Thursday, March 2, 2017

It's Been a Lot Longer Than I Thought ... **sigh**

     So, in one of the last entries here or at one of my other blogs, I had cheerfully announced I was planning to get involved in direct sales -- again.  Because I was hoping to join A Muse Studio which offered an amazing starter kit and had changed their rules -- and had gotten rid of the quarterly minimums completely.  WOW!  Right?
     Well, last September and October they offered a bonus on the kit by including 10 extra ink pads!  Another huge "WOW!"  But finances did not let me take advantage of that deal.  So, eagerly on October 1, I went to their site to find out if they had a special deal for that month -- but there was no starter kit of any kind being offered.  Eventually, I discovered at their blog that the owner / founder had decided to retire and A Muse Studio would sell off their stock through the website but would no longer be a direct sales company. 
     Wah!  But, I have been able to get a few of their products I had been drooling over.  So, all is not a loss.
     However, considering joining AMS, got me back in the mood to join a company, maybe figure out how to run it as a net-based business, and hopefully be a money-maker for me.  And of course, get goodies in the starter kit.

     So my starter kit arrived.  And even though I had read through the list of what it included and looked at the picture, I expected to find items that were not there. 
     It arrived yesterday.  But I did not open the box because hubby was taking me to Urgent Care to have my incredibly painful hand looked at.  Infected and that is why the diuretic did nothing to alleviate the swelling.  Two antibiotic were prescribed and a couple of ibuprofen and not as painful, but still not a hand I can use.

     Being very impatient, I did wangle / wrangle the box to a spot by my desk.  Cut it open and there was another box inside.  A couple of hours later, I was unable to wait any longer and figured out a way to get the inner box out of the outer box using just one hand.
     Was it worth it?
     How can any company send out a starter kit that does not really include things to get you started?  This is a rubber stamping / scrapbooking company.  But other than the bonus three "stamps of the month" sets included -- no stamps, but worse, no card stock, nor any inkpads.  There are good and useful things in the kit but nothing to a person creating.  (The inner box has "Open Me and discover your creativity" printed on it.)
     Needless to say, I was mega-disappointed -- considering the hassle it had been to get inside the boxes.
     Thing is, like I said, I had read the list of what would be in the kit and had seen a photo but for some reason, I expected a useful kit.
     Along with the stuff that will be useful in the end, was not a coupon really but info on getting $50 worth of "select product" free (of course, pay sales tax and shipping).  Again, a huge disappointment once I found out that thin cut dies to match some of the sets are not included in this set of "select" product.
     I am feeling very discouraged and disappointed.
     Maybe over the next 5 months, I will figure out how to run a web-based business but in the meantime, I made a decision this afternoon -- I will not buy enough to meet my minimum.  If others do buy -- great!  I will be buying as there are items I want at the demo discount price.  Maybe I will even figure out how to record videos for youtube on a variety of scrapping and card-making projects.  I hope so.  But come July 1 ... I may be looking for a new and different company.  We'll see ...

(assortment of fun photos from

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Oops ... & Pretty Birds

I think i was a bit too honest in the previous post.
I don't want to give anyone a bad view of Fun Stampers Journey ... it is a company with lots of great stamp sets and matching dies.  The current annual catalog introduced Pan Pastels, watercolor pencils and regular colored pencils to match the FSJ inks and card stocks.  Those who have tried working with the Pan Pastels are raving about how wonderful they find them to work with. One of the new ATS (Artist Trading Stamps) is an FSJ version of the Tim Holtz "Crazy Birds" is AT-0215 Pretty Birds.  and I surprised myself by ordering them  ...  Normally, I would pre-cut my panel but my paper cutter is a bit of a pain -- it does not have a bar that flips out so that the widest cut I can make easily is 3 1/2 inches -- so I need to pre-mark the cutting spots.  And I can be a bit lazy -- all of us probably suffer from that from time to time ... and did not want to fool around with all that, so I stamped with FSJ True Color Fusion Black Licorice ink, watercolored with my Koi set and the pearliezed paints from Oriental Trading Company ... especially the silver for the shadows under the birds ... Fun birds that will probably get used a lot ... (sorry the photo is not more in focus -- i have problems with my webcam focusing -- my old webcam from the same company had a focus button in the camera controls ... wish I could find the old cam and set it up again ... **sigh**)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Changing The Map But Still On A "Journey" ...

