CCC #3: Rays of Lights

Season’s greetings, friends, and welcome to the third installment of Carole’s Creative Commotion! You may think it’s a little early for ‘season’s greetings’ but – au contraire, mon frere – you’d be wrong. As we dyed-in-the-wool paper crafters know, the holiday season is upon us NOW. While the rest of the world is baking in the August sun, we’re scooping up the latest Halloween papers and creating ghostly goodness. When people are putting away their flip-flops and adorning their porches with pumpkins? We’re creating garlands and gift tags. By the time civilians are trimming their trees, we’ll be up to our… um… voice boxes in Valentines.

What can we say? We’re ahead of the curve. We set the holiday trends that make the world a more fun and festive place to live. It’s tough, creative work, but somebody has to do it.

Thus, even though it’s ‘only’ October 18th, you’ll indulge me if I skip the chatter about ghouls and goblins and move on to the very important and emotionally-charged subject of… CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!

“Christmas lights”: that simple phrase is enough to strike fear in the hearts of those who know me well, and a reason the males in my immediate family (which accounts for everyone but me & the dogs) dread the Friday-Sunday of every Thanksgiving weekend. Why? Because that’s how long it takes me to get the Christmas tree up and lit. In most areas of life, I’d consider myself ‘Type B’. But Christmas tree lighting is different; they are my madeleines, my Rosebud, my Moby-Dick. Clark Griswold, c’est moi.

Here are my rules for a properly lit artificial Christmas tree:

  1. Buy the largest pre-lit tree with the most bulbs per branch that your room can accommodate. If needed, make a platform for the tree with concrete cinder blocks. (This is what department stores do to show off trees to their best advantage.) If the tree you want is a bit too big for your room? Improvise. Squish the top branches and make it fit. For example (and yes, this is my tree…):
  2. Using twist or zip ties, secure a couple of electric outlet strips to the trunk/pole of the tree. You never want more than three strands of lights plugged into each other or you run the risk of overloading. Not only can this create a fire hazard, it can also cause a short in your lights, which after all the work you’re going to do, is the very last thing you want.
  3. Fluff out the branches of the tree. This should take you a long time. If it doesn’t, you’re doing it wrong. You’ve got to make the tree look as realistic as possible (as in, not every branch can tip up at the ends) without having any gaps where you can see gaps through the tree to the back side.
  4. Starting at the bottom, light the tree. Every single branch must be covered from base-to-tip-to-base, before moving to the next branch. Use light clips (green plastic thingies that look kind of like bobby pins) to avoid the the distraction of gaping cords. Work with the strand lit to ensure even coverage.
  5. When you think you’re done, add at least two more strands. More is more and a tree can never be too well lit. Your tree should be so well lit, you don’t even need ornaments. As of last year, my tree had around 15,000 multi-colored lights on it. I’m still not sure that was enough. (And yes, there are two stars at the top of my tree; one just didn’t seem like enough…)
  6. Stand back and marvel over your handiwork. Have a glass of wine (if you haven’t been driven by this process to drinking already) or cider. Then get out the rest of tree decorations and put those up.

I’m consistently amazed at how much Karen and I seem to have in common. She couldn’t have known about my Christmas light OCD when she released the very first Your Next Die. And yet what was it? A scalloped strand of Christmas light bulbs!Karen could not have spoke to me more with this stamp and die set if she tried. Here’s a close up of some bulbs, which I made more life-like with a coat of Glossy Accents. You can also see the pleated ribbon treatment I created by pinning the ribbon in place then running it through the sewing machine a couple of times.As for my aforementioned affliction, I think the only thing that might cure it is going back to a natural tree. Real tree branches can only handle so much weight, and certainly aren’t strong enough to handle the work out I put my artificial trees through. Believe it or not, I used to be a ‘real tree snob’ and pooh-poohed the fakers with their artificial trees. Then, about a dozen years ago or so, the price of real trees in my area seemed to sky rocket, and, well, I succumbed.

Enough about me. Tell me about YOU! For those of you who put up trees, tell me a bit about your lighting strategies. Are you a multi-colored or a clear light person? {I believe that’s almost as telling as whether you’re a dog- or cat-person, by the way.} Any hints or tips you’d like to share? As you can tell, this is a topic that takes up a lot of space in my wee brain, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Another thing I’m curious about: what are you stamping for, these days? Are you, too, already stamping Christmas (as I assumed earlier, for argument’s sake), or are you living in the here and now, and still stamping Halloween? Despite the fact that it’s going to make me seem like an unreliable narrator, I’m going to let you in on a secret: I plan to do a little more Halloween stamping over the next couple of weeks. After all, I have too many cute Halloween stamps I need to get inky (like Got Candy, Creepy Crawly, and the Cute Witch and Cute Kitty digi stamps), not to mention all the paper that’s getting old as I type this!

