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Spread The Love and Share that Blog Crush

Okay, I have to admit this....I had never heard of a blog crush, until I met the lovely Amber, who has amazing names for everything. "Blog Crush" describes my obsession with this blog. I adore everything about it. I want to sit next to this blog on a long bus ride, I want to hold this blog's books....I want to even do this blog's homework because it's so fabulous. 
I really do love handmade items. Every gift that I make is handmade (my mom still is my biggest fan, but I think that she's also a bit biased), I love to buy trinkets with the thought of how I will use it in a card, wrap or project. So, naturally my crush would gravitate to Heart Handmade UK. She not only posts the most gorgeous home decor photos (seriously, if my husband wasn't so vocal about decor, her decor ideas would be my house), but she shares great DIY tutorials that really fit my own style! Her layout boards are always so pretty, with the perfect combination of color and patterns in the products that she selects. I often drool and like the jealous curator, wish "why didn't I think of that!?" which is the point of  a good DIY isn't it? Make sure to visit her blog, and click her on her"tutorials" will LOVE it!

What is the point in declaring my love? In revealing my blog crush? In sharing with the world that I clutch my laptop and daydream of my blog crush in the morning? The point is this. Clear and Simple Stamps has this awesome campaign going on, inspired by the beautiful Amber, who graciously is letting us borrow her graphics. She learned about blog crushes at ALT Summit SLC 2013, a crazy awesome getaway for bloggers. Check out the details at her blog, she has an amazing project to share with you.

But, I too have a lovely project to share with you! Spread the Love asks you to create a project based on a color scheme (you know that thing where you have to follow some color guidelines), and then out your blog crush to the world....awe, just like we did in middle school!! Well, here I go. Oh yeah, duh...while Clear and Simple Stamps would like you to feature their gorgeous products, I sadly live on an art teacher's income, soooo....I kinda haven't had the extra moolah to purchase any yet, but does it count it if I have a wish list? *hiding head in shame*
Kudos to my girl, Amber--she's got the color schemes going on!! I swear someday that girl's going to be famous! Wait a minute...she already is! Gotta love her! 

I was inspired by the collage ephemera and delicate fineries found at the Heart Handmade UK blog. Collages and spools... really? How is that clean and simple? Collage is style of art, and like all styles of art, it can change to suit a need. By laying out your elements in a certain way and selecting what types of products to use you can make even a collage, clean and simple. So, I pulled out some new Mia Bella and Diane from SEI and created this card.
I layered strips of patterned paper on one another and added vellum, making a collage of patterned paper.
I clustered a lot of fun trinkets that add dimension and texture to the card's focal point!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope that you take a moment to stop by  Heart Handmade UK. Also, make sure to swing by Amber's blog for all the details, and enter the campaign challenge yourself. You have until March 2nd at 9am est to upload!

Stop by my blog next week for my newest series, that you're going to find informative at any level of crafting.

A New Series

Have you ever felt like blogging, and doing it right is a mystery? Are there people out there destined to be household names with  a possse of thousands of followers, while the rest of us sit by, sip our coffee and think, "I wish I came up with that!?" Well, fret no more don't have to sit on the sidelines.

This series targets  people new to blogging and those who've been around the block a few times. You'll learn simple ways to snaz up your blog and strengthen your brand. As well as ideas that will help you understand the role of social media in attracting readers, connecting with them, and keeping them engaged in your content.

I've taken advice learned from my own experiences (sometimes embarrassing),  and combined it with knowledge I've learned from blogging geniuses, to help you navigate the world of blogging and branding. We'll address questions like:

Do I really need to pay a graphic designer all that money to design my blog?
What's the best time of the day to tweet?
How do I connect with my Pinterest followers?
How do I grow my readership if my mom is my only follower? (Yep, that was me!)
What's an editorial calendar for, and why do I need one?

I'm so excited to share with you what I've learned, and hope you can join along! This new series starts next week with Simple tips for a successful blog design. Hope you can join me, and let me know what you think!

Winner of the Stationery Kit

Remember this adorable stationery kit from this post? I've got a winner to share with you. The kit comes complete with a ton fun accessories-perfect for your own card-making!
Jenny, please email me your address so that I can send this out to you! Thanks to everyone who played along! See ya soon!

