Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sympathy Card - Published by Cricut

I believe it's now safe to re-post this card.  This was my second publication with Cricut.  I honestly was totally surprised that they chose this card because I thought it was so simple.  However, I'm guessing that's exactly why they wanted it.  Something simple, something pretty, something a beginner cricut user could make.  Anyway, hope you enjoy.  You can find this card on page 18 of the most recent Cricut Idea Book (Cricut Cards).

I think Sympathy cards are the toughest to make...not only because no words can take away someone's pain, but because it seems wrong to give something cheerful.  I had some leftover scraps from a monochromatic card that I made when I realized that this is the trick to not feeling like you're minimizing someone's pain.  Soft muted colors, tastefully placed will result in a card that anyone can feel good about.

To give the card a little dimension, I added the clear expoxy circles to the middle of the flowers and I popped up one of the flowers in the bunch.  This is what I called understated whim.

Machine used:  Cricut Expression

DCWV - The Lace & Linen Stack
Versa color - sandal
Paper Studio - Bubble-a-Bilities
Martha Stewart Craftstock Value Pack - mint green
The Paper Company - Chocolate Linen Textured Cardstock

Cricut cartridges and cuts

Once Upon a Princessteapot, tag - 1.25 inch, 1.5 inch

StampingSo Sorry - 1 inch
Greenery - 2.75 inch

Accent Essentials
Accnt27s - 4 inch

LIly Pad Cards: Greeting Farm Sketch Challenge (submission #2)

I am trying to force myself to stay away from my Cricut for everything I do.  I used to create without a Cricut, after all, for many many years.  I also just one a contest and a few notable mentions without it's usage.  But boy oh boy is it hard to ignore when I'm sitting right next to it crafting.

I think I should just get over it...the tool is there for a reason, right?

Anyway, the Greeting Farm Sketch Challenge at the Lily Pad Cards blog has no limitation on entries.  I liked my first submission a lot, but I'm not sure about this one.  Oh well, I guess you can't really love everything you do and after all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

So here is my second challenge submission.

I'm also trying to learn how to take better pictures.  I created a light box, but I don't think I quite got the hang of it yet.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to be told I need to also have a white "floor" and not my dark wood table as a base.  I'm hoping to get a crash course soon from one of my photographer friends.  So expect better photos soon!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Card Cupids: Birthday Bundles

I think I mentioned that I was happily chosen to join the design team for Card Cupids.  The announcement hasn't yet been made, but I'm excited to start sharing some of my cards with their blog readers (especially since they are forcing me to get comfortable with digital stamps).

Anyway, one of the coolest new projects they are working on is a Birthday Bundles initiative in the DC metro area.  The idea here is that blog followers will create handmade birthday cards to support a homeless shelter in the North Virginia area.  These birthday cards (with general birthday greetings) will be given to the kids at the shelter along with a little birthday surprise.  So the many "forgotten" birthdays (due to financial inability) will NOT go forgotten.

Because of my Stamp Club, I had a stash of cards I was able to add greetings to, and I just made multiple copies of a quick birthday card (see below).  So glad I'll be able to send these out tomorrow.


Some of my favorite birthday greetings for these cards were:

  • Wishing you all the fun and excitement that only birthdays can bring!
  • Wishing you a cheerful birthday!
  • Wishing you a birthday filled with fun and joy!
  • It's hard to believe that you're a whole year cooler than you were last year!
  • Wishing you love, sunshine and laughter; Not just for today but all the days after!
  • One day just isn't enough to celebrate someone as wonderful as you!
  • Hoping that your day will be as special as you are!
  • Hope your birthday blossoms into lots of dreams come true!
  • May today be filled with sunshine and smiles, laughter and love!
  • Wishing you everything happy for your bithday!
  • A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun. Enjoy the trip! 

And don't forget fill out the submission form when you send in your cards!

    Saturday, August 27, 2011

    The Rubber Cafe Challenge #32: Fancy Envelopes

    So all day I've been fighting falling asleep because I didn't get that much sleep last night.....but then I started crafting.  And what time is it now? Well way beyond my bed time!  

    I always crack up when this happens because it really is a sign.  If I can craft away and lose hours, then I really need to figure out how to do this full-time because I'm wide awake now.

    Anyway, I was happily crafting my submission for this week's Rubber Cafe Challenge...and I'm still tickled at the final result.  So fun and relatively easy to make.  I chose to make myself an Envelope Spinal album.

    Inside are seven envelopes (minus the flap) for me to put notes for each day of the week.  I heart making lists, so this is perfect for me.  I used my Martha Stewart scorer to create A6 envelopes with its great envelope gadget.

