Monthly Archives: April 2013

No Excuses!

No Excuses!

Way back in 2007, I started a little blog on blogger and called it The Dragon’s Den. In it, I talked about crafting, kids, and random ideas that popped into my head. I did do quite a few posts about papercrafting, and I’ll re-publish them here on occasion. This was the second post I wrote, and still has some pertinent ideas for today:

Whenever I hear someone say “You make such beautiful things! I could never do that,” I have to control my impulse to simultaneously explain how it was done, pontificate on my belief that anyone can be a stamper/scrapper, and roll my eyes on hearing that again.
Stamping is not rocket science, and scrapbooking is important. And yes, you can do what I do, you just have to want to do it.

Stamping is easy. There are a few basics you need to know, and the rest is experimentation–play time if you will. I will go into the details of various supplies and techniques as time goes by. For now, I’ll just try to give you some ideas of the variety of things you can accomplish with rubber stamps.

You can stamp on just about anything, with just about anything. As a fellow stamper once said, “I’ll stamp anything, as long as it holds still long enough.”

To begin, there are the standbys– the holidays and birthdays and special occasions you try to remember with a card. These require the standard card stock, rubber stamps and inks. These can be simple, or you can use these to experiment with new techniques, or to try out new supplies.

Then there are the home decor projects–usually done with acrylic paints, or various permanent inks designed for everything from fabric to glass. Make sure if you try one of these projects you allow yourself to experiment. The first time you do something is rarely picture perfect.
Curved surfaces can be tricky to work with, and paints are slipperier than inks, so are easier to smear when lifting the stamp. I used foam stamps on the pots, and a nice sea sponge to make the clouds in my son’s room.
I’m rather pleased with how each of these projects came out, and the pots are holding up surprisingly well, considering that they were painted over seven years ago, were not sealed, and have been exposed to the elements pretty continuously.

You can also use stamping for wrapping and gift boxes. These are papier-mache gift boxes that were painted and then stamped and embellished, as well as a handmade take out box. They make great little presents in and of themselves.


Lastly, try making your own party and holiday decorations. Here, I’ve used stamps to embellish plain Christmas ball ornaments, and to decorate a simple glass. Once again, take your time when doing things like this–curved surfaces require more care than a simple, flat piece of paper.


So, go for it. Try to bring a little art into your life. You don’t have to be an artist to make things that you find beautiful, you just have to be willing to get your hands dirty.

I find few things as satisfying as ink-stained hands and completed cards, projects, and pages.


Made for Mom with Love Blog Hop!

Made for Mom with Love Blog Hop!

madeformombadge-1Welcome to our  MADE FOR MOM WITH LOVE Blog Hop! Join the journey to find some great ideas for gifts to give the Moms on your list or create a wishlist for yourself! Oh, and don’t forget, there are some freebies to pick up along the way too! You should have arrived here from Rebecca Kettner’s Pictures to Scrapbook.  If you haven’t, you can start your whirlwind journey at Lain Ehmann’s Layout a Day

One of the best Mother’s Day presents I ever got was a bouquet of tissue paper flowers my then three-year-old son made with my mother after I gave birth to my second son. While I would love to show you how to make tissue paper flowers if you don’t know already, there are many, many videos up on youtube that more than adequately teach the technique.

However, I have a tutorial for you that will help you make tissue paper flowers that are unique and extra-gorgeous. Have you ever tried to tie-dye tissue paper? I have, and it’s fun and addicting. Want to learn how?


Tie-dye tissue paper can be used for so many things. I used one piece to make a tissue paper flower for a vase, and another piece to make a flower to add to a barrette. I used the scraps from those two flowers to make a page. You could use it for gift wrapping, or modge podge it onto glassware. There are lots of creative options!

watermark tiedyeMy friend Gee Zee over at Messtaken Identity has a present for one of you lucky readers. Just sign up on my email list (top right of the page) by May 13th, and you’ll be entered for a free one-month membership to her Upcycling club. That includes any and all Chat and Learn Live! videos and tutorials for the month of June.  (If you decide you want a kit to play with at home during the chat, it’s just $6, and can be ordered at Messtaken Identity.) I’ll announce the winner on May 14th!

Add any questions you have down below! Thanks so much for visiting! The next stop on your hop is Dawn at Faithfully Yours.

To see the whole range of creative inspiration, please visit each site listed below. There’s sure to be lots of fun things suitable for Mother’s Day. Note: If you joined us somewhere along the way, please start at (Layout a Day) so you don’t miss a thing !

