Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Serious Addiction

I ordered new stamps today. I can't believe it, because I just ordered new stamps YESTERDAY. Yesterday I learned about Stamp Camp's "Buy 5 get the 6th stamp free", and I just had to go check it out. Well, they had TONS of things I wanted, so I just waltzed my fingers right over the keys and ordered five background stamps and one just slightly cheaper. The BGs were only $6.50 apiece, and I got the other one free, but still. I'm so compulsive about this!

And today I went to River City Rubber Works and they had a 30% off all unmounteds sale -- I mean, how am I gonna pass that up? I love RCRW's stamps! I was fairly frugal there, but still ...

Tomorros is the first day of demonstrator pre-order for Stampin' Up's Spring Mini. There are so many sets I like in it! And I really, REALLY need more Whisper White paper, and some other colors, and more reinkers and pads and ... you see where this is leading. More money, and this will be on the credit card. I hope my husband doesn't read this blog. Honey, if you do -- I love you! Please forgive me! Please don't make me get a Real Job!!!!!!!

Okay, I laugh when I talk about these things, but I seriously think I have an obsessive/compulsive disorder or something. I can't just wait until I have money -- if I see a stamp I want, it's so hard not to just compulsively (impulsively, too) order the darned thing and then figure out how to pay for it later. Not good. I am seriously going to have to start selling my card creations soon.

I feel so sorry for my husband! He is always so stressed about our finances, always worried that we won't have enough for retirement, and Aidan will HAVE to get scholarships for college (which shouldn't be too hard for this kid), and here I am off blithely buying rubber and ink and paper and adhesive. What kind of wife am I? Ugh!

So -- yes, I did make a couple of cards today, but I'm just too tired and grouchy now to scan and post them. I'm trying not to beat myself up, because I know God loves me and isn't going to give up on me no matter what. Good thing. I'm sure tempted to from time to time!

Wow, downer post! Sorry about that! I just need to go to bed and get a good night's sleep, then I should be back in the stamping saddle again tomorrow. I think I need to schedule one day a week just for scrapbooking, because I haven't done that in eons since I've become a total Technique Junkie. But I did spend $80 last summer to take Stacy Julian's "Library of Memories" class at the Big Picture Scrapbooking website, and I did get everything all organized (photos-wise), so I really need to put that to good use now! Maybe I'll concentrate on that tomorrow.

Okay, off to find something good to read and then off to sleep.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ah, the bliss of inky fingers!!

I had ALL DAY to play today! Well, most of it. Aidan had three basketball games after school (have I mentioned that he's the manager for the Middle School teams?), and Bjorn offered to pick him up after work, so I had until 8:30 this evening to hang out in my craft loft! I did take a couple of hours out to run by Mom and Dad's for lunch and to show off some of my latest cards (and the domino necklace I made! -- well, okay, I have the domino painted, but don't have the actual necklace made yet), took time out to watch a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode at dinner, and did a LITTLE housework. Oh, yeah, and took a shower. But I had fun in that craft loft!

I finished a Mono-Mosaic design I had started last night. Since I got a late start, I went to Mom and Dad's after that, then came back and had my new TJ Newsletter in the mail!! Which was convenient because I needed to make a sympathy card for my upline, who just lost her stepfather of 40 years, so, of course, I had to run up to the loft and try stuff out. I didn't get much past the Watercolor Distress background technique -- it is SO easy and SO much fun (and SO messy! lol). After I made the Pretty-in-Pink and Mellow Moss BGs for her sympathy card and the other three copies of it (using SU Classic inks instead of the Distress Inks it called for, since she is my upline!) I had to keep playing. I got some AWESOME Faded Denim and Tattered Rose (Distress Inks this time) backgrounds. I did each 5-1/2" x 4-1/4" piece separately, instead of doing a whole sheet at once like I often do. And the pieces each look like the blue is a splashing, swirling ocean, and the pink is a sunrise sky. There's alot of motion in the pieces, just from smooshing things around and playing a little. They kinda reminded me of some Chinese/Japanese (sorry, not sure which) art I've seen where there's a big curling wave with foam in the picture. So I don't know what I'll use them for -- I hate to put anything over them! Maybe if I found some kind of Chinese/Japanese writing like they always have on the side of their art, that might work.

