Hello everyone - we have been working away to bring you a whole new collection to play with in the new year! We will be releasing, January 2, to stores around the world...108 new Memory Box and Poppystamps dies!
Looking at the date of my last entry was a bit of a surprise today! I have been busy designing the next collection of Memory Box products and it is amazing how quickly 6 weeks can fly by!
I am doing my best to draw inspiration from the changing seasons and appreciate the curve of branches, the birds flying south as the weather gets colder and even the last curling morning glory vines that we are taking off our garden trellis as we prepare for winter. I have read Steinbeck, gone on long runs with my son and daughter and watercolored in the studio to get my creative juices flowing.
So it was a really wonderful experience to get the email below, knowing that someone, half a world away was having fun with Memory Box products. I wanted to share the note with you - I have taped it up in our packing area for everyone to see!
Hello Dave and family,
We as a society are very quick to complain but
alas slower to compliment!!
I have had a great day today playing with and
using my new Memory Box and Poppystamp dies. I am in love with them.I have cut
windows,cats,birds,bikes,branches and bird cages.The little cats are sitting
behind panes of glass in the window.They are also walking on a picket fence
while the bigger cat sits and watches.The Woodland Branch....well thats just
everywhere because it just adds to all that I have done.The beautiful bike sits
in front of a picket fence with flowers in the basket.Dave I could go on but I
am sure you get the idea.I have had so much fun and pleasure from my dies
today.Creating has been easy and I have diaries and little gift cards all ready
for my friend for gifts.
I think I really could be a roving ambassador
for Memory Box!!I do recommend to friends and am sure they are as pleased with
their purchase as I am.I love the intricate detail your dies give me.I can't
wait for the next release of new dies.Work hard and get in into stores for us to
Thank you so much and keep up the good work.
Thanks so much Christine! It is wonderful to hear!
It's been such an exciting summer here at Memory Box! It seems we are growing more and more with each passing week! I have had some time to focus on new products since I decided to take the summer off from our usual class tour (though I do miss that part of my job!). Thanks to everyone who supports Memory Box, including our good friends at simonsaysstamp.com! It is very rewarding to receive such nice emails from Memory Box fans around the world each and every day!
I've been able to work a little bit in the studio lately and I even found a few minutes to get out my paints and watercolor paper for this project. Getting a chance to paint - even a simple wash like I did here - is very relaxing and gets my creativity flowing! Any time I want to color a large area, like this ornament, I reach for my paints and brushes.
I am using the 98378 Drop Ornament die...
...and one of the ornament shapes that fits over it, the 98379 Colette Ornament die.
You'll start this fast and easy project by getting a piece of hot press (smooth) watercolor paper and wetting it with plain water. I then painted it with two colors of paint - a bright pink and deep red watercolor paint. Adding the paint directly to a wet surface allows the two colors to blend much more easily than if you tried to blend them on dry paper - so remember to wet the watercolor paper first. Allow the paper to dry completely - at least an hour, or you can hurry the process along by gently warming the paper with an embossing gun.
You can see from the photo how wet the area is - and the pink and red paint is already mingling together as I apply the paint.
Once the area is dry, you'll die cut the Drop Ornament out of the painted paper. I designed the drop ornament with a clear grid so that you could easily see where the die was going to cut - and the grid really helps line up details.
I did another swatch using shades of green paint - same technique using the wet paper and paints...
Try doing a few color schemes to see which ones you like - then you can decide on a winner before putting together your final project!
The next step is to die cut out the overlay using the Colette ornament...
When I designed the Colette Ornament die, I wanted to give the idea of gentle loops across the die and I was so pleased with how intricate they turned out. I cut the shape out of white cardstock, but you could use any color you like!
It's easy to assemble the layers - just tape the Drop Ornament onto a card and then carefully glue the Colette Ornament on top - I used toothpicks to apply crafters glue to the back of it in little tiny dots. And see the cap of the ornament? I cut it out of some silver cardstock. I'm not sure which I like better, the red ornament or the green ornament. What do you think?