Lain at Layout a Day

Debbie at Scrap Me Quick Designs

Monica at Scrap Inspired

Melissa at Digital Scrapbooking HQ

Pam at Keeping Life Creative

Diane at Capadia Designs

Beth at Scrapping Wonders

Kelli at Use It Scrapbooking!

Jen at Jen Wright Designs

Suzy at Suzy Q Scraps

Alice at Scrapbook Wonderland

Gee Zee at Messtaken Identity

Cara at Let’s Learn with Cara Miller

Rebecca at Pictures to Scrapbook

Heather at NoExcuseScrapbooking <— You’re here!

Dawn at Faithfully Yours

Kristie at Artful Adventures

Vi at Creative Threadz

Affiliate links to supplies:

Tissue paper

Fireworks mists

Dylusions mists

Tattered Angels mists

Mr. Hueys by Studio Calico

Non-stick craft mat 

Letting Your Organization Evolve

Letting Your Organization Evolve

To continue our conversation regarding organization, it’s always good to occasionally reevaluate what parts of your system are working, and what aren’t. Let me show you what I mean, with the small changes I’ve made in the past half year.

Once again, let’s start off with the view from the doorway. Did you notice that the sewing machine and cricut are now on the far table? I found as I settled in and used my space that I was using the table by the door as my main work space most of the time. It only made sense to switch the rarely used tools with my most commonly used ones.IMG_4898

IMG_4900I’ve added a vision board and an inspiration board on either side of my computer desk. They are both works in progress, but they help keep me motivated, and give me a place to put things I don’t want to forget, or things I find fascinating.

Next, you can see a close up of the corner with the sewing machine and cricut, as well as some commonly used items. My most recent papers and embellishments and a bin with most of my alpha horde keeps them handy, and easy to access. Beside them are two project bins (one has my week in the life supplies that I’ll show you next week) and another work in progress is in the bag on top. The location for the project bins and works in progress is new. We’ll see how that fits in with my current systems.IMG_4905
My stamping station has stayed basically the same. I just dragged the binder with old unmounted stamps out of the closet, and added the art prints and paper sorter on the wall above it. There’s another project in it that I need help from the family in order to finish, some organizational stuff, and my zentangle supplies. (I just started playing with zentangle. It’s been fun so far!)IMG_4906
My son’s desk area has expanded. He’s got some storage items he’s barely started using, and cork board to hang his latest creations on. My button and flower supply is there as well. He likes using them as much as I do, so he doesn’t mind sharing his space with me.IMG_4907
Finally we’re back around the room to my current workspace. My current project is on the table, along with a bin for journaling cards and most used pens, and my newest experiment, a bin for my scraps. I have a TON of scraps, and I want to use them, so I’m going to work on using this scrap bin as a first place to look for paper, and hopefully using some up, so I can pull more out of my file cabinet. My trimmers and other most commonly used tools are still within arm’s reach, on the cart where the cricut used to live.IMG_4908

When you reevaluate your organization, you don’t have to tear everything apart. Make little changes as you go. See what works, and what doesn’t. That’s what I do, and it makes being organized so much easier.

Do you have any organizational challenges? Feel free to share them. I’d be glad to brainstorm ideas with you!

Getting Started on Organization

Getting Started on Organization

I have had a fairly organized scrap room since I started on this paper crafting journey. What started as one iris cart and half a computer desk has morphed into a full room with two closets and lots of storage and workspace for myself and my family.

When we moved into out current house last May, I was able to build the room around two ideas: everything crafty related would have a place, and there would be enough room for everyone who wanted to make something.

Let me show you how I originally set it up:

This is the view from the door. I love having my computer in the room now. I wasn’t able to do this before we moved, and am so glad I can fit it in now. Next to it are my filing cabinets with work, home, and keepsake files. The top drawer of the black one holds my scraps, sorted by color. My printer is on a shelf on top of the file cabinets. Next to that is my scrap table, with all my most used tools on the table in the corner. Around the corner is my youngest’s scrap table. (Which is a piece of plywood covered with scrapbook paper we mod-podged on and then covered with clear shelf liner.) Iris carts with tools and embellishments are underneath the tables.


