Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Winchester Soar with It™

Using only a few products, I finally am getting back into card-making. If you like the colors you see here, check out more ideas on my Winchester page. I adore the simple chalk finish of VersaMagic, and I love how it shows up so gently on colored cardstock.


February Promotion - Starts Feb 1!

I'm thrilled to announce an upcoming promotion for February, offered by TAC™.  You can get an exclusive Easter-themed stamp set, Happy Everything (retail $15.95) and our Pop Rocks Soar with It™ paper kit (retail $19.95) for just $25.95 (normally $35.90)!  Beginning February 1, you'll be able to order the kit here.

You can make some adorable Easter and spring cards or scrapbook layouts with this fun kit, exploding with bright colors to bring some life to these last few dull winter months.

Also, if you host a FunShop during the month of February, you will receive the Happy Everything stamp set for free.  Contact me for more information!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Inspiring Ideas on TAC™ home age!

I was browsing The Angel Company™ online, and I discovered that Inspiring Ideas is available with three new project ideas.  The image I've attached here uses our new Juliette paper line, a candy tin, the Curls & Swirls and Life Thoughts stamp sets, and other coordinating accessories.  You can see the complete list here.

All the tags are die cut and included with the paper pack.  You could use any of our paper packs to make similar kits.  Make a set for Mother's Day gifts or even Valentine's Day for your significant other.  Use the reverse side of the tag for personalizing the gift and adding hand-written notes.
A tin like this would be a great gift for a teacher, parent or grandparent, or child.  Leave it on the door handle for a thoughtful gift for a special someone.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Stamping Quotes

"Genius is essentially creative; it bears the stamp of the individual who possesses it."

Madam de Stael (

New projects on TAC™ home page

Be sure to check out The Angel Company™'s home page to view our monthly contest winners and runners up.  As a TAC™ demonstrator, we can submit our art for monthly contests.  The winner of each contest wins $75 in TAC™ stamps of our choice!  It's another great reason to work with TAC™.

New winners have been posted on the Contest Winners page.  Click on the smaller images to see the entire piece.  While you're visiting, be sure to also check out the Featured Artwork page, also submitted by TAC™ demonstrators.

Enjoy--and live inspired!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Stamping on a budget

Some people consider stamping an expensive hobby.  While any hobby is bound to have some start-up costs, this post will go into how to stamp on a budget.  I have more information on what you need to get started, an introduction to stamping, and ink types available on my techniques page.

  • Limit your rubber stamp collection. (As if any of my customers want to take this advice!)  I recommend my customers have a greetings set that includes a variety of sentiments, and then a few sets of their choice in a style they like.  The stamps can be in any style or subject--as long as you like them.  You can often turn a general image into a variety of seasonal themes using color, ink, and accessories.  For example, a favorite set of mine is Diva Dresses. You can use these images for thank you and birthday cards, plus use them on a red and green palette to create a Christmas image, red for Valentine's day and so forth.
  • Limit your ink (at least when you're starting).  Every stamper needs basic black. You can always color in your stamp (or stamped image) with markers.  I also recommend a nice neutral metallic.  My current favorite is Starlight Silver Brilliance.  This ink will stamp beautifully on dark and light cardstock, plus it's a juicy pigment ink for crisper images on textured cardstock.  I'd also recommend you have a nice medium gray or light blue on hand.  You would use these to stamp your image a second time, as a shadow or halo image.  TAC™ carries a single gray Tombow marker that also works well.  Use the brush end to trace the outside of your stamped image for extra dimension and shadows.  I confess I love stamping with colored ink.  I recommend the Palette Hybrid ink spots or VersaMagic and Brilliance Dew Drop packs. You get a four coordinating colors in each set, and it really saves you money.
  • Use techniques that require few tools.  A few I can recommend are paper tearing, paper piecing, crumpling, and retiform stamping.  The idea is to use basic tools for many different techniques.  Paper piecing can be fun with stamps.  Here's a sample.  You'll stamp once on your background paper, and the same image on at least one printed background.  Cut out the image (or items from the image) from the printed paper, staying right on the stamped line, and then layer them over your background image for instant pop.  Outline the image in gray to blend any white edges, and you're done!
  • Use tools from other hobbies to help you with your cards.  If you sew, use your sewing machine, fabric or buttons and thread.  If you draw or paint, use those supplies.  Needle crafts are great for fibers and yarn.  If you do floral arranging, use pressed or silk flowers in your stamping.  If you bake or cook, use cookie cutters or other items from your kitchen.  The great thing about stamping is that you can use just about anything. You don't need to worry about your supplies being acid-free.
  • Use your budget for smaller ticket purchases.  A few great deals I can recommend are Stickles glitter glue, brads, and printed paper packs.  Also, chalk is a minimal investment that lasts a long time and is very versatile.
  • Share your supplies or trade at stamp camps.  Often you will have supplies that you don't need, and you can swap them with other stamping buddies.
  • Host a FunShop, either online or in person.  You can earn lots of great supplies for free and half price, plus you'll learn fun techniques to make the most out of what you have.
The idea here is to use what you have, or what you can easily afford, and work it your art.  In the words of one of my idols, Tim Gunn, "Make it work!"

