Monday, May 12, 2008

You Asked!

You might need to grab a cuppa for this one! Here are the answers to all those questions you asked me!

I’d love to know where you feel you get your most inspiration. I love your cards; great layouts and colour combos. So, where do your ideas come from, and how do you keep track of them?
In all honesty, ideas are not something I seem to run short of. Sometimes I start with the stamps… I find stamp sets themselves quite inspiring. I like to sit down with a set, and just see where it takes me. Other times I start with a colour combination…it could be one that I’ve seen somewhere (in the catalogue, at the shops, on a website), or one from my head. A lot of my creating is guided by designs that I have to make for classes and workshops, and the needs for those cards are quite specific (for example, to showcase a technique or stamp set).

Out of all the wonderful cards and other projects you have created, which one are you most proud of or holds the most meaning for you?
ooooh, that’s a tricky one! The chicken cards (one, two and three) stand out in my memory, because a very dear friend sent those stamped images, and they were so far out of my comfort zone. I had always hated that stamp set, and I was amazed that I could turn an image that I really didn’t like into a card that I was proud of! It made me see that being challenged and stepping out of my comfort zone could be very rewarding.

Not much of a question really BUT I would love to see a photo of your stampin' area if you could manage it sometime!!
I’ve had a few requests for this. I’ll take one soon, I promise!

My question is, what is your creative process, do you start with colour, stamps, design, etc?
This varies a bit depending on why I am sitting down to make something. If it were for a challenge, obviously I would start with whatever the challenge dictates (a sketch, a colour combination, a stamp set, etc). This is one reason why I like challenges…it forces you to start differently from how you normally would. If I’m preparing a design for a class, that will also dictate how I start.
But let’s say I’m sitting down to make a card for someone, which is traditionally why you would make a card! I would think about that person, and their likes/dislikes. That might dictate a colour combination or a stamp set. The other thing I like to do is think about something I haven’t used for a while (or at all!) and let that guide me. So, I might think “I haven’t used my new Pretties Kit much”, open it up, pick out a flower, than a colour to use with it, then a stamp set to go with it, and go from there.

I have been stamping only for about one month after a successful Stampin' Up! party. I have been making cards for a few years and have a collection of "stuff" but now I have so much more, how do you store your stamps, ink pads etc as I see you have a cupboard for the punches.
A photo would help with this…but until then… I like to be able to sit at my desk and be able top reach everything I need without getting up. I store all my cardstock in a filing cabinet, in colour families. I have my stamps on some shelves above my desk, which also has little drawers for ribbons, wheels, etc. My inkpads are all on the Stampin’ Up! Inkpad caddy on my desk. I actually find my Stampin’ Up! stuff easier to store than my old stuff used to be. Everything comes in cases and sets! And because of the colour families and co-ordination of products, I don’t need 5000 different shades of blue cardstock, and 6000 pieces of blue ribbon, and 7000 blue inkpads…I just have a few, but they all match each other and work together. I now only own all SU! and I sold off all my other stuff. I tell you, SU! has changed my life!

My question is - WHEN do you stamp? Do you do set yourself a block of time per day or do you do bits here and there when you can?
I’m lucky in that both of my children are now at school, which gives me more time to stamp. I’ll tend to have some days where I’ll plan to stamp for a few hours, and the rest of my week will be structured around it, so I’ll make sure the washing is done, grocery shopping done and the house clean, before I let myself stamp. It’s a great motivation for getting the boring jobs done!

My question is what do you use for your ribbon storage when the ribbon is not in rolls. Have been collecting quite a few loose ribbons lately and am looking for a good storage system.
Most of my ribbon is in rolls, so I’m not much help with this one! My main advice would be to have it visible and accessible, so you USE it.

As I am still relatively new to stamping and card making (but already hooked), my question is.... what are the top 5 Stampin' Up! products you would recommend to someone new to stamping and card making.
Good question!
Apart from the obvious stamp sets and inkpads, the 5 things I couldn’t make a card without are:
1. A good trimmer. I love my SU trimmer. It sits on my desk all the time. I literally couldn’t make a card without it!
2. A bone folder. I hate it when a card doesn’t have a crisp, clean fold
3. A good pair of scissors. Totally under-estimated. I didn’t know how important a good pair of scissors was until I had one
4. Sanding Blocks. Great for getting rid of shaggy edges or rough bits. Also good for distressing cardstock
5. Stampin’ Scrub and Mist. If your stamps are easy to clean and put away, you are more likely to use them, therefore you get more value from them.