Anyway, I made TONS of those backgrounds -- four of each color combination, including Tea Dye and Faded Denim (really cool orangy-brown and blue, which reminded me somehow of Old World maps from centuries ago), then back to SU inks with Only Orange, YoYo Yellow and Glorious Green for a citrusy look (had some stamps in mind for that), and then I got really wild messing around with Alcohol Ink reinkers trying to do the same thing with glossy paper. Got some very mysterious looking purply-pinky bits. Don't know what I'll use them for, but they reminded me of the witchy scenes in Sleeping Beauty whenever Maleficent was around. (My brother and I used to pretend that stuff long, long years ago.) And I stamped some orange/grapefruit/lime slices on the citrusy backgrounds, and finished all four of the sympathy cards. I've been BUSY, and I could have kept going, except the guys finally got home and I thought I needed to be attentive. I don't know why, really, at least with The Teenager. He's been having some Teenage Moments lately, which have left me feeling hurt and pretty much pushed aside. I know he needs to do that -- can't have a Mama's boy on my hands! -- but I do admit I miss the days when I was the Best Mom in the Whole World, and pretty much the center of his universe. *SIGH* Now I'm lucky to be on the radar. Oh, well. Guess I'll look on the bright side -- at least I have more time to stamp these days!

I wrote a book. Sorry! Here are a couple of scans of my latest:

This is my Michaelangelo MonoMosaic. The colors are really Elegant Eggplant and So Saffron, but nothing I could do in my graphics program could get them right. Stamps are SU and a very old one from Postmodern Design that I got years ago.


This one is "Faux Stippling" -- I think that's the name. It's my return to Things Celtic in stamping (did tons of that years ago when I scrapped our trip to Ireland in 2000). The verse is a portion of a poem called "St. Patrick's Breastplate". I have a CD by an Irish group called Iona (sort-of Christian Celtic meets Pink Floyd -- yeah, I could explain but it would take awhile!), and they have a song with these lyrics and it is an AWESOME song! Thus the inspiration. Stamps are: Scottish Heritage (the cross), and Catholic Rubber Stamps (I'm not Catholic, but they've got some great stuff).


This is the sympathy card for my upline. The colors just didn't turn out well in the scan -- it is much prettier in person. All stamps (of course!) are SU.

Okay, if you've stayed with me this long, let me know and I'll send you a RAK!! (Well, the first five people, if there are that many!) I bet I know what I'll be dreaming about tonight! (Tamp, tamp, tamp, STAMP; smoosh, splat, twist, STAMP ...)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Better late than never

Okay, yes, it was a few days ago that I promised to post some of the new cards I've made. So, even though I am UTTERLY exhausted from the stamping class I gave today (all about embossing), most especially from the preparation and house cleaning, I will follow through on my promise!

Actually, giving the class was fun. I didn't get any orders (yet -- got two promises of orders, and yes, I know, don't let 'em get away, but I'm not that good at reining them in), but everyone had a good time (all three of them!), and I felt like I did a good job of teaching. After the Christmas Stamp-a-Stack debacle (I went too fast, confused a couple of people and probably scared them off), I was worried. But this time I took everything very slowly, we did each step all together, and they came out with four cards they really loved. Did basic embossing, Dazzling Diamond Dust and Joseph's Coat, with great success!! And I did get ten dollars apiece from them, so that defrays about a third of my supply cost for the class. Hopefully next class I'll get lots more people and will be able to defray the WHOLE cost of supplies!

So, here are the cards, as promised:

This one is the "Rainbow Bleach" technique, and I used another of those photo stamps I got from ArtChix Studios. Basically with Rainbow Bleach, you just bleach stamp your background images on black, then brayer ink from a Rainbow/Spectrum pad over that. I used my home-made rainbow pad (bought the empty one from SU, filled it with the colors of my choice and named it "Piha Breezes" after Piha Beach near Auckland, New Zealand (Phil Joel's favorite place on earth, reportedly). The colors are fairly soft and light (tropical but with a light touch), so it turned out to be perfect for this card.

This one uses the "Mulberry Batik" technique with the "Polka Dots and Paisley" stamp set from SU. It will be coming out in the Spring Mini, but demonstrators got the set free as a Christmas gift from Shelli Gardner (president of SU). I LOVE the way this turned out! And, of course, in "real life" it is much nicer. The background (on the purple) was supposed to be the "Faux Webbing" technique, but I was a little heavy-handed with it, so it really looks a bit like faux leather! The "dream" stamp is also SU, from a different set.

One more:

This is the "Colored Crystal" technique, which is another bleaching technique. (I stayed in my pj's one morning and did several bleach techniques -- wouldn't matter if I accidentally got bleach on my purple plaid flannels! lol) I'm too tired to remember all the details, but I think you brayer or somehow get your inks onto the cardstock (not glossy), then use Crystal Effects to cover the images, and then use a paper towel that's been dipped (lightly!) in bleach to remove some of the color. It turned out to be a pretty cool technique, although the first one of these cards I did (remember, I almost always do four of each design) was a little more bleached out than I really wanted!

