Tuesday, July 29

Ebay Gaga-ness

I've always been curious about bidding on Ebay.  My husband likes to browse through this website, but that's usually as far as he goes.  I have made a couple of Ebay purchases as far as I can remember (yarn and SU inkpads), but that's about it.  I have never bid on Ebay. 

So to satisfy my curiosity, I decided to give bidding a shot.  I have been wanting to have Prisma Color Pencils, and they are just expensive to buy from online stores.  The cheapest I found is about $99 for the 120-piece set.  So I searched for "Prisma Color Pencils", then I modified my search to "ending soonest".  I browsed then I started to bid. 



The price was at around $35 when I chanced upon this set.  I bid higher, then someone outbids me, then I bid back.  This went on several times, and I got surprised at how exciting the bidding war was.  Now I understand what the Ebay commercials were trying to say.  I have been to live auctions and I love to bid, and I honestly don't mind paying a bit more for something that I really like.  But bidding on Ebay kinda scared me because of the fact that it's online and you don't see the people you're bidding against, and you're not actually seeing and feeling the item your are bidding on.  However, during my first Ebay bidding experience, I actually enjoyed it, especially as the bidding time gets shorter and shorter to the deadline.  My heartbeat went faster as I kept refreshing and refreshing the darn page.  I ended up winning the Prisma Color Pencils for $52, and it's brand new.

I ended up searching for "stamps" and ended up bidding for more items.  It made me mad when somebody outbids me.... for a set of stamps!  I was surprised at how an item's price can go so high just because people kept outbidding each other.  There was a clear stamp set that went up to almost $15, which I'll never pay for for a brand new one.  You just have to know your limit and when to stop. 

I won this stamp on my right for $1.04.   When I got it in the mail, there's a price tag on it for $8. 


I got this cake stamp on the left for $4.50, which is still a decent price.  I've been wanting to have a good size cake stamp, and I finally have one. 


These three clear stamp sets below are from the same seller.  I learned that if you win 2 or more items from the same seller, you can save shipping costs.  You can always contact the seller to ask for a shipping discount, and they usually give it to you. 


I ended up paying $13.83 for the butterfly set.  I admit I was mad at myself for paying more than I should, but I got "challenged" by this other bidder who obviously wants the set.  I honestly have not seen this set in any brick and mortar or online store, so I know it's a rare find.  And I guess the other bidder knows it too.  The flower set I got for $4.76 and the last one I got for $3.80, which I say is cheap.  The third one though is kinda yellowish, which made me a little disappointed.  Summing it all up, the flower and bracket stamp sets balanced with what I paid for the butterfly one.

Last but not the least is this Dated and Noted Stamp Set by Autumn Leaves (designed by Katie Pertiet, one of my favorite designers).  I got this for only $3.99.  That is a good buy.


I still bid for more items on Ebay, but I haven't received them yet.  I just wanted to share with you my first Ebay bidding experience.  I guess, Ebay is going to be in my list of websites to avoid, and should visit only once a month or even lesser.  It is addicting and it doesn't have any difference with shopping in a craft store because you might end up paying for stuff that you don't need or already have.  I have accidentally bid for 2 items that are exactly the same, and ended up winning both, for different prices.  That drove me totally nuts!

Sunday, July 27

Sunday

I haven't made a traditional scrapbook LO in almost 2 weeks.  It's just so easier to design and make cards because it doesn't involve photos (unless you want to), and it requires only a smaller piece of cardstock.  Another thing I like about card making is that I get to use a lot of my "leftover" supplies - paper, cardstock, ribbon, etc.  And you must know that I hate throwing stuff away :)

Anyway, today is "tear jerker" day.  I woke up with a backache from "working" last night with my husband for a reunion which took place in the hall.  It's a new part-time job, and I'll use my pay from that for this hobby of mine.  Needless to say I am very lazy today.  I decided to watch recent episodes of MMK, a popular weekly drama from the Philippines.  And I can't count how many tears have streaked down my cheeks, and a few sobs every now and then. 

But while I'm doing that, I was able to finish this card for another swap. 


