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Susan R. Opel

I can’t remember the last time I was so inspired! Last Tuesday I cruised around the Go-to Gals & Friends Blog Hop like many of you, and what a spectacular hop it was! Seeing so many different styles and takes on each sketch was like unwrapping gift after gift at an extravagant birthday party.

That night I opened Go-to Sketches and marked over 20 sketches that I can’t wait to use. The funny thing is that I’ve worked on this issue since its inception last September, but seeing your reactions has been so exciting. I’ve created an album on Facebook where I’ll share my Go-to Sketches Quest.

And you know what? I really needed this push. I’m afraid I’ve become more of a supply collector, organizer and purger than an actual paper crafter. It’s been a long time since I set up a challenge for myself (honestly, I haven’t had a good goal for myself since I tried out for Creating Keepsakes magazine’s Hall of Fame and Scrapbooker of the Year contests). There’s a bit of a misconception that we are creating cards in the office every day. And the answer to that is: not so. There’s much to do in our corporate office environment.

Here’s a card I created for my Go-to Sketches Quest.

It’s based on Go-to Gal Teri Anderson’s sketch on pg. 16.

While I know that this special issue with 66 sketches will keep me busy for a while, you can be assured that the ideas will never run out. Go-to Sketches is actually based on a regular column in the magazine. Each issue offers two new sketches and ten examples of the sketches in use (eight in the magazine and 2 online). As a matter of fact, here is one of the sketches in the May/June 2010 issue that is officially on sale today!

I love this sketch (designed by Go-to Gal Jessica Witty), especially for the balanced design. By using the rule of thirds, the sentiment ends up in the “sweet” spot in the bottom right third of the card front.

And as you learned last week in this post over at the Moxie Fab World blog, sketches can be turned every which way! I love how designer Sarah Martina Parker rotated the sketch 90 degrees to the left, not to mention her gorgeous color combination and heart-stopping houndstooth butterfly!

Take any sketch and make it your own!

How would you like one last chance to win a copy of Go-to Sketches so that you can join me in my Go-to Sketch Quest? Leave a comment telling me about any of your paper crafting goals, and one person will win this sought-after issue! All comments must be received by at midnight (MDT) on Wednesday, April 14.

*Shhhhhhh!!! Don’t tell anyone, but I think I might sneak out of the office early to create!*

Susan

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Susan R. Opel

We’re getting close to one of my favorite days of the year…Easter! Roll springtime, resurrection and pretty pastels all up into one day, and you’ll find me smiling from ear to ear! 

Hopefully by now you’ve had the chance to drink in all of the springtime goodness in the March/April issue. Did you SEE the eggs that Kim Kesti created in Tips, Tools, & Techniques? Talk about wowie-wow! I simply asked Kim to come up with some creative ideas of how to use her paper crafting supplies to decorate eggs, and away she went! 

The six eggs that appeared in the magazine are pretty inspiring. I mean, who is brave enough to even attempt stamping and embossing on an egg shell? Kim is, and look at the awesome results! Kim also used acrylic paint, rub-ons, finger paint, paper flowers, patterned paper, adhesive pearls and glitter to dress up half a dozen simple eggshells. Aren’t these simply gorgeous?   

Here are some fun ways to dress up some eggshells!

One thing you probably don’t know is that Kim actually decorated three more eggs that didn’t appear in the magazine. Yes, she blew out THREE MORE yolks which really isn’t all that fun! If you go to her blog here, you can get a full insider’s look at how she went about creating all of the eggs. And here’s a look at the other three eggs that she created: 

Don’t be afraid to try glimmer mist, stickers, gems and ribbons on your eggs.

So as you head into Easter and are trying to think of a fun craft to do with the kids or for yourself, consider all of the pretty pastel goodness that you can find in your craft supplies, and scramble up some egg decorating fun! 

Would you believe that Kim is willing to part with these beauties? Leave me a comment telling me which egg is your favorite (and why), and one lucky/randomly chosen commenter will be sent the six eggs that appeared in the magazine (no guarantees that they’ll make it there in one piece – but it could happen!). All comments must be received by midnight (MDT) on Sunday, March 28. 

Here’s to an egg-citing Easter!
Susan 

P.S. We just posted our next call for submissions! If you feel like getting in the Christmas spirit, we’re looking for projects for Holiday Cards & More, Volume 5. Click HERE for all the merry details!

