Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Great Time To Sign Up To Be An Angel

The Angel Company recently announced a sign-up special for those of you that may have an interest in signing up to be an Angel Company demonstrator.

Most of my customers know that I signed up simply to get 25% back in commission on purchases I made for myself. It supports my passion. The minimum sales requirement is $100 every FOUR months, which can be purchases of $25 each month, or one $100 order towards the end of each four month period, or any combination. That made it a perfect fit for me and left me able to purchase my basic supplies at a discount and have money left over for some of the other toys I just had to have, like my Copic markers and my Cricuit.

For the current promotion, The Angel Company is also offering a choose your own add-on kit on top of the usual stamps, paper, and markers you are able to choose for your starter kit. Angels signing up before 5:00 Central Time on August 11th can choose one of the following to be added to their kits:

Option 1 - Simply Stamps

Choose an additional $50 worth of T-Codes stamps from the Fall/Winter 2008 Inspiration Book

Option 2 - Kit and Kaboodle

Receive one of each of the paper kits from the catalogue. Kit contains (1) Sydney Circle Album Kit, (1) Woodrowe Keepsake Album Kit, (1) Natalee Accordion Album Kit, (1) Pemberly Bay Matchbook Kit and (1) Rockin' Roxie Matchbook Kit

Option 3 - Gung Ho!

Go Gung Ho! and choose:

One (1) 19.95 T-coded stamp set from the Fall/Winter 2008 Inspiration Book
One (1) 15.95 T-coded stamp set from the Fall/Winter 2008 Inspiration Book, and
Three (3) $6.95 TAC Soar With It Paper Collections

For more information, leave a comment in the comments section with your e-mail address, or send me an e-mail at The benefits are great!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

FINALLY! Some Stamped Images From Clear Stamps I Can Live With

I've never really gotten on board with clear stamps. I purchased some a while back ago and didn't really care for them. They were sticky, slimy, smelled funny, feel flimsy and ripable, didn't give particularly crisp images, and yellowed and became brittle in a short period of time.

I guess I've been spoiled by my Angel Company stamps because they're real rubber, and so give better, sharper and more detailed images; unmounted so I don't have to store and work around a wood block; I can cut them close so that I have no problem lining up an image or restamping something where I missed part; and I truly haven't found any clear stamps that cost less. I've been paying approximately the same, and sometimes even less for an unmounted rubber stamp that has better definition and in my opinion the same "pros" as a clear acrylic stamp.

But I've been reading Taylor's blog and seeing all her cute cupcake images that were made from clear stamps, so I thought I'd give them another try. I purchased two sets of cupcake stamps and one set of music themed stamps, and then felt like I threw my money away because the ink just wasn't sticking to them. I'd put stamp to ink pad and see near to no ink on the stamp. I'd MASH the stamp into the ink pad and get ink all over the edges of the acrylic block, and finally got some results, but then it was almost as if the ink were puddling up on the stamp and splattering on my paper and looked awful! I read the care for the stamps on the back of the package and searched the internet to see if I could find something about fixing the problem and came up empty. So now I've had these acrylic stamps in my collection for a few months and not been able to use them. Talk about disappointment! Craft-wise, there are few things worse than getting excited about some new supplies and then getting poor results.

I was finally at the point where I was going to put out a plea for help on my blog to see if I could get some advice back in the comments, when my friend Dawnmarie came to my rescue. We were at our DIA gathering and I was complaining about how I couldn't use these stamps when she told me that new acrylic stamps come with a coating on them and I needed to scrub the coating off before I could get the ink to adhere properly. She recommended cleaning them with the Staz On cleaner, scrubbing them really well, and then immediately washing them with soap and water and rinsing thoroughly. I didn't have any Staz On cleaner (or at least I'm not finding it) but I did find a stamp cleaner that had one of those spongy scrubbing caps and I scrubbed some of that on and then used a soft bristle toothbrush to wash them again with the soap and water and FINALLY I can get a decent image from my stamps.

NOW I can stamp cupcakes, after months of drooling over other people's cards with the cute images on them! And hopefully, this post will help some others that may have been having the same problem. I'm sure I'll always like my unmounted rubber stamps better, but at least now I have options, and can use the clear stamps with the images I wanted so badly.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mojo Monday Turned On It's Ear

Now that I'm back in town, I got a chance to work on Julee's Mojo Monday Sketch #47. The original sketch can be seen here.

I didn't have any stamps that would fit the oval if I created the card vertically though, so I turned the sketch on it's side, and this is what I came up with.