The theme of the swap is to use a lot of RED in your cards.  It was my first time to use Judi Kins' Diamond Glaze to add dimension to my butterfly image.  I don't know if I was doing it wrong, but it kept bubbling during application which didn't make the lines even and smooth.  I never experienced that with Inkssentials Glossy Accents, which I think is thicker.  It's just frustrating when things don't go as smooth during crafting, especially while you're "emotional" from watching dramas on PinayChannel.


By the way, I always put a "signature" on my cards.  It's actually my Japanese "hanko" or signature which is my surname in Kanji.  I was required to have this to be used as my signature back when I was teaching English in the high schools in Japan.  So I had this custom-made just for me.  I think it's unique and I know that no one else has that stamp, which made me decide to keep using them in "marking" my cards and other creations.  Since I have joined a lot of swaps, if you see this mark in any of the handmade cards that come your way, that means it's by me.
Next week I intend to make just LOs... and no cards! :)

Saturday, July 26

Memory Makers: Today's Feature


*Extra!  Extra!

I got another email from Memory Makers Feedblitz, and the same LO is in their "Inspiring New Page Ideas" which you can see by clicking here.
I received an email from Memory Makers on July 14 telling me that they have scheduled my "Soak Up the Sun" layout as the featured idea for Memory Makers Online Idea Gallery for today, July 26. 


I was very excited!  But I wanted to hold on to it until it actually happened.  And the first thing I did this morning was check Memory Makers Idea Gallery, and there it is!  What makes it extra special is that Memory Makers is a popular scrapbooking magazine, and even though my page is not in the actual magazine, this is the closest I can get (maybe for now?)  This is definitely a first for me and I am very happy!  You can see it here and here

Thank you Ms. Katie Hilbert for considering my LO :)
 

Tuesday, July 22

New Cards and a Digital LO

I was in the mood to make more cards on Sunday, and I was inspired to create more pop-up cards.  I made these for 2 card-making swaps I joined in SplitcoastStampers.  I love how they turned out, and now I feel like I don't want to part with them!  LOL!



For this card, I used the "usual" pop-up style, and adhered stamped images by CC Desgins (Glam Girl Gwenny) and Inkadinkado for the inside part. I colored Glam Girl Gwenny with Copic markers, and applied Inkssentials Glossy Accents on the sunglasses.  I also attached a mini flower sequin on the bag.  I also stenciled a swirl with Matha Stewart's white opaque marker, then punched holes with my Crop-A-Dile 2, Silent Setter by Provo Craft, and a regular paper piercer.  For the front, I dry embossed with the Cuttlebug Swiss Dots (so love it!), and the images are by Autumn Leaves and Studio G.  I punched the corners with Fiskars decorative corner puncher.  The rikrak strip is from Bazzil Basics.  And of course, I used the Nestabilities for the scalloped circle and the oval in the center.  For more photos, click here.



This next card is extra special for me.  I finally took out my Coluzzle Card-I-Gami flower template which I bought years ago, and have never used.  I tried to search the one I have exactly, but couldn't find it.  However, to give you an idea, it kinda looks like this.  The template comes with 2 stamps for the petals.  I just love how 3D it is, and you can actually open the flower and put something in it like a photo or a small object.  I stamped the petal in 2 colors (SU Ruby Red and Barely Banana), which I also used to color the extra petal insert.  Then, I colored the edges with Copic Strong Red (R46).  I got the white flower in the center from my "leftover flowers bin".  The "thinking of you" image is from Provo Craft.  For more photos, click here.
I finally learned how to make a watermark using Adobe Photoshop Elements.  All I did was watch this video tutorial by a young and remarkable stamper/card maker, Kurtis Amundson.  And yes, he's a guy!  You can watch the easy to follow video tutorial by clicking here.

The Daily Scrapper is out with their new freebie:  Feeling Lively by Veronica Spriggs.  I like the rich colors of this kit.  I made this LO for my friend Ate Carole's birthday. 


We used to work together in the radio station back in the Philippines, but now she lives in Australia.  I haven't seen her for about 6 years.  I added Shabby Princess' Urban Kiwi alphas for the title, and the torn paper by Leah Riordan.  The journaling font is CK Ali's Writing (one of my favorites!).  Don't miss this wonderful freebie, which you can get by clicking here.  It's only available for download till July 25.

OK time for me to go to the Post Office.  Don't miss my next video tutorial, coming out soon!

