Thursday, December 13, 2007

I needed to meet the minimums...

When I order prints from a company that I use a lot, they have an order minimum. If you order total is less than a certain amount, then you pay that amount anyway. So I decided to experiment with my first real printed storyboard. I used the photos the I took for the Christmas prints and cards. We'll see how it turns out!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I made a little progress.

I thought this might take me a while, but once I got started on our Christmas cards, the design just sort of came together. Of course, it looks nothing like what I started with. Does anyone else have an evolving process? I love how digital gives you the freedom to do that without wasting goodies. I started with a totally different photo, colors, and fonts. The only thing that's the same is the basic layout which is obviously pretty simple.

I'm excited to see these since we decided to go with postcards this year. That saves a few steps since there are no envelopes to stuff and our return address is already printed on the cards along with the basic message. All we'll have to do is sign them and add the addresses--except for the ones we'll deliver by hand or that go with gifts. They were a bit more pricey, but I think it will be worth it!
It did speed things up to use some premade elements. The background and frame are by Jessica Sprague.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Just in case you were wondering...

...I am still alive. We've had a crazy few weeks with the move and all. I had several packages to ship out in the midst of it all, too. I'm hoping we're beginning to see the end of all the unpacking. That's especially important since I can't start organizing my new crafty space until all the stacks that found their way to my table are gone. At least I can see the floor now.

So, I do have to work on getting our Christmas cards done this week, but I hope to be back very soon with something remotely creative.

Monday, November 05, 2007


I was going to post an ad I saw in a magazine recently that inspired me with its colors. Only, I must have made it up in my head because now I can't find it anywhere. I have looked through every magazine I've touched in the last month, and I haven't found the ad. It's weird, but maybe I'll come across it again.

We're going to be in packing mode very soon, and when we move I don't know how long we might be without internet. So if I seem to fall off the face of the earth for a while, I am probably just buried under boxes of scrap stuff!

Monday, October 29, 2007


I have an announcement to make.

I get to set up a new scrap space. Of course, for me that means it will be an overall craft space, but we all know the scrappy stuff takes over. If everything stays on track, we will be closing on our first house in less than 3 weeks. My space will be more out in the open and will mean taking my stash out of the closet and into the open. Oh my, do I suddenly feel overwhlemed. I want to do this right since it will be right there for all eyes to see, but it definitely has to be on a budget. Any ideas? Link me up!

Also, I wanted to share a few pics from the show this weekend. It was a bust, but that happens, right? They moved the date this year, and I think that killed attendance. It was a bad show for everyone there.

I borrowed the display for the cards from Teresa McFayden who also supplied the inspiration for the advent calendars several years ago.

I also have a little challenge I'd like to share, but I'll save that for a bit later. I've been working on some projects for customers in my design shop this morning to catch up, so I better actually get some rehab done around this house of mine. It's amazing the destruction last minute crafting can cause!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Preparation. It's taking over.

I'm getting last minute stuff ready for the craft gala on Saturday. I can have a tendency to be a last minute person, so I'm trying not to let it overwhelm me at this point. I just had so many plans, and I know it would be physically impossible to get it all done by Saturday at this point.

My table is a wreck, so I've taken over the kitchen table. I'm hoping to get some of the mess cleaned up today, so I can start again refreshed. Sometimes that helps a ton.

We have winners!

I used the trusty random number generator to pick two numbers that would coincide with the comments that were left plus one who wasn't able to get a post to go through. And here are the winners!

Shaun & Rebecca said...
I want to win, I want to win! What a beautiful set!
2:07 PM


Tara Cole ( said...
Loving the traditional colors and hoping that one of those pertty templates will be our christmas card this year! Tara Cole
1:45 PM

Monday, October 22, 2007

Another Giveaway!

Since I just haven't had the time I had hoped I would have to work on templates and other downloads, I am excited to finally get a set of holiday photo card templates up!

So....I wanted to celebrate by having a little giveaway. Everyone who comments on this post by 11:59 tommorrow (Tuesday) night, will be entered to win the red and green holiday photo card template set for free! I'll give away 2 sets, so leave me a comment! Let me know what you think about my digi items, my blog, the weather--whatever.

Friday, October 19, 2007

It's that time of year again.

