Sunday, May 31, 2009

My system for organizing stamp sets

I have been asked to share my stamp set organizational system several times and I keep meaning to, but I keep putting it off and then I forget. I figured since I mentioned it in my last blog post, and again was asked to share it, that I should do it now before I forget again. So here you have it, my stamp set organizational system.
First I took my stamp sets and I sorted them into categories. (I wanted to do them in categories because when I know I am doing a Christmas card I didn't want to have to sort through the binder until I found a Christmas set, now I can just go straight to that section.) I have Floral, Animals, Nature, Children, Other Occasions, Whimsical/Fantasy, Every Occasion, Words/Sentiments, Christmas, Patriotic, Tags, Background, Miscellaneous, And then all my single stamps. I also have my wheels in this book as well so that I have them at a glance as well, however all my wheels are in special cases made for storing wheels so those are easy to find. After I separated them into categories I stamped each set onto a piece of white cardstock and then labeled them in the book (I'll show more of that in a moment). As for my book, I have an ordinary 3 ring binder (I didn't take a picture of it, cause it's just and ordinary 3 ring binder. ;-) Next as you will see, in my binder I color coded each category.The lines you see show the separation of sets so I know what stamp goes in which set. Then I wrote under each set in the book, the sets name, the category and # that set is in the category along with the brand of stamps it is (Stampin UP, TAC, Missy B, Hanna Stamps, MFT, Etc.) and how many stamps are in that set.
Next I labeled each set with the colored label, category, and set # that corresponds with what is in the book.

As I get a new set it gets stamped into the book and labeled accordingly and then gets put on my shelf. It was alot of work when I started this system, but now it's really easy to keep up with it. The hard part in the beginning was the time that putting it together consumed.

Here is where my system comes into play. Take for example when I was making my niece's graduation card the other day, as I said before I didn't remember having a graduation stamp. So I opened the book and started flipping through. I came to the Every Occasion category and my Year After Year set from SU.

As you will see, it's listed in the book as Year After Year, Every Occasion # 7 (which means it's the 7th set I have in that category) and then set of 8 (because there's 8 stamps in the set) and that it's a Stampin Up set. (The brand of stamp, is important and I'll show you why in a minute.) I saw that there was a graduation cap in the set. Perfect!

So now I had to find the set. So I go to my shelf, and I know from what my book has labeled that I am looking for a Stampin Up set, color category orange for Every Occasions, set # 7.

Look! There it is! It took me literally less then 10 seconds to find it. Since I knew what color category I was looking for and what set # it was.

Now, the reason I put the brand is because different brands are stored differently. All of my SU sets are all mounted on wood blocks, so I know if it's an SU set that I am looking only in the SU plastic cases. My unmounted sets are all kept in either CD cases or DVD cases. It just cuts down on the looking time if I know the brand I am looking for with how I have them stored.

Here is a shot of my TAC sets so you know what I'm talking about. Some of these cases have more then 1 set in them so you'll see that those cases have 2 labels.

Here is a shot of my single stamps. They are all on my top shelf and are at the back of the book. That way if I choose a single stamp I know where they are located too.

Is this system complex? I don't think so, but some may. It works for me though. It sure has cut down on the time it takes to find a set to use. Before I started doing this I found that I would be standing at my shelf for sometimes 30-45 minutes just pulling out sets and looking for the ones I wanted to use. Now that I have this system it has cut down that time drastically. I will look through the book and in less then a minute find the set I want and then it takes me around 5-15 seconds tops to find that set on the shelf. So in less then a minute I'm stamping rather then it taking 30-45 minutes to even start a card.

So there you have it! Clear as mud? I hope I didn't confuse you all too much and that this makes sense. Like I said, the most time consuming part is when you start the system having to stamp every set into the book by category and then labeling the set and the book. But once you have all your currently owned sets done, it's fairly easy to keep it up as you add new sets to your collection. :)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happy Graduation!!

My neice Kim is graduating from High School! I can't beleive it! I have known Kim since she was 3. She is actually my daughter's cousin on her dad's side, so since DD's dad and I never married Kim isn't technically my neice, but she is to me. I have a picture of Kim at the age of 4 holding my daughter when my daughter was only days old. So it's hard to beleive now that here she is, 18 and graduating from High School!

I wanted to make her a card but I don't have any graduation sets. So this is where having my sets all organized and stamped into a binder comes in handy. I was able to open my binder and look for a set to use. I have SU's Year after Year which has a Graduation Cap! SCORE!! I didn't remember that this set included that so yay!! I need inspiration so I went to the gallery at Splitcoast Stampers and I found this adorable card by liandrin16. I love the crayon resist technique and I hadn't used it in ages. So her card inspired me to do just that.

Kim's High School colors are Blue and Gold (if I remember correctly, but I know blue is one of them) so I opted for just the Blue and I did some black as well. First I took my Glossy cardstock and randomly stamped the cap using Momento Tuxedo Black Ink. Then I used my white crayon to highlight the areas I wanted highlighted. Next I took a sponge and my Brilliant Blue ink and sponged over the cardstock until I got the coverage I wanted. The ink doesn't stick to where you put the crayon (hence, Crayon Resist). I then mounted this peice onto Basic Black and used my Signo White Gel Pen to do some faux stitching lines. I mounted all this onto my Whisper White card base and stamped Congratulations from SU's set Holiday's and Wishes (or is it Hugs and Wishes, I always get those two mixed up). I added three brads just for some balance in the top right corner. There you have it, quick, simple, fun. :)

Happy Graduation Kimberly!! I'm so proud of you!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cooking Ourselves Thin

A few weeks ago on Lifetime a show premiered called Cook Yourself Thin. It's all about how you can still eat the things you want, you just make simple swaps to bring down the fat content and calorie count. I started watching it, very intrigued by the idea. I told hubby about it. He too was intrigued and started watching the show with me. I'll have to admit, we were skeptical... In making cakes they swap ground almonds for the fat from butter and oil (I have to figure out what else can be used because I'm allergic to all tree nuts, so no ground almonds for me, I'll figure something out though, cause I have to have dessert everyonce and a while!). To keep the moisture in the cake that you normally get from oil, they use things like butternut squash or carrots or even beets. (See where our skeptism is coming in, but hey, we're willing to give it a shot, we just have to figure out what to subsitute for the ground almonds.)

Last night we made our very first meal using the Cook Yourself Thin method. We made Steak and Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. I know, you're making an EEWWWWW face right now aren't you? Trust me, I was too when I first saw it done on the show. But, again, I thought, we'll give it a shot. I desperately need to get healthier and I have tried so many things, but it's hard to stick to diets. That's why I wanted to try this, it's not dieting, it's basically changing how you cook.

Can I tell you, this was soooooo yummy! I mean mouth-watering yummy! Here is a link to the recipe on Lifetime's website: Steak & Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Hubby was concerned when he saw the steak was seasoned with fresh rosemary, salt and pepper-that's it, just those 3, he couldn't figure out how it would be good with just those 3, and I'm not a fan of rosemary, so I wasn't looking forward to it. However, it was the Cauliflower potatoes I was really concerned about. But wowzers! It was all delicious! And filling! Here it is:

Yes, that is 3 slices of flank steak you see, not that much steak, and not very many potatoes, but, it was sooo filling! And did I mention mouth-watering delicious! Oh! And did I mention, this whole plate was less then 400 calories! Seriously, less then 400 calories for a whole meal! How's that for yummy, delicious, healthy food!

We decided after last night's success (we bow down to the cooks on the show, we were so wrong in our thinking that it wouldn't be good) we are going to keep on trying out these recipes and see what happens. I'm hoping within a few weeks that I will be feeling healthy enough to start exercising again and hopefully within a year or so I will be at my target weight. That would be so awesome! Wish me luck!

I do have a card to show you, my neice is about to gradute from high school! I'll save that post for tomorrow. :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Seriously Honored!

Remember this card that I did back in April for the Vegas VSN on Splitcoast.

Well, this morning I got an email telling me that my card had been moved to a different gallery on Splitcoast. I was confused... So I clicked on the card link to find out where it had been moved to. It was moved to the High Rollers Gallery (a.k.a. challenge winners gallery). (Each hostess chose 2 cards as their favorites/winners for their challenge. And the winning cards get the distinction of being forever featured in the High Rollers Gallery on Splitcoast.) Huh? The High Rollers Gallery... There has to be some mistake.... So I check the VSN forum. Nope! No mistake. There is my card listed as a winner under the Bellie Up To The Buffet Challenge. Seriously, I'm so honored! There were some gorgeous cards in that challenge (in all the challenges actually). And Jenn (jbalcer!!) and Lori (stamp_momma) chose my card... my little card... to be a winner! I'm so tickled! Thanks ladies! You totally made my day!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

New Craft Area

When we got back from Utah we put all the stuff we had gotten for the baby into my daughter's room so that it would be out of the way for a little bit (knowing that we would have to move it before she got back from her dad's). We didn't want it all outside in the garage where it would get saw dust on it (not to mention where it could have bugs crawling all over it). We have only a few weeks before my daughter comes back so that means it's time to move things around.
Our kitchen is actually an eat in kitchen that we never used other then for cooking since we had a dining room for eatting. Instead we had a book shelf with some cookbooks in the eat in part of the kitchen. So we needed a new place for the cookbooks. So I moved my cake stuff into the food storage room (since I don't get asked to do cakes often anymore there isn't a need for that stuff in the kitchen). Then I moved the cookbooks to the now empty cupboard where some of the cake stuff had been (yes, we have that many cookbooks that they fit an entire cupboard, and I still have two cupboards in the kitchen that still have cake stuff in them, because, yes, I have that much cake stuff too). We moved the bookshelf into the food storage area as well and then moved the dining room table into the kitchen. There had been a rug under the dining room table that we moved into the living room (the dog loves that, now he has an even bigger area to lazy around in and you can often find him smack dab in the middle of that rug). I left the pictures up that were in the room formerly known as the dining room because they are our wedding pictures and I love to look at them. (we had the best photographer, Rebecca Montague of Montague Photography, based out of Bountiful Utah. Who sadly, doesn't do weddings anymore, but she offers tons of other great photo ops.)

