amazing innovation in the die cut niche of our industry. So, what makes it so amazing? Well, here is all the information, right from the press release:

Spellbinders Paper Arts, continuing in their tradition of innovation, introduces the first motorized die cutting and embossing system. A touch of the button gently feeds
and slowly releases mats for cutting and embossing. The mats used in Xcalibur will be the same mats currently used in the Wizard, Universal Craft Tool. Xcalibur will cut, emboss and texturize virtually every consumer die from leading manufacturers making it the universal system of choice...
Xcalibur will revolutionize the die cutting world...

Be the Ruler of your Creative Kingdom!!

Please be assured that this is not a replacement for the Wizard. The machines can share the same mats, pads and dies but Xcalibur's main features are to cut and emboss. The Wizard, Universal Craft Tool, continues to provide many additional functions as cutting chipboard, replicating charms and transferring images, just to name a few.

May 2008 expected to ship to retailers.
See it at CHA booth 5071, watch the website for more info Spellbinders.

Isn't that exciting!!! LMK what you think!

Be well! ~Jenn

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cupcakes, anyone?



Yummy! I've been having such cupcake cravings, lately! Luckily, it is really only in stamp form. I feel like they're popping up everywhere, and I'm really enjoying them. This card is made from Paper Salon's First Blush collection (I printed the vertical sentiment on my computer).

I've started a fun little cupcake stamp collection! I'll post more about them as I get a chance to use them, but I have to say, Lockhart stamps has some completely adorable ones! And the queen of cupcakes has to be Taylor VanBruggen - be sure to check out her Friday posts! (And I think I have a thing for cupcakes!)

I hope you had a fun weekend! Be well ~ Jenn

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Seriously SWAK'd

OMG, just wait until you see what the ladies in this challenge did. And yes, I think I did underestimate this (lesson learned!).

Emily
Lauren
Debbie
Becky
Julie
Lynn
Jenn (you're already here, so no link!)
Amy
Geny
Taylor
Lisa

Phew, that's a lot of code for a faux-computer geek like myself! (Anyone else notice that Blogger is not so Mac friendly?!)

I'm just going to put it out there that I am doing my best Wayne & Garth "I'm not worthy" to each and every talented person listed above. Their creations are FAB, and most of them, if not all, are in the middle of creating CHA samples, too, so I can't even use that as an excuse. I will say that I created these with a specific purpose - they will go in my DH's suitcase on his next trip. I love hiding little notes for him when he goes overseas, almost as much as he loves finding them. So here is my series for his next trip (insides are included, too):




This one uses Papertrey Ink's Sweet Love (flourishes), Faux Ribbon (outer sentiment), and Out on a Limb (inside sentiment).




This one uses Limitless Labels on the front and Faux Ribbon inside. The paper is Bazzill Bling (hence the glimmer/glare).




This one is actually my favorite. I used the moon from Out On a Limb and embossed it with clear embossing powder and then added stars and edged it with my Copic Y19 Napoli Yellow. (Sorry for the inside photo being a little blurry!)

So that is my feeble attempt at Lisa's challenge. I'm in awe of the talent she called out on this challenge - everyone made a great show of it! ) I think what is next on my list is going to be to finish my tin. Thanks for looking, and thanks for the great challenge, Lisa - it's a sweet little pattern! If you made a version, be sure to put a link in the comments!

Be well! ~ Jenn

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I tried a new challenge today!


I know that most of you know & love SplitCoast Stampers as much as I do. Each week, there is a great Sketch Challenge issued on Wednesday. I usually take a peek at what all the super-talented stampers are doing, but I've never formally jumped in. I don't know what possessed me to play along today (I'm in the middle of making CHA samples for a couple companies, so time isn't exactly free right now!); all I can think is that this week's sketch really spoke to me! So here it is, in all its glory! There is a birthday coming up in our family that I am notorious for forgetting (let's blame it on not flipping the calendar page timely enough, ok?) so I feel like I am no longer behind the eight ball. ;) I used some great Scenic Route papers that I received in my December CARDS goodie box yesterday. They were so yummy that I had to dive right in. The stamps are from Papertrey Ink.

So a crazy thing happened when I went to clean up my scraps from making this; four pieces of paper were lined up almost exactly like this:



I knew right then and there that I needed to keep it just as it was and finish it! I grabbed a few more Papertrey stamps and voila! Two cards for the price of one. BONUS. I don't know about you, but I rarely have moments of serendipity like that, so I will savor it when I get it.

Doesn't really take much to make me happy, does it?

Don't forget, tomorrow is the SWAK down reveal that Lisa Johnson put together. The card is so small that I'm sure you could fire off one or two easily, or maybe cut out some for your kids' Valentines! So I'm extending the challenge to you, too - whip one up and link it in your comment! C'mon - you know you want to! Join in on the fun! (Link is in yesterday's post.)

See you tomorrow! Be well. ~ Jenn

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Not quite a Smack Down...

