Sorry this is SOOOOO late. Another migraine day.

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Timestamp: 2008-03-25 23:47:51 UTC

104. LouAnne |

Lauren, your blog is the highlight of my day.
I get so many great ideas from you, and your sketches are alwys super.
I keep all your stuff together in a file, and go there whenever I need inspiration-WHICH IS ALWAYS!
Believe it or not, my biggest challenge is getting enough CS cut and folded, so that I can buckle down and get creating. I guess we’d have to call that LAZINESS, right????
I would LOVE to win this set, as most of my cards go to my church family, and I love to find new scripture stamps.
These would be wonderful for men as well as my lady friends.
Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us.
Love, in crafting,


Thanks LouAnne! I will email you for your address so Kelley can grace you with that beautiful stamp set.

In response to your comment’s about your own personal challenges-I decided to take the time to provide some advice or helpful hints, to the MANY  “challenges” you all face regarding stamping/creating.

Why ask you what your challenges were,  if I weren’t willing to help with some insight/advice right?

Well here are hopefully some solutions to the most common challenges. I am generalizing the responses, and chose the MOST common to answer.

This was done to be fun, and entertaining.

Let me know what you think, and if you have a problem/question you want answered.

Here we go from A-Z


All my stuff!

Many of you said you can’t keep track of what you have. You re- buy things you already own .

Now I too, as organized as I am , forget I have bought certain things, but have never double-bought anything! THANK GOODNESS.

When you have alot its easy to forget about a cool thing you got last year! I suggest you go through your stuff every 3 months. Thats what I do. It will also help you see what you DO have.

Make a note to remind yourself to use a certain embellishment.

Well I guess I don’t need to tell you to get organized! LOL! It really is worth the time.

I love clear tupperware bins! OR better yet ON SALE after Christmas storage!!!

I label mine and keep all my things separate! I know for some space is an issue, and that makes it really hard. Do what you can to keep things together!

Eyelets, brads and bling-each have their very own bin. That way if Im looking for something, its easy to find. Ribbon-all together

I also organize my stamps by company-StampinUp! MFT, C.C. Designs, Papertrey, ACWP, Rubber Romance, TCP, Lizzie Anne, Green Grass, Gina K………………whatever it may be-they are ALL together. Then I can quickly look through the company sets and assure I have or do not have something.

BOWS-I’m not happy with my bows-HELP!

WOW! So many of you have a hard time tying bows!!!

I always told my SU! customer’s “Feel the ribbon”. They use to crack up. But over time they “got it”. Don’t force the ribbon to tie in a way it doesn’t want to go.

OK I sound weird but its true.

Also when you make a knot or a bow, you want to pull the left side more, it will give you a flat knot. Often time you just have to mess with it.

For bows, if its not what I like, I pull the tails to loosen it up, I then re-tighten by pulling the ears, in attempt to perfect it.

PRACTICE! There are lots of “cheating methods” as well.

Like make a bow, and add it to the top of your strip of ribbon, with a glue dot! Or punch holes through your card layer and tie it through those.

LOTS and lots of cheats. Find what is best for you. Again PRACTICE.

COLORING-I can’t blend my copic’s, or watercolor well

I think this was the most common challenge!

OK the un-fortunate truth in this is you really have to PRACTICE!!!None of us got descent without alot of it. I do recommend you watch a video tutorial on a method YOU perfer, and just keep at it. Maybe take a class!

U-Tube has a ton too.

Google a search!!

I am challenged and don’t think my blog lets me load a video, like that. Not sure. I also don’t think I could figure it out if I tried! LOL! Maybe I should “google” that.

It really just takes time to get a feel.

I know I’m still practicing. Its a never ending work in progress! I’m OK with that.

COLORS-I am SO challenged when it comes to putting color together. I just don’t know what looks good.

Well if you like the colors in that patterned paper you are holding, why not use them in a card?

I make little “squares” of inspiration. (see photo below in- inspiration)

It helps me see what really looks good together, and I can reference it later, if I don’t use it!

The important thing to remember is use color in small doses. If one color is too over powering, add it in a smaller version.

Again, look at fabric, ad’s, and LIFE to pull color combo’s from. You would not believe the things that I get my inspiration from.

DECIDE! How do I decide when to use what color for stamping my main image?

This is a great question.

What she is saying is How do I know when to use say brown, or gray for the main image, in place of black.

Well I say, go with the colors you are choosing for your overall design, and how bold do you want thew image to be.

