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Jessica Witty

Have you ever seen that TV show called Hoarders?   

I haven’t.   

And let me say, for the record, that I’m not like that.   

But I can appreciate the urge.   

The desire to keep.   

And keep.   

And keep.   

Until you think to yourself, “Now, Self, why exactly was I keeping this?”   

In an effort to ensure that I never start meandering down the little path to Hoarderdom, I’ve challenged myself as of late to use up the various scraps that I can’t bear to part with. Use it or lose it, I keep repeating to myself.    

I also tend to approach products from a “What else can I do with this?” kind of perspective. I gravitate towards items with multiple uses, whether that be stamp sets with themes I can use endlessly, products in colors I always gravitate to or tools that really give me a bang for my buck and lots of function for the space they take up.   

I also make living against veritable Craft Hoarderdom a sort of way of life. My cozy little dining room/craft area will soon be moved to a house a few miles away and relocated in…yup…the dining room. Some customized storage plans will make the space work just fine for me and my commitment to keeping things pared back. {As soon as there are pictures of that little life-changing project, I’ll share, I swear.}   

But…even after all that…there are some things that still confound me with this whole use it or lose it idea.   

Maybe it’s because I’m really a stamper at heart.   

Therefore, scrapbook supplies like letter stickers can still trip me up a bit.   

I mean, how do you ever use them all? Has anyone ever actually used up an entire sheet? Down to the q’s and z’s?    

Just how in the world am I ever going to be able to throw the sheet away if I can never use them all up?   

And, therefore, I attempted the impossible: the use of an entire sheet of letter stickers.   

I present to you, Exhibit A:   

This card would be the sort of entry example into using letter stickers, right? Pick a phrase, design a card and stick ‘em on. {Obviously, I should have picked a longer phrase…something like “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways?”} Ah, but wait…I did get a bit creative on the scalloped borders. Those little cuties came courtesy of all of those 3’s, 8’s, B’s, p’s, q’s, etc. Just lay them all down in a nice little line and cover up the edges with another layer. {Yeah, I’m totally on my way to using the whole sheet.}   

And now, for Exhibit B:   

Now we’re getting somewhere. A little town called Letterific, if I do say so myself. This one is sort of a modern take on using up those stickers…white on white, simple design, nothing fancy. I did use my noggin just a bit and tried to take the letters from just one section of the letter sheet, because I already had Exhibit C in mind…   

Ah, the piece de resistance of using up those letter sheets. Obviously, I was using a letter sheet where the negative image is still left on the backing that the letters come on. I just peeled the backing up, stuck it down onto the card base and trimmed off the overhanging edges. {I will admit to going with a smaller 3 ½” x 5” card base because I was not sure how this little experiment was going to turn out and I figured smaller might = easier.} I colored the “hi” in using a marker and yes, I am digging that little brain wave.   

I’m pretty happy with the little results of my experiment. One small letter sheet gave me three cards and three very different paths to using them. However…after all that…I still have something like 1/3 of the darned sheet left. {Oops.}   

Apparently this little Letter Sheet That Could is the sheet that is going to live on in my craft room for all of eternity.    

Any brilliant ideas on how to use them all up?!   

I’d love to hear what all of you do to make the most out of your products…stamps, ribbon, stickers…whatever! Leave me a little message with your brilliant double-duty ideas and I’ll pick one person to win this entire set of American Crafts Thickers. All comments must be received by midnight (MST) on Thursday, Feb. 18.   

One lucky winner will take home this whole sticker set!

Me and my letter stickers, signing off…

P.S. A little birdie told me that my cards above will be featured as a free make ‘n take at this year’s Creating Keepsakes Conventions! Click HERE to find out if a CKC is coming to a city near you!


