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Archive | November, 2011

Operation Clean Slate: Week 4 – Batch Processing

About now, if you are anything like me, you’re seeing December looming on the calendar…and along with it your self-imposed deadline for your Operation Clean Slate project at the end of the year. And December in most homes is full of extra responsibilities and calendar commitments for holiday celebrations.

I feel the need…the need…for speed (scrapping)! There’s no way that I will get my project done without it!

But if I was a speed scrapper, I wouldn’t be in this situation, right? I wouldn’t be behind on a project and need to devote special effort to getting it caught up if I was fast at creating. So how do I bring some fast into my scrapping? I have to step outside my normal process!

We’ve already talked in some of the previous articles in this series about some methods that will speed up the creative process. Starting out by assembling all your supplies will speed up your process. And simplifying the content and design of your project will also speed up your process. Continue Reading →

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Noteworthy | 11.25.2011

Whether you’re prepared or procrastinating, tackling sales and crowds out shopping this weekend, or spending time with family, there is one thing most of us have in common: the need for inspiration. With time being in demand this time of year more than ever, this week I have a special edition of Noteworthy to share with you – a round-up of many of the best holiday classes and events that can all be found online. So no matter where in the world you are, whatever your crafting preferences, you may just find something here that interests you and that you would like to participate in:

It’s hard to believe, but this will be the fifth year that Tim Holtz offers his amazing twelve tags of Christmas series on his blog. What is incredible about this series is not just that each day he creates a different tag, but that he shares in detail exactly how he has created it including products used. Tim shares an incredible amount of information on techniques and shares photos of all the steps, and at times adds in videos as well. Here is the just-released promo video for the event this year:

The magic starts December 1 at Tim’s blog. The archives can also be viewed on his blog- in the left side bar there is a listing of the previous years with links to those tags. Looking for the products he used? Simon Says Stamp carries all of Tim’s products, and traditionally they create a “12 tags” page for easier searching for the items seen in Tim’s tags. Continue Reading →

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Black Friday Scrapbook Shopping Preview

It’s almost here…the most wonderful day of the (shopping) year: Black Friday!

Feeling overwhelmed by all the sales? Haven’t had a chance to check out Scrapbook Update’s Black Friday Sales Sneak Peek Page? Well, never fear…I’m here to give you the shortcut primer on what the best deals are!

All the various chain stores are offering similar deals for coupons for percentage off total purchase, many of which can be stacked on top of sale prices (with the typical product and brand exclusions that are always on the chain coupons). Which one is most appealing really depends on who sells the product lines that you want.

Let’s start out with the big ticket items…

Die Cut Machines

Perhaps the most massive deal of Black Friday has to be the Cricut Imagine machine for $187 with two cartridges at Walmart (sale starts 10pm Thanksgiving night). Considering the machine originally retailed for $599, and is currently going for $429 on Amazon, that’s a real steal if you want cut and print capability. Continue Reading →

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ANW/Crestwood Merges With Making Memories

ANW/Crestwood  announced today that it has “merged its operations” with Making Memories. The parent company of the new combination will be called ANW/CreativityWorks.

There have long been rumors about Making Memories’ financial health, dating back to the staff layoffs in 2009 that included Margie Romney-Aslett. Industry concern about the company’s health had gotten so strong recently following several actions on the company’s part to liquidate old inventory that the company had even been forced to issue a public statement denying bankruptcy rumors.

Making Memories’ creative, marketing, and product development operations will continue to be run out of its current location in Salt Lake City, Utah. Shipping, purchasing and financial operations will be combined with ANW/Crestwoods’ existing operations in Lincoln Park, NJ. Dan Nelson will continue to provide creative direction as president of Making Memories, while working with ANW/CreativityWorks president Mark Caliguire “to coordinate and enhance the value and importance of each of the company’s’ brands,” according to the announcement: Continue Reading →

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Operation Clean Slate: Week 3 – Simplify and Modify

It’s Thanksgiving week and so this week is a great reminder of the chaos of life that made us fall behind on our projects in the first place. Ramping up for holiday activities may also be making you ask yourself: “What made me think I can finish anything this time of year?”

Week 3 of Operation Clean Slate is here to help! The trick of week 3 of Operation Clean Slate is to simplify and modify your project to get it to completion.

