I’ve often been asked where I get my inspiration from.  That’s a simple question that has a big answer.  I get my inspiration from a lot of places, but I would have to say that my top three sources are : browsing the Stampin’ Up! catalogue, surfing the internet and looking at inspiring blogs & paper crafting/scrapbooking magazines.  I immerse myself in these things.  For example – wherever I go, I carry one of my Stampin’ Up! convention bags filled with the Stampin’ Up! Catalogue, paper crafting magazines, a pencil, an eraser and a notebook.  Then as I sit in the van waiting for the kids to come out of school, or if I’m early for an appointment, etc. – I pull out my magazines and browse.  As something “speaks” to me, I mark the page. If what I saw inspires an idea, I then sketch my layout or template idea along with some notes which might include color schemes, stamp set, accessories I want to use, etc. 

Once I have my idea, then comes the actual process of creating. When it comes down to actually making the project, even though I may have an “idea” in my head, I don’t always know what I want the finished project to look like.  Sometimes I may know what designer paper I want to use, but have absolutely no idea what accents and embellishments to use.  Some times it’s the other way around – I might know I want to create something with the new crocheted flowers, but I might not know what papers/ribbons to go with them. At other times, I’ve assembled the whole project, but find that there’s just something “missing”…. So, I pull out my inspiration book.   Below I show a picture of what it actually looks like.  I used Stampin’ Up!’s 8 1/2″ x 11″ Linen Ring Binder. I started by decorating the front cover with the Level 1 hostess Decor Elements flower on it. I then used my Big Shot and Stampin’ Up!’s Top Note die and die cut the Top Note out of thin tin.  I lightly sanded the tin to take the extreme shine away, and give it more of a brushed silver look.  I die cut my letters using the Big Shot and the new Stampin’ Up! Billboard letter die.  I stuck them to the tin using Crystal Effects (and brushed a thin layer of Crystal Effects over them).  I also used the following embellishments: 5/16” Chocolate Chip Jumbo brads, the Pig Tails Ribbon Originals, Flower Fusion Felt Flowers and clear rhinestone brads.

My inspiration book is my “reference” tool.  Rather than having to pull out all my packages of paper, ribbons and embellishments and  cluttering up my workspace (not to mention overwhelming myself with the sheer choice) – I turn to my inspiration book. In it, I’ve put together a sampler of all of Stampin’ Up!’s designer papers (yes, all 34 of them!), all their ribbons, glitters, brads, buttons, clips and assorted doodads.  So for example, if I’ve got a project that I want to add some glitter too – I can look at my glitter chart below and see which one will give me just the look I want!  As you can see, from the picture below – I created charts for myself.  I have one page per pattern of DP which holds twelve 2″ x 2″ swatches of EACH pattern.  I made my swatches nice and big so that I can get a better idea of the colors/patterns (they always look so different in real life than in the catalogue picture)

You can see how I did my glitter below – I have it grouped by “package” in which SU sells it.  My ribbons I have grouped according to type.

 

 While I always keep this inspiration book out while I’m paper crafting, the biggest reason I created it is for my Stampin’ Up! business.  This is actually the second book I created – I made my first one when the last catalogue came out and found that my customers went CRAZY for it.  Because the catalogue pictures are so small, and the colors/patterns can be distorted by the photographic process (after all the camera makes US look like we gained 10 lbs *lol), I find that my customers don’t always get a good feel for what the products look from the catalogue pictures alone.  By actually being able to SHOW them the product, I find that it’s increased my sales. The most common comment I hear when I pull out my inspiration book is “Oh my goodness, that is just gorgeous …. I didn’t think I liked it when I just saw the picture in the catalogue…I think I’ll just have to order that now.”  I use my inspiration book the following ways in my business:

  • for my personal papercrafting – as I’ve shared above.  It’s fantastic for mixing, matching, coordinating, visulizing.
  • I bring it to all my workshops and pull it out at all my customer classes & stamp camps 
  • I bring it with me to trade shows and craft shows – I’m actually going to be bringing it with me to a huge trade show I’m doing next weekend.
  • I use it in  my downline training – they can really see what the product looks like.