Jessica Witty

Little known facts about me:

  1. Previous odd jobs include balloon bouquet maker (fun!), gourmet food basket designer (mmm…that was a good one) and roller-skating carhop (still bear the scars from that one)
  2. I can spout off advertisement jingles like nobody’s business. (It’s a sick, sick talent. Especially during the holidays.)
  3. I am frugal. Not cheap, because cheap sounds yucky. Frugal sounds less yucky and more wise. 
  4. When it comes to designing, I tend to think too much. This is both a blessing and a curse.

Numbers 3 & 4 combined make for some pretty big disadvantages when it comes to designing. For instance, when I go to make a card with my favorite paper, I am most definitely going to plan, plan, plan that card out to a T before I make a single cut in that paper. And then when I finally do bite the bullet, I simply cannot part with the tiny sliver that is left over at the end of my projects. So, what’s a girl to do?

Enter the scrap pile. 

Not a new concept, I know. However, it’s new to me, so follow me here. 

First, I scrounged up what I considered to be the perfect container. And what did I find? A pewter “Give us this day, our daily bread” plate. (Anyone else have one of those?) It’s possible that I picked this plate because I am lazy and the china cabinet is right next to my supply cabinet. 

Next, I set the said plate directly behind me on the aforementioned supply cabinet. I filled it up in approximately one week of card making. No joke. I just tossed in various patterned paper scraps, extra die-cuts, stamped images that I ended up changing out, etc.

On to actually using the scraps. This is where little known fact #4 comes in. I decided to challenge myself to use the scraps to make complete cards in 10 minutes or less. Now, I *love* quick and easy cards. However, have you ever noticed that it sometimes takes quite a bit of effort to make something that’s quick, easy and cute? Yeah, me too.

So, my goal here was to sort of set the part of me aside that tends to question every move I make while designing and just *do it.* No expectations of making the best card ever, no thoughts of layer upon layer of intricate loveliness or even what am I going to do next? I barred that particular thought from my mind. The goal was to just DO. (Can you just hear Yoda? “There is no try. There is only do.”)

I wanted to use mostly scraps, along with simple cardstock bases, and to limit any extra supplies to sentiment stamps or items absolutely necessary to finish up each card. I wasn’t super legalistic with the rules…I just tried to be conscious of the fact that the goal was finishing, not thinking too much, and not taking up extra time on non-necessary items.

The first card that came to me was this little birthday cutie…

Nothing fancy…just a little scrap paper cake. I absolutely could not part with the candle sticker that ended up getting cut from a project! I allowed myself to use some yellow chalk around the candle sticker because it was a super quick add-on. Then I added the scalloped Hambly overlay to the green layer because I thought it added to the impression of frosting. Love that. The stamped sentiment serves as the cake base.

Next up is a birthday card with a dotted theme. I’ve been playing around with dry embossing on glassine bags and thought the extra strips might look cute as a ruffle. The embossed dots then led me to the glitter paper scrap and blue and white scrap, both of which happened to go well with the sentiment that made it to the scrap pile after a previous project ended up with a different flourish. All the colors matching was a happy accident.

This one is probably my favorite of my marathon card-making session. I ended up punching the strip at the bottom and added glitter to it, so it *might* have put me just over 10 minutes. I love how the patterns and colors turned out…so soft and pretty.

I’m super excited with how my scrap-pile-10-minute-challenge turned out! It totally made me realize how just going with the flow and not thinking so much all the time can be a good thing for me. It also made it much easier for me to feel okay about throwing the things out that I knew I likely wouldn’t use again because I was still throwing lots of loved little tidbits in the scrap pile. There was a bonus there in that I actually really looked forward to my scrap project all week because I was already anticipating getting to throw my favorites together in some new ways!

I’d love to see any scrap-pile-10-minute-challenge cards that you come up with! Just link them in the comments below and I’ll visit your blog or gallery to check them out! 

I’m considering turning this into a regular challenge on my blog, so visit me over there for more results from my scrap pile marathons!

And…because it’s just so darned timely…yes, I’m frugal, so of course I will be out shopping on Black Friday! At 3AM. Wish me luck! And coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

Paper Crafts Go-to Gal,
Jessica Witty

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