    In the back cover, I created a little pocket for extra sheets of paper.

    I also was suprised to find out today that my last two submissions to the Rubber Cafe were well received.  My banner submission won me 1st place (so I get credit to spend some funds on their adorable stuff - yay!), and my window submission was showcased as a notable mention.  How fun! 

    Friday, August 26, 2011

    The Paper Variety Challenge 48: Travel or Transportation theme

    This week's Paper Variety challenge was to create a paper project using a travel or transportation theme.  Now that I have a cleaned up (at least usable) craft room, I knew that I had paper and that I had stamps to fit both.  I looked at my options and decided to go with my Stampin Up! set called The Open Sea.

    I purchased this set because I wanted the ship ledger (on the tag) - I've used it a couple of times as background, but I hadn't yet used the other pieces of the set.

    Anyway, here is my submission for the challenge.

    I had some fun stitching (as always), and I used paper and ribbon that hadn't been touched in awhile.  Yay for using my supplies!

    I do need to thank Splitcoast Stampers for my source of inspiration.  This is the card I modeled mine after.

    I think her card was so clever and the scale of items is much better than my version.  I love the background paper on here and probably would have stitched the piercings because any excuse to stitch makes me happy.  I'll have to try and replicate her card one day, but for now, I'm pretty happy with my version.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    Cricut Circle Blog August Monthly Challenge: Create a Scene

    I think I've only taken part in one monthly challenge on the Circle blog, so I promised I would make myself try again this month.  The challenge winner gets a great prize and is randomly selected (so a very fair process).

    Anyway, this month's challenge asked to create a scene.  I've seen some incredible postings already and I can't even begin to imagine how long it took these talented artists to put them together.  I only had tonight, so you'll have to excuse the lack of pizzazz.  

    I wanted to think out of the box and rather than go with a traditional scenic image, I went with a 

    Ha!  I would have done so much more with the background if I had more time, but this will have to do for now.  This will definitely be a project that I'll want to "fluff" later.  

    I don't have the cartridge with the paper dolls in all the work outfits, so I had to improvise.  Instead, I used the milkman image from the Pop-Up Neighborhood and I modified the colors and drew in the badge and buttons.  I think he turned out cute.  I even changed the milk jug into a flashlight.

    Plantin Schoolbook
    city, tall, ball, 3.25 inches
    city, shadow, 3.25 inches
    circle, 1.25 inches

    Pop-Up Neighborhood
    milkman-s, layer2/shadow, 3 inches
    milkman (twice), 3 inches
    milkman, layer1, 3 inches
    milkman-s, 3 inches
    boy2-s, layer2/shadow, 2.75 inches (I clipped off the ball he's holding)
    psngrCar, accessory layer, 3.5 inches and 2.75 inches

    So I just realized as I submitted this post, that this challenge still had 5 days to go!  For some reason, I thought the deadline was tomorrow.  Oh well, I'll have to keep a better calendar next time.  At least I sent something in for consideration, right?

    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    Lily Pad Cards Challenge - Frog's Whisker's Ink Fabric/Felt Challenge

    I have been dying to try out a new stamp set of mine from Stampin Up! called Kimono Kids.  I have these need/obsession to always nab any stamp sets that showcase cultures and/or are in a language other than English.  I've learned that if people don't purchase these cute stamps, they'll disappear.  So to avoid missing out, I usually grab them right away.

    Why?  Because I believe everyone deserves the chance to celebrate every aspect of themselves in the paper crafting world.  So to find stamps that celebrate that (though unfortunately often with very standard cookie cutter imagery), I choose to support.
    I love this stamp set because of the adorable saying - "One good friend is worth a thousand relatives."  The East Asian culture is very similar to the Latino culture in terms of embracing/including members well beyond the nuclear family.  So I find this saying precious and appropriate (because it is to me).

    Anyway, Lily Pad Cards posted a challenge that asked us to incorporate fabric/felt.  Having done a similar challenge on the Cricut blog not too long ago...I knew what technique I wanted to use here.

    I was going to once again stamp on fabric....color the image in with copics...and adhere it to paper with my xyron to make it sturdy enough to use.  I distressed the edges with a Tim Holtz ink called Pumice Stone and frayed them to showcase the fabric.

    I didn't want to inundate the card with too much, so I kept it simple and absolutely love how it turned out!

    The Rubber Cafe Challenge #31 - Through the Window

    This week's Rubber Cafe challenge asked us to create a window scene.  They actually have a really cute new stamp set that I might just have to get, but because I didn't already have it...I had to get creative.

