Thursday, June 23, 2016

Man Week Continues - Meet Steven Barlow

Steven Barlow is 24 years young and lives in Australia with his partner Nathan and their 6-year-old daughter, Gemma.

"I have loved Paper and Pens since I was a child. My Christmas's were filled with markers and pencils of all kinds while my brother got action figures and a skateboard. I dabbled in Scrapbooking during my teens but kept this hidden as it wasn't what my friends would call "normal". About two years ago was when I really decided to forget what society believed was normal for a man and start taking my passion for paper crafting to the next level. Ever since most of my time (other than family time) is either spent in my Craft room getting messy or shopping for craft supplies.

"I love all types of crafting and will give anything a shot. However, card making is my main passion. My style isn't what I would call manly and most of my creations include shimmer of some sort. My favorite techniques are those of which involve getting messy. There's nothing more fun than having ink and glitter everywhere. Nathan disagrees. LOL

"I love watercolors, Copics, and Distress Products. There are so many incredible stamp companies out there, but I am generally attracted to products that are unique. I am in the midst of creating a blog and cannot wait to start sharing how my cards came to life!"

Art Impression Cats peeking out of a colorful shaker card
Art Impression Cats peeking out of a colorful shaker card
Art Impression Cats peeking out of a colorful shaker card
Art Impression Cats peeking out of a colorful shaker card

Art Impression featuring an action wobble backside.
Art Impression featuring
an action wobble backside.
Art Impression featuring  an action wobble foam finger
Art Impression featuring 
an action wobble foam finger.
Art Impression spinner
Art Impression spinner
featuring amazing shading.

I absolutely love this card. Steven's coloring
is spot on and the background is stunning. 
You can find more of Steven's creations on Facebook and Instagram.

Happy Crafting,

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Meet Stamper Ted Mattos

I first say Ted Mattos' cards in the Stamping Enablers Group. I knew he was someone I wanted to feature during Father's Day week. His style is clean and simple and just gorgeous. I contacted Ted about being featured here and he graciously sent me information and images of some his beautiful cards.

I'm Ted Mattos, an elementary school teacher who just completed my 21st year of teaching. I currently teach fourth grade. I was born and raised in the SF Bay Area and have always had an affinity for arts and crafts. While other boys were donning baseball hats and cleats, I was making popsicle stick cabins and clay figurines.

About ten years ago, I thought I'd check out this scrapbooking craze. So, I took some photos of my cat and made a miniature scrapbook album. It was enjoyable, but I found that it was overwhelming in that there were too many pages to fill. That's when I discovered card making and have been hooked ever since. I love the smaller canvas and the chance to actually give out my creations as gifts or notes of encouragement and prayers. (I love the smaller canvas too, Ted.)

Do I have any favorite techniques or tools?
That's a hard question really. I love the CAS (Clean and Simple) style, so I tend to try to have a lot of white space, or at least a very organized card with limited embellishments, etc. I've recently gotten into stenciling and really enjoying the look of that. It may be easier to say that my least favorite technique is heat embossing. I absolutely love the look of heat embossing, but I have yet to find a way to not get terribly frustrated when I notice stray specks and random blemishes. :)

Do you sell your creations?
I have sold a few cards to family and friends. I don't have an Etsy site per se, but I may look into that in the future.

Crafting Inspiration
With regards to crafting inspiration, that's much easier. I love Jennifer McGuire's tutorials, reviews, and videos. Her style is also amazing, and she is always teaching me something new. Gina K is also such an inspiration, as her videos on StampTV were some of the videos that taught this rookie many new techniques. A fellow crafter who has always knocked off my socks is Laurie Willison. I can't get enough of her CAS creations and perspective on card making in general!

Ted's creations can be seen on his blog 
Happily Ever Crafter. Here is a sample to whet your appetite.

It's hard to make out, but there is glitter on the
horns, sun, castle, and the flying unicorn's wings. 

Hard to make out in the picture, but the Vintage Cream
panel has a "burlap" texture to it, and many of the
flowers have a little "Wink of Stella" to add some shine.

Ted outlined each flower with a Micron pen and then
outlined all of the flowers with a T1 Copic marker.

Ted's first pocket card! He's loving the Blueprint dies from My Favorite Things.

