Dress up your door

Yarn Wreath Tutorial.

Crumb Cake

Who would've thought?

Coconut Sugar Scrub

A simple, yet luxurious gift. Don't forget to make one for yourself!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Floating Birthday Balloons- CPS 211

While I’ve often worked with clear cardstock as an element of a card (my snow globe card, or my beaded Valentine card) but I had yet to make a card with clear cardstock as the base of the card.

The CPS 211 sketch caught my eye, and I was inspired by one of the design team card (Carla’s), which used clear cardstock as the base.  I figured now was as good a time as any!

I dug through my paper stash to find some clear cardstock I had left over from the snow globe cards, and cut it to a 5.5” square.  I decided on a birthday card, and brought out the My Mind’s Eye Fine and Dandy paper. 

I made the background the star pattern; I wanted something that would stand out as a background. I cut a square of Chocolate Chip cardstock with my Nestibilities square die and a piece of Whisper White in a smaller square for the inside greeting panel.  I placed this in the centre of my star background.  Working from the inside out, it’s easier to make sure the panel on the front of the card is completely aligned with the inside panel.  I also chose to stamp the ‘Happy Birthday’ sentiment on the star paper; I had thought of using Staz-On ink on the clear cardstock, but I only have it in black and really wanted to stay coordinated; I stamped the sentiment in Chocolate Chip ink.

Moving to the outside, I choose the teal polka dot paper as my main panel with a Chocolate Chip border and knew I would use the SU Birthday Whimsy balloons.  I love how these balloons look when cut out and popped up on dimensionals.

Matching the colours in the star paper, I stamped the balloons in SU Pumpkin Pie, So Saffron and Baja Breeze. I cut the balloons out and added some string, and layered them with different types of dimensionals.  I tied some Pumpkin Pie grosgrain ribbon into a bow and placed it over the strings.

I cut another square, using my Nestibilities small square die, in Chocolate Chip CS to put on the back of the front panel; that way, you can’t see the adhesive when you open the card. 

While I love the effect, I can say that clear cardstock is NOT my favourite medium.  It doesn’t fold as crisply, so it’s a bit difficult to hold the card down while you adhere the panels to make sure they’re in alignment.










I think the great thing about the clear cardstock is that it offers a bit of a surprise to the recipient of the card.  The card looks ‘normal’ when it’s laying flat, but when they open it…ta-da!  I’ve listed this card in the A Paper Buffet Etsy shop. You can see more great sketches at the CPS blog, it’s one of my go-to places for inspiration.


Happy Sunday!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Product Review: Fiskars Stamp Press

I had seen this product online and thought it would be great to create backgrounds, and to use with my clear stamps.  I’m a big fan of clear stamps, but depending on the size of the stamp, using a traditional clear acrylic block can be difficult at times. My LSS recently featured this product on sale, so I thought I’d give it a try.    I decided to use the damask stamp from the SU Bliss set for a recent thank you card order, and make a stamped background.

The great thing about the Fiskars stamp press is that it has grid lines, so you could easily arrange a scene of stamps.  Or you can use the grid line to stamp your images equidistance to each other.  Anything that helps me put stamps in a straight line is a great thing for me (hence why I love clear stamps; I have a hard time putting the red rubber stamps on their wooden blocks and making sure they’re straight).

The instructions tell you to place your stamp, rubber side down on your paper where you want it, place the stamp press over top and push down.  When the press rises, your stamp will have adhered to the press in your desired position.  I actually didn’t see this until after, but I didn’t think it was completely necessary, I just put my stamp in the centre of the grid, made sure it was straight and stamped.  The legs of the stamp press are foam, so they compress easily.

I used both hands to press down; I didn’t have to press hard, but this helped me ensure the pressure was evenly distributed over the whole stamp. With larger stamps, this is important to make sure the image is stamped evenly.


Here’s the finished order of cards:

I liked the stamp press, and I think it’ll come in handy for an upcoming wedding order, where I’ll be stamping the same image 100 times!

I also thought the price of the press was reasonable, considering some of the larger acrylic blocks I’ve seen are upwards of $20.

Here’s the link to the Fiskars site, where it is listed for $13.00.

Happy Saturday!

This review was not requested by Fiskars, and the opinions are my own

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Layered Labels and the return of Fun Flock!

I’ve been noticing a lot of paper crafters layering die cut labels; I really liked the look, so I decided to give it a whirl for my Easter tags.

I used my Spellbinders Nestibilites to cut out my labels for my tags (small circles and labels 9…I think), in Crumb Cake, Marina Mist and Very Vanilla.

I covered some shipping tags in patterned paper, then added some Certainly Celery taffeta ribbon.

I’ve had this little stamp for quite a while, I have a three stamps of this image in different sizes. I love the little one, and it’s perfect for these little tags.  The sentiment is all one line, but I stamped it separately to give the tag some balance.



