Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stamper Storage Facelift!

edited 2/6/09 - I don't know what happened to this post... I originally posted it last Sunday and went back to edit it and it must have saved as a draft... ergh!!! Anyway.... on to our regular scheduled program!

I am excited to announce that
Stamper Storage has a new online store front!

We have finally had time to give it a proper facelift and bring it into the "modern shopping cart" world! Brent and I have spent hours and hours working on it and getting it tweaked "just right". We've added some options that can be purchased with our InkStaks and RibbonStaks and hopefully have made the overall shopping experience fast and easy for our customers.

Stop in and visit and let me know what you think! Eventually we will add more products to it as we decide what people really want... if there's something in particular that you would like to see in the store, let me know!

Inky Smiles!

PS... Leave a comment on this post with what you would like to see for storage for your space and I will draw a name to win a gift certificate for $15 off any InkStak of your choice! Drawing will close on Friday, February 20th at noon. Winner will be announced on Saturday, February 21st.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Bit o’ Fru-Fru for the Studio

I’ve been dedicating and spending more time this week to work in the studio and get some artsy fartsy things done. Really, it’s mostly done, just some odds n ends that I am working on like painting my InkStak making some fru-fru stuff for the space and some minor picking up of the place.

I pulled out my fabulous little Bernina machine, some fabric and thread and went to work inventing some fru-fru to coordinate with my curtains. I also made a little adjustment to the “ties” on my curtains (McCall's "Home Dec in a Sec" Pattern # M4329 View B - Empire Valance) as the teeny weeny thin ribbon just wasn’t doing it for me. I wanted to use that cool green fabric in the curtains but didn’t have quite enough of it.

Curtainsnewties4web CurtainTies4Web

Anyway, back to the Fru-Fru Invention…. I wanted some blingy something or other and have been enjoying looking at other ppl’s spaces (not just papercrafters) and have seen some FABULOUSO chandelier lights and things in some spaces that are making me droooool. Well, a chandelier would look sorta ridiculous in this space and the ceilings are a bit too low for a dangly piece of lovely fru-fru, so I got to thinking about what I liked about them… Turns out I like the dangly crystals and fringe and shininess of it all so I thought about what I could do to add a little dangly/shiny/fru-fru fringe in this space.

Chair Wraps

With Fringe

And Ties


So yeah… I pulled out the leftover fabrics from making the curtains and went to town. I was too lazy to go to the fabric store and look for a pattern, so I just sorta “winged it” and fit the fabric to the chairs and whipped up some ties. I really like the mismatched patterns. (It has taken me YEARS to figure out that you can mix and match patterns as long as they have colors that compliment/coordinate. Dang “ocd”… lol)

The funky fun orange and fuschia beaded/circle fringe (this is the chandelier part cuz I couldn’t find the “just right” crystal beads) was a fun find at JoAnn’s but I found out you can get it slightly cheaper at WalMart. The fringe is stitched on with a fun, decorative stitch. The wraps fold over the top of the chair and then tie around themselves to the back of the chair. The paisley fabric is actually a really cool hot pink color that I can’t quite get a good photo of…. ergh.

Here are some snapshots of the chair wraps. {Click photos for larger view.}


Thoughts for Thursday: Go After It With a Club

“Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts.
And never hope more than you work.”

—Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944), writer, social activist

“A look at the history of the word {Inspiration} gives a glimpse, however, of humbler roots. The word comes from the Latin spirare, meaning "to breathe." Inspiration, then, is a process of drawing from the world around oneself in order to create, just as our bodies draw from the air around us to take in oxygen and sustain life...

...Inspiration doesn't always come rare and intense like a lightning bolt. There are steps we can take to meet it halfway. The great cubist painter Pablo Picasso said, "Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working." American wilderness writer Jack London put it in less delicate terms: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

Excerpts taken from GOODNEWS “inbox inspiration” article on American Artist Norman Rockwell on the Foundation For A Better Life website. Click here to read the full article.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thoughts for Thursday: Triple Play & A Studio Sneak Peek

“If you're trying to achieve, there will be road blocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

—Michael Jordan (b. 1963), retired professional basketball player, businessman

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”

—Marie Curie (1867-1934), chemist, physicist, Nobel Prize winner

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

—Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672); writer, poet, first woman to be published in Colonial America

It’s a Triple Play TFT and I am going to be slightly selfish with today’s TFT ‘cuz I need to. Usually I pick a TFT because I come across a quote or idea that means something and is somewhat thought provoking or challenges us to better ourselves personally or creatively. Today’s TFT hits home particularly close. On Monday Brent’s boss laid off half of the company (which was 3 people) and Brent was one of the lucky buggers. It wasn’t a complete shock. On Friday they had a company meeting and we sensed that layoffs were coming but we were thinking weeks, not a weekend later.