 Okay, I know what some of you are thinking….” OMGosh – I WANT one!”  (that would normally be me).  So here’s the good AND the bad news.  YES, I can and have made them available for sale.  The only problem is, they are not cheap. I strongly debated with myself as to whether or not to even offer them for sale because of the price.  But I know myself – I personally would have bought one if another demo was selling it because I think it is an AMAZING resource for both my personal paper crafting, but more importantly my business. So, I figured it would be only fair to offer it to you guys.  Before I tell you how much it is, let me tell you up front – I am NOT making a profit on this.  How I determined the pricing:

  • I tallied up the cost of the product INCLUDING the demonstrator discount (so yes, I’ve deducted our 20%)
  • I figured out how much I would have to pay my assistant per book to assemble it  (it took 7 hours to assemble this book – never mind the 7 hours I spent designing & fiddling with the page templates)

Revised Mar. 7th – All orders placed for the inspiration books were sent out by Tuesday March 3rd.  As this was my first time doing this, it was a real trial and error process.  The books ended up taking much longer to assemble than anticipated (averaging 9 hours per book) and used more supplies than I had factored in (printing costs, shipping was too low, packing materials and shipping supplies, adhesives to assemble the books etc.).  As a result I have had to revise my prices in order to make this a break-even project.  For more details and options click HERE.

 So let me make a couple things really clear so there is no confusion:

*  I am NOT making a profit on this.  So why am I selling them?  Because I strongly believe they are a valuable tool for your business if you can afford to invest in it.  If you were to buy all the product to make this yourself – you have to spend over $1500.  Plus, I’ve already spent hours and hours designing the page templates

* Yes I CAN sell this in the United States as well as Canada (I checked with Stampin’ Up! compliance) because it is considered FINISHED product.  As you may have noticed – the price does not include the decorated binder or page protectors – that unfortunately costs extra (Yikes!) – see bottom of page.  

* No, I am NOT selling any of the components individually at this time, as that would get more complicated than I want to right now.

* Next catalogue, I WILL sell “upgrade” packs where you can buy just the pages with the new product”

* If you order it today you will receive your book before the end of February – I need to factor in time to order the supplies I need and have the books made.

* Updated Feb. 5th: No, I cannot sell just the PDF file of the templates – I am sad to say that I have had pdf files abused in the past (resold without my permission).  At least this way if someone wants to CASE what I’ve done for profit, they’ll have to put the time in to create their own *lol*

* I cannot sell to Australia and the UK because your products are different than ours so it it really wouldn’t be as much of a help, also, shipping would be KILLER.

WHAT it includes (you can see pictures below of exactly how all the pages are laid out – those are what you will receive):

  • a 2″ x 2″ sample of all 34 patterns of designer paper – all 12 designs for each.
  • every single ribbon, twine, hemp, ribbon originals, twill tape
  • Rhinestone brads, jumbo brads, build-a-brad, small colored brads (including gold and silver)
  • Metallic eyelets and Jumbo eyelets
  • All the Designer Brads (flower, circle, star, filigree, flower assortment)
  • The Designer Hardware (Soho and Hooray)
  • Silver and Vanilla Hodgepodge Hardware (1 piece of each design)
  • Pretties kit (1 piece of each element)
  • Colored buttons, corduroy butons, designer buttons, clear buttons
  • Clips assortment, 1/2″ library clips, mini library clips
  • Fleurettes, Flower Fusion, Flower Fusion Too
  • Every color of glitter
  • Bead Duos

That’s over $1500 of product if you were to order it all yourself!

The Designer Papers:

The Ribbons:

The glitter & beads:

The buttons, brads and eyelets:

The clips, designer brads, flowers:

The Pretties Kit and Hodgepodge.

 Does NOT include the binder and page protectors. You can really use any kind of binder and page protectors you want.  and slide it into the page protectors: