Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dough For You

If you need a speedy solution for wrapping up a gift card, clear pillow boxes may be just the ticket:

They're inexpensive and come together really quickly. For this project, I cut a 4" x 8" piece of patterned cardstock and scored it at 3 3/4" and 7 1/2". The front panel was decorated with 2243J Baguette Chef and 0427D Here's Dough, cut with oval and scalloped oval Nestabilities dies. (Yes, I'm hooked on these things! Honestly, I don't know what I did without them.)

Then I filled the pillow box with crinkle shred from the dollar store to hide my gift card behind the panel. (Okay, this sample made for our convention booth doesn't really have a gift card in it, but of course it's designed to put one in there.) Alternatively, you could fold currency and tuck it inside the shred.

If you don't need to hide the contents, however, you may want to shorten the 4" side of the panel. In other words, this makes a cute package that can also show off what's inside. If you're filling it with candy or other treats, for instance, a 2" x 8" piece of patterned cardstock would look nice...sort of like a "belt" or "belly band" appearance behind the oval die cut. Try it and see what you think!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It's Hip To Be Square

Our fly booth (at StampFest in Orlando this weekend) also needed a sample for the X2-2940 Square Box Template stamp, so here's what I came up with:

The image is 10818G Flower Chick, which I think is so handy because it appeals to both kids and adults, male or female. And it works for nearly any occasion or just to say hi, as I did here with 10461C Hello Friend:

Did you notice the white "faux eyelet" and "faux stitching" marks? I used the Inkssentials White Opaque Pen to create them. At shows, customers often ask me if it clogs; many people report that the white pens they've used before have given them problems. While I cannot say that this one will never clog, I've had pretty good luck with the Inkssentials brand (which is made by Ranger, by the way, so it's a reliable name) and it's the best on the market that I have found. But if it does happen to skip or stop up a bit, you may want to try tapping it onto scratch paper (rather than scribbling). Tap, tap, tap...that gets the ink flowing smoothly again and I'm back in business!

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Note From The Queen

Check out this funny lady from our Worldly Women collection:

It's 0366K Imelda, and she cracks me up whenever I look at her. Even better, pair her up with 0344F Note From Queen:

This notebook was made with my trusty CarlaCraft Binding System. I love this thing! (If you're not familiar with it, check out the video here.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Coffee Time

Some days, you gotta have caffeine:

Actually, I find that's true for many days. ;-)

Our 10444K Coffee Girl is such a fun, hip design, don't you think? I'm more of a Diet Dr. Pepper girl myself, but coffee and soda both provide the needed boost for any woman to conjure up her illustrated by the 10367D Caffeine Power saying:

And did you know the box created with V1-1223 Rectangle Box Template stamp is just the right size to hold a gift card? (Here's a tutorial showing how to make the Square Box Template, which is the same process.) I used oval and scalloped oval Nestabilities dies to cut out the layered shapes before adhering them to the front and inside box flap.

Lastly, I added Basic Grey's magnetic snaps to hold the flap closed. One thing I discovered about these snaps is the adhesive isn't quite as strong as I'd like, so I just rub off the sticky part with my finger and then attach them with Super Glue Gel. That really makes 'em hold well!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Double Show Weekend Again

A few times per year, we attend two shows at the same time. How is this possible? We've got a "drive booth" and a "fly booth." The stamps and accessories in both booth versions are almost identical, but our drive booth sits on wheels and the fly booth contains tabletop cabinets.

If you've visited Inky Antics and our sister companies (Art Gone Wild!, Darcie's, and Stampers Anonymous) at previous conventions, you may have met some of our team members. We have a cast of "regulars" who rotate in and out of the show schedule. But on a double show weekend, of course, everybody is called in to help at once!

This weekend, we'll have booths at StampFest in Orlando, FL and the Great American Scrapbook Show in Chantilly, VA. I'll be demonstrating for Inky in Chantilly, and Darby will be showing you our great products in Orlando. Please stop by and say hello!