Simply Stamped Cards

Have you ever just loved something because it's so versatile? You can do one thing with it, leave it alone and then come back to it later, and do something completely different? That's how I feel about stamping. You can use stamps to make something, and then come back later and make something new and fresh. 

Today I am designing with stamps from Sweet Stamp Shop's February release. Most of my stamps feature Color Wheel, Baby Love and Sweet Victoria, but I also used some older sets for my last card, and for the exclusive card I am featuring on Facebook. I am a fan of combining sets, and using stamps in new ways, so I was excited to use a little bit of all my favorite sets.
 Color wheels and ombres are a big trend right now. I have always loved them, so when I got this paper from Studio Calico, I knew I wanted to used the  Color Wheel set with it. I stamped the  Color Wheel on the back of the patterned paper, and trimmed out only one row. I then combined all the stamped and trimmed images into a color wheel, using foam tape to create some dimension. Try looking at your stamps differently, because it's okay to trim an image.
 I still think that  Sweet Victoria is my favorite Sweet Stamp Shop. I love the frame, the flowers and the vintage feel. For this card I was totally inspired by the frame. The frame stamp comes as half a frame, so you can combine two halves of the frame, or use one half and have the image going off the page, like I did.

Try stamping with a limited color scheme. I stayed with gray and yellow, but added pops of color with the red lace paper, and gold glitter letter stickers and sequins.

QUICK FIX: I had originally stamped a leaf from the Sweet Victoria set in the frame where the wood veneers are, but I hated the green ink with the yellow and gray. I didn't want to scrap the card, cause I liked the rest of the design, so I adhere a teeny little cardstock over the green leaf, and added wood veneer leaves (that I found at Michael's), which I am currently obsessing over on top of the faux pas leaves.
I love combining stamps and letter stickers to create new sentiments. Script and san serif font combinations are my favorite. The love sentiment is from the Baby Love set, and these glitter stickers are new from American Crafts.
Finally, I am fan of combining stamp sets. I'm a little weird and don't like being restricted to using just one set when I stamp. So, I love combining products that seem unrelated into a cohesive design that works perfectly. Ohh La La is a older set that features this adorable high heel and sentiment.   I placed  it inside an apothecary jar from the Jar of Sweets set. I can't tell you how much I love love love apothecary jars, I use them in my home decor, so I was beyond thrilled to receive this set.
Shoe shopping is a delectable treat for most women, at least that's how I look at it. I don't get many opportunities to buy shoes, so when I do buy them, it's like dessert, but without the calories. So, it seemed only fitting to place this adorable high heel in the apothecary jar. 

Want to see another card that features more cute items from the Ohh La La set? Stop by my Facebook for an exclusive card! Leave a comment telling me what's your favorite item to buy when you get to treat yourself! I'd love to know!

Simple M-I-Y Miniature Card Kit

A girl can never have too much stationery. From note cards, to pretty envelopes and unique accoutrements, I have always loved pretty paper. Maybe that's why I like crafting with it so much! 

Today's project is a MIY--Make it Yourself idea! I created a cute mini stationery kit from SEI's Think of Me collection that is part of CLUB SEI's card making kit---yes, they have a monthly card making kit, scrapbooking kit and paper-crafting kit. Each kit is full of papers and embellishments, which are different from the main lines! How cool is that!?

For a MIY mini card making kit, I have a few tips. First, make sure that you measure the cards you put in the kit, so they'll fit in the mini envelopes. Secondly, keep all your components to scale--make sure that all the little goodies will fit on their little cards.
There are so many goodies that you can put in your kit, I'll share what I put in mine. Because of the theme at this month's blog, stationery items like stamps, envelopes and a postcard take center stage!

|Envelopes| There are two large envelopes and two small envelopes included in the kit. I die cut them from patterned paper found in CLUB SEI's card making kit. I picked patterned paper that was suitable for multiple occasions.

|Stationery| Because there are two sizes of envelopes, I made two sizes of stationery. For the the larger envelopes, I trimmed two flat panel cards from cardstock. One panel is plain, and for the other, I stamped a postcard from Lawn Fawn's You've Got Mail set on it. Then I trimmed the postcard so it would in the large envelopes. The two smaller envelopes fit tags from Field Notes collection. Of course you could also use the tags  separately, like attaching them to a gift bag.

