July 6, 2011

What I've Learned

Hi friends!

Its been almost six months that I took up this crazy paper crafting hobby ok ok, addiction.

In this journey I've,
...learned a lot.
...messed up a lot.
...started over a lot.

BUT! I've also
...had a lot of fun.
...read a lot of blogs.
...learned a lot of new techniques.
...been inspired by a lot of color combinations, products, paper crafts.

The best thing about this journey? The people I've met, the way I've been able to connect with others around me and how I've been able to share my interest and talents with others in a different way.

I started this with the intention of sharing what I've learned along the way. So here's my top five tips for someone looking to get started in stamping, card making or paper crafting in general.

#1 Not all clear stamps are created equal.

When I first started, I bought every cheap stamp I could find. Most of the time I was buying based on the design. What I should have done was left them in the $1 bin. Some were ok. Most were horrible. The biggest problem is that they don't stamp good images because they're uneven or made from cheap materials. Bad materials makes ink pool so the image is splotchy.
Suggestion: Find good quality stamp manufacturers who's designs you like and stick with them. There's a lot out there. Hero Arts, American Crafts, Papertrey Ink & Verve Stamps are some of my favorites.

#2 Find a die cutting machine you love and get cuttin'!

I waited a few months before really feeling like I wanted a die cutting machine. Honestly, I was very overwhelmed by it all ("the sandwich" really stressed me out). When I started seeing all the neat things people were doing with them, I knew I needed one. I researched and researched and researched, talked to a few people online and then researched some more. When I settled on the one I wanted, I was so thrilled with what I could do with it.
Suggestion: Don't be overwhelmed by the choices and number of dies out there. If you get one of the more well-known machines, you can find lots of tutorials, videos and people to help you figure out "the sandwich" for your machine.

#3 Inky is good. All kinds of inky is wonderful!

I thought at first I would only love pigment inks forever and ever. But then after stumbling upon Jennifer McGuire's blog and this post about inks, I started getting a little brave. Now I have all types of inks and I really enjoy the different things you can do with different types. There's tons of video on YouTube on using different inks. Again, I'm gonna tell you about Jennifer McGuire's videos. She has a series that she did for http://www.twopeasinabucket.com/.com that is FANTASTIC! (You can find all of Jennifer's vidoes linked here.)
Suggestion: Try the different types before you buy all the colors in a line. I bought tons of chalk ink before I really started experimenting and now I hardly use them. Translation - I couldda got more distress ink instead. Dang it!

#4 Find Your Inspiration

I do take a lot of inspiration from others so to me, checking in on the blogs from the people I really like is helpful to me. I also can't keep myself from Paper Crafts Magazine. Not only is it full of neat projects, the people at the magazine are fun, passionate about papercrafting and reachable. And talk about inspiration - their trends blog Moxie Fab World is active, knee deep in trends and a great source of information.
Suggestion: Start with some of the paper companies or stamping companies you like and check out the blogs their design team members write. You'll get to the good stuff quicker!

#5 Try it at least once.

I'm working on "my style". Six months ago I would have walked by something (or mostly skipped past it online) thinking it wasn't "my style". Now I have a small collection of things to try that I didn't necessarily start with. Right now I have a pack of chipboard keys from Maya Road, some rub-on transfers from American Crafts and some baker's twine. I have no idea what I am going to do with them but I want them around so when I feel like trying something new, I can.
Suggestion: Start small and pace yourself. This can be very budget-detrimental if you're not careful!

I hope this helps any new stampers or papercrafters out there. If you ever are wondering about anything, please feel free to email me or leave a comment. I would love to hear from you! I certainly don't know a whole lot but I can probably keep you from doing something the wrong way. I'm really experienced with that, it seems!

Have a great week!


  1. This is so well written!! I've been paper crafting in one form or another for almost 15 years and still found this post informative and helpful! I can't believe you've only been paper crafting for six months - that's crazy!! Will definitely be looking for more to come from you! :)

  2. I love your tips! I agree with Jillian that it's crazy you've only been paper crafting such a short time. I still can't figure out inks ;) Thanks for sharing!

  3. Happy to find you through OCC... am flipping through all the blogs and wanted to say hi, and that I especially enjoyed this post of yours. Happy stamping!