Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Big occasion for little sis

My baby sister is turning 40! This calls for a really special card, don't you think? What do you do when your creativity has gotten up and abandoned you in a thyroid-med-deprived haze? (Long story, but suffice it to say that January has been a really long month for me.) You CASE one of your stamping heroes! This card is totally the design of Shannan Teubner. Here's her fabulous original. My sister Laura has very different color and style preferences from me, which has always made it a challenge to design things for her. I like bright jewel tone colors; she likes lots of browns and greens. Her style is a lot more classic than mine, with a touch of vintage thrown in. Oooh, I have a big stash of Basic Grey papers! They're right up Laura's alley! And check this out - I managed to use three papers from three different Basic Grey collections on the same card! Thanks, Shannan, for the perfect birthday card for my sister's big day!

Details: Stamps - Seeing Stars (Verve Visual), paper - Dasher (red print), Stella Ruby (brown print), Perhaps (green print) (all Basic Grey), River Rock, Always Artichoke, Very Vanilla (all Stampin' Up!), ink - Chocolate Chip (Stampin' Up!), accessories - large star punch, vintage brads, kraft taffeta ribbon, 1/8" circle punch (for ribbon), mat pack, paper piercer, dimensionals (all Stampin' Up!)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mounting foam for unmounting stamps

A question came up in the comments on my unmounted storage about where to get the mounting foam. I get mine from Beeswax Rubber Stamps. Their price is the best I've found, and it works great. You can get quite a lot of stamps mounted on a single sheet of it. If you're not indexing the back of the foam, you can really cram them on there with just enough room to cut around. Since I opt to stamp the index on the foam, I'm not quite as economical in my usage, but the trade-off was worth it for me. I like being able to see the image through the block, and also so see the image through the CD case without having to squint at the reverse image on the rubber, especially on text stamps.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

In between organizing binges - I actually stamped something!

I know! It's been awhile since I showed you an actual stamped item, huh? Well, here you are. I think this Big Birthday Candle set will be lots of fun. Cute without being cutesy, if you know what I mean.

Details: Stamps - Big Birthday Candle, Celebrate Everything; Paper - Whisper White, Wild Wasabi, More Mustard, East Coast Prep designer paper; Ink - Basic Black, Real Red, Tempting Turquoise, More Mustard; Accessories - black brads, dimensionals, paper piercer, mat pack (all Stampin' Up!)

Unmounted stamp storage

I've had several people ask how I'm storing my unmounted stamps, so here are some photos. This CD rack will hold over 500 CD cases, so I'm nowhere close to filling it up. But look how nicely it disguises the fact that I have in excess of 200 stamp sets! The rack is only 27 inches wide and less than 5 feet high. I still have about 20 Stampin' Up! sets to unmount and then everything will be in this rack. As you can see, I've left my background stamps on their wood mounts for now. There's something satisfying about the way they line up like little books. But you never know - they could end up on EZ Mount as well. There are a few boxes of wheels here, too. I plan to eventually unmount them also. I just don't use them as much in wheel form as I'd like.

Here's a closeup of my stamp labels. The colored labels are for companies. See the green SU! labels and the red "retired" labels? There are a handful of other companies for which I'll be making special labels to make them easier to spot in the rack when I get around to it. The top shelf of SU! stamps contains all of the word-only sets, both current and retired.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Quick demo of unmounting a stamp

I've been participating in a thread on splitcoast about unmounting stamps, and I've mentioned several times that I stamp an index on the back of my EZ Mount foam with StazOn ink before mounting the stamp on the EZ Mount. Photos were requested, so I thought I'd post them here as well.

Before the first photo, I stamped the bunny (and the rest of the set too) on the non-sticky side of the EZ Mount while the stamps were still mounted on their original wood mounts. Then I cleaned the stamps with StazOn Cleaner. Next I lifted a little corner of the rubber with my fingernail and hoped that the rubber would pull right off without a lot of goo on the back. I got lucky with this set - it did. Sometimes I have to use some Goo Gone to remove sticky stuff before I can continue.

I'm definitely not a hand model! And this is my seven-year-old's very favorite stamp in the world, which may explain why the poor bunny is so stained. Or maybe we're just stamping slobs!

Anyhow, here's what happens next.