The paper is more from the Angelee collection, and the stamp set is Seeds of Blessing. I colored the image with Prismacolor Pencils and accented the wings with Crystal Stickles. The inner oval of the stamp is colored with beige colored pencil, but is difficult to see in the scan.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Diamond Island Angels 2008 Project 1

O.K. I promised some projects from my DIA trip, and here is the first one. This was a special date book that Dawnmarie put together for us. The paper is The Angel Company's new Angelee paper collection. A collection you'll probably see a lot of on my blog in the coming weeks because Angelee is the paper collection I've chosen for my board for the upcoming St. Charles Expo.

This book is made with an accordion pleat in the center holding pink library pockets. To make the accordion pleat, you take a piece of 12 inch x whatever height your covers will be (slightly larger than the library pockets you choose). Score the entire 12 inch length of the paper every 7/8 inch and accordion fold. When you're finished, you should have 6 mountain folds when the end flaps are facing up. Then you would attach the end flaps to a piece of covered chipboard, covering the flaps and ribbon to tie the book closed, with a piece of cardstock. Adhere the library pockets back to back on each mountain fold so that you have a pocket for each month. Print the date/occasion cards on the computer, place them inside the pockets and embellish.

I embellished the front of my book with the Flourish Bet Level D Hostess Set from the current catalogue and some of the tags from the Angelee collection, stamped with a flower from Spring Dream.

The inside pages are decorated with the Swirly Gigs stamp, colored in with the Stardust Glittering Gel pens, and the Date Disks and Mini Occasions stamp sets.

I'm hoping that this little date book will help me stay organized when it comes to the cards I should be sending out every month.

Our plan was to have everyone from the cottage that has a blog, post their projects at the same time so you can see different versions of the same project. So check out the following blogs (and hopefully everyone's on board).


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Back from my D.I.A. trip

Well, I'm back from my trip with the DIA. We had an awesome time being together, bonding, and inspiring each other with projects and ideas. Rita taught us all to make card candy and it's addicting! Best of all, since it's for embellishing cards and scrapbook pages, it doesn't increase your wasitline. Although we had plenty of wonderful meals that did that too.

I've come home with 8 different projects and will begin posting those in a little while. But for right now, I'd like to thank Debbie, Rita, Pat, Heidi, Dawnmarie and Teri for an awesome trip. You ladies are the best!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summer in the City Inspires Me

Usually I keep my blog to quick stories and crafting items. I'm not the one that has the inspiring quotes and observations; that's my friend Debbie who can see inspiration in the smallest places. But today I was uplifted by something small on my way home from work. Tom and I are riding our bikes about a mile to the train and then walking three miles from the train station to work on nice days in an effort to get some exercise and save some gas. I actually really like the opportunity to ride and walk each day, even though we loose about an hour of time we normally would have had if we just drove 20 minutes to the the train that drops me off in the building I work in.

I work in downtown Chicago, and walking in the city is something of a challenge sometimes. You get caught up in the rush of a throng of people trying to get from here to there in a hurry. Like me, if they miss the train, they're loosing time they could have spent with family and other activities at home. But today I paused on my way from my office to the train for something unexpected and special. Stopped at a stop light on Michigan Avenue was a fire truck, and the fireman in the passengers seat of the truck must have been in a great mood (or just inspired by the moment) because he turned on the PA system and sang! Anyone who was in the vicinity of the stop light got serenaded with Summer in the City. He didn't have the best voice in the world, and the intercom kept crackling in and out, but I stopped and listened and then joined a handful of others who applauded him for trying to brighten up a stranger's day. Then I continued on my way to the train with a spring in my step in the 90 degree heat. Funny how something so little can have such a big impact.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Window Punch Tip

I figured out something amazing! O.K., well maybe not amazing, and really not even something new. It would be more appropriate to say I remembered an old tip and was able to apply it today. It always just *seems* amazing when you suddenly remember something you learned a long time ago, but haven't put into practice in a while. And I was able to combine it with another tip I learned from my friend Rita when we went to Ohio a few months ago.

So, here's the set up. Last night I had to give up some plans, but was then freed up to drop by for drinks for a friend's birthday. Since it was impromptu that I was going, I hadn't made a card and needed one. For the card I decided to make, I wanted to use my EK Success window punch. Unfortunately, the punch was just a tiny bit smaller than the words I wanted to use, so part of the H and they Y in Happy Birthday got cut off, along with the exclamation point at the end. I was pressed for time and I knew the person I was making the card for wouldn't care, so I'm ashamed to say that I went with what I had and didn't spend the time to try to figure out how to correct the problem. So of course, that would be on my mind this morning. It bothered me that the words were cut off.

