Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Cling Stamp Storage using Unity Stamp Company Cases

Since about 2011, I've been an avid fan of Unity Stamp Company.  They make the best quality rubber stamps I've found yet.  Not only are they deeply etched, but they are generously sized and have a variety of beautiful designs. 

When I first started buying the stamps, I found Cling Storage Cards by Stamper's Best (now Deep Red Stamps) that were perfect for my needs.  They were rigid laminated sheets with three hole punches.  Stamps could cling to either side and the sheets slipped into binders easily.  I remember them being around a dollar a sheet.  Unfortunately, the company stopped producing them and I couldn't find a substitute.  Plus, my stamp collection was growing and I was having a hard time remembering where to return my stamps after I'd used some from several kits since the sheets were blank and I'd never made an index. 

I read online somewhere about using a laminator to make your own, and I tried that for a while, by stamping on cardboard cut from cereal boxes, sticking two sheets together, and running it through my laminator, but I was concerned that I might be degrading the cling foam on my stamps because I couldn't be sure that the lamination film I was using was safe.  I honestly haven't seen any evidence that the foam is degrading, but I wanted to protect my stamps just to be sure.

Unity Stamp Company sells their own storage cases.  Currently, they are $3.89 each.  I hesitated for a long while, not sure if I would like them or if I really wanted to reorganize my whole collection.  There's also something a bit scary about laying out the whole lot of your stamps and coming to terms with just how many you actually own!  (What's a girl to do when they keep having fantastic sales and releasing awesome new designs?)  And let's not even talk about the clear stamps and Stampin' Up stamps I never reach for any more...

I placed an order a few weeks ago for 20 cases, hoping that would contain all of my stamps.  Each case can hold stamps on both sides, so the equivalent of two full 8.5"x11" kits.  I started by sorting my stamps into rough themes.  I chose to keep each kit together instead of breaking apart images and sentiments because that works better for me to find what I want.  While I was working, I used Post-its to label the cases with their themes.  For now, these are the themes I have:
- Kit of the Month
- Sentiment Kits
- Phyllis Harris- Kids
- Phyllis Harris- Nature
- Tierra Jackson- Animals
- Angie Girls
- Masculine
- Love
- Vintage
- Food
- Household Objects
- School
- Borders/Backgrounds/Journaling
- Christmas
- Cute Animals
- Large Florals
- Grab Bags
Twenty cases would probably have been about right, but once I decided on themes, I didn't want to combine different themes in a single case, so I do have some extra room in some cases and some stamps that still need homes.  I ended up ordering seven more.

After I got the bulk of my stamps into cases, I wanted to somehow catalog them.  I'd seen suggestions to attach the packaging to the cases, but I didn't want to ruin the inserts if I was rough on my cases.  I also saw a suggestion to stamp each kit in a different color and to stamp grab bag items in black.  Genius!  I started inking up my stamps (while they were in the case where I knew they would fit) and then placed a sheet of card stock on top to stamp the images out.  While I was at it, I made two for each side of the case.  I'll keep one sheet inside the case and I'll keep the other in a binder of page protectors so I can flip through my stamps without dragging them all out.  I also used a coordinating pen to write the name of the kit.  Note- this is where I realized my colored inks are sadly in need of some TLC or replacement. 

Next, I got my Staz-on ink out and inked up the stamps once more.  This time, I stamped them onto a transparency.  I'm attaching this transparency to the outside of the case.  It will let me easily tell which stamps I need to grab and which stamps are missing if there are holes. 

When my cataloging is done, I'm going to be storing the cases in these magazine files that I got at Target years ago.  Each holds 4 cases comfortably so I can just tote the magazine file to my desk when I need it.  I'll make tags for each magazine file to indicate which themes are inside and label the cases with a more permanent solution than the Post-its. 

So, my organization project is well underway.  The stamping for cataloging is taking a LONG time.  One thing I'd do if I had the equipment would be to photocopy my colored reference sheet in black onto the transparency to save the Staz-on step.  Unfortunately, my printer is on the fritz and my transparencies are not compatible with printers or copiers, so I'm doing it the time consuming way but I do love the results!
Finished Product with Index Sheets Visible

Finished Product Closed
How do YOU store your cling stamps? 

