Behind the Scenes at Clear and Simple Stamps


Hi everyone! I wanted to share with you a recent "Behind the Scenes" interview I did with Nicki, co-owner of Clear and Simple Stamps. This interview was featured on the CSS blog and now I am so excited (and a bit humble) to share it with you on my blog.

Before I get started on the "Behind the Scenes" interview, I wanted to say that Nicki is just the sweetest person. Both she and Rennee really put a lot of care into their product, provide amazing customer service (typically, my orders arrive in less than one week from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast - that's record time). Each shipment comes packaged beautifully, with little notes inside the box! I love this attention to detail!

And I had no idea how much of a team it takes to create the designs and products available in the shop! It's definitely a lot of work that I now appreciate even more! And now...on to the interview.

Behind the Scenes: The Interview
CSS: Hi Kim. Glad you could join us this morning. Hopefully it’s not too early where you are?
DURAN: Hi. No it’s not too early at all. Happy to talk with you today.
CSS: We absolutely love the project you are sharing today but we’ll get to that in a few. Tell us a little bit about Kim.
DURAN: Ahh thanks! Well, I’m a mom and I have two kids, work full time  – it’s a typical busy life. {laughs}
CSS: Two kids?
DURAN: Yes, a boy and a girl. They are usually right with me when I am crafting whether they are playing with toys or doing homework.
CSS: That’s great.  It’s always good when you can have the kiddos involved.
DURAN: Well that’s really how I got started.  I loved to create mini albums for gifts to give to family, you know the grandparents. And I really liked the tools I was using for the mini albums, like die cuts, and it grew into a love for stamping. Eventually I starting sharing my projects through blogging.
CSS: Ooh, so we’ll maybe see some CSS mini albums from you in the future. {laughs}  Blogging is an integral part to stamping, and you have a great blog.  Any tips or suggestions you have for beginner bloggers?
DURAN: Well, for me I like lots of photos.  You will see that I share images of the different angles so you can see all of the layers.
CSS: Speaking of layers, you have a fantastic style of stamping. What style of stamper would you say you are?
DURAN: Hmmm…that’s a tough one.  I would say eclectic. I like to take an idea and totally rework it into something different. It’s fun for me to look at a stamp set and create with it in a way that is not so obvious.
CSS: We would have to agree, you are masterful at that skill of creating out-of-the-box. Your project today is a great example of that. Walk us through your design process. How do you start with simple papers and stamps and create such a beautiful project?
DURAN: For me its all about color.
CSS: Do you have a favorite color?
DURAN: Oh gosh no favorite. I am inspired by the person I am creating for, the project I’m working on, or usually the seasons. Like right now I am really into yellows and browns for the fall.
CSS: So for today’s card color was the driver?
DURAN: Yes, I wanted to create a Christmas card.  I picked my papers first based off of color, and then coordinating patterns.  I’ll then select embellishments that are also in the same matching colors. And then I select the stamps.
CSS: So colors, papers, embellies, stamps….got it!
DURAN: {laughs} And sometimes if I get stuck I will ask my daughter what she thinks and she will help me with my projects.
CSS: Ahh that is awesome. Well with Christmas on its way, and this fun card you have today.  Are there any holiday traditions you have in the Duran house?
DURAN: Just to spend as much family time as possible.  We do lots of traditional things like build gingerbread houses, bake cookies for Santa, look at Christmas lights – those kind of family things.
CSS: What about cards? Do you send out Christmas cards?
DURAN: Yes, I actually make each one different depending on who I am sending it to.  I like to make them personal.
CSS: Wow Kim.
DURAN: I know, that’s why I have to start like now to get them all done {laughs}
CSS: We can’t tell you how fun this has been.  Thank you for joining us and sharing a little about yourself.  We know you have a great project for us today.  We’ll let you take it from here…
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Project Commentary: 
Die cuts are one of my "go-to" tools, and I am so excited that Clear and Simple Stamps is adding more die cuts that coordinate with their stamp sets. What I like the most about Trendy Tags is that you truly get several frame options for both size dies, and sentiments for use with any occasion. This makes it so versatile. And the matching Taglines set is also fun and it too can be used all year long.

