Thursday, September 25, 2008

Has it really been two weeks again?

Hi everyone,

Well yet again I am showing how bad a blogger I am. And considering I actually don't find it that hard to write something on here (let's face it, I write the way I talk, and I can really talk!), it's even worse. Sigh...
This post would have been up earlier as I was writing it last night, but at a crucial moment my server crashed so it wouldn't work for me! Fortunately the bulk of it has been saved so I don't have to write it all again. Phew!

OK well before you all think I've been lounging around doing nothing much, I must say I've been pretty busy. The usual - my day job, workshops, making swaps for team training, but also I took a few days off from my day job last week and headed to Hamilton to work with some of my team at the Craft & Quilt show. Wow what a busy show that was! I know I took 300 door prize forms with me, and the other ladies had some too, and mine were almost all gone by the end of the 3rd day (it was a 4 day show). If you were there at the show and we met, thank you for visiting our little stand, and a very warm welcome to my blog! I hope I can provide you with a little inspiration this way, and if you have any questions about anything you see here, please don't hesitate to ask.

I'm slowly working my way through my long list of contacts from the shows I've been doing, it's tricky when I'm working and with a 4 year old, it's not easy to make phone calls in the evenings before it gets too late, so do bear with me if you're waiting to hear from me. I'll get there!

Two nights ago I decided that I really had to make a special birthday card for my friend and team leader, Jacque. Don't ask me why but I dislike the word "Upline", so although Jacque technically is my Upline, I prefer to call her my team leader. Maybe it's because I like to think of us all as equals and members of a team, rather than have a distinct hierachy. It could also be because the first time I heard "Upline" used it was for a different company that was into hard selling, and that's totally not me at all!

For Jacque's card I decided I had to use the stamp set from Simple Delights, one of our beautiful Simply Sent kits that are on promotion in October. From October 4 to 11, you can get 20% off the Simply Sent kits, but only for that week, so if that offer interests you, do let me know! Anyway, I know Jacque's favourite Simply Sent kit is the Simple Delights one, and I also know she doesn't have it yet, so it's a good one to use for her card. To choose a colour combination I know she'd love, I took inspiration from one of her cards that she taught me how to make recently. So here's what I came up with:

There's only two colours on the card apart from white - Groovy Guava and Purely Pomegranate. I haven't really used a lot of Groovy Guava until now, but I really like this colour combination! I used my corner rounder punch with the guide removed to scallop the edges of the Whisper White and Purely Pomegranate cardstock. I can't wait until Stampin' Up! releases their new scallop edge punch here (yes, it's coming soon!!) as that will make it SO much easier to make cards like this and get the scallops lined up perfectly!

Happy Birthday Jacque, I hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Making Coloured Brads Tutorial

Hi everyone!

OK well this is very, very late, even for me (gee I wonder why my sister suggested Knightstamper as my blog name...). I've been fighting with my computer tonight to figure this out (those who know me, know that blogging is a challenge for me!). But I'm going to post this tonight if it kills me - I really want to post this tutorial here since I know some of my team will be waiting for it, and because I won't have time for the rest of the week. Daytime work and Stampin' Up! workshop schedules being what they are. Anyway, I hope this is of use to some of you who love brads and wish that Stampin' Up! had them in every colour.

Please feel free to share this technique with your friends (and your customers if you're a Demo too), but if you do share the technique, please tell them you learned it here first, from me. This might be the only time I "invent" something, and given my former boss in a previous career considered me to be lacking in innovation and creativity (I know my team won't believe that one!), it kinda makes me feel good to think I might be first in the world perhaps, with this technique. Just indulge me a little, please!

OK, here it is, how to make your own coloured brads!

1. Take a plain brad (gold or silver, uncoated) and coat the head with Whisper White craft ink.

2. Using your heat gun, dry the ink off. Then repeat these steps - coat again with Whisper White craft ink, and use a heat gun to dry the ink. You'll see it change from a wet shiny look to a dry dull white. Make sure you've got a good coating on the brad.

3. This is what the brad will look like with the dry Whisper White craft ink on it.

4. Allow the brad to cool, then take a Stampin' Up! watercolour crayon and coat the brad with it. Here I'm using Almost Amethyst. Put loads on, make sure you've covered all of the white craft ink so it doesn't show through. This step is important - the more care you take here, the better your brad will look. I found the best results were with the Soft Subtles colours - the darker colours like Chocolate Chip look great, but are less forgiving if you don't coat the brad well. I also found that if I coated the brad with white craft ink and then left it for a long time, it didn't work so well. I have no idea why. So while it's best not to have the brad still hot when you colour it (that melts the crayon), don't leave it too long either.

5. Use a sponge dauber to coat the coloured brad with Versamark embossing ink. Don't dab it more than 2-3 times, as you might start to take the colour off.

6. Quickly dip the brad into Stampin' Up! Clear embossing powder. Use your heat gun to heat the powder until it melts, then while still hot, dip it again in the clear embossing powder and re-heat to melt the second layer. This is really important - I discovered that one layer is not enough, the coating started to come off my brads when I used them, when I'd only used one layer of embossing powder.

7. The finished brad. That's it! Try experimenting with more than one coloured crayon (multi-coloured brads!), or with using Stampin' Up!'s watercolour pencils instead of the crayons. I haven't tried those yet myself since they're not matched to our 48 standard colours, but I think they might work too. Wet ink does not work well, I had a real mess on my hands after repeated attempts using ink pads, so unless you've got a lot of supplies you're happy to throw away, don't bother trying with ink pads!

Here's a couple of projects I showed at our Stampin' Up! training this week to showcase my coloured brads. This one uses Almost Amethyst brads as the flower centres, while the other card uses Chocolate Chip brads in the centre of the stamped punched circles. I must credit one of my team, Tracee, with the original design for the second card with the horses - she showed me that card originally, I just added the punched circles and brads to make a quick sample to display!

Well I hope you enjoy making your own coloured brads to match your projects, I'd love to hear how you go with this and see what you make! If you have any comments or questions about this technique or the cards I've shown here, please don't hesitate to ask.

Thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I'm still here...

Hi everyone,
Just wanted to pop in and say I'm still here, and I haven't forgotten about my blog, I've just been super busy the last couple of weeks! Stampin' Up! had a training night for us last night, and they asked me to do a short "wow" demonstration so I have been busy designing cards for that, on top of a busy workshop schedule, and I was also busy making little boxes of chocolate (what else would I put in them!) to swap with the other ladies who attended the training. We all had a lot of fun last night, it was great!

Anyway, no pics right now but watch this space - I have heaps to share with you soon! I recently had a birthday and received some gorgeous cards from others in my team that I'll share with you, plus pics of my swaps from last night, and I'll also be posting my first tutorial. Last night I shared with the other demos a new technique that I've come up with all by myself - making coloured brads in any of Stampin' Up!'s 48 standard colours! This might actually be a world first - at least, I couldn't find a way to do it when I googled the idea, so I may be the first to figure it out, isn't that cool? We do have some coloured brads already but not in every colour, so once you learn how to do this, you'll be able to make brads to suit whatever colours you've used in your project.

I just need to edit the pics I've taken for the tutorial and I'll post it here so you can learn it too. I'll be back soon!

Happy Stamping!