The time of year when I make an advent calendar from a cookie sheet, and then I promise never to make one again...until next year when I forget how much work it is to make all the stinkin' numbers.

You'll find this one in my shop, but I simply must find a way to streamline the process. Trust me. If I charged for my time on this, no one would be crazy enough to buy it.

I can't believe it's been so long since I posted. I'm a bit overwhelmed at the moment with getting things ready for a craft gala (doesn't that sound fancy?) next Saturday. My table is covered with piles, and I keep finding supplies that were meant to be used for various projects. Hmm...I'm sure you'll be seeing the aftermath show up in my shop after the show, although I hope it will be a success. At this point, though, I'm not really sure how I would define success.

It's that time of year again.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Here's a layout.

I made this layout using the Holiday Play paper and embellishments that are up in my shop. I just love the colors in these, and they were just right for this photo from last Christmas. You can find the kits here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Here it is!

As promised I have put up a little freebie to celebrate the fact that I will be offering my designs for sale in the form of templates. Check out a sample of the scallops and stripes birth announcement set, and you can get the free download here.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Trying to Decide

I have a few things I'd like to get started with like offering templates for the basics of my photo card designs for limited commercial use. I'm not exactly sure how this is going to work yet, but I know it's something I'd love to do.

I've only prepared one set so far, but they would be sort of like digital kits. The files would be in .PNG format, and then the photos could be added along with personalized text. The idea here would be that they could be purchased for personal use (say you'd like to make some announcements for yourself or a friend.) or for photographers. They wouldn't be allowed to be sold in an online context (since I've got that covered), but photographers could use them to create announcements or cards for their customers. I'm still working out the details.

Definitely feel free to shout out any input you all might have. It's still in the brainstorming stages right now, but I'd love to start here and branch out into other digital kits or templates.

Here is a peek at the first one. I'm thinking that when I get things worked out, I'll start off with some freebies, so keep your eyes open for those!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Some new designs

I'll be getting some new birth announcement designs up in my shop soon. I actually sat down and got several completed today. I think I might have to bite the bullet and get some stock photos for more holiday card designs. I hate to do that just for samples since the higher resolutions ones can add up after a while. Maybe I'll just start rounding up everyone I know to take their photos!

Here is a taste of what I've been up to.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

So now I just spread my junk out.

I am loving my new table. I plan to make some sort of skirt to hide all the stuff stacked under it, but it's working great already. I am such a piler, and now I can actually still work on the table even with all of my piles. Plus, I can have so many more things out where I can reach them. I'll have to really clean it off every now and then to keep things from getting insane, but at least the piles won't get dangerous quite so quickly. I've seen a few places I need to clean out in my closet because I had just been sticking things in wherever to get them off of my desk.

I haven't been doing all that much creating lately, but I can already tell a difference. I do think I need to get some sort of mat or something to protect the area where I actually work. I have a tendency to get gunk all over, and I don't want to ruin the table just yet.

Technically this room is more office than playroom now, but it seems like the little guy still end up in here. That's ok because there is more space for him to spread out in the floor now, and since his toys are mostly in his room, we can make him take them back before getting more out. Before, it would pile up pretty quickly.

Oh yeah, I guess I'm back from my break, although I can't make any promises. All I can do is try!

Friday, August 17, 2007


I really am taking a break, but I couldn't resist posting about how I got this table for $40. I have been keeping my eyes out for something either to use as a new craft table or a desk for my husband since he wants to have a place to work at home. And I just happened to see a post about how people were getting these discontinued tables for waaaay cheap. And I just happen to love this table, and so I called the store here to see if they had any.

The guy looked it up and saw that it was discontinued, but he went to check and said they had the floor model left for $40. I am glad I called first because we don't have a vehicle large enough to get it in, and I had to send my husband and one of his friends after it. When they got there it still had a $179.99 price tag on it, and the people didn't really believe them. I think finally they found whoever told me it was $40 this morning, and so we got it. And now I have a dining table sitting in my den. Ha! We have to decide how we're going to rearrange. It will be some motivation to clean out for our yard sale, though, so that's good. But now I have even more stuff to do, so I'm off.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I now interrupt this blogging break... post a digital layout. I can't find my table, and my paper is under a pile somewhere, so I decided to do a digital layout. I have been avoiding this for a while, but it's oh so convenient!

