Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday

I don't remember where, but I once saw a blog post with a picture of the writer's craft desk and the caption WOYWW. I tracked down the host of the event here: Stamping Ground. Every Wednesday, bloggers link photos of their desks to inspire each other and fill each other in on what they are creating at the moment. I thought this was a pretty original and neat idea but there's a problem. I still haven't come across a participant who doesn't have a designated craft desk! Yikes! I'm not the only one, am I? Say it ain't so... especially in these Hard Economic Times...

So I decided to participate the best way I could today with a "tour" of my mobile craft room. This will likely not change for a while, but I'm okay with that. So here it is...

Heheheh, yeah. Here's how it is: My 10yo boy and 12yo girl and I live in a one bedroom apartment on the second floor of my mom's house. Their father and I split five years ago and until I graduated from college last month, I was a FT student and PT employee. Now I'm on the hunt for a position in education (need a teacher anyone? Anyone?). I've done a pretty good job of supporting us with child support, student loans and meager paychecks, but yeah, if we rented anywhere else, we wouldn't have gas money.... or car money for that matter, lol. (Long Island's price of living is outrageous, but I can't/won't move them away from their dad.)

In the spirit of intimacy (why stop now, huh, ladies?) I'll share how I keep things under control in our very cramped quarters. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say. The above photo is of our living room. Behind me is our "computer room" (aka table with pc and printer) and the kitchen. Behind my DS, the photog, is the T.V. and closet space, and to the left is the bathroom and our big bedroom. Thankfully, it fits 2 loft beds, my bed, 2 dressers, two IKEA wall units, a good sized closet, AND floor space. When the kids are home while I'm making cards, I use the kitchen table so they can us the T.V. or Wii if they want. Sometimes Kay (DD) will craft with me, too :). When they're not home (at their dad's), I like the couch... I watch a lot of movies. The packet on my left is the pdf packet of OWH Sketches to keep track of my year long goal to use each sketch at least once. The plastic box next to the trimmer holds my 3D flowers and butterflies from swaps in the Scrap to Treasure group, and the blue photo album next to me on the couch is where I keep ready-to-use dies, borders, and layered sentiments. The box in the bottom left holds pre-cut card fronts (plain, patterned, and dry embossed), liners, and card bases. It is sitting on this (see below), whose home when I'm not making cards is right behind the couch:

Drawers hold the bulk of my supplies
Here are the drawers up close, from bottom to top. I don't know why Blogger keeps uploading them upside down...

Yet to be used 8.5x11 and larger paper, DP stacks, 3D embellies

Ribbon, floppy stamps, stamp pads, ATG, embossing powder, trimmers
Paintbrushes, scissors, Modge Podge, spray adhesive, heat tool, dimensional foam, a few ATG rolls, other misc and rarely used supplies

Next, I also have a carrying case of smaller stuff that I keep in the bedroom closet:

Wood stamps, punches, brads, hole punchers, stamp ink

This is my favorite craft storage thingy-do. Nothing slips through the cracks into the next compartment when I hold it vertically and it keeps all the little stuff that I use so often right next to me on the couch. Next we have the scrap drawer, which comes from another plastic rolling drawer thingy-do. The other two drawers hold off-season stuff and ATG rolls.

Here's a page from my blue book, which will need replacing soon.

I'm a bit rough on the pockets and some of them are starting to be less of a pocket and more of a flap. I couldn't do without this thing. Going in the pre-cut direction helps a lot, especially for die cuts, because I'd go crazy if I had to drag the Cricut out every time I sat down to craft. Taking the time to do a slew of cuts at one time gives me the freedom to still choose the cuts I want, but not have to create the cuts on the spot. There are exceptions to this, of course, but generally, that's how I roll.

What's next? Oh, my Cricut...

Cricut, OWH box in progress, envelopes
This is the top of one of our wall units (it's the big one with the square cubes... I heart it). Notice the water guns, haha. About four cubes down is where I keep my carts and Cuttlebug (+folders).