This is the view from the corner by the green chair you saw in the previous photo. Another table in the corner holds more drawers of tools, as well as stamping supplies. Next to that is a counter height table with inks on top, and stamps in drawers underneath. Yes, every one of those drawers is filled with stamps, and they are sorted by theme. Next to that is a locker I saved from my grandparents’ house and repainted. It holds bulky kid type art supplies, like craft foam and big bottles of paint. Finally, there is a cart for my diecut machines, and the table for sewing projects.

As you can see from the photos, I have a rather cluttered studio. At the time I took the photos, I was still going through boxes, and sorting through craft supplies. I didn’t worry about making it show worthy, I just wanted to document how my craft room was coming along.

There are some things that I set up that are working wonderfully. One of my favorites is this solution for my marker storage. Markers last longer if you store them horizontally. I’ve tried keeping them in drawers, pen sorters, and baskets. None of those solutions worked very well. Drawers made them hard to access, I kept scraping my knuckles on the pen sorter, and I could never find the color I wanted when they were all tossed in a basket.

Enter an idea I saw on pinterest: plastic tumblers in a wine rack. I did a lot of comparison shopping, and decided I’d use these plastic stackable wine holders. It’s working wonderfully, especially since they aren’t taking up any extra surface space. A piece of plywood covered with handmade paper on top of the wine/marker holders makes a great shelf for my printer.

I’ve got a tool organizer from Harbor freight for my most used tools (adhesive, scissors, and washi tape!) and baskets holding paper trimmers, big bottles of glue, more scissors and paint brushes, journaling supplies, and my most recent scrap purchases.
IMG_2465 IMG_2469
I have repurposed packing material to make shelves to hold my ink pads at my stamping station.

I installed shelving in one closet to hold paper, photo storage albums, memorabilia containers, project containers, and my collection of craft magazines.
IMG_2474 IMG_2475 IMG_2476

The other closet holds random craft project supplies; anything from  fabric to handmade paper to my ironing board. It’s still pretty messy. I’m planning on installing more shelving, but that’s not too high on the priority list right now.

The thing to think about when you organize your stash is: how do you use a particular product? Is it something you reach for all the time? Is it something you will look for regardless of where it is stored, or will it be “out of sight, out of mind?”

One of the most relevant things I have ever heard about organization is from Stacy Julian:

You can only scrap in the way you are organized.

What that means, is if you look for your product by color, (ie I need something red here) you should sort your stash by color. If you look for things by theme, (I need a holiday thing) sort your stash by theme. If you look for things by type (ie brads, or borders, or buttons) then sort your stash by type. (That quote also applies to photos, but that’s a discussion for another day.)

I have been using this approach since I started paper crafting. However, your scrapbooking process, and how you look for product changes over time. It’s important to occasionally reevaluate what works for you and what doesn’t. Later this week, I’ll show you how my scrap room has changed since I originally set it up.

If you like the stackable wine holder, you can get it through my affiliate link:

Sharing a Little Blog Love

Sharing a Little Blog Love

My friend Kristie over at Artful Adventures gave me some love last week, by awarding me with a Liebster Blog Award. (If you haven’t visited Artful Adventures yet, check it out. There are lots of great ideas there for getting creative with your art supplies.) Thank you so much for thinking of me Kristie!

liebster-award-300x143What’s a Liebster Blog Award? It’s an award given by bloggers to other, small blogs. It’s a way to share blogs that people may not have discovered yet.

How does it work? First, someone nominates you. Once you’ve been nominated, you pay it forward by giving the award to five blogs that you like that have few followers (under 200) to encourage new visitors to visit these blogs. Make sure you thank the person who nominated you, and link to both the original person who nominated you and five new blogs.

Kristie from Artful Adventures nominated me, and if you haven’t checked out her site yet, please do. There’s so much fun art-y craft-y goodness there you’re sure to find something inspiring there.

My nominees:

Monica at Scrap Inspired. Monica has a fresh and inspiring voice, and lots of great ideas for getting pages done and stories told.

Laurie at Scrapping Tales. Another fun source for crafty ideas.

Jennifer at Caffeinated Papercuts. Jen’s primarily a card maker, and has some lovely designs that she also sells in her etsy shop.

Leah at Art Craft & DIY with Leah. Lots of inspiring ideas with a non-scrapbooking bent, plus she’s got this awesome and fun project generator.

Tom at Building a Library. Totally not craft related, but I LOVE children’s books. His reviews are epic.

I hope you find these people as fun and inspiring as I do.

(And nominees, feel free to pass this on and nominate more blogs if you want. It’s always good to find and share new blogs!)