For today's card, I focused on creating a Christmas card. I made a banner from the mini tag die cuts, and stamped each with a letter to spell out "joy". You have several options with the tags, which I love - it keeps the ability to be creative wide open. You can add chipboard letters, stickers, even jewels, but I chose to use stamps of course.

My papers were chosen based off of traditional holiday colors and I added jingle bells for my seasonal embellishment. I had lots of fun creating this project for you today. I hope it inspires you to use your CSS stamps and die cuts in a creative new way.  - Kim     
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Behind the Scenes: Joyful Greetings
  1. Make a card using Kraft Like a Rockstar Cream (measures 5 1/2″ x 4 1/4″)
  2. Trim green designer paper 4 1/4″ x 4 3/4″. Use scalloped scissors to trim the edges. Adhere to card.
  3. Trim red designer paper 4 1/4″ x 3 1/2″. Adhere in the center of green designer paper.
  4. Trim white paper doily in half. Adhere to top of red designer paper.
  5. Die cut 3 tags using Kraft Like a Rockstar Cream cardstock. Stamp tag with Dare to be a Diva Red ink. Stamp letters in Dish All the Dirt Brown ink. Thread red baker’s twine through tags. Set aside.
  6. Tie red seam binding ribbon around top of white paper doily.
  7. Gather tags and tie baker’s twine around red seam binding and embellishing with silver bells. Affix tags to card with dimensional foam tape.
  8. Stamp sentiment onto card stock in Dish All the Dirt Brown ink. Stamp stars in Dare to be a Diva Red ink. Trim and affix to bottom of red designer paper with dimensional foam tape.
  9. Lightly ink edges of card with Dish All the Dirt Brown ink.
Card uses Trendy Tags + Taglines + Alpha Block II (retired) – designed by: Kim Duran

(Thanks, Nicki! I had a blast!)

A Krafty Christmas at The Kraft Journal


I hope everyone enjoyed their long holiday weekend! I spent the weekend decorating the house and getting crafty. I made a few Christmas cards, a mini album, and a little paper lantern for my daughter's room. I'd say it was a pretty successful weekend!

Speaking of Christmas cards...

This week at The Kraft Journal, we are playing along with a new challenge theme - Christmas Cards! What a perfect way to get a jump start on some of your cards for the holiday season!

I absolutely adore the combination of red and kraft together! It's such a classic color combination! I used papers from The Girl's Paperie, some pretty Light Kraft Cardstock from The Kraft Outlet and embellished with Garnet Stick Pins, a button with Green Baker's Twine, and pretty layers of a poinsettia bloom. 

Here's a close up of all the embellishments...

I hope you'll play along with our "Christmas Cards" challenge this week at The Kraft JournalRemember that followers of the Kraft Journal who play along are eligible to be featured during the "Feature Me Fridays" posts as well as be entered to win a $15.00 Kraft Outlet store voucher! The more challenges you enter, the better your chances of winning! 

As an early gift, The Kraft Outlet would like to give you 15% off orders over $50 use code ANNIV15 or 10% off all other orders; use code ANNIV10 (offer expires 11/30/2011).

I am also entering this card into the following fun challenges:

The Ribbon Reel Challenge #16 - Anything Goes

Place Cards Featuring Waltzingmouse


I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! I had the most wonderful day with my family. They all came over to our home where we cooked, baked, played games, and enjoyed the day together. It couldn't have been any better!

Today welcomes a new sketch this week at Waltzingmouse! Claire has come up with something a little different this time and I just love the idea! The sketch this time is to create some place cards. What a perfect little idea for the holiday season!

I created a soft color palette that can be used for almost any occasion. Just swap out the flowers to fit the season and these place cards could be used year-round!

I used two Waltzingmouse stamps sets: Join Us (perfect for thank-you notes, place cards, and invitations) and Nordic Winter (as perfect as a warm pair of mittens).

To play along in the challenge, simply create a place card setting using the sketch below and your favorite Waltzingmouse Stamps! The Top 3 picks will be announced next week, along with one lucky winner who will receive a stamp set of their choice from Waltzingmouse

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Me? I am going to start decorating the house for Christmas and will be baking cookies with the kids, while setting up the tree! This is one of my most favorite days of the year. There is still turkey left over, the house smells so yummy from all the baked goodies, and the kids are in anticipation of Christmas to come! 

Make it a good one! 

No Peeking...


