Sunday, March 31, 2013

Little jars of yummy stuff...

Hi everyone!
I hope you've been enjoying the long weekend and the chocolate that invariably finds it's way into your mouth over Easter.  So far I've just indulged in hot cross buns (mmm they are fantastic after being toasted and smeared with a little butter....).  But my chocolate Easter bunny is calling to me so that will probably be nibbled on tonight!

I've been having a lot of fun learning how to use MDS - My Digital Studio (if you missed my announcement on it, click here for my last blog post with some fabulous offers for you!).  I never thought I'd be so "into" something technology related - my tech-savvy siblings roll their eyes all the time at my lack of technical abilities.  So that shows you - even if you think it's not for you, just give the 30 day free trial a go, you may be surprised!

So far I've used MDS to make cards and tags and haven't done any scrapping with it yet.  I may try that soon though - today Miss 8 and I got to watch a Monarch caterpillar turning into a chrysalis in our garden, so that was pretty special.  I should have run and got the camera but we were fascinated watching it, so I forgot all about taking pics!  It's something that happens quickly - they hang upside down for hours and then all of a sudden the skin splits and falls off and there's a little green alien-looking thing wriggling around into the right shape!  You have to be there right at the time it happens or you'll miss it, it's something I've only seen a handful of times in all my years of growing swan plants to raise them.  They are quite amazing and beautiful creatures really.  I've loved Monarchs since I was a child.  I thought we weren't going to manage to get any through to adult butterflies this summer - we've had hundreds of the caterpillars hatch in our garden but until very recently, the paper wasps got them all.  Horrible things!

OK sorry about being sidetracked there - now you know there is a bit of a nature-lover inside of me too, I'm not just all about stamping!  I'll try and take some pics of the beautiful new chrysalis in our garden, and scrap those soon.  I do have a new camera I'm trying to figure out how to use.

Tonight I thought I'd share with you some decorated jar gifts I made a month ago.  Every time we have our Extravaganza stamping event, I treat my guests to a little hand made something.  I decided this time to decorate these nice jars that I'd had in my stash for quite a while.  I did have a habit of bulk-buying things to decorate, which got a little out of hand, I'm working on reducing my stash!

I used the Fan Fair patterned papers from our Annual Catalogue and the gorgeous Natural Trim Ribbon from the Seasonal Catalogue around the sides.  It's easy to overlook this ribbon on page 20, but it really is so nice!  On the top, I added a cardstock doily die cut using the Delicate Doilies Sizzlit die, and added a Little Leaves Sizzlit leaf die cut.  I topped those with one of the beautiful flowers from our Flower Trim in the Seasonal Catalogue and some stamped & punched Tickets using the That's the Ticket stamp set from the Seasonal catalogue as well.  Here's a close up of the top:

I did actually add each customer's name to the top of their jar after I photographed these, and the jars themselves were packed full of chocolates and candy treats to sustain them through a full-on afternoon of stamping!

If you've been to one of our Extravaganza events before (or you haven't and you'd like to find out how fun they are), I'm already taking reservations for our next one which is on Saturday the 13th of July.  Let me spoil you!  Feel free to ask me questions about this event or my other events & classes, I'd love to hear from you - click here to email me.

I'll be back soon with more MDS projects and traditional hand-stamped items - I know some of you are not into the computer stuff, so don't worry, I'm not going fully digital, I'm still here to inspire you as well!  If you have any questions about how the online ordering works, let me know - of course you can definitely just call or email me to place your orders too, there are added benefits to still doing that which I'm introducing tomorrow....  Ask me for details!

Happy Easter Sunday!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Digital Studio launch - Exclusive offers just for you!

Hi Everyone!
I've been very busy here despite another long absence - blogging for me has been an afterthought until now, but that's about to change!  I have a couple of big announcements - we now have My Digital Studio (MDS) software available to us and Online Ordering as well! We need the online ordering so that you can go shopping online and browse the thousands of fabulous digital downloads now available to us - I have been browsing! I have been preparing myself for the arrival of MDS - I just didn't think it would arrive quite so soon, so there has been a flurry of activity in the past day or two when we found out it was here already!

Introducing MDS classes!
I'm holding some MDS launch classes at my home soon - I have installed a wall mounted TV so you can follow me step by step!  You do not have to have MDS to attend, but if you purchase it from me and have it installed on a laptop you are welcome to bring it to follow what I do, and we can all learn together!  The first class will have an introduction to MDS so you can see what all the fuss is about, and then we'll make some real-life projects using printed items from MDS.  Check my classes list in the sidebar for details!

I have some exclusive offers for those of you interested in MDS and/or online ordering - more about those near the end of this post so keep reading, it's worth it I promise!

First, I thought you might like to see what I have created so far using MDS.  Just the one card to share for the moment (forgive me, I only got the software yesterday morning!) but there will be lots more to come!  I've done another hybrid card, using MDS to do the stamping and then I printed on my laser printer, trimmed the cardstock down, mounted it on coordinating cardstock and added embellishments (got to have some texture and dimension, right?).  I've so far made two of these cards, and both have already left my hands, they are on their way to two "fantabulous" ladies who needed congratulating!