Life is not all doom and gloom in the Grotegut household. We’ve reached a bump in the road but I am grateful that we’ve been saving our money and building up our food storage for when crazy things like this happen. :) Brent’s been actively looking this week and we are hopeful that it won’t be long before he finds a decent job again. (PS -If you’re in Utah or Salt Lake Counties and know of a full time accountant position, drop me a note.) If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant… & prosperity would not be so welcome.



I have been crazily working on my studio this week. (And Brent has been working on the house in the evenings… I even took a bath in my “new” bathroom!!) It feels like my body is making a decent recovery from my issues with anemia and I have felt the URGE to dejunk and clean my space and get it all decorated and comfortable to create in. Brent finished my new GORGEOUS custom InkStak last weekend and I just need to pick out the right shade of milk paint for it. (I was so excited that I begged Brent to hang it on the wall and loaded it up with my inks already.) I am working on scraping paint and umpteen years of gunk off of a fun antique window to hang in my space and have spent the last several hours purging the closet in my studio. There’s a custom bookshelf that’s waiting to be drawn up and built, but I don’t think I want to wait that much longer to share my space.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

{Seven} Favorite Things


It’s been a really wonky week (more later) and I was feeling somewhat bummed on Tuesday morning and I got a comment from my blog via email that became a bright spot in my day : )

Charlene from Scrapcircus gave me the Kreativ Blogger Award earlier this week... Thank you Charlene!! BTW, you gotta check out Charlene's awesome paper pieced scrapbook pages. I LOVE her witty captions and titles and whimsical layouts!

SOoOoOoooo the tag is the "7 Favorite Things" tag... Here we go (in no particular order except #1) with 7 of my favorite things (so hard to pare down!):

1) Brent & Sadie {aka My Family} & doing anything with them
2) Photography & My Camera
3) Stargate SG-1 & Stargate Atlantis {I'm.such.a.geek}
4) Being Creative {creating things by hand and decorating}
5) The color RED
6) Thunder & Lightning Storms and the smell of RAIN
7) Laughter

I am nominating the following (more than 7.. buwahaha!): Nona Davenport, Kathi Carlson, Sparkle Smith, Renee, Juliet A, Sonja, Amaryllis Briggs, Jeanne Tomshack, and Michelle Durheim.


Ok girls... list your 7 fav's on your blog and go tag some bloggers... You can click on the award graphic to save a larger size one for your blog.

Last night I made an “about me” photo page for a friend of mine who’s daughter is applying for a college scholarship… Here’s a snippet of the header… I had a lot of fun creating the masks for the letters and capturing the photos of Jordan.. Good luck Jordan! :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Hot Date, A Sale & A Winnner!

A Hot Date!

I am so stoked! Tonight Brent and I are going to the Symphony in Salt Lake City! Last week we heard and advertisement on the radio for Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" and I casually mentioned to Brent that that might be fun to go to... well he called me at work later that morning and asked me what price of seats I wanted and then called the box office and purchased aisle(he knows I prefer aisles) seats on row 9!! How sweet is that!? I am super excited! He's coming home early and we're going to dinner before the symphony! When I lived in Germany I was able to attend symphonies and ballets and operas all the time at very, very low prices. Sometimes if we were downtown and shopping we'd stop by an opera house and see what was playing and just pop in and buy tickets... blue jeans or not. We'd just go whenever we felt like it. (I sure miss it!)

... A SALE!
So is having a sale!!! It's a pretty decent one, too. Shop now and receive 18.7% off almost everything in their boutique!

Go shopping now...

... & A WINNER!

I am late posting the winner, I know... and I am very sorry. Last night we crashed early and I totally forgot about it until I was laying in bed with my contacts soaking in their happy little case ....

Drum roll please! (Or you can tap your fingers on your desktop...)

Congratulations! selected comment #2 of 19 comments on this post. Comment #2 belongs to Nichole.

