Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Eggshell is the new white. (and "Product Challenge to Self wrap-up)

Last month one of my pages won me a $25 gift voucher to an online scrapbooking store.  Having not spent much money on craft in a while, I was pretty keen to spend it!  My first thought was to spend the voucher plus about another $10 of my own money, plus postage . . . and that's when things started to get complicated . . . my old arch-nemesis . . .postage!  The dilemma of  getting value of out my postage dollar has been the cause of much over-spending and stash-creating in the past, and is one reason why I limit my on-line spending these days.
After much to-ing and fro-ing, I decided to spend the $75 required to get free postage, rather than pay $7.50 postage.  Was it a good decision?  It's too soon to say for sure, but here's why it's at least not a terrible decision: 

  • First and foremost, I've been keeping track of my spending and know for 100% sure that it fits into my budget
  • I've tried to include some "staple" items in the purchase.  This time around that included some square envelopes, and some cardstock in basic, neutral colours.  (That was the plan at any rate - but at some point in the decision making process, I forgot to check if "eggshell" was actually white or not.  Turns out it's a pale grey, hence the title of this post!)  Other "staples" in any future purchases might be adhesives, replacement trimmer blades or page protectors.
  • When choosing my patterned papers, I made sure and got some colours I was short of, like yellow and blue.  I stuck to only a few collections, so that each paper would be sure to have at least one other in my stash that it's guaranteed to match. 
L to R: Echo Park This and that, Hello summer and A Boy's Life.

Basic Grey Konnichiwa, Out of Print, and Sweet Threads
 On the other hand, I steered clear of whole collection sets, as I couldn't see them in person to make sure I loved every single piece, and I didn't want to commit too much money to any one collection.
  • I've been so pleased with how well I've been using my fibres, that I felt justified in buying the more current version, baker's twine:

  • Buying lots of new stamps at once is almost guaranteed to mean some won't ever see ink, so I've chosen just one new set:

Particularly loving the doily stamp!
  •   I tend to use my Silhouette a lot these days for titles, but thought it might be fun to buy a few lettering options that I can't replicate at home (besides, I did win a $25 voucher, remember!)  I went for white, and sheets that matched two of the collections of papers I bought.
Thickers addicts will be shocked to know that this is my first ever pack! On special of course!

  •  Finally, I'll be monitoring my use of these products, to make sure I use them, before they get lost in the stash!
As this parcel arrived last Friday, the day before the long weekend, (and just before the end of my Product Challenge to Self month), I had a bit of dilemma about what to play with first.  In the end I came up with what I've called a "transition page".  So called I managed to score 4 points for my Product Challenge to Self, while at the same time using paper, stickers and cardstock (eggshell, of course) from my parcel.

Here's the sketch I used, from Pagemaps:

and my page, featuring Maddy and a reptilian friend:

My four points come from using my mini misters, fibres, stamps, and chipboard.
I was determined to give the chipboard another go through the Sizzix this month, and this time tried with the book labels and the photo turns.  I still didn't get a clean cut right through, but they were a lot easier to finish off than letters!  Then I had the idea to make the banner with chipboard - I ran each cut through my trimmer first, and finished off with a craft knife.  Too easy!  I think I'll be trying that one again!

So, to tally up my Product Challenge to Self:
Metal buckles, ribbon threading punch, felt, My Mind's Eye stickers/papers and embossing folders each scored 1 point.
Chipboard mat stack scored 2 points.
Thin strips of patterned paper and stamping Up stamp sets each scored 4 points.
Mini-misters scored 5 points.
And the winner of the day was fibres, with 11 points.
Conclusion:  Pretty good effort, if I do say so myself.  This process really helped me think about using products earlier on in my design process, and got me into (or back into the habit) of using some tools and products that are plentiful in my stash, as well as giving me some degree of confidence in introducing new ones (in this case twine).  I think there'll definitely be another Challenge to Self in the coming months . . .

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