Saturday, December 31, 2011

Progress report–stamp reorganization

So, I thought you might like a progress report on the big stamp reorganization project. As I showed in my last post, I’m in the process of moving my stamps from CD cases to Tim Holtz unmounted stamp folders. I’ve been at it for two weeks, but we were traveling one of those weeks, so let’s call it a week. I’ve probably spent about 25 hours on the project so far.

Here are the two DVD boxes that I have almost filled with stamps. I’m probably not even halfway done yet. I initially predicted that four of these boxes would hold my entire collection, but I’m now guessing that it will take at least six.


I’ve done a few big sentiment categories and several image categories. The scariest one to tackle is the flower images. There are just so so many of them! But at least when I finish the flowers, it will put me much closer to the finish line.

Here are the flower folders all laid out on the table. There are 13 of them now, with quite a few more to come.


As I separate out my sets, I’m really getting a good picture of just how many stamps I have. More than anything else I’ve done, this is bound to help me to be much more frugal with my stamp spending. I’m really loving the stamps in their categories, too. I can see so many possibilities for using things together that I never would have found before.


Here’s the folder count so far:

Christmas sentiments – 12
Thank You sentiments – 6
Birthday sentiments – 5
Love sentiments – 4
Sympathy sentiments – 2
Handmade sentiments – 2
To/from/invitation/gift sentiments – 1

Flower images – 13
Tree images – 7
Star images – 3
Heart images – 2
Snowflake images – 2

I initially purchased 100 of the stamp folders, and I’ve used nearly 60 of them already. I’m sure there will be more. I’m enjoying the process, and I love the result even more.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Working toward better stamp organization

Warning – this is going to be a very photo-heavy post.
Like all crafters, I’m constantly rearranging and changing how I store things. My stamps are a prime example. I have a fairly huge amount of stamp sets from a variety of companies, some clear photopolymer, and some rubber mounted on EZ Mount. I currently store them in CD cases. Well, everything is in CD cases unless it won’t fit in CD cases. Here’s my CD rack, which will hold a bit over 500 CD cases. It’s actually completely full – some of the cases are missing in this photo because they’re on my table being “processed” like I’m going to show you below. When I finish this process, this CD rack will go away, back to the garage with all of the other stuff we don’t really need but keep anyway.
Here’s the blog post from Jennifer that started me down this path. Thanks so much, Jennifer, for posting such a thorough explanation of your process. The difference in my process and Jennifer’s is that I’m actually splitting up my stamp sets. In the past, I’ve had a very-poorly-maintained index book showing stamps by category, and I found that I always turned to that book first when making anything. So I pondered Jennifer’s post and realized that I could use it to combine the category index with the actual stamp storage, saving me the step of going from finding the perfect stamp in the category index and then having to cross-reference and go find the CD case containing that stamp. And this will take much less space than storing all of those CD cases. What a deal!
Here are the Tim Holtz unmounted stamp refill pockets that I’m using. They come five to a package and cost about $2.50 per package. I found the best price at the time I purchased at Scrapbooking Alley, which is part of Ritz Camera, but has lower minimums for free shipping.