Thoughts for Thursday: The Journey

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”
—Don Williams, Jr. (b. 1968); novelist and poet


The other day we were having a discussion in one of the Yahoo groups I belong to about written instructions and following detailed instructions (totally along a different line of what I’m thinking here) but it sparked some thoughts in me when Susan Chong said:

"Regardless of knowing exactly how to recreate a piece of art, the art can be appreciated for its color, composition, textures, depth, and overall appearance. Many ideas and inspirations can come from a piece of art even if you don't have the detailed instructions on how to reproduce it. Sometimes it can be fun to find a way to recreate the piece using your own ideas!!"

I think that you can’t really substitute anything for that satisfying feeling of having figured something out. Do you know what I mean? Sometimes it is super fun to sit and experiment and figure things out… and usually I end up going off on tangents and the project looks “a bit” different than I’d originally set out to re-create. I think we learn a lot along the way and discover more of our creativity.

ChristmasWreath4WebHave you ever started to re-create something and then ended up with something totally different along the way because you took a different creative direction? I tried “re-creating” a really cool wreath that I saw in a store this fall and came up with something totally fun on my own. I learned a ton and enjoyed the creation process.

If you have, we’d love to see what you were doing… Feel free to post an inspiration piece and your creative masterpiece!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tutorial: Paper Beads Part Two - Adding Bling & Stringing Your Beads.

We covered the making of the actual beads in Part One. The post was getting quite long so I decided to start a Part Two post - Add some bling and string your beads.

{Continued from Part One}

Adding Bling
** At this point you can also opt to add some bling to your beads. I experimented with adding Perfect Pearls glittery powder, glitter, and Stickles.

Here are some photos of my experiments.

Perfect Pearls: Worked on blue beads fantastically!
PPearls14Web PPearlswhite4web PPearlsblue4Web

Glitter: Sprinkle on after you dip in UTEE. Beautiful addition to red and tan beads.
Bracelet-Red&TanCloseUp CLoseUpGlitter4Web

Stickles: Carefully dab onto dry UTEE and then dip in UTEE again. Didn’t work so great because the glue in the Stickles bubbles up and makes a nasty mess.
SticklesMess4Web SticklesMess24Web

Hints: Don’t heat too close or too long to the bead or it will glob up and the UTEE will flow like lava off your bead. (See above right photo.) And please don’t touch the bead like me until it’s cool or it WILL burn you and make a mess. Taking one for the team… ouch!

Stringing Your Beads


1.) Gather up your tools & supplies:
Pliers, Tiger Wire, Crimp Beads, Spacer Beads, and Clasps (I used a Toggle Clasp). If you are adding a charm, gather your jump rings and charm, too.

2.) Cut a piece of tiger wire long enough to go around your wrist PLUS at least about 4” extra. I cut a 12” length for an 8” bracelet. Lay out flat on your workspace.

3.) Start by stringing your crimp bead followed by one part of the clasp you’re using. Then fold about 1” or so of the tiger wire over the ring on the clasp and thread it back through the crimp bead.
This will secure your clasp to your bracelet.

CrimpBeadClasp4Web Overring4web FlattenCrimp4Web

4.) String the beads. I string a few coordinating “starter” beads on. These help space out the paper beads and give some better maneuverability to the toggle clasp. String all your beads on until you have the desired length & design. End your string of beads with the same # of spacer beads that you used at the beginning.


5.) String on one more crimp bead and the other half of your clasp. Fold over loop on clasp and thread back through crimp bead and all of the spacer beads.
Keep pulling the wire until it is snugged down around the loop on the clasp. You may need to use your pliers to gently tug and pull the wire to the correct length.

EndCrimping4Web FinishEnd4Web

6.) Snip off the wire so that it ends about half way through the last paper bead. (See above right photo.) This should secure the wire so that it doesn’t pop out and scratch you.

Voila! You now have a custom handmade piece of jewelry to add to your collection or to give away!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial & as always, I would LOVE to see what you come up with!

I’m going to give this bracelet away in the evening on Wednesday, January 14th to a random commenter using a random integer generator. Here’s how you can put your name in hat:

* Post a link on your blog back to this bracelet tutorial and leave a comment here letting me know you’ve shared. Comments will be closed at 6:00 PM Wednesday night.

I will draw a random name on Wednesday evening.

Inky Smiles & Good luck :)

Tutorial: Paper Bead Bracelets Part One

This was supposed to be posted on Friday, but our internet was out (AGAIN) and I spent the morning on the phone switching our phone service over in preparation for switching internet service. (We have VOIP phone and wanted to make sure we kept our phone number…) And then we went up north for the Draper Temple open house. (We got a special invitation because Brent is an elected official.) It was so neat, they had a great tour and a little reception at the end with a gift of the “Then Sings My Soul” cd from the MoTab Choir. The very best part of the evening was when we got to shake hands with one of the leaders of my church, Elder Eyring… What a fabuous evening!