Anywho, the next two days were spent moving all my craft stuff into what had been the dining room. We had left the bookshelf with the photo albums (and my colored glass collection) in the dining room and I utilized the empty shelves to store my stamping and crafting books on it. The shelves that hold my stamp sets and alterable items were put next to the existing shelf. (we couldn't put it right next to it because there is a telephone outlet there that sticks out)
Here is my paper storage. The filing cabinet has all my 8x10 paper and the wire unit next to it holds my 12x12 paper. There is a purple box on top of that with my diecuts and chipboard. (the box on top of the filing cabinet is the hardcase for my camera, there is also my mini tripod, and come crocheting stuff on top of it that won't fit anywhere else.)

Here is my main crafting area. I like this set up. I have a lot more work surface area. And when my daughter is back, there is lots of space for her to work with me (she has her own area in her room, but it's nice to be able to work on projects together sometimes and in my old room there wasn't the space to do that)
Because the window is there I had a limited space to put my ink and marker storage. So I came up with a new setup for it. Just goes to show you how versatile this unit is. :o) (Thank you once again to my wonderful husband for making me this awesome unit)

I have one other area that I don't have organzied yet so I didn't take a picture of it, but it's the area with all my rolling carts that house my ribbons and punches and embossing powder and other crafting goodies.

Now that the room formerly known as my craft room is emptied out we have been moving the baby's stuff into it. So that room is now known as the baby's room. I know that it may still be years before we are chosen by a birthmom, but it's good to know that when that does happen, we are ready. The baby's room now has a crib, a dresser/changing table, a pack and play (portable crib), a book shelf, a chair for rocking the baby to sleep, and a car seat and stroller. We do still need a high chair but since the baby won't need that until he or she is 4 months old at least, we have a little bit of time to get that. The closet is empty right now which is perfect because now we have space to put diapers and such as we get those. We do have some blankets and burp clothes but we haven't gotten any clothes yet because we don't know if our little one will be a boy or a girl.

So things are shaping up. I did decide to make another crib set (well, I'm doing the quilt and my mom is doing the rest of the crib set). The jungle animal one I did just looks too boyish, which is great if our little one is a boy. But, I want something else in case our little one is a girl. So I had an idea in mind to do a sweet soft set with roses. My mom thinks it's a fabulous idea and is all for making two crib sets. So I'll see what I can find at the fabric store this next week. Wish me luck!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Cards

I know Mother's Day was yesterday, so sorry that I am posting these a day late.
Last week hubby said that he was going to run to the store and get his mom a Mother' Day card. *shock* That is something that should never ever be said to a stamper. Seeing the shock on my face (and because I semi-jokingly told him that I was offended he would buy a card for his mom) he asked me if I could make one. I told him yes, but the same rules as always apply. He had to pick out the stamps and colors. To which he replied that would be why he didn't ask me to make the card, he doesn't like picking the stamps and colors. I told him, that if I am going to make the card, he needs to have some part in it to, which is why I have him pick the stamps and colors. So he chose A Rose Is A Rose and then proceeded to stand there looking at my ink colors saying that he couldn't figure out what colors would go well (since the roses are two toned he would have to pick two colors). I asked him what color he wanted the roses and to let me worry about what would look good together. Relieved that he didn't have to figure that out he said either Yellow, Pink, or Peach roses.
So using that as my jumping off point, I chose Cameo Coral & Pumpkin Pie for the roses so they are a peachy orange color, So Saffron and More Mustard for the tiny flowers so they are yellow and Mellow Moss and Old Olive for the leaves. All were stamped randomly on a Whisper White card base. I printed the sentiment on my computer onto Whisper White Cardstock and mounted it on Basic Black off-centering it onto the card. I attached 3 black brads in the bottom right corner of the card and added a black stitched ribbon with an off centered bow to balance things out.

All Supplies are SU except printed sentiment which was done on my computer and the ribbon which I got at Hobby Lobby.