Proud Operation Write Home Alumni
Cards shipped to OWH in 2014: 21
Cards shipped to OWH in 2013: 829 blank and 301 AnyHero
Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 1284 blank and 218 AnyHero
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Unity Stamp Company Spring Blog Hop

Hello!  Are you having spring weather yet?  I'm here in Maryland where we had some spring-like days in February and now that we're into March, we're back into freezing temperatures.  Go figure!  While dreaming of warmer weather and spring flowers, I wanted to share this card because it makes me feel ready for spring.  
I used the following sets of Unity Stamp Company stamps.  Unity Stamps are my favorites because they are deeply etched red rubber and always make fantastic impressions!

There is You
There is You

Hello My Friend
Hello My Friend

Best Wishes & Blooms
Best Wishes & Blooms

If you're joining from the Unity Stamp Company blog hop, be sure to visit everyone on this list to see what springtime creations they've planned to share with you.  If you comment on all 8 posts, you might win some Unity prize packs!  Awesome, right?
Annie Sterner
Shannon Allred-Sunnarborg
Pamela J. Duncan
Kathryn Belmonte (You're here!)
Beth Fiscus
Denise Wesley Beard
Jennie Davis Amaker
Stephanie Seelye

The graphic has a tiny error- you don't have to visit the Unity blog for this hop!  
Happy Spring, everyone!  If you're "celebrating" the time change today, I hope you aren't feeling the effects of an hour less sleep too much!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Growing in Unity Friday

What a quick week it's been!  I've enjoyed sharing several projects that stretch my stamps beyond cards to pop in the mail.

I'm back with another gift idea for you today.  You've probably seen all of the subscription boxes that you can buy online.  They make them for dogs, kids, meal planning, and so much more.  Heck, even Unity has several stamp kits you can receive on a monthly basis.  If I ever feel like I have enough crafting time to justify getting a kit, I'd love to be a Kit of the Month member because I think the style of those stamps most mirror my tastes.  (KOTM membership = #lifegoals)  About four years ago before various subscription boxes were all over my Facebook feed, my mom planned twelve monthly dates and gave them to my dad as a Christmas present.  It was such a hit that they now both give that gift to each other, generally each picking a new theme for the year.  So far, themes have included monthly ice cream tastings and hiking trips among others.  The dates range from things like going bowling to a weekend away.

Not being much for original ideas myself, I decided that my man needed the same treatment this Christmas.  While I've planned 12 dates, I'm not going to give away any that he hasn't opened yet, so I'll just share the first three.

On Christmas, he opened this card that explained the premise: on the first on each month, he's to open the envelope marked for that month from the small box I gave him.  Inside the envelope is a card and inside the card is an explanation of the date we'll share.  Since his favorite color is blue, you'll see a lot of that color in the cards below.

Here are the first three months of cards.  I dropped a small (or big) hint about the date in the design of the card.  See if you have a guess of what the date might be from the card.  I'll reveal the answers at the bottom. 

January: and while I know that tiny heart is Unity, I have no idea what kit it's from!  

March: and
How did you do?
January- A board game and pizza.  (We played Monopoly and ordered in pizza and it was fantastic!)
February- A movie and chocolate.  (I bought a box of truffles and we watched a Redbox movie we'd wanted to see.)
March- A fancy dinner out to celebrate the completion of a big project of his at the end of February.  

What is your favorite recurring subscription?  Or the one you have your eye on but haven't purchased?

Thanks for joining me during my GIU week for Unity Stamp Company.  I hope you'll look to expand your stamping beyond greeting cards with a project this weekend or beyond.

Remember that comments from all posts this week will be entered for a chance to win grab bags from Unity.  I'll be picking winners on Sunday and announcing shortly thereafter.   Good luck! 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Growing in Unity Thursday

I've been trying to grow beyond "just" making cards with my stamps.

Here's an item that you could easily give as a gift.  I'm going to use it as a motivational decoration for myself.  It's time to go back to school again for an additional certification as a school administrator and I'm feeling a little less than motivated to go back one more time after finishing a Master's about a year ago.  I'm hoping this girl keeps my eye on the prize of having upward career mobility when I want it! 

For this project, I used two stamp sets: Graduation Wishes and Love is in the Pages.

First, I stamped, colored, and fussy cut the graduation girl.  I used blue for the accent color because it's the color for education studies.  Then I stamped the sentiment and cut it with a die.  Next, I stamped the books with antique linen distress ink on a piece of white paper and cut it with another die.  Finally, I cut a tag shape, hand lettered "class of 2020" and inked it with some blue ink.  The frame that holds everything was a Dollar Tree find. 

