December 31, 2012

Changes

Warning:  You may want to grab a cup of coffee, this is a loooong post.
As we draw to a close on 2012 I thought I would take a minute and reflect upon the year.   

But before I start I want to thank Rosemary, Tamara, Nancy, Amy and Lisa for all their hard work and dedication to the store.  I really could not do this without you.  In fact each of you deserves an award for just putting up with me.  (yeah, Tamara may finally get an award; then I won't have to hear the whining and pleading for one) 

I also want to thank each and everyone of you that came and shopped at our store and supported us.  It means a lot to me that you would choose to spend your precious time and money with us.
I feel privileged  that you share your joys and sorrows with us, that you come to the store when you are feeling down to make yourself feel better, that you "hang out" with us and that you are so enthusiastic about the things you make and create.  You inspire us to do better!

This year has been a fun year with lots of new products being delivered including some really cool mixed media products.  In fact I think we had deliveries most days.  We have had to reorganize the store multiple times to get it all in. (Thanks Nancy)

We introduced a new Design Team and they are making some of the most impressive projects.  If you haven't come in to see them you are missing out!

We have had some fabulous classes and we had some amazing Guest Teachers this year including:

Anna Dabrowska


Cheryl Mezzetti



Dyan Revealey

Kathy Orta


Nathalie Kalbach



Nathalie M├ętivier



Wendy Vecchi





I applied to,  was accepted and graduated Ranger U.  

 A very exciting moment in my Life
Thanks to Tim Holtz for picking me and Ranger for hosting this amazing life changing event.





I even managed a quick visit to New York and got inspired.


I taught on a Cruise Ship
that was sailing to the Caribbean
(and I am doing it again this year)

I learned how to use my GPS on my smart phone this year and it saved me a lot of driving time 

 so between dreaming up classes, teaching, buying products, running a store and traveling it is no wonder I am always tired!  

But, it has not always been rosy. On the down side: I have lost friends and time with my family.  The crafting industry has shrunk with the closure of some great manufacturers and a lot of independent Scrapbook/Stamp Stores and well as other Mom and Pop stores have closed their doors.

 But onto 2013 . . . . . . .

So while I was driving to visit family this Christmas season I had time to reflect on the passing of 2012 and dream about what could be in 2013.  . . .  a Word picked me this year and that word is 

CHANGES.



If you don't know about One Little Word
Ali Edwards started it in 2006.  The explanation is in her words.

  "A single word can be a powerful thing. It can be the ripple in the pond that changes everything. It can be sharp and biting or rich and soft and slow. From my own personal experience, it can be a catalyst for enriching your life.In 2006, I began a tradition of choosing one word for myself each January—a word that I can focus on, meditate on, and reflect upon as I go about my daily life. My words have included play, peace, vitality, nurture, story, light and up. These words have each become a part of my life in one way or another. They've been embedded into who I am, and into who I'm becoming. They've been what I've needed (and didn't know I needed). They've helped me to breathe deeper, to see clearer and to grow. "

you can find out more about Ali Edwards here: Ali Edwards


My amazing staff and I have some huge, great,  fantastic & inspiring ideas; some of them are already in the works!!

Without giving all our secrets away . . . We are going to completely redesign the website and blog, (you will even be able to sign up and pay for classes online).  We plan on making videos and having online demos. We have a Fall Retreat planned.  We have some fabulous classes already on the calendar and more on the way, (I am soooo excited to share my Urban Graffiti Series) and much much more . . . . . .

 I am very excited for 2013 and what it will bring,



So the 2013 word for both me and the store  is CHANGES, oh and my number for 2013  is 2

Happy New Years Eve 

I wish everyone much happiness in 2013 

 Michelle

December 30, 2012

New Stamp Alert










We just received this shipment of sweet stamps.
Really cute images with matching button faces - here's a closer look:







Aren't they the sweetest little critters ever?  I think the toad stool and the froggy are my favs... which critter are you pining for?

December 29, 2012

Dreading Backing Up Your Photos?

If you're like me (always out of time and fairly disorganized!), one area of your life that is probably lacking is making backup copies of your digital photos.  Often, we fail to take the time to print out our digital photos, so the digital copy is the only one that exists.  But what happens if you lose that copy?