If you are interested in some other ideas, you can check out my videos, beginning with this one, which has become my most popular:
Hi There! As we head into a nice warm weekend here in Seattle, I thought it would be fun to look at a project that my friend Wanda created using our lake image (F1770 On the Lake). The colors and the glitter make such a wonderful project.
The focal image was popped up on some foam tape to add inerest. The tree was masked off and then some puffy clouds were inked in the background. Can't you just picture yourself under that tree, or in that boat...without a care in the world?
Take some time to relax and enjoy the ride! Thank you for stopping by the Memory Box store and blogs. We appreciate it!
We've officially released all 100 new Holiday products to stores across the globe - and we are celebrating by doing a Blog Blitz this week! Simply go to our Outside the Box blog to check it out and you can even participate for a chance to win some prizes!
You can see all of the new stamps and dies by clicking here!
Guess what we've been up to for the past couple of months? In between our regular work at Memory box (and releasing our Summer Collection), we've been listening to Christmas music to get in the mood for our Holiday Collection!
It has been quite a lot of work - but I feel really proud of what we are releasing! I hope everyone will like it too! Just as we've done for many years now, we allowed stores to sign up to receive the entire collection early - and they will have it in their stores this week. The only catch was that they had to order the entire collection - without knowing what they were getting!
They will have the new stuff exclusively at their stores for a couple weeks - and then we will let all Memory Box stores receive the new Holiday Collection. There are almost 100 (yes, one hundred!) new dies and stamps! To see a list of participating stores, click here.
We haven't put any of the new stuff up on the site yet - but you can see the Snowflake Tree die, one of my favorites - in the picture above!
A bit of news today - Simple Pleasures in Colorado Springs is doing a re-release of exclusive stamps that I designed for them a year ago. The Sweet Bird Collage 2-stamp set and Bloom Collage 2-stamp set are available for just a few weeks, and then they are retired forever. So get yours now if you missed out when they originally offered them in Feb 2011 for 3 short weeks (to order these stamps, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org at or call them at (719) 528 1338). Here they are:
This is G1755 the Sweet Bird Collage. I designed it to go with
B1757 Simple Pleasures combo (it has the saying on the front of the stamp and a fun little bird on the side of the stamp). Also available is...
...the G1756 Bloom Collage. Again, I designed a saying to go with this one as well...
...the B1758 Flower and Friendship combo. For those of you who are collecting all of my large collage stamps, these are a limited edition design, only available through Simple Pleasures!
If anyone missed out on these the first time, this is your last chance to get them!
I was fortunate enough to be invited by Stephanie Nishikawa to do some workshops and celebrating at the grand reopening of her store, The Paper Garden, in Sacramento, California! It was just a few weekends ago when I packed up my pencils and brushes and headed from the cold Seattle rain to the hot upper 80's of California - and was so delighted to see Stephanie's new paper boutique!
Her new location was so Stephanie - chic and stylish, and full of wonderful ideas and products that would make any papercrafter linger in her store for hours.
Of course there's still the great shelves that combine the stamps with nearby samples for inspiration (so clever)...
...as well as plenty of ribbon, powders, papers, inks, dies and other goodies filling this nice open and airy space.
I love how she designed the store - chandeliers on the ceiling - and sunflower and eggshell (two memory box colors!) paint color on the walls and ceiling. Everything is so bright and charming, you can't help but smile when you walk in!
Stephanie and her staff fill the store with all sorts of paper art - including the paper topiary balls in the window. Can you see how many kinds of patterned paper and punches decorate this single ball?
One product did catch my eye - a pack of pencils from a manufacturer I had never heard of. A member of our design team, Wanda Guess, pointed these out to me and I had to look at every set that Stephanie had! Each beautifully crafted box had a separate color palette inside of these wonderful colored pencils - beautifully designed and gorgeous to look at.
Here's the pale collection - from their "color dictionary". These are for serious colored pencil enthusiasts - each palette is carefully curated into a compatible group of colors and they are simply wonderful and well thought out. You can get all of the sets from Stephanie by calling the store at (916) 487 2737.
