Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Collect them ALL!!

Okay, it's time for another rant. I'm sorry to do this to you all, but there are just some things I have to get out there otherwise my head may explode! My latest pet peeve, marketing for kids...

It's always been bad, since I was a kid watching Saturday Morning Cartoons (yes, cartoons used to be shown only at certain times not entire networks dedicated to them 24/7!) commercials geared to kids were always annoying. Not much more so than what the grown ups got though, at least ours usually came with cute characters and catchy jingles (two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun) You're singing it in your head aren't you?! :0)

Lately I've noticed a trend, I'm sure it's been going on forever - but now that AJ is older and paying more attention, it's come to my attention as well. The trend of  "COLLECT THEM ALL" - have you noticed this phrase is everywhere!! I know it's always been there, otherwise shows like "Hoarders" would never have come about. Remember the Beanie Baby craze? I know I thought I needed every one of the Strawberry Shortcake dolls or my life was going to be incomplete. McDonald's (Happy Meal toys) and most cereal companies (see General Mills below) have based entire marketing campaigns on the fact that kids want to search, find and collect.

Who doesn't like to collect stuff? But it's getting to be outrageous - I mean really, kid's shampoo?!? ......

Okay, I get there are 4 different varieties and four different characters - but what are you collecting? Are you really expected to keep the plastic container with the picture after the product has been used? What are they supposed to be doing with their collection?

Can you imagine trying to market to adults in this manner?  " Try our new croutons, there are 4 flavors, collect them all!" or "Now Squiggles fabric softener has 3 new bottle designs in three fashion colors, collect them all!" Most products for adults that come in multiple fragrances/varieties are enticing to you to find your "signature scent" and they make a variety to appeal to the largest market possible - not so that you'll go out and collect them all.

Can you think of something marketed specifically to you where they ask you to "collect them all"?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Week 3 of Handcarved Stamps

Hi Y'all. I realize that this is a bit late, I have been playing .... just not posting. So here are my little stamps now up to February 21st. In a few days I'll be done with my February challenge and will post the last 8 stamps.

I wasn't really feeling it on the 15th, so I just used a couple of my small scraps and made an arrow and a keyhole. I don't like the keyhole and will be making another bigger one later, I guess it could also be a chess pawn. Then AJ requested a skull, I know I'm not good enough to figure out an intricate design so went searching... I found two I liked and did one on the 16th and another one on the 17th. Then the bony fish, I though he was quite cool - got me thinking about fish tacos... which led me to a lime wedge on the 19th. :0) I did two on the 20th, a set of wings to add to other things or to draw a butterfly body in the middle. And lastly, I went back to the mushrooms and the houses and combined them into a mushroom house. See you again soon!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Postage Stamp Book

Here is another quick project I did - just for ME! Can you believe it? This isn't really a tutorial since I bet you can figure it out just from the pictures- but if you want me to post one or have questions, please let me know!!

I send out a lot of mail - well, not a TON, but probably more than an average person. So far this month I've sent out 24 greeting cards and 12 postcards (but I'm not done yet) and that's just my fun mail. So, you can imagine I have a need for a lot of postage. I order it online at usps.com to avoid the line at the post office, but also because they have a much better selection. Every order I've placed has only had a $1 s&h charge added. Avoid the post office and a better selection all for only $1?? - SOLD!

I didn't really have a place to put it all, and I had little stashes all over of different stamps and was forever buying more because I may have forgotten where one of my stashes ended up. So I made myself a cute little postage holder.

The covers are 6 inches wide and about 7 1/2 inches long. I covered chipboard with paper and afterwards punched the holes for the two rings.

Inside the cover I added a pocket and the inner pages are made using a double sided 12x12 paper folded (HERE is a great tutorial on making the pages!). These are my forever first class postage stamps.

I used the cardboard and plastic sheets that the stamps are mailed in to make inside pages that can be pulled out from the top. I cut them down to the size I needed, the tab is stuck to the plastic in the back, but only to the cardboard in the front. That way, the entire thing will lift out (plastic included) but it is still open in the front for storage.

More forever stamps on the left and on the right are my current US Postcard stamps (32 cents currently). The tab here lifts out and holds my old postcard stamps (which are waiting for 3-cent stamps to arrive to be used again).

On the back are my Canadian postcard postage stamps (currently 85 cents) and the facing page are my Events stamps. Did you know you can buy forever stamps that are specifically for birthdays and weddings? How cool is that??

The Events page is the inside of the back cover to my book. I left myself a little room to grow, but at the rate I use my stamps - I probably won't need it! Let me know what you think, and cheer up someone's day and send some happy mail soon!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Week Two of Handcarved Stamps

Week two already! I continued from last week by adding a tall, skinny mushroom for my friend. I think they'll look sweet together. Next was an envelope, front and back. A row of cute little houses - the one I did on the 10th was incredibly hard - I haven't figured out a good way to get inside a window pane, and it shows!! The little cloud and raindrop were fun, it is just a single raindrop I stamped over and over. Then finally was a flighty looking bird and a heart for Valentine's day.

This next week.... hmm.. I'm feeling fish and skulls I think. I'm not sure, check back in next week to see what I finally decide to try. Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy 65th Birthday to my wonderful Mom!! Love you so much, thank for always encouraging me and passing on that crafting bug!!

And now for some crafty goodness!  This cute little booklet was a gift for an online pal for Valentine's day. I've made a couple and they always turn out so very very cute!! 
It all starts with a card kit from Close To My Heart. I used to be a consultant but am not any longer, this kit is a couple of years old, but they come out with great ones all the time so I'm sure you'd have no problem finding something that would work.
card kit elements
The kits all come with the pre-printed cards to fold in half, a sheet of cardstock weight stickers for decorations and vellum envelopes. I added three rings, ribbon, some extra cardstock, the stamping and bling!