|Ribbon| I included two ribbon trims from CLUB SEI's card making kit. The green gingham and stitched pinked ribbon are suitable for any occasion, and are a suitable width for the smaller scale kit. I wrapped them around a tag, and secured them to the tag with double-stick tape.

|Washi Tape| What kit would be complete without washi? You could use it as a border, or to adhere paper to paper, or even to secure a miniature envelope. Washi is the go-to embellishment for quick, easy and simple crafting. I trimmed two lengths of blue and green washi tape and wrapped them around a tiny tag (the same one I used for the stationery).

|Embellishments| Inside a cute vellum envelope you'll find butterflies, heart and starburst circles that will liven up any card or tag. I punched them from the 8.5" x 11" paper pad that comes with CLUB SEI's card making kit.

|Puffy Stickers| These are brand new and included in CLUB SEI's card making kit. They're teeny tiny, so they work perfect in your miniature card making kit. A little puff is so much fun to play with because it will add dimension to the cards and tags, but still fit in the envelopes. All I did was trim some from the sticker sheet, and add them to the kit.

|Sentiment Flags| It's not as much fun if you have to write a sentiment on these adorable cards, so I stamped some general sentiments on cardstock using the Mat Stack 2 set from Papertrey Ink. After I stamped the sentiments trimmed the flags to create notched ends, and used pinking sheers for the cute deckled edge.

|Patterned Paper strips| I love little strips of patterned paper color! So, I trimmed some patterned paper, and then created a decorative edge with a border punch. You could use the patterned paper strips to doll up the card or tag, or add some pizazz to the envelope.

|Custom Die Cuts| These were so fun to make, and would look so cute on the envelopes! I die cut postage stamps from patterned paper, and all the pieces can be mixed up together to make the individual die cuts pop!
So, how about I have a giveaway for this fun little kit? There are a few ways to win! I hope that you play along!

Make sure to head over to Branch Out Designs fan page on Facebook, and click like. Come back and let me know that you did so, and receive an entry.
After you have liked Branch Out Designs on Facebook, shared with your friends by tagging them on my page or shared this post on Facebook and Twitter, then comment below, and be entered in the giveaway.
Share this post on Facebook or TwitterCome back and let me know that you did so, and receive an entry.

Giveaway closes on  February 24th at midnite!

Quick and Easy Stamped Stationery

Well, today marks the end of The Stationery Show, which featured all sorts of great paper-crafted projects throughout the month showcasing the many fun aspects of stationery. As I mentioned earlier, I have always had an affinity for stationery sets. I collect the ones with pretty motifs, that are in lovely packaging, and are either trendy or nostalgic. 

For today's project, I combined pretty motifs and trendy designs to stamp a coordinating stationery set, complete with matching envelopes using stamps from Avocado Arts.
Quatrefoil's are so trendy and stylish right now. Avocado Arts makes a great border quatrefoil stamp that I stamped on all the envelopes, stationery and the stamp set sleeve. By using a simple motif, and repeating it throughout a set, you maintain unity, but can also add some more details without overdoing it. I also repeated the design of the stationery, only changing ink colors, stickers and veneers.

Stationery can be flat, but try adding a little dimension with simple embellishments like wood veneers, sequins and thread. I think it makes the stationery really pop off the page!

Like the vellum sleeve? Stay tuned next month when I show you how to use vellum and transparent overlays in your paper-crafting and stamped projects!

That's it for me! Make sure to check out the other Pit Crew loveliness today!
Teri Anderson
Kelley Eubanks
Julie Masse

Top Ten: Things I Learned from Being on a Design Team

Hey there friends! It's time for the second installment of the Top Ten list! The Top Ten list focuses on a range of paper crafting topics that will get you talking and thinking. You can fist pump the air, with a "right on!" or you can tell me, "Whatever! You've got it all wrong." Feel free to chime in with your opinion! The first Top Ten list dealt with ten trends that needed to end, which a lot of people loved. So, make sure that if this is your first time here, and you haven't read it, that you check it out right here. 

