Thursday, March 9, 2017

Tool Organization

Photo Collage by P.Lynne Designs
Hello, it has been a minute since I posted something on this blog.   I am slowly getting back into my routine.
Today, I want to talk about tool organization.  As crafters, we have many tools to deal with that are part of the trade.  This is a brief guide into how to organize them in one spot. I am actually going through an organization process myself.  First, a brief background on my personal organization:
About 10 years ago, my father bought a house and it was meant for me to live in.  When he and my mom asked me about the house (actually a 2-bedroom condo), I liked the condo, but I was not totally sold on the place.  Well, for him that was good enough and ended up moving in.  Well, it has been over 15 years later, and I am ready to move into a new place, but since moving in, I have accumulated some stuff and started a business.  I am bursting out at the seams, and I am tired of being the longest person to live in the 4-unit quadruplex.  (side note:  if you are not a smoker, smoke travels through walls, and it is not very pleasant smelling either)
So, this first process is to purge and put (as I call it) all my stuff so I will not have a ton of unwanted stuff moving into the new place when I buy it with me. 
Since this on my craft blog, and I am only going to cover what is needed to organize the crafting items, but this system (if you call it that) works for any area of the room, and if you are moving or not.
1.      Plan.  This is my first action of getting it done.  This includes the day, time, and month of the planned decluttering.  One warning:  do not plan this just before you are ready to close on your new house and the new buyers are ready to close on your current house.  You need time to process the task and deal with unexpected issues.  (good or bad). 
2.      Location.  If you are not moving, but moving the location of craft room, know where you are moving the stuff to, even if it is just across the room.  You need room to put the stuff, especially, if the room is doing double duty (i.e. Craft room/guest room).  In my current home, I have two rooms that are pulling double duty.  My second bedroom (which is upstairs) is a craft room and a guest room.  My dining room is actually pulling triple duty (Home office/craft room/eating space).  I am hoping that my next home will at least have 3 bedrooms.
3.      Am I going to use it?   Let’s get real for a moment.  How many of you watch the HSN’s (Home shopping Network’s) 24-hour craft day?  Now, how many of you when you watch this channel see an item, like how the demonstrator shows the product, falls in love with it, and next thing you know, it is on your doorstep days later?  Guilty as charged.  In fact, today is that special day, and I have 2 products coming as I write this. Almost 3, but I had to remind myself that I have a cruise that I am leaving for in September.  Anyway, next thing you know, it is collecting dust.  I have two We R Memory Keepers products that I must use or get rid of.  If you use your stuff, congratulations, now skip this step.
4.      Finally, get rid of it for good.  Do not hesitate on this step.  Do not say, “I will use it next week.”  That was step 3, and it is finished.  If it a fairly new item that is still on the market, do not buy it back when you see it in the store.  In fact, have a “no buy” month for crafts, unless you run out of something WHILE you are working on a project.  I have seen women have a no buy month and talk about it on Facebook.
5.      Place in its permanent home.  Or in my case, carry with you.   Use it when you are finished purging, and give yourself a 2-month rule (or if you follow Peter Walsh, his rule is 6-months).  If you are not at least thinking about using that tool in a project, toss it out, or donate it a school or Senior center.
So, that is the basis for this project.  It can be a big project or small, your choice.  I am going to use steps 3 and 4 on the tools, using my stuff:
Step 3 and 4: Am I going to use it?  Gather all your tools and look at them. Pick up each tool, and try to remember why you bought it in the first place.  Ask yourself these questions:
·         Was it a good deal?
·         Do I even know how to do the craft that it was meant for?
·         Have I made anything with it since I bought it?
·         Do I have any planned projects that uses it?
·         Finally, Can I do without it?
An example of this question and answer had to do with today.  On one of the segments of this 24-hour craft day on HSN, I ran upon a Cinch.  In case you do not know what, a cinch is, it is a book binding tool.  You can punch holes with it, and using wire binding or spiral binding to build a book, you can “cinch” it closed.  I already have one, but I have had trouble with it since day 1.  I bought it when I was working at Archiver’s, but I did not have the heart to bring it back with me to work the next day to get a new one, because the binding machine was heavy.   Anyway, there was a special today for the newest one, and I have been going back and forth to buy that one to replace the one I have.  “Sold”, said the online ordering area, as I looked up from my Ipad. So now when it arrives, I need to get rid of the cute pink one I currently have.  It is still good except I was having problems with two of the pegs.  I could donate it to a school, rec center, or senior center, warning them of that default, but it must leave my house.  I did have planned projects with it, but I could not bear using it one more time, without crying in frustration.  I make books and it is time for me to start back.  I have a cruise to go on and bills to pay. So, to answer the last question, no, I cannot do without it.  I also have an extra Cricut Electronic Die Cutting Machine I am no longer using.  It is an Expressions 2 5th Anniversary edition, and I am happily using an original Cricut Explore (with a Bluetooth adaptor).  I need a Cricut Explore Air 2 to help with the current one.   These are real examples of the decisions you have to make when decluttering your tools.
Step 5:  Placement.  Before you start step 5, you should have a place to put the tool.  If not, repeat step 4.    Assuming that you know where your tool is going, you simply find a table, if it is big enough or a container to put it in.  nothing should be stacking up in a mess. It should be neat and tidy, like you do not have it.  My craft room space 1 can be seen by all when I open the front door, Upstairs, not so much, but the same rule applies.  For my Cricut and Cinch, I need a table to use them on, and for other tools, I need plugs, tables, and just a space to store them in.  Your space may be different from mine, but it is supposed to serve the same purpose.
No matter what tools you use for your craft, it is important to find the room to use them in, as well as the space.  Declutter well, and declutter often.  This goes for your other stuff as well, such as paper, fabric, adhesives (glues), the tiny objects of the trade (embellishments).  Soon you will have a space that you will be proud to work in.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Being Creative this Christmas

