Thursday, August 30, 2012

Save (and Use!) your Scraps

Crafting on a Budget Tip #4

One thing that many of the most dedicated crafters do is that they save their scraps. When I started my first scrapbook, I decided that I would save all of my scraps. I used three different sized plastic bags and separated my extra paper according to size. But, guess what: a year later I still had all of the same scraps. I hadn't saved any money yet!

So, just a few weeks ago I went through all of my scrap paper again. I threw away a lot of it and only kept scraps that were actually big enough to use. Then, I used some of the scraps! I need to do the same with the scrap fabric that I have around here.

Maybe it seems ridiculous that I would go so long without using a single scrap, but I get so excited to use my new paper that it doesn't even occur to me to check the scrap bag. Really, it is only worth saving your scraps if you make a point to pull them back out and use them in projects. Maybe make up a filing system so you don't have to go through every single scrap to see if you have one in a certain color. Whatever you do, make sure that you use those pieces of paper, ribbons, fabric, and other supplies!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Focal Point

Card Making Basics Tip #3

A card is more visually pleasing if there is a specific focal point.

The concept of having a focal point can relate to color, placement, size, and shape of the elements that you use in a card. For example, for Independence Day I made a card (I admit that it isn't my best card, but it is a good illustration of this point) using muted colors. I wanted it to be simple so I chose to place a big blue star in the center of the card; after I assembled everything, the card was totally boring. It just didn't look good.

I put the card aside for a day and when I came back to it, I realized that it lacked a focal point. The size of the star wasn't enough to make the card look "finished." When I added white lettering and brads, the card looked a lot better:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tiny Angel Page

Last night, I decided to work on Connor's baby book. I have a lot of really cute baby boy paper that I am so excited to use. Here is the finished result:

Supply list:
  • Cloud9Design baby boy paper, coordinating green and blue cardstock
  • blue brads from Paper Studio
  • "tiny angel" word stickers by Momenta

Monday, August 20, 2012

Anni-verve-sary Challenge #5

I just finished the fifth and final challenge for the Anni-VERVE-sary. It took me a while to come up with a good idea for this one because it had to be something other than a card.

After thinking about it for a long time and going to several different websites for ideas, I decided that I wanted to make a pinwheel and I wanted to make a gift for my husband. Eventually, I came up with the idea of making a jar full of some of my favorite memories that we have together. 

I decorated the jar and typed up the first 20 memories that came to mind. It was fun to think about all of those good times that we have had together. I hope he has as much fun reading them as I had while I was writing them!

Supply List:
  • empty marshmallow cream jar
  • Paper: Scrapbook Walls "guest diamonds" paper with coordinating blue and green cardstock
  • Paper Studio Bubble-A-Bilities letters (C&J) and words (Memories)
  • metallic brads from Paper Studio

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Anni-verve-sary Challenge #4

So, here is challenge #4:

Seems like a *simple* challenge, right? So, it probably looks like I threw this card together in about 5 minutes, but it actually took me over an hour to compare different colors, select the perfect piece of paper, choose my font, and decide on the right design. The only easy part was choosing my dry embossing folder. Of course I used the one that I just bought with a birthday gift card from my mom! Incidentally, she also gave me my Sizzix dry embossing machine when she got her new Big Shot. Now those are the kind of hand-me-downs that I like!

So, without further ado, here is the card that I made for this challenge:

Supply List:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Anni-verve-sary Challenge #3

Luckily, my baby boy is taking pretty long naps today so I have had time to do the third challenge for Anni-verve-sary. This time, they gave us a layout to work with:

As I am doing these challenges, I realize that I really prefer to use a pre-designed layout than have to come up with one on my own. Maybe that is a testament to my lack of creativity, but I am okay with that. I really like how this card turned out. 

Supply List
  • Paper: Paper studio tiny stripe navy/cream, Paper Studio quatrefoil navy/cream, Echo Park yello flourish, navy and gray cardstock
  • Accessories: navy ribbon, Mosaic stickers by Mark Richards
  • "Thinking of" Century Gothic font (Microsoft Word) "You" French script

Anni-verve-sary Challenge #2

Here is my big confession: I don't own a single stamp... or an ink pad, distressing tool and probably half of the other cool and useful tools that other card makers have. I would love to try them out, but right now my husband and I are saving up for our first house, so buying lots of scrapbooking supplies just isn't in the budget. I would love to try the Verve stamp collection that I keep reading about on all of these card making blogs that I follow, which is one reason that I am doing the Anni-VERVE-sary 2012 challenges. Of course the other reason is that I think it is fun.