The kit is from 2 Peas by Rhonna Farrer, and I made the title work using the green paper as a base.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Taking a Break

I just wanted to pop in to let everyone know I will be taking a little blogging break. We're trying to get everything organized for the fall, and there is just so much going on. I hope I'll be back before you know it with project photos and goodies. It will just help me not to have blogging ideas and plans rolling around in my head. There's only so much space in there, you know!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

At last...

...I am beginning to find some semblance of organization. Things get crazy when you have your hand in too many cookie jars. Is that a real expression? I think I may have made it up. Anyway, I do have a lot of different things going on, and it has become overwhelming for me the last few weeks--trying to keep up with all the crafting and posting and preparations for various projects and events. I have been thinking that, if it's overwhelming to my when I sort of know what is going on, then it must really be overwhelming to everyone else.

So I've been brainstorming. I've been working over the last few days to try to streamline a few things. Most importantly, where you can find my stuff. The first step was to create another blog that will be my main site for all of my shops and events. On this site, so far, there are sections for each of the types of products I offer and links from those sections to the shops where you can find them.

There are also links to other things such as this blog (for the fun stuff, of course) and to a networking group where everyone can find other handmade card sellers. This site will be a place where I can post shop and product updates, special promotions, and any other information I need to get out about my shops.

I've also been working on redesigning a logo and coordinating banners for all of my shops so that there will be a cohesive look and identity. Now I just need to have new business cards and a stamp made up, and Crystal Nale Designs will be fully coordinated.

Please do take a look around, and let me know if there is a glitch or something I may not have thought about. I'm trying to make things as easy as possible without jumping in an designing a whole new web site of my own.

And...the best part is that I can begin cleaning up this blog a bit. I am afraid my sidebar was getting a bit overwhelming.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Gone Postal

I should have sent them out before we left on vacation, but somehow that didn't happen. So...all but one of the prizes went into the mail Monday along with a card order. I'm still trying to get an address the I must have deleted by accident. Don't you love the mistakes we make when our inboxes are slammed (insert eye roll).

We had a good time in the mountains on our vacation. It was nice and a bit cooler there than here--plus there was the pool. I thought I would share a photo from one of our drives through Cade's Cove.

Also, I am officially registering for a local craft gala at the end of October. Most of the shows around here are outside, and I don't have the setup for that type of thing yet. This particular one benefits Newspapers in Education and there is a fee to get in. It is usually in early December, so it puts me on a tighter schedule than I expected. That is probably a good thing since I thrive on close deadlines. (That also means I'm a procrastinator.)

I've been ordering some supplies to finish up some ideas I've had rolling around. Of course, this also means I have to actually narrow down what I will take and decide on the best way to market some items. I will be sharing 2 tables with my sister since she's more into the sewing part of things than I have been able to get. I still have a love/hate relationship with my sewing machine!

And, I have finally posted something new in my shop.

I've been in the midst of planning and scheduling for our adventure in homeschooling this fall, so there hasn't been much opportunity to just get some creating done. I'm looking forward to having an opportunity for that soon.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Another shop?

I am tossing around the idea of filling up another shop on etsy. I already have a shop since I totally forgot about one I had already created when I decided to do the design items. I really want to have one place for all of my items that focus on the difficult stuff--for the pregancy and infant loss items. I'm thinking it would have various memorial designs for jewelry, the BoH jewelry, sympathy, thinking of you, and thank you cards, as well as announcements for birth and bereavement and even for when little troopers leave the hospital.

Mostly, it will be a matter of moving certain listings and listing things that I've already designed. That's not the hard part. Once again, the hard part is coming up with a name. I want it to be something that expresses the comfort I hope the items will brings or the fact that the items will be celebrating special lives. I thought of a few options, but for some reason, they just don' t seem quite right.

In Joy and Sorrow
Tender Expressions

I would LOVE any input you all might have. I don't want it to bee cheesy, but I do want it to make a point.

For Your Convenience

Actually it mostly for mine, but I have gone back and added labels to all of my posts for the last year. You never know when you might want to find all things Christmas!

I Never Shared This

I never really shared this, but I had my feature post at the etsy greetings blog a few weeks ago. Each person on the street team gets a feature of their shop periodically, and it can be a great resource for anyone who is into buying handmade cards. My blurb just says a little about how I got into making cards in the first place and why I keep doing it.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Nee a little pick-me-up?