Today's Top Ten list are valuable goodies that I learned from being on a design team. If you're new to paper-crafting, you may not be aware of the phrase, design team. Simply put, a design team is a group of creative ladies that design projects to inspire others. These ladies may design for a paper-crafting manufacturer, or be part of a design team that focuses on a particular element of the paper-crafting industry, such as a challenge blog. If you're trying to get on a design team, or interested in some tips about designing for a team (from a girl who's "been there and done that"), then read on!

Design teams are a professional responsibility. More often than not, when you're on a design team, you're representing a manufacturer or the creator of the design team, not just yourself. Whatever you do online and offline reflects onto the people you're affiliated with. If you frequent message boards and engage in chats with people, you'll soon be easily recognized. More often than not, people from those message boards will visit your blog, and when they find the big 'ol binkie saying that you proudly design for Lucy Goosy Stamples Co. (soo not a real manufacturer), they'll see you as the face of that company to some degree. Your behavior online can influence the way people view a manufacturer. 

The same goes for your blog. While blogging is fun, and can be therapeutic, if you use your personal blog as a design blog, and post very personal information, you may want to seperate the two. Sharing fun tid-bits of your life can help people relate to you, but long-winded dramatic personal life stories aired to the web, aren't professional and don't reflect well as a design team member.  Try to separate the two.
I've designed for a variety of teams, from challenge blogs, to store design teams to manufacturer design teams, and here's the truth: at some point you are not going to be inspired to design. It could be that you don't like this week's challenge prompt, or you received your design team box in the mail, and the product isn't your style. The simple truth is, you still need to create, and do it well.

There have been times when I've gotten product, sat there, stared at it for days, and tried to make something work with it. Maybe I didn't like the design, or it's not my particular style, and I have no clue on how to approach a project using the product. Whatever the case is, being on a design team means that you'll need to step up, and sell that product. You never know-your project could be what sells the product to a person who doesn't usually use that style of stamp, or that type of ribbon! Some of my favorite projects have been made using stamps and paper, that at first, I wasn't too excited about working with.
Being on a design team carries some extra perks that aren't advertised---you can make some great friends. I've been blessed to work on a few teams, where the ladies I designed with became  wonderful friends, who I could share stuff with that I never shared with anyone else. My design team friends and I also met up at CHA, hung out, ate and laughed together. I would have never had the pleasure of meeting them if it had not been for our design team.

Take the time to connect with the ladies on your design team who already share a common interest with you! Often times, the design team has a private group or message board where you can share projects, ask for advice and get to know one another. More often than not, you'll find ladies on your team with common interests. Take advantage of this great opportunity to connect with others. 
Man, I wish someone had shared this advice with me when I first started applying for manufacturer teams; it would have saved me money. I have seen some design team calls include this in the list of requirements for applying, and I went along with it buying any product I could find with the company's name on it. Spending money, and hunting down product of a manufacturer for which you'd like to design for isn't necessary, and it's ridiculous. If the design team coordinator likes your style, it won't matter what paper or embellishments you use because your style will show through in your design. 

I don't recommend buying product for a design team call...ever. Try out for teams whose product you actually use and enjoy.
Like all relationships, the honeymoon stage of your design team affiliation may end sooner than your term. Does that mean that you bail? No! Sadly, the truth is, when you're an adult, you fulfill your obligations. Does that mean that you continue designing for the team, even if you're miserable and feel under-valued? Hmmm....I'll have to chew on that last question, since I've been in this position (twice), and I stayed because I felt it was unprofessional to ditch my commitment, and leave. I wasn't happy, but I did my projects, wrote my posts and finished my term, then I moved on. 

If you're designing for a team, and it's turned out not to be the wonderful experience you thought you were in for, you should thoughtfully evaluate if bailing early could impact your role as a designer within the industry (women talk, ya know). However, if the entire experience is emotionally unhealthy, you should probably step down. In the end, it's a decision, only you can make. 
Chances are that your greatest paper-crafting dreams will not be fulfilled by being on a design team. If you dream of fame and fortune in this industry, a design team will not launch your career. Before you apply for a design team you should be honest, and ask yourself what your motives are for joining. Remember, you're a representative of the company you design for, it's not necessarily a means to an end in creating a name for yourself.

