Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New stuff...

i hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far! My garden has kept me away from my craft room for the most part lately, but i have managed to make a few new cards. Here's three:

i've been doing some simple and easy cards recently. i also finally got some OMS and have been using it to blend my prismacolor pencils. i'm still learning, but i like the results so far.

Ingredients: CS - Paperbilities, Papertrey Ink; stamps - Inkadinkado's Flowers by Amy Smyth, PI's Mixed Messages; ink - Versafine; prismacolor pencils and OMS; ribbon - Offray; brads - MM.

Ingredients here are the same as the card above, excepting the ribbon - not sure who makes this.

...and something not so simple, but still quick and easy.

Ingredients: CS - PI, stash; PP - Rob and Bob Studio; stamps - Inkadinkado's Flowers by Amy Smyth, Hero Arts' Friendship Messages; ink - Versafine, Pallette Hybrid; prismacolors and OMS; ribbon - Offray; brads - MM; dimensional glaze; pop-dots.

Now for another frugal tip. In the past couple of years, i have bought mostly acrylic stamps as opposed to rubber. They are very economical and clean up is a breeze. One of my favorite companies is Inkadinkado (as if you couldn't tell by how much i use them...). You can find their sets online for as little as $9.99, which is what you'd often pay for one large rubber wood-mounted stamp. Also, buying acrylic eliminates the need for stamp cleaner because they clean up with soap and water. i don't own a stamp scrubber - instead i keep a small bowl of soapy water on my desk and use cheap sponges to scrub away any ink.

ETA: You can find Inka.'s stamps even cheaper, actually. i forgot i had seen some on a couple sites selling for as little as $6.99, for an entire set of stamps! And i once picked up a couple sets at A.C. Moore for $5.99!

Hope everyone is well! Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

2 cards and "The Frugal Crafter"...

i've got a couple cards to share today, nothing earth-shattering, but i wanted to share something "new" (these are from a couple months ago).

Ingredients: CS - stash; PP - ; stamps - Fancy Pants' Simply Stated; ink - Versafine black, Ranger Distress; watercolor pencils; eyelets - MM; ribbon - stash.

Ingredients: CS - stash, Papertrey Ink; PP - MME; stamps - Rhonna Farrer's Swirls V:1, Inka.'s Birds Galore, PI's Mixed Messages; ink - Pallette Hybrid; ribbon - stash; Prismacolor pencils; brads - MM; pop-dots.

...and now for a semi-regular addition to my blog - i'm going to share some economical crafting tips in something i'm calling "The Frugal Crafter". If someone out there has already claimed that title, my apologies - i'm not trying to step on any toes here, just share a few tips i've learned over the years that may help someone who's on a budget, like me, or frankly just anyone who likes to save a little money (don't we all?). Some of my tips will probably be obvious to some of you or may not be a new concept except to those new to crafting, but rather than filter ideas based on that i'm just going to share what i've learned through personal experience, or garnered from fellow crafters, giving credit where credit is due, ofcourse.

In the world of crafting, there's always some new gadget or toy coming out that we feel we must have. Sometimes the tool is almost a necessity, especially depending on what craft you are most drawn to. For example, i couldn't accomplish much without my paper-trimmer. There are times, as in this case, that shelling out more money pays off in the long run. i'm actually still using a middle of the road trimmer i picked up at Michael's, and it serves its purpose, but i will be upgrading when i can. In these cases, there's almost no getting around spending a good chunk of change. However, there are times when a cheaper version of a tool or even a different route altogether can do the same job for less money.

As far as new gadgets go, i like to wait a bit after their release before snatching them up. First of all, a lot of times other companies follow suit with the same sort of tool, so that opens the door to cheaper options. Also, once something's been on the market for awhile, you have a better chance of finding it on sale or clearance. Sales and clearance are essential tools in the frugal crafter's arsenal. i have stretched many a dollar searching out the bargains, online and in stores. Sometimes it takes a bit more time, but it's worth it. i may go to the LCS with a certain thing in mind to buy, but when i get there i always check the sales/clearance. i may put off what i intended to buy (provided i don't really need it for a project right away) and instead load up on sale items. And if i wait, the item i originally wanted to purchase may go on sale in the following weeks. Also, if your LCS has a newsletter or option to sign up for coupon notices, join in! A lot of times you'll get coupons not provided in the weekly sales' ad.

i'll be sharing more tips in furture posts. Feedback is always appreciated, and feel free to share your own tips!

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Vacation photos...

We arrived home from Myrtle Beach on Thursday afternoon, which was a couple of days ahead of schedule. We came home early mostly because, as much as we love to camp, we were getting burnt on sleeping in a tent and dealing with frequent thunderstorms. We had a wonderful 8 days there, though, and i think it was a great experience for Z. He's been to the ocean many times, but most of that was during our time living in Northern California, and the water is too cold there to allow much swimming. He took to the water like a fish and even got over his shyness, walking up to every child he met and making friends right away.

i'm not a fan of all the tourist-type stuff that goes on at MB, but i enjoy the state park and was happy for a long-overdue getaway. Here's a few photos from our time there:

Sunrise on the pier.

A beached jellyfish, Myrtle Beach State Park.
While there, we discovered Huntington Beach State Park which contains Atalaya Castle, the former winter home of philanthropist Archer Huntington and his wife Anna Hyatt Huntington, a famous sculptor. The home has not been occupied by a family since 1951, and there's no furniture inside, only a few fixtures like a sink and bathtub. It's a stunning place and wonderful for taking pictures.

Z., looking through a window at Atalaya Castle.


We had several little adventures during our stay, like visiting Ripley's Aquarium, seeing an alligator cross the road in front of our vehicle along the causeway at Huntington Beach State Park and meeting many interesting people. Z. had a fantastic time, that's for sure. i may post some more photos in the coming days.

Hope you're all well! Have a great day!