I learned this lesson the hard way myself last year when I got a virus and my computer died.  I thought I was going to die - ALL my kids baby pictures were lost.  Luckily I was able to find an expert who extracted the board in the drive and found the pictures - but it cost me.  A lot. 

However, backing up pictures is SUCH a pain - it takes forever and you tend to make mistakes - duplicating some files and forgetting others.  The Picture Keeper device takes care of all these problems for you!


The Picture Keeper works kind of like a thumb drive - you just plug it in.  The difference, though, is that it does ALL of the work for you.  It automatically seeks out all your digital photos and stores them on the device - you don't have to install anything or find all your pictures - it does it for you.  Can you say AWESOME???

Here's a short video explanation of the Picture Keeper:



We've got two different storage size options in stock right now - come on in pick one up today, and your photos can be safely backed up by tomorrow with little or no effort on your part - my kind of product!!!

December 28, 2012

Valentine Greetings from Northwoods

It's official - Christmas is OVER and it's time to move on to next year... am I the only one who really isn't too sad about this?  I might just be the only person in history whose official autopsy will read "death by Christmas" - seriously, it seems to just get more hectic every year! (Have you guessed?  There were NO awards in my stocking this year.. BAH HUMBUG!)

So, in the spirit of "Christmas PASSED", we just got in some gorgeous new Valentine's stamps from Northwoods - time to stock up on these beauties so you'll have time to get your projects made!  Here are some pictures from the Northwoods sample board to whet your appetite:





 

December 27, 2012

Tuesday Tutorial Time #6

This week's Tuesday tutorial Time is brought to us by design team member Angel Estes, who is getting us out of Christmas and into the new year with an awesome masculine Valentine's Day card:




Angel says: This is my creation using the Authentique “Lovely” collection.  I decided to challenge myself to make a more masculine Valentines Day card.  Not an easy task when most Valentines stuff is so frilly!

 
 


I began by taking a standard size card base, and using the largest Spellbinders Labels 8 die, cut the card base to make a shaped card.

 



Using the next-smallest Labels 8 die, I cut the mat for my card out of this very cool Key cardstock paper.

 




I wanted to cut a heart shaped window in my mat, so turning it over I traced the clear stamp onto the back side of my Key mat.  Then, cut the window.

 



In order to create a black border around my mat I rough-cut (not being careful or fussy to make it fit perfect) a piece of black cardstock a little larger than my mat, and out of the center of this black piece, I rough-cut a hole a little larger than my heart shaped window. Adhere the Key mat to the black cardstock. Remember how we rough cut that black piece? Now we’re going to go back and carefully cut around our mat leaving a 1/8” black mat.

 

Now we’re ready to use that clear heart stamp we traced earlier. Centering my Key mat onto my card base I taped it down with some washi tape – no wiggling! I then stamp my heart inked up with Hero Arts Royal Red. I carefully stamp the heart right into the center of my heart window.  Remove mat and washi tape from card base. Your card base should at this point only have your red heart stamped in the center.

 


This photo is of the BACK of my Key mat. My black cardstock I used is the reverse side of my Key cardstock, so at this point both the front and back of my mat have Keys all over. Is that confusing enough for you? J  Add foam adhesive to the back of the mat, and adhere to the front of the card, centered over your red heart.

 


Now I want to work on my sentiment for the front of our card. The Authentique “Lovely” collection has this sweet paper that looks like a word-search puzzle with some Valentine-sey words circled in red. I chose the word “sweetheart” as part of my sentiment and cut it from the paper, adding a banner notch at the left end, and folding over the right end, about a half inch from the end.

 


Mat sentiment on craft cardstock, cutting banner notch on left end.

 


Adhere to from of card with Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher.  I wrapped that folded end under my Key mat.

 


To add a bit of color and interest I watercolored the keys with Distress Ink Faded Jeans and a water brush.
 

 

I finished off by accenting the word “sweetheart” with some more Faded Jeans, and added the word sticker “my” in front of “sweetheart” with a tiny paperclip.

 Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial - what a great masculine valentine! 
 
 

December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve 
Dylusions Style


Somehow I think we use a LOT of Dylusions Sprays in this store.  

We had so many empties we were able to make a wreath.


December 23, 2012

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Other titles in consideration for this post are: Perfect Nancy is a Perfect Liar!!!

I gotta tell you, folks, my time is coming near.  I can really feel it this time - my award is IMMINENT!  Nancy really made a name for herself with our most recent guest teacher - and that name is LIAR!!!