    At the Scrapbook Expo in Chicago this past weekend, a vendor stopped by the crop to donate a bunch of chipboard.  Yup....DONATE to a bunch of crafters. You can probably already imagine the mad dash to pick some up before it all went away.

    I realized that this was the perfect material for me to work with.  So I pulled out my exacto knife and self-healing mat (I had brought them along in case I had time to work on some papel picado projects).  I created my own little window with panes and "painted" the chipboard with white pigment ink.  I'm sure you can already imagine the layers of ink I had to add to the chipboard as it soaked it all in.  

    Once it reached a happy level of white, I proceeded to create my little "outside" scene.  I had some paper from a stack that used photos instead of graphic design.  There was a pretty orange speckled page (I'm still unsure what it was a photo of exactly), but I thought it would be great to create morning (dawn) in my window.  I used some coredinations mustard-yellow card stock to create my sun.

    I inked a bit of the sun with Stampin Up More Mustard classic stamping pad.  Just to create a little shading.

    To offset the oranges of the dawn, I used some "jean" paper from that same photo paper to create the wall paper on the inside of my house.

    I added a little bird and flowers from a Hampton Art clear stamp set called "Tree."
    The "thinking of you" stamp was from a Fiskars sentiments clear stamps - "love"

    I added some glossy accents to all the stamping to bring out the color of the inks.

    The Rubber Cafe - Banner Challenge

    Last week, there was a funny hiccup on the Rubber Cafe blog...the poor blog writer was soooo swamped that she forgot add the little widget that allowed people to submit their banner challenge submissions. It was supposed to be challenge #30, but this week it's been folded into challenge #31.

    Well, that little hiccup helped me out a ton because I didn't have time to create one in time to post, but because the challenge was extended one week, I had the chance to catch up.

    I will immediately apologize for the poor photo.  I finished this project last night (a pre-made album for a baby shower today), so I had terrible lighting and not enough time to take a better picture.

    Anyway, I used a baby onesie banner on my cover page to the album for my cousin's soon-to-be-born little girl, Ariana.

    I'll have to try and steal it back one of these to days to take better pictures.  Little Ariana isn't due until October so I have some time before mom and dad have photos to add :)

    And for my friends that know me....this is probably my first pre-made album ever.  It was soooo hard!  I live for creating with images and found it quite challenging to create layouts that were "generic" enough to support any kind of imagery.  I plan to incorporate pre-made albums into my scrapbook business this year, so I need to start creating soon.  I also have to be careful about other manufacturer items (like stamps), because I can't legally use their products for my business.  Oh the challenges!  At least all the restrictions were removed when it came to my cousin's album because it was a gift!

    My first digital stamp card

    Because I don't have enough to do (ha!), I've decided to submit my information to the Card Cupids Design Team call.  If chosen, I would be asked to post 1 new project per week and participate in the Card Cupids events.  

    I love how this is one of many agency's that allows me to marry my love for cardmaking/scrapbooking with a cause.  Charity Wings and Crops of Luv are two other great orgs that support specific causes in their own unique ways.  I'm actually a volunteer blog writer for Charity Wings, so I'll admit to being a little bias there :)

    If you don't know about Card Cupids (whom I've mentioned before in this blog), do check them out!

    Part of the submission process asked us to use a digital stamp to create a card for a young person. I honestly didn't even know where to begin - as I've never worked with digital stamps.  So I had no clue where to find one to use.  Thankfully google helped me with that obstacle and I found a cute digital stamp from Back to Paper.

    I was dreading being forced to work with one because I couldn't imagine making it work with my style of card making.  I decided to challenge myself and played around, and I was pleasantly surprised.  I might have to start finding other cute digital stamp sites to see if there is an I want to play around with next.

    I've actually also really lucked out on this one...it also follows this month's Lily Pad Cards Sketch Challenge!

    The Paper Variety Challenge (Week 47): Threads

    I spent all weekend taking part in the Scrapbook Expo group crop.  I went in with a plan to finish many projects, especially for all the challenges I had ignored during my busy summer months.

    The Paper Variety always has some clever challenges, and I'm happy to share that they'll be celebrating their one year anniversary in early September.  Check out my new blinkie helping them celebrate!

    This week's challenge is to use Threads on your project.  I loved this challenge because it gave me an excuse to pull out my embroidery floss (my other craft love is cross stitching) so any excuse to stitch makes me happy.

    I also wanted to make a kid-friendly card to eventually send to a Card Cupid Cutie.  Sooo, I remembered I had a really cute hedge hog stamp that had yet to be used..and I went for it.

    The stamps itself is pretty tiny, so I had to get creative in "finishing" the card.  I opted to create my own version of the flower on the stamp and I added a few rub ons to fill in the "white space".