One of the students' favorite projects was the rainbow tag with the Prim Poppy die (98310) - we used the Distressed Tag die (98244) to cut out some watercolor paper, then used the F1356 Dill Print stamp and the G1838 Vintage Dreams stamp to create a fun background. We filled the tag with watercolor for a breezy collage look and mounted everything together for one of the more colorful projects of the day.
My friend Tina - who I first met when her daughter came to class a few years ago - brought her son Tristan in to absorb some class instruction. Tina is one of those moms that have perfect babies - I remember Tina holding her daughter in one hand and painting with the other - with no fussing at all. Tristan was, of course, a perfect student as well. He even let me hold him for a photo op! (Um, regarding my beard - well, it's still cold and wintry in Seattle!)
I filled 100 spots over the weekend - teaching a watercolor class in the morning and a colored pencil class in the afternoon. Since we were celebrating, I taught with a little less emphasis on technique - and a little more emphasis on being fun and creative. We incorporated lots of stamps and dies into the classes - and since I didn't have a dry run on teaching these all new workshops, I precut all of the die-cuts before arriving, to make things run smoothly.
Here are the projects we did (for those of you in class, sorry this took awhile to post!):
Doing the workshops reminded me how much I like getting out and sharing creativity around the country. I've been doing summer class tours - and occasional weekend trips in the fall and spring - for about 10 years now. My summer tour last year was my biggest ever (you can read about it here). And it's about this time of year that I start planning my upcoming tour. The excitement of meeting new people and visiting stores and getting to travel is thrilling for me.
Which is why it is such a hard decision this year to not do a summer tour. I realized about a month ago, with the unprecedented success of Memory Box over the last year, that scheduling, prepping and actually going on a summer tour was going to be nearly impossible. As far as the business goes, Monica and I find ourselves in the very fortunate position of being so busy that we are working 7 days a week to try and keep all the operations moving as smoothly as possible. Thank you to everyone who has supported Memory Box - people have sent us so many kind emails to say how much fun they have using our stamps and dies. Thanks to Google translate - I even get these messages from Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, France, Italy, South Africa, the Philippines and many other countries around the globe.
Monica and I have always tried to create a business that not only creates beautiful products to work with, but also maintains integrity and honesty. We have worked with other wonderful companies (look for a few more ventures this year!) to come up with new and unique products - and we have engaged in local charities to give back to the community. While it is a business that pays the bills, we have always believed in the greater good - and we try to step back and take a look at the big picture. Are we making a positive impact?
It's our policy to make all of our products in the USA - 100% USA-made steel craft dies, soy-based inks on our recycled papers and locally manufactured wood-mounted stamps - and we also strive for the best customer service. Because of overwhelming demand, our manufacturing has been stretched to the limit - and in spite of hiring, and more hiring, the groundswell of attention that Memory Box is receiving globally is still delaying our shipping times. Have no fear though - we are catching up and we're expanding our operations (cautiously, cautiously - still careful after 17 years in business). We will continue to manufacture all of our excellent products here in the US and get caught up on the hundreds of emails we receive per day. We want you to be happy with what we make - and satisfied with every Memory Box purchase!
Aside from our incredible good fortune with the business, I realize that accommodating two teenagers, my daughter Emma (16) and son Cooper (14), into a summer tour schedule may prove even more difficult than working 14 hour days! As I write this post, Emma's spanish group from school is filming a video for class here at the house, which will be followed by lunch at the park with one of her friends, Cooper is going to the movies tonight with his friends, and tomorrow is a celebration party for Emma's tennis team at another friends house. Ahh, the schedules of teenagers have eclipsed our family free time - which is the way it should be.
So - this will be a hiatus for me. Maybe a year? Maybe two? As Monica and I continue to grow the business, I'll be counting down the days until I get to escape the warehouse - and continue my own creative journey.
Just a quick note for those of you taking the Jennifer McGuire online workshop, "A Cut Above"- we've been getting a ton of emails about the die and stamp so I just wanted to share an up close photo of a project done with them. I colored the stamp (Mercer Rose Wreath stamp D1840) with Memento markers in pinks and light greens, stamped it onto a parchment colored cardstock and then used the matching die (98322) to cut it out perfectly. Remember having to tediously cut out all of those stamp images? This was cut in two seconds!