Brown is a nice choice when using vanilla card-stock for your base, or when there is no need for the main image to be stamped in black.

If you are using earthy tones, maybe you want a more subtle contrast in your main image.

Gray-I like to stamp in this color is I want a VERY soft look. Like when I did my Baby Onesie cards. Black ink would be too BOLD.

Black is not the only option, so just be open to it.

If you aren’t sure what color your image would look best in-use some scrap to test it out! Its fun to mix it up every now and then.

EMBOSSING! I have such a hard time when I use embossing powder. It makes spots all over my paper.

First make sure you are using a moist ink. If your ink is drying out then the powder won’t stick well!

It sounds like you need a little thing called an Embossing Buddy! This is a little powder filled pouch that takes the static off you paper.

You rub your card-stock FIRST. Stamp with your ink of choice, apply powder, tap off excess, then emboss away.

Brush off excess powder AFTER image is embossed and cooled.

To catch excess embossing powder I have a tray. You can use pretty much anything you want, but this works best for me. I just remove the nozzle stopper, and pour back into the container.

HINT: You can use a sock filled with cornstarch or a dryer sheet and it will work too.

When I emboss why does my paper discolor and warp?

That is EASY! You are holding your heat gun TOO close to your card-stock! Don’t hold it so close, and heat set with a small back and forth motion. Don’t keep the gun in one spot. That is when card-stock warps and over heats, causing color changes.

FINISH getting things done-I can’t ever finish a project. I have so many unfinished cards/projects.

HELP! I can get stuff Im suppose to done.

Well these 2 problems are one in the same.

DON’T move onto another project until you complete the first one! ONLY if this is a habit you have. Sometimes I stop in the middle cause I get another spark of creativity. But I always finish what I start. Sometimes I just jot down the next idea, then quickly finish up what I started.

MAKE A LIST! You need to stay focus if you have a lot to do, so write a list! Along with ideas for what you want to do!


Make mom a b-day card by Tuesday using hummingbirds to go with the bird-feeder idea

Finish Lauren’s class party invites by Sat. I will do 3 each day. Need to be done by Friday.

This helps you stay focused and get it all done. It feels great to cross stuff off.

HOARDING! Help I can’t stop hoarding my stuff. How can I stop?

A little at a time! You bought this stuff to use it right? What good is it doing in a box in your stamp room?

When I LOVE buy 2 or more 😀 Then you have enough to use some of it.

IDEAS-I have great ideas, but when it comes time to stamp I have no creativity left!

I said it before, I’ll say it again-carry a notebook! They sell CHEAP ones, everywhere! I even take photos with my phone if I really want to remember details! LOL! I really don’t care if I look crazy-in a way I am!

When you get an idea WRITE IT DOWN! I am constantly sketching layouts from commericals, color combo’s, ideas from a pattern I saw on some random woman’s skirt! 

sketch-book.jpg Here is a page from my sketch book (I know its messy but Im always letting it flow) You can also see how I get an idea for my colors. I made lots of little square swatches to test color combo’s I think up!! (this is what I was talking about in color’s section) Then if I don’t use it, I have an idea for another time.

Or take that magazine and book mark the page of inspiration.

Or if I just have a cool epiphany-jot it down!

Then when you DO go stamp, you have plenty of jumping off points.

That is how I get so much done.

JUNK ALL OVER MY DESK-I can never find anything I have stuff all over my desk.

Well I find this problem can be helped if you make the time to clean off your desk after each time you stamp.

It will also make you want to go back to stamp again because you aren’t dreading the mess you have to clear up after several inspirational stamping sessions. AND its like having a clean slate each time.

KEEP IT REAL!! Help I can’t do simple cards,  or I can’t use X images.

The important thing is you acknowdlege what you are/aren’t great at. No one is stellar at EVERYTHING.

Many of us have our limits. Some of you expressed  a hard time with a particular style, or area of stamping. You know what-its OK! Stay true to yourself! You have your own stlye, and things you like or are good at. Nothing wrong with that. Try to focus on the good.

I talked about my own struggles like this many times here, and I accept it.

I do like to try to step out of my comfort zone, but I am aware at what Im good at and what Im not.

That mean scrapbooking NOT HAPPENING, and I’m OK with that.

LINE UP! I can’t ever get my 2 step images to line up, or my sewing stitch stamps. What am I doing wrong? It’s very frustrating!

Well-the EASIEST stamps to line up are the clear acrylic/polymer one’s.

If you have a rubber set, then 2 step stamping, and faux stitching stamps will definitely be harder to line up.