My question is how do you fit it all into one day: stamping cards, updating your blog, workshops at night, looking after your family (kids), cooking, cleaning, mad balloons, shopping, preparing workshops, exercise, help kids with their home work, paperwork, ordering, mail outs etc etc, Have you got any good advice on how to fit stamping into your day?
Phew, I’m exhausted just reading all that I fit in to a day! LOL
I have to say, I’m a pretty (OK, very) organised person. I’m also a list person. I write down everything, and have lists for everything. I also have routines, and plan things like meals and write them in our household diary. I’m also efficient and multi-task a lot. For example, if I’m on the phone, I’ll pack the dishwasher at the same time. I also don’t watch TV! Radical, I know, but I can’t fit it in! I also have a wonderfully supportive husband and extremely helpful children!

I would like to say that I love the step-by-step instructions for different things - the faux bow I look up all the time.
I often think I get bogged down explaining too much on my blog, so I’m glad the instructions are appreciated!

My question is about organisation - how do you store your stamps so you know what you have, and how do you remember what you have when you sit down to start a card for someone?
I have my stamps stored in categories similar to the way they are arranged in the Catalogue; Flowers, Christmas, Backgrounds, etc (and I actually don’t own that many...I sell off all my retired ones). When I sit down to create, I can see all my stamps, label side out, right in front of me.

I love the Mothers Day card packs ... I would like to make some for Christmas Presents and wondered if you have made the card box to fit 10 cards in. If you have what would the dimensions be? I've only just started stamping and not too sure on scaling things up.
You could probably squeeze 10 cards into the box if they were fairly flat and didn’t have too much layering. You can’t make this box any wider because you are restricted by the size of an A4 sheet. You could make a wider one using a 12x12 sheet or you could make a tote bag instead.

My question is how do you store your inkpads. Is it true that it is best to store them upside down?
Yes, inkpads should be stored upside down, so that the ink is always close to the surface. Stampin’ Up! Inkpads are the only ones I know of that are designed so that you can store them the right way up, and the inkpad will be upside down, because the inkpad is in the lid! I store mine on the spinning inkpad caddy and I LOVE it!

I am an avid SU! fan (not a demo) and would like to know what your top 5 stamp sets would be out of the new catty that could let you create lots of cards (including word, picture and background stamps).
oooh another tricky one!
1. I love Short and Sweet (p 118). Cute little sayings that fit just about anywhere and little background stamps too…a bargain at $29.95
2. I love Big Pieces (p 88) for all sorts of backgrounds, suitable for any age, male or female and any occasion. They are also great to punch out
3. Wild About You (p 66) is a favourite. Great for kids, but adults too, and you can do lots of solid stamp techniques with it.
4. Petal Prints (p 74) is a lovely floral set that you can do 2 step stamping with and also watercolour
5. I should probably include another word set, but instead I’ll say Baroque Motifs (p 98) because it’s unfailingly elegant and I love it!
I would never advise anyone to get a stamp set because it is “useful”. The ones you will USE are the ones you buy because you love them!

Keep up the good work, as I love your style. I too tend to miss that wow factor and the photos of my cards just don’t do them justice - guess that is another quick question - what do you use to make your photos look great?
Well, thankyou for the compliment, because I don’t think my photos are that great, and it’s something I’d like to improve! My set-up is very simple: I use 2 desk lamps with cool daylight globes in them, a backdrop of 12x12 Whisper white cardstock, and a point and press Olympus camera. I always adjust the brightness up a few notches when I’m editing my photos.

I love checking out the inspiration on your blog & what you are up to. My question is how do you find & manage the time to be so productive??!! Not only coming up with great creations, but also sharing your tips and ideas on your blog.
When I make a batch of cards, (I hardly ever make just one. In fact, it’s not unusual for me to make 4 or 5 in an evening) I’ll take photos of them all, edit them all and have them stored on my computer, ready to upload to my blog. Then, it’s just a matter of typing up a quick description to go with it, and I’m done.

I've just discovered your blog, it's great.... how do you find the time to stamp? Do you stamp at night and just stay up late?
I tend to go to bed at about 11pm…is that late? I don’t watch any TV. That helps!

I have recently found your blog and it is incredibly inspiring. My question is - I have at least 4 roll-on adhesive products from various makers and they are all duds (patchy coverage, don't wind etc). I have read that the Stampin’ Up SNAIL is great - can you tell me what makes this product better than the rest on the market.
When SU! first came to Australia, I bought every roll-on adhesive that there is, so I could compare price and quality. I am now happy to sell SNAIL because it works, the refills are easy to pop in and the price is competitive. It definitely makes card making quick and easy, and saves picking up the backing pieces from double-sided tape!