Am I forgetting anything? I don't think so. Garbage scraps go in a brown paper bag that gets tucked away like everything else when it's not in use, so other than that, I think I've covered everything. I rather like the way I have things set up right now; I don't really need a place to "get away" in the house because the kids go to their dad's most weekends and I get (too much) alone time then. Things might change, though, when my BF and I move in together. There will be three kids, another adult, and few hours a day (if any) that I'll have the place to myself. I'm sure then I'll need a getaway spot, haha.

Do you have an unorthodox craft room or area? Anything specially made or adapted for organizing your stuff? I'd love to hear it! Thanks for visiting and Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Scrappy Cards and a Sketch Challenge

Wow, two posts in under 5 hours - I'm on a roll! Here is my contribution to the OWH Sketch Challenge (#127). I made 6 of these, mostly identical to the one on the right. I had six sentiments but only five of the yellow card fronts, so for the last one I used an embossed card front.

Last night I started using up my patterned paper scraps, following Sandy's lead in the Scrap Tutorial. Here are a couple of the six I came up with.

These papers are from the Whimsy Stack (DCWV). I love these simple but pretty cards; they're such a great way to utilize scraps without sacrificing card quality. I still have a good amount of scraps, so I have a feeling I'll be making pinwheels again in the near future. Not a problem here, I love the way they turn out!

Puppy Love

First things first: While looking for something new to try in the tutorials over at OWH yesterday, I came across The Woven Heart.  This is same thing that inspired me to make the checkerboard in my previous post and now I know where that inspiration came from! I recognize the heart on the blog, and am sure it was just stuck in the depths of my memory, only to rise to the surface in the last week. So to give credit where credit is due, I'll update my last blog post.

I made these cards for the MWT challenge yesterday (a bit late, I know, haha). It called form any card that used blue and yellow as the main colors. I rotated Sketch #27 for this...

The scottie is from the Just Because Cards cart (Cricut), the sentiment is from a lesser known stamp company that I can't recall, and the paper is DCVW's Dots, Stripes, and Plaids. I find myself going back to this little doggie often; he's one of my favorite animals in my carts.

These complete another box for the Duty. Honor. Card. Challenge. I just need to write some AnyHero cards and then I can ship this out tomorrow. Thanks for visiting and have a great day!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Check it out!

Do creative ideas ever just pop into your head, seemingly out of nowhere? It happens to me from time to time, most often in the shower or in those tender moments of the morning when I'm crossing the threshold from sleep to consciousness. I can't count how many times these moments of divine inspiration improved my lessons during student teaching and now I'm super-excited that it's starting to happen in regards to my card-making for OWH .

This card came from one of those moments a week or so ago. The image was right there waiting for me in my mind's eye as I woke up one day and I had made this practice piece before the kids even got up, sometime around 6:30 a.m.  ***See Update Below***

I decided to hold off on taking it any further, trusting that I'd come up with a complete card concept eventually... and it happened yesterday while the kids and I were driving home from the bowling alley. I went with a checkerboard design and printed out the sentiment on cardstock from a Word doc.

Yeah, there aren't near enough rows of spaces to be an authentic board, but in my world, that's okay. That's my story and I'm sticking to it, haha. I think I'll send this to a scrapping friend who's currently at a month-long training camp without any contact from the outside world aside from snail mail.

Just for fun, here is another attempt at an original idea (knowing they can't truly be original... I just don't find them already done online). I have a cart for my Cricut called Paper Lace. It's images are very intricate and only a select few are able to fit on an A2 card without overpowering the rest of the paper/embellishments. One day it came to me that perhaps I could incorporate one of the images into the card front... if I could only get the cut to adhere to it without being drowned in Mod Podge (my favored liquid adhesive). I found Elmer's spray adhesive one day and tried my imagined technique out.

I like the cream on forest green one better than the other, but overall, I'm not too impressed. Maybe with the right papers and shape from the cart, it might work. One thing I will say about spray adhesive is that it is STICKY! I made the mistake of thinking a 12x12 cardboard workspace was big enough to protect from a spray for an A2 and ended up tacking the table. It cleaned up okay with nail polish remover, but my fingers took a few hours to lose their own tackiness. I had sprayed the top layer, then oh-so-gently placed it on top of the A2, waited a few minutes, then trimmed the edges. The A2s themselves are tack-free where they are exposed.

