Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Invitation accepted — Oddball Art Machine

It has been so so long since I wrote an actual blog post. I hope I remember how to do this.
Katemade Designs is now available in the Oddball Art Machine

2018 was a good year for Katemade Designs. 

I started selling my cards in shops. 

A couple of months ago, Mary, the owner of Soulful Sparrow invited me to create some art for the Oddball Art Machine that would be in her shop the next month. 

Oddball Art Machine

What the heck is an Oddball Art Machine?

It is a repurposed 1950’s Fleetwood Fawn cigarette vending machine that has been converted to sell artwork the size of a pack of cigarettes. There are 21 slots in the machine, each contains artwork by an individual artist. I am now one of those artists.

The machine travels to different businesses around Elgin in order to promote the arts while simultaneously promoting downtown businesses. The Oddball Art Machine is currently in Rediscover Records on 9 South Spring Street in Elgin, IL.

So what is in that funky machine with the Katemade Designs name on it? Here is a taste of what is on offer:

Go to the Oddball Art Labs blog and check it out the full selection. 

Oddball Art Labs is a non-profit artist based organization created to advance the presence of the arts in the Fox Valley and greater Chicagoland area.

It specifically works to build individual artist recognition and to create opportunities within these communities for artists to show their work in various ways:

  • Hosting art shows

  • Featuring artists through various social media platforms

  • Building relationships with local galleries and area businesses

  • Providing resources to artists in preparing grants and putting on their own shows

  • Happy Crafting,

    Friday, July 6, 2018

    Evernote for Creating a Craft Inventory

    Evernote for Creating a Craft Inventory

    There are a lot of YouTube videos that teach you how to use Evernote.  Kathleen Driggers from the Stamping Enablers group on Facebook was the first to really turn me on to Evernote. I do things a lot differently than she does. She uses numbers to identify her sets. I don't. She puts a lot of tags on her listings. I don't because the program does a good enough job of searching the content of each listing for me. (link below)

    In searching for Kathleen's video I found one from Scott Bradley called "Evernote Tips: The 11 Amazing Features That Make Using Evernote So Freaking Awesome" (link below) In his video, I learned to stack notebooks, and that you can share notes and notebooks. How wonderful would that be for a group of paper crafting friends to see what everyone has before meeting up to craft? "Susan, can you bring that Unity set that has the car? I'll bring the alphabet stamps you asked for and Jane has that bear set you wanted too. Can't wait to get inky with you"

    While I was poking around in the program I found the merge tool, which changed my world. I discovered tables and how to format them which also makes my life a lot easier. I use Evernote when I go craft shopping to see if I already have that cute stamp set, embossing folder, die or stencil before I buy it again. The mobile app is a godsend. I recently got home with a couple of embossing folders and discovered I already had them. That night all the embossing folders were added to Evernote.

    Evernote is also useful when you are trying to find a sentiment or image for a project. I not only put a photo of the item, generally dragged from the Internet (works on a Mac don't know if it works on a Windows machine), but I also write up a description of the images and then type up all the sentiments. They are bullet points so they are easy to go through. I have discovered that images can become corrupted and disappear. With a written list I never lose what is in the listing. It also is another layer of information for Evernote to use when searching.

    Kathleen Driggers video - Evernote Tutorial: How to Create a Stamp Inventory Using Evernote

    Scott Bradley's video -  Evernote Tips: The 11 Amazing Features That Make Using Evernote So Freaking Awesome

    Happy Crafting,

    Monday, June 12, 2017

    #Mancraft Monday — Juan Ambida

    I have been a daughter, a sister, a school girl, a mom, and a menopausal woman. I have never been, nor will I ever be, a man. I love seeing different perspectives and that's why I started the Mancraft Mondays series. I wanted to find male paper crafters and see if they brought a different feeling to the craft I love. 

