pure tape-y genius from 3M

I’m back from Art Unraveled and have lots of cool artwork to share, but that has to wait because I found the coolest product  EVER. 3M makes these enclosed tape dispensers that look like donuts (which doesn’t lessen the appeal, in my mind) and come in fun, candy-like colors. They are filled with Scotch Magic Tape, but I took mine out and put in a roll of double stick tape.

This dispenser is perfect for your on-the-go journaling bag. I use glue stick a lot, but the tape comes in handy for quick add-ins and things that might be slightly heavier than the glue stick can handle. There’s a coupon that you can download and print, too. I bought the green one yesterday to try out, but I’m going to get more of these for my assorted supply bags. I never have to untangle my double stick tape from the other stuff in my bag ever again! This is brilliant!

Pen shopping!

I don’t know if my love for office supplies has ever been properly documented. I have more pens than any person should be allowed to have. I partially blame Kelly Kilmer for this, but that’s a whole other blog entry just waiting to happen.

Today, I headed to Office Depot because I needed new printer cartridges. Office Depot had recently sent me a coupon for $25 off a purchase of $25 or more, so it seemed a no brainer. Since the coupon excluded ink, I figured I could replace a few of my dried out Pitt Pens and pick up more of the Uniball Vision Elite pens that I love so much. Who knew a gal could have so much fun in an office supply store? I am a sucker for a nice design and a new way to organize myself and my stuff. Luckily, I was able to restrain myself.

Here’s what I did buy:

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  • Uniball Vision Elite. The tip is .05/micro. I’ve been using the bold, which I do love because they write over acrylic paint so nicely. I thought it was time to try out the fine tips. I got the pack of many colors, of course, but if I had to choose one, it would be black. I use these pens for everything. They write so nicely!
  • Pink Expo Dry Erase markers. Some of the money goes to City of Hope and they are PINK, for the love of Mike. I have two dry erase boards in my studio for reminding me what to keep top of mind and as soon as I free them of other messes, I will outline my studio projects for the upcoming weekend.
  • Earl Grey Sharpies. Fine and Ultra Fine. This color will be great for shading. I can’t even find it on sharpie.com, but it’s delicious. You need these pens. Also, I noticed the store has a brand new sharpie display…almost a whole side of the aisle covered with sharpies, including open stock of fine and ultra fine. It doesn’t get better than this. Don’t tell my husband.

Here’s what I didn’t buy:

  • 659275_sk_lgReally Useful Box. You can’t see the candylike colors of the lids online, but they are gorgeous in the store — red, pink, green, blue see through…NOM. I think I might need one for the car for all of those things that rattle around in there like the first aid kit, tissues, handiwipes, etc. They were on sale for $10, too! I can see these being really useful for storing and sorting collage papers — and toting the papers and assorted assemblage supplies to workshops. I’m going to think some more on this one.
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    PaperMate Flair Felt Tip Pens. Many colors all in one package. I swooned, but decided I needed to chill. I still have my recent Bic Permanent pens from my birthday money and they are delicious in their own right. Next time I need pens (next month, I hope!), it can be these Flairs. Every girl needs a little flair. And I DO like talking about my Flair.

Other than finding some lovely supplies, I have been making lots of yummy stuff, which I will be posting later this weekend, so stay tuned!

boxes! Oh, the boxes!

My excitement knows no bounds today. Christine at The Artists’ Nook just announced she’s taking preorders for two new products. The first one is the morpheus box that Michael deMeng has been teaching in his workshops recently. I wasn’t able to take that particular class, and I was so hoping that I’d be able to buy a “blank” morpheus box and wing it myself. And WOOHOO! Here it is!

In June, I was junking for a bit with Christine and Leighanna Light at one of the cooler stores in the “antique store row” of Fort Collins. I found a printers tray I really liked, but couldn’t afford and then I found a knockoff which I could afford and I was delighted. Christine had told me she was thinking of having some made and lo and behold, here it is. I am so giddy, I can barely contain myself.

If you click on these images, you will be taken to the shop at The Artists’ Nook, where you can preorder these items. I knew all of my arty friends would be into these cool finds! I’m thinking of getting a couple of the printers trays…one for my most used wood mounted stamps and one for some sort of special soul-searching project. For the morpheus box, I’m thinking something like “the many faces of tracey” is a good starting point.

What will YOU do with these cool treasures?

shopping and refilling my well

I’m in northern California this weekend, visiting a dear friend whose birthday was yesterday. Her husband and I schemed to surprise her with my (and my husband’s presence) and we showed up Thursday after work (after driving all day Wednesday and Thursday). It was pretty cool to surprise her like that. We almost didn’t go on this trip because of a few financial and health related issues, but I’m really glad Tim talked me into it. I have been truly exhausted and drained lately and I think this was just what I needed to help refill my well.

There was a lot of birthday-related activity this weekend, but today we were able to just have some unplanned fun. We four got in the car armed with the names of a few shops and headed to 4th Street in Berkeley to get our craft on. (Well, one husband spent a lot of time with his iPhone and the other husband toodled around pointing out cool stuff that I may have missed, and also took quite a bit of video footage for me.)