It all started during Nathalie Kalbach's visit - the class was having an amazing time learning fun new techniques from Nathalie:



See how everyone's paying such close attention?  Love that...

Anyway, Nathalie wanted to demonstrate a new technique and she asked Nancy what Michelle's favorite colors are.  Nancy answers just as sweet as you please, "blue and green" and continues on to another part of the store.  Meanwhile, Michelle, who happened to be standing there, got a confused look on her face.  In fact, blue and green aren't Michelle's favorite colors at all - Michelle's actually favorite colors are coral and brown.  Look:

Blue and green:




Coral and brown:





Gee, they're not really alike at all, are they?  Hee hee hee... I'm sure Michelle was really wondering where Nancy got blue and green from.  The seed was planted - Michelle was really beginning to wonder about her.... she was beginning to wonder if her star employee might, in fact, be... a liar.

So then next thing that happened really sealed the deal.  Nancy's sitting in class with a few of our customers when the conversation, strangely enough, turns to where Nancy is from.  (I'm sure it doesn't have anything to do with the accent... I'm sure... )  Anyway, someone pipes up and said that Nancy was from Maine.  Nancy shoots back, "No, I'm not... I'm from New Hampshire."  New Hampshire.  New Hampshire?  In her dreams, New Hampshire! 

Nancy is from Massachusetts.  Not New Hampshire.  She's never lived in New Hampshire.  I'm not quite sure she's even driven through New Hampshire, but there it was, a bald faced lie thrashing around on the table like a wet fish, floundering around in breathless misery. The worst thing was, Nancy was COMPLETELY serious.  It took her a minute to remember the actual truth for herself, that's how convincing the lie was.  Perhaps she thought if she just went with it no one would call her on it, but there were too many people there that knew the truth... there she was - busted. 

Michelle was shocked, simply shocked, I tell you.  She knows Nancy is from Massachusetts, Rosemary knows Nancy is from Massachusetts, Nathalie knows Nancy is from Massachusetts.  Pretty much anyone who's ever heard Nancy attempt to make an "r" sound knows she from Massachusetts.  Everyone, that is, except Nancy.  Look, here's a  map:





See, New Hampshire.... Massachusetts.... not the same thing at all, really.  Poor Nancy the liar.  It made such a poor impression on Nathalie... I mean, think of it.  Nathalie comes all the way from Germany... which is in Europe.  Land of all those little countries.  I'm sure as confusing as Europe is for us, most European's know where they're from.  And here she comes to America, and we American's can't even remember the name of the state we're from?  She must have really thought Nancy was something else.



By now, you're probably really revising your opinion of Nancy.  Of course, I'm not - I've seen her for her true colors all along.  But I can see how she might have fooled a lot of you.  As further proof, the lying continued even after Nathalie left the store - Nancy sent her a message to thank her for all the classes.  Nathalie tweeted her back, reminding Nancy that she only had the opportunity to take one of Nathalie's classes... so what was the point in thanking her for "all" the classes?  I mean, really? 

Michelle has got to start seeing this destructive behavior for what it is - a misguided attempt to ingratiate herself with all the guest teachers.  I'm not sure for what purpose yet... the mystery remains.  But, be warned... be careful what you hear from Nancy!  There's a pretty good chance that whatever she says will be a complete fabrication!!! 

And keep your fingers crossed for me - I'm sure my award is coming (And, I'm thinking, it will definitely involve some coral and brown!!!)




December 22, 2012

January's Upcoming Classes - Sneak Peaks....

We've got some awesome classes coming up in January - you guys are going to be SO excited.  First of all, those of you who know us well will understand how amazing it is that we were actually able to conceptualized and make our samples an entire month ahead of time - we really couldn't be more proud of ourselves!  (Can you hear us patting ourselves on the backs?)

If you were lucky enough to come to our Holiday Preview Party you got to see the WHOLE projects - everyone else get's a sneak peak for now:

This is a teensy bit of Tamara's card organizer:


Look at all the texture in Nancy's altered project:


Rosemary's project is sure to delight - there are secret pockets and lots of layers:


And Michelle's project is the first in her new Urban Graffiti line - you have to see it to believe it!



Intrigued?  We thought you might be... so come on in and take a look at the real projects - you're going to love them!