It's pretty self explanatory how these pages all come together so I'm just gonna let you scroll down through the pictures. One thing to note is that the cards are only taped along the bottom and the right side, leaving the top open to slip in an extra pull-out tag. The vellum envelopes have the flap tucked into the card so that the right side remains open for a second pull-out tag.

cover tag (left) 1st vellum envie tag (right)

2nd card page

2nd tag insert (left) envie tag (right)

3rd card page

3rd tag insert (left) vellum envie tag (right)

4th card page

last envie pull out
Doesn't it make a sweet little mini-album? Thanks for stopping by, I hope your Valentine's Day is wonderful and filled with the "good chocolate"!! :0)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Week One of Handcarved stamps

I had a lot of fun carving this past week. I will never be one of those people who can make really intricate designs though... and I don't even think I'll attempt words!! Well, we'll see... It's been fun and they are making my journal pages look pretty snazzy anyway. :0)

The chevron was one long stamp, but I like it better as two, more versatile anyway. I was trying to use up my little scraps on the 5th and so that's why there are 4 smallish ones. I like designs that you can repeat over and over to create boarders.  I think my favorite one though is the little mushroom. I may need to make him a tall and skinny friend, he looks lonely.

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Confession time...

I usually unload my dishwasher in the morning, most of the time my mind wanders, planning my day or designing a project. This morning, as I am putting away things, I started to really take notice of what I was putting away and that led me to think of some dear friends of mine.

Don't you love it when a friendship moves beyond that occasional visit to each other's house and becomes one where your kitchen cupboards and drawers are completely open to each other? I love knowing that my friends know which drawer is the silverware drawer and if they need a dish don't hesitate to go looking for one. That's when you know you are have a true friendship and not just an acquaintanceship.

I have taken notice that some of my friends are able to get by with much less than I am. I sometimes (often) envy them this, and usually wonder about how differently we must do some things and what makes us each unique. The kitchen is one area (among many!!) I struggle with "an abundance of stuff".

This morning I was taking notice as I put things away:

  • I have 13 wooden spoons. Is this odd? Do I really need 13 wooden spoons?  
  • Then the spatula/scrapers (as opposed to a spatula/flipper) of which I have 11. Two are my favorite pampered chef ones, the others are of various sizes and colors. 
  • How about cutting boards, I have 9. All of various sizes and materials. Each one isn't used for it's own thing (I don't keep one especially for veggies and one for chicken... I trust my dishwasher enough I don't worry about it) but each one has something special for which I prefer it for a specific reason. 

How about measuring stuff? (YOU are playing along with me now, aren't YOU??)

  • I have 9 liquid measuring cups. Two 8-cup ones, a 4-cup, three 2-cup, and three 1-cup size. 
  • For dry measurements, I have 5 sets of cups and 4 sets of spoons. All are different and again, I like each one for different reasons. One set of cups has hard metal handles that feel sturdy, but my plastic set has all the sizes including 2/3cup. Measuring spoons, one set fits into narrow openings, another set has a 1/2 tablespoon. My bread recipe calls for 1/2 T. of yeast, how could I not have that set?!? 

I could go on. and on. and on. I think you are probably getting an accurate picture. I have A Lot of stuff in my kitchen, but it all fits and I know where it all is. I don't like washing while I go, which my husband lovingly suggests *Every*Single*Time* I fill the sink with dirty dishes. Don't stifle my creativity!! or you'll be eating nothing but hamburger helper! 

So, come on over for dinner and I'll show you where I keep the silverware. I promise not to make you clean up after I cook, but you do need to chose which set of dishes you'd like to use. Oh Hush, everyone I know has at least 5 sets.... don't they???

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February is carving month!

It's February! This month I decided I wanted to work on a new project, rubber stamp carving. Which is funny because I have a TON of stamp sets I want to sell on ebay!! I will be working on that this month too... promise.

In the meantime, I want to do a little bit of stamp carving this month. I have been seeing classes offered online, but I already know the basics (and have the tools) - I just need to get in and give it a go!  I'm going to aim for one new stamp a day (*cough*) and will post at the end of the week what I have done. :0)

So, here we go.... Day 1

Here is the picture of my tools: I don't like having to change out my blades so instead of having just one handle, with interchangeable blades, I have a few and only change them when I really really need to.

These are the blocks I'll be using. I had some of the 'pink stuff' a long time ago - but it seems more crumbly and didn't hold up well, so it's worth it to me to pay a little bit more for these brands.

Next, finding a design. I don't want anything so intricate that I make myself insane. Geometric designs are always good, curves are hard and thin lines are hard to work with as well.

I like this one, I probably won't keep the little dot in the center though. (yea, I know what I said above about curves and thin lines... I don't care, I like this one!) Now to transfer the pattern. I don't mind that the design ends up being reversed, so I copy it as I see it. If you want it to print like you see it, then you need to transfer it backwards onto your block. I lightly pencil it on with a dull but dark graphite pencil, you don't want to make grooves in the rubber yet...

Carve it out! Keep the black and cut away everything else. 

The last step is to make a test print and then cut away anything you don't like. I actually love it on the very first print. I'm afraid if I try and correct anything too small, I'll end up making it worse. I keep reminding myself, this is a handmade stamp!! It needs to look handmade, not perfect like it was manufactured- because then, what's the point?!

Yea! High Five!! The first one is done :0) Does this look like something you'd like to try?