Anyway… here’s the tutorial! This technique is SUPER easy. My mom said this is a way old paper art…. she has a necklace made from old rolled up newspapers. (It’s super pretty!) I loved the bracelets at PTI, but I did not like the idea of ModPodge on a wearable item. If you’ve ever gotten something wet that was one ModPodge’d you know what I mean… ewww. I also saw these beads made on a YouTube video by Suse Weinburg, but I did not have the UTEE melting pot. Michael’s has it but it’s $34.99 and I didn’t have a coupon when I was there… Anyway… if you have an old Versamark pad, a heat gun and some UTEE and a little creativity, you’re good to go. :)

I hope you enjoy making these beads and I would love to see what you come up with!

1.) Gather your supplies. I used the following:

s Versamark Pad
s Heat Gun
s Patterned paper
s Spacer beads (glass or metal)
s Clasps & crimp beads
s Wire Snips/Pliers
s Tools for rolling paper (anything long and skinny will work)
s Glue pen
s Ultra Thick Embossing Powder
s Various glitter/shimmery powder
s A mat or paper pad to protect your work surface


2.) Cut long, narrow triangular strips of paper and set aside. The # of strips you need depends on how many beads you will need to go around your wrist. Cut extra pieces for those “oops” moments.

IMG_05564web CutStrips24Web IMG_05594Web


Where’s Waldo? Can you find the pink strips on that marvelous pink mat? LOL!

RollPaper4Web3.) Roll wide end of paper onto whatever you’re using to hold the bead. I switched to wooden skewers (WalMart) in the middle of the tutorial. (The embossing tool actually works great to hold the bead while melting the UTEE later….) Use glue if you need to help secure the paper while rolling. When you reach the end of the paper be sure to use the tiniest amount of glue possible to securely stick down the narrow end. If you have extra glue oozing out it will make a mess in step 5.

TightEvenRolls4Web GlueWhileRolling4web RolledBead4Web

4.) Roll the bead on your Versamark pad and generously ink up the bead.
Make sure all of the paper is completely inked up. Dip into UTEE powder and thoroughly coat. Gently tap off excess.

VersamarkRoll4Web UTEECoat4Web


5.) Heat up your heat gun and hold the bead in the heat. Rotate the bead while the UTEE melts. (This keeps the UTEE from globbing up in a puddle on the bead.) Don’t hold the heat in one place too long or you may also burn the UTEE and it will turn a nasty yellow color.

6.) Let bead cool, then roll in Versamark and dip in UTEE again until you get the desired thickness of coating and desired appearance of your bead. **

Click here:
** Continue to Part Two: Adding Bling & Stringing Your Beads

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Lady’s Set: Bracelet and Cards

I have wanted to share these for forevvvvvvvvver! I finished them back before Christmas but couldn’t post them because the recipients (Tammy, Valerie & Ashley) read my blog. I work with 3 of the most wonderful ladies in our women’s organization at church. It is a pleasure to be able to serve with them. I wanted to surprise them this Christmas with a little something fun. The excitement was magnified by my friend Tammy who kept bringing up and asking me about “those pink and white cards you made on your blog”. LOL! It’s super fun to make something for someone when you know they’re gonna love it. :)


I simply can’t get enough of the elegant simplicity of these cards. The possibilities are endless!!! A little cardstock and some bits of leftover patterned paper and you’re good to go. (I know, I know… I just love them and I won’t post about them again for a long, long time.)

Set-Pink&Green4Web PinkGreenCards4Web

BlueWhiteCards4Web Set-Blue&White4Web

Set-Red&Tan4Web RedTanCards4Web

I am mostly excited about the personalized, custom paper bead bracelets! I tried to choose colors that the recipients liked. They are super fun and ridiculously easy to make. (Tutorial coming.) I saw them online at PTI and liked them, but did not like the idea of using Mod Podge on a wearable item… sticky gooey mess if it got sweaty or wet. You can add glitter and sparkle to any paper of your choice. You don’t even have to worry about the pattern being “out of date” because all you’re looking for is the color… The pattern gets rolled up nice and neatly as it becomes a bead. I personalized each bracelet with a tiny metal charm engraved with the recipient’s first name initial.