Leave it to sweet Lisa Johnson to come up with something a little more lady-like! In keeping with the impending Valentine's holiday, Lisa has issued a "S.W.A.K. Down" (all the participants are listed on Lisa's blog: Poppy Paperie ). The challenge? To make a card using the cute pattern she made and Papertrey Ink stamps and post it on Thursday. The super sweet thing about this pattern is that it fits in the adorable heart tins offered by PTI, and since mine just arrived in the mail today, I'm glad to be participating in this challenge. See you Thursday!

Be well! ~ Jenn

Monday, January 21, 2008

Be Mine


This very purple card (LOL) is featured on the Paper Salon Blog today. Have I mentioned how TOUGH purple is for me? I know I mentioned it to a couple of people in the past couple of days, so I've been pushing myself to use it! As you can probably tell, I used my Scalloped Hearts Nestabilities on this, and what is a little more difficult to see, my Copic marker (on the chipboard slide and - I love this trick! - on the ribbon). The ribbon is actually off-white grosgrain - I colored it EASILY with my Copic. I used the brush end of my Sketch marker and just went over it once; the alcohol-based nature of these markers mean it covers completely. What else does it mean? That you always have the right color ribbon! ;)

The stamp is from Paper Salon's Love Notes Tailored Tin (an unmounted red rubber tin). I embossed the hearts with white embossing powder. The papers are all from the First Blush collection again.

Thanks for letting me share! If you have a chance, take a look around the Paper Salon blog - there's lots of great ideas there!

Be well! ~ Jenn

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sweets!



This is an older project, but a cute one, nonetheless! It features more Paper Salon Smitten papers, tags and stickers and an Accucut pillow box die. I punched out a heart for the window and lined it with a stamped transparency. It is such a fun way to package up conversation hearts!

I've had a happy week - I had two cards picked up! One for Paper Crafts and one for CardMaker. Here is one that I created for Paper Crafts that they didn't take, though, and seeing as it is nearly Valentine's Day, I thought I would share it here:



This uses the new Paper Salon collection "First Blush". And can you believe it? There isn't any stamping on it! When I first saw this collection, I loved it, but thought I might have a little trouble making it look good. (Purple just isn't my strong suit!) I have to say, though, it is far easier than I could have hoped for - the collection goes together beautifully!

I hope that you had a creative weekend! Be well ~ Jenn

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

More about my Spellbinders trip

In yesterday's post, I eluded to something, and if you check the left margin, you will see a new graphic. I am now a Copic certified designer! (Do you hear the angels singing?! Or is that just in my own crazy, overloaded head?) Marianne Walker, Copic representative and illustrator extraordinaire, spent Friday and Saturday with the new Spellbinders team teaching us the amazing qualities of these fine-art markers. The time, patience and insight she provided to us was mind-blowing! The company was exceptionally generous with both time and product. I was slow to get on the Copic bandwagon, but after this training, I have bought a life-time pass!

So, you're probably wondering what the connection is between markers and a die cut company, right? It's easy - because not only do Spellbinders dies cut and emboss, they also stencil! This attribute makes them perfect for markers, as well as Copic's unique airbrushing system. (You know this gadget girl is ALL over that new toy!)

The thing that is most amazing about my time at Spellbinders HQ isn't my new Wizard, or the Copics, or even the 60+ lbs. of product I brought home (although they're all incredible). The most amazing aspect is the PEOPLE. Spellbinders is a small, family-run business; this trip was their way of welcoming me into their family. Now, I know that sounds a little hokey, but it is true to the highest degree. I was honored to have been chosen to represent their company before the trip, but now it goes so far beyond that.

What does that mean to you? What it really translates to is that when you decide to purchase a Spellbinder product, whether it is a set of Nestabilities or a Wizard, you have a caring, fully-invested FAMILY backing up your purchase. That's a pretty special feeling.

One other quick note - I received a note asking me to add an email notification service to my blog, so there is now a FeedBlitz service on my left margin. I'm sort of a trial & error person sometimes, so should you find I didn't set up the service correctly, just let me know through a comment or an email and I will find where I stumbled! Thanks so much for your interest - I can't tell you how much it means to me!! :)

Be well ~ Jenn

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Boyfriend


He's home! Yes, my super strong, handsome new boyfriend is home with me, constantly by my side. Ahh, my dear Wizard. My new tool of choice. *Bliss*

I'm back from AZ, much in need of a nap or two, enjoying all the wonderful information floating around in my head. Thankfully, the education director and lead designers put together a wonderful notebook for the newbies. Very useful for me, because I always say that I am a "write it down or it's gone" type of person. The Carons, Stacey & Jeff, were the most gracious hosts. I can't imagine hosting a large bunch of women who were strangers not only to them, but to each other. They pulled it off beautifully, though, making each of us feel incredibly welcome.

I hardly know where to start! There is so much to tell! My roommates were Linda Duke, Sharon Harnist and Sally Lynn MacDonald. What an amazing group of ladies whom I am so glad to now call my friends. We had a lot of fun together, staying up way too late chatting and getting up way too early. I never really adjusted to the time change, so coffee was truly my saving grace for the duration of the trip.