Originally, I wondered what to call this blog and with misgivings I added "Journeys" to the title.  I'd been involved in Direct Sales companies before and knew two things -- (1) they are not perfect and (2) they can be limiting and a third thing I knew was that I had joined Fun Stampers journey mostly for the starter kit more than to be a "Coach."  There are upsides to being associated with a company and I tried to convince myself I could and would make a business out of it this time.
I joined Fun Stampers Journey late in January 2016 -- they had such an awesome join promo going on at the time -- a "customizeable" kit (pick the stamps and dies you wanted to receive from a very short list and get the die cutting machine included in the kit for less than the cost of the die cutting machine's full price in the catalog, plus a bunch of other supplies, stamps and a die set.  I tried but not overly hard to find customers.  One friend placed two small orders over the last seven months.  Thank you to her.  By joining in January, I had until the end pf June to meet my first "quarterly minimum" sales requirement but did not, so I was on probation all through July ... well, as you probably have already guessed, I still did not meet the minimum by July 31.  **sigh**  I did place an order on the 2nd and it was almost a week before FSJ deactivated my ordering site -- I thought maybe they had decided to let me slide through.  But I had made a bit of a PITA (Pain In The A**) of myself over the weekend at a Facebook site for FSJ coaches -- that is not supposed ever have a negative word written about the company.  And someone had asked about how to find out which ink and card stock colors matched a particular set of printed papers.  Great question, I replied.  But then went on to complain that we should not need to ask these things -- this is info that coaches and customers want to know and should be in the catalog and on the website.  Lack of descriptive info has been my chief complaint since I first learned about FSJ in the summer of 2014, when they announced they were going to become a direct sales company that September.  This lack in their process of introducing new products does not detract from the fact that FSJ has some really cool and awesome products, stamp images and dies!  If you want to shop at FSJ, your shopping experience will be enhanced by choosing a Coach to shop with before you try to navigate the site -- otherwise you may not see all the products they have to offer -- and I'll suggest you choose Linda Berg (no relation) from Chippewa Falls, WI.  She is a great lady who is interesting and will treat you right as her customer.  :D
There has been a change in the kit since January and I could easily rejoin Fun Stampers Journey and get the new kit.  A month ago, I probably would have thought more about it and made a decision to stick with FSJ. (Since the change in the kit is that it includes the bigger and better "platinum" die cutting machine instead of the "Grand" version which I had received in my kit back in January -- the Grand is no longer available (but I will sell you mine if you want it and are willing to pay the shipping) -- both have an 8 1/2 x 11" base allowing you to cut bigger dies or more of them at a time.  The Grand does not work with any "steel rule" dies (such as the original sizzix dies) but the Platinum does and I asked someone who has the Platinum, and it will cut the AccuCut quilting dies with no problem at all!!  Way cool, huh?  Once again, the kit with this machine costs less than the price of the Platinum machine's catalog price ... good deal except -- I still have uneasiness about some aspects of FSJ and complaints and the "minimums" requirement ... besides, if i stayed with FSJ, I would end up saving my money to get an electronic die cutter like the Cameo or the Brother Scan and Cut instead of the manual crank cutter -- too many of the stamp sets don't have matching dies and many of the stamps sets with matching dies ... well, in my opinion, the items which would be easy to fussy cut have the dies and the smaller, harder to fussy cut stamps do not have dies ... therefore I would "need" an electronic die cutter to really use these sets of stamps the way I want to use them ...)
But there is another company that I only slightly knew much about -- When TAC (The Angel Company rubber stamping company) finally went out of business (I'd already quit about a year before that fully knowing the company was headed to an untimely end), some of the Angels joined a company that at that time seemed to have a very small catalog and had a lot of their demos at the time were certified Copic teachers and at the time, I thought their offerings were too few and the focus on Copics was not for me.  The company has grown and now has a nice collection of stamp sets with coordinating dies, plus tools, colors in their inks and cardstocks and embellishments that are fun and "yummy," and they sell Tombow markers as well as Copic.  Right after I joined FSJ in late January, this other company had an awesone join promo and I seriously considered it.  I stuck with FSJ at the time and did not take advantage of this huge deal and now want to kick myself for not doing it then ... hindsight, huh?  LOL!  Anyhow. I stayed with FSJ as I had just started a facebook page/group to encourage the coaches to put on a monthly blog hop in an attempt to get the FSJ name out there to the public.  Turns out that most of the hopper visitors to each blog are Coaches and not the general public or even customers of any of the participants ... and because I knew I would have a hard time meeting FSJ's quarterly minimum of just $150 unless I really could generate an audience and customers and this other company's minimum was $300.  Too much for me.
Right now, they have an awesome (not as awesome as back in February, though) join promo AND have done away with the minimums completely, instead there is an annual fee to stay active.  How cool is that?  So, I'm not sure when I will be able to jump in there, but it is coming (YAY!) -- I am already dreaming about projects I would like to make using the ribbons and embellishments in the starter kit.  So what company is this?