Saturday, July 19

Trying New Products

I went gaga one day browsing through clear stamp websites.  I didn't know that there are so many brands arleady, and that there are so many beautiful designs.  I wish I was rich so I can just buy them all.

One of them was Verve Stamps.  I recently bought their Anniversary Birds - one of the reasons is that I'm so into bird images lately.  In fact, I am now hosting an image swap in SplitcoastStampers, and one of the categories is "birds."  I finally got to play with my new stamps, and I was able to make this card. 


I'm very sure that this won't be the first time to buy Verve stamps.  I already have a wish list :)

For scrapbooking, I finally gave in and bought me a Martha Stewart product.  She released her own scrapbooking line a year or two ago, and it was exclusively being sold at Michael's.  The MS line has some interesting products like the 12x24 scrapbooks, cardstock and paper.  I've read good reviews of her punches.  The only thing that kept me from buying her products is the price.  I thought they were expensive simply because they carry the Martha Stewart name.  Only a few weeks ago I got more interested when I learned that Walmart was going to carry the MS product line.  I figured because it's going to be in Walmart, it might be cheaper.  That made me excited about my next Walmart trip.  I was actually happy to see the MS products when I went to the craft section.  Noticeably, they were carrying more basic tools and supplies like pens, markers, ribbon, glitter (which are very enticing!), clear stamps, ink, 14" ruler (I'll buy this if I won't be able to get me the Tim Holtz ruler), cutting pads, scrapbook kits, stickers, 3d embellishments, punchers, cirlce cutter, etc.  I was hoping to see the 12x24 scrapbooks/accessories, but they weren't there.  I decided to buy the Opaque Marker Set of 5 (1 mm.) for $9 something.  It claims to be visible on light or dark backgrounds, acid free, non-bleed, fade proof and xylene free.  I went home and tried the markers right away on black cardstock.  I was amazed and very happy to see the vivid colors.  I couldn't wait to play with them on a scrapbook LO.  This is the page I made using the MS opaque markers, both on dark and light backgrounds. 



I love the way they look and I'm so glad I bought them.  Now I want all the colors available, and I wonder if they have them in finer tips?

I also bought her 18x24 cutting mat for $23.97, which is now nestled on my craft desk.  I like it so far, and I have no complaints.  I also gave her Bone Folder a shot for $3.97.  I don't see anything special with it, but for me, the important thing is that it works fine.

After trying these 3 products, I can say that I won't hesitate to buy MS products any more.  I know that the price you pay is well worth it for its good quality.

Thursday, July 17

Scrap Time!

I'm taking a break from card making and I spent this week creating scrapbook layouts.  The Virtual Scrapbooking Night (VSBN) in SplitcoastStampers is not yet over, as they hold the "After Party" consisting of more challenges - 10 to be exact.  And all entries should be uploaded before the 25th.  I was able to make 2 LOs so far.

The first challenge is called "All You Can Eat Buffet" wherein you're required to use at least 3 different papers and 8 different embellishments on your page.  Can you tell how many kinds of embellies I used in this LO?



For the next challenge, it's quite the opposite. We were to make a page using only a limited amount of supplies: neutral cardstock, pattern paper, rub-ons and ribbon. We can use only basic tools: trimmer, scissors, pens and adhesive. That's quite a challenge. This is the first time I made a LO about my grandmother. We have the same birthday and I love her to death! I sure miss her... 


There are still 8 challenges left, but I'm not sure if I can do them all till the deadline.  I'll do my best!

For some good news, two of my layouts were chosen winners for the VSBN.  That's a first for me.  But like I said before, just being able to create so many layouts in a few days is a reward in itself.  My scrapbook albums are getting filled up really good.  The winning LOs are Sassy Sisters and Nothing's Gonna Change My World.
Also, I was able to make 2 digital pages.  Here's one I created using a quickpage freebie by Juno Designs, which I downloaded from The Daily Scrapper (TDS). 


I just added some matting, title, stitching, brad and a journaling block.  The cute little girl is my cousin's baby, who just recently celebrated her first birthday.  She's a cutie!

TDS has a new freebie available for download, which you can get by clicking here.

I'm baking some fudge brownies.  You're all welcome to have a piece :)

Monday, July 14

The Daily Scrapper 3rd Issue, Inchies and More!

