It became obvious fairly early on that I was going to need a method for storing and organizing my card stock. Having it piled up on my kitchen table wasn’t working too well! I’ve seen pictures of people’s craft rooms with wall mounted racks with a slot for each colour but I don’t have a dedicated craft room. Yet! And I’m not sure how such a system works for scraps. I want to have the scraps in the same place as the uncut card stock so that I don’t have to remember to first check the special scraps place.  I took a trip to Staples and found two plastic crates which hold letter sized hanging folders, which of course Staples also sells. The crates have lids and they stack which is handy for when going to a carding weekend (as I’m doing this weekend). I’ve found that by moving some of the folders from one crate to the other it leaves sufficient room for my color caddy. It’s a very secure way of transporting it.

Crate showing paper storage

I decided to organize my card stock by family: regals, subtles, brights, neutrals and two in colors. Being a mathematician (or that’s what I’m blaming for it) they are ordered alphabetically within each family. I realise that might be overkill for most people! Here’s one of my two crates; I have one blue and one see through. This way, I know without thinking which crate has what I need. This is my subtles, regals and 2014-2016 in colours crate.  I cut a scrap into 2 inches by 7/8″ for the tab label on each colour (I haven’t finished that yet as you can see). I might actually write the names of the colours on the labels one of these days, but I quite like how it looks with just the colour. Maybe I’ll write the colour name on the folder itself. Within each folder I have the uncut cardstock at the back with scraps at the front so it’s extremely simple to see if I have a scrap that will work for whatever I’m planning. I recently bought a carl paper trimmer which will cut multiple sheets at a time (and saves the blade on my stampin’ trimmer) so I’ve also got a stash in each folder of half sheets of each cardstock for my usual sized cards.

I’m really happy with my storage solution. It’s easy to move out of the way if we want to use the kitchen table, it gives me back quite a bit of real estate on the table itself, it’s easier to find the colour that I’m looking for than searching through piles and it also gives me a quick view into which colours are running a bit low.

I posted some pictures last week of the custom made storage boxes that my father and brother made for me – perhaps in the hope that with better organisation there’d be room for a cup of coffee on the kitchen table. My brother had made my sister a ribbon holder recently and I decided that I needed one too. Caro’s is a bit like a paper towel holder – handy if you don’t want to take up much space. Mine actually doesn’t take up any real estate on the table – at least not due to the ribbon.

ribbon holder

They made me a sort of drawer to keep “things” in – haven’t planned it all out yet, but so far as you can see, it’s holding twine, embellishments and piece of die cut card stock. I often cut out words in card stock in various colours before deciding which one should go on the card. The extras end up in an old stamp set case for later use.

The knobs on the right hand side are glued to the dowel and the ribbon can be removed if needed, by removing the left hand knobs. My father made these on the lathe – I think that they are made of cherry.

cherry knob on dowel

I had not been very successful in using ribbon on my cards. I’d get it out and look at it and put it away again. Since I’ve had the ribbon in front of me, I’ve used a number of pieces. I’m hoping that this will continue. Either way, I think it’s an awesome piece of storage.

If your crafting table is anything like mine, it’s covered with stuff. I try to tidy up every now and then, but when I’m under a time crunch or am struggling with a card, the stamp sets on the table grow and the ink pads jump out of the caddy onto the table. The stamp sets allegedly live in a bookcase in a different room and I craft on the kitchen table where I have great light. I try to allow other people to use part of the table sometimes!  Whilst my parents were over for the Christmas holidays, it was hard for my father not to notice that I need a bit of help with my organisation. So he suggested a few little boxes with shelves and wandered off to the basement with my brother. After a design decision (one box with a back and one without for now) a couple of boxes appeared after a few days. This sounds as if we kept them in the basement until they was done, we didn’t! We were busy with other things too – walking, cooking, eating and improving my pool playing – my father’s rather good at it.

Box for pens

So here’s the first box. As you can see it’s perfect for holding the blendabilities – I just cut off the plastic at the ends leaving the small tab for ease of removal. I haven’t decided completely on what else to put in here.

Box with no back

Here’s the next box. We decided it was easier to remove things horizontally and these are items (dies, embossing folders, 2 colours of envelopes and pre-cut envelope liners) that it would be handy to have access to from both sides of the table for multiple crafters.