1. Bunny's bare rubber sitting next to the indexed EZ Mount foam.
2. I've cut the bunny-indexed foam away from the rest of the set and now I'm holding it so that I can get a view of both sides to try to line the rubber up with the image as closely as possible.
3. Just another view of the lining-up process.

4. Bunny rubber is stuck down to the sticky side of the EZ Mount.
5. I've cut around the rubber. Be sure to look at the rubber side when you're doing this!
6. Newly-mounted bunny on the acrylic block ready to stamp!

It is definitely a bit more work to mount the stamps this way with the index on the foam, but I sure do like being able to see the image through the block. Now it's not always lined up absolutely perfectly with the rubber on the other side, but usually close enough. Next time I take some pictures, I'll show you how I line up stamps on the block so that I can almost always get away without using a Stamp-a-ma-jig (which used to be my most-used tool).

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I like to rearrange my stuff almost as much as I like to use it!

Like many stampers, I'm trying to get more organized in the new year. I plan to move everything to another room soon, so I'm working on getting things that go together, together, and getting little stuff "containerized" better. Here's what I've been working on today. The main goal was to get my punches out of the giant box that they've been piled into for the past few months. I've had the extra CD rack ready and waiting in the garage for just the right moment.

First is the hearth area. We don't ever use the fireplace (why in the world do I need a fireplace in Texas?) so I've got storage shelves up there. This is the before:

And this is the after. I've moved a second small bookshelf into the middle, containing the stamp sets that have not yet been unmounted, plus my ink. I was afraid that the ink wouldn't fit under the mantel, but it was no problem.

Now here's the corner with the tall bookcase. This is holding my ribbon and an embarrassing amount of "alterables" stash. The small bookshelf with my ink WAS here before I moved it, as you can see.

And now, the picture that I was waiting for! Moving the small bookcase made room for the CD rack to hold my punches!

Here's a closeup of the punch rack. Don't you just LOVE it? I think I'm ready for the next 10 catalogs or so if Stampin' Up! keeps on the current pace of two or three new punches per catalog. This picture only shows six of nine "shelves" in the rack. Plenty of room to grow!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Holiday recuperation

I'm back! I hope that your holidays were wonderful, that you got everything you wanted, and that you enjoyed every moment with your family and friends. Isn't it nice when things start to get back to normal after all the hubbub?

Here are a few cards that I've made recently. This first one uses a set that I've had for quite awhile and have been dying to use. It's called Irony, and it's by Technique Tuesday. I just love this image, don't you? I need more "guy" cards for my stash, so I went for a masculine look.

Details: Stamps - Irony (Technique Tuesday), PaperTray; paper - Basic Black, Real Red, Whisper White (Stampin' Up!); ink - Basic Black, Whisper White Craft (SU!) , accessories - narrow black grosgrain ribbon, wide real red grosgrain ribbon, dimenasionals, sticky strip, ticket corner punch, color spritzer tool (all SU!)

This is a card that I made for a swap using sets from the new Stampin' Up! Spring/Summer Collection. The stamp set that I chose, A Beautiful Thing, is lovely, but was giving me all kinds of trouble with inspiration. I decided to go for a very simple card, using only the small line of four little flower centers. I stamped it repeatedly on a strip of Flowers For You designer paper, using my Stamp-a-ma-jig to keep the little guys in line. This sample uses the retired Rose grosgrain ribbon, because I loved the way it looked with the turquoise and celery ribbon. My actual swap cards used white ribbon instead of rose, so as to not break the "no retired stuff" rule.

Details: Stamps - A Beautiful Thing, It's Your Birthday; paper - Lovely Lilac, Tempting Turquoise, Flowers For You; ink - Lovely Lilac, accessories - narrow grosgrain ribbon in turquoise, rose, and celery, sticky strip (all SU!)

And here's one more swap card, this time using the new Celebrate Everything set. I chose this great paper from the Flowers For You designer paper and used it for the inspiration for the card. It's bright, isn't it? I don't think I'd ever have used these colors together if they weren't in the paper already, but I love the result!

Details: Stamps - Celebrate Everything; paper - Whisper White, Certainly Celery, Tempting Turquoise, Flowers For You; ink - Tempting Turquoise, accessories - narrow grosgrain ribbon in turquoise, mini glue dots, dimensionals (all SU!)