I was wondering if you could give some ideas for birthday cards for little boys? I find them much harder than girls, but I seem to need them often.
Yes, boy cards are definitely trickier than girls! Try stars (Jumbo star wheel, and punches), bugs (Bugs and Kisses), animals (Wild About You), Transport (cars, boats, trains) or one of the sport sets. Failing that, there’s always something generic like balloons or presents stamped in bright colours. Brilliant Blue with Pumpkin Pie or Night of Navy with Old Olive look great for boy cards. You can also use some of the new Double-sided papers (try Jersey Shore or Simply Scrappin’ Crew Kids Boy)

If you have any great card ideas for 'Stem Silhouettes', I'd love to see them. I love this stamp set, but I'm stuck for ideas on what to do with it.
I love this set, but sold it once it retired. You can do a search on my blog for ‘Stem Silhouettes’ or there’s an abundance of ideas on Splitcoast

Doesn't the ribbon look beautiful!! I want to know doesn't the family get annoyed when the house is full of ribbon/paper etc. I know mine does when my craft has taken over :-)
My family are very tolerant, especially considering I run classes from home 2-3 times per week. I try to keep my mess contained usually, but sometimes I’ll spread out, so I can at least be with them while doing a mindless job like cutting ribbon.

My question is about the amazing boxes - do you design them yourself or are there templates available.
Some come from templates and some from my head because I couldn’t find a template. Often templates need to be adjusted to suit our cardstock, as they are designed for US sizes. Once you’ve made a few boxes, it’s easy to ‘tweak’ them to suit your needs!

My question to you is I always seem to get stuck when it comes to making masculine cards, do you have any tips or maybe some photos you could share with us. I get stuck when it comes to what colours and accessories I should add and if I should keep it simple
Male cards are definitely more boring to make! You can see a few ideas by clicking on the "Masculine" category in the Sidebar. I don’t actually own any of the traditional 'masculine' stamp sets…I find them too limiting. Since all the men I know aren’t into golf, for example, why would I buy a golf set so that I can make one or two cards? I tend to rely on background stamps, patterned paper and words and alphabets for masculine cards. To stop it from looking ‘flat’ and boring, try some Hodgepodge Hardware. Hemp Twine is also great.

How do you do you matting, do you hand cut each piece?
I use a paper trimmer to cut all my pieces for matting. If I have a main piece 4 x 7 cm, for example, I will use my trimmer to cut a mat 4.5 x 7.5 cm

I have a question. I want to cover some chipboard in paper or even cardstock - not quite sure if you can use cardstock - how do you go about this? I have heard about gluing it down and then using sandpaper to get rid of the excess but I have tried it before and have not had much luck. Any help would be great.
I’m planning a chipboard tutorial coming soon. Paper is easier than cardstock because it’s thinner. Use a glue stick to glue all over the piece of chipboard, all the way to the edges and stick it glue side down on to some patterned paper. You can use a brayer to smooth it out and get rid of any air bubbles. Trim around the piece with your scissors (don’t worry about trying to get too close). A Sanding Block is great to smooth down the edges and an emery board is good to get into small crevices. You can also dye chipboard with ink.

My burning question is why don’t we see more purple cards? Everybody loves them so why are there not more purple ink and paper colours? Purple is good for males and female and children’s cards isn’t it? Oh and one more - can demonstrators or customers make suggestions to SU for new colour combinations?
Stampin’ Up! has some lovely shades of purple…Lovely Lilac, Almost Amethyst, Lavender Lace, Pale Plum, Perfect Plum, Elegant Eggplant, Orchid Opulence. We are sadly lacking in purple ribbon though!
Demonstrators and customers can always offer feedback to Stampin’ Up! through Demonstrator Support.

How do you Heat emboss on cardboard chip shapes? I saw it mentioned in a magazine and would love to see some demo photos
I’ll make sure to include this in my Chipboard demonstration. You can emboss on Chipboard in the same way as you would on regular cardstock. It’s a great effect!

I'd love to know what you love most about being a SU Demo. I have just joined...waiting on my kit actually so am interested to know what others think.
There’s very little not to love! I have made great relationships with my customers and fellow demonstrators. It has also challenged me in so many ways. And, for the first time in my life I can truly say, “I love my job”!