First stop was Paper Source, then we headed to Castle in the Air and Scrapbook Territory. Well, nothing had me prepared for the joys ahead. The photos you see here are most of my crafty purchases for today. I spent way more than I intended, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Barely any guilt at all!

I have been to various Paper Source stores before, but I managed to find a few stamps and little bits that I’d never seen before, including the little curse word, the dreams stamp, the face and the little checkbox stamp. oh, and the super heavy chipboard tags with grommets in them. YUM! (You can click on the photos to see larger images.)

Castle in the Air was sweet and funky and very unusual. I found some stamps and other goodies there, as well, including some spun cotton mushrooms (!). I don’t know what I’m doing with them for sure, but I suspect it will have something to do with gnomes., probably from Ellie (I think that’s her name). I’ve been coveting this gnome stamp for quite a while now. I also got a set of 6 metallic Lyra Ferbry pencils and cool birds…I forget what that style of die cut that is, with the little strips that you cut to get them apart, is. They are gorgeous.

Scrapbook Territory — Oh my stars and garters — I have never seen such a bounty of papercrafty goodness. I’ve never seen a scrapping store with such a great stamp collection, there were so many rubber and acrylic stamps, a great selection of Hambly stuff, I could go on and on. Seriously, if you are ever in the area, it is a store to behold. I also found some awesome brads, cool rubons and a clear acrylic tag book. I am drooling just thinking about what I’m going to do with it (I don’t know for sure yet, but the possibilities are endless, aren’t they?).

We also hit Hydra, where I got a few cool bath beads. Then we went to Ghiradelli, where we got some hot fudge to take home. I also splurged and Jennie and I picked out a few bracelets from a sidewalk vendor. I never buy stuff like that for myself and I’m on vacation, so I set myself free for a bit. that made me really happy and now my wrists are all girly and pretty! 🙂

This trip, more than any before, has really hit home for me how much I need to take time for myself now and then, and how I need to get my ass out of town and step back from life to rest my soul. I think I learned this from my Artists’ Way stuff I’ve been doing during the past two weeks. More on that later.

P.S. Jennie’s mom is big into decorating gourds and gave me two to take home and art up. I’m really excited. I wonder if that gnome and a mushroom should go to live inside a gourd! Also, Jennie’s husband saved me two cigar boxes and I’ve been saving all sorts of little odd bits and pieces for journaling, etc. Her sister mixed up a homemade batch of color spray using mod podge, water and pearl ex and then showed me her scrapbook pages and her die cut thing that plugs into her PC (I forget the name). It’s been a super crafty weekend, for not having actually made anything!

P.P.S. S.C.R.A.P. is closed on Sundays and Mondays, so we won’t be getting there this trip. I am crushed.

wow! time sure flies when you’re having fun!

…although I wouldn’t call work and worrying about my dad’s health fun, necessarily.

This is a quick note, since I’m a bit late for my self-imposed Thursday blog update. I ordered more color mists from Outside The Margins and I believe Tim is picking them up from my PO box today, so I’m looking forward to getting out some of my aggression tomorrow with those. Also, Kelly Kilmer, evil enabler that she is, posted about jetpens.com on her blog a few days ago, thus causing me to place a large (for me) order of pens I don’t really need, but that I need. If you know what I mean.

This past weekend, I managed to do some backgrounds. They’re big, and made mostly of scraps lying around the studio, and I intend to cut them up to make Valentine’s Day cards. We’ll see how that goes. My dad has been in the ICU in upstate New York for almost two weeks now and things aren’t looking good, so it’s distracting me from everything else I need to do in my daily life. I hope to catch up on work tomorrow so I can spend at least an hour doing some art.

And that’s all I got for today. Maybe Thursday’s update will be inspiring!

on the joy of a freshly sharpened pair of kai scissors

This is going to sound silly, but you just don’t appreciate a pair of scissors as much as you do when they’ve just been sharpened. In my world, growing up, you just don’t do things like that…You just suffer with dull scissors. I didn’t even know until probably college that scissors could be sharpened!

Anyway, years ago, I bought a pair of rubber scissors made by Kai. I had read they were the best scissors for trimming rubber stamps and I found a pair on sale (because I was very poor back then) so I got them. They were great. I must have bought them 10 years ago, at least. Well, they just haven’t been cutting very well lately and I remembered that Kai offered a sharpening service, so I went and sought out their website. Which says nothing about sharpening service, by the way.

But I called and spoke with Jim and he said it was $5, which included return postage. I received them the other day and just this morning, tried them out. I trimmed my new Cat’s Pajamas margarita stamps and I couldn’t believe how smoothly and quickly those thing went through the rubber. I had to be really careful not to slip and ruin the image!

So let that be your lesson for today kids. First of all, buy a pair of Kai scissors for trimming your rubber. And send them to be sharpened, when needed, over to Jim at Shear Precision Scissor Co. You’ll be so glad you did!