(c) 2016 P.Lynne Designs
Note Cards cut out with the Cricut Explore Die Cutting Machine
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
It has been a long time since I have writing in this blog.  By now, I expected to be in my brand new, shiny, yet rough around the edge WordPress to the gills website.  Something things have gotten in the way.  I will not bore you with the details on this blog, but you may read about it here on the My Ambiance Life blog.  There you will find all my writings about everything else (except home styles and home life, which is coming in January or February).
I cannot let this blog go, before adding in a few things about this holiday, and having the website sitting in limbo is not one of them, so for right now, all of my products are still listed on the Etsy shop, and will remain open long after the website starts. I do not have any plans to take it down.  I plan to add other items to my shop from time to time that I have not created, but the website will have mostly my products.
So, my first post before the new year happens to talk about being frugal, which you can do.  This includes making your Christmas gifts.  It does not have to be expensive, and if you own a die cutting machine like the Cricut Explore Air 2 machine, cutting will be a breeze.  The Cricut cuts almost any type of material, not just paper. 
For instance, I use my older Cricut Explore (with the Bluetooth adapter-Air 2 is on its way) for my card projects.  With a subscription to Design Space, I can pick out any design from a 1,000’s of images, rearrange them on the virtual mat, before cutting them out.  If I do not like the way it looks on the mat, I can toss it out, and start back over on a clean virtual mat no more wasted paper. 
I use it to cut out stickers for my planners too.  With Design Space’s Print then Cut feature, you can cut out SVG images as well.  The best thing I use this feature for is when I design my labels for my businesses.  Often times in the past, I do not buy the right Avery’s label to print directly onto the paper.  Sometimes it was me, sometimes it was the computer/printer/software, and sometimes I did not know what side to put the sticker paper on.   Now, I use only one size (Avery #8165 TrueBlock® Sticker sheet or equivalate) print it on the correct side and then have my Cricut machine cut it out.  The best news is I can cut some labels ahead of time, and when I am ready, I need only one label per flyer or catalog.   I am already planning on gifting my mom a set of labels for her Christmas cards.  Call it an early Christmas present. 
Well, that is all I have to talk about today. 
Oh, one other thing.  There is a sale currently going on about the 12 days of Christmas.  I will post the link, but be sure the check it out, and you may find a product to your liking.  In fact, I know you will.

