Thursday, July 24, 2014

Christmas in July - Part 3

This is the last day of Christmas in July, I promise.  I just had to share with you a couple of cards I’ve made over the years.  I took pictures of them a long time ago, intending to post them here, but I never did.  So I think now is the time.

I first saw this tree card at Great American Scrapbook Convention at the Stamps by Judith booth.  She frequently demos this card, and I’ve always thought it was so cute.  It’s really very simple to do.  My friend and former Crafty Neighbor, Stephanie, also made this card.  We bought all the stamps at the same time, but as usual, I found another idea and wound up doing that one instead.

This card uses 5 different stamps: the branch, which is stamped over and over again to form the tree, the star on top, the lights which are stamped randomly all over the tree, and two different kinds of snowflakes/flurries.  The cord, plug, and pot for the tree were all drawn by hand.

This next card was another technique I learned at GASC, and I’ve used it several times with other stamps.  Normally, you would stamp with Staz-on on one side of transparency film and then “color” with glue and glitter on the opposite side of the transparency.  I didn’t have a candy cane stamp, so I used my laser printer to print a coloring book candy cane I found online.

The card looks a lot better in person where you can get the full effect of the glitter and the glossy metallic paper.  One thing I did learn about “white” glitter…it’s rarely ever truly “white”, and if it is, it’s not very reflective.  It’s also very see-through, so I had to use a lot more glitter and glue on the white than I did for the red. 

Making 100 of of these was also very tedious, but what can I say?  I always bite off more than I can chew when it comes to Christmas cards.  I’m sure this year will be no different.  And yes, I do have a card in mind, but you’ll just have to wait and see what it is!

Working through Creative Block

Enough with the Christmas stuff…time to get creative!  If you are like me, you’ve probably experienced a time or two when you didn’t feel so creative.  Maybe you sat and stared at that same scrapbook layout for hours, not knowing what to do.  Maybe you spent hours flipping through websites and magazines looking for inspiration.  I know I have.  I have a long running joke that I never get anything done at a crop until the last hour I’m there.  Why is that?  I would really like to know.

I blame some of it on distractions; chatting with my fellow croppers, all the great new products in the store, getting settled into my work space,  and getting up for meals all lead me away from what I came here to do – crop!  So how do I get wound up and get the creative juices flowing before that last hour?  Christine Kane had some great ideas on her blog recently:

Start with imperfection.
When Anne Lamott wrote about “shitty first drafts,” millions of souls around the world uttered a giant sigh of relief.

Your creative spark never dies. It’s just that you have a death grip on what you think the outcome should be.  You want it to be fast, perfect, and complete.

If you gave yourself permission to simply show up and do it badly – while fending off the inner critic with the tenacity of a lion tamer – then you would rekindle the creative spark. All creativity begins with imperfection. You show up. You have some horrible ideas. They turn into okay ideas. They turn into some pretty good things. And suddenly, you’re back on fire. Start badly. Become an imperfectionist. All the cool kids are doing it.

Set some parameters.
When you have a big project looming, or a fabulous idea to flesh out, the blank slate is daunting. Ideas over here. Ideas over there. Before you know it, someone shouts “Squirrel!” and you’re gone.

This is why you need parameters. Parameters get you started and protect you from your ego.
So, first schedule the time for your creative work.

Then when you sit down at that time, set a timer. Using a timer tells all of your distractible selves that this is the time you work. These are the parameters. Be here now. When the alarm sounds, get up, check off your to-do list – and move on with your day.

I love Christine’s suggestions, and I’m going to try them out today as we visit Scrappin’ Goodtime in Corsicana.  I brought some miscellaneous unfinished projects (my old crochet group used to call them UFOs), and I’m hoping that I’ll make more progress through the stack than I did the last time I went cropping – that day I only got through a simple card stack that was already half finished (oops!).  Next time you get stuck, give these two tips a try and see if they help you.  I’ve actually tried the first one many times over and it really did work – I wound up creating some of my best work.  Give it a try and see if it works for you, too!

Here’s a sweet treat of a layout for today – it’s one I designed a few years ago for Scrappin’ Goodtime using Bo Bunny’s Sweet Tooth series.

Hope you liked your sweet treat and Christine’s tips.  If you want to see more tips from Christine Kane, head over to her blog article “What to Do When Your Creative Spark Dies.

Christine Kane is the Mentor to People Who are Changing the World. She helps women and men Uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly Uplevel You eZine goes out to over 32,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a FREE subscription at

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Christmas in July - Part 2

While I’m on a “Christmas in July” kick, I thought I might share with you some of the fun projects we have made in our 3rd Wednesday Stamp Club that we do every month.  Sharon Armstrong has been a fabulous instructor for this gathering for many years, and we just love all the cute projects she’s brought us.

I think we made these last year, but I’m not sure.  During the holidays, I am so busy I never have time to post any of the projects we do until Christmas is over.  So I guess it’s a good thing I’m doing Christmas in July, right?

Here’s another cute project we made one year.  It's a decorative holder for those small anti-bacterial gels you get at Bath and Bodyworks.  I loved this one so much that I used it as a Make-n-Take on our 2012 Scrapbooking Cruise.  It makes a great little party favor or Secret Santa gift for a co-worker.