I've only just got into stamping but already I have stuff everywhere. I loved your hubby's creativity with your punches and I wondered if you had some hints on how to store all the stuff, particularly the paper - do you keep the colours together in their sets (eg soft subtles) or put the scraps in a box or ??????? I don't know - I'm getting lost in stuff. And stamps and inkpads and lots of other bits.... I'm sure it's only going to get more chaotic!!
I started with my cardstock in one of those File Containers, with each colour family in it’s own sleeve, and scraps in the front. Now it’s all in 2 drawers of my Filing cabinet. I still keep it in the Colour families, but one sleeve for each colour. Scraps are in their own plastic envelope…again, one for each colour family. You will find your storage needs change as your collection grows!

Mine is really a request of sorts. Do you own SU! sets that are exclusively Australian? I live in the US and I would love to see cards made with them?
There are a few exclusively Australian sets. Unfortunately I don’t own any! None of them really appeal to me. Sorry!

Would love to have some hints on how best to use the Stampin’ Up brayer.
The brayer can be used in a few ways. It sounds like a tutorial for this might be a good idea!

It’s good to have creative Aussies blogging, have you thought about video tutorials?
I guess I would need to own a video camera to do that, huh?

I'd like to know how you have your work desk organized for stamping/scrapbooking?Maybe a picture?

hmmm…a few requests for this one…I’ll get onto it soon!

How do you store your ribbons? I would love to know.
It's very basic at the moment. Just in a plastic container, on their rolls, plus a zip lock bag with scraps.

I love your Blog Candy Canes and Faux Bow tutorials! I like tips, techniques, and tutorials. I prefer the tutorials not to be videos because sometimes I like to study the photo of how something is done.
I’m planning more tutorials soon!

Where do you get your inspiration? Do you start with a colour, stamp set or sketch? Also how do you manage your time with young children? Sometimes I feel ready to sink with everything that needs to be done.
I think I’ve answered this one. I can definitely relate to that sinking feeling. I often feel like I’m struggling to keep my head above water, and wish things would stop for a little while so I could catch up!

My question has to do with chipboard too. I have never used it and would like a tutorial on it. I've seen it in scrapbooks but is it too heavy for cards?
Chipboard is actually surprisingly light. Tutorial coming!

If you had to pick just one - what would you say is your favourite blog?
Mine! LOL
Actually, I rarely get a chance to look at anyone else’s blog. It's the reward I give myself when I've ticked everything else off my to-do list...unfortunately that rarely happens!

How do you get your ribbon tied so perfectly on your cards? The knot it leaves is fantastic!
I usually leave my ribbon on the roll to tie it. I find it gives me a better knot that way.

I am stuck for inspiration regarding my 'good things grow' set, so if you have these stamps I'd love to see what you can do with them.
I never owned this set, although it is beautiful. Try Splitcoast.

Do you ever use SU heat and stick powder? I had to have it and now that I do, I can't really make it work for me.
Yes, I love the stuff! Stamp in Versamark or Craft white, sprinkle with Heat and Stick powder, Heat with your Embossing Tool until it just turns shiny (do not overheat), sprinkle with glitter and re-heat to set the glitter.
See my blog entry this morning for an example of this technique.

Also, have you ever used Prismacolor pencils and if so, do you use them with mineral spirits??
No, never. Sorry!

What do you think of the cropadile? I have been umming about it as I have been told good and bad things about it - one is that you can’t reach the middle of the card with it to place your eyelets...
I love it! I hadn’t set an eyelet for a million years, and now I’ve gone eyelet crazy. It hasn't been a problem not reaching the middle…I always seem to need my eyelets close to the edge!

Well done if you made it this far! I think I've answered all of your questions. Feel free to email me if there's anything I've missed.


  1. Wow! What a long post "Dear Marelle". I just wanted to add that an alternative way to store ribbons not on reels is a ribbon box or bag. Essentially the box or bag has holes in it and you poke the ribbon through it. It would make a good class project (decorating a timber ribbon box). Let me know if you would like more details Love KimT

  2. Thanks for taking the time to answer all those questions Marelle....I loved reading your answers. Being a new demo your ideas are very helpful. Cheers. Linda

  3. Wow! Thank you so much for answering all of those questions - I had the 5 favourite stamps and the photography one and it was most helpful. Sounds as though you have a few tutorials up your sleeve. Can't wait to see them! Good Job!!!!!!!!! I think I might have to give up television as well as my days are sooo busy I cant find time to finish everything on my list :)



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