Susan R. Opel

Last month while teaching at a Creating Keepsakes Convention in Kentucky, I had the opportunity to meet Windy Robinson, a talented card designer who’s been published in Paper Crafts magazine. She told me an inspiring story about how she became the paper crafter that she is today, and I knew that I wanted to share it with all of you! So, read on for Windy’s story…

Windy’s story: Every year my best crafting buddy and I attend a CKC event. We’ve been fortunate enough to attend CKC-Louisville just two hours from our hometown of Cincinnati for the past two years, but I’ll admit that we’ve gleefully driven 5-6 hours to hit CKC-Nashville. You just can’t beat a weekend of quality crafting time with your girlfriends, abundant new products to buy and new things to learn by taking great classes from the pros.

It’s amazing what can happen in a very short period of time. I say this because it’s hard to believe that it was only a little over a year ago when I made my first card…ever! I entered it in the Paper Crafts Card Contest at CKC-Louisville.

Windy created her You Make Me Smile Card using product she bought at the CKC vendor faire last month.

Prior to making my first card, I was die-hard scrapbooker. I made my first scrapbooks over 12 years ago when I was in college, with magnetic albums and construction paper–yikes! After making that first card and taking a few classes at CKC, I instantly became addicted to card making. This addiction has been one of life’s little surprises for me. I never would have dreamt that I’d be a card maker, but what I hadn’t realized was that card making and scrapbooking naturally go hand in hand.

I began a blog where I shared cards that I’d made from the remnants of my scrapbook pages. Within a few months of sharing my work, seeing others’ inspiring work and playing along with the challenges at Paper Crafts Connection and Moxie Fab World, my card designs started to take over as the inspiration for my scrapbook layouts.

Windy’s classy and elegant style often includes a big dramatic silk ribbon.

As the months progressed, I started developing my style as a designer, submitting my work to Paper Crafts for publication, and building fabulous relationships with paper crafters from all around the world. The end result is that now I am a die-hard card maker (who scrapbooks), and I’ve even been asked to join the design teams for GCD Studios and Piggy Tales Academy

I love to share and learn, and this wonderful craft enables us all to do that on so many levels. Better yet, I have learned how to define my scrapbook designs, and I’m loving my layouts even more now. The moral of this story is that you can surprise yourself, but only if you give it a shot. So submit, share and most importantly, don’t stop creating!

Windy and I pause for a photo after the Paper Crafts Card Swap at CKC-Louisville.

Thanks for sharing your story, Windy. And to think that it all started because of a fun and crafty weekend with her girlfriends!

Have you ever attended a CKC event? Follow this link and see if there’s one in your neck of the woods. It might well be a weekend you’ll never forget (for all the right reasons!). 

Join me in giving Windy some Paper Crafts love!
Susan

P.S. You can see more of Windy’s cards in our current issue, as well as our May/June and July/August issues. Her projects will also be appearing in our upcoming special issues – Go-to Sketches (on sale March 23) and Card Creations, Volume 8.

Jennifer Schaerer

We’re a tight-knit team around here, and because of that we all feel like we’ve just had a baby.

Okay, not really.

But ohmygosh…we were so excited when Brandy let us know it was finally our turn to meet Cooper Kaleb Jesperson! Yesterday was the day, so we swung by a local restaurant to grab Brandy’s favorite meal and headed over to her house for lunch.

We were so enthralled with this little man that we almost forgot to eat.

Hi everyone! Meet Cooper!

Do babies get any sweeter than this?

Prying him away from Cath was the challenge of the day. Auntie Cath just loooooves babies!

Cooper loves him some Cath time!

Cooper was a great sport about being passed around, which is a good thing because the line of cradling arms was growing impatiently.

Ah, the experience of being a mom to three. Brenda swaddled Cooper and snuggled him right up!

Kelly in a focused moment with Cooper, trying to find the exact right spot for that binky while Brandy takes a break.

Hunger calls, though, and Cooper let us know when he was more than ready for Brandy to be back on duty.

Hey, you're not my mom.

So Brandy, in her deft and impossibly comfortable way, let Cooper join in the lunchtime occasion. And boy, can he ever mow through a bottle!

If someone can be a natural mother, Brandy is it!

Although we would have spent the entire afternoon at Brandy’s house, just admiring her little miracle and getting our Brandy “fix” until she returns to the office, we still had the small matter of a few magazines to produce.

So, we did what tight-knit teams do and grabbed a quick group shot with our new #1 little man.

Cooper and his harem of admirers

I spent the visit at a distance to protect Cooper from my late-season sniffles, but just being with Brandy and absorbing her happiness as a new mom was more than enough for me.

Since it really is the season for babies (and brides, too!), if you’re inspired to join the fun during our Babies and Brides Gallery Challenge, please do!