When we originally started out on our projects, we probably had big complicated plans in our heads. We imagined every detail completed to perfection. We were dreaming big! We’re artists, after all, right?

But I’m here to say that perfection and complexity are not always a good thing, especially if they keep you from completing a project. Which would you rather have – a half completed pile of complicated perfection, or something special that is completed? If you said the completed project, then you are on board with week 3 of Operation Clean Slate! Continue Reading →

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Review | Sew Ribbon by We R Memory Keepers

I couldn’t write a review of the Sew Easy by We R Memory Keepers without also taking a look at the similarly-named Sew Ribbon, introduced at CHA Summer 2011. Though this tool carries a similar moniker to its sewing-related counterpart, it definitely serves a different function and really shouldn’t be compared to the Sew Easy at all, especially based on price-point.

Instead, the Sew Ribbon (complete system with the Scallop punch tool pictured above – a variety of different patterns are available) is more appropriately compared to a border punch, and its MSRP of $14.99 US is right in line with the cost of most border punches currently on the market. The Sew Ribbon tool suite also includes reusable “ribbon needles” (we’ll take a closer look at those in a moment) and a selection of ribbon cards (sold separately – MSRP $4.99 US each), though you could certainly use any appropriate width ribbon that you may already have in your stash. I certainly have enough of it piled up from my ribbon collecting days!

The Sew Ribbon tool itself consists of a top and bottom cutting guide and a punch tool. The punch tool nests in the handles of the cutting guides when not in use.

Some readers may recall the Basic Grey Notch & Die tool that was briefly popular several years ago. The punch tool of the We R Memory Keepers Sew Ribbon system looks a lot like the Notch and Die tool, except that it makes a major improvement – the blade is shaped in a way that it cuts through the paper in “stages” rather than all at once as the Notch & Die tool tried to do, making the Sew Ribbon a much easier tool to use. I had no problem getting the Sew Ribbon blade to punch through several layers of paper at the same time!

To use the Sew Ribbon tool, you first need to separate the top and bottom cutting templates. The templates are held together by two strong magnets that also serve to align the templates once the paper to be punch is sandwiched between them.

Lay the first cutting template down on a cutting mat (I’m using the same mat that comes with the Sew Easy system), then add the paper to be punched and top with the second cutting template. The magnets will instantly line up the two templates for a perfect cut. This is where the Sew Ribbon system leaves ribbon-threading border punches in the dust – you can use these templates anywhere on your project, even right in the middle of it! That’s a place that a border punch simply can’t reach.

The notches in the cutting templates are perfectly shaped to the cutting tool, so all you have to do at this point is punch through each notch.

Once you’ve finished punching, your paper is ready to be threaded with ribbon!

The “ribbon needles” supplied with the Sew Easy system are actually reusable self-adhesive plastic tips. The one I’m holding in the photo below is brand new and still has the protective backing over the adhesive.

To use one of the ribbon needles, simply peel off the protective backing and fold the plastic over the end of your ribbon.

Then use the end as you would a normal needle to thread the ribbon through the holes that were punched earlier.

Once you’ve finished threading, you’re left with a perfectly-shaped ribbon strip!

I mentioned that the Sew Ribbon could be used anywhere on a page, not just on the edges. On the layout below I used the Sew Ribbon tool right in the middle of my layout and still got perfect alignment, even through several layers of paper!

Supplies | Patterned Paper: Echo Park Happy Days (Little Flowers, Journaling Cards, Big Flowers). Stickers: Echo Park Happy Days (Element Stickers). Gems: Melissa Frances 5th Avenue (Trinkets and Baubles). Ribbon Stitching Supplies: We R Memory Keepers Sew Ribbon Tool (Scallop), We R Memory Keepers Sew Ribbon (Aqua). Decorative Tape: Hambly Screen Prints Washi Tape (Set 1, Set 2, Set 3). Color Mists: October Afternoon (Miss Mary Mack, Strawberry Creme). Font: Pacifico. Digital Die Cutting File: Silhouette (Moroccan Background). Digital Cutter: Xyron WishbladeInk: Tsukinenko (Staz-On Dove Gray). Date Stamp: Office Supply.

 

The Sew Ribbon tool by We R Memory Keepers can help revitalize your ribbon stash by giving you another option besides the same old bows and straight strips of ribbon. And, like border punches, the system offers a wide variety of shapes and styles, so you’re bound to find the perfect fit for your next project!

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