When the day comes that I complete this certificate, I can replace the items in the clip with a photo!  This would be an awesome item to make for high school or college grads you might know.  Do you know anyone graduating this spring?

Comment away each day this week for a chance to win a grab bag from Unity Stamp Co! 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Growing in Unity Wednesday

Hi everyone!  Here's a card I put together using the Unity Stamp Company kit "Best Fishes."  Isn't it a fun set for the guys?

I achieved the coloring of the fish by using a lot of white and a little bit of blue watercolor pencil over top of the stamped image.  Then I used a blender pen to activate the watercolor pencil and push the white onto the dark fins for some pop.

About the embellishments: The paper clip is one that I brought home from France ten years ago because I loved the shape and bright metallic colors.  And in the world of coincidences, I bought those paperclips at a "papeterie"- a "stationery store" which is one of the words on the stamp.  Funny how that works, huh?  The button is a freebie from a Unity order I received long ago.  One thing I appreciate is that Unity typically sends a free gift with every order.  Small orders might get a tag and some buttons or a journaling card while bigger orders often qualify for free stamp sets.  It's always fun to get a thank you gift.  

What is going to get you through your Wednesday?  I have a dinner out with friends from my church tonight, so that should be a fun motivator to get me through the work day.

Don't forget to leave comments each day this week for chances to win the grab bags Unity is offering.  Their grab bags are awesome and you don't want to miss out!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Growing In Unity Tuesday

Hello all!  Today I have a gift project for you.  I purchased this little decor item at the Dollar Tree with the intent of reworking it.  I live in a small town without a craft store, so I often make do with the little  craft section at Walmart and fun finds at the Dollar Tree until I get to a bigger town for craft stores.

I had intentions of removing the wooden heart and using the item as a blank canvas, but I was thwarted by some good glue.  That just made me get a little more creative!

After several coats of white paint, I had something resembling a blank canvas.  I stamped an image on the left and a sentiment on the heart.

With some Distress ink, I filled in around the image from First Love, First Hero, an awesome Unity Stamp Company set for Father's Day or for scrapbooking little girls and their dads.  Then I used embossing ink and powder to create clouds in the upper right with the clouds from this set, City of Love.

On the back/inside, I made a place to sign and write a special message, again using distress ink to match the front.

If the recipient wants to sit this on a desk, both sides are decorated.  If it's hung on a wall, this message is preserved for those times the canvas is taken down and moved.  

Have you made anything like a canvas with your stamps?  Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win Unity Stamp Company's generous grab bags of 25 stamps! 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Welcome to my Growing in Unity Week!

Hi everyone!  It's my turn to be a Growing in Unity gal and I couldn't be more excited to share my creations with you. Remember that two commenters this week will win an awesome grab bag of Unity stamps! 

I've gotten into a bit of a crafting slump (again!) and so I was thinking about how I could use my week to inspire others who might also be having a little trouble getting to crafting.  One thing that sometimes overwhelms me and keeps me from crafting is having TOO MANY choices.  Have you been there, too?  So, I thought for my first project I'd showcase an idea that keeps it simple for me to churn out several cards with only one round of decision making: sketches and paper pads.

First, I shuffled through my 6x6 paper pads and chose one of my favorites.  I pulled out four of the double-sided sheets and went to my cardstock to grab 5 coordinating solid sheets.  I love orange and teal together on cards, so these colors already had me motivated!

These papers reminded me of birthday cards even though they're supposedly "boy" papers.  I browsed my Unity stamps to pick a few I wanted to use for upcoming birthdays.   

I stamped some images in inks that coordinated with my paper choices.  For others, I stamped in black Memento ink and colored with Copic markers that coordinated with my papers.  

Next, I picked out a few sketches.  Before it closed, I was a big supporter of Operation Write Home.  I still love to use their sketches because they're designed for A2 cards and include measurements.  Good news for you: they're still available here even though the organization closed in 2015.

Here are a few of the set of twelve cards I made using the sketches and materials from above!  These cards will refill my supply of birthday cards.  It seems like birthdays are always sneaking up on me so one of my goals for this year is to stay on top of things by having some go-to birthday cards waiting in the wings.  In fact, I just used one card other from this set recently before I'd photographed them!

Sadly, I think this one is no longer available.  It was called "Celebrate" but there's a similar sailboat in this set:

So, everyone, what's your favorite way to replenish your stash?  Remember to leave a comment here for your chance to win a fantastic Unity grab bag!