3rd box for stamp sets

Here’s my newest box (it’s still drying really) so that I have somewhere official to put my stamp sets in progress. Hopefully this will help me losing them in clear sight on the table. I am also thinking that I may put the DSP stacks in here but they may end up in the first one. Anyway, I’m thrilled with how useful these have been already in helping me not lose things. I think that they did a great job. I know that I’m very lucky in having a father and brother with the time and the knowledge and tools – plus the inclination – to do this for me.

Earlier in the week I posted a list of the stamping supplies that I absolutely would hate to stamp without – and in some cases, would barely be able to manage. Today I’m going to share my list of supplies that are more than nice to have, they almost made my critical list but I couldn’t in all honesty say that I couldn’t stamp without them. So here’s my Almost Critical Stamping Supplies list!

1. Big Shot

Need I say more?. It can do dry embossing and die cutting which opens up a whole new world of carding. Could I make a card without it? Yes, but I don’t very often! In fact, almost every single envelope has been decorated by it – either by dry embossing or by gluing on a liner cut out with it.

2. Bone Folder

It makes nice crisp good folds. I use it every time I make a card although I know that some people don’t, so I could technically get by without it. I just wouldn’t want to.

3. Colour Coach

The colour coach is awesome for suggesting colour combinations. A couple of my current favourite combinations came from here (for example, melon mambo, pumpkin pie and crushed curry) and I know that I wouldn’t have put them together. It’s great for when you have a card in mind, but not the colour. You pull out your colour coach and flip through until you find something that grabs you.

4. Paper Snips

Stampin’ Up! make a really nice pair of paper snips which make it very easy to snip around stamped images. They are also good for left and right handers – unlike the craft scissors which are right handed. My (also left handed) sister has them and they are very nice and are okay as long as you’re only cutting a piece of ribbon. They aren’t comfortable for long time left handed use.

5. Heat tool

You need this in order to do heat embossing which I adore. So although I could make cards without heat embossing, I almost put this on my critical supplies list! The heat tool works well – it embosses fairly quickly and so far I haven’t burned any paper.

6. Embossing Buddy

This IS critical if you’re doing heat embossing. It helps the embossing powder stick to only the places where you want it – although I find a small paintbrush is invaluable to flick away any stray specks that may still hang around.

That’s it. My Almost Critical Stamping Supplies. Let me know your thoughts.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of those celebrating today. For everyone else – I hope you have a wonderful day. I intend to have a good one – I’m currently in Barcelona on vacation.

In the spirit of giving thanks, I decided to do a different kind of post today. It is inspired by ten minutes or so last week when I thought that I’d lost my stamp-a-ma-jig and realised that this pretty much made stamping impossible. So here’s my list of critical stamping supplies that I absolutely could not do without and why. I’m interested in your comments on this!

1. Stampin’ Up!’s Stamp-a-ma-jig.

It’s critical to get your stamps where you want them. It’s not foolproof – you still have to get the image on the acetate sheet lined up but as long as you do that, it’s perfect. I also find that using the stamp-a-ma-jig handle to slide your stamp down when stamping prevents you wobbling and removes any chance of extra ink onto your project.

2. Grid paper

I find this invaluable for helping me to line up sentiments or to get images centred. It’s also a good base to stamp on as well as useful to stamp off the excess ink before cleaning the rest on the stampin’ scrub.

3. Ruler

My ruler is also critical. I use it to hold under a sentiment and then see if it is in fact straight on the card by using the lines on the grid paper. I line the card up with the grid paper and then check that my ruler is also lined up.

4. Tombow glue

I started off using snail. And I like it a lot – I still use it for lining envelopes. But I like that I have a little bit of time to wiggle the card around if I haven’t got it quite right.

5. Adhesive Remover

Caro told me that I needed this but I wasn’t so sure. So I didn’t get it for a few months but now that I have it, I use it a lot. It’s obviously great for removing any excess glue (just let it dry before removing it) or sticky patches left by sticky fingers. But it’s also good at cleaning up any wisps caused by a not so sharp trimmer blade (or maybe a cutting mat was requiring a clean)

6. Trimmer

This one’s a no brainer. You can’t make cards if you can’t cut the card to size. I like my stampin’ trimmer – it’s accurate.

I compiled this list by thinking about what I could not stamp without. Could I stamp without my ruler? Probably but I wouldn’t like it. Same goes for the rest. There is another list of items that I like to have, but that’s for another day!