    Inside, I stamped the message, "Hello Friend."

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    My "own" papel picado pattern

    Oh my goodness...this was so much harder than I thought it was going to be.  I'm still laughing at myself.

    After watching my second session of my papel picado class, I decided I was ready to give it a full force try.  I watched Patrick draw his guidelines, his overall pattern and cross grid.  So of course I dove in confidently.

    I soooo did not expect that it would be as complicated as it was!

    So I started off with a drawing...I used some die cuts I had as stencils to help with the "shapes".  I'm not the best drawer in the world so I thought this would help with the symmetrical look.

    Pre-coloring in....I thought I was all set!

    The second step is to color in your design.  I added more cross-grids because the scale didn't feel right in my template.

    I clearly didn't think through the letters!  Ha ha ha.....I'm definitely going to need to practice letters.
    I'll pat myself on the back for the first attempt.  I think it would pass, don't you?!  I'm eager to learn more and see what I can come up with in a few weeks!

    Card Cupids: Bookmark Challenge

    I've had a lot stored up to post!  

    But I've also been in a crafty mood tonight.  One of my other challenges (Card Cupids) asked me to make a bookmark.  Since I adore the Delicate Doilies stamp set and the color scheme from the Lily Pad Challenge, I figured I might as well use it all to make myself a bookmark.

    I had a cute Inkadinkado stamp set (Creative Words) that seemed perfect to pair with the bookmark idea.

    Considering I have a goal of reading 34 books this year, I am most definitely in need of a bookmark myself.  I'm currently using a old CTA bus card - Ha!

    Please send me any book recommendations too!  I'm only book 7 of my 34 goal. 

    Lily Pad Cards: Kathy's Color Palette

    So I've recently discovered a blog that I adore...I can only hope to one day have a site that is as informative and as cute!  They have a couple of challenges right now, and this is the first card I've decided to make.  We were asked to use three colors from a specific palette - Kathy's color palette.

    I decided to use the two blues and the dark tan in my creation.

    I also finally joined Splitcoast Stampers to have a quick gallery available to me that shows me some cute ways to use my Stampin' Up purchases.  

    I recently bought a few cute new stamps and had been dying to use them.  I found a card in the gallery that I liked and used it as inspiration for this creation.

    I really liked the way it turned out!  I might need to replicate this card for future thank yous!

    Stampin' Up stamp sets
    - Word Play
    - Delicate Doilies

    Stampin Up inks
    - Matina Mist
    - Crunb Cake

    ColorBox Chalk
    - Ice Blue

    This is my source of inspiration from the Splitcoast Stampers gallery.

    Papel Picado

    I'm learning a new technique that I cannot wait to incorporate into my scrapbooking!  I'm learning how to make my own papel picado.  I started this course last week...so be ready for more samples.

    Papel picado is a craft made out of paper that is cut into elaborate designs.  Although it's a Mexican folk art, there are many other countries that use this holiday decoration.  The designs are most commonly cut for tissue paper and used in making banners.

    I'm NOWHERE near skilled enough to try this one delicate tissue paper, but maybe after my class is over, I will be :)  I'm taking the class through a Crafty Chica web course....her husband Patrick is teaching the class.  It's soooo cool to learn from such a talented family!

    Anyway, here was my first "flag".  Patrick gave us a pattern to cut and our job was to practice cutting - especially the curved lines.  My lines aren't perfect, but they sure got better as I went through the whole pattern.  I can't wait to start designing my own layouts and trying to add them to my pages!

    Charlie decided he didn't like being ignored as I labored over the tiny cuts.  So he joined me on the craft table - but didn't bother me at all.  You can see I'm working on half a sheet (it's folded)...this helps you achieve a symmetrical look.

    This is the completed final version. So pretty!

    Cricut Weekly Challenge #38: Vacation Memories Challenge

    I finally have a break in my work schedule, which means that I'm having a little fun catching up on my business goals and some of my general crafting.

    So of course that means more cricut challenges to complete!

    This week's challenge asked us to create a layout of a vacation memory. I'm sure I'm like most folks when I say that most of my pics are now digital, so I had to dig around a bit to find something to scrap.  I found some pics from my first trip to New Orleans.  It was also at the time when I had a camera that did panoramic pics (ha!) so I had an unsual size pic to add to my layout.

    I'll never forget running into my first New Orleans wedding parade.  I remember thinking that it was an insanely fun tradition.  Such great energy.  However, I must admit, I was a bit grossed out at the idea of this beautiful wedding dress being dragged across Bourbon Street a week after Mardi Gras.  Oh boy!

    I can't say it's my most favorite layout or color combo, but it was fun playing with this size picture.  I'll have to whip out some of the others to play with.

