Friday, January 23, 2009

$5, $10, $15 .... SALE on Retired stamps!!!!

I have the following retired sets for sale right now:
Amazing to Zany $20 barely used
Headline Alphabet $20 barely used

Little Pieces $5
Big Pieces  $15
Snowflurries  $5 
On the Move (retired 2006) $15

Current sets that I want to trade for In Color ribbons, Designer paper from new Spring/Summer catalog, clips assortment, Fifth Avenue Floral set ($25)  or filigree brads:

Simply Said approx. $24 value
Sincere Salutations approx. $19

Contact me with your email in the comment section for shipping info. and for me to get in touch with you.   Buyer will pay for shipping of their items.  It is approx. $5.50 to ship one set Priority mail.   I take Paypal or check.  Thanks.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I want to apologize...

Okay, I want to apologize for doing more talking than showing samples here lately.  Frankly I don't have a lot of samples to show.  I made a lot of cards as gifts for Christmas, and have been working on home decor.  I don't know if Scott has downloaded pictures off the camera.  If so, I'll post pictures soon.  If not, I apologize.  
Also in my last few posts, I was not trying to be preachy, just thinking about things in a more eternal light here lately, and wanted to share my views and the truth as God has shown me this past year.  So in light of all that, I just wanted to let you know that I will post some pictures soon.  We are getting ready to move here in the next couple of weeks, so I won't be posting much in awhile. 


Sunday, January 18, 2009

NEW Catalog Chatter...

Here is my version of the new catalog chatter for the Spring/Summer Stampin' UP! Idea Book and Catalog.  First of all it is a lovely catalog.  The samples are pretty, the color combos are very spring like and refreshing.  I like some of the out of the box ideas they presented for using the Sizzix dies and other home decor.  I also like a lot of the card samples as far as ways to use the stamps and designer papers.   Very cute.  

I love all the Sizzix dies and the exclusive dies.  Love the cupcake Sizzlits set, as well as the Sizzlits strip with the alphabets.  I could see that being very useful for scrapbooking and for tags on gifts and sentiments on cards.  Very nice.  Love the Embosslits.   I would highly recommend the Big Shot for it's versatility and the ability to use Cuttlebug, Nestabilities, and other products with it.  Very good sturdy and easy to use machine.  Well worth the price.  

I like some of the new designer papers.  A lot of it is a little to "old" styled for me and too Victorian or too many birds.  The flamingo paper is icky, and I thought they could have made the paper to go with the Retro Style line a bit more bright--too much green and bland.  I do like the Parisian Breeze designer specialty paper as they contain the colors in my new living room.  
I like the masculine specialty paper To The Nines under that offering too.  I like the color combo of artichoke, sage, chocolate and kraft.  Very calming and masculine.

I love the Manhattan collection esp. Manhattan flowers.  Won't be getting it, but I love the look, textures and colors there. Very clean, timeless and crisp.  Very classy looking.

I like the Cheep Talk set, as I can see fun colorful easy cards there.  Love the branch in that set and the pear (as I have a Papertrey Wedding set sentiment that would go awesome with that), and the birds are not too bad.  Definitely better than the chipboard birds or the large Good Friend set.  

As far as the rest of the sets, ummm I think they are quite boring, already done, or maybe once again just the same old repackaged as somehow being new.  That is not new.  I will be sticking to the timeless look of my Papertrey sets I have bought these past two years.  I am trying to find stamps anymore that have a more timeless classic look, rather than the cutesy trendy look.  I am not one to color images in and if I am going to stamp an image with multiple colors, I rather like the Papertrey acrylic stamps for doing that more easily.   I still love all the Stampin' UP! cardstock, colors, inks, accessories, designer papers and such and I think they still have quite a strong offering of those that are a good value.  I love their ribbons for the value they are.  However, I have become quite disenchanted with the stamps.    There just isn't that fresh new feel.  Some are creepy retro look, others are too sketchy, and others still are too cutesy, and most have already been done, they just have a slightly different look.  And once again, TOO MANY FLOWER SETS!!!! Can we not be a little more creative as there are tons of images out there besides flowers.  And again, where are the more masculine offerings.  Do they think we only give cards to girls?  I digress.

I am trying to weed out those stamps that I bought cause I liked what somebody else did with them, but really I just don't use them or rather I just don't have the time to do anything with them.  I am getting rid of anything that doesn't have anything to do with my boys (the sports, cars, tools, etc.), or anything that isn't occasion specific along the lines of babies, pregnancies, holidays that I just don't use.  I have quite a few for sale below.  Check them out.  
I have weeded out my flower sets and have kept those that are timeless and again, easy to use and work well with other things.   

I hope to post some pictures of my home decor I worked on last month.  They turned out awesome.  I am so excited to get them on the walls in our house.  We are maybe 3 weeks out now.  Yea!! 

Monday, January 12, 2009

Creative Frugality--a good excuse to stamp and paper craft!

