Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Making Samples

Yesterday and today, I worked on making samples for November's display boards, which is a program we offer to our store accounts. (If they purchase a pre-selected bundle pack, they receive a free board containing six projects featuring that month's stamps.)

Thought I'd give you a peek at two of the projects I created. Here's a decorated favor tin with 0032F Monkey Circle and Darcie's PAC1075 Pastel/Brown Stripes patterned cardstock:


I really struggled when I was trying to come up with the layout for this card, but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out:

It should probably be called the "embellishment extravaganza" sample because it has quite a few details, LOL! The saying and image pieces were edged with shimmer chalks, and I used Diamond Glaze on the cake frosting. The frosting sprinkles were coated with ultrafine glitter, and Liquid Applique added texture to the cake insides. Then I cut a second birdie and layered him over the original with foam tape. The patterned cardstock is PAC1075 Pastel/Brown Stripes and PAC1310 Presley Lime from Darcie's.

See the little white dots on both monkeys' cheeks? I blogged about that back in April, and it's an accent I've been using quite a bit lately with the Inkssentials White Opaque Pen. So fun!

By the way, if you know a local stamp store that might be interested in our Monthly Sample Board Program, please ask them to email me for details. If they sign up for it and provide your name as a referral at that time, I'll send you a little thank-you goodie!

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Experience

This is kind of a random posting topic, especially for a rubber stamping blog, but I tried something different on the weekend and wanted to tell you about it. Have you heard of threading? It's a hair removal method common in India and the Middle East, and it doesn't leave a residue like waxing nor is it as painful as tweezing.

My girlfriend Marilee and I visited a salon in suburban Minneapolis, where technician Reeta expertly wielded her cotton string:


She actually holds part of the string in her teeth, and the twisted thread makes a "zip zip zip" sound as it removes the hair. I've got neatly tended eyebrows and my face is now smooth as a baby's bottom!

If you live in a major metropolitan area, you may want to check out this procedure. It costs about the same (or less) than waxing, and it's super quick. And if you're in the Twin Cities, you can make an appointment with Reeta or get more information by calling New Look Salon at 763-571-1702.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

CPS Sponsor

I'm really excited that Inky Antics is this week's sponsor on the Card Positioning Systems blog. Please stop by throughout the week to view the sketch idea and see what their design team has created. Then join in the fun with your own submission...we're donating two great prizes to be given to winners of their drawing, which will be held at the end of the week!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Turtle's Journey

When I was in Cleveland between the Westminster and Rhinebeck conventions last week, I worked at the shop each day. In addition to changing out some of the Inky booth cabinets to make room for holiday designs and helping manufacture those stamps, I had the opportunity to learn how we produce our clear stamp sets.

Interested in seeing the process? Here's our 10921MC Halloween Turtle Clear Set as it's being made. We start out with polymer pouches, which are placed into the exposure machine:


One negative creates the stamp outlines:


And a second negative makes the base of the stamp:


When you put them together, you've got the whole stamp image. The polymer pouches (which are sandwiched between both negatives) are exposed to UV light, causing the stamp images to harden:


Next, the exposed pouches are cut open, as Dave shows here:


They're clipped on the wall so the unexposed polymer "goo" can drip off (with a couple of passes using a squeegee...very messy and sticky!):


Then the sheets are placed into the washout machine. Once they're done agitating in a soap solution, each sheets gets a second gentle scrubbing by hand. That's what Ted is doing in this photo:


I gave our turtle a bath in the washout machine:


Until he was all cleaned up nicely:


To cure the stamps, they're placed under UV light for a second hardening:


Here's our little guy basking in those rays while submerged in a salt-water mixture:


He gets dried off:


And then placed into a warm air chamber until all the extra moisture has evaporated:


Now he's ready to go downstairs for packaging:


Where he'll get dressed up in his Sunday best:


Ta da! He's finally ready for sale in our convention booth or to be mailed out to our website and store customers:


Pretty neat, huh? Thanks for "taking a tour" of our shop's clear stamp area with me!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chalking With VersaMark

Last weekend and the one before it, we had conventions in Westminster, MD and Rhinebeck, NY. Instead of flying directly to them and coming home in between, like I usually do, I went to Cleveland so I could drive with the gang to both shows and I stayed at Ted & Michelle's house for a couple of days in the middle. It was definitely a lot of fun meeting some of our wonderful East Coast customers, but I do have to admit I'm glad to be home.