And for those of you who don’t put up trees or celebrate Halloween or Christmas, leave me a note anyway, even if it’s just to tell me I need an intervention. 😉 Karen will be giving away a Light Up the Holidays stamp and die set to one lucky person who comments before 11:59 p.m. EST, Tuesday, October 25th. My philosophy about comments is the same as my philosophy about Christmas lights: THE MORE, THE MERRIER! 🙂
See you next month on the 18th!

xo – Carole

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ScrapFest Stamp Winners

Good Morning!

WOW! Is just one of many words that come to mind when I think of ScrapFest! This past weekend in Oshawa was so much FUN!!! Thank you so much to everyone who came by the YNS Booth and thank you to all of you who left sweet comments on my blog and FB!!! There were many laughs shared and I can’t express my gratitude for all the wonderful people who introduced themselves and drove miles and miles just to come to the event to visit the YNS booth!!! It was so nice to see Em, da Bella, who stopped by for a little visit and few laughs – thanks hun! Plus Jen Roach was there on Friday helping out with the fun make and take – thanks Jen!!! I know everyone loves the new dies and I can’t wait to share this next set with all of you who couldn’t make it to ScrapFest so look for that announcement soon – YAY!

I know many of you are already counting the days to the next ScrapFest and I’m right there with you…I’ll get my thinking cap on now and I’ll be sure to have something really fun and cool to share with you in Kitchener!!!

Alright, let’s announce some winners!!

I used random number generator to pick the winners…

I couldn’t believe it when it chose #1 and #24 – the very first comment and the very last comment!!!

#1 – Creations By Shirl
#24 – Canadian Nancy

Congrats ladies!!! Please email me to claim your prize and remember to let me know if you already own these ScrapFest cuties as I’ll send you some YNS bucks instead :o))

Just for FUN!!! I’ve extended the FREE SHIPPING to Canada and the US until Tuesday at midnight EST so if you haven’t had a chance to shop now is the time to grab some YNS cuties!!! Hop on over the the YNS Store and enter SF2011FALL and your shipping charges will disappear. Your Welcome!

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for CCC#3!!!! I’m sure Carole has something witty and fun to share with us!

Hugs

Karen

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YNS ScrapFest Stamps are back!!!

Well as you’re reading this I’m busy building a wonderful display of stamps so you can SHOP your heart out!!! Yep, that’s right YNS is at ScrapFest in Oshawa, Ontario Friday and Saturday and I can’t wait to meet you so if you live in the area please be sure to stop by and introduce yourself. Rumor has it that I’m demoing a new stamp and die set and YES it will be available to purchase too!!! YIPPEE!! Don’t worry if you live too far away to visit us, I’ll release it online in about 3 weeks…maybe sooner :o))

YNS has had the privilege to design 2 CUTE stamps exclusive to ScrapFest and Lisa the wonderful person who runs this event has allowed me once again to make these 2 stamps available for you to purchase BUT you can only get them while ScrapFest is on so you’ve got until this Sunday to purchase these cuties

Tote Designed by Crystal Irwin
SF Cropper Fhiona and SF Shopper Fhiona are available right now over at the YNS Store for 3 days only and that’s not all…these cuties are only $6 each plus FREE SHIPPING! WHAT? Yep, you heard me I’m offering FREE SHIPPING all weekend long!!! YIPPEE!!!
FREE SHIPPING CODE – SF2011FALL
Please note that the free shipping code applies to orders in Canada and the US Only.
Some of the YNS DT gals have some super cute ScrapFest projects and a few other cutie YNS Designs to share with you today so be sure to check those out!!!
Wanna WIN some YNS Stamps???
It’s really easy…I promise! All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog and I’ll enter your name into a draw to win one of these cutie ScrapFest Stamps!!!
Already own these stamps? No worries, if your name gets chosen I’ll substitute and give you some YNS bucks to spend instead! How cool is that???

Have FUN Shopping and remember to leave me a nice comment, really you can say anything…how much you love YNS, that you think these stamps are so stinkin’ cute, tell me how amazing the YNS DT is…really, anything, just as long as it’s a nice sweet comment :o))

I’ll draw 2 random winners and post the winner here on the YNS Blog on Monday October 17th.

