Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Some thoughts on spending

So this is more of a meta-post ABOUT crafting, rather than a showing-off of the crafts themselves - sorry there aren't any pictures.

I've sort of had a confluence of things come to my attention lately that have made me think. First of all, we've been studying a book at church that's convicted me to think more carefully about how I spend money, and what my priorities are for spending.

Secondly, I came across a discussion on a stamping site about spending - it was initially about NOT spending, but evolved very quickly into people talking about the reasons they couldn't stop spending money, or the (ridiculously over-the-top in many cases) ways they'd gotten into the habit of spending way too much. We're talking, on a smaller scale, "I see a card I like, then go out and buy everything I need to replicate it exactly," or, on a much larger scale, "I buy everything that X, Y, and Z companies release every month" or "I've bought 7 die-cutting machines and I've never actually used any of them, they're just sitting in my closet." Now, setting aside the fact that buying everything you need to replicate someone else's card kind of negates the whole "creative" aspect of stamping for me, that's just an insane amount of money. It was truly a completely new idea for some of these women that they could get creative with what they ALREADY HAD and that it might even be more fun and more fulfilling.

The last thing was that I came across a very cool scrapbooking blog that was running a "Use your stuff" week, with all kinds of tips on getting the most out of your existing stash and challenges to use it in different ways.

So, the odd thing about all this is... I really haven't bought much lately (except, obviously, for this weekend). So why did all of this jump out at me so much? I think partly it's that it just all made me think more consciously about how I spend money - it's so easy to let $5 here and $5 there add up to a pretty big spending problem - that's what I saw a lot on the spending discussion online, people saying that they "only" spent $10 every time they went to the craft store, or they got into trouble because they always had those nice 40% or 50% off one item coupons and "had" to use them, whether they really needed anything or not.

I've totally been caught in that trap before. I know exactly how it is. To be honest, the reason I stopped doing all that a year or so ago wasn't because I wanted to be more careful about spending money... it was first because I moved to a place that didn't have a convenient Michaels or Joann, and then because I moved to an apartment with a much smaller crafting space and had to put a bunch of my stuff in storage. When we made that move, I had to be much more selective about what I brought home, and it was actually a great learning experience for being more mindful of what I actually USE, vs. what I thought looked cool but ended up accumulating because it wasn't really my style.

That's something that the Write. Click. Scrapbook. blog talks about a lot - being very deliberate about going through your stuff and organizing it into "stuff I use" and "stuff I never touch," and also about looking at those piles and determining your style so that you can be more mindful about what you buy. Which is something I really had in mind when I went shopping this weekend - I hadn't really bought any stamping stuff in several months, so I had saved up for this trip to be a real treat, and when I went into the store, I ended up taking down and putting back several things that looked cool, but I remembered that I either already had them and didn't use them, or that just wouldn't fit my preferred style. In the past, I might have tried to really branch out and get little elements from all different sections of the store... this time, I found one or two collections that I loved, and got multiple elements from those collections. I know, now that I've looked at my crafting more mindfully, that that's how I work best.

Anyway, I'm not sure what the point of all this is, except that I think it's a concept that can carry over to a lot of areas of life besides crafting. Next time you're walking to the checkout (or clicking "My Cart") with some new little luxury, take another look at it and think: Do you already have something at home that would serve the same purpose? Have you already bought something similar that you didn't end up using because it just wasn't your "style"? Is this something you could do without? It's worth thinking about, whether it's a new pad of paper or a new pair of shoes.

More of my new stuff

I made this card using elements from another 6x6 pad by Fancy Pants (a company I LOVE, and don't understand why more stores don't carry it) called "it's the little things." This is one of those sets that's so pretty, and I have so many ideas for every paper in it, that I hate to actually use it. But that kind of mentality gets us crafters into trouble! (That's actually a topic of my next post - using your stash instead of buying new stuff... but I thought that'd be a little bit of a strange topic to combine with pictures of a card I made with new stuff...)

I layered two of the papers from the paper pad onto cardstock from my stash (see, I did use stuff I already had instead of buying new), embossing the birds paper with a handwriting-looking embossing folder for a little texture.

The birdcage and "live laugh love" are both rub-ons from set that coordinates with the paper (which is where my one gripe comes in on this set - the little wooden rub-on stick was stuck to the back of the rub-on sheet, so I lost several images that were stuck to it) - if I had it to do over again, I'd move the "live laugh love" down a little bit, because I didn't plan well enough for the brads.