While I was at the shows, I received a few requests for instructions on how to use the Shimmer Chalks with a VersaMark ink pad. I'd been meaning to make this video for a while, and now it's done! Here it is, ready for your viewing pleasure:

My next goal will be figuring out how to crop movies. In the meantime, please ignore the vast empty table space and the stack of mail in the upper right corner, LOL!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blog Candy Congrats

Here are your random numbers:

8

Timestamp: 2009-09-16 04:16:28 UTC

* * *
Congratulations to Sally, who won Milo and the Hang Out saying. Sally, please contact me via email with your mailing info to claim your prize.

And if you're curious as to which layout I picked, it was #2. Actually, my first choice was #4 but I thought the second design highlighted the main image best. It was a lot of fun reading everyone's favorite and their reasons. Thank you to all our readers for participating!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Glossing & Poofing

Here's a quick little card I made using 0082H Enlightened Reindeer and 0011D Bright Season:


Of course, I had to put Diamond Glaze on Rudolph's nose. I've been on a Diamond Glaze kick for a while now because I just love the super glossy finish it gives to all kinds of stamped images. Patent leather shoes or boots, fishbowls, leaves, sunglasses or drinking glasses, bubbles...if it's shiny or wet, I glaze it!

Since the bulb lights are so tiny, I used a Glaze Clear Gloss Pen on those. It's easy to apply with more precision than a squeeze bottle, and I don't have to mess around spreading glaze with a toothpick.

For his furry white front, I added Liquid Applique for another 3-D touch. Did you know you can get two different looks from this stuff? These swatches both show Liquid Applique in Cotton White:


For the left swatch, I spread a thin layer and let it dry completely before using my heat tool. On the right, I squeezed out the Liquid Applique and heated it immediately.

If you haven't yet tried Liquid Applique, it's part of this month's website special. And if it's been a while since you used it, why not dig up your tube and give it a whirl again!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Monkey See, Monkey Do

As the old saying goes, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Well, then I hope my talented designer friend Debbie Fisher feels very flattered! Recently I needed to make several sample cards (all the same) using 10714G Milo and 10696D Hang Out. I didn't have much time, so I "stamplifted" ideas from an original card she made:


I couldn't find the exact same patterned papers or ribbon, so I substituted with the cardstock I already had on hand (and added white grosgrain ribbon later).

But the patterned cardstock was double-sided, so that presented another dilemma. I just couldn't make up my mind! Which combination to use? Should it be this one, I wondered:


Or this one:


What about a third option:


Or maybe this fourth choice:


In the end, I laid the ribbon across my different draft layouts and took photos of those cards. Then I showed them to Jan and Ruthie to get their opinions. Finally I made a decision.

What did I pick? Hmm, I think I'll ask you to guess in exchange for a chance to win some BLOG CANDY! Sound good? Okay, then...here's what to do:

Leave a note in the comments section of this post telling me which layout you think I ended up using (indicate card #1, 2, 3, or 4, based on the order shown above). I'll accept entries until next Tuesday, September 15th, at midnight Central time. I'll randomly choose the lucky winner on Wednesday morning, who will receive both stamps used in this project.

Remember, if you post anonymously (in other words, without signing in), be sure to add your name 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 September 22nd. If we don't hear from a winner, we won't be re-drawing...so please remember to come back and check.

Good luck, and have fun guessing!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Creative Cookbook

If you've been following the Inky blog for a while, you probably know how much I love all things FOOD! Reading about it, cooking it, eating it...there isn't any aspect I don't like, except maybe doing the dishes afterward (and even that's not too bad).

So when Becky O'Donnell sent me a fantastic collection of recipes, I was absolutely thrilled! Take a look:



There were 10 pages in all, and 9 were decorated with Inky stamps. Here's a closeup of one of 'em:


Isn't that adorable? Not to mention appetizing. In fact, I may have to make some cookies soon!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

StampScrapArtTour Blog Candy

Want a chance to win some BLOG CANDY? StampScrapArtTour is giving away this fun stamp & spritzer set:

While you're visiting the SSAT blog, check out the tutorial on how to use these goodies to make a beautiful beach scene card created by Kathy from Seaside Stampin' Ink. You can also read more about SSAT's conventions, including upcoming shows in Westminster, MD; Rhinebeck, NY; and Hampton, VA.