Come back tomorrow when I will be featuring Steven Barlow.

Happy Crafting,

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tim Holtz can't draw

For the last few weeks, blogs and social media have been flooded with cards created for Father's Day (sadly a holiday we no longer celebrate). It got me thinking about the men who papercraft. I'll be featuring a male paper crafter each day this week. Let's start with a celebrity of sorts.

Every hobby has its celebrities. People who are well known within the hobby's circle of devotees but are relatively unknown to the rest of the world. Foodies have Bobby Flay and Jamie Oliver among others; woodworkers have Norm Abram, and anglers have Aaron Martens (and Yes I had to look those names up). I think most paper crafters would consider Tim Holtz a celebrity.

For those new to paper crafts Tim Holtz is a product developer, teacher and Creative Director. His name and personal touch are on products from Ranger, Advantus, Stampers Anonymous, Sizzix, Tonic Studios, Core’dinations, and Westminster Fibers/Coats.

He creates beautiful tags, cards and decor items using products that bear his name and shares the techniques he uses with the world on his website, To hear him explain how he got started as a stamper check out this video.

Even though his name is on numerous stamp sets Tim Holtz can't draw. He said so himself in 2013 when he introduced the paper crafting world to Brett Weldele. Tim is a curator, he finds great images and has them made into stamps. He commissioned Weldele to create the time travelers set and the chemist set.

Stampers Anonymous - Tim Holtz - Time Travelers
Stampers Anonymous - Tim Holtz - The Chemist

Brett Weldele now has a series of stamps and stencils available from Stampers Anonymous. You can check them out here. 

 Hope you come back tomorrow to check out the work of Ted Mattos.

Happy Crafting,

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Paper Crafting Communities - Stamping Enablers FB group

A New Direction

I recently rewatched the Live Taping of “The Axe Files” with Jon Stewart, hosted by David Axelrod on YouTube. It was an interesting interview about his life after the "Daily Show". Stewart had a lot of interesting things to say, but the thing that struck me was when they were discussing the metamorphosis the show went through when he came on board. He stated that if he was going to spend 12 hours a day working he wanted to do something that interested him. So in 1999 when he took the helm he steered the Daily Show away from Hollywood celebrities and towards Washington politicians.

I am going to do the same thing with this blog. I have posted pictures of my cards and scrapbook pages hoping readers would be interested in what I had made. This model always felt a bit like an obligation; this is what paper crafters do on their blogs. I started doing Silhouette tutorials because I thought they would be helpful. Life as a single parent can get busy and I spent my time doing other things instead of focusing on tutorials. Plus Melissa over at Silhouette School rocked it so hard that I just sort of gave up on the idea.

So what interests me? What will get me writing again? Creativity and Community. 

Where does creativity come from? Where do creators get their ideas? How do they go about creating things? I want to talk to stamp and product designers, talented scrapbookers, card makers and colorists. I want to feature their works/products as much as my own.

Where are creative communities? Who establishes them? How can you and I become a part of them? I want to talk to everyone from founders of online communities to administrators of Facebook groups to people who start local Meet-Ups. 

Facebook group - Stamping Enablers
I’ve been searching for a crafty community that felt like home for years. Looking for a group of people who were encouraging and helpful. A place where there was as much conversation as there was gawking at creations. 

I have found that place on Facebook in a group called Stamping Enablers. This closed group, yes you need permission to join, is all about card making and finding deals on paper crafting supplies.

Members are encouraged to share projects and great deals and discouraged from using the group for publicity or self-promotion. You may post creations you’ve created for a design team, but links must go to your personal blog, not the company’s website. 

Selling supplies and promoting yourself is against the rules but you can join the group's buy/sell group the Scrappy Resale Room. This group is also secret, but a friend request to one of the administrators and a PM asking to join will get you access.

There are documents associated with the group: 
  • social media contact lists
  • recommended online shops
  • coupon codes for online shopping
  • lists of demonstrators, coaches, consultants, and advisors for different direct sales stamp companies
  • templates and cut files
  • card showers where members ask for cards for particular causes or ailing loved ones.