When I was little, if you told me "no peeking" at the gifts under the tree, then you might as well have not put any gift under the tree at all. Once I was put under the influence of "don't peeking..or wait until Christmas," it was at that moment that I couldn't resist the temptation to pick up each little gift, shake them, and try to see if the Scotch tape was loose enough for a peek.

My grandma was famous for wrapping the gifts too loosely. She only used two pieces of small tape, so you could easily peek inside the gift wrap. We used to have so much fun, my sister and I, peeking through the packages the eve of Christmas, giggling that my grandma did not know what we were up too. hee hee!

Now that I'm grown and have children of my own, I make sure to not only use plenty of tape when wrapping gifts, but to not tempt them by putting the gifts out the night before. Plus, it's better for me anyway because I am the type of person that wants to let them open all their gifts right away! I love this time of year!

Enough reminiscing.

Here's my project for today's Kraft Journal challenge... 

I started with a simple kraft box and decoupaged Vintage Dictionary Paper around the sides. I wanted the paper to look vintage, so I crinkled the paper while it was still wet from the glue. Once dry, I layered a thin coat of white paint, then gave it some age by adding Old Paper Distress Ink

For the lid, I used a scrap of holiday patterned paper, then coated the sides with more white paint. I lightly sanded the edges of the box to give it a shabby look. Then, I created a simple bow using Buff Ivory Cardstock and trimmed the edges with pinking shears. I stamped and cut a holly leaf from Waltzingmouse's Festive Foliage set, added a pretty green bow, and Garnet Stick Pins.

The hang tag was stamped with a sentiment from Season's of Love - Tags. To dress the tag up, I replaced the white string it came with for Red Baker's Twine

Inside the box, I added small pieces of tissue paper that I stained in light green. Adding some chocolate truffles makes this a quick and easy gift with a personal touch. I just love homemade gifts - don't you?

If you're feeling inspired, I hope you'll play along with our "Christmas Gifts" challenge this week at The Kraft JournalRemember that followers of the Kraft Journal who play along are eligible to be featured during the "Feature Me Fridays" posts as well as be entered to win a $15.00 Kraft Outlet store voucher! The more challenges you enter, the better your chances of winning! 

Have a great Monday, everyone!

Season's Greetings


Are you all ready to play along with another fun sketch this week at the Waltzingmouse Sketch Challenge? This time there is another easy sketch that I know you're going to love!

I am taking advantage of the challenges at Waltzingmouse by crafting up some Christmas cards. Of course, using stamps from Waltzingmouse makes it so easy - there is a huge variety of stamps for the season available from the shop. And as I always say, I just adore them!

I used papers from last year's Tinsel and Twig collection, layered some pretty white trim, and gorgeous gingham ribbon. To make sure I followed the sketch, I used the Very Vintage Labels No. 1 stamped frame - I thought it resembled the sketch perfectly!

My sentiment is from Very Vintage Christmas, then I made it complete by stamping those pretty flourishes. 

I hope you're ready to play along with the rest of the Mischief Makers this week! Just gather up some pretty papers and Waltzingmouse stamps and join us! You could be the next Top Mouse or win a stamp set of your choice from Waltzingmouse. 

Here is the sketch...

Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Sweet Treats and Baker's Twine


Happy Monday! It's time for a fresh start of the week with a new challenge at The Kraft Journal. This time our theme is "Sweet Treats & Baker's Twine."

One of my favorite things about this time of year is giving little treats to brighten someone's day. So today I am happy to share with you my take on the challenge using an adorable little Kraft Coffee Bag from The Kraft Outlet. They are the perfect size!

I used patterned papers from October Afternoon's Very Merry Collection, added a little paper doily and large white ribbon. Then I added a piece of Vintage Dictionary Paper onto kraft cardstock and used a snowflake shaped punch to cut out. Since the dictionary paper is thin, it's a good idea to adhere it to a piece of cardstock so the paper does not tear when using a punch. 

Then, I embellished with a little silver bell and Red Baker's Twine

I hope you'll play along with our "Sweet Treats & Baker's Twine" challenge this week at The Kraft JournalRemember that followers of the Kraft Journal who play along are eligible to be featured during the "Feature Me Fridays" posts as well as be entered to win a $15.00 Kraft Outlet store voucher! The more challenges you enter, the better your chances of winning! Good luck to everyone!