Basking in the baby bliss,
Jennifer

Susan R. Opel

It’s time for another edition of Tips, Tools, & Techniques trivia! Open your gorgeous copy of the March/April 2010 issue of Paper Crafts magazine (a breath of fresh air!), turn to pages 94-96 and answer the following questions for the chance to WIN (and who doesn’t like to win?): 

  • Take a closer look at the brads that I created using the i-top from Imaginisce. A photo of my parents appears on one of the brads. What are they doing in the picture?
  • Which Go-to Gal had the headache-inducing task of blowing the insides out of eggs for this issue?
  • Tell me – what does heat & stick powder do?
  • Fill-in-the-blank time! I say that Doodlebug Design’s Chunky Glitter could be classified as “_______________ in a ________.”
  • What idea is your favorite from this issue’s Tips, Tools, & Techniques column, and why?

Now for the fun part. Two winners will be randomly selected to win: 

  • The i-top Brad Maker and the Small, Medium and Large Punches and Brad Daddies from Imaginisce shown on page 94.

OR 

 

 

 

Now doesn’t that sound fun? There’s not much more to do before you are qualified to win! 

  • Send an e-mail with your answers to sopel@papercraftsmag.com. Put “TT&T Blog” in the subject line of your message. Please leave a comment on the blog, and let me know which prize puts a spring in your step!
  • Entries are due no later than midnight (MST) on Monday, March 8th. From the correct entries received, two winners will be selected at random and contacted via e-mail. Note: Due to the number of e-mails received, I’m unable to respond to each message individually. Please know that I do read your comments and totally appreciate your participation. Thanks!

So…What are you waiting for? 

Can’t wait to see your answers!
Susan

Susan R. Opel

Yep, Fat Tuesday (also known as Shrove Tuesday), and no, I’m not calling you fat!

Protestants around the globe are preparing for the beginning of Lent tomorrow on Ash Wednesday. Fat Tuesday is known as the traditional last day of decadence before the 40 days of fasting associated with Lent.

Many associate this day with Mardi Gras in New Orleans complete with King Cakes, parades and beads. Back in 2005, my sister and I took an amazing Spring Break trip to New Orleans, and though we missed Mardi Gras, we were still able to capture the vibe of one of the coolest cities in the country!

One of the highlights of our trip was eating authentic New Orleans cuisine Emeril Lagasse-style!

My sister, Beth Opel, created this layout about New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

You can see more New Orleans layouts from our trip here and here.

But I digress! When I was growing up as a little Lutheran girl, my mom liked to celebrate Fat Tuesday by serving pancakes for dinner (yummo!). You see the word fat is in reference to the idea that all of the remaining sugar, fat and eggs needed to be used up to herald the fasting of Lent. That’s not to say that we fasted, but an excuse to eat pancakes for supper? Count me in!

Another yummy Fat Tuesday tradition in my family came from the large Polish Catholic community in my hometown of Bay City, Michigan, (let’s just say Krzysiak’s was one of our favorite restaurants in town). Paczki (pronounced punch-key) are deep-fried pastries much like a jelly doughnut. There was nothing like licking the dusty powdered sugar off my sticky fingers.

A pile of paczki. Do you see what I’m saying?

And so, after all of those calories and all of that fat and gluttony, Lent begins. You may know of the tradition of giving something up for Lent. It’s not a requirement for Lutherans, but I often choose something. It’s a good lesson in self-control, ya know? And that certainly never hurts. And then, once those 40 days are done, the ultimate is here! Easter! And hopefully full-fledged spring!

My What I *heart* About Easter Sunday layout as seen in Creating Keepsakes magazine, April 2009.

Speaking of spring, today the March/April issue of Paper Crafts magazine hits the newsstands! Dig inside for amazing ideas to bring abundant fresh air into your February life!

Click on the cover image to order your copy today!

Giving you permission to eat paczki and pancakes today!
Susan

P. Kelly Smith

Welcome to Freebie Friday! I hope you’ve enjoyed our week-long blogiversary celebration. I’ve enjoyed reading all of your heartfelt comments this week and throughout the past year. And I do read each and every one! 

I love bringing you this blog five days a week, 52 weeks a year. Some might think that would be a daunting task. You have to run out of ideas sooner or later, right? Luckily, I’m constantly surrounded by inspiration. And since my introvert tendencies make me sit and stew over things, once an idea hits me, I immediately exclaim, “That could be a blog post!” And the rest is history… 

Since I shared my favorite blog posts with you on Monday, today I’d like to share some editor insights on a few of our more controversial posts. Because let’s face it, I know you all like a juicy story just as much as me! And with this full disclosure, I’ll share some of my favorite reader comments. Some of them were so laugh-out-loud funny, I immediately had to forward them on to the rest of the team. And within seconds, laughter could be heard erupting from our cubicles and nearby offices. There’s some colorful PC peeps out there! 