Now that Sharon has moved to Arizona, we’ve had to change up our meetings a bit.  Instead of coming to Crafty Neighbor Studios every month, now we call her up on Skype!  Sharon sends us all the supplies we need for the projects and she walks us through it right through my flat screen TV!  We’ve had to make a few adjustments to how we do things, but it’s been pretty fun so far!

If you are in the Dallas area, I invite you to join us for one of our Stamp Club meetings.  Your first visit is absolutely free, and there is no obligation to join the club if you just want to visit and make the crafts.  If you decide to join or to be a frequent visitor, there is a minimum purchase, but after making all these cute cards and projects, I just know you will want to buy some stuff to make more!

If you’re not in Dallas, you can still order from Sharon through her Stampin’ Up website, and if you are in Arizona, you should look her up!  I’m sure she’d love to meet some new stampin’ buddies way out west!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Christmas in July

Today I am thinking about a little Christmas in July.  This is about the time of year that I start thinking about Christmas gifts and Christmas cards, and I make all kinds of plans to create all kinds of handmade things.  I wind up getting less than half of them done, but it’s nice to think and plan, right?

When I make Christmas cards, I usually pick out one design and make a whole stack of the exact (or near enough) same card – 100 of them to be exact (although some years my design turns out to be a little more time consuming than I originally planned, so I’ll scale it back to 75 or 80 and finish the rest after Christmas.  Why so many and why finish more after Christmas?  I have a mailing list of 60+ people.  The count fluctuates from year to year, but it generally stays in the 60-75 range.  I make extras because I never know who will send me a card that’s not on my regular list, and I always like to send them one in return.  Then after Christmas, whatever cards are left get sold online or donated to “Cards for Soldiers”, “Operation Write Home” or some other charitable card-giving organization.

Since I only do one kind of card each year, I have a lot of Christmas card ideas that I never get to use.  Last year, I took a card workshop from Valerie Jackson of Creative Sanctuary in which we created these handsome Christmas cards.  These cards demonstrate some really fun ways to use Close to My Heart stamps, inks, and papers.  I really enjoyed making them, but since my cards are pretty much already planned out for the next several years, I didn’t know what to do with them.  I finally decided I should just package them up and sell them on  And since I’m thinking Christmas in July, I’m thinking this is a good time to get them posted, so I did.  You can see these cards and some of my other Etsy projects here:

I think I’m going to pull out some of my older cards that are lying around and put them on Etsy, too.  I have so many cards and projects lying around here, and since I’ve started this whole “clean out and reorganize the craft room thing” (that’s taking forever, btw), I really think I should purge myself of these craft projects that are just hanging around and serving no purpose.  I’m also getting ready to start sorting through some of my excess supplies and selling them off on Ebay and Etsy, too.  A while back, I read a tip from another crafter who said she was stuffing supplies in a USPS flat-rate box and shipping it to the highest bidder.  What a great way to get rid of a lot of miscellaneous, mixed up scrapbooking supplies!

Speaking of an excess of miscellaneous, mixed-up craft supplies…this past weekend, we had our semi-annual scrapbook garage sale, which amounts to having our own little Christmas, or at least it felt so to a lot of crafters.  This year’s sale featured 15 different vendors with almost 40 tables of merchandise for sale, and we had shoppers lined up outside the building waiting for the sale to start.  I tried not to do too much shopping myself, but I know there must have been some really good bargains out there because I saw a lot of crafters making multiple trips to get their purchases back to their cars!  Cross your fingers that we will be able to get the venue again in the spring, otherwise we might have to move this event to an annual occurrence, rather than twice per year. 

Well, that’s it for today.  I am on a mission to get some of my leftover sale items sorted and posted on Ebay and/or Etsy.  I need to get these stacks of boxes out of my house ASAP!  I have company coming in two weeks and I can’t even get to the bed in the spare bedroom.  Oops!  Thanks for subscribing to my blog, and I hope you’ll read it again tomorrow!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Croppin', Shoppin' and More....

I am so excited that our Mother's Day Out crop parties are back in swing and I have met so many great ladies these past few weeks!  Last week, we visited The Crafty Scrapper in Waxahachie. And next week we are going to Scrappin' Goodtime in Corsicana. The weeks in between, we crop here at Crafty Neighbor Studios in Carrollton.  These little trips and crops are so much fun and we have met a lot of new croppers and learned a lot of new tips and skills.

Today we are here at Crafty Neighbor Studios.  Here's a picture of us having fun:

If you are in the Dallas area and are interested in joining us for our little crops, we meet every Thursday and you can check out our schedule and sign up to join us by visiting our page.

This Saturday, we have another event coming up -- our semi-anual scrapbook garage sale.  If you like to shop, come out and check out some of the many bargains.  We have 16 sellers with 40+ tables of merchandise for your shopping pleasure -- there's sure to be a great bargain just waiting for you!

We also have one more awesome event coming up in August, and that is our annual Think Pink Crop for the Cure!  We will be gathering on August 16 for a full day of cropping, shopping, and raising money for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure which supports various breast cancer charities.  If you would like more information, please visit our website at

That's it for today.  I need to quit playing with this blog and actually do some scrapbooking!  Have a great day!