You should use your Stamp-a-ma-jig (aka SAMJ)

This is a tool that allows you to line your stamp up on a clear sheet first. Once you determine WHERE you need your image to be, place the sheet down, then place SAMJ there, remove the plastic sheet, and stamp your image!


You can view the direction’s with your product. I find this extra step with the SAMJ, alleviates a lot of that frustration of attempting numerous times (or ruining a project) in attempt to line things up or place them where you need/want it.

MAKING 3D STUFF!! I can’t ever do any 3D items-how can I get started?

Well this was another area people seem challenged with.

They are often intimidated by 3D items.


I know there are SOOOOO many templates out there you can try. Some you can even purchase. I know I feature MANY here as well.

Print and follow the directions!

Dont “design” your 3D items first.

Use scrap, and do a rough one first.

Walk yourself through the directions FIRST! Once you feel you know/understand them, then concentrate on making your finished design.

If you get stuck start slowly from the begingin. Ask yourself WHY you are stuck.

If you need, to ask for help from the creator.

NEW STUFF!! I have too much new stuff or want too much new stuff! How can I be satisifued with what I already own?

OK if I ha the answer to this my husband would be so happy!

There is ONE thing I LOVE more than stamping, and that is SHOPPING for stamping supplies! 😀

 IF you have come here, more than once, you realize you are talking to the QUEEN of NEED IT ALL!! BUT I do use what I have!

I’m sorry I can’t help you to NOT want it all. This is the wrong blog for you LOL!

But I admire all of you deeply.

OVER EMBELLISH! How do I know when to stop?

Well this is a personal thing again. Some people can embellish and layer like a pro. Other times it just is too much.

When in doubt- DON’T! Let it sit before you add something permanent. There is such a thing as too much, or a product taking up the focus of your card.

You can always attempt to add something without actually making it permanent.

Try a removable adhesive, or make it sit there while you go onto something else. When you are ready-take another look. If you don’t like it-remove it.

No harm done.

PATTERNED PAPER! Help Im PP challenged! I can’t ever use it, or mix patterns!

I was so surprised at how may people have this problem!

I say start by using it in small amounts. Paper piece things, or layer your image onto a PP piece instead of plain card-stock.

Put it behind a clear button or page pebble!

Make a box or envelop from the paper instead!

DON’T be afraid. Its just paper. You just need to play around.

Start small and as you get more comfortable work it on.

Remember mixing patterns isn’t that easy, so if its not for you, then hey-you are saving yourself some $$! LOL!

Try layering pattern’s together and see if you could make it work on a card.


Many of you say that you often hit a road block. Then what?

Try a sketch challenge or color challenge. Or get inspired by ONE item. Maybe the pattern in your paper!

If you still feel STUCK-Step away and take a break. The LAST thing you should do is browse a gallery or blog. It can clutter your brain. Read a book or go through a magazine.

DON’T over think things, and do a “warm up card first.

SIZE of layers?

How do I know what size layers to cut?

Well for WOOD mounted stamps-I measure my wood block, and cut my piece for the stamped image that size! Its always perfect!

For a layer I add 1/4 inch to the measurement! Depending on how big/small you want your matt change that amount you add to the main layer. Just make sure you add the same to both cuts so it is even. For more layers continue to add!


EXAMPLE: image wood block 2 1/4 X 2 1/2 (that will be the size of the piece I am stamping on). Now a mat for that I would measure 2 1/2 X 2 3/4! You can now get perfect mats, every time! 

Another GREAT product is Layer Ease! Its 2 ruler’s the edges are grooved to be certain sizes. You adhere your main layer, to the mat you want, then take your ruler (with desired mat size) and push it against the layer. Then using a hobby badae cut a straigt and even mat.

I personally find it easier to just figure out HOW to use your paper cutter. But this is still a great tool

How do I get even/straight layers?

 You can use the Layer Ease


Make sure the top of your paper is snug against to top of your cutter, and your paper doesn’t move as your slide your cutter across it.

Secure the paper with one hand, cut with the other.

Carefully layer the 2 pieces.

TIME-I don’t ever find the time to do any stamping!

 How can I find time. 

You literally have to schedule it in! Just like any other appointment!

First thing is first-

GET YOUR BUTT OFF THE COMPUTER (after you read my blog first of course :D), CLEAN THE HOUSE LATER (like after dinner), THROW DINNER IN THE CROCK POT (or order it :D), and STAMP!!!

