Archive for November, 2012

I am such a type A control freak.  It is kind of sad.  My mom will tell you that I am NOT the neatest person in the world (I like to hide all my clutter in drawers and closets) but I am definitely an engineer and I like everything to be lined up just so.  It drives me crazy when something is crooked.  I had a friend in college who for YEARS would come in my room and move stacks of books just slightly or tilt a picture frame a little when I wasn’t looking, and I would fix it back while I was talking to him without even realizing what I was doing.  One day he burst out laughing and told me how long he had been doing that and I was blown away.

This fixation about things lining up extends to my stamping.  It may or may not be related to the fact that before I became a stamper, I was an engineer and spent years designing buildings and making plans, elevations, and connection details in AutoCAD where you have these nifty little tools that help you align everything automatically.  I always want everything to be perfectly straight and placed just right, and I actually have to really challenge myself to design cards that are not symmetrical.  Unfortunately, it is kind of hard to mount stamps on the wood blocks perfectly straight and I was forever stamping a little crooked.  It probably wouldn’t bother anyone else, but it bothered me, especially for sentiments so I’ve worked around it – if you pay attention, I rarely stamp a sentiment directly on a card front.  I usually stamp them on a scrap and then punch it out or cut it out with a framelit so I can get it lined up and centered perfectly.  My upline used to laugh at me and I was so excited when she showed me the Stamp-a-ma-jig.  I bought one right away and still use it often for my wood-mount stamps.  It helps a lot, but it does add an extra step to the stamping process.

The real fix to my problems happened when Stampin’ Up first introduced clear mount stamps.  I was SO EXCITED.  These are not acrylic stamps, they are the same high quality red rubber that the wood-mount stamps are made from, but they are adhered to this great cling foam that sticks right to clear blocks, and you can see THROUGH the clear block to line up the stamp!  Genius!  I was sold.  I am stamping words straight on the first try nowadays.

Even better is that the clear mount stamps take up less room on my shelf since all the sets come in DVD-size cases.  They also cost less than the wood mount sets (because they don’t have to include a bunch of wood blocks with each set).  The clear blocks are a little bit of an investment up front but if you buy as many stamps as I do, you end up saving money over time by going clear mount.  And bonus – this clear block bundle (and the storage case to carry them around in!) is 20% off today as one of the 24 hour deals on the final day of the Online Extravaganza!  You have a few hours left, get yours now!

Online Extravaganza ends at midnight tonight – get your 50% off stamps to go with these fabulous clear blocks before the deals are gone!



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Oh my gosh, it’s seriously time to get down to business and get ready for Christmas. How did that happen so fast?

To be quite honest, Thanksgiving is really my favorite holiday – I love the idea of just taking a break from our busy lives and spending some time with loved ones to give thanks.  My husband has decreed that Thanksgiving is our non-travel holiday, so instead of going over the river and through the woods to see BOTH our kids’ grandmothers like we do at Christmas and worrying about packing all those gifts, we just enjoy a little staycation at home and make way more turkey than we really need so that I can enjoy leftovers and no grocery shopping for about five days.  🙂  With our children old enough now at 3 and 5 to entertain themselves for a bit when they get up in the morning, we even slept in* a few days for probably the first time since 2006!  It was heavenly.

* “Slept in” means getting up at 7:30 or 8:00 instead of the usual 6:00 AM that is required to get a kid on the bus in time for school.  I think our days of REALLY sleeping in on weekends are gone forever.

That 6:00 AM alarm clock on Monday jolted us back to reality and daily routine, and yesterday my children both came home from school with letters about Christmas music programs and class holiday parties –  I started counting the days and all of a sudden Christmas is RIGHT around the corner!  I have been working along steadily making cards since July or so but can always use more – even if only to stockpile extras to enclose with small gifts for people like our mail carrier and my hairdresser and all those people you remember at the last minute.  Plus, I keep seeing more cute ideas from other stampers every day using products I already have, so I just have to try them out!