Yep, check them out at  I emailed Peggy for info about how she likes her business and learned she joined just recently at the annual convention when she learned that there are no minimums.  She is new to the company and I am sure she would appreciate your support for her business!
Each month, AMS rolls out a monthly collection of new stamps and dies and possibly some coordinating embellishments.  A few months ago, they had this set in the monthly collection -- it is now in the stamps (ie part of the regular catalog and won't be discontinued any time soon) and not in "past collections" portion of the site -- so glad I'll be able to get it down the road -- it is so cute!  It is in the "send your love" section of the site under "stamps."
gnome other
SSSE032 - set of 13 cling-mount rubber stamps
(matching die is #TAD0233)
The August Blog Hop for Fun Stampers Journey has a theme of "Outdoor Fun" --and goes "live" on August 21 (my hubby's birthday) -- I don't know that I actually have any supplies or stamps that meet that theme and since i am no longer a Coach, I am not officially part of the hop -- however, if I think up a decent project to share, I will post one and announce it on FB to come on over.
     In the meantime, I am hard at work prepping some of my own artwork for a coloring book!  It is so awesome!  Unfortunately, it is taking longer than expected since the scans came out a bit gray and i am spending lots of time trying to get the gray out so you can have gorgeous kaleidoscope or postcard designs to color.  To whet you appetite, here are a couple you can download, print and color -- if you do color them, please post your finished items at my facebook page (I'd love to see what you accomplish) -- share it on your FB page too and send people to my facebook page to pick up their own to color too!  THANKS!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Christmas in July -- Journey Blog Hoppers July Hop