So this isn't really crafty, but I thought I'd share. I love the Mentha Lip Shines from Bath & Body Works. Imagine my surprise when I found out they now have a whole line of mentha goodies including body wash. Talk about invigorating! Anyway, it's still on special now and I also happen to have a coupon for a freebie with a $10 purchase.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Some new designs

I just wanted to share some new photo card designs I finished today.

I came a cross a great site recently with all sorts of color schemes that you can browse. It has helped me to be able to see how colors work together before I start playing. That's how I branced out from my usual colors on the new birth announcement design. Sometimes I can't quite envision how colors will work together.

And the winners are...

I cut up all the comments and put the strips into a big mason jar. Then my four-year-old son pulled out the winners in the order that I posted the items. Sooo...

the earrings will go to this poster:

Madame Rubies said...
I am loving all of the color choices in your crafts. They are bright and happy. :) I am glad I was lead here by the giveaway!
12:02 AM

the notecards will go to:

Roses Are Red, Violets are Violet said...
I love all things "crafty"And artsy and suchThe joy of creatingNice things you can touchWhether scrapping or sewingPhotography, tooLooks like I share thiscraft passion with you!
3:15 PM

and the custom felt flower goodie will go to:

Nanette said...
Very cute gifts. Count me in.
2:22 PM

And many thanks to everyone who dropped by to visit, left encouraging comments, and signed up for my newsletter! It has been a fun week, and you're welcome back any time!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

For my fellow etsy sellers...

...B over at A Journey of Stitches has started an etsy reference linky on her blog. Anyone can post their shop link, so get on over there. I'm sure it will make for good browsing, too.


I am overwhelmed at the number of visitors yesterday and today. Welcome to everyone, stay a while if you like, and definitely come back!

Today, I've been updating some of my photos. Some of the ones I had up of my cards just weren't cutting it. Here are some I haven't posted yet.

I took the opportunity to use one of the displays I got for a steal recently to update some of my pendant photos, too.

I got so many different displays from this awesome etsyseller including the earring display in yesterday's post. I only wish I had found the shop sooner. She had so many things to choose from at great prices.

Thanks again to everyone who has stopped in for a visit. If you haven't entered the drawing, be sure you do!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Here it is!

I guess it's better late than never, so here is my giveaway for the week!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

You can click the button to see who else is playing along!

I'll be giving away 3 prizes. The first is a pair of my aqua sparkle earrings:

The second prize will be a set of flowerful thank you notes. This set includes 4 notecards that are blank on the outside and white envelopes. Two of the cards have the glittery flower design with green at the bottom and two have the orange at the bottom.

The third prize is a custom felt flower hair clip or pin. You choose the colors and stitching design, and I'll mount your flower creation on either an alligator hair clip or a pin back. Here are some samples:

Here are the details:

To enter the giveaway simply post a comment on this post about anything related to my blog (scrapbooking, photography, my crafty shops, etc.) any time before noon EST on Friday.

I will draw 3 names from everyone who comments and post the results by Saturday morning.

I just wanted to remind you all, too, that if you like what you see in the giveaway, you can sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar. This will make sure you receive updates on my crafty shops and special offers!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Who doesn't like free stuff?

I know I do, so I decided to join in on the bloggy giveaway started over at Rocks in My Dryer. Be sure to check back tommorrow to see what I have up my sleeve

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Playing around

I've been playing around with different things, yet not accomplishing all that much. Last week there was an adventure to Archivers to check out the clearance paper bins. You see, unlike some scrapbookers, the people who buy cards don't care if the paper used on them is the latest and greatest or not. I'm starting to care less and less about my scrapbook pages anyway, and so the adventure began. I ended up with a big ol' stack of patterns I never got to see in real life when they came out, some patterns I forgot I liked, and a few patterns that I would never have bought for scrapbooking. And they were all at a great price. Now I just have to sit down and actually make some cards!

I was excited to find a few stamps there as well. I picked up a Heidi Swapp birthday stamp, a Rhonna Farrer star stamp, and a great new greeting stamp by Inkadinkadoo. They have this great line with various sentiment and picture stamps and decorative ring stamps that go outside of these. All of them can be mixed and matched. I ended up settling on the Thank You set, but I would love to get some more.