Don’t you just love his fluffy tail? I love Stampendous Fun Flock, and it’s perfect for these little projects.  It adds a lot of texture, and is very easy to apply.  Just put a dab of glue where you want the flock, then press some flock down into the glue.  I seal it with an acrylic sealer (you should be able to find it at your local craft store, I found this with the spray paint). I used white Fun Flock for these tags, and also made another set of tags with a brown bunny and tail.  I don’t know which one I like better!

The second set of tags uses some more of that gorgeous My Mine’s Eye Fine and Dandy paper, with Crumb Cake So Saffron and Very Vanilla for the labels.

I think these tags are great for Easter gifts; we always put Easter treats at everyone’s plate for Easter dinner—these could be place cards!  With Spring officially arriving this past weekend, Easter is just around the corner! 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Interview Recap

Late last week I was contacted on Etsy by a student at University of Western Ontario here in London.  She {lets call her K} asked if she could interview me for a paper she is writing on London women and their handmade business.  We arranged a meeting for this past Monday and I met her at Starbucks.  We had  a great chat and I’m excited to see how her paper turns out.  K had interviewed a few other women, so I’m also interested to read what they had to say.

Participating in the interview made me realize how much A Paper Buffet has grown from a hobby to a business.

I thought I would share some of the questions, and my answers, as best as I could remember with you. So here we go!


Do you have a University or College degree?

I have an Honors Bachelors Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario; I’m also a Certified Ergonomic Specialist.


Do you have a full-time job?

I work for an insurance company, in their Disability Management department.  I help people return to work after illness or injury, and I also conduct Ergonomic Assessments.


Have you always been creative?

Yes, my friends  call me Martha ;) I think I have creative ADD, if that’s such a thing.  My mind is always working, finding new techniques, colour combos, and inspiration in various things.  Aside from paper, I also knit, I’ve painted, I enjoy decorating and creating floral arrangements.  Just this past weekend,  I was putting a teal salad bowl on my dining room and suddenly wanted to sew a table runner and place-mats.  I can’t turn it off!


How did your business start?

I had been making cards for a few years, when my hair stylist opened her own salon.  I made her a card, and she couldn’t believe I had made it.  She told me I should sell them, and offered to sell them at her salon.  I found out about Etsy a few weeks later, while visiting another stamping blog, and decided to create a shop.  I signed up for Etsy over the Christmas holiday in 2008, and officially opened in January 2009.


Where do you sell your products?

A Paper Buffet is on Etsy; I have my own website, apaperbuffet.com, and I still sell cards at my hairstylist’s salon.


How is business?

Business is good!  2010 was a very good year.  I had more custom orders, and larger orders.   I don’t look at this as a hobby any more, or just trying to cover the cost of supplies.  I want to continue to make this business successful.


Do see your business becoming a full-time job?

No.  I love my job and want to further my career in Disability Management.  I enjoy my work, and also enjoy living a life my career allows me to have.  I enjoy having a creative outlet, but I don’t see myself doing this full-time…unless I win the lottery and can continue to travel with my lottery winnings ;)


What’s your biggest challenge?

Right now, I’d say time is a challenge, as is turning traffic into sales on my website.  My job can be demanding, my days can be long, and because I cover a large territory  I’m drained after a long day in the car.   With the websites the majority of sales come from Etsy; with my other sales from local customers I’ve met through some local art shows, or my friends and family.  It’s hard to get found on Google, understand SEO to increase your chances of getting found on the internet, and all the technical aspects that go along with having an online business.  I’m getting better, and learning so much as I go, but it’s definitely a learning process.


Do you advertise?

I don’t use paid advertising at this point; I have a Facebook Fan page, Twitter and my blog, however I’m careful how I use them.  I’m trying to find a balance between providing people updates about what’s in the shop, without being pushy.  I recognize that Facebook and Twitter are social media, and that’s how I want to use them.  I want my blog to be about me, and all my interests, not just a place to ‘push’ my product.


When are you most creative?

I always have an idea, and have numerous lists of new products or techniques,…that never stops.  But I do most of my work on the weekends, because that’s when I have the most time.  I try to use a few hours to create new products, and another chunk of time dedicated to photographing, editing and creating the listings.  My goals is to do the majority of that work on the weekends, and list during the week.  I’ll sometimes work during the week, depending on how I feel, and what the project is.


Have you met other artists in London?

Yes, just in the past few months.  I participated in some local art shows before Christmas and met quite a few London artists.  We chat on Facebook and Twitter and it’s been nice to meet other business owners, and learn from them or help them out. 


What do you like best about your business?

I feel very honoured that my customers are giving my cards to the important people in their life; to celebrate milestone birthdays, new babies, and weddings.  I’ve been lucky enough to sell to customers all over the world, including Singapore, Australia, Germany, Scotland and all over the US.  It means a lot to me that a customer thinks enough of my work, to give it to someone they love.