Well, I hope you enjoyed looking at these. They will be sent out as RAKs one of these days. I have more to post later on, including another (different) try at my princesses. I've really developed a love for medieval-looking stamps these days, because I've always loved medieval stuff (thanks to my brother!), so I've got the princesses and a castle to show off a little later.

Until then ... keep those fingers inky!!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Giving it another chance

Thanks to "stamperosity" and lynn for their comments in my last post! I totally hear where y'all are coming from! So hopefully this post will be encouraging. (And I am so thrilled to know I have readers outside the few friends whom I have bribed ... uh, I mean who LOVE me enough to be faithful readers!)

I've decided to stick with SU for now. I really do love the company, the products, all that. I was just so discouraged on Saturday with the meeting, and with the lack of response I've gotten for my class. But I've decided I'm not going to let that stop me. The Spring Mini is coming out in another month, and it is FULL of great stuff. And we're going to a new catalog system this summer (two seasonal ones per year instead of one all-year one -- if you want details, e-mail me at stamps@aannestad.com) So it's still an exciting "place".

I do wish I was much more of a "go-getter" type. I do hate having to rely on my friends so much to make up the bulk of my customer ordering and my workshop-attendees. Guess I'll just have to screw up my courage to get some more business going! I really don't want to have to make up my quarterly quota all on my own (even though it would be very easy!) I AM going to have to work out a way to pay back this debt! :o Bjorn is a patient man, but I don't want to push it too far!


I have been a madwoman in the loft again. I don't know when I'll ever get back to scrapbooking, this card-making thing is so much fun! When I get a chance I'll scan them in and post some of them here. Made a REALLY cool mosaic card -- but as for making four of them at once ... it took me two hours to do this one, so I think I'll have to spread out making the other three! And I did one with a picture of a castle over a "Glimmering Rainbows" background that came out really awesome, if I do say so myself. I used copper metallic mix-in with the alcohol inks, and it just glows!

So, when I have another minute (I've gotta get in the shower -- it's already past noon!) I'll get that scanning and posting done!

In the meantime -- stay warm (or keep cool, depending on where you live), and go stamp something (but not your kids or your cat!)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Well, is it time??

So I'm feeling pretty discouraged today about my Stampin' Up! demo-ship. It's just not going the way I had hoped it would. Most of that, of course, is my own responsibility -- I'm not really much of a "go-getter", and the thought of going out and scrounging up people to hostess workshops just makes me queasy. So I'm trying doing classes for the ladies I know who are interested in stamping, but so far I'm not even getting many responses to the invitation, much less getting many "yes" answers. So far I have two committed, four no's, and several who haven't even read my e-mail yet (I know because I requested a "read" receipt). So, maybe it's time to bow out and just concentrate on my card-making instead of stamp-selling? I've been turning out lots of cards I really like, lately, and am seriously considering finding a way to sell them. So, lots to think about. Bjorn's just annoyed because I have a credit card debt that's several times what it cost me to get into this business in the first place, and if I quit, that means I'll have to come up with another way to pay it off. Not that I was actually doing much to pay it off in the first place! All the money I make on SU gets plowed right back into SU, either from me buying supplies for workshops/classes that don't have many attendees, or from my own supply-building. So I'll give it a little while, some more thought and some prayer and see what I decide. I'll hate giving up the 20% discount, for sure. I guess I could just stay a hobby-demo, but coming up with $300 every quarter ... I'd really rather not have to be limited to just Stampin' Up! products. I love them, I honestly think they're one of the best companies in the business. But since I've become a Mega Technique-Junkie, there are a lot of products I need that Stampin' Up! doesn't sell, like alcohol inks, distress inks, etc. So I'd rather not have to add what I need of non-SU stuff to the $300 required to remain a demo. I'm not sure the 20% discount would be worth it.

Another thing is that I have received very little support/encouragment/training from my upline. She is an awesome demonstrator, and I had also gotten the idea that she was a great upline to have, but I have had no training at all. Her meetings are amazing, and I usually come away from there all fired up again, but it soon fizzles with no support. I'm wondering if she thinks I'm doing okay because I've had some good quarters lately, but most of that has been from my own purchases and the couple of e-mail workshops that "just happened".

Anyway, I've got several new cards to scan and post, and will do that soon. I sent out eight RAKs on Wednesday, just as soon as the ice melted enough for me to get out and drive. It was fun! I love knowing I'll be surprising people.

So, off to do other things for now. If anyone reads this and has any thoughts on my Stampin' Up! decision, please post a comment for me!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Winter has officially come to Central Texas!! I'm sitting here staring out the window of the office (at home), looking across the street at the golf course, and it looks like Somebody dusted it with powdered sugar. Beautiful! And there is ice coating all the trees -- well, all the everything! -- and it is just absolutely gorgeous. Of course, now that the thermometer is rising a hair above freezing, it's all beginning to drip. A huge chunk of slushy ice broke loose from the roof a few minutes ago and went crash-cascading past my window. I jumped a mile! lol It's been fun having Aidan and Bjorn both home this week (schools were closed because of the ice and half-inch of snow!). I love having them home with me. Although, there have been a few times over the last several days when I've been quite thankful for my craft loft!!

Speaking of craft loft, this weather has kept me up there quite a bit. Something about cozy-cold (in moderation!) brings out the creativity in me. So now I have six or seven RAKs to send out, assuming the Post Office decides they can drive on slush. We didn't get any mail at all yesterday, nor did my parents (just up the street), so I can only say that the "neither rain nor sleet nor dark of night ..." thing doesn't apply to our local PO. They seriously could've delivered yesterday. Aidan and I went out walking in the snow for awhile in the afternoon, and there were quite a few cars driving down the street.

Anyway, enough of my gripe. Here's one of the cards I finished. It's a stamp of the Point Loma Lighthouse in San Diego (which I've been to, and love!), which is made by Coronado Island Designs. The card was done using the Opalite-on-Opalite technique from Technique Junkies. I love the way the silver streak on the left looks like a shaft of moonlight. That was pure serendipity, not at all planned. I did a whole sheet of cardstock at once, then cut it up into four pieces so I could do four cards, so it was just a random swipe that turned into a perfect thing! The frame around the card is just Not Quite Navy cardstock (SU) that I spritzed with "Stream" Alcohol Ink spray from Ranger Industries. All CS is SU.




And then this one I just had to do, it being cold and sleety -- the stamps are Stampin' Up!, and I used two techniques. The background is Glimmering Rainbows, from TJ, and the surfboards are done in ... a technique I can't recall the name of at the moment, but it has something to do with chalk inks. Might be Rainbow Chalks. Anyway, the strip of "ocean" is embossed cardstock from Club Stamp that I sprayed with "Stream" Alcohol Ink Spray.




And then last but not least is a card I did using the TJ "Gesso Chic" technique. Everything is SU except for the gesso. I colored the image in with Metallic Pencils (and a couple of regular pencils, the white and black), then covered it in VersaMark ink and embossed it with clear EP. (The stamp set is retired.)



So if anyone is reading this, I hope you've enjoyed looking at the fruit of my frosty labor (okay, I was actually quite warm in the loft -- heat rises, y'know -- but it was frosty outside, so that counts a little!).

Off to the showers with me!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Card Crazy Woman!

Well, you will all (all, what, three of you? lol) be thrilled to know that I have decided to just continue to live in the past (or in denial) and banish the fact that Phil has left the Newsboys from my immediate mind. Whew! I knew you were worried!!

I have spent almost every day since the last post crafting cards. Sorta went on a binge, as it were. Of course, making four of each card takes time, so I don't have just thousands of cards to show for it, but I am extremely pleased with the ones I do have.

I will be sending most of these out as RAKs, keeping one of each for myself and then saving the other two of each kind to (hopefully) sell somewhere, once I figure out how I want to go about it.

I went on a buying spree with my Christmas money, and have so many cool new stamps! So here are a couple of the cards I've made ... since I'm going to RAK most of them, I won't show them all right now.

This one I will be sending to my aunt instead of RAKing, as a thank-you for spending a chunk of her time when she was visiting last week helping me out with a bunch of family history stuff. The house looks a lot like some I've seen in photos of my ancestors, so I thought it was just perfect for this! Stamp is by River City Rubber Works. Everything else is Stampin' Up!, and the background behind the house is done with the Lumiere Resist (Faux Mother-of-Pearl) Technique:




Also inspired by photos of ancestors is this card featuring a photo-realistic stamp from ArtChix Studios. I decided to frame it to look like an authentic-ish period photo, and then mounted it on a Textured Metallics background. The crackle stamp used on the frame is from Kiwi Impressionz:



I'll post one more in my sidebar to replace the "Very Girly" Serigraph Technique card.