The first part of my system is an index book that has one page per stamp set. Once I separate out all of the stamps, this will be the only reference back to what came with each set, so it’s vital that every set be in the book. Fortunately, I had this book well underway. At the bottom of the page, you can see that I have handwritten the company, set name, and my personal code for that set. My codes are a letter or two for the company, plus a number. I’ll use these numbers when I separate the sets to reference back to this book. The pages of this index are just 5x8 inch index cards, which I’ve hole punched to fit in this little binder that I found at Office Depot.
Here are some examples of the completed unmounted stamp folders in use. I’ll go over how I created them in a moment.
Here’s a folder with the stamps and index sheet inside. When I take them out of the folder, you can see that I have a sheet of cardstock with the images all stamped on it, with their stamp set codes written under each stamp, and a sheet of acetate holding the actual stamps. To put them into the folder, I lay the cardstock right on top of the stamps and then slide them together into the folder.
Front view of a folder:
Back view:
Here are the two sheets removed from the folder:
Some folders contain all clear stamps, some all rubber, and some have a mix of the two.
Some folders contain all sentiments (birthday, Christmas, etc.) and some contain all images (stars, birds, trees, etc.)
All of those great “back of the card” stamps that I previously had to go hunting for – conveniently together at last.
Now for some process pictures. I found a “thank you” sentiment that needs to go into a “thank you sentiments” folder. I take the sheets out of a folder that has room for the stamp. I lay the stamp image down on the cardstock to find it a spot. Then I grab the stamp with an acrylic block and ink it up and stamp it in its spot. Then I clean the stamp, put it right back down on the cardstock in its spot, and use the partially-loaded acetate sheet to pick it up to join the others. Simple!
I do all of my indexing in blue, because it stains the stamps (and me!) less than black. Here I’m using Stampin’ Up’s Not Quite Navy, but I sometimes use other dark blue shades.
Once I’ve stamped the image on the cardstock, I handwrite the stamp set code underneath it. This is easy to do because my current CD cases have the code on the spine. Having the stamp set code written here will make it easy for me to find the set name for a blog post, or to reassemble the complete set, if I decided to sell the set, for instance.
The end result is a folder that’s super thin and easy to store. I’ve found that each folder holds anywhere from 30 to 50 stamps, depending on size. The cardstock and acetate are both cut to 6 by 8.5 inches.
To store the folders, I bought some nice DVD boxes from the Container Store. This box currently has 22 folders in it, and you can see that it’s only about half full. I believe that I can fit my entire stamp collection in four of these boxes. We’ll see if I’m right! My plan is to eventually have the four boxes sitting right on my stamping table where I’ll have every stamp I own in arm’s reach.
It’s going to take some time to get everything I own into this system, so I’m working on some of the biggest and most rewarding categories first. For me, that incudes birthday, thank you and Christmas sentiments, as well as images of stars, hearts, trees, birds, and butterflies. I find that it’s easiest to focus on just a small handful of categories at a time, or I get too confused and messy with dozens of folders and index sheets in progress at once.
I hope this has been helpful in showing a way to index a ton of stamps in a very small space. I can’t wait until I can say that I have the entire process completed!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Obsessive compulsive ink indexing project

There has been a lot of discussion lately about which inks are the best match for various Papertrey cardstock colors. I was inspired by this discussion to start finding out which of the suggested colors I might already own, since I've been collecting inks for several years. What I found was kind of shocking:

No ink here.

No way.

Uh uh.

What I found was that my ink pad total is nearly 200! Yikes. But the good part is that I really do have lots of inks to coordinate beautifully with almost all of the Papertrey colors. And many are dead on matches.

I made a set of pages for my notebook showing all of the coordinating inks. These are on Papertrey white cardstock. I made the grid in Microsoft Publisher and filled it in with the inks that I own. I stamped each ink in its spot and then attached a piece of the corresponding cardstock color so that I can see them side by side.

These pages don't even show all of the inks that I own. This spawned a separate project where I made a master page for each color, with every single ink I have on it. The blue page has nearly forty colors on it! I'll have to show those pages in a future post. They're pretty cool, too.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

June Blog Hop

 This month's blog hop challenge was to use this photo for inspiration and create a project.

I tried and tried to get this uploaded in time for the blog hop, but missed it by one minute. Oh well. I still love the way it turned out!

Monday, June 20, 2011

CAS-ual Fridays Challenge - Color Block

This week's CAS-ual Fridays Challenge is to use color blocks in a project. I had an idea that ended up coming together very quickly. I'm super excited about this design and can't wait to make lots more cards like these. It turns out to be a perfect way to use up lots of those little scraps of cardstock that you can't bear to throw away but are not sure you'll ever use.

A patriotic thank you, perhaps for a soldier?

 A colorful birthday card.

 A sweet card for a friend.

My scraps were cut to 1 1/2 by 3 inches. I marked guidelines on the back to make it easier to get the punches exactly where I wanted them. I love the Tim Holtz Design Ruler for this! I put a black punch-out in the photo below to show where I punch once I have my pieces marked. No need to erase the marks because they're on the back.

Once my pieces were punched, I put dimensional foam in all four corners and adhered them to my card base. There is 1/4 inch between pieces and 1/4 inch at the top and sides. I found it easiest to place the two end pieces first and then center the middle one between them.