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

VersaMagic is magic!

Confused as to which ink to use on your next project?  Are you new to stamping and need advice on ink?  Let me introduce you to VersaMagic.  This ink, manufactured by Tsukineko, is a great choice. It's a chalk pigment ink that dries to a smooth, soft look on any color cardstock, even black.  Here are the benefits:

  • Ink dries to a matte finish, looking just like chalk pastels, and will add extra depth to your artwork.
  • Pigment ink dries slowly enough to emboss, if you don't prefer the pastel chalk finish.
  • Perfect for use on glossy cardstock and vellum, as well as smooth and textured cardstock. 
  • Great for stenciling and stippling, the ink pad is wet enough to use with a brush or sponge.
  • It's available in full-sized ink pads or in sets of four Dew Drops (as shown), both with raised ink surfaces, so you can ink any size stamp.  The smaller sizes are great if you're on a budget or if you have limited storage space, plus the colors are coordinated for you for variety.
  • Re-inkers are also available, so you can refill your ink pad over and over.
Have you tried this ink?  What was your experience?  Do you have another favorite ink to share?  I'd love to hear your comments.

New blog

Are you a closet quilter or seamstress?  Be sure to check out my newest blog, Quilting with Alison, for inspiration and ideas.  I hope to add some products reviews here, too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Using enlargements in your scrapbook layouts

My husband is the photographer in our family.  I love to use my scrapbooks to showcase his work. I've found that using 8x10 or 5x7 enlargements on my 12x12 scrapbook pages is aneasy way to do this.  In addition to the samples in this entry, you can see some more here and here.

Enlargements can be of any content you choose.  I like close-ups the best, since you can capture so much emotion and expression in your photos this way, and keep record of your subject's moods, thoughts and feelings.  When I'm feeling behind on my photos, I'll grab the camera (or give it to my husband), and then immediately ask each child the same question and jot down their answers.  Some examples:
  • What do you want for Christmas?
  • If you could only keep five of your toys, which would they be?
  • What do you like to do the most when you're at Grandma's house?
I've also just jotted down the top five "in" things that each of the kids are into currently.  It's a great way to rememberdetails, and the kids have fun looking back and remembering what they said.
Most digital photos require some color correction.  I use a Mac, so I tend to use the most simple software to do this.  iPhoto is a great choice.  Mostly, you want to reduce the range of the colors to the minimum and still maintain the integrity of the picture. Most auto-levels settings are good at this.  If I'm feeling a little sneaky, I will match the colors of a photo to the scrapbooking papers I am using.  (You must have a color printer calibrated screen to do this effectively, however.)
On planning your layout, keep in mind you may only be able to fit one photo per page.  Spice it up a little with some fun embellishments--some of my favorites are chipboard letters or sewing on the layout.  Have fun with it--make it art.
Here is a list of supplies I used on my examples:
Bella Flor (retired)
Chipboard letters

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Quilted cards

The first project of my blog combines quilting with rubber stamped cards.  I'm using the new Miss Moxie Soar With It™ cardstock set by The Angel Company™, Chicken Scratch stamp set, Green 3 cardstock by Die Cuts with a View, Blue Violets Monochromatic cardstock by Bazzill Basics, copper eyelets, green grosgrain ribbon, thread and a sewing machine.

To mimic a quilt, you'll want to combine dark, medium and light shades of cardstock with large, small and medium scale designs. Most of TAC™ cardstock kits include all the shades and sizes of these motives, so you don't have to do much thinking or planning.  If you find your design doesn't seem to work, try replacing one of the larger scale designs with solid textured cardstock.
A couple of important things to note when using your sewing machine with paper:  
  1. Change your stitch length to a longer length than you would use on fabric.  You don't want to put too many holes in the cardstock.
  2. I recommend a straight or zigzag stitch when sewing on paper.  You can use any fancy stitch, of course, but the ones that have the fewest reverse movements usually work best.
  3. Loosen your tension slightly so the bobbin thread doesn't show through on the top of your project.
  4. Be sure to change your needle when you're done sewing on paper.  If you're only sewing a few items, dedicate that needle to paper.  (It dulls the blade more quickly than fabric.)
  5. I use an edge stitch foot for my work when I want precise lines.  You can line it up next to your paper and it will sew an even line for you.
I love using my sewing machine for paper crafts.  If you can't leave your machine set up, start a paper craft file for projects that require sewing.  Once you have time, you can do all your sewing at once (like I save up ironing!).  But I bet that once you try this technique, you'll love it and will want to make space for your machine, too.  Or maybe you need to buy a special half-size machine, just for your paper crafting!  Who am I to judge?  (I bought my kids a cheap-o machine so they would stay away from mine!)
Enjoy, and let me know if you try this technique, and whether you found my advice helpful.  I'd love to hear from you.


Welcome to my new blog.

I'm hoping to provide weekly project ideas, rubber stamping and scrapbook tips and challenges, and other artistic information all related to my TAC™ business.  I look forward to hearing from you and seeing your comments.

Thanks for visiting!