There is also something for those of you who already have a Cricut machine.  The December Mystery box is out.  I cannot tell you what’s in it because it a…Mystery.  All I can tell you is the cartridges are very festive, and everyone’s box will be different.  But don’t just take my word for it…. check it out for yourself.  Only $39.99. (Sorry, I sounded like Melody Lane for a moment in the last paragraph, but I like her.)  She also inspired me to start a Patreon site, so look for it in January 2017.  I will tell you more about it as I get closer to the date. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Throwback: December: Cards

( This is a throwback from when I first launched my blog on Blogger.  I have come a long way from these cards, which are not bad, but to me, they were not great either. this was dated January 8, 2009.  Enjoy!

Since I did not start this blog last month, I thought I would show what I did for my Christmas cards I made my aunt in Oklahoma.

The first one is real simple. using evergreen cardstock, I stamped snowflakes all over the front and back. I tied see through cream ribbon to the side. for the square, it came from my cutting out a window for another card you will see in a bit. the snowflake is from my stash, and the brand name is Masterpiece, and the snowflake is called Glitzy Snowflake. they come 10 to a pack.
The second card is from made with red cardstock, the image was stamped in a cocoa ink from Versamagic, and I destressed the edges with Colorbox chalk inkpad named Chestnut Roan. the saying (which is a scripture from Luke) and image of the shepards are from the Stampin Up! line (I am not sure if this is discontinued or not). with ribbon. Tip: I got this as well as the cream and the black from Archiver's in the Hot Spot area. all scrapbooking items in that area are $1.99, and each spool holds 15 yards. It is even a better deal if you are an employee at which I am . Now, for those of you have have talking to me on my Yahoo groups know one of the reasons why I never have a paycheck, LOL. I also destressed the cards

My next card I had a little help...from my Cricut. I love this machine, and I live it so much, I had to have two... Both were Christmas presents. The baby (or original for those do not follow scrapbooking trends) was given to me in December 2006. Archiver's used to sell the cricut, and my mother got the last one that was sold at the store I work at. Well, I did not use it much at first. I turned it on occassionally just to keep it from breaking down, LOL. About May of 2008, I decided I better dust off this little bad boy, and get to work. I even joined a few cricut groups on Yahoo, to get some help. Next thing you know, I am working this baby bug, and I am loving it. I do not know why I had not used it before. so around November 2008, Black Friday, someone said on the group that the Expression was on sale for $199 at Walmart. OK, I had said that I was not going to get the Expression, no way, no how. OK, so now I have the Expression, and again, mom said that this was one of my christmas presents. so that is how I got two of them.
OK so back to the cards...The card is a magenta cardstock that I get when I was a member of club Scrap. you get kits that has paper, cardstock, and other embellshments, including rubberstamps. I cut the cardstock in half using the DreamKutz machine (another item that is my fav.) I went 1" in, and 1" down. this with the George and basic shapes cartridge, I cut a 2" circle. I, then took scrap paper and with same cartridge, and made a star, and painted with a gold leafing pen. For the card itself, I thought it looked really plain, so all i did was take Midnight Black in the versamagic line, and started rubbing the pad all over the cardstock. I put a pop dot to elevate the star. for the bible verse, it is just white ink (forgot the name of it) on wine cardstock. Then I took the gold leafing pen and just went around it.

This one is just like the Magenta card, without the ink, and it a square. I cut out the dove (you cannot see it through the ribbon) from beyond Birthdays cartridge. I broke off the branch that the dove holds. Just stamped the verse on cream card stock. No pop dots.

with this card, the circles came from the magenta card that I cut out to make the card with the black ink (hey, they say waste not, want not, LOL). I forgot what line the letters were, but I got the letters from Archiver's during an employee crop (never used them for that project I needed at the time.). I used gold cording for the strings.

Last one- wow, didn't I tell you that I was not going to have these long posts, LOL. Well, the last card I made for my aunt was made with deep red (more like a burgundy) cardstock. I tied cream ribbon around powder blue cardstock, glued it onto the card blank. Oh, I forgot, I did stamped it with the snowflake stamp by Hero Arts, as well as the lighter wine cardstock squares made with the cricut. the doves (the dicut and the reverse image) were made from the cricut as well (by the way, I used to Expression with all of the doves, using the autofill button) The Noel is from the same company as the letters in the other two cards.
whew, that's it. I am tired from all of that pasting of the pictures and other stuff, but it was fun. let me know what you think. Take care, and God bless.
I left in the grammar mistakes, and I had to post the original post from the blog itself because edit would not let me copy and paste.
in case you are wondering what I made in December of 2015, here they are.  The ornaments were cut from the Cricut Explore as well as the writing.  I love the things that this little machine can do. If you never experience this machine before, you can see my review and how to set it up here.  If you are all set up, you can view how to get started with you first project here.   
(All photos are the property of P. Lynne Designs)
Come Let us Adore Him  

Merry Christmas
Jesus is the Reason For the Season

Silent Night, Holy Night

Monday, February 1, 2016

Coming Soon....Are you Excited?