In the meantime, check back to see the results of my recent discovery of the auto-post feature. I hadn't posted for several days because I was busy preparing for our shows, but that also included making some new samples for our fly hopefully (assuming I've figured out how to work things correctly, LOL) I'll be showing them to you here while I'm gone. Stay tuned for more!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Numbers Drawn

Here are your random numbers:

4 8

Timestamp: 2009-06-19 15:51:54 UTC

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Congrats to Wendalyn and de, who have won the My Friend Ronnie magnet/pin packs. Ladies, please contact me via email with your mailing info to claim your prizes. And thanks to everyone who played. There will be more blog candy again, so please continue to join us regularly!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Down South Supper

I hadn't been very ambitious when it came to cooking recently, so today I jumped back into the kitchen with both feet:

This evening's dinner was a good ol' homecooked Southern-style meal...well, as least as close as this Yankee can get! We had honey-dijon glazed ham, collard greens, yeast biscuits, and au gratin potatoes. The spuds were compliments of Betty Crocker, but everything else was from scratch.

I'd never made biscuits before and they turned out a little squat, but they tasted okay. I may need to invest in a round tin cutter, though, because my plastic measuring cup seemed to smash down the dough circles.

There was a vendor at the Minneapolis Farmers Market last Sunday whose uncle grows the greens in Louisiana, so I picked up a couple of bunches. This was another experiment for me. I'd eaten collard greens before (my first time was at Mary Mac's Tea Room in Atlanta, actually, which is a wonderful restaurant that I'd highly recommend) but had never prepared them myself. They turned out really good, and I would definitely make them again.

Steve's favorite part wasn't dinner itself (although he said he could easily have eaten another plateful) but rather dessert, which was strawberry rhubarb coffee cake:

We ate it with vanilla ice cream, and then I asked Steve to deliver a third of the cake to his parents and another third to his sister. (We had to keep some of the leftovers for ourselves, after all, but there's no way I wanted the entire rest of that cake sitting around here and calling my name!) Here's the recipe, in case you'd like to try it:

Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake

2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 pound strawberries, sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cold butter
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cold butter

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan; add water and stir well. Stir in rhubarb and strawberries, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until thickened, about two minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and let cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan.

Combine 3 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat together eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture until just moistened. Spoon two-thirds of the batter into prepared pan; evenly spread on the cooked filling, and then cover with remaining batter.

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup flour. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; sprinkle over the batter. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

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Hope y'all have a great evening!

Flamingo Triangle Treat Box

If you've visited us at a convention recently, you may have seen this sample in our booth. For those of you who haven't yet been able to see it in person, I thought I'd share it here. To make the project, I started by stamping 10215 Triangle Treat Template twice (one whole piece and just a partial print for the second imprint). Then I cut out the whole piece on the solid lines:

On the "right" side of the whole piece, I stamped 1393F Bird Tracks Background several times. (By the way, all of our background stamps are specifically designed to create an almost "seamless tile" effect when you use them. To do this, I like to start at the bottom of my paper and stamp the entire row from left to right. Then I repeat the process with the second row, starting just above the first, as if I'm "building a brick wall" with my stamped images. I continue adding rows until I reach the top of my paper. For me, it's easier to see where I've previously stamped when I begin at the bottom and progress upward like this.)

On the partial image, I measured about 1/4" inward from the dotted lines and drew pen marks (oops, see my little smudge there on the right?):

I cut on the pen-drawn lines to make a pattern for my flamingo panel. After stamping and coloring 10715G Flossie, I placed my triangle pattern on the upper half of the flamingo and traced along the edges with a pencil:

Next, I cut out my Flossie panel and used a regular ol' black Sharpie marker to define the edges. Then I assembled my triangle treat box (you can find step-by-step instructions here) and adhered Flossie to the front:

So fast and easy! In fact, it took me three times longer to photograph the pictures and write this blog entry than making the box itself. And if you really wanted to get fancy, you could also create a small tag to thread through the ribbon by stamping 10684D Somebirdy (which is the saying "Somebirdy Loves You!"), punching it out with a circle punch and layering it onto a punched scalloped circle.

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Don't forget about our latest round of blog candy. There's still one more day to enter!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Visiting With Ronnie

Our next release will be at the end of July, which will coincide with the Summer CHA trade show. In preparation for that, I had another meeting last week with Ronnie Walter at her studio in St. Paul. When I got there, she was working on drawings for new stamps:

I asked Ronnie to stop and pose for a picture:

That was her "portrait" smile. This is more like the Ronnie I know:

Isn't she adorable? (I'm sure she'll gag when she reads my description of her, but she really is so cute! Not to mention super funny, talented, and smart.)