    Stamp sets created by men like Tim Holtz and Brett Weldele (both with Stampers Anonymous) and the sets designed by Chuck Carson for Brutus|Monroe definitely have a unique vibe. However, I've found that the creations of all paper crafters depend on the stamps they are using. Certain illustrations styles lend themselves to a particular interpretation.

    This month's man crafter is Juan Ambida aka Juana from Western Sydney, Australia. I'll let him take it from here.

    Hi, my name is Juan Ambida aka Juana I was born in the Philipines and came to Australia when I was nine. I have always had a passion for art and design and have always undertaken some kind art project from school events and have carried through work and personal life mainly as a cardmaker. 

    Stampin' Up! — Special Reason Bundle

    I have a background in graphic design and have worked for an advertising agency. I currently work as a freelance graphic designer and also create and sell handmade cards.
    I am hobby Stampin' Up! demonstrator. I initially joined for the starter kit in early 2016 and progressed from there, as I just couldn't get enough of all the great products.  

    Joining Stampin' Up! and the Crazy Crafters team of SU demos, led by Kylie Bertucci who is one of the top SU demos in Australia, has introduced me to the world of paper crafting. Since joining I have started my blog page juanacreate and participated in regular blog hops as well as card challenges. It's truly helped to developed my skills in this fun craft. 

    Stampin' Up! — Everyday Hero
    I had the privilege of being a display stamper with SU conventions in November 2016 and April 2017.  I have also taken part in an exclusive International Tutorial Bundle Design Team of SU demos from around the world since February and just recently joined a Stamp Up! Review Crew. 

    It has been so much fun to create and share my creations and I love it immensely. My style is quite varied, quite eclectic and I can work in any medium. I love to create anything that is intricate to clean and simple. 

    My Favorite Things — Ninja-Mazing

    I branched out and began using other brands including Lawn Fawn, Mama Elephant, My Favorite Things, Hero Arts, and Simon Says Stamp. There is so much inspiration out there from these brands and their designers that I will continue to create for the pure joy and love of creating. 
    When you do something you love, you do it well. I love creating and maintaining a high level of quality workmanship. 

    Mama Elephant — Tiny Ninjas

    Where to find more of my creations —
    Blog: http://juanacreate.blogspot.com.au/
    Pinterest: https://au.pinterest.com/juanacreate/
    Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/juanaambida/

    Happy Crafting,

    Thursday, June 1, 2017

    Birthday Giveaway

    It's almost my birthday and I want to give some of my readers a gift. I have a box of Oops orders. I get excited about getting new stuff that sometimes I miss the fact that I have ordered 2 instead of one. 

    So to make room for new stuff and to spread a little birthday love I am giving these items away. I have cling and clear stamps, stickers, papers, embellishments, ribbon, and a few other things that I would love to share with you. I could sell them but this is more fun.

    What I want for my birthday is more followers, more readers, more commenter, and more appreciators. SOoooo I will send out a package for my Facebook page followers, a package to my blog readers, and a package to my Instagram friends. I have goals for how many readers, followers, and online friends I would like by my birthday (June 6). If I reach those goals I will send out a second package for each platform.

    I made an Adobe Spark page, mainly to see how it works. The goals are on the page below. 

    Adobe Spark Page

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Good luck!

    Happy Crafting,

    Tuesday, May 9, 2017

    The Secret Language of Postage Stamps

    I collect stamps, but not in a philatelic way.
    — Katie Bolinger
    Recently one of my favorite card artist (she goes beyond a maker), Sandy Allnock, posted a photo on Instagram of a piece of mail she received with the postage stamp upside down. She was unaware that that meant "I love you" so I clued her in. I remember learning this years ago when I accidentally put stamps on upside down on a stack of bills and a friend had a mini freak out saying I was telling those companies I loved them. 

    I wondered if there were more hidden meanings in the way stamps are placed on mail and did some research. Boy did I learn a lot. So I thought I would share this wealth of knowledge with you. 