There are benefits to being on a design team. Being on a design team can help you improve your craft by making projects regularly, and trying new things.  Some design teams can also provide you with product that you don't have to buy, and supply your blog with a decent following. Designing for a team can also be a fun experience. However, If you have higher hopes in the paper-crafting industry, you'll have to work above and beyond design team affiliation to accomplish such fame.
Some design teams are a great experience and some aren't. Finding out which ones are great will help you avoid top ten reason number 6. You may be thinking,"this is great advice, but there's no list of   approved design teams to work for." True, there is no list. However you can seek out former design team members of a team you're hoping to join, and ask them about their experience. Remember, the experience should be enjoyable for you, since you are promoting the manufacturer for free over an extended period of time.

When probing current or past design team members, ask them questions such as how many terms did you serve on the team? Did you find the design team coordinator helpful, available and responsive to emails and questions? Did you have enough time to complete projects? Were you given product on regular intervals? Were the design team expectations transparent? Researching how well a design team is managed will make a profound impact on how much you enjoy the experience.
When I was a beginning paper-crafter and blogger, I thought the ticket to paper-crafting fame was being on design teams, and a lot of them. I would spend hours looking for blog challenge design teams as well as manufacturers that I could apply to. There were two things wrong with this approach. First, I wasted a lot of time and second, I applied and joined design teams that were not my style or that followed my brand.

Style? Brand? What are those? Your style is your unique approach to design and your overall aesthetic. For example, if someone looked at a card, could they easily identify it as yours? Your brand, on the other is what you as a designer and a blogger do. Your brand is your high quality original content. You could be a DIY-er, or a mom who blogs about crafts that you can do with your kids with stuff found around the house. Ignoring your brand and style so that you can design for five teams could be  potential suicide to your brand.
Design teams are a strange phenomena. It's the only job where you'll basically work for free. Some people are going to agree with this point, and some won't. That's okay. We all have different goals for ourselves as crafters and as bloggers. But, it is important to address the fact that in most cases, most women give of their free time, their talents, their ideas, and for what? Free product? Really?

In no other industry will you see companies and other bloggers receive such incredibly cheap marketing and advertising. Blogging and crafting as part of a design team are a lot of work and time. Not only do you have to think of a project, you then have to create it, photograph it, edit the photos, and then write the blog post. Finally, you have to optimize it for SEO's, and then distribute it amongst your social media platforms. Dearness, for just the social media alone, people hire that work out.

The design team model gets a lot of flack from professional bloggers and crafters because it can minimize the work and effort needed of those crafters who take this industry seriously. Now, I am not suggesting that you should go out there and demand money for your talents. However, asking yourself questions like, "how much is my time worth?" and "Do I want to expand my brand?" will point you in the right direction in choosing to be a part of a design team. And, note that there are some design teams that do pay their designers for required projects. Just as there are also design teams that pay for published work or for projects displayed at a trade show.
Quite possibly the best advice I ever received, was given to me by my friend, Amber from Damask Love. She asked me two questions. First, who am I as a brand? Do I sell my own ideas? My content? My work? Or, are companies freely using my blog to sell their product? Secondly, who am I as a blogger? What am I offering at my blog? And, how is it any different than the other thousands of crafters who are blogging out there? 

Those questions really made me think about what I had been doing as a crafter for the last two years. I wasn't designing for my brand. I wasn't making a name for me. Heck, I had been blogging for two years, with no changes in readership or influence. These questions and this top ten number one point also motivated me to re-brand Emily Branch Designs, offering new content designed to help you, the reader understand your brand, expand your readership and enjoy the being the divine crafter that you are.

If you're serious about making a name for yourself through branding and learning about crafting techniques,  then I hope you'll subscribe to this blog, and continue to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I have lots of fun posts informative series planned for 2013 that you don't want to miss. And be sure to stop by throughout the week,  you don't want to miss pretty projects or an opportunity to share your thoughts with me.

Two Simple Stamp Techniques for Cards

 I am so happy to be guest designing with The Greeting Shop today. They're releasing really adorable new stamps, with a whole new look that come with matching dies! The Greeting Shop took it's time testing these dies, until they found the perfect fit. The dies will work in any standard die cutting machine, and they retail for $10.50. What a value!