It's another great day!  The 3rd issue of The Daily Scrapper (TDS) has just been released.  I love their Hot Topic:  Do Scrapaholics Exist?.  I truly believe so... because I am one, and proud of it!  Also, TDS published the article I wrote for Scrapper World, including some of my scrapbook pages.  No words can express how happy I am right now.  A big THANK YOU to Alice Koh for again giving me the opportunity.  You can read my article entitled "Back Home and Back..." by clicking here.
Don't miss their freebie:  Funkylicious Quick Pages by Juno Designs.  It's going to be available for download until July 16th, then another freebie is at hand.

I just have to write about my friend Lisa's inchies.  She made these for a swap she joined in SplitcoastStampers.  Aren't they cool?   


Two of them are actually me, and one is my sister.  Inchies are one inch square pieces of art.  Kinda like Artist Trading Cards (ATCs), just an inch small.  I have to try making some inchies.  Check out Lisa's video tutorial by clicking here.

Also, ScrapScene featured my blogs on my custom-made dots template and making your own embossing templates using the Cricut machine.  They can be read here and here.  Thanks a whole bunch, Angie!

Sunday, July 13

Black and White with a Punch, Nestabilities Organizer and a New Video Tutorial

I have been crazy about the Nestabilities dies form Spellbinders lately.  I guess a lot of stampers and card makers are.  I just love the perfect scallops in ovals, circles, squares and rectangles.  I wish I have them all, but they are a bit pricey.  You have to know where to buy and which store gives good deals.  I've bought my ovals at Joann.com for about $18.74 plus free shipping with a coupon.  And then I was able to buy my circles and scalloped circles for $15.89 each at WolfCamera.comCut At Home gives a 40% VIP coupon which you can use once a month which seems to be the best deal.  However, because a lot of people are ordering from them, the Nestabilities are always on back order.  You really have to wait weeks, and sometimes even months, to get your Nestabilities.  I know, because I'm still waiting for mine.  Anyway, since I have 3 of the Nestabilities, I decided to make my own Nestabilities organizer.



I just used the metal sheets I bought from a recycle store, adhered mounting tape on the edges, and put magnetic strips in the center to hold the Nestabilities dies.  Click here for more photos and step by step instructions.  What I like about this is that when I buy more Nestabilities sets, all I have to do is make a new "page" and add it to this organizer.  Hey, it's nothing fancy, but I'm still glad that I saved some money and it's something that I can call my own.

Also, I was able to make my 3rd video tutorial.  It's about how to create your own embossing templates using the Cricut machine.  This time, I used a video camera instead of the video recording feature of my digital camera.  I like the quality of the video better, even though it's still not as sharp as I want it to be.  I wrote a blog about it here and you can view the tutorial here.
I was able to make 2 cards today for another card swap I joined in SplitCoastStampers.  The swap is called "Black and White with a Punch", wherein you use the black and white and another color scheme - which I really love. 

For this birthday card (black, white & baby blue), I embossed with a brass stencil by Lasting Impressions, then swiped an inkpad over the embossing.

 
Then for the card below (black, white & brown), I cut a strip of bg paper and fed it to my Dymo Label Maker.  After that, I sanded it to reveal the letters some more.



Before I forget, QVC will be having its Summer Scrap-A-Thon tomorrow, July 14th.  It's going to be an "online only" event and they will be featuring over 100 new scrapbooking products.  I'm sure I'll be having a good time watching the demos, and I'll be having a hard time to resist temptation!
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Thursday, July 10

Thursday

Hello fellow crafters!  It's mostly card making for me this week.  I'm currently in 12 swaps right now, and most of them are card swaps.  The cards I receive from card makers and stampers from across the US are so beautiful!  It makes you think "Hey, why didn't I think of that?"   


The card you see above features the "melted crayon" technique, which I have never heard before.  I will have to research and give that technique a shot.  You can check out the latest cards I got from the mail by clicking here.

Here are some new cards I made. For this Christmas card, I just distressed the embossing with a sand block to show the image better. The brass stencil is by Lynell Harlow. The word stamps are from the Word Stamp Kit by Magnetic Poetry.