Got kids? NAP TIME!!! OR, do an activity with them FIRST, then plan on an activity the kids can do while you stamp for an hour or two. maybe even a movie. Its good for them to have some free play time, and if you have spent time with them BEFORE you stamp they are more happy to let you do that.

PS Make sure they already have full drink cups, and a snack-it will save you another trip to help! LOL!

UN-ORIGINAL-I can’t seem to come up with my own layouts/ideas.

This was another BIG one.

Does it REALLY matter?

So, you got inspired by using someone’s sketch! You made it your own.

Did you have fun? Did it inspire another creation of make you enjoy your new X (insert new stamp set or product name)? Did it help you create something that will make someone else smile? That is all that matter’s.

Also the MORE you stamp, the more your OWN ideas will flow. AND even if they don’t, if stamping makes you happy, then that is why we all do it isn’t it?

It’s OK if you don’t re-invent the wheel. Some people’s brains just don’t go “out of the box”. That doesn’t mean they are less of a crafter.

Take pride in your hobby, and yourself. HAVE FUN!!

The more sketches you do and challenges the better you get. I swear!

V-Vigilance! OK NOT a question, but a word every crafter should know!

I think it takes this to excel, and learn.

Noun 1. vigilancevigilance – the process of paying close and continuous attention; “wakefulness, watchfulness, and bellicosity make a good hunter”; “vigilance is especially susceptible to fatigue”

alertness, watchfulness, wakefulness

attention – the faculty or power of mental concentration; “keeping track of all the details requires your complete attention”

jealousy– zealous vigilance; “cherish their official political freedom with fierce jealousy”-Paul Blanshard

2. vigilancevigilance – vigilant attentiveness; “he keeps a weather eye open for trouble”

weather eye, watchfulness

attentiveness – the trait of being observant and paying attention

WHERE to start?

Many of you asked WHERE do I get started?

Do I choose image, or paper first? Maybe ink, and ribbon.

There really is NO right answer. Don’t overwhelm yourself, and be free to switch gears.

Quite honestly that depends on what has inspired you, or what you have set out to do.

Do you have a card for an occassion to make, were you inspired by an outfit and you have a similar stamp?

“I” personally go by my mood and inspiration. Sometimes I just want to use X paper or X ribbon, and I build it from there. Sometimes I just got new stamps, so that is my starting point.

EXAMPLE: If I just bought a new set-say butterflies, then I KNOW that is what I want to use. Same goes for birthday card, get well…………….whatever you are doing. Be inspired by ONE thing-then build from there.

I then will say well, what color do I want my “butterfly”? Maybe I will then seek out some paper and matching ribbon.

Lay a few options out for yourself, to pick and choose.

Make sense?

X-:perience-Help I’m new and don’t know anything!

Well we have ALL been there! Don’t think you can’t do something because you are new! The ONLY downfall to being new, is you may not have a built up supply to do what you want.

Don’t be afraid to try, and keep at it till you get it.

If you don’t know something-LEARN!! Everything I know I had to LEARN a some point. I read the direction’s for things and use message boards/blogs to help with what I don’t know.

Ask questions! Another great way to find out info.

The MORE you stamp, the more you learn, the better you get. Just like with anything.

YUCK! My ink is running when I color it!

Why is it when I color my ink runs?

I just want to say if you are coloring the image-make sure it is a waterproof/permanent ink, that is appropriate for use with the medium you choose. If in doubt-do a test piece FIRST!!! 

AND make sure your ink is DRY before you test it.

I LOVE Palette ink, Adirondak ink, Brilliance graphite black, StazOn, and versafine. SU! Also has a permanent brown & black!

Z-Zip through projects. It seems like my cards/projects/ideas take forever to complete! Why can’t I just zip through them like some people?

Well this question takes me back to the above!

Sketch ideas, go in with a plan, have fun, be organized and the MORE you do something the better/quicker you get.

If you dont get to stamp regularly then Im not suprised it takes time to warm up or get an idea. Its not easy. I zip through stuff cause my brain is forever in stamp mode. When I don’t get to stamp for a week, you bet your rubbah, it takes me time to get back into gear.

BUT if you have a plan or sketch it will flow faster.

If you like the end result, and enjoyed doing it, then it doesn’t matter if if took 2 minutes, or two hours.


Well that is it for today! All this typing makes me want to go stamp!

As always, thanks for reading. I hope some of it was fun for you!

Till tomorrow! I hae another altered tin using a stamp from a SUPER cute company. ENABLER ALERT!!