Oh! My nieces were here today, and I gave them their Christmas presents ("Chrissie Pressies" in Kiwi ;-) ), and Kenni just went nuts over the perpetual calendar! I felt so good about doing it ... and yet it made me worry that her sister would think that the absolute TON of genealogical information I had compiled for her (she's interested in our family history) wouldn't be as good a gift. Fortunately, Kacy loved having all the family stuff -- she had been using Ancestry.com and running into a few roadblocks, so this helped her out a lot!

Well, I am exhausted, so it's time to wrap this up and head off to the cozy warmth of my bed! They're predicting an ice storm here tonight, but they've been moving back it's projected arrival time all day, so I don't know that it will ever actually materialize. I hope it doesn't, since my nieces, grand-niece and Kacy's boyfriend will be driving back to Houston in the morning!

Monday, January 01, 2007

What Sorrow Can Do

Well, in my abject sorrow over Phil leaving the Newsboys (say it ain't so!), I went up into my craft loft and decided to work out my sadness with paper, ink and rubber. This is the card I came up with. It's not "in honor" of Phil or anything. I just went up, picked a technique (in this case it was TJ's "Silken Mist"), made a background, then went from there. The background was so dark and mysterious, I really wished I had some sort of "night" stamp, but since I didn't, I thought my cathedral window would be a pretty cool main image over this background. That being accomplished, I had to decide how to mount it on the card. After much thinking (okay, and praying -- God is pretty good to give me ideas when I'm blanked out), I decided to use my SU "Linen" background stamp over the Elegant Eggplant cardstock. I wanted a little "zing" though, to bring out the pearly highlights in the Silken Mist, so I inked up the Linen stamp again, this time with Silver, and overstamped the Eggplant. That was too bright, so I inked up the Linen again with Elegant Eggplant and overstamped yet a third time (or would that be the second, since I said I overstamped?). Anyway, I'm calling my newly invented technique "Triple Overstamp Background" ;-).

You really can't see how shimmery the Silken Mist background is in the scan, nor is the Silken Mist part as dark as it is in real life. It's really got much more dark blue in it, and you just can't really see the pearly white highlights, either. But hopefully you can get a feel for how it looks. I'm going to RAK one of these (I made four) to someone in the TJ 1-on-1 group in the very near future ...



So creativity really is a terrific outlet for stressful emotions! I'm glad to know that. Maybe this will be a very productive period for me! ;-)

Off Topic -- I can't believe this ...

The Newsboys just announced that Phil Joel is LEAVING THE BAND!!! I am just sick about this. He's my favorite NB, and the band is NOT going to be the same without him. In fact, I'm not even going to bother going to any of their concerts in Texas this year. Wouldn't be the same. Now I know why God let us have such great seats at the Houston concert last summer. I did get to meet him, but it wasn't a great situation, and I was looking forward to getting one last chance this year for a m&g (they've decided to stop having them after this year).

Wow. I am ... just blindsided! Maybe God's trying to tell me it's time to stop focusing on His servants and focus on Him now. Which was my biggest New Year's Res this year anyway. But it's going to take awhile to get over this.

Of course, I still love them all, and will continue to follow their careers, but -- the Newsboys as I knew and loved them are over.

Poop.

Album Without a Home

I've been thinking about where to post pictures of the calendar I made Bjorn for Christmas, but now that I think about it, I don't know where to put it! It uses very few (if any) techniques, so I guess TJ is out. It's not all Stampin' Up!, so I guess both my Stampin' Up! Yahoo groups are out. It's not stamped in very much, so the StampingScrapbookers group is out ... I don't know what to do with it!

So I guess for now I'll just post a couple more pages from it here:



This is the November page. We went to the Maritime Museum in San Diego a couple of years ago and took a cruise around the bay on Californian. This is me on the deck. I had fun doing this page because I got to a) smear ink all over the place (um, "antique" the page), and b) it was all about tall ships, which I totally love. (We also got to go on board the HMS Rose, which was used in the movie "Master and Commander" as the main ship. It was AWESOME!!

and ...



This is July's page (obviously!). I just love this picture of Bjorn and Aidan, and it was taken during July last year. In fact, we all piled into the hammock to watch the annual hometown parade that goes by our house every 4th of July. So I thought it appropriate for the July spot. Nothing special scrappin'-wise, just a great picture.

I hope everyone had a terrific New Year's Eve celebration (we did -- too much fondue, too much chocolate and not enough sleep!).

Godt Nytt Aar!!