This morning I remembered the tip that if you fold your paper in half and place it inside the punch so that the folded edge doesn't go to the end, you can make a shaped tag.

I applied this principal to my window punch. When I just folded the edge though, it wasn't clean enough to be unnoticeable under the stamped words. So I scored my paper with the Scor-Pal and folded it.

Then I punched it out with the window punch.

To make the scored line less noticeable, I used Rita's tip to turn the paper over and score the opposite side on the same line with the Scor Pal, which would help remove the original score.

Then I burnished the score line with the bone folder.

The original score line isn't completely gone, but it's much less noticeable, and now I have a larger window strip from my punch that fit the whole phrase perfectly!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My Second Mojo Monday Card

O.K. So I've been out and back, and ended up having to cancel one set of this evening's plans, but at least I have time to post this card I made using Julee's current Mojo Monday Sketch, Sketch 45. Since I had the Angelee paper pack opened, I decided I'd play with it a little more, and this is the card I made for the sketch.

The stamp sets are Old World Ornamentals and the new Linear Sentiments. I also used the Purple Hydrangea Versa Magic ink pad, which is not one of the ones that our catalogue lists as a coordinating color, but worked really well. When it was all assembled, it still felt like it needed something, so I got out my "Petrified" art glitter and made some faux brads, which was just what it needed.

Angelee card

With all the busy-ness, I haven't had a chance to do much stamping recently, but hopefully that will change this weekend....I say this now, when I have a full day ahead of me already and something in the back of my mind is telling me that I have something tomorrow too, although I don't know what. But I can still hope, especially since I've been missing my stamps. I've got paper and stamps from the new catalogue sitting here calling my name, and I have to keep passing them by. :(

I did have a chance to catch up on a few blogs during my lunch hour this week though, one of which is a newly discovered one for Julee Tilman's Poetic Artistry blog. Julee posts a "Mojo Monday" sketch every Monday and is on her 45th week of posting sketches. Incredible! I haven't had a chance to play with this week's yet, but I did sketch out the one for Week 44 and gave that a go. Here's the card I made using the sketch that you can see by clicking here Mojo Monday. My card uses the new Angelee paper collection and the Deco Designs and Tag Tidbits stamp sets. I colored the flowers on the top panel with Twinkling H2Os.

Hopefully I will get more time to play and can post some more things this weekend. So check back and see!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The New Angel Comany Inspiration Book and Catalogue is here!

Boy has my time after returning from seminar been busy! Work has kept me hopping since I got back, and on top of that I had my open house, customer appreciation event, some birthday celebtating to do, two autograph books to create, a new-to-me car to purchase after ours started getting too old and we decided to sell it, and some 4th of July celebrations to attend. Let me catch my breath.....whew!

Now I can dedicate the appropriate amount of time to announcing the new Angel Company Inspiration Book and Catalogue. This fall/winter 2008 inspiration book is wonderful! We have 34 new stamp sets, 4 new paper collections and 3 awesome new kits for cranking out quick and easy projects that are a step above a card or scrapbook page. There are also some awesome new features in this catalogue that I just love!

If you're a punch person, the new "punch it!" icons are really going to help you out. Many of our stamps coordinate perfectly with some of the punches on Page 115. These sets now have a punch it icon next to them, and list the punch that will coordinate with the stamp set! Talk about making things easy. I think this is going to be my favorite new feature.

We also have an array of inspiring ideas projects shown throughout the inspiration book. Not only do these give you ideas for quick and easy projects, they give directions. Page 123/124 is nothing but inspiring ideas meant to be cut out and placed in a rolodex, or laminated and strung on a keychain for easy reference when you want to try something new and different.

Finally, many of the samples in the inspiration book were made using sketches. On page 3 of the catalogue there are 5 sketches shown, with numbers attached to each. Many of the cards and scrapbooks in the inspiration book were made uisng these sketches, and the sketch number they coordinate with is shown next to them in the catalogue. This feature really shows you how versitile a sketch can be, and how many different looks you can get from a single sketch. Hopefully the sketches will inspire you to create something quick and easy.