Cheers!


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YNS Challenge #52 Winner!

Hey everyone!  Happy Thursday!!  We are announcing the winner for YNS Challenge #52 a day early because Karen has some fun stuff to share with everyone tomorrow!!!

Thank you to everyone who played along with Kerri’s fab sketch, we loved all of your cards!  Now onto our random winner….

#4 Amanda R 
with this super cute card using Skating Fun Fhiona.
Congrats Amanda!!! 
Please email Karen (karen@yournextstamp.com) to claim your prize!
Be sure to check out our current YNS challenge #53 – Halloween! We would love to have you particpate and share your wonderful YNS creations plus there’s an awesome prize up for grabs!!! Check out all the details and fabulous DT projects HERE!
Happy Stamping!

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YNSC #53 ~ Halloween!

Thank you to everyone who played along with Challenge #52, we loved all of your creations, come back Friday to see who the lucky winner is!

Peggy here and I am helping out your fabulous hostess this week Amy with a fun Halloween themed challenge!

Before we get started I just thought I would go over the new rules, they’re really easy to follow…

1. You must use a YNS Rubber or Digi Stamp to play along
2. You may enter as many times as you like
3. You are welcome to combine your entry with other challenges
4. Have FUN! We want to see your awesome YNS creations!!!

Karen has decided to bring back the YNS Special Edition Digi Stamps to make playing along easy!!! You can check them all out HERE! And for this week if you email Karen at karen@yournextstamp.com she will email you one FREE YNS Halloween digi so you can all play along! Yep, that’s right I said FREE!!! YAY! Thanks Karen!!!

One lucky winner will be chosen by random.org to win the adorable EEK the bat cling stamp and the Winner Blinkie to proudly display on their blog!

DanaSpider (YNS digi)
DianaCute Kitty (YNS digi)
Jen RPumpkin (YNS digi)
PeggyCute Witch (YNS digi)
Susan (October Guest) – Spider (YNS Digi)
Remember you MUST use a YNS stamp (digi or rubber) on your challenge card/creation and you can enter as many times as you like, just be sure to enter a new YNS card/creation for every entry.  You have until Tuesday, October 25th at midnight EST to enter!

Remember to email Karen for your FREE Digi!!! YAY!

Thanks for joining us! We look forward to seeing your fabulous YNS Halloween creations!!!
Happy Stamping!

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Your Next Deal of the Week

Here are some cute and fun samples displaying this weeks Your Next Deal of the week stamps…

Skating Accessories
Penguin Cheers
Snowflake Border
BBQ Box Scene

In addition to Your Next Deal of the week there’s a YNS stamp bargain bin, a clearance bin plus lots of great deals on other items like my all time favorite stamp pads Kaleidacolor – be sure to check out all the great deals over at the YNS Store!

Have a great day!

Karen

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Digital Fun

Quick post today to share a super cute witch card Jen R. made using one of the Limited Edition YNS Digital stamps. Be sure to check out all the fun digi stamps HERE. They are only available until Dec. 31 2011

Here’s Jen’s card along with some info in her own words…

Today I’d like to show you a card I made for the October Sketch for You To Try using one of the new Your Next Stamp digital stamps. I printed the Cute Witch onto some Neenah cardstock and coloured her with my Copics. Then I made a little scene with her using some of the WRMK Spookville papers. What I like about digital stamps is that you can make your image as big or small as you need for your project. To embellish my card I used another one of the Martha Stewart pre-made accordion embellishments I got at Liquidation World, changed the colour with distress ink and stamped my sentiment onto it before adding a twine bow.

Have a fun and creative day!

Karen

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Did you know…

1. Did you know that YNS is a proud sponsor of Hope You Can Cling To – check out all the details HERE on the SCS website! Lots of fun challenges and loads of inspiration!
2. Did you know that YNS has a special Your Next Deal of the week? Be sure to check out new deals every Sunday!
 