So, over on my Spotify, it was Christmas Pianos while I was finding all the parts, finishing them up and taking the photos ... now it is Burl Ives ... a bit backward -- should have an instrumental playing right now while I am trying to think and type (LOL) ... so I went over and changed it to a different Christmas Piano album ... **sigh** Now if the graphics software will load and work correctly ... we're almost ready to get everything plopped here in an orderly fashion ...
     This is the banner for July's Hop -- butterflies are definitely "summer," right?  and Poinsettias are Christmas?  The image is from, a wonderful source for royalty-free photos and graphics.  Oh, there were so many wonderful images there to choose from, it was incredibly hard to narrow it down.  I found this one and decided to use it as my inspiration for my project: 
I've been seeing foxes all over YouTube -- seems like every stamping company has decided this is the next fad -- it was owls for a long time.  They are cute as stamps and well, Fun Stampers Journey joined in the foxy fun and the brand new catalog that came out July 1, includes a wonderful set of stamps with matching dies called Creature Comforts (SS-0308).  The set features a fox, a beaver, rabbit and a squirrel -- all so cute!
I knew the order with this bundle (stamp set and matching dies at 10% off if purchased separately) was due to arrive July 1 and got to work trying to figure out how I would try to duplicate the image I chose from Pixabay to use as my inspiration ... first, a suitable background was needed -- Prima water color pencils (sorry the photo of the tin is so bad ... trying to use available natural light and ... ugh!) -- the three blues in the basic set plus black (I thought I was grabbing dark purple to add just a touch of depth to the background) ... I drew a ragged edge rectangle in my Canson Multimedia sketchbook, colored a bit randomly with the pencils (starting with the lighter blue in the corners and coloring in from there toward the center with successively darker blues and a little of the black), then used a smallish watercolor brush to add water to blend the colors.  Oops, almost forgot that I salted the wet background with extra fine popcorn salt ... one of my favorite techniques for a wet area -- I used to have table salt and pretzel salt in my watercolor toolbox ... the crystal size reacts differently with the wet media and soaks up the moisture differently leaving behind slightly different patterning.  (Um, just how many times can I use the word "differently" in one sentence? Sorry!)
     FSJ has a set of watercolor pencils in the current catalog, in fact they were introduced in the "Spring Into Summer" mini catalog but due to manufacturing problems they can be preordered but will not ship until late July ... samples from the design / creative team at the FSJ headquarters show that these pencils will be WOW! 
     Stamped out the fox in a light color a number of times -- sorry, used a non-FSJ ink there so I will not identify it.  Used a light color because I did not want the outlines to show up much in the finished fox.  Over at You Tube I'm hearing the term "lineless" but on some of the samples you can still see the stamped image once it has been colored in.  I think it is a matter of how dark your image is on the page and not about the techniques or medium used to color the image.  Tried this many years ago with an SU light grey pigment ink and then tried to watercolor over it.  I believe the image I was trying to work with was too finely detailed and too small to actually work the way I wanted, plus I was impatient to wait for the pigment ink to dry ... I did not like the results and gave up in disgust.
Well, I am pleased with the fox.  I tried a couple of different colored pencil combinations and a couple done with the Spectrum Noir alcohol markers I have.  The marker foxes came out too red and that red is a bit too pinkish for me ... There is one cut off the sheet and that one came out okay but he has hopped off somewhere and is hiding from me or I would show him to you, too.
     I ended up fussy cutting the fox instead of using the die -- decided I did not want the white edge around him like on a sticker.
Jake & Unk show off the Fox in Winter form FSJ's "Creature Comforts" Stamp set
     Then I froze up -- got scared.  and decided to more or less quit.
     I have not practiced trying to paint that "highlight" on the glass globe over the fox in the original inspiration piece ... I have this fear "I'll ruin it if I go any further!" and I quit in my tracks, backed up trying to step in the tracks I had made to that point and then retreated as fast as I could.
     I almost did ruin it -- I forgot I needed snow at the bottom for the fox to sit on.  I ended up using a tube of Plaid's FolkArt Mixed Media acrylic gel paint in white that Wal Mart sells.  Forgotten I had gotten a tube and accidentally found it the other day while digging through all the junk in my workspace looking for a pack of photos to make a birthday card ... Not sure I like the stuff -- did not mix up with the water well to thin the paint to make the splatters easily ... used a torn index card to make an edge for the snow layer ... Added Journey Mini Brads in silver (AC-0274) in the corners.
    For a final touch I added a few sequins using Journey Glaze as the adhesive -- something else (sequins on cards) that seems a bit faddish to me.  **sigh**   Added the yellow ones from the Amazing Trim pack (AC-0206) from FSJ.
      To be honest, the actual card turned out a lot better than it shows in the photo ...  It has to be cute and awesome, how can that fox not be awesome?  LOL!