Details: stamps - Enjoy the Ride ("happy birthday"), Giga Guidelines ("just because"), Think Big Favorites #4 ("thank you"); paper - Stampers Select White, Kraft, Pure Poppy, Brilliant Blue (Stampin' Up!), Summer Sunrise, Orange Zest, New Leaf, Hawaiian Shores, Lemon Tart; ink - Onyx Black (Versafine)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Party gift

We were invited to a 50th birthday surprise party for a dear friend this weekend. Her husband requested gag gifts. Here's ours:

This was great fun to put together. I used a random basket that I found in my garage, plus some blocks of floral foam (about $4 for a big package from Hobby Lobby; I only used about half of it), and three bags of Tootsie Pops. For the "50 sucks" sign, I used the By the Numbers dies for the numbers, and the Simple Letters Sizzix dies from Stampin' Up for the letters. I taped a few popsicle sticks on the back with Scor Tape and then stuck the sign into the floral foam. Easy peasy!

Eagle-eyed readers will spot one Blow Pop in the front row of the Tootsie Pop basket. Three bags of pops should have given us 51, but we were bitten by the "about 17 servings" bug, and three bags actually only contained 49. So we found one lonely Blow Pop in the house and used it as a stand in.

Friday, May 6, 2011

CAS-ual Fridays Challenge CFC1

Today's card is for the brand new CAS-ual Fridays Challenge. This week's challenge is to use text on your card. I love this challenge! Here's what I came up with.

This card is a real mash-up of different companies' things. My focal panel is glossy white. I stamped the Everlasting Romance in Versamark and embossed with clear embossing powder. Then I stamped the Script background with Crumb Cake ink. Finally, I sponged Bermuda Bay ink over the whole thing. A silver ribbon and a sweet little tag made with Tiny Tags completes the card.

I can't wait to see what the challenge is next week!

Details: stamps - Everlasting Romance (Unity), Tiny Tags, Script background (Stampin' Up retired); paper - Glossy White (SU), Soft Stone, Smokey Shadow; ink - Versamark, Crumb Cake (SU), Bermuda Bay (SU), Smokey Shadow; other - clear detail embossing powder (SU), silver ribbon, silver cord (SU), dimensionals

Monday, May 2, 2011

Make it Monday 13 - selective embossing

This week's Make it Monday challenge is to use impression plates and dies to selectively emboss your cardstock. I have to admit that I only own two impression plates which had never been used, and that my embossing mats were still in their original packaging. So this was a great opportunity for me to get them out and give them a try.

I've had congratulations on the brain lately because our school kids in Texas just finished their standardized testing last week, and they did great! So the Book Print impression plate plus a star die seemed like they would fit the bill for a congrats card. The tiny stamp in each corner of the star was done by inking just a little bit of one of the stamps in the Guide Lines 2 set. This is a really fun technique and I know that I'll be using it again. Right now, I'm off to shop for more impression plates!

Details: stamps - Signature Greetings, Guide Lines 2; paper - Basic Black, Blueberry Sky; ink - Memento Tuxedo Black (Tsukineko); accessories - Book Print impression plate, Seeing Stars dies, black rhinestones (source unknown), embossing pad kit

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Make It Monday - draw a frame

This week's challenge for Make It Monday was to draw a line frame on your card.

I'm so excited about this card! I had a picture in my head, and I actually was able to make the card just the way I envisioned it. I have a bird feeder in my back yard, and I love to watch the birds come to eat and play. My favorites are the cardinals. We have several pairs that visit regularly. So for my card, I had to have cardinals. The male is all red, and the female is mostly brown, with just a hint of red peeking through. For my female bird, I swiped under her wing with a red Copic marker, then colored over it and the rest of her with my light brown Copic. Sorry, but I didn't write down what colors I used on this card.

For my frame, I used a piece of cardstock measuring 5 inches by 3 3/4 inches. To make room for my sentiment below and the bird above, I left 1/2 inch margins at the top and bottom, but only 1/4 inch margins on the left and right. I also had to mask with a Post-It note on the right side when I stamped the branch, because it was slightly longer than I needed for my scene. Everything else is pretty straightforward.

Details: stamps - Little Bitty Bird, Bird Watching, Think Big Favorites 3; paper - Rustic White, Kraft, Pure Poppy; accessories - Copic markers, Copic multiliner marker