Now, I can't draw to save my life (which is one of the great things about allows anyone to be creative, even if they're like me and can't even manage to make a straight line!), so I'm always fascinated when I get to see the illustration process in person. Ronnie graciously let me snoop through her sketches. Check out this little monkey:

Here's the second draft:

And the final rendition:

Cool, huh? Here's another example:

A bit more refined:

And all done:

In case you were wondering, yes, that was a built-in preview. Both of these little guys are part of the upcoming Happy Monkey collection. We've got more fun themes planned, as well. Of course, we'll have new My Friend Ronnie designs for all you MFR fans!

Speaking of My Friend Ronnie, these sassy ladies will soon be appearing on an exclusive line of greeting cards from Leanin' Tree:

We're excited for Ronnie! Hey, want to help celebrate? Let us know in the comments section of this post the item number/name of your favorite My Friend Ronnie stamp(s). Hint: You can find the complete collection by clicking on the My Friend Ronnie "Go" button on this page.

Entries will be accepted until this Thursday, June 18th, at midnight Central time. One entry per person, even if you list more than one item number/stamp. I'll randomly select TWO winners on Friday, who will receive one of the following sets:

Each set includes a magnet and two pins, kindly provided by Ronnie herself. The first number drawn will receive the "mom's butt" set, and the second will win the "like shopping" set.

Please be sure to add your name if you post anonymously (in other words, without signing in) or we won't be able to include you in our drawing. It will be the winners' responsibility to contact me via email no later than June 23rd. If I don't hear from the winners, I won't be re-drawing; please remember to come back and check by the deadline.

Good luck! Looking forward to hearing what your faves are!

Friday, June 12, 2009

CarlaCrafting Again!

Today I made an address book with the CarlaCraft Binding System. I've had several ideas stuck in my head for a while, and this is another one that's now come to life:

Take a peek inside:

One thing I really like about continuous coil binding (as compared to comb- or crimp-style bindings) is that you can fold the cover completely flat underneath the booklet, which I think is a particularly handy feature.

The address book measures 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", and I decorated the cover with 0715F Hattie Writes Letters and 10487E Never Far Apart. The plain and scalloped ovals were cut using Nestabilities dies.

If you'd like to make this project, you can download a .PDF file of the inside pages by clicking here. Print one or two sets on 8 1/2" x 11" copy paper in landscape mode, and cut the sheets in half. Sort the half sheets in alphabetical order before binding them together with the covers. Have fun!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Creative Card Storage

Looking for a handy way to keep track of important card-sending dates and store greetings as you make them up ahead of time? This card organizer might just be the ticket:

There are "pocket pages" inside to hold each month's cards, along with a list of dates so you can write down birthdays, anniversaries, and other upcoming occasions:

Start by scoring a 12" x 12" sheet of cardstock at the 6" mark. (I used my Scor-It Board to do this.) Turn the sheet ninety degrees, and score again at the 4 1/4" mark. Repeat for five more sheets so that each sheet looks like this:

Fold up the short side from the bottom, and then fold the whole sheet in half to create pockets on the outsides:

With the CarlaCraft Binding System, punch holes along the left pocket half:

Now punch your holes on the right pocket half:

If you've never used the CarlaCraft Binding System, it's really easy to learn. (And I do mean easy!) There's a video in the middle of this page showing how to use it.

Repeat the folding and punching steps for the remaining 12" x 12" scored sheets. Then punch two 6" x 7 3/4" pieces for your covers. Insert an 18mm coil, trim it flush with the spine, and use a needle-nosed pliers to turn under the ends. Your card organizer will look like this:

Set your printer to "landscape" mode, and print out the monthly lists .PDF file. Closely trim each monthly list, and adhere lists to the pocket outsides.

I decorated the front of my card organizer with 1343J Mailbird and 1340B Got Mail. The patterned paper is PA1318 Flowers by Darcie's, and I used the Fiskars Threading Water Border Punch to make the scalloped teal border.

Ta da...your very own personalized card organizer is now ready for service!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pillow Box Winner

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2009-06-09 14:18:53 UTC

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I'm home from Michigan and Texas via Ohio and looking forward to spending more blog time with you over the next few weeks. Congrats to jmahugger, who won a free pack of pillow boxes in our last drawing. (Jmahugger, please contact me via email with your name and mailing address to claim your prize.) And thanks to everyone who played. Catch you all back here real soon!