Here is a quick one I have CASE’d from my very own upline demonstrator, Beth Crocker.  I just love this idea.  Last year I made a wreath out of branches I’d punched from green cardstock using my Bird punch, but this one is so much faster…just stamp a circle of snowflakes!


Tip:  I punched a 2 1/2″ circle out of a piece of scrap cardstock and used that to trace a circle very lightly with pencil on the front of the card as a guide – then I just made sure to stamp all the snowflakes centered on that pencil line.  Using clear mount stamps helps because you can see the line right through the block.

Don’t forget the Online Extravaganza ends Wednesday, 11/28!  Click on the image above to browse all the products on sale for up to 50% off!

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Here is a group of eight adorable little enclosure cards for all occasions!  At 3″x3″ they fit perfectly inside these Mini Envelopes as the finishing touch for a birthday or holiday gift.

The Button Buddies stamp set is adorable on its own, but it is designed to coordinate with these designer buttons which really step it up a notch.  I think my favorite is the pink pig!


  • Stamp Sets:  Button Buddies, Teeny Tiny Wishes
  • Ink/Cardstock
    • Cherries:  Real Red, Lucky Limeade
    • Pumpkin:  Pumpkin Pie, Soft Suede, Old Olive
    • Baby Rattle:  So Saffron, Baja Breeze
    • Snail:  Certainly Celery, Always Artichoke
    • Snowman:  Marina Mist
    • Flower:  Rich Razzleberry
    • Pig:  Primrose Petals
    • Vase of flowers:  Island Indigo
  • Tools and Accessories:  Designer Buttons (Brights and Subtles), Glue Dots, White Baker’s Twine

Best news of all!  Right now during Stampin’ Up!’s Online Extravaganza, the Button Buddies stamp set is 50% off and the Brights Designer Buttons are 30% off!  I will be offering this assortment of cards as a class in January for my local friends, but 50% off is a better deal than I will be able to offer at the time of the class so if you love this stamp set get it now!   Click below to see all the items included in the Online Extravaganza (ends Wednesday 11/28!)


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The Online Extravaganza (Stampin’ Up!’s annual holiday sale) will run from November 19 to November 28th this year. Almost 2 weeks of some pretty incredible sales, including 50% off many stamp sets and My Digital Studio 2!  That means big savings.  Click on the image below to see the complete list of what will be on sale.  The discounts get bigger and bigger as you go down the list!

Possibly the best news of all?  Did you notice that THE BIG SHOT IS 20% OFF?!?  If you have been wanting one of those for a long time, now is the time to get yourself a great gift (or send your loved one this link and tell them it’s what you really really want for Christmas!)  Start the new year off with all kinds of die cutting and embossing capabilities.  🙂  The only catch is that the Big Shot discount is only good for ONE DAY – Monday November 19.  Don’t miss out!  There are several other 24 hour deals including the Simply Scored Diagonal Plate which I just love for making envelopes and boxes.

You can place your order in my online store 24 hours a day – the advertised discounts will automatically show up starting when the Online Extravaganza begins at 12:00 AM MST on Monday.  If you are one of my local customers in the Huntsville/Madison area, I will be putting in a group order – you are welcome to include your items on that order and save a little on shipping!  Happy shopping, and happy stamping!

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This is one of the neater ideas I have seen in a long time.  Stampin’ Up has come out with labels that have QR codes on them and instructions for recording your own audio message.  Then you stick the label in a card (I hope it is a beautiful card that you’ve handstamped yourself! :)) and mail it to a friend.  Your friend opens the card up, scans the QR code with their phone, and they can hear your message!  No bulky cards with speakers, no batteries or extra postage required, but this definitely steps a card up to make it really special.  I am thinking these would be really fun for grandparents (either to send or receive), or how great would it be for kids like my 3 year old who are still a bit too young to WRITE their own thank you notes but might enjoy sending an audio thank-you to their loved ones for all their Christmas or birthday gifts.  You can order your own online and have them shipped to you in time for Christmas cards!   Local customers, I’ll announce a group order probably right after Thanksgiving that you are welcome to join in on to save a little on shipping.