    Cheapskates and Lovers

    Before postage stamps were used it was the recipient who paid for the delivery of a letter. If the outside of the envelope could convey the message without being opened the letter would often be refused and the postage never paid. If you are old enough to remember pay phones this is the equivalent of placing a collect call and talking really loud and fast on the other line so no one had to pay for the call.
    With the introduction of cheaper postage and the pre-paid postage stamp in 1840 in England, this practice generally died out. In the late 1800's, the introduction of the postcard with a message that could be read by anyone, the idea of the special marks was given a new lease of life in the form of secret messages in the way that the stamp was placed on the card. Who wants their parents knowing what their beau is saying?
    The interest and use of this new language spread rapidly, and after the turn of the century, the rules of the language of stamps received their particular chapter in the etiquette books along with the languages of flowers, handkerchiefs, and fans. In many countries, the acquisition of this language was assisted by special manuals, such as Cupid's code by George Bury for the transmission of secret messages by means of the language of postage stamps (Ashford, Middlesex, circa 1899). (1) 

    Stamp Positions and Meaning

    Here are some of the interpretations of the stamp language as reported by the Philatelic Database. (2)

    Upside down, top left corner = I love you
    Crosswise on top left corner = My heart is another’s
    Centre of envelope, at top = Yes
    Center of envelope, at bottom = No
    Straight up and down, any position = Goodbye sweetheart
    Upside down, top right corner = Write no more
    At right angle, top right corner = Do you love me?
    At right angle, top left corner = I hate you
    Upright top right corner = I desire your friendship
    Upright in line with surname = Accept my love
    Upside down in line with surname = I am engaged
    At right angle in line with the surname = I long to see you
    Centered on right edge = Write immediately!

    Why are postage stamps always in the upper right corner?

    “Placement was less important in the days when all stamps were hand-cancelled individually by postal clerks. With the introduction of high-speed canceling machines starting in about the 1890s, the placement of stamps in the upper-right corner became more important to be as efficient as possible," according to Daniel Piazza, Chief Curator of Philately at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. It's believed that placement coincided with the dominant hand—the right—of most mail handlers. (3)

    Postage stamp design evolution

    The early postage stamps in the US generally bore the face or bust of an American president or another historically important statesman. However, once the Post Office realized during the 1890s that it could increase revenues by selling stamps as "collectibles," it began issuing commemorative stamps, first in connection with important national expositions, later for the anniversaries of significant American historical events. (4)

    Modern stamps celebrate all kinds of things from holidays to superheroes that you can use to add an extra layer of meaning to your correspondence. When a girlfriend gets a card of encouragement with a wonder woman stamp on it, she knows you think she is a badass. If you're planning a wedding you are going to get the latest "love" stamps to put on those invitations. 

    If you are looking to add another level of meaning to your snail mail correspondence try turning the postage on its head.

    Happy Crafting,

    (1) IPDA "The Language of Stamps" http://www.ipdastamps.org/languageofstamps.html
    (2) Cochrane, William (May 1, 2013) "The Language of Stamps" retrieved from The Philatelic Database, http://www.philatelicdatabase.com/nostalgia/the-language-of-stamps/
    (3) Rossen, Jake (May 25, 2016) "Why do we put stamps in the upper-right corner?" retrieved from Mental Floss, http://mentalfloss.com/article/80165/why-do-we-put-stamps-upper-right-corner 
    (4) "Postage stamps and postal history of the United States" retrieved from Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postage_stamps_and_postal_history_of_the_United_States 

    Other interesting articles not cited:
    • Urbina, Ian (August 15, 2005) "From Love to Longing to Protest, It's All in the Tilt of the Postage" retrieved from The New York Times, https://mobile.nytimes.com/2005/08/15/us/from-love-to-longing-to-protest-its-all-in-the-tilt-of-the-postage.html
    • Smithsonian National Postal Museum, https://postalmuseum.si.edu/index.html