With the current economic downturn, which may end up getting worse if the incoming Democratic Congress and President have their way with further undermining our FREE Market/capitalist system, it has been quite pressing on many people to get rid of waste in the spending department and find ways to live more frugally. Most people think frugal is a dirty word, in that it makes them feel stingy or that they have to sacrifice style or meaning. Some of that feeling comes from an increased materialistic mind set in our society that we have to have more and have a certain level of style or whatever to be acceptable. That is so wrong. Just two generations ago, people were quite stylish and creative while living on much tighter budgets than we are experiencing even now. They grew up being creative with what they had and gave and made things from the heart. Their clothes were handmade, their cooking was from scratch using simple ingredients, and their homes were decorated simply and with handmade items. It wasn't the cost of the items that made them important, rather the love, creativity and handspun nature of them that made them valuable.

I think we all need to go back to a much more simple way of living. I don't suggest that we can't have modern conveniences, but think of how much human contact we have sacrificed for our modern technologies. Do we even send cards and letters to communicate with our family and friends anymore? Do we even do the small act of baking a loaf of banana bread or something like that for someone who is feeling down, or needs a bit of help?  Where are the  simple meals brought for families who are sick, have new babies, grieving over the loss of a loved one, etc.?   Do we struggle with gift giving, thinking that the monetary value of a gift is more important than the thought and love behind it? Do we go into debt to give expensive gifts that disconnect us with each other more (televisions, hand held computer devices, iPods, iPhones, computers, video game systems)? Are we all plugged into our stuff more than we are plugged into our family, our friends, our churches, our Christian family? Do we miss meaningful connections with each other because we are too busy doing stuff, being involved in activities, our childrens' activities (don't even get me started on that issue), that we aren't really achieving things that are important? Has achievement become an idol? Has stuff become an idol? Can we function with joy or hope without them? Do we stuff our bodies with unhealthy things because we are too busy to cook a meal and share it around the table together? Are we eating too much because what we are really hungry for is human connection? Are we doing all of this stuff because we are looking for meaning and value?

Well, first of all, I want to say that I think a lot of what is wrong today is from trying to find our purpose in life in all the wrong things. We were all created by God to glorify Him and enjoy Him. Anything that we do should be towards that end...Period. To the extent we chase after other things to glorify ourselves, they become worthless and empty pursuits drawing us farther away from the One we were created to serve and enjoy. God is to be our source of joy, peace, acceptance, value, worthiness, etc. He is the great I AM. However, he does give us blessings in the material realm that we are to use to serve others for His glory. We don't own our salaries, homes, possesions, etc. They are really all God's that he graciously blesses us with. He is the source of our needs and sometimes he chooses to give us some of our wants according to His will and plan so that He gets the glory. Have you ever thought about your stuff as a gift? Have you ever thought of them as really belonging to God? If you grasp that, their hold on you becomes so much less. You start to think of possessions in a whole new light. You start to use those gifts in a whole new way.

Now that we have our mindset paradigm shifted, we can get on with how to live a more spendthrift lifestyle, making the most of the blessings God has given us and strengthening relationships with family and others.  I have some ideas on how to do this, so if you are interested, read on.
1.  Make a budget for your family.   It really is key to knowing what you have coming in and what you have going out to make ends meet.  It is truly eye opening when we list what we spend during a month, and yes, I mean everything.  Your eyes are opened to a lot of waste: a magazine here, a snack there, a book here, a piece of clothing there.  See what I mean.  Do we need those things?

2.  Work on a cash system for variable expenses: groceries, toiletries, gas, misc. expenses, entertainment, etc.  Set aside cash for these expenses:  when the money is gone, then you are done, or you had better figure out how to come up with some cash quick.  Again, another good way to keep an eye on how you are spending your money.

3.  Always go to the store with a grocery list.  Stick to the list.  Plan your weekly menus, check the recipes, check your cupboard and then make sure you get everything on your list.  Nothing less, nothing more.

4.  Make as much homemade as you can.  It is so easy to make homemade baking mixes, cookies, biscuits, snacks.  They are better for you and cost so much less.  If you want some help here, I would be happy to share some awesome recipes for some mixes that would be helpful or sources for those.  

5.  Cook once eat twice.  Try cooking a couple of whole chickens, a big roast, or a large pork tenderloin and using the leftovers for another meal.   Saves you time.  Cook extra meat and freeze it.

6.  Try a small garden.

7. Try to organize your trips out.  Saves gas.

8.  Make homemade little gifts.  You know it doesn't have to be extravagant to mean something.  Buy a bulk bag of chocolates (cause you know just about everyone loves chocolates) and package them in a special way.  You can buy a large bottle of lotions or instant coffees or other such thing and repackage them in smaller containers to get more out of your purchase. Again, it is the thought and love behind it that counts.

9. Encourage personal correspondence by making someone some homemade stationary.  Or make yourself some homemade cards.  You don't really have to spend a lot of money on the items to make that.  Buy a pack of white notecards with envelopes, a good alphabet set and some patterned paper and you have the basics for some darling stationary.  Go online and get craft store coupons sent to you by email and use them for these supplies.  Super savings.

