Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Disney Animal Kingdom Layout & Paper Piecing

I pulled out a photo at random last week to scrapbook, to get started on producing some pages. It just happened to be an Animal Kingdom photo from 2010. I love scrapbooking Disney stuff and animal kingdom adds another dimension of fun due to the safari and African patterns you can use to tell th story.

The mickey was made from a svg file I found on google. I believe I searched for "safari mickey svg". The adventure logo is two different images from the silhouette store that I welded together and then cut in layers. The edges were chalked and I used some gems I had left over from another project on the brackets.

Overall, I think this project really shows off some of the potential that the cameo has. When I cut the paper piecing, I did it one layer at a time starting with the base. Then, as I cut the additional layers, I glued them in before moving to the next layer. It made putting mickey together much easier than it would have been trying to measure and cut a bunch of separate layers all at once on the same mat.




Thursday, March 6, 2014

American Girl Place Mini Album

This is one of the few projects that I sat down, started and worked on until it was done. It took me about 2 days at a retreat to complete this. I love how it turned out and my absolute favorite part of it is the mini book I made within the album to show the dolls the girls picked out at the store. Overall I am very happy with how this one came out and I am very proud that it is actually finished!


















Disney Chef Mickey Cutting Board 3d Mini Album

This album was based on a kit I picked up at Archiver's last year. The kit came with the cutting board and some precut pages, but it would be super easy to make your own with a thin cutting board from the dollar store and chipboard pages. Originally, the kit was for a recipe book, but I saw it and thought it would be perfect for making a character dining album from our recent Disney trip.











Chalkboard Cedar Point Mini Album

I'm loving the chalkboard trend so I decided to use it on this mini album for our trip to cedar point last year. The album is 6x6 so it's a pretty good size to work with for a mini. My biggest goal for this album is to start using my silhouette to make more embellishments and rely on store bought stuff less. I want to start using up my massive paper stash and this is a good way to start!

For the mat on this page, I used some faux stitching rectangle die cuts I had bought from lil inkers back in December. I love the way it came out on the black white-core cardstock. It looks very crisp and fresh.

The layered letters were all made on my cameo, but I used Sure Cuts-a-Lot not the silhouette studio to create them. I've used SCAL for years with my Cricuts before I got the cameo, so I'm more familiar with some of the advanced cutting features on there than on the studio. Specifically, I know how to make the shadow borders with SCAL but not studio.

The stars are punches, the banner was handcut and the border around the CP is a spellbinder. The charm and metal star were both store bought leftovers, but I like how they pulled things together. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

3d Maya Road Disney Photobox Album Display

I saw a project similar to this one online and loved it. I knew it would be perfect for a Disney photo display. I used the Say Cheese line of paper for the box and inserts. The box is made out of a maya road photo album that I cut up and added chipboard sides to. There is a how to video somewhere out there on the web that was the inspiration. I also created additional inserts for the box out of chipboard that I cut to fit inside. Overall this was a very fun project that everyone enjoys looking at.



Cedar Point Printers Tray 3d Project

I love creating projects that I can display around the house or hang on the walls. Printer trays are excellent for this and provide a fun medium for scrappy and crafty projects. I made this one to display some highlights from our trip to Cedar Point last year.

The fun thing about printer trays is how you can combine scrapbook elements with objects and keepsakes from the trip. The gatekeeper key we picked up in the giftshop, and next to it one of our room keys is displayed. I mixed that with various photos from our trip and lined the cubby holes in the tray with washi tape to give it a more finished look. I also cut up a park map to display, both me and my son love staring at maps and it always makes me smile to see it. On top of the washi tape, I added some sticky metal brads and some 3d rollercoaster embellishments to add another layer to the project.

Overall, the printer tray is a fun and unique way to display photos and keepsakes from our trip on the wall, where everyone can see and enjoy it. I have been making more and more projects like this because I notice when I make these and leave the out, my kids and husband and visitors always stop to admire them and reminisce. I catch my kids staring at this one all the time remembering our fun trip!


Stampin' Up! Flower shop Get Well Soon Card

I used the Stampin' Up! flower shop bundle to create this cute card. I stamped the images on watercolor paper in black ink and then used clear embossing power to heat emboss them. I used the SU watercolor markers to color them, and layered two flowers of the same color to give it depth.