I have had several chances to actually get out my camera, even thought the battery did finally die right about the time I was going to retake some of my card pics the other day. Mostly I have lots of pics of the little guy being himself, but I did snap one photo this weekend that I've been experimenting with. Sometimes I'm so focused on the little guy that I forget the other cool stuff all around.

I also came across this fun site for helping with colors. I think it may have been through StumbleUpon (which is whole other post in and of itself). Usually I pull color schemes from a main paper or pattern, but sometimes it's good to be able to visualize schemes without a base pattern. Especially if you want to use only cardstock. The color schemer gallery has been especially useful since I have been working on creating my own digital papers to use in my photo card designs. I love stripes, but sometimes I can't visualize how various colors will work together, and it can be a lot of work changing colors of tiny stripes one by one after you decide the color scheme doesn't work. I haven't completed a lot of designs, but I did make one that I used for a birth announcement. You'll have to tell me what you think.

I'm headed out some time today to go to my sister's. That means I need to get a stack of stuff together in case I decide to play with her cricut while I'm there!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Bit Discouraging

Before I started listing stuff in my etsy shop, I did searches to see how many similar items were being listed. Of course, this was back in March. So I finally decided on some items to focus on. If you did the same searches today, you will find many listings for similar items, and many of them are listed at lower prices. I just don't understand how people can be making enough to make it worthwhile after fees and packaging and supplies. It blows my mind, and it's a bit discouraging.

The more I do this whole online thing, the more I think digging in locally would be much more successful. That's a whole other ballgame, though. There's almost an overload online. There are so many similar things, and almost everything imaginable has been done. Whereas, I know so much of this has never been seen locally. Now that I've made this realization, I just have to figure out what it means for me.

While I'm here, I'll share a few of the items I've been listing today.

a cheery cherry birthday card

a bright and fuzzy in my thoughts card

a new set of felt flower hair ties

Friday, July 06, 2007

I forgot how much...

...I enjoy the design end of things. I have always loved playing around with graphic design, and sometimes I wish I hadn't changed my major away from that in college. Several weeks ago, I started a second shop on Etsy just on a whim. I noticed other shops had banners for sale, and I like to play, so I thought it would be fun.

That was the beginning of Designs by Crystal. Now I keep coming up with new ideas for things I'd like to offer. I am constantly stumbling upon inspiration for more banners, but my favorite thing to design is the photo card. It's not quite digital scrapbooking, but it balances right on the edge. I simply enjoy turning photos into something extraordinary that also serve a purpose. Needless to say, my second shop would overtake my first if I would let it. For now, I just enjoy sharing my love of design with others. Here's a sampling of what I've been up to lately.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Not much to see here.

We've been busy doing the summer thing lately, so my crafty adventures have been less frequent. That, and I am out of adhesive, so nothing remotely scrappy will happen until I can get a refill (which I can't seem to remember whenever I'm out).

I did get a chance this morning to play around with my camera a bit. It was nice and quiet and fun. Take a peek!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I've been busy!

Well, that pretty much means I just stopped long enough to actually make a few things. I'm trying to build back up on my cards, since I sent most of them out a while back.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I just wanted to post a photo of the finished cupcake keychains. The pieces didn't look like much, but I think they came together pretty nicely!

Up to my eyeballs... cupcake parts. Well, there aren't really that many, but it sure feels like it. I has a little setback when some of the beads started not fitting over my only beading needle, so I had to wait until I could go into town and get another one. You can see all the little beaded tops and stitched bottoms here waiting to be assembled with their ribbons and rings.

Usually I find it pretty easy to keep myself from buying beads impulsively because I have to buy my supplies online. Last weekend, though, we went on a little shopping trip since the hubby needed some new jeans. And since it was so close to a bead shop... You know what follows. It's just so hard to resist when you can touch and feel and see up close. I was pretty good, though. I did pick up a few things that I've only been able to find at this shop as well as a few strands of beads.
One strand I couldn't resist was this hematite. I love the look and how it can be used with beads of whatever color strikes your fancy. I put together this bracelet with some glass beads, and I love the red with the hematite. I think I want to work on some coordinating earrings now.