Here are all the new stamp sets with links to each on my website so you can see what they look like:

Always Remember, Pg. 14
Forever Family, Pg. 15
Go Abroad, Pg. 16
Friendship Strips, Pg. 16
Celebration Time, Pg. 17
Swirlies, Pg. 21
Everyday Eclectic, Pg. 26
Decorative Corners, Pg. 27
Love & Laughter, Pg. 27
Asian Art, Pg. 41
Build-A-Flower, Pg. 46
Floral Swirls, Pg. 47
Linear Sentiments, Pg. 47
Just Dream, Pg. 51
Butterfly Bits, Pg. 52 (One of my favorite samples in the Inspiration Book is the one for this stamp set using the new Angelee paper collection)
Playful Kitties, Pg. 61
Fun In The Sun, Pg. 65
Celebrate The Seasons, Pg. 69
Retro Tags, Pg. 80
Affirmation Badges, Pg. 80
All Occasion Circles, Pg. 84
Sassy Girl, Pg. 85
Retro Journal Tags, Pg. 85
Welcome Home, Pg. 90
Celebration Invitation, Pg. 91
Blessings, Pg. 94
Autumn Swirls, Pg. 94
Vintage Christmas, Pg. 96
Joy of Christmas, Pg. 97
Christmas Circles, Pg. 98
Fancybet, Pg. 107
Holly Flourishes, Pg. 128
Holly Swirls, Pg. 128
Sweet Goodies, Inside back cover

New Paper Collections (I horde paper, so this is dangerous for me because I love them all!)

Penelope - Rich jewel tone paper, perfect for all occasions, but especially nice for Fall and Christmas.

Willoughby - If you like the color palette for Amberly Grace and Hemingway, you will probably like Willoughby. Great for heritage scrapbooking or masculine cards.

Angelee - Pastel papers in green, lavendar and beige. This paper would go very well with little girls and spring/summer themes.

Reece - A lighter compliment to the Amelia collection, Reece will make great Christmas items. However, the sky's the limit, Reece is not limited to Christmas creations.

Paper crafting kits for quick and easy projects you can put together in an afternoon, or embellish beyond belief:

Sydney Circle Album Kit - A grown-up, but fun collection of circles, arrows, flowers, tabs and corners that has the feel of the Penelope paper collection. Each page is double sided for added versatility. And what's better? The pieces left over after you've punched out the intended items are also colored and double sided, so you can use your punches or cut up the scraps to use in your album, or on cards and scrapbook pages!

Woodrowe Keepsake Album Kit - This kit is full of possibilities and artful charm, combining the color palettes of the Willoughby and Reece paper collections. The kit comes with two covers that are double sided, along with a variety of pockets, envelopes, labels, corners, tabs and journaling boxes. The possibilities are endless; in fact, with two covers, you can actually create two entirely different albums from one kit, stretching your dollar even further! And for even more possibilities, use the tags or coordinating ribbon from either the Reece or Willoughby collection to further embellish your pages.

Natalee Accordion Album Kit - This kit is simple and fun using the vintage elegance of Angelee with some modern accents. This kit is simple to assemble yet provides you with numerous creative options with the beautiful dobule sided papers.

We got to try all of these kits at seminar, and they are beautifully designed. They make for quick and easy projects, but allow your creativity to flow with all the options you have for combining the various patterns available. All of the kits are double sided, and are made of quality 100-pound paper. Those that attended my Catalogue Kick-Off party will tell you that the pictures in the catalogue don't begin to show the rich detail these kits have.

And now for my favorites:

Favorite new stamp set? - Decorative Corners

Favorite new Christmas set? - Holly Fourishes

Favorite new paper collection? - Holy cow, I can't decide. Every day it's a different one, but over all, I think it's Angelee

Favorite new embellishment? - Ava Embellishment Jar

Favorite new tool? The new Flower punches

What are your favorites?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th - Holiday fingers and toes

I decided to have some fun when I went for my recent manicure and pedicure. In celebration of Independence Day, I've gone patriotic. Check out my red, white and blue fingers and toes.

Happy 4th of July!

Recent Project - Autograph book

I was recently commissioned to prepare a signature book for one of the girls at work for her son's 18th birthday/graduation party. She wanted something where attendees could write a note to her son that he could have as a memento; sort of like the autograph books they used to sell when we were kids. This is the book I made for her using a blue 6 x 6 mini book, a pack of the Hip-Hop paper collection and the Life Thoughts stamp set for the tags. The photo is under a piece of acetate to keep it from getting beat up. The acetate was attached with some In Bloom Shimmer Brads.



Tags that slip into pocket on back:

Insert pages:

It was a lot of fun to make, and really came together relatively quickly. I thought it was a wonderful and inspirational idea for a young man about to embark upon the next stage of his life.