Look for an announcement tomorrow about Stampin’ Up!’s Online Extravaganza 2012.  This is bound to be an exciting sale full of lots of great Black Friday-type deals, I can’t wait to find out exactly what will be included.  Get your wish lists ready!

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Hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween!  We had 231 trick-or-treaters, it was a little bit crazy around here.  So fun to see all the creative costumes people came up with.  We had a Tinkerbell and a rocketship here at our house who had a GREAT night.  Getting up for school this morning was a little rough.  I’m going to blame it on our neighbor who rented a COTTON CANDY MACHINE and sat there spinning fresh cotton candy for kids (um, wow!)  It made my Butterfingers look a little lame in comparison.  😦  Not the ones I sent to school yesterday for my kids to share with their classmates, though:

Now this is a cute little way to share treats.  It’s adapted from a great swap I received from Pamala Smith at the regional event in Chattanooga in September (I just adapted her design to be Halloween-themed!)   Now, I did not have the time or desire to make over 200 of these for all our trick-or-treaters but it was very easy to make a couple dozen for my kids to share with their classmates.  Here’s how you do it:

  1. Start with an 8 1/2″ x 2″ piece of cardstock
  2. Fold in half
  3. Punch through both layers of cardstock on the end OPPOSITE the folded edge with the Scallop Edge Border Punch
  4. Emboss the front side if desired.
  5. Punch a slot at the top end of front side using the Word Window punch
  6. Embellish as desired (I brought out my favorite little [retired] owl stamp again, I promise I’ll put him away now until next year)  I handwrote a little note on the unembossed back for my children’s classmates (From your friend, ________)
  7. Insert a treat so the top end sticks out the slot
  8. Adhere the front and back together at the top using Sticky Strip.

Easy as pie!  I can see adapting this for all kinds of occasions – a thank you treat, Valentines for classmates at school, party favors, wedding favors…what ways can you come up with to use this?


  • Stamp Sets:  Teeny Tiny Wishes, Warmest of Wishes (2011 Holiday catalog hostess set, retired)
  • Ink:  Basic Black
  • Cardstock:  Pumpkin Pie, Whisper White, Basic Black
  • Tools and Accessories:  Scallop Edge Border Punch, Word Window Punch, Modern Label Punch, Owl Punch, Big Shot with Spider Web embossing folder, Sticky Strip, candy of your choice (I found most Fun Size chocolates fit well but you don’t want anything too fat or it will strain at the edges of the slot you’ve punched out.  The original swap I received actually just had a little Hershey bar in there and it laid flat and looked very nice).  You may want a few extra to snack on while you work!

Now Halloween is over and it’s time to move on to Thanksgiving and Christmas crafts!  I am so excited to share this promotion with you that begins today:

Every hostess who has a qualifying party between now and December 16th will receive an ENTIRE COLOR FAMILY of ink pads on top of the regular hostess benefits.  That’s TEN classic Stampin’ Pads in the color family of your choice – brights, subtles, or regals.  Click here to read the details.  I’d love to make some holiday cards with you and your friends – or tags for packages or even some holiday scrapbook pages that will be ready to fill in with all the great pictures you’re about to have!

Also, if you want to become a demonstrator, you will receive the ink pads for free when you purchase your starter kit between now and December 16th.  I’d love to have you on my team!  Feel free to e-mail me at stephanie.kokan@gmail.com anytime you have questions, or visit my demonstrator website to learn more about how the Starter Kit works and the many benefits of being a demonstrator.

Here’s one last Halloween photo, can you believe my hydrangeas are still producing blooms in NOVEMBER?  I cannot.  Be on the lookout for a tutorial later this week on how to make these cute little pumpkins from your scraps of orange cardstock.  Makes for great Thanksgiving table or mantel decor!

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