What kind of ideas have you come up with? Did you try them out and if so, where they successful? I'd love to hear about it! Thanks for visiting and I hope you have a great day!

***Update: I found out where I came up with weaving. While cruising the OWH tutorials, I came across the Woven Heart, which is exactly what I did on the checkerboad card above. Just giving credit where credit is due :) ***

Monday, June 18, 2012

AnyHero Cards

When I saw this week's OWH sketch, I knew right away what I was going to do with the 2x4 space on it. I had gotten a bunch of the popular stamped soldiers-in-a-row from a swap over at Scrap to Treasure (thanks Sandi!) and knew they'd be perfect for the sketch.

OWH Sketch #126

I made 6 of these AnyHero cards; the strips on 4 of them have fat polka dots instead of the plaid and both papers come from the DCWV Dots, Stripes, and Plaids stack. These are the first AnyHero cards I've ever made. I don't have much in the way of armed forces themed supplies so I usually just write in general cards from my own stash. I'm really liking this set of cards though - it makes the AnyHero cards I write more personal. I think I'll continue making specialty AnyHero cards from now on.

Thanks for visiting and have a great day!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Things with Wings - Happy Birthday!

This week's Mid-Week Throwdown challenge at OWH is to use a thing with a wing on a card. It's perfect for me because I was up late the night before using these embossed butterflies that I got in a swap in the Scrap to Treasure group on FB (Thanks again Ann!). The butterflies are held on by brads and are layered for depth and color. I didn't adhere them any more than the brads so they are free to twist and turn slightly - I did make them tight though. I don't know... I figure it makes the card interactive, lol. I'm such a dork. I used one of Sandy's ribbon tips and cut two short pieces, folded them in half and cut them, and then adhered them with my trusty ATG (one on top of the other) before putting the stamped sentiment on top. The patterned paper is from the DCWV Whimsy stack and the sketch is #94 over at OWH.

Living up to my personal goal to keep my cards masculine/feminine-balanced, I also made some birthday cards for the guys in our heroes' lives. This was sketch #102, and used the same Cuttlebug HB folder and sentiment stamp. It might be hard to see, but there's a layer of the navy blue under the sentiment, too. The strips are from the DC...yes..WV Latte Stack. It's almost gone, sniff, sniff!

I was excited to ship a box to Caro this week - 147 cards and 7 AnyHero cards for the Duty Honor. Card Challenge. I'm up to about 20 now for the next box that'll get to her before the deadline, which is the 4th of July. Happy Weekend everyone, and thanks for visiting!

Monday, June 11, 2012

I Like You a Latte

Operation Write Home is hooked up with Our Daily Bread Designs, where card makers submit their interpretations of monthly challenges not only for fun, but for ODBD to contribute to shipping costs for cards to go overseas. The challenge for June is to make shaped cards that will still fit into our A2 sized envelopes. Many of the ladies (plus Sandy and her blog team) have posted some tutorials for different shaped cards and I chose the coffee cup as my contribution, which gave me more play time with my new coffee themed stamps.

My cards for the ODBD shaped card challenge

The paper is from DCWV's Dots, Stripes, and Plaids stack, and I used my spots and dots Cuttlebug folder for the cup itself. These were fun to make. The only thing I had to figure out myself was how much of a diagonal to make the sides of the cards. The one on the left is trimmed from the top corner to 1.5cm in from the edge on the bottom. The card on the right is trimmed from the top corner to  2cm in from the edge on the bottom. I couldn't believe what a difference .5cm makes! After comparing the two before I started assembling them, I decided to make the rest of them on the wider side and trimmed them using the 1.5cm diagonal (there are 6 altogether). Also, the tutorial has instructions for making a pocket in the card base for an inserted liner to fit into, but I just went with the basic inside liner and have the card opening from the top. The sentiment on the right and the beans are heat embossed... fun!!