10. Spend less time on the computer, in front of the tv or playing video games.  Get outside and play as a family, play a board game, play cards, read a book out loud together.  Reconnect with your family.  You will save money on videos, worthless entertainments out, and other such nonessentials.   Plus you will be building family ties. Priceless.

11. Practice hospitality to friends and strangers.  This is not entertaining them with fancy food, or fancy tablescapes or such.  It is a simple meal of simple food shared around awesome fellowship.  The food is just a backdrop.  Pull out the crockpot, put on a pot of soup.  Keep it simple.  You want folks to feel comfortable and share in conversation, not a player in a stuffy put on production.  You want to be comfortable.  

12. Make some of your own home decor.  Again clip those coupons for the craft store.  Use rub-ons on mirrors, vases, glass frames, etc.  It's fun and it is rewarding seeing your work of art on the wall.  Get the kids involved in decorating their rooms.  A few well chosen tubes of acrylic paint and a canvas will get them going.  My boys each made a canvas for their room.  They are awesome.  

13.  Oh and cut out the credit cards.  That is a no brainer.  Practice the art of saving for things that you want but don't need.  And practice saving for things that you might sort of need, but can't get yet.  Search for bargains: even free shipping online saves a lot.  

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year to you all!

I wrote a long very personal New Year's Resolutions piece for the blog the other day, and posted it overnight.  I took it off not because I was ashamed of the message it contained, but felt it really wasn't appropriate for a blog entry.  So I will attempt to summarize and convey the basic idea of that post in a new one here.   
Happy New Year to you all.  I know that we are all excited about what the new year will hold.  Some of us are more optimistic than others.  I know a lot of us are concerned about what will happen once our new President elect will be sworn in.  I speak for myself when I say, that I believe that hard times are coming for those of us who love God and value our freedom not only to worship and speak about Him, but also for our personal freedom as a citizen of the best free country in the world.  I believe that those freedoms are on shaky ground with the incoming very liberal President and Congress.   I could be living in dread of this, but actually, God has given me great peace about these things.  I am not trying to be naive, but instead I BELIEVE with all that I am that God ordains all things for His glory, to strengthen and grow his people into Christ's image.  I know that ALL things work together for good for those that love God and are called according to his purposes.  God works all things together for his children's good for His glory.  It's awesome to think about the possibilities that holds.  I am excited to see how God will show is sovereignty, goodness, grace, and faithfulness through what is coming.  
I am excited to see how his people will grow in grace, spread the gospel, and experience the fullness of God through trials and testing.  I pray that we will all resolve to trust God in all things, and allow him to be glorified in our trust and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
One of the ways we do this is to read His word, the Bible, be in constant prayer, memorize scripture, and not be ashamed to tell others about Jesus, our saviour and only hope.  
I am resolving in this new year to continue to let go of idols in my heart, prioritize my time according to God's purposes, and spend more time in God's word with my family.  I want to be a better mom, enjoying my children and teaching them the awesome truths in God's word.  I want to be a better wife to my wonderful husband, appreciating him, loving him, and coming alongside him as his helpmeet as God intended.   I want to spend my time doing things that count for Christ, giving to those in need, and being creative with my family to do those things.

To do these things, I will be letting go of a lot of my stamping.  I am not giving this up, just putting in its proper place after 6 years of letting it dominate my life and thoughts.  I will be stamping for our family, as a creative endeavor after I do the more important things listed above.   I will probably be ending my Stampin' UP! business, as I am hardly keeping it going, and I don't have the money to spend to keep it going.  I predict that after Sale-A-Bration is over at the end of February, I will probably be letting it go.  I have enjoyed the opportunity to do this, but to truly put this hobby in its proper place in my life, I really can't be a demonstrator and feel the pull of trying to maintain a certain sales level to keep it up.  I have all that I need in stamps and paper, and it will take me quite a long time for me to use up the papers, accessories and ribbons I have accumulated.  If I need to order more, then I will contact a demo I know and order more.   I will keep you posted as to my status when it changes.  
Check out the side bar for the New Decor Elements brochure.  There are tons of new things in there that are very cool.  I am looking forward to seeing if I can use some of the elements in our new home, which we hope to move into very soon.  I have been working on some home decor items these past couple of weeks, and am excited to share them with you.   They are awesome and I can't wait to put them up.  I have some canister to cover for my kitchen, and some recipe card holders to make as well.  It will come together in due time. 

In the mean time, Happy New Year to you all.   May God richly bless you all this year and always.  I pray that you will all gain a greater understanding of the riches and mercies of our Lord Jesus Christ this year.   There is nothing that is impossible with God, and He will always meet our needs, as he met our deepest need of reconciliation and forgiveness by giving us his son, Jesus, even while we were DEAD in our sin and His enemy.  Thanks be to God for his gracious and marvelous gift!  May you experience His call on your heart this year if you do not already know him, and my you answer his call with a contrite and humble heart and let him be Lord of your life.   For we have ALL sinned and fallen short of the glory of our Holy God.  But while the wages of sin is death, the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Believe in him today.