I love the way this one turned out!



Sunday, March 2, 2014

Snoopy Hugs Mini Album Page

This cute little page I made using the Stampin' Up Chevon border punch, chevon embossing folder and some flourishes that I found in the Silhouette Online Store. The background is some black white-core cardstock with the stripes being SU designer paper. The silver is from SU as well.

After I embossed some scraps from the white-core cardstock with the chevon embossing folder, I took my Tim Holtz sander and sanded the embossed edges to make it look like white chevron on a black background.

I finished up the page with some mini gems and a flower embellishment I made with some punches.

The letters are two different types of thickers that I had partially used up on other projects. Overall, I love the way it came together!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ray of Sunshine: SU Flower Shop Strikes Again!

I made this layout recently at a scrapbook retreat and its one of my favorites. The background paper and quote strip were handed out as a page contest. I took those elements and combined them with some coordinating Stampin' Up! colors and an explosion of flowers I created with the flower shop stamp and punch set. I love how it turned out!


Black Ink Product Test & Comparison


Ink is the foundation of any project that involves stamping, from scrapbooks to cards to home d├ęcor. Ink quality can make or break a project, and using a poor quality ink is a waste of both time and money. That being said, it can be pretty hard to figure out which ink you should buy. Black ink is a staple of any craft room, and there is an incredible variety of brands and types to choose from. Unfortunately, I have made the mistake of buying poor quality ink many times.

So, to help other crafters, I present the Ink Wars: Black. I have dug out the various black inks I have purchased, and stamped them with the same image so we can compare them side to side. All of the images were stamped on the same sheet of Stampin’ Up! Whisper White paper.

Here is a photo of the sheet before I cut it into pieces for the side by side comparisons:

 


As you can see, there are some inks that definitely stand out from the others, giving a bold, crisp image. There are others that look faded, like I was going for a retro or shabby-chic craft look. That effect is not intended, sadly.

It’s hard to name a clear winner between a few of the brands, but it is easy to see the clear loser. I love Stampin’ Up! products, I really do, but their black ink is just plain subpar to every other ink I own. I hate to say it, but I put the Stampin’ Up! black on the “Don’t Buy” list. Even the cheapest, discount ink pads did better!

Here is a comparison of the SU Black verses the CTMH Black, the closest competitor to Stampin’ Up! in general. CTMH gave a clear, crisp image in a deep black. While it was not the best result over all, its leagues above the SU ink. The SU ink came off unevenly and it has a faded, worn out look to it.

 


Next, here is the SU ink next to Versafine Black. The Versafine Black produces a clear, crisp image. The black is not the deepest, but the clarity is excellent.

 


Here is the SU pad next to a used Memories pad that I bought from the Archiver’s tag sale. This ink pad has been used many times at the store, is who-knows-how-old, and isn’t even one of the pricier ink pads on the market. Yet, its still a night and day difference between it and the SU pad. It has a deep black hue, and while not as precise and fine as the versafine, it still produced a crisp, clean and even image.

 


Next up is the SU pad compared to the Memento Tuxedo Black pad. This one I was very curious about, because SU will be selling the Memento Tuxedo Black in the near future as a compliment to their new alcohol marker line. Sadly, they did not pick one of the strongest blacks to sell either. I will be putting up a separate post detailing how the Memento pad measures up to other pads in the near future. For now, you can see that it is a great improvement over the SU pad, but still lacks a deep, rich hue. It was also not as crisp and clear as other inks tested.

The next match up is Staz-On Jet Black vs the Stampin’ Up! black ink pad. Honestly, this match up felt like I was comparing apples to oranges. The Staz-On has a funky odor that drives me nuts, but the difference in quality is pretty steep. The Staz-On is not quite as crisp as the Versafine, but it is really one of the deepest blacks you can find. The Stampin’ Up! image looks nearly grey next to it.

 
Next up, we have an ink that produced an image almost as poor as the Stampin’ Up! black stamp pad did. This was VersaCraft Real Black. The thing to remember here is this stamp pad was designed for stamping on tougher surfaces, like wood, cloth, glass, etc. You sacrifice some clarity and richness for the ability to stamp on surfaces that other ink would not stick to. Unfortunately, it still produced a better image than the SU ink! While it didn’t stamp perfectly even, it was more even and a richer color than the SU ink.
 