 For the graduation card, I just wanted to make it simple. I used glitter cardstock from DCWV and Sizzix embossing folder. For long words like "congratulations", I always like to use my Dymo Label Maker.  


 Finally for this Christmas card, I used the tree template from the Merry & Bright In Stitch'z by Bazzil, then stitched with fuzzy yarn. I also used my custom-made dots embossing template for the background.


Speaking of my custom-made dots template, I received a lot of warm messages for my blog about it.  The surprise was, somebody sent me a Cuttlebug Swiss Dots template (because she had two).  That was really sweet.  I'd like to thank Jill for her kindness and generosity.  I got it yesterday and I can't wait to play with it.  I sent you a card, girl!  Bless you!  You can read about how I did my own dots template by clicking here.

I was able to make the July page for my 2008 calendar.  I used the journaling stamp by Autumn Leaves and I love that set! 


I have made 7 pages for this album, and I'm happy with the way I make each page each month.  Check the other six pages by clicking here.
I'm still busy rearranging stuff in my planet.  As soon as they're done, I'll be posting new photos. 

Now time for me to prepare dinner :D

Tuesday, July 8

Time to Organize...

I started this week with more organizing projects in my planet.  Last night on the way home from the movies, I was just quietly thinking of what I'll be doing in my craft room.  Yesterday, I received a box of goodies from a good friend from SCS, Lisa.  She read my blog about having some problems organizing my pens/markers.  She suggested a trade for the pen organizers (set of 4) she bought from Save-A-Lot, which she hasn't been using.  I said yes, but I was worried they might not fit in the wooden base I repurposed. 



The smile on my face reached my ears when they fit snuggly, like they were meant for that wooden base.  Because these pen organizers are red, I spray painted them black.  I painted the wood base black too.  I plan to buy 2 more of these organizers, so they will look uniform.  But for now, this is how it looks like.  I am really really happy.  THANK YOU Lisa, for being so kind.  Aside from these organizers, she sent me A BUNCH of goodies, which you can see by clicking here.  I was speechless with all the stuff she sent me.  What I sent her was nothing compared to what she have put together for me.  I was definitely spoiled yesterday.

I have been thinking of how to organize my clear stamps.  I used to put them in small clear drawers attached to my rotating fixture, but they are too many now and don't fit there anymore.  Then suddenly.... TING!!!  Will they fit in those sports card organizers?  They are clear pages, with 9 pockets. They are acid free too, because they are meant to preserve those "valuable" baseball or other sports cards.  I bought a bunch of them from a recycle shop back in japan a few years ago.  So I dug them out and tried some of my clear stamps in.  It worked! 
 

I bought a standard file album in Walmart, and the pages fit just right.  I just attached tabs so I can organize the clear stamps according to brand.  You can check out more photos by clicking here.

Months ago while I was finishing my craft room, I decided to put my ribbon in glass jars.  But then, they just started filling up and there wasn't enough room.  So I decided to revert back to the wood crates I bought from Japan a few years ago.  I used to store my ribbon in them when we used to live there.  But because they're multi-colored, I had to paint them black & white to match the color scheme of my craft room.


 








 
I just used regular black acrylic paint, then foam stamped them with white.  After which, I sprayed them with a sealer.  I labelled each crate for each color, then I added some purple sequin flowers to match the other altered organizers in my craft room like my
ribbon holder.  They still sit on my window sill, and I love the way they look from outside.  You can see more photos by clicking here.

Ok, now it's time for me to go to bed.

Saturday, July 5

Custom-Made Cuttlebug Swiss Dots Embossing Template

I have had it!  I've been wanting to have the Cuttlebug Swiss Dots Embossing Template, and I have ordered it on an online store many weeks ago - my credit card already charged, and still I haven't received it.  I've been wanting to make cards with the embossed dots for so long, but I can't because somehow that online store still doesn't have it :(


And then suddenly... TING!!!  What if I make my own Dots Embossing Template?  I've custom-made my own embossing templates with Cricut last week (you can see here), so why can't I make my own dots template?  I searched for those metal sheets I bought from ReStore many months ago (10 cents each).  I have made albums out of them, but I know I could save them for something else.  I took out my worn out 12" scrapbooking ruler and drew lines on a metal sheet.  Then, following the holes in my ruler, I marked dots on the metal sheet.  Now time to make the holes.  With my Crop-A-Dile Big Bite, I punched holes on the metal sheet. 


