Thursday, January 30, 2014

Yay for Cards... and Some Organization Tips

I often get questions about how I go about organizing my work space and my work time.  Come along with me today and we'll take a look.  Come on in to my studio, look around and enjoy your visit.
I love stamping, card making, scrapbooking... paper crafting.  I love it all!  I have been working on lots of cards and projects lately!  Today, I want to share with you how I go about starting when I have lots of new papers and products come in all about the same time.  It would be super easy to get overwhelmed or sidetracked, so I try to organize my materials so I can keep my focus on what I need to do.

Getting started...
- Unpack all the new arrivals.
- Organize them into sections of stamps, papers, Big Shot accessories... etc.
- Put away any materials and accessories that I won't be using immediately.
- Start in with opening 1 package of paper at a time.

Diving in...
--- Pull out all the papers from the package.
--- Turn the sheets so I can see each and every design.
--- Gasp, ooo and ah....   so pretty!
--- Turn the cardboard backing over to see the list of colors that are in the papers.
--- Pull out all the colors of CS that go with this paper.
--- Pull out all the stamps that might coordinate with this paper.
--- Pull out Big Shot accessories and embellishments that might go with this paper.
--- Start cutting CS, usually cutting 81/2 X 11" pieces lengthwise.
--- This will give you cards that are 4 1/4" wide, with a top fold.
--- Cut any other shapes or sizes of CS that I might plan to make with these colors.
--- If I plan to use larger layers of DSP or CS, I will cut those now, too.
--- For layers, I usually cut 1/4 - 1/2" smaller than the card front or previous layer.
--- I keep frequently used sizes of white CS on hand, ready to use.
--- I take time to put away scraps now, to stay organized.
--- I keep CS scraps in drawers labeled - 1 for each color family.
--- I store DSP in large cello bags, with scraps on top of full sheets.

Creative juices flowing...
By this time, my creative juices are flowing and I already have some ideas floating around in my head.  It's time to get out the inks, ink up my stamps and get going.  If I haven't stamped for a while (Sometimes, it happens.) I try to start with a simpler card and, as I get going, work up to more complicated designs.

But wait...
Before I start working, I pull out one of my handy dandy serving trays and organize all these items onto the tray.  The reason is simple... Everything is all together.  If I need to move it away from my work space, I can just carry the tray and set it carefully in a new place until I'm ready to work on it again.  When I'm ready to start in on it again, everything is all right there together and I don't waste time trying to figure out where I left off when I stopped.

This may or may not be the most efficient method, but it works for me when I have a lot of cards to get made.  When finished, I store all my DSP in a large cello bag, with cut pieces on top, the backing cardboard in the back (for support and color reference) and often store 1 of each piece of coordinating CS in with it all.  When I have an idea for a single card or 3-D project later on, I can easily pull out just what I need to get going on it.

Here's a tray all ready for me to start creating using the Kaleidoscope DSP.
Look closely and you can see a second tray (photo below) behind the first one.  This one is all ready to work with the Watercolor Wonder DSP.  Having them on my studio table keeps them handy but off my main work space behind the bar where I stamp.  I even have the cards already scored and folded.  Doing the cutting and scoring all at one time really saves time.  I keep a stash of precut Whisper White layers most often used, as well, and use these for main layers on the cards.  Smaller stamped pieces are completed with scraps, whenever possible.  This saves time, too, because my scrap drawers are behind the bar right next to my work space.
Speaking of storage, check out my new system (photo below) for storing my framelits.  I love it!!!  I got these online:
 http://www.stampnstorage.com
This is the same place where I got my new punch holders and ink pad holders.  It's a great place, has excellent quality products and excellent service.  I don't usually promote other companies on my blog, but this one deserves high praise.  They also sell containers in which to store your framelit cards, but I wanted to use one of my antique sewing machine drawers.  I use a lot of them in my studio and it creates a look that I just love.  These cards are made of chipboard and have a strong magnet covering 1 entire side.  I liked using stamp cases to store my framelits, but Stampin' Up! has come up with so many different sizes of framelits lately that my system wasn't working anymore.  I wanted a uniform size for all of my framelits.  This works.
The cards are sitting out in the drawer so they are super accessible and quick to get into use when inspiration strikes.  This is an extra long drawer so it accommodates 2 rows of the cards.
I store my embossing folders in an antique sewing machine drawer, too.  This one had unfinished wood on the sides, so I ironed on fabric to spruce it up.  This was the first drawer I got and it somehow started a small obsession with boxes and drawers:)

Please don't get the idea that you'd have to go through all this process just to create something.  When I have 1 or 2 specific projects in mind, I get out supplies just for those.  I will admit that, once in a while, I go into a creating frenzy and end up with about 6" of free space in which to work.  I think most any artist does this, at least sometimes.  Keep in mind, I have a 15' long bar on which to work and equal counter space behind it, complete with cabinets.  I am blessed with 30' of work space, not to mention a separate area for my laptop and a large studio table (seats 10) which can be work space.  I am blessed!  I hold fast to one rule that I refuse to ever let myself break.  I clean up before and after each major creative work time and before and after every class as well.  Doing this keeps me sane and organized and keeps my space clean and ready to create more treasures.  For me, a messy work space works against my creativity. 

Sometimes, though, in spite of all our organization, we just need cards fast.  So now, here's another idea to get you stamping quickly.  We have a new cards kit, in addition to our Everyday Occasions Card Kit. (#134998)
With Sale-A-Bration underway now, you can get super cute free items, such as the banner kit below.  Come back soon and I'll share my version of this banner kit.  It was really fun putting it all together.
Here's a video to inspire you to get working on some of your cards.  Click on the link below to view it.  Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8SByt_BIIro

Thanks for stopping by my blog.  I hope you enjoyed your visit to my studio today and that some of my organization ideas will help you in your creative process.  Use what works for you and create a space in which you can enjoy creating treasures of your own.  Want more organization ideas?  Click here and take a tour of my studio.  http://nannastamps.blogspot.com/2012/01/studio-tour.html   Have a great day.

- Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the blogging world. 
- Click on the tab at the top of the page to see my class schedules and registration policies or click on the left for sneak peeks. 
- Come back soon and come back often for more creative inspiration.

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