The next ink tested was ColorBox Black. For some odd reason, I had it in my head this would be one of the poorest quality pads that I own. I Couldn’t be more wrong. This one came out being one of the best inks overall. It producdes a clear image, with an excellent rich color. Next to this ink, the Stampin’ Up! black looks like I stamped off on a different piece of paper before creating my image. This was a pleasant surprise, and I will definitely be using this ink pad more in the future.

 

The final ink I test was a cheapo Big N Juicy pad I got from Hobby Lobby for my daughter. I like the fancier inks better, so I don’t typically use this one myself. Surprizingly, it did very well against the competition. Again, it was miles ahead of Stampin’ Up! in terms of richness and clarity. It wasn’t as dark or crisp as some of the other inks, but for what it is I was very surprised.

 


The final ranking order of the stamps tested is
1.       Staz-On Jet Black
2.       ColorBox Black
3.       Memories Black
4.       Versafine Black
5.       Close To My Heart Black
6.       Big & Juicy Black
7.       Memento Tuxedo Black
8.       VersaCraft Real Black
9.       Stampin’ Up! Black

As you can see, the Stampin’ Up! ink came in dead last. I think it’s pretty safe to say this is quite possibly the worst product Stampin’ Up! sells. I love their paper, stamps, dies, punches, embellishments and pretty much everything else, but their black ink just plain sucks.

Knowing that they are encouraging demonstrators to sell this subpar product to customers has me rethinking my devotion to the brand. Sure, I love the other products, but I could not sell this ink pad to anyone without feeling guilty. If Stampin’ Up! knows there is a quality issue with this item, why is it still being sold? Why not just pull the ink until you can sell something that at least beats out the cheapest competitor? I know black ink is a staple product, but the fact that this ink is still being sold as “black” really has me second guessing the quality of their other items. It just feels dishonest to me, and I have a very hard time getting over that. They could at least change the description to “Antiqued Black” or “Retro Black” if they want to keep selling it. At least then it wouldn’t be a dirty little secret in the demo world that this product is inferior to the competition and the trust that is placed in the quality of their items would not be questions.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cheap Supply Jackpot: Tuesday Morning

I love shopping and I love finding cheap supplies, and this combination makes Tuesday Morning one of my favorite places to shop at. While Marshall's, TJ Maxx and Ross all usually have some craft supply goodies, Tuesday Morning typically has the best selection with slightly higher prices on some items. The biggest price difference I have noticed on a regular basis is for Thickers. At Marshall's it's fairly common to find some Thicker packs for $1.25 while they are priced at 1.99 at Tuesday Morning. Compared to the normal retail price of Thickers, both stores offer a great deal, but if I can get something .75 cheaper, I'd like to get it for the cheaper price.

But, back to the main subject here: shopping at Tuesday Morning. I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Tuesday Morning is my secret supplier for Spellbinders. It's fairly common to find Spellbinders in stock at prices ranging from 3.99 to 8.99 for the larger sets. That's much cheaper than you can find them at Joann's, Michaels or Hobby Lobby. However, they are typically overstocks or last season's product at Tuesday Morning. Personally, this doesn't bother me. I try to buy dies that are "evergreen" and never go out of season or style. I've found many different basic shape Spellbinders  at Tuesday Morning that I use on many projects for framing and creating embellishments.

Some other great Tuesday Morning finds for me include:

-Tim Holtz Dies & Supplies
-7 Gypsys Supplies
-Cosmo Cricket Kits
-American Crafts Dear Lizzy bulk paper and paper pads
-Bulk high quality paper
-High quality scissors
-Adhesive
-American Crafts Albums
-An amazing array of embellishments
-Sew Easy tread and ink heads
-Craft furniture and storage containers

And the list goes on and on... Long story short, I always find tons of goodies at Tuesday Morning. It easily beats out the other discounters for me, and believe it or not, I did not recieve any sort of kick back or bribe to write this post about them!

Here are a couple photos of the stock at the smaller store near my home this past weekend: