fabric egg tutorial

One of the first cards I made was for Easter of 2009.  This was well before I was taking pictures of my cards, so you will have to imagine it.  I cut a silhouette of a little chick out of patterned paper and adhered it to a card.  It was simple, and understated.  Much like these fabric egg cards from Martha Stewart.  This would be a great project to try if you have ever wondered about using fabric with paper.  I love the idea of coordinating an envelope liner to match too.  You can find the tutorial here.   It is pretty simple if you are an experienced crafter and if not, this would be a great starter project to try.

Let me know how it turns out!

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discover paper

Just when you think you have found everything on the internet, something like discover paper comes along and blows your mind all over the place.

How have I never known you????

I am already apologizing to myself for the hours… correction, days that will be lost to perusing this beautiful collection of paper loveliness.   Note to self, install password protected blocker system asap– Wait, no, don’t do that.  Go.  Look.  Dream.  Be inspired.  Drool a little bit.  Just set a timer.

And, as if the site wasn’t enough, they have released a meticulously curated Holiday Guide full of scrumptious paper goodies for all your holiday giftees.

Before you continue, I recommend grabbing a hanky, you will drool and it will be embarrassing.

Also, pop over to discover paper for a giveaway!  That’s right folks, $400+ of paperie magica for one lucky soul.  Wait, actually, don’t bother.  I got this one in the bag (i wish i wish i wish).

paper paperie gold embossed invites

i just love antiquaria. they are responsible for leading me to discover paper in the first place. lots of diy tools for paperie loveliness.

gift giving guides for your entire list

lovely

the guide even includes DIY’s, printables and more for your creative energies this season.

You can thank me later.

next?

Do you ever go all day with post ideas or to do’s or creative projects all brewing in your mind.  Little quips, or adjustments or dreams lining themselves up in your brain.  And then the noise and demands stop, you have the time to do, to unload, to create…

and nothing.

blank.

crickets.

“What am I sitting down to do right now?”

Is this just me?

SOOO frustrating.  I don’t wish it on anyone.

When the hard deadlines and demands are all met and I am faced with 5/20/maybe even 60 minutes… I get lost.  And then the time disappears.

I am sort of there right now with Seven Layer Designs.  I had a very successfully productive week last week and now… I don’t know where to go next.   I am learning, that for me to work from home where laundry and dishes are unending,  it is best to have a plan of exactly what to do, so when those minutes make themselves available, there is no wondering, there is only “next.”  This is not necessarily my nature… but it is more of a necessity.

Maybe if I dump a little here, I will start to get some clarity, a game plan for what to do next???  You might get bored and that’s ok, no hard feelings.  Kuddos if you make it to the end… maybe you can relate.  We always feel better when we see others struggle… what is that all about anyway… ok back to the venting….

I mean, I have my to do lists all made with my plans of what I want(ed) to accomplish this Fall (I mean SERIOUSLY where did September go.  I was so surprised to wake up Monday morning and realize that it is no longer the end of summer, but now well into the Fall.  Woops)

So , my plan for this fall was to (1)get a bunch of invitation designs together, and again, I was feeling so inspired months ago, and now that it is time, feeling blah about them.  (2) Get my website redesigned and up and running.  Totally intimidated to start, cause I know what’s in store… sooo much time and editing and yada yada.  This is not my strength… but I’m ballin’ on a budget.  and what else… oh yeah (3) get Etsy back in action and (4) maybe do some marketing/advertising/small investing type of things.

So of course, under each of these headings are many, many tasks… all of varying sizes.

It feels like I should get onto the invitation designs next.  All of the other stuff is not so helpful without the new product line to be displayed and hopefully sold.

Things I know:  It is hard for me to do designing when I don’t have open ended time frame… or at least an hour or 2 free from distraction.  So this means, weekends,or maybe if the stars align for both kids to be napping (though this is TERRIBLY hard to plan for at this stage in the game), or maybe take Saida to Amanda’s but again Camille is fairly unpredictable.  Basically, I find it very difficult to plan creative time.  Once I have the designs fairly well laid out, then implementing them can easily be done in the here and there minutes.  So there… It seems like I need to plan in some good design time to get a start and then the rest can happen in the inbetweens.

This is sort of the same for the website.  Once I get on and familiarize myself with the site and get started the filling in stuff should be easy to do on the fly.

For Etsy, I just have to polish up some things in my info and appearance and my listings.  I have some additional listing to do and I have to start playing around with the milieu of ideas they offer for getting your shop noticed.

So I know what I need to do… I just can’t start.

And as soon as I think I know where to start, then I remember all the things I want to make for Christmas presents, and the projects I want to do for our house and the pictures that STILL need organizing and uploading and photo albuming and all the rest.  And I’m confused.

And then I start to scream.

and then a baby starts to scream

and I think, tomorrow.

Tomorrow.

That did help.  Thanks for listening.

layered lace and slippery ink

Remember when I said that this little lady was my favorite?

Well, she is quickly becoming a favorite in my shop!  I recently did a redesign for a baptism.  This time, instead of a tea length invite, the proud mama wanted a 5×7 for her daughters big day.  We added some pink text and a simple cross stamp to make this design unique.  By taking out a few of the layers of lace and using some papers already in stock, I was able to bring the cost down a bit.  I  love being able to provide a unique design at an affordable cost and I am happy to work with clients to achieve what they are looking for at a price that works for them.  It was a pleasure working on these again with a new twist.