Requests for card showers, access to secret areas and addition to certain lists must go through one of the groups three administrators, Logan Claar, LeeAnn McKinney, and Kathleen Driggers. These dedicated ladies keep a watchful eye on the content within the group to maintain the focus on helping one another and sharing knowledge about our shared craft. I interviewed administrator 
Kathleen Driggers to learn more about the group.

When & Why did you start the Stamping Enablers group?
There were about 1000 of us that started out in a previous group, and the group owner wanted to move to a message forum online, but we wanted to remain on FB because we had built a close community and liked the features of FB groups, so we started Stamping Enablers a year ago.

How much time, on an average day, do you spend working on administrative stuff for Stamping Enablers?
I plead the fifth! LOL  Seriously, though, I’m online quite a bit and always have FB open so I can provide support to my customers, so I’m usually around for the group as well. 

What has been the greatest benefit for you of this group?
Meeting some great crafters, both men and women who have a genuine love for crafting and building some great online friendships.  In some cases, many of us have developed real life friendships as well because of meeting one another in person.

How do you explain the phenomenal growth of the Stamping Enablers group?
We are a group of crafters who are all gathered together for one purpose, to share our love of crafting.  We weed out the negative Nancy’s and people who only join to advertise by having no advertising rules, so the members who are here, are here for genuine reasons.  We support one another, answer questions, help find great deals, offer praise and constructive criticism (when asked) and have built a real “online” community where we feel comfortable enough to share with each other.

How long have you been stamping/paper crafting?
Since the early 90’s on and off.

Tell me about your business, Kat Scrappiness.
I started off several years ago as a handmade embellishment shop. I had a design team and we had a blast making and selling felt chipboard and wood embellishments. Things have changed over the years.  I now specialize in stamping, scrapbooking and mixed media supplies for crafters at discounted prices.  Kat gives back through our unique rewards program where you earn 1 point for every dollar you spend.  Then you can use your accumulated points for discounts and/or free shipping on future orders.  I carry the products that I use and recommend but am happy to special order anything that my customers request.  We also offer an affiliate program for bloggers or customers who wish to earn money for referring new customers to us!

How do you choose what you will carry?
Again, I carry the products that I use and recommend.  I support manufacturers that make high-quality products and have good business ethics.  If a customer requests a product I don’t have, I will special order it just for them. 

Happy Crafting,

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Spring Copic Sale

Hurry while they are still in stock

I went to my local Copic supplier and I was unable to find the colors I wanted. They were out of stock. Parts of the rack looked like the late stages of a going out of business sale. The sales clerk said that even their online store was having trouble keeping them in stock. Yes, Copics are a hot item.

When I got home from my disappointing trip, I looked at the Copic site to see if they had anything to say about the shortage of stock. Well they did, and this is what they said:

"2015 was a very busy year for us. We produced and shipped more product than ever before. The world wide demand for Copic grew well over 30% this year. With this great increase in demand there also came great challenges. As you all know, what makes Copic the best marker in the world is its quality and consistency. Thus, the challenge for our manufacturer in Japan, .Too Marker Products, Inc., has been to increase production without compromising the integrity and quality of our amazing products. There are many parts and pieces that come together to create an unparalleled product such as Copic: ink formulas, printing, nib construction, and the effort of many human hands that go into every single marker.
"Because of this great challenge and the overwhelming popularity of Copic, you have most likely noticed the shortage of supply from nearly every retail location or online store. We understand that this is frustrating, and we apologize. The message that I want to emphasize is that we have been working very hard over the past year to overcome this. Our production has not declined, and we are not going out of business as rumors may claim. The fact is we have simply outgrown, in a very short amount of time, our production capabilities.
"The great news is that .Too Marker Products, Inc., has invested substantially in its processes and people to manage this great demand, without compromising the quality of the product. Due to the great efforts that have been made, everyone should see a substantial increase in the availability of Copic products starting early in 2016."
— John Darland, President/CEO, Imagination International, Inc.
     (exclusive North American distributor for Copic)

I was excited to see Simon Says Stamp was having a Spring Copic sale. Is this the early part of 2016 Mr. Darland mentioned? It may be. Go to Simon Says Stamp now and get your Copic fix.

Happy Crafting,

This post contains affiliate links from Simon Says Stamp.