Monday, September 7, 2009

September Newsletter

Happy Labor Day, everyone! Just wanted to let you know that the September email newsletter has been sent out.You can click here to read this month's issue, or sign up to have it delivered straight to your inbox by scrolling down this page and entering your info into the box in the right column.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Email Surprise

Yesterday I received an email from Dawn Lusk containing photos of two beautiful Inky cards she recently made. Here's the first one:


She explained the techniques she used on her blog. And aren't the airbrushed and watercolored backgrounds in this second one gorgeous? Take a look:


You can find the directions for it here. Thanks, Dawn, for allowing me to share these with our readers!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Great Minnesota Get-Together

Yesterday, Steve and I both took the day off work so we could go to the Minnesota State Fair. This is a big event here, and more than 100,000 people attend each day. We'd already purchased our admission tickets and coupon book in advance, so we were ready for fun:


Now, there's lots to see and do at the fair, and everyone has his or her own particular favorites. One thing I look forward to most, of course, is eating. I always have to start off with a corn dog:


Lovely picture, huh? Not! But, as I was saying, it's all about the food. There's nothing like stuffing your face with a delicious lamb burger:


Or a pesto chicken and cheddar crepe:


Can't forget about the Spam bites:


(Yes, I'll admit it...I do like Spam!) We weren't sure if we'd ingested enough grease yet, so we had to get some fries:


And an elephant ear to top it off:


Foods "on a stick" are very popular at the fair. We passed on the pickle on a stick, s'mores on a stick, cajun seasoned alligator sausage on a stick (although we'd tried the alligator nuggets last year, which were actually pretty good), and corned beef and cabbage dipped in beer batter on a stick (this is a real item, I kid you not). We did get the Swedish meatballs on a stick, however:


After all that food, this is how we were feeling:


Or, to be more accurate, this is how we were feeling:


Deano is Minnesota's largest hog, who weighs in at 1,300+ pounds. That's a lotta bacon!

We were pretty full by then, and even the award-winning cakes didn't look very appealing:


Well, that's not really true. I guess they did look pretty good...at least the chocolate ones, LOL!

Besides eating, my second favorite thing about the fair is shopping. Steve thought these hair extensions were especially flattering:


I absolutely love watching the pitchmen. The SwissPro Peeler guy is the best of 'em all, IMHO:


I let myself get talked into buying a complete second set this year, just because I wanted the new julienne peeler. (Actually, these vegetable peelers really are quite good and I use mine almost every day.) Then I got the Ginsu knives. And the Kitchen Mate cheese grater. Plus some Old Plantation soup mixes and Pastamore aged balsamic vinegar and Asian dipping oil. I stopped just short of the Vita-Mix, which was a little beyond our budget. (My mom has one, though, and says it's great.)

We couldn't miss viewing this year's Princess Kay butter sculptures:


Steve's friend Merle has a cousin who was a butter princess a few years ago. Like all the princesses, she got to take her 90-pound block of butter home. I guess they saved it for several months before the family finally broke down and started using it to spread on toast and pancakes.

The last thing we did was watch a live taping of the local nightly news broadcast:


Oh, and I finished things off with a rainbow ice cream cone:


Tonight I think we'll have some nice low-cal carrots and celery for dinner...prepared with my new vegetable peelers. ;-)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Home From Hamburg

Thanks to everyone who visited the Inky booth in Hamburg. We had such a great time at this convention! I got to meet Marie (who made the ATC's in my last post), and she's even nicer in person:


On our drive back from Hamburg to Cleveland (after the show was over and we'd packed up), we stopped at Quaker Steak & Lube in Erie, PA. I'd never heard of this restaurant chain, which turned out to be way cool! The whole place was filled with cars and related paraphernalia. Check out this vintage Corvette that stood right above our table:


They're known for their chicken wings, and you can choose from more than 20 different sauces ranging from Mild to Atomic. (I'm a chicken myself when it comes to spicy foods, so I only tried the Mild kind...and even that had a bit of bite to it.)

Outside, I asked Lee and Ted to pose for the camera behind the giant photo cut-out board:


Hope you have "buckets of fun" today, too!