What are your goals for your business?

I set goals for each quarter, so my goal is to meet the targets I’ve set.  Overall, my goal is for A Paper Buffet to continue to grow, and to continue to be profitable.  If it ever stops being fun, I’ll take a break.


Is there anything else you’d like to say about handmade?

I think the handmade movement is just getting started.  I hope that more artists realize and believe that they are, in fact, artists and professionals.  I think that will translate to a more fair-market for our handmade items, and ensure customers feel good about local businesses and putting money into their local economies.


That’s it for the interview recap, I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into A Paper Buffet.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday


Panda bear hugging a Police officer in Japan; posted by @WandaSHorton

My thoughts and prayers are with the people, and animals, of Japan as they begin a long journey of healing and rebuilding their communities.

Canadian Red Cross

American Red Cross

Search Dog Foundation

World Vets

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Custom Thank you Cards using FTL 130

I had a custom card order for some neutral thank you cards, and immediately I knew I wanted to make them with Chocolate Chip, Crumb Cake and Very Vanilla paper (all SU). I love this combo together, and thought it would be a great opportunity to use my new Bliss stamp set. 


I find simple cards difficult to make, but when I need one I always go to the Clean and Simple blog, they’ve got great layouts {although I usually cheat and add a few more layers…shhhh}. I used the FTL130 layout for these cards, and I’m happy with how they turned out. 


It was a happy accident that  I picked the damask stamp from the Bliss set to create the background, nearly identical to that of the sketch.  I moved the button and sentiment over to the left side. 



I distressed each edge of the papers; it's time consuming, but the effort is worth it.  I was at my LSS a few weeks ago, and they were having a crop class.  I kept hearing this obnoxious loud noise and wondered what was going on.  It was an automatic distressing machine, you just swipe the paper through it.  I love the distressed look, but I think I’ll stick with doing it by hand, that machine is loud!

I used embroidering floss and a clear button- I prefer using the floss because I can get it in nearly any colour, and it’s thicker than string.

I used a Nestibilities label cut in half for the sentiment; I like this look and have used it in a few other layouts, it’s a nice little addition, don’t you think?

I have a feeling FTL130 will be one of my go-to layouts, it’s great for using up pieces of designer paper, or for stamping your own like I did.

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Coaxing Spring with Cherry Blossoms

I’m so over winter.  I’m ready to shed my winter coat and put on my spring swing coat from Paris {let’s be honest, if I could wear it year round I would…just because it’s from Paris}.  I’m ready to pack away the mittens and scarves and hats for another year.  I keep hoping if I make pretty flower cards, then maybe, just maybe, Mother Nature will get the hint and it will be spring.

  I picked up this Cherry Blossom stamp at The Paper Source last year while in Chicago.  This store is pretty much my idea of heaven. Gorgeous papers, including handmade Japanese paper as far as the eye can see.

I love this stamp in many colours, it looks great stamped and gold embossed.  But I had some extra red 65 lb paper from a custom Valentine’s order and thought the red and white combo was perfect for these blank notecards.


I made the envelopes in 4Bar size, just to be a bit different and used up some white notecards.  Just a simple cherry blossom stamp on the right hand corner.

These cards could be used for anything,and are perfect to keep on hand.


I made these in a set of 6, and they are available in my Etsy store .  I’ve also made one set with a red flourish, but I think my favourites are the Cherry Blossom cards.

Here’s to Spring!

Happy {fat} Tuesday!

{I’m making cinnamon pancakes for dinner- how about you?}

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

You Capture: Technology

My mind was in overdrive thinking about this week’s You Capture challenge.  I rely on technology so much; perhaps too much.  I work from home for my ‘real’ job {client meetings are at their workplace, but I do everything else from home} and running an online business with two websites, a blog, let alone time on Twitter, Facebook, email,….blah blah blah.  I realized- I’m never unplugged.

I’m never unplugged because I have a cord, AC Adaptor or USB cord for everything.

These four alone, are just for my camera.  They’re all attached as one cord, but still!

Then are the cords for {left to right}; work cell phone AC adaptor, Bluetooth headset AC charger {ironic, isn’t it?}; work cell phone USB connector cord; an AC adaptor I think belongs to my old personal cell phone; MP3 player AC adaptor, and just outside the shot to the right is the USB end of the work cell phone cord.  Some can double for more than one device, but just a few.



I’ve also got wires to plug my MP3 player into my stereo; not to mention 2 laptop AC units for the work laptop, the camera battery chargers, my Smartphone charger and all the cords in the car for the cell phone, headset, GPS and MP3 player. 


My life is a mess of adapters, plugs, USB and micro USB cords.


Technology. What a tangled web we weave.


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