Do you recognise any of the "stamped" images?  The flower and the patterned arrow things are from the Oh, Hello stamp set, which I purchased as a digital product with the Tea for Two disk available in the Seasonal catalogue.  The sentiment on the other hand was a FREE stamp with the trial version of MDS.  It was the perfect addition for what I wanted these cards to say.

Here's three key reasons (there are lots more!) why I think you really need to consider adding digital crafting to your repertoire:

- Save a TONNE of time making projects, particularly scrapbook pages but also making cards, gifts and other papercrafted items you love to make! Stampin' Up! have lots of scrapbooking templates that you can simply add your photos to and print, it's that easy!  They have party ensembles for cute banners, cupcake toppers, little boxes, and all sorts of fun things!  But if you love designing your own, you can have total control too.  I made my cards from "scratch", starting with a blank file, so you can take as much control of the design work as you want.  I put four of these card fronts into one file in MDS (copying and pasting once I set the first one up).  I now have that saved so the next time someone else I know does a "fantabulous" job, I'm halfway there with a card for them!  I just have to print more card fronts and stick them to card bases the way I did here, and embellish if I want to.  Brilliant!  And there's less wastage - if I don't like it, I just press undo, or delete!  Party invitations this year are going to be so quick and easy to do with MDS!  Not to mention unique Christmas cards - you can still add that personal touch by embellishing as I did, but take far less time to make them.  Anybody else want less stress for Christmas?!

- Add to your stamp collection without cluttering up your house or cleaning out your wallet! (and having your hubby or family raise their eyebrows at how much you're hoarding....).  Your digital downloads are saved in your account on my online store, so if your computer dies, you can download them to a new machine without having to purchase them again!  And they are much cheaper than real-life stamps!  Prices start at just $1.95 and you can search for stamps that have long since retired from our traditional catalogues. You can purchase the files for embellishments, patterned papers, and more!

- Add some amazing effects really easily to your cards.  I'm starting with simple techniques, but see how I coloured with two "inks" on the flower stamp?  That was super quick and easy and no stamp cleaning required!  And you get ALL of the colours that we have available now, plus some retired ones, to use forever!  I used the colours to match the cardstock and Baker's twine I had in mind to add after printing.  If the stamp you want to use is too big for your project, simply re-size the stamp like I did on my card!  You can't do that with traditional stamping!

Find out more about My Digital Studio by watching this video!

And here's why you might like to shop from my online store:
- you can order anytime, from the comfort of your home, in your PJs if you like!  As long as you're in NZ, you can shop with me.  Your order will be sent directly to you, so I won't be delivering it myself, but I'm still here to support you with any questions you might have.
- Get free stuff!  If you place an order of $350 or more (plus 5% shipping) you can earn Stampin' Rewards - choose from any of our current products or digital downloads as your free gifts!  The value of your rewards depends on how much you've spent.  Why not get a few friends over for a Pajama party (or not!) and order together to share the freebies?  You can order digital products or traditional catalogue products, or both.

Now to the fun bit - here are my Exclusive Offers for you to grab!
Ready to try out MDS?  Head to my online store (click HERE or on the "Shop Now" button at the top right of my blog) to download the free trial version to play with for up to 30 days.  Be warned - it's a huge file, so you will need fast broadband to download it. I've already sent a message to Stampin' Up! to ask how my fabulous rural ladies with dial-up might be included.  MDS Printing services are not available in NZ yet but you can print on your own printer or take your files to a local printer.  I'll keep you posted on any changes to those issues!

If you do have fast broadband, go ahead and download the trial version, it takes about 90min in my experience to download and install. But don't take too long playing with the free version, because...

- Purchase products via my online store by the end of April and be in to win!

- Be one of the first 4 to purchase the full MDS version online from me (it's only $27.95 - a total bargain!!), add some other products to your order, and when your total order comes to a minimum of $100 (plus shipping, if you've included traditional catalogue products that have to ship to you), you will earn one of the exclusive MDS content disks that we had during Sale-A-Bration.  First in first served - I have two of the Big Sale-a-Bration disks with all of the SAB products on them, and two of the Lemonade Stand disks, up for grabs!  So get in early to have the first choice of disks!

- If you miss out on being one of the first four to purchase MDS online from me and qualify for a free content disk, don't fret!  Place your order online in my store by the end of April, for ANY amount, for ANY products (digital or not) and go into my Anniversary Prize Draw!  (I'll have been a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator for six years in April).  If your order contains digital products, and you're the winner, your prize will include a Big Sale-A-Bration disk with loads of fabulous content, plus traditional stamping products.  If you don't fancy trying out the digital stuff, order only traditional products and if you're drawn as the lucky winner, your prize will have traditional stamping products and no digital disk.

What's in the prize?  Well that depends on all of you - the bigger the orders, the bigger the prize!  I will keep adding products to the retail value of 10% of the total online orders I receive from now until the end of April.  So do please encourage your stamping friends to order from me, too - it will really pay off for you if you win!!

Thanks for bearing with me - any questions, please ask!  Otherwise, click HERE now to go and set up your account in my online store and start shopping!

Oh - and Happy Easter! Enjoy your chocolate fix this weekend, I certainly will!