I added a little pink glitter to the birdcage, and punched out the sentiment to add to a die-cut mat. I love the corduroy brad in the middle - it's such a neat texture! This card is really all about the textures.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I went on a retreat this weekend, and I'm not going to lie - a big part of why I was excited and looking forward to this retreat was that it was in the same town as my favorite scrapbooking store. The town doesn't have much else BESIDES the scrapbooking store, but it's huge and amazing. So I've been saving up my spending money for a little shopping spree during free time.

Sure enough - the friend who went with me said I was like a kid in a candy store, running around throwing things in my basket. I was so excited, because my plan was to grab everything I really liked, then have them ring it up and take off whatever I needed to in order to meet my budget. She rang up everything, and it came to exactly $.02 over what was in my pocket. Awesome!

So of course, I was itching to get home and make some cards - the ones I've made so far turned out so cute!

The only stamp I got this weekend was this little owl - I think he's so cute! He fits perfectly in my bookplate die from Papertrey. I was really excited to find sheets of very thin wood - one of the technique focuses on a blog I read last week was using wood for stamping. This wood was really thin, no thicker than a sheet of cardstock (they had thin and thick sheets available - I got a thicker one, too, to try using an embossing folder on), and I think it makes a great focal point for this card. The ink did bleed just a bit, so I decided to outline the image with white pen to make it a little sharper.

I had my sewing machine set up for something else, so I thought it'd be fun to stitch the layers - it's a little more subtle than I intended, because I had off-white thread in the machine instead of white, but I like the effect. All of the papers here are from a little 6x6 Basic Grey paper pad I picked up - it's the "Hello Luscious" line and has so many gorgeous papers and coordinating embellishments. That's something I love about this store (The Crafty Scrapper) - they have all of my favorite brands and all of the coordinating embellishments.

Tomorrow I'll post a card I made with the other set of papers/embellishments I got - they're really lovely.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Inspired Gift Box

One of the images I have up on my inspiration board is a cute pillow box decorated for a baby gift (I think for a gift card). Serendipitously, I found a pillow box template the other day that I must have bought years ago, and I had bought a very small gift for someone, so I thought I'd put it in a pillow box.

The patterned paper is a last little scrap left over from some Sassafras Lass paper that I LOVE - I think I've stretched the one or two sheets I originally had into more projects than you'd think would be possible. I cut a few inches to wrap around the box (box itself is some old SU! cardstock - I don't even remember the color name), then trimmed the edge to frame the front.

I added some Prima flowers and buttons from my stash (and a bigger button tied with twine), then made a little tag with a Papertrey die, added an old SU! flower rub-on, and tied it around with twine as well. I have to say, I love kraft paper and plain brown twine - you can use them on almost anything, for a little bit of a rustic feel.

I'm so glad I found my template set - all kinds of cute templates in different sizes for gift boxes and favor boxes!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sweet Bunny

I haven't made baby cards in a while, so I thought this nice little paper-pieced bunny would be fun and seasonal. Everything here is from Papertrey (Bitty Baby Blessings patterned paper, Spring Moss cardstock, Bitty Baby Blessings image, die shape behind the bunny) except for the "Celebrate" stamp (Stampin' Up!) and twine (an awesome store I go to sometimes). Oh, and the liquid pearls I used for the tail and nose - those are Ranger brand.

I stamped the bunny on two of the Bitty Baby Blessings sheets (a tiny flower and a larger flower) and cut out the whole bunny in the tiny flower, then just the ear and back part of the larger flower. I love this set for paper piecing - all of the images have nice open spaces and clean lines to be able to do that. The "Celebrate" tag is just stamped on the same tiny flower paper and punched out, and everything is layered over a third pattern from the paper set. Inside is stamped, "babies are heaven sent."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Quick one

Been working on some other stuff, but I did make a quick card today - I wanted to use a texturing kit I had, so I pulled out some papers that I thought would go well with the black velvet texture. Unfortunately, the kit is kind of old and the adhesive isn't very good, so the little flourishes are kind of wonky. But I think it's kind of cute, anyway, and a different kind of color palette than I usually work with. The background (which is from Basic Grey's Bittersweet collection, along with the red paper) is embossed with a damask-pattern Cuttlebug folder, and I embossed "dream" in black - it's part of a Fancy Pants set. The flourishes may be a little wonky, but they feel very cool and velvety.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kristen's Birthday

We celebrated Kristen's birthday last week, and I almost forgot to put up the gift I put together for her.

I found this great little insulated lunch bag at Sample House, and since Kristen is a nurse and a runner, I thought it would be something she'd be able to use a lot.

I took inspiration for the cards from the colors in the lunchbag, and made her a little set of monogrammed cards with my JustRite stamper. I used the scraps from that and a Stampin' Up! stamp that a friend gave me recently to fancy up a kraft gift bag. Casey got a better picture of the bag - mine didn't turn out very well.

It was a very fun evening!