The New Catalog & Inspiration book is awesome!
There is an online flipbook at issuu and if you are interested, mention that in your comment below and be sure to leave an email address where I can contact you and I'll send you that link.  I think you will want a real book in your hands, to flip through, the carry with you, to drool over and day dream of all the projects you WILL make using the stamps and dies you find there ... The annual 2016-17 book is here and the Holiday mini is here.

Where "it" is
     Well, it IS July and just saw some lightening out the corner of my eye ... a few rumbles but not too bad.  Some cold wind (downdrafts, hubby would say) ... ICK!

More Fun Images
Okay, here are a few more of the images from Pixabay that I thought were fun but couldn't think of a way to translate into a stamped cardfront:

     It's Christmas in July because it is not too soon to think about your holiday cards, get started on them now so that you will be less stressed in November and December ... I'll be making more of these fox cards, though I am not sure what is Christmas-y about him ... except perhaps the snow?  LOL!
Want Some Sequins??
     Soon I will be featuring a project using Journey Sequins ... Jake and Kitty came up with an idea they think I should try and I agree with them, it should be fun!
     In the comments below, say you "hop to win" to get a couple feet of the new sequins that go with the new colors in the FSJ paper and ink line ...

THANKS for visiting --
Here is the list of stops along the Hop:


Sunday, June 19, 2016

June Blog Hop - Anything Goes

I did finally get a new keyboard earlier this week ... **phew** JIT!  {Just in Time! in ecommerce and transportation logistics lingo}

This month's theme "Anything Goes" was sort of based on the idea that many of the FSJ Coaches would be just returning from the annual Convention in Arizona and might want to participate even with such a short time between getting home and the hop starting.  As the month's image suggests, I was hoping for a lighter and playful attitude toward the projects shared.  At the time, I was without a keyboard and knew I would have to take a very playful attitude toward any post I might come  up with.
Besides not being able to type easily I'm limited by the fact I have lost track of two of my sets of FSJ stamps.  The Honeycomb ATS sits nearby, though, for quick and easy use -- it gets used frequently.  It is perfect for pre-decorating some of the index cards for my Facebook comments.  And about a year ago I began leaving Skype messages (3 minute videos) for a friend on a variety of topics that spanned more than one video to pass on all the info;  that is when I began using Index Card 'placards" to open the videos so it would be easier to find a video again to access the info in it.  ICAD got me started on index cards -- and the 2016 challenge is on!  I missed the start for this year but will be jumping in ASAP! Do a small piece of art on a 3x5 index card each day in June and July ... last year, I enjoyed it so much I did more than one a day.
I love that stamp (Honeycomb ATS) and was very happy it did not get retired!  It is perfect on envelopes, the index cards and as a background image for just about everything.
Retired items are on sale while supplies last until the end of June for 40% off.  Lots of awesome stamps, dies and accessories are still available at truly fabulous prices.  Shop here:
The new FSJ Inspiration book & catalog for 2016/17 will be available July 1 and is so full of wonderful stamps and dies, I can't begin to express how much fun it is to look through, dream about owning and using all those supplies and planning projects.

June 2016 Bloom Box projects
JOIN Suse Bloom Box Buddies! I'm looking for 5 Bloom Box Buddies in June and July!  Subscribe to the Bloom Box at this FSJ site, in June or July and be invited to join the Suse Bloom Box Buddies Facebook group to share your creations and join in fun challenges and swaps plus receive a free gift from me.  Spread the word and tell your friends ... the more the merrier!  The more new buddies, the better the free gift from me!

Commenting Challenge -- open to everyone!
Rosemary and Wilma "won" for April -- I'll need snail mail addies for both so  i can send you your goodies! 
Sue G and Betsye Rose both "hopped to win" in April and I'll need snail mail addies from them also ... their favorite colors are great choices!

For June, let me know you "hop to win" in your comment for some kind of stamper's / papercrafter's goodie from me -- I know what embellishment I want most from the new catalog and am willing to share ... **groucho-esque eyebrow wiggle**

Almost forgot!  Blog Roll for the Anything Goes Hop
Crissy Salima Rivas
Betsye Rose Cimino Erazo