This is the challenge:

I was excited to do something with silver brads and paper. Here is what I came up with:

Supply List

Paper: DCWV silver script paper, black, white, silver cardstock
Accessories: thin white ribbon and silver brads

I printed "Happy Anniversary" from Word with the Vladimir Script font.

You can look at the gallery with all of the Anni-VERVE-sary Challenge 2 entries here.

A New Challenge

I am starting to realize that there are lots of different online challenges that people host. Sometimes they are just for fun and sometimes they are competitions. I found one that is a celebration of the 5th anniversary of Verve. I haven't used any of their products, but I have seen some of the things that are coming out in their new collection (I just finished their blog hop) and it looks like they have some great stuff. The first challenge in a series of five is to use pink, green, and brown to create a card.

I had some cute cupcake paper in my file that I have been wanting to use. I am so glad that it fit well with the challenge color scheme. Here is the card that I came up with:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Buy Used Supplies

Crafting on a Budget Tip #3

One thing that I discovered, after I had already purchased a lot of my basic card making supplies, is that there are tons of people who buy a bunch of craft supplies only to realize that they don't really have time to use them. There are other people who decide that their stash of supplies is taking up too much space.There are even people who are so dedicated to crafting that they are constantly upgrading to the newest machines and tools; they sell the old to make room for the new. 

Regardless of the reason, you might be surprised at how much money you can save when you buy from other people rather than shopping at a store. Websites like craigslist, KSL, and ebay make it easy to get great deals on practically new tools and machines. All the time, I see people selling their entire collection of scrapbooking supplies including paper, stickers, embellishments, stamps, idea books, storage, and other things.

Whether you are just starting out, or are looking to add to your growing stash of crafting supplies, you can save a lot of money this way.

P.S. You almost never have to pay asking price when you shop like this. Most people are willing to negotiate a little bit if you have cash on hand.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Card Making Basics Tip #2

When I started working on my very first scrapbook, my mom worked with me on a couple of pages. She showed me that you can give your page a "finished" look by matting photos, boxes for journaling, and other features of the page. The matting usually contrasts with colors in the background - a dark matting over a light background or a light matting over a dark background. This week's Mojo Monday card is a great example of how matting can make a card look really nice:

The borders, or matting, make the different elements of the card "pop" and creates a nice, clean look. Over time, I have noticed that there is another popular scrapbooking style in which people don't use matting quite as much. Often, cards that don't have matting around every single element look a little bit more sporadic but they are fun and can take a little bit less time to make. This is a Father's Day card that I made for my father-in-law who loves road trips and does a lot of driving for his job:

Whenever I make a card, one of the first things I think about is whether or not I will do matting. Sometimes, I do more than one layer of matting (white and blue, in this case):

Consciously choosing when and when not to do matting will help you design a card that is the perfect style for the occasion, for the paper you are using, and for the recipient.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mojo Monday 254

I really like the card that I made this time for Mojo Monday. The layout is super cute and was really easy to work with. I decided on a navy blue and lime green color combination, which seems to be pretty popular right now (isn't it weird how colors go in and out of style?)

  • paper by the Paper Studio
  • green ribbon and brads 
  • printed message using Harrington font in Microsoft Word (I know everyone else uses stamps, but my computer is so much cheaper to use and doesn't take up extra storage space....)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Never Pay Full Price

Crafting on a Budget Tip #2

One of the reasons that I was hesitant to start doing craft projects is that it can be such an expensive hobby. I could hardly believe that people would actually buy a single piece of paper for up to $1.99 and embellishments for $4.99 or more. Buttons, ribbons, adhesive - the list of expenses goes on and on! Even sewing your own clothes and accessories can be as expensive (and much more time consuming) than purchasing them at a retail store!

This single tip has probably saved me hundreds of dollars already. When you shop at any of the major craft stores - including Hobby Lobby, JoAnn Fabric and Crafts, and Michaels - they pretty much always have a standing 40% off coupon. You can easily find it online and print it, or find it and show it to the cashier right on your smart phone. Craft stores also have TONS of great sales every week. If I see something that I like, I usually only have to wait another week or two until it goes on sale for 40 or 50% off of the regular price. Even if I see a "buy one get one half off" sale, I don't buy it because I know I can get the same item for less.