Another attempt at a shaped card involved the Cricut Craft Room program. It lets you manipulate the shapes on your carts and play around with carts that you don't yet own. I have the "Just Because Cards" cart, and thought it would be neat to make an apple shaped card. It turned out okay, but it's not complete. I can't decide on any embellishments or sentiments. The phrase for this card on the cart is "apple of my eye," but I'm not sure it'll cut clean and still be small enough not to overpower other embellishments that I end up putting on it. I'll take any suggestions; I actually have two of these to complete. To get the apple to cut as a green card base on the Cricut, I loaded two of the apples from the cart, sized them identically for an A2 envelope, then flipped one vertically (it's a function in the program), and "welded" the two shapes together (another function). For the brown stem and bottom star thing, I loaded the shape onto the project's virtual mat and put it over the apple image, then dragged the sizer in the corner of it to make it the perfect size and shape. Then I just moved the stem/star to another part of the virtual mat. This isn't my favorite special Cricut Craft Room project, but practice makes perfect, so I'm not trashing the shaped card idea. I'll just practice with different images!

Welding and squishing shapes with the Cricut Craft Room program
In all honesty, the welding function was my motivation for downloading the program (it's free, btw). You can get any shape to stick to another, which is especially cool for personalized sentiments. (You can also slant, squish, and stretch images.)  I often make cards while I'm watching a movie and the PC isn't accessible from my comfy couch, so these kind of dies have to be predetermined, or I'll miss Mr. DiCaprio's determined eyebrow furrow or the part where the reformed bachelor catches the girl just before she gets on the plane after giving up on him ;). Here's my favorite specially cut die so far...

Welding letters with the Cricut Craft Room program

Connor is my BF's 3yo son and I'm his "Roo." He was very excited to have his name to carry around with him... for about 45 seconds, haha. When I found it on the floor, I stuck it on the fridge by his Pre-K photo.

There are still so many things to try that I saw on the OWH Memorial Day Bloghop and other blog posts I've seen recently. I think I'll start with the latest sketch and go from there.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

In Defense of Scrap Packs

I decided to go with the coffee and tea stamps with my next set of cards. I glanced through my almost-full box of cards to send in and noticed that in the "war" between masculine and feminine themed cards, ladies were winning hands down. So I decided to concentrate on masculine colors and patterns and used OWH's Sketch #114. Some of the greens are a bit light, but they match the paper and I think they are still suitable for the guys.

I used my swirl Cuttlebug embossing folder and a sheet of plaid paper from DCWV's Dots, Stripes, and Plaids Stack. Yes, there is some sparkle on the plaid, but it's sealed in and Hero-safe. I think I'm going to get a lot of use out of this stack; colors range from masculine to feminine, and the pages with multiple colors are flush to the edges so I don't have to worry about cutting around big borders or flowers (many stacks have pages like that, which are meant for full 12"x12" album layouts). Also, since there are aren't any images on the pages that have to be oriented either vertically or horizontally, the scraps that I'll get from it will be perfectly versatile. PLUS the colors are great for summer themes, which is the season we're in :).

The green bottom layers of the stamps are from a scrap pack. I've now bought two 3lb. scrap packs (40% off coupons make them $6), and I think they're great. I'll remember to post the brand when I get the next one. The variety of colors varies from pack to pack, of course, but I like them because you'll get a variety of shades in the same color and 99% of the pieces are the good thick cardstock that all of us ladies love so much. Here are the pieces that are 5x5 or smaller and left over from what I've used of two packs in the past few months (the larger pages have their own bin).

Keep in mind, these are missing other shades of pink, red, green, purple, and blue that I've already used. They are used pretty much exclusively for stamped images and sentiments, such as what you see above in the coffee cards. The order of picking elements varies on my mood when I design a card,  but here's one way I get great use out of these varying shades of scraps: I'll pick a color from my chosen patterned paper that I'd like to draw out, then find a few pieces of these scraps that match it (rarely do I have to "settle"), and stamp my chosen image or sentiment in that coordinating color.

These are also great for dry embossing with Cuttlebug. My ds D did multiples of these for me in different colors and I have them stored as "ready to be layered." They came out of the bag as 3"x3" and never even saw the paper trimmer. How great is that? (Sorry, I can't figure out what sketch this is; I must have tweaked it. The closest I can guess is OWH Sketch #47)

See? Every page does count, haha. Well, I guess that's all for today. Comments and suggestions are always appreciated and I hope you have a great day. Thanks for visiting!