BONUS TRACK — An inside look into stressful times when things don’t work out the way you hoped… at first!  Also, a helpful note on stamping on metallic and pearlescent paper

Full disclosure: most of the time, when working on designs, hiccups arise.  This time, it was with the stamping of the cross.  I was already working with a limited supply of paper, trying to give this client an invite she adored while staying within her budget.  To do this, we decided to use the supplies I had in stock.

Working away, I was feeling good, everything had come together very well so far, I had printed and cut all the invitations and was ready to start stamping and assembling.  I stamped 50 silver crosses and headed off to prenatal yoga.

And as I drove, the nastiest little thought popped into my head.  “Oh please oh please, let that ink dry properly on the metallic paper.  The first set hadn’t dried by the time I left, and that is not usual.  Ok, out of your mind, time to focus on Yoga.”

Return home.  eeekkkkk eeeekkkk.  Still not dry?!?

Tomorrow.  Still not dry, ink will smudge if touched.

Stress about this all day.

Conference with my VP (Ben) after we put Saida to bed.  I love his optimism, “we will fix it, there has to be a way.”  and he is right, there always is.  However, my pessimism spent the last 48 hours thinking “I’m doomed!”

After a few ideas and some internet research… we discovered that we could simply dust the existing stamped image with clear embossing powder, and emboss using a heat tool.  Amazing news!  I don’t have to rush order fresh paper, stay up all night once it arrives to finish order and then ship them overnight to client.  This will save me buckets of time and money.  So we tried it and it worked amazingly!  The finished effect was even preferable to the plain stamping.  It matched the metallic look of that papers used in the design very well.

Like I said, “It always works out in the end.”  …or something like that!

Another Note:

I hope that my transparency here will not leave you thinking that your invitations will not be handled and cared for with the utmost importance.  Really, it’s just the opposite.  Though these hiccups do arise,  when creating a customized, handmade product, you can rest assured that when you hire me to create invitations and paper goods for your special event, it will arrive to you, within the deadline discussed, for the price agreed upon and meeting all your specifications.   You will get someone who will bend over backwards for you and give you 100% personal attention.

You know I am a huge advocate for small business and the handmade market.  Our budgets may not be huge and we may be figuring out a few things as we go, but you get something that you just can’t get with mass production.   And it is that little something extra that will make sure you get what you are looking for, because we care, we really do.  We care about you, even though we never met you.  Most of us are in business because we want to share something with people.  In my case, I want to provide a personal experience, a unique paper good and an affordable price.  I want brides and clients to be able to get what they are looking for, unique and individualized attention, without spending a fortune to get it.  This is why I am in business.  Now… if I am going to stay in business depends on whether or not I can do this while making a profit… but that is a story for another day.

DIY

If you don’t know what those 3 little letters stand for, you just might actually have been living under a rock for the last few years.  You certainly don’t spend much time on pinterest and you probably only read news or techy type blogs.  DIY is all the rage these days.  With tutorials and projects and the wonders of the internet giving us the ability to connect with it all, DIY has taken the world, or at least a portion of it, by storm.

Do-it-yourself is a great phrase that can add fun and personality to any event all the while saving you some cash…well, hopefully.

Those 3 little letters can also leave you feeling at your hair pulling out, wits end.  Frustrated, tired, overwhelmed, sore in the neck, shoulders and fingers and, often, if your a bride-to-be, in tears.

Do you have a DIYDisaster to share??  Please comment, we’d love to hear as so many of us can share your pain.

With Seven Layer Designs, it has been a hope of mine to take some of the agony out of DIY for people who find themselves in the situation of wanting the DIYTouch without having to have all the DIYStress, DIYTime, and DIYMistakes.  This idea is especially perfect for brides who  already have enough to worry about, and for those who deem themselves less-than-creative.  (though I believe that there is some sort of creator in all of us, but that’s another topic for another day)

This idea is still taking shape, but I would love to be able to offer services that range anywhere from “you give me the idea and I do the rest,” to “I do a bunch of the annoying stuff and save the fun parts for you.”  A DIY for hire.  I do your DIY.  However you say it…I like the sound of it.  Let me use my tools of the trade, let me deal with the frustration, and you still have the DIY touch.

I am currently working with a bride-to-be who has graciously agreed to be my guinea pig.   She was looking to save some moola for her big day, and was willing to do some wedding projects herself to make this happen, so we are going to see how a DIY option works out for her.  In her case, we were looking at a fairly simple design, I proposed that I do all her designing and print the text of the invitation (because, I know we are all about printing our own things these days…but this can be a real nightmare wrought with frustration and once you finally get everything all lined up where you want it, then your printer starts malfunctioning, and we have all been there, and NO bride needs to deal with that), but once I have created the proof, I will video tape myself assembling the invitation, complete with many detailed tips and instructions and then, send her all the materials she need to do the production herself.

Because each one of my invitations is handmade, the production portion can add some serious time to the project and that comes with an hourly price tag.  But, when you grab some friends, a bottle of wine (well maybe not too much wine), and have some fun, you can accomplish so much more for free!  Not to mention you are putting your own work into a piece of your wedding… the first piece that you guests will experience.  Call me sentimental.

Worry free DIY.  No scouring forums and websites for the best materials for the job.  No worrying, no wondering, no watching YouTube video after YouTube video of how to make a paper pom-pom or adhere fabric to paper…  I got it.

If you know a bride or someone planning a party who might be interested some DIYAssistance, please send them my way!  Now would be a great time to get in touch and see how we could work together for some one-of-kind results.

Image sources: one, two, three, four, five