Although this isn't the case with all of the specialty scrapbooking stores, they are also starting to do "members only" coupons or special deals for people who "like" them on facebook.

By shopping sales and using the 40% off coupon at craft stores, you can get practically everything that you need - and spend about half as much as you would otherwise. It's way cheaper than shopping for craft supplies at Walmart and there is a way bigger variety.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Rule of Thirds

Card Making Basics Tip #1

I discovered this rule when I was doing an online search for photography tips. I realized that it applies to nearly any type of art, including card making.

Begin by dividing a picture (or card) into thirds horizontally and vertically. According to the rule of thirds, the most powerful positions within any visual image are at the intersection of the lines.

By positioning the most important elements of your card at these points, or on the upper or lower, far right or far left third of the page, rather than in the middle, you create an image that is more interesting to look at. I put a really simple card together to show you the difference:

The card on the right is more aesthetically pleasing because the flower and patterned paper are in a more powerful place on the card.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mojo Monday 253

I really enjoyed doing the Mojo Monday sketch last week so I decided to do it again this week. This past weekend I bought a 6x6 paper pad that I was so excited to use for this card. I just love every single piece of paper in the entire pad.

Supply list:
  • Shine On... paper pad by BasicGrey
  • Yellow ribbed ribbon by Paper Studio
  • "you are my sunshine" printed from my home computer
When I looked at my paper options, I thought the yellow dots would look great as the circle in this sketch. when I cut it out, I couldn't help but think of the sun. I guess that's how I came up with the color combination. I really like how it turned out. Very happy and sunny :) I considered having it say "here comes the sun" (a get well card, perhaps?)... maybe I will make another one and use that line.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mojo Monday 252

I just discovered this great site last week. Every Monday, the design team at Mojo Monday puts up a card layout and anyone who wants to can make a card using that layout as inspiration. Then, they just link up the picture of their card. Sometimes they even turn it into a competition. How fun! So, I decided that this week I would try it out.

This is the layout of the week:

I have been really into the yellow and grey color combination lately, so that is what I used for this card:

  • Yellow Grey Plaid, Recollections; Watering Can Dots, Lasting Impressions; yellow and gray cardstock.
  •  Foral embellishments by Recollections 
  • Ribbon from Paper Studio
  • Circle cutter by EK success 
  • "thanks" printed from my home computer

Don't Be a Crafting Hoarder

Card Making on a Budget Tip #1

Frugality is more than just saving money. It is also recognizing that you don't need all of the newest, coolest stuff in order to be happy. Even though it is tempting to run out and buy all of the gadgets, stamps, ribbons, paper, and embellishments that will make my cards look great, I constantly have to remind myself that I don't need all of those things, nor do I have the money to buy them.

Even in the short time that I have been crafting, I have acquired a pretty solid stash of supplies. At first, buying scrapbooking stuff was one of my favorite things to do. Then, I realized that I was buying lots of things that were cute, but that I might never use....

Now that I have a little bit more experience, I realize that there are some things that are important to have on hand for card making, while others are better to purchase as the need arises. For example, I would consider it important to have a good paper trimmer, scissors, and adhesives. I also think it is worth the investment to have a variety of different solid colored papers on hand. I have been pretty conservative with purchasing other tools, punches and stamps because I know I can cut out a lot of things by hand or print them off of the computer. I like to wait until I firmly establish that I will use a tool often before I purchase it

That is my first tip for keeping your card making budget in check. If you, like me, are always tempted to sneak off to the craft store and buy new paper and embellishments (letter stickers are my weakness), remind yourself that you don't want to be one of those old ladies who has rooms full of unused crafting stuff (or fabric) that is decades old and out of style.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Little Boy Birthday Card

This is one of the first cards that I ever made. The "happy birthday" was cut out of a piece of birthday scrapbooking paper. I used a standard sized hole punch to make the dots. The orange strip is paper, not ribbon. Everything is glued flat to the paper. I wanted to post this card because I still think it is cute - even though I have acquired many more tools, stickers, and embellishments and could make it look a lot fancier if I did it again. 

I also wanted to point out that cute cards can be design-driven or paper-driven. The theme of this card is definitely paper-driven. I could use the same design with different paper for any other holiday or person.