Along with five very talented designers, I was asked to help showcase their new sets. Today, I'm sharing with you two pretty cards featuring Mini Cupcakes! This set is so sweet and precious. I especially loved the fact that you can mix and match your own custom cupcakes.
This first card was super fun to make. I have just discovered this fun technique of glitter stamping where I literally mix glitter and clear embossing powder together and heat set it. Right now it's sitting in a ramekin on my craft table, I gotta use it all up, but y'all know that embossing powder and glitter last forever, so I don't know when I am going to be able to use this ramekin again. But anyways, my husband saw the glitter in the ramekin and let out the exasperated husband of a crafter sigh that says, "oh my crafting wife and her supplies!" I think he was trying to get the ramekin back into the kitchen, but no way! It's doing a fabulous job of holding this home made glitter embossing powder concoction! And, I don't cook, so at least it's being used!
I wanted to show off the cupcake, so I decided that glitter embossing the top of the cupcake would show it off fantabulously, and then I placed it on the wrapper, put it on a stand and added a little candle! Of course I couldn't resist playing it up a little bit, in my shabby fresh style. I am obsessed with these adorable little paper doilies that I bought at the annual dollhouse miniature show my mom and I attend every year! I gotta get more, they complement the cute cupcakes perfectly. Wanna try the glitter embossing technique yourself? 
materials: Mini Cupcake w/die set | Watermark Ink | Dye Ink | Clear Embossing Powder | Heat gun | Cotton swab

|1| Combine equal parts of glitter and clear embossing powder into a bowl.

|2| Mix the glitter and embossing powder thoroughly.

|3| Stamp cake stand and cupcake wrapper with die ink.

|4| Stamp cupcake with Watermark Ink.

|5| Apply glitter and embossing powder mix. Lightly use your finger to pat the powder onto the image, and let it sit for about 15 seconds (after much trial and error, waiting 15 seconds really helped the powder stick).

|6| Remove excess glitter and wipe away with remaining with a cotton swab. Heat set.

Now, for another fun way to use this stamp. I am always trying to find new ways to get more use out of my stamps! Try looking at yours to see what else you can do with them.
 I am sucker for scallops and the cupcakes got them! So, I figured-why not exploit that adorable little scallop trim?
 This card utilizes the scalloped edge of the cupcake and creates a border, simply by masking part of the  cupcake image.
materials: Mini Cupcake w/die set | Die Ink | washi tape

|1| Affix washi tape to card to create mask. I prefer washi tape when masking because it's flush with the card when I stamp, making sure the image transfers perfectly. Plus, you can pull it off the cardstock  without ripping it.

|2| Stamp the cupcake upside down, slightly over the tape in a row. Remove tape when done.

Make sure to stop by The Greeting Farm's blog once you take a look at all the beautiful projects, and enter for your chance to win all four new stamp/die sets. The giveaway is open until noon CST February 16th, so grab your coffee, cuddle up under a blanket and be inspired by the lovely projects on today's hop.

I hope you try out these simple techniques for your cards using the  Mini Cupcake set. Don't forget to stop by on Monday for my second Top Ten list! You'll love this installment, the top ten things I learned from being on a design team. See ya then.

Making a Stamped Seal for Your Cards

Welcome back to another installment of The Stationery Show. All month long, I am creating projects that showcase all the delectable details of stationery! When I first came up with the idea for today's project, I was totally jazzed. I had the basic image of how it would turn out, but only sort of knew the process. Honestly, I was afraid that if I screwed this up, I'd ruin one of my favorite stamp sets! But, I am pleased to let you know that no Avocado Arts stamps were harmed in the making of this card! WHEW!

Stamp seals are totally AMAZING. They're gorgeous and add beautiful texture to fine stationery. They were used to ensure that important envelopes were not intercepted, or opened by someone other than the recipient. The seal would have to be broken in order for the envelope to be opened, a dead giveaway that the envelope was read.
Thankfully, no seals had to be torn or destroyed for this project! However, I do have to admit that this particular technique took a lot of trial and error to get right. But, all that isn't important, because I created this beautiful seal with two things, Avocado Art's Sending You set and hot glue!
I loved the melted look and raw edges. It makes the seal look more realistic! But, I do have a secret to share with you. Are you ready? This was not the best seal that I made! *Smacking my head!* Oh, this is a great "Emily story," a story in which I overlook a very important detail. The seal that originally was used for this card was perfection! However, when I attached it to the card, me being the excited nut that I am, adhered it with hot glue! Mind you, the seal is made of hot glue. So, part of the seal melted away, and the envelope detail was lost. I didn't notice this problem until after I edited the photos, and was staring at the photoshop window, wondering why it looked weird! When I realized what happended, I ran upstairs, gently tore the old seal off and replaced it with the runner up (and used double-sided tape to adhere it). I was so bummed, but I still think this seal looks great!
materials: Sending You Set  | pink hot glue | hot glue gun | wax paper