So, without further ado, here’s a few headline-making posts of 2009: 

1. Birthday Idol – April 29, 2009: In honor of Susan’s birthday last year, we decided to go with an American Idol theme since she loves the show and had just joined a rock ‘n roll band. Little did I know, but I apparently offended one of her die-hard fans by making this innocent comment: “Kelly Clarkson, eat your heart out! There’s a new Idol in town.” I assure you, as a fellow Texan and fan of Kelly’s music, I was not referring to her weight at all. I was merely suggesting that Susan was the new “Idol” in Paper Crafts land. 

2. Do You Like to Make Stuff – May, 26, 2009: Brandy had no idea what she was setting herself up for with this post. It began with her listing the things she likes to make: cookies, friends, cards, magazines, etc. The comment prompt to win a prize was: “What do you like to make?” Summer Braxton chimed in with: “I hope I don’t offend anyone…but I like to make whoopee with my husband…especially since he just got home from a year-long deployment.” (Summer, your comment was one I most definitely forwarded to the rest of the team! Thanks for the giggle!) 

3. Gallery Idol Top 10…Coming Soon – July 17, 2009: This is probably the most painful post I had to write last year. (See finalist Jo Kill’s card below. The sentiment reads: “Sometimes Life Sucks…” And it did that day!) Long story short, I was on vacation in San Diego and had to post the Top 10 results of our Gallery Idol competition. Our webmaster was suppose to e-mail me the results over the weekend, he forgot and the inmates turned on him. Despite the drama, I loved this comment from Shanna Vineyard, who I believe was about six months pregnant at the time: “Hey Kelly! Who’s the “Nameless” webmaster so we can all come lynch him/her???? Bwahahahahha! J/K!!!!!!” I’m sure it was the hormones talking, right Shanna? 

So there you have it! Just a few posts that definitely caught our attention in 2009. Hopefully in 2010 we’ll continue to bring you all the things you love, plus introduce some fun things you’ve never seen before! (And I’m sure they’ll be some juicy stories to tell a year from now!) 

Happy Friday!
Kelly 

P.S. I almost forgot today’s giveaway! As my blogiversary gift to you, leave a comment about absolutely anything and I’ll pick three winners to receive Karen Foster’s Simple Elegance Card Creations Kit and one of our new Betty t-shirts. All comments must be received by midnight (MST) on Sunday, Feb. 7. 

Three lucky winners will take home this Karen Foster Design card kit and a Betty t-shirt!

P.P.S. It’s time to announce the three winners from Kim Hughes’ Inspiration Journals post! 

1. Jamie Greene (Feb. 3, 6:56 a.m.)
2. Julie Campbell (Feb. 3, 8:30 a.m.)
3. Victoria S. (Feb. 3, 9:52 p.m.)
 

Congrats, winners! You’ve each won a new BasicGrey collection and one of our Betty t-shirts. I’ll be contacting you shortly to get your mailing addresses. Thanks to all who left comments!

Susan R. Opel

In the last year, we’ve shared all sorts of crazy Paper Crafts fun with you. If you scroll through the last 12 months of our blog, you’ll see that we work really hard, but we also have lots of good times, too. Having a great job is all well and good, but when you can call your colleagues friends, that’s pretty stinkin’ cool.  

Kelly recently called me the team cheerleader (ooh, I like that title!), so I’ve gathered a synopsis of the silly, mundane and cool things that we’ve done since this blog’s inception.

Can I get a Go! Fight! Win! Paper Crafts

This is one of my favorite pictures of the Paper Crafts team.

We’ve had six interns in the last year, and each has brought her own personality to our team. I always loved seeing their blog posts with their impressions of what it’s like to work in our office. I think we’ve turned a few of them into paper crafters. But really, how can they resist? 

Thanks Courtney, Brynn, Lindy, Nicki, Melinda, and Sarie!

You also got the chance to look into our daily lives with meetings, an office tour, photo shoot preparation and us just generally loving each other. We keep busy in our offices and cubicles bringing you the magazine, but we take time to chit-chat sometimes, too. 

Getting the job done, Paper Crafts’s style

But we’re not confined to the office, no siree! We’ve been out in the world together on many occasions. A crew of us visited Disneyland, four of us saw Celine Dion in concert, the whole gang painted plates at a do-it-yourself pottery place, many of us participated in card group and we even had a field trip to the Making Memories office. 

We work and play hard!