Wednesday night, the team hung out with the Carons at their home. Thursday morning, we all went into the office and started our intense training. We learned everything about the Wizard and the incredible dies. Cut, emboss, set eyelets, make foam stamps, flatten bottle caps - EVERYTHING!!! This gadget girl is in love! Friday, we had more of the same - learning more and more about the magical Wizard. We also did photo sessions with the amazingly talented Eli Harlan. (We had a different kind of fun that evening - more to come about that tomorrow!)

Saturday, amongst other activities, I filmed a webisode with Eli on how to make foam stamps with the Wizard. I didn't get to see the rough copy Saturday night, but I will let you know once it is posted (maybe!). LOL! Saturday night, the Carons had us to their home for a wonderful dinner. I can't get over how kind they were to all of the women on the team!

I ended up having to ship a large box home, despite the fact that I packed an extra bag. The preferred products partners set us up with LOTS of product to use in conjunction with our Spellbinders projects. Their generosity will enable us to spotlight their products beautifully.

I have so much more to tell you about the trip! I will be back tomorrow with the missing pieces.

Oh, and don't forget what today is! It is January 15th, so that means new releases from my stamping idol, Nichole Heady, and the team at Papertrey Ink. Two very useful releases plus some new tins that I'm very fond of!

Off to organize all my new dies! Be well ~ Jenn

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Smitten Gift Card Holder



I made this gift card holder a little while back; it was not picked up by the magazine that I made it for, so I thought I would share it here so you can get a jumpstart on Valentines gifts. This is made from all Paper Salon - Smitten papers, Scrap-Elastic (such versatile stuff!), chipboard, ink, and a folio (ok, technically, it is half a folio). I have to mention that Scrap-Elastic and the folios are such incredibly cool products. There is really so much that you can do with them.

So, this card is a center foldout, A7-sized. This is from a big, commercial-sized Accucut die, so you can check your local scrapbook/stamp store to see if they have this die or not. If not, I think it could be easily replicated (I'm a big proponent of using your kitchen plates for big circles!). I actually cut it twice, with the two patterned papers that I wanted to use. I adhered them to each other using my Xyron machine. I then cut a PS Folio in half, and stitched down the middle, creating two pockets. I ran the stitched folio through my Xyron and adhered it to the inside of the card - since the adhesive coverage is uniform, it is your best bet for adhering the clear folio. The two sections can then hold two gift cards.

I embellished the chipboard buckle and to close it all up, I stamped on a length of Scrap-Elastic, sliding and adhering the ends behind the chipboard buckle.

In the grand scheme of things, this is a REALLY simple project that has that big "oomph". I hope it inspires you to come up with a fun gift card holder of your own!

I'm heading out to AZ in the morning to attend my training with the new team at Spellbinders. I'm really looking forward to it, and I'm sure I will have lots to chat about next week. Until then, be well! ~ Jenn

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Has it really been this long?

Wow - sorry for the unexpected absence! Every year, I'm one of the thousands that get overwhelmed by the holidays, except that my holidays drag a few days longer because my oldest son's birthday is right at the beginning of January.

So, yes, Wally is now 12! How is it that even possible? We took him and a couple of buddies out to lunch yesterday (we don't do big parties any more). The restaurant that Wally chose has a huge arcade in it, so they had a complete BLAST. Afterwards, we went shopping and the boys got to spend a little of the gift cards they got for Christmas and Wally's birthday. We hit Best Buy, Barnes & Noble and our specialty toy store. Beav told me that yesterday was a 100 kind of day, which I'm hoping was on a scale of 100! That, my friends, is what it is all about! :)

Our friend from Toronto has been visiting for the last several days. Thursday night, the guys all went to the Penguins - Leafs game and then last night, they went to the Steelers playoff game. There has been LOTS of testosterone around my house lately! (Thank goodness for girly paper!)

2008. Hmm, I think that when I was a kid, I thought we would all be driving flying cars by now. You know, Star Trek-like "Beam Me Up" and all that... Last year I had set a professional goal of getting a magazine cover, which I was so grateful to have obtained twice-fold. I also set my sights on working with Spellbinders, which I also achieved. This year, however, I'm not quite sure what I want to set as a goal. Still letting that simmer in this crazy head of mine.

Speaking of Spellbinders, Wednesday I depart for Arizona for my designer orientation. Given that I live in the northeast, I was kind of hoping that it would be typical January here and gorgeous there; the forecast? Wednesday's high in Pittsburgh? 61. Wednesday's high in Phoenix? 63. (Insert cheesy dance music here - "things that make you go hmmm") In all seriousness, though, I'm looking forward to an intense, learning-filled experience, and making some new friends! It should be a great trip.

My year with Cool Blue Scrapbook kits is up. :( I had a lot of fun working with those fantastic kits over the last year. It enabled me to work with some new products that I wouldn't have otherwise. One of which is Cosmo Cricket; the December kit was chock full of it! What fun papers! Here is one of the layouts I did with it - it is of Ward and the Beav a couple of years ago, but I just think this picture is so cute.



I hope you all had a fantastic holiday and that life is settling back into place for you. And to my sweet friend Anabelle, a very special hug - next week will be better.

Be well ~ Jenn