|1|  Gather your supplies: a pink glue stick, a glue gun (I bought a low temperature gun for colored glue, so I wouldn't get the glue all over my regular glue gun), and the envelope stamp. Choose a stamp that isn't too detailed. Layout the wax paper on your surface.

|2|  Heat up your glue gun and "shoot" some hot glue onto the wax paper in a raised dot. Be careful that you don't spread it out too much and make sure your stamp is ready to place on top of the glue. If you wait too long to position the stamp, the glue will dry.

|3|  Firmly, but carefully "stamp" the envelope onto the hot glue, and let sit for about 12 seconds. I tried lifting the stamp immediately, and that didn't work. The glue has to dry and harden a little bit, so that the image will set.

|4|  Carefully, lift the stamp from the glue seal. Trim from the wax paper with scissors. If there is excess glue dried on the stamp, just peal it off! You can remove excess glue off the stamping block with some nail polish remover.

I had a blast making this stamped seal. I hope that you give it a try. Remember, today is the 15th, which means the whole Pit Crew is bringing you beautiful projects with this month's current set, plus a sneak of next week's set.

You may have noticed that two names are not listed here. Latisha Yoast and AJ Otto have been designing for Avocado Arts since the beginning. After nearly three years, we say goodbye to them as they move on to new ventures in their lives. I love these beautiful women, and grew even closer to them at this past CHA. They're the kind of genuine friends, that you only come upon once in your life. They will be greatly missed, and helped make Avocado Arts the family that it is. I wish them the best!

Valentine's Day: Brutal Honesty's that special day of love, of romance, of flowers and chocolate. That day where women long for sweet poems of adoration, and men pray that they bought a bouquet of their Valentine's favorite flower. 

Regardless of your Valentine's plans, Wes Anderson's illustrations capture all the awkwardness and humor of love, in all it's stages. I found these print and trim valentines here, and couldn't resist sharing them with you, because if you know me well, you'll understand why I find them funny. If you're just meeting me for the first time, then God bless you!

The dear hubby is spending Valentine's Day with a colleague on a business trip, so my cousin and I will be spending the evening drinking wine, watching chick flicks and eating take out. I couldn't ask for a better Valentine's Day! 

Card Stamping on Die Cuts

YEP! One last post for today, and I'm done! I just couldn't stop stamping! So, I don't know if this fabulous idea counts as an actual stamping technique, BUT mixed with the right die cut and embellishments you can make a lot of texture, which is something most stamping can't claim. 

This fun card showcases Sweet Stamp Shop's newest release, Baby Love. This set has the most adorable baby motifs and designs, but I loved the cloud and rainbow so much, that I had to use them first. I guess I'm not the traditional stamper. I love stamping, and I love texture and embellishments. So, I like to combine the two in new ways.

When stamping on white cardstock, you can draw attention to stamp because the white space causes the eye to rest on what's going on--the stamp! However, white cardstock is kinda flat and one-dimensional, kinda like your math teacher's personality. What do you do? Stamp on patterned paper? Never use white cardstock again? NO! Do what I did to get some texture---die cut a block of patterned paper, but keep the die cut pieces, and stamp on the embossed cardstock! 

To give it even more texture, I added some pearls to the rainbow to make it pop and then added a painted chipboard cloud, tape, patterned paper and fabric sticker sentiment!

Thanks so much for stopping buy! Make sure to check out this post for a tutorial on flip stamping using Sweet Stamp Shop stamps, as well as this post featuring a tutorial on how to trim stamps to make a gift holder.

I'll be back with more fun projects featuring Sweet Stamp Shop stamps on February 22nd. Mark you calendars, and stop by!
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