As a card making magazine, it probably comes as no surprise that we LOVE to celebrate every little holiday possible. From Halloween (oh, those polygamist brides of Frankenstein!) to St. Patrick’s Day (any reason to dress in a theme) to the Super Bowl (don’t let that Steelers jersey fool you – Go COLTS!). 

Give us a holiday, and we’ll find a way to celebrate!

And what would we do without our friends? We love having visitors stop by, and when they do it’s hugs all around. When are you going to stop by? 

We love to grab a picture when friends stop by.

So what do you want to see in the upcoming months from the Paper Crafts team? I’ve got three new Imaginisce collections and three of our Betty t-shirts to give away to three lucky commenters. Leave a comment by Friday, Feb. 5 at midnight (MST), and you might just win! 

Your Paper Crafts cheerleader,
Susan

P.S. It’s time to announce the winner from Brandy’s A Year of Giving Back post!

Jess (Feb. 2, 8:53 a.m.)

Congrats, Jess! You’ve won two prize packages! One for yourself and one to give to a friend! Kelly will be contacting you shortly to get your mailing address. Thanks to all who left comments!

Maren Benedict

I’m writing from CHA! I love capturing the spirit and excitement that comes from this event. 

It’s all about AMAZING new product and reconnecting with people from all over the world who ‘get it’. 

I am, as many attest, always taking photos at these special events. Here are my top three so far:

Lovely ladies! From left: Teri Anderson, Ashley Harris, Kim Hughes and Kim Kesti

Check out Susan's sparkly tank top...GORGEOUS!

Hmm…I wonder why I like this one so much?

I promise to share hundreds more in the next few days, but until then, I’d love to hear what caption would go perfectly with them. Leave a comment by midnight on Thursday, Jan. 28 and I’ll pick one person to receive some goodies from CHA. Be sure to tell me which picture you’re commenting on!

Maren Benedict,
Paper Crafts Go-to Gal

P.S. If you just can’t wait to see my hundreds of pictures, hop on over to the Paper Crafts Fan Page on Facebook. The editors have been posting some product sneak peeks, plus a few incriminating ones of us after-hours!

Susan R. Opel

This morning when you awoke, did you feel a certain tingle in your toes? Were you feeling more chipper than usual, too? You know why that is, right? 

Oh, yes, Stamp It! Cards goes on sale TODAY! 

On the Paper Crafts Facebook Fan Page we asked our readers what their favorite special issue from 2009 was. Why, Stamp It! Cards, of course! And it really does make sense. If you’re looking for card making inspiration and you love to stamp – this issue is the be-all end-all of stamping and paper crafting nirvana. 

Click on the cover to order your copy today!

Do you hear the angels singing with joy? 

Our reader survey (Have you taken it yet? There’s still time!) tells us that almost all of our readers use stamps, but even the non-stamper will be inspired by the colorful, trendy and inspiring cards. There’s so much to love! 

Do you like what you see so far? Silly question, right? Be sure to mark your calendar for the week of February 22-26th where we’ll host a Stamp It! Cards promotional week here on Paper Crafts Connection as well as on the Moxie Fab World blog. Kelly and Cath will share all sorts of insights and fabulousness from this amazing issue, and I’m pretty sure there will be some prizes involved. 

Since Stamp It! Cards is one of our most popular issues, we’re even throwing a little party next week at the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) Trade Show in Anaheim, CA, to celebrate. We’ll be giving out these awesome buttons. How cute are they?  

 

Do you want to win one of these buttons? Read on… 

To win one of these limited edition Stamp It! Cards buttons and a few stamps to get you stamping, I’d love to hear your answer to one of the following questions

  • What was the very first stamp you bought?
  • If you could create your very own stamp, what would it be?

Leave me a comment by Wednesday, Jan. 20th at midnight (MST), and you might just win! We’ll announce three winners on Monday, Jan. 25th

Yours in Stamp It! Love!
Susan 

P.S. It’s time to announce the three winners from Kelly’s He Said, She Said post! Kelly’s own sister picked these as her favorite card sentiments and said reading them made her feel instantly better.

1. Summer Braxton (Jan. 15, 8:18 a.m.) 

Picture #1: speech bubble over Lexus’ head: “Get better soon ‘cuz this guy’s a mess without you.” 

2. Michelle A. (Jan. 15, 11:39 a.m.)  

Picture #1: “Sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. Wish I could offer you my blanket but Charlie back there stole it!” 

3. Patty (Jan. 15, 4:15 p.m.) 

Picture #2: “Oooh – you’re sick. Want company in that big bed of yours?” 

Congrats, ladies! You’ve each won a copy of Card Creations: Start to Finish, Vol. 2. Kelly will be contacting you shortly to get your mailing addresses. Thanks to all who left comments!

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