This gets a little tideous, but it's worth it in the end!  After that, I took my Big Shot Machine out, and started embossing the same way you would with a regular brass stencil/template.  After looking at the final result, I started to feel weak in the knees.  I made my own dots embossing template.
However, I'm still frustrated that they still haven't shipped my Cuttlebug Swiss Dots.  My order includes a pre-ordered item so I'll give them 'till this month to mail it to me.

Anyway, here are two cards that I was able to make with my very own dots template:




Wednesday, July 2

Making Your Own Embossing Templates

While I was looking around The Paper Manor Scrapbooking Store in town, I saw these beautiful embossing templates by Lasting Impressions


They are so pretty, I couldn't resist buying - so I bought the Present and the Wedding Cake templates.  They are no different than the brass stencils I already have.  And I use them for embossing with my Big Shot.  And then suddenly.... TING!  I looked up because it felt like a light bulb suddenly appeared above my head.  What if I made my own embossing templates using my Cricut Machine?  I can cut the same image three times, glue them together, and maybe... just maybe it will be thick enough for embossing.  When I got home, I browsed through my Cricut cartridges, and took out Zooballoo, Mini Monograms and Beyond Birthdays.  It was time to play!  I chose the image and set the size I wanted.  I cut the image three times using plain scrap cardstock.  After that, I fed two of the images into my Xyron sticker machine, so the adhesive is spread out evenly.  Then, I adhered all three images together, making sure that they are aligned on top of each other perfectly.  I took out my Big Shot Machine, and I tell you all that I was praying so hard for the embossing to work.  I followed the usual embossing steps using brass stencils, sandwiched all the items accordingly and fed it to my Big Shot.  I thought my eyes were closed when I was taking each layer off.  And there it was... my very own embossed image, using my home made embossing template. 


When you buy these brass templates, each usually costs from around $3 to as high as $7 or even more.  If you have a Cricut machine, you can make your own templates, and whatever image you need at the moment, it's there, depending on the cartridge you have.  You can even make words, alphabets...   I think there is no boundary on this one.  What's also cool about this is that when they break, you just make another one.  You can cut an image to whatever size you want.  And all you need aside from your Cricut machine is cardstock and adhesive (preferrably Xyron for even distribution).  You don't need a Big Shot or any manual die cut/embossing machine to dry emboss.  You can use an embossing or stylus tip pen which is very cheap.  I have a feeling this is going to be my next video tutorial.

Here's one of the cards I made with the embossed images I created. 


I was amazed that even the intricate lines came out in the embossing.  I just cut the edges with scallop-edged scissors, and added black dots for the eyes.  I love this Koala birthday card!  Please check out the rest of the cards using my handmade embossing templates by clicking here.
By the way, my 2nd video tutorial has been out.  It's about cutting and embossing with Nestabilities dies using the Big Shot Machine.  Click here to watch the video.

I am very pleased to inform you that Scrap N' Art has just released their July/August issue yesterday.  You need to be a registered subscriber to download the EZine.  Click here for free registration.  Their 2nd issue comes with a humongous digital kit, along with other freebies.  You can see two of my pages there - another reason to be really really happy!  Also, you might want to give their Page and Project Calls a shot.  They are looking for LOs and projects for their next issue.  Check out more details by clicking here.
Finally, I just uploaded my creations for the month of June.  This month's been my most productive so far.  It's the most I've ever made in one month.  You can see them all here.  In the LO below, I decided to use a black polka-dot cardstock to match the red polka dot background of the digital page. 



I adhered matching leftover flower embellishments over the digital flowers, and I sewed around the frame to make it stand out more.  For the flourish, I stamped more flourishes on the left and applied glitter glue that's similar color to the digital flourish.  For the mini journaling, I just cut the same shape from a chipboard coaster, and applied the same colors as the digital version.  I adhered round alpha die-cuts on "back to" using Glue Dots and I chose blue to go with the color scheme.  And for the main title, I just applied clear gloss medium for it to pop out.  And then I just added leftover ribbon, button and flower outside the digital page for finishing touches.  It makes the digital layout blend in with the 12x12 cardstock.

You might want to check this out:

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