So I am going to say it once and only once.....


(c) 2015 Renee Christine

In a few short weeks, This blog will no longer exist and a new store/ blog will be on WordPress, Hosted By HostGator.  I am working on final details to get it up and running.   If you would like to see the Grand opening of P. Lynne Designs and be kept in the loop, Click here to be added to the mailing list, and I will let you know through email when it is open for business.

Thank you all for your support on this blog since 2009, and I hope that your will continue to support the business, as it continues on to the next level.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

New Cricut Explore One Colors!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

Add some color to your life with Cricut's colorful new Explore One machines! These amazing machines are now available in two new colors: Vintage Navy and Cherry Blossom -- for only $199.99! Purchase your very own machine in one of these new colors today. Be sure to use the code AUGSHIP at checkout because you'll get free shipping on all orders (no minimum)!
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Happy Blogging!

Jill Sinclair
Cricut Affiliate Manager

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Blurb Story #3

*This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

Thus far you’ve heard the Blurb story and learned a bit about the extensive tools and resources that Blurb makes available to their book-making customers. While all that is impressive, what’s really remarkable to me is how they offer all of that and provide visually stunning books made on photo-quality paper—AND do it all at such an incredibly affordable price. It’s really is something to marvel at. 

Since day one, Blurb has been praised for their unwavering commitment to quality, which is why renowned photographers, graphic designers, architects, artists, and other creative professionals repeatedly choose Blurb to display their works of art. That speaks volumes in my book (no pun intended) because, if they trust Blurb to showcase their work, then it just seems logical that I should too. 

Professional-Quality Books and Magazines
Whether you’re creating a photo book, a trade book, or a magazine, Blurb allows you to choose from a wide range of trim size, covers, fonts, layouts, and paper. Paper type is actually really key to any book which displays images. Other book-making platforms may have some nice quality paper, but you’re going to pay out the wazoo for your book. Others use recycled paper, which is good environmentally, but not so great for producing visually-rich images. 

Blurb, on the other hand, provides customers with several paper options, including standard paper that has a smooth, semi-matte finish on 80# stock, to uncoated ProLine semi-gloss paper on 140# stock that’s ideal for high-end photography and design books. 

Digital Books/Ebooks
Blurb is actually one of the few book-making platforms that gives you complete control over creating an ebook. Blurb lets you make ebooks in both fixed-layout (Apple iPad®-only) and reflowable formats (iPad and Kindle devices). You can even convert any book or magazine you create into a gorgeous ebook so you can share and distribute it in a way that’s easy, affordable, and earth-friendly! 

If price is a factor (when is it not?), Blurb is bar none one of the most affordable printers out there with one of the lowest price per page available – especially when you consider their quality and array of creative options. So that you will know exactly what you’re getting at what cost, Blurb developed a Pricing Calculator. I mentioned their pricing calculator in my last post, but to recap, this fantastic tool lets you see what your price per book will be based on the selections you choose (e.g. soft cover, 7 x 7 photobook, on ProLine Uncoated #100 paper). 

You can also compare the pricing of different types of books (trade book vs. magazine, vs. ebook, etc.), covers (hard or soft), sizes (7 x 7 vs 13 x 11), paper type (matte, glossy), etc. 

Although their pricing is already impressive, take note that Blurb is generously offering you 15% off any book you create from now through 5/30! Get started now

I recommend sorting through those pictures on your camera, smartphone, Facebook feed, or Instagram page and start creating your very own book. You’ll be so excited with the results that you’ll probably want to make a copy for all of your friends and family (I’m speaking from experience here!). 

If you need some inspiration, I’ll be sharing examples in next week’s post of how some people have used Blurb to create their own creative and useful books—so stay tuned!