    Cricut cuts
    Once Upon a Princess
    Tag, Princss1  -  7 inches

    Give a Hoot
    Border, Raccn1-s  - 1.25 inches (3 times)

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    get ready for Nubia Chaidez Designs

    I got a few emails about my company's name change options, and I have to say that I was caught off guard by a clever interpretation of some of the words in my options.

    My dear friend, Tajani, stated she really like the third option because of the simplistic elegance of the name, but also by how the word "designs" could be interpreted as a noun AND a verb.


    So now comes the next couple of steps....
    • Facelift on the website (including new domain/URL)
    • Eventually a logo
    • Some new "products"
    This is the year of growing up for my business and I'm excited and grateful for the feedback and expertise from friends.
    Love you all!

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Feeling inspired - am I on the right track?

    So over the last couple of weeks, I've been taking a course from Laura Bray on multiple streams of income.

    Basically, the idea is to force me to think through ways of diversifying my business product portfolio to include passive and active streams of income.

    What does this mean?

    Well, in a nutshell, an active stream of income is one in which I'm actively making something for a client - like my custom scrapbook/card designs.  Whereas a passive stream of income would be one in which some work would be done upfront, but then you're done with the active creation of the product.  For example, if I launched my own stamp collection...I would actively create the designs, but that would only happen once.  People would then buy multiple copies of that same design (I hope) making it a passive stream of income.

    My mind is racing with ideas and I've pretty much narrowed things down to three key areas (in addition to my custom work).  I'm excited to continue working through them and hope to be able share my progress with all of you.

    One thing that has become more apparent to me is that I need to change the name of my company.  I'm toying with the following ideas, and would welcome some feedback.

    1. Nubia Cháidez Studios - keep my name/brand upfront and allow the studios to be different product design elements (scrapbooks, cards, invitations, decor, stamps, etc)
    2. Nubia's Crafty Creations - another version of how to expand the name to include the other things I can do.
    3. Nubia Cháidez Designs - you get the idea

    I'm also toying with idea of launching a new blog (with a much updated version of my website).  This blog would be directly linked to my website so that customers could order directly and so that I focus some of my blogging energy on ways of promoting my business.  One of my goals for that include launching tutorials that focus on culturally-motivated scrapbooking, starting with Latino focused designs.

    On the car ride home, I actually thought of three days for particular posts:
    1. Tutorial Tuesdays
    2. Feel Good Fridays - to marry my non-profit expertise/love with my crafting...either launching fundraising campaigns, taking part in others' crafty causes, or showcasing some of the many incredible groups out there
    3. Showcase Sundays

    Now if only I had more days to intently focus on this stuff.

    What do you think?

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    August Card Chain Challenge (Lily Pad Cards)

    For this month's card chain challenge, I chose to use the sketch provided to make a meaningful card.  I'm struggling with not knowing how I can impact the relief efforts in Somalia, and it was weighing heavily on my mind yesterday.

    Here is the sketch we were given for this month's challenge.

    I thought the sketch was pretty simple to follow and gave me the freedom to play around with my sentiment. 

    Let's show the people of Somalia "we care" by not only doing what we can to help in the relief efforts, but by also promising not to forget them when the awful tragedy lessens/improves.  I think many people have forgotten that the Horn of Africa went through a similar famine and drought about 20 years ago.  It sickens me to know that despite having witnessed the atrocities then, we as a world have yet to figure out how to help prevent such tragic situations from reaching the epic proportions that we see today.

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    The Children of Somalia

    My heart is breaking.....

    For the children....their families....the whole county of Somalia.

    I'm trying to figure out what I can do to lend a helping hand.  

    I am open to suggestions....so please send any along.  If you are a part of something that I can support, please let me know.  Though I don't have a ton of cash to invest directly in any organization, I'll make the time to volunteer in any way that I can.

    Every time I see a newscast....I start to tear up.  It's absolutely ridiculous that anyone should die of hunger nowadays.  With all the technology...there has got to be way to efficiently and effectively offer some support to these human souls.  We can't ignore what's happening just because we're here safe.  My biggest complaint this weekend was that it was too hot where I traveled.  Seems so darn trivial and immature to whine about something like that. I am blessed to be who I am/where I live/to do what I do...but even I know that this does not absolve me from some responsibility in trying to do everything I can to give others exactly what I have. 

    I'm no better than anyone else on this planet.

    So please friends....let's come up with a plan.  We should all feel as if this is our duty....so join me.

    If I come up with some sort of plan, I'll post again.  if you hear of something unique and local that we can be a part of, also let me know.  I'll post and spread the word.