3. Did you know that YNS has a special stamp bargain bin with CRAZY low prices on a selection of stamps. These deals apply to stamps on hand so once they sell out they either go back to regular sale price or they just might be gone forever!!!
4. Did you know about the super FUN NEW YNS Glittered Skittles now in stk!!! Be sure to check out these sparkly goodies over at the YNS Store – they are perfect for dressing up your craft projects!
Snowflake Glittered Skittles
Red Swirl Glittered Skittles

5. Did you know that YNS has a Facebook Page? Be sure to join us if you haven’t already…I’ll be giving away some YNS goodness in the near future plus I’ve started uploading daily inspiration from the DT for you to drool all over :o))

6. Did you know that I’m clearing out ALL non YNS product from the YNS Store??? Visit the YNS Store today and grab some amazing deals in the clearance section!!! Plus lots of other products are on sale and clearing out so look around and grab a deal today!!!

Cheers!

Karen

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Light Up the Holidays

Good Morning!
I’ve got a quick post today to remind you about our YNS Challenge # 52 Sketch Challenge! The prize up for grabs is AWESOME!!! It’s the new Light Up the Holidays Stamp and Die set so be sure to check out Kerri’s super fun sketch and all the challenge details HERE!

I haven’t followed the sketch for my card today but I thought I would share my Light Up the Holidays card with you just for fun! I hope you like it!

This stamp and die set is so much fun to play with and the possibilities are endless! So many people have shared their crafty ideas with me, one gal mentioned that this string of lights would be great as a a little jar topper with the lights wrapped around the top – perfect for those homemade goodies!

Do you have any FUN ideas for this string of holiday lights? I’d love for your to share them with me!

Have a fun and creative day!


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Please Welcome Our YNS October ‘TWINS’…

When I asked these 2 fabulous ladies to join in all the YNS fun they thought it would be a good idea to be ‘twin’ guest designers for the month of October! Jen and Susan are great friends and I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know them both over the past few years and they are both super talented and lots of fun!!!

Please help me welcome these fabulous stamping friends to the YNS family…

Whoop! Whoop! Welcome ladies!!!
Here are a few words from both Jen and Susan along with a few of their amazing YNS creations!
Jen del Muro
Hi! It’s me…Jen del Muro. I am a fan of all things paper crafting and stamping. I started stamping several years ago just as a little hobby. I’m pretty sure you already know how that story turns out, as we have all become masters of procurement in this industry!

I live in North Texas with my husband, daughter and son. We share our home with a couple of loony dogs and a fat black cat. When I am not running around like crazy with any or all of them, I like to find a little peace and quiet in my stamp room. I have been {seriously} stamping and paper crafting for more than 5 years. I design/have designed for several companies and I enjoy getting my work published when I have the time. I love to share my work on my blog,

www.iheart2stamp.com. I also teach Copic and card for my local scrapbook store, Scrapper’s Boutique.

Karen knows that I absolutely **ADORE** all things YNS and I am thrilled to be a guest designer this month!  Thank you!

 
Susan Liles
Hi y’all, it’s me, Susan! I’m married to my best friend, Eric and we have three beautiful daughters—Shelbie who is 19 and works for Baylor hospital (she’s left the nest), Lindsie our fifth grader and Audrie our second grader. My mom recently moved in with us after having a stroke and I’m loving the large family atmosphere that a third generation brings to our home.  We are all native Texans and we live northeast of Fort Worth in a little suburb called Watauga. I’ve been a stay at home mom for 8 years now, after having been in the retail banking business for 17 years. We have a sweet Puggle (Pug/Beagle) that we rescued a year ago named Sage.  (also known as Sagers, Sagerella, and Aunt Sage-emima)
I grew up loving to draw, sew and do crafts of any sort.  After Shelbie was born (many moons ago), I decided I wanted to start a scrapbook for her.  Fourteen or so scrapbooks later…yes, just like ya’ll, it became an obsession.  However, along the way I was introduced to stamping, cardmaking and other papercrafts, so true scrapbooking took a backseat although I still love doing it.  I’ve been stamping on a regular basis for about 9 years now and somehow managed to become a part of several design teams here and there and even had a stint on the Dirty Dozen on Splitcoaststampers.com.  Currently, I design for The Cat’s Pajamas and Verve.  I also work on Saturdays, design layouts and card kits, and teach classes at my favorite local scrapbook store, Scrapper’s Boutique.  If ya’ll are local, come visit me there or if not, I’ll see you on my blog, www.susiestampalot.com!
I’m thrilled that Karen has asked me to join Your Next Stamp this month for a little fun.  I fell in love with the YNS brand when Fhiona jumped into my heart!  I hope ya’ll enjoy what I create for you!
I know you will love all their wonderful YNS projects so be sure to visit their blogs and show them lots of YNS kindness!!!

Enjoy your day!


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