This next card is for my mom. I had to do a lot of tweaking on this one. I didn't like the way it was coming together, but some last minute additions made it turn out well (in my opinion, I just hope my mom likes it)

For this one I chose the Designer Series Paper from SU's SAB catalog. This is double sided paper, so I cut it to fit the card base (which is Whisper White) and then I scored it so that I could fold over the green side of the paper and be able to show both patterns. I punched a flower out using my 5 petal punch from the blue part. I then used my scallop edge punch to scallop the green part. I used my small hand held punch (don't remember the size) to punch tiny holes in each scallop, then I used my white Signo Gel Pen to make the holes stand out. I added a strip of the blue to the green to make it all blend better, printed the sentiment again on WW cardstock, mounted it on Certainly Celery, and added 3 blue eyelets. I decided I didn't like the white that was showing through from the blue peice, so I took a scrap peice and punched more flowers, Added some crystal stickles for some sparkle to where the white was showing through. Once the stickles was dry I attached two punched flowers using a brad, turning them so you could see the stickles and both flowers. I then used White Gel Pen to make the petals all stand out.

Cardstock, Paper, Gel Pen, Punches, Brad and Eyelets are SU. Stickles are TAC, Sentiment printed on my computer.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

What's Cookin'

I have been spending the last couple of week resting up from our trip to Utah, and trying to catch up on things. Now that I am finally caught up on everything else that got left to the side while we were gone (like things do while you're on vacation) I have been working on catching up on Splitcoast challenges. More specifically the photo challenges. A few weeks ago the challenge was to take a photo of food.

My hubby does a good chunk of the cooking at our house (I know, you're jealous). But a few times a week I get a chance to cook (I love to cook, I normally just let him do it because he likes to so much). The other day Jacob asked me to make roast for dinner. Let me interject for a moment. There are certain things that he cooks and certain things that I cook. Roast and most crock pot meals are my domain. I knew that the reason he was asking me to is because he wanted to make BBQ beef sandwiches for dinner. So, I made roast and potatoes and veggies (normally I do carrots but we were all out so I did green beans and corn instead). Whenever I make roast hubby will take the left over roast and make shredded BBQ Beef sandwiches the next night for dinner. So that's what we had tonight. I forgot to take a picture of that, but I did get a picture of last nights dinner or roast, potatoes, and veggies. We take some of the broth and juices of the roast to make the gravy. So, without further ado, here's what's cookin:

I'm going to work on the other challenges I've missed. I have also been doing some stamping. I have made mother's day cards, but seeing as how both my mom and hubby's mom read my blog regularly, I won't post those till Sunday.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

My latest creation

When we first started the adoption process everyone told us not to get too excited because it can take a long time to be chosen. Everyone was right I told myself. Fast forward a few months and here we are officially approved for adoption and I can't help but get excited and start preparing. Yes, we know that it may still be years before we are chosen, but here's the thing, even though we don't yet know our baby's birth parents, and we don't yet know our baby, and we haven't been chosen yet, we still love them all. We love our baby's birth parents and their families. And we love our baby. Already we feel like they are all part of our family. So yes, it may be years before we are chosen (we hope not, but it may be) we want to get excited and start preparing. So far we have a crib, a stroller, a car seat, and some blankets and burp clothes. We are going to start getting other things such as bottles and diapers and such with each shopping trip we make to the grocery store. A pack of diapers one trip and a pack of wipes the next trip, etc. That way when we get the call that we have been chosen, we will be ready. I'm someone who likes to plan ahead. I have no control over when we will be chosen, but I can prepare for when that day comes.
I have been working for the last two weeks on the quilt for the baby's nursery. My mom is working on the rest of the bedding (bumper pads, sheets, etc.). She made my daughter's before she was born so this is kind of carrying on the tradition. I wanted to make the quilt though. I chose a fabric set that has jungle animals and have tried to do coordinating fabrics in yellow or green so that the set will work for a boy or a girl. I hope I have done the job.

I hand quilted around all the animals and leaves and then the borders. I also hand stitched the binding on (well, sort of, I machine stitched the front of it on and the hand stitched the back so that it all has a nice finished edge, hand stitching the front allowed me to have better control over where the back was making it easier to stitch the back on) I love the way the tiger turned out! The quilting around the animals gives them a more dimensional look and actually makes them look a little like stuffed animals.

Why did I choose jungle animals? Because of this stinkin' cute elephant! If you know my husband and I or you have been a blog reader for a while, you know our story about elephants. Just in case you don't know, or may have forgotten here's a shortened version, an elephant never forgets. (it's true, look it up). I woke up one morning shortly before my husband left for basic training in the Army. I had a stuffed elephant that had been placed on my back. My husband then explained to me that an elephant never forgets. And then he said that no matter where he is in this world, no matter how far away he is from me, he will always remember me and be thinking of me and will never forget his love for me. So ever since then elephants have been our thing. This would also be why I make him cards with elephants on them. So when I saw this fabric panel at hobby lobby I had to get it.