EK Success Product Review: Martha Stewart & Jolee’s Boutique

A few weeks ago, the lovely people over at EK Success sent me a package of goodies…check out all this awesome product!

I knew as soon as I saw the “Stitched” line by Martha Stewarts Crafts on their site that I wanted to play with it. So many great colors and embellishments in that line. I was stoked when I saw they included the alphabet set because I knew I wanted to make a layout with the letters. After thinking about what I could spell with the letters, I decided that I could NOT just pick a few. I had to use as many as I could. So I grabbed some recent photos of Daddy reading to Brooke and decided to do an alphabet themed layout.

I printed my journaling on some neutral designer paper from this paper pack and used a punch along the top edge. Love that flower embellishment, it’s from the same MS collection.

I added some little stickers and sentiments where I could – the small buttons were all part of the embellishments included with this collection.

I really love the dimension and colors of the letters. Unfortunately I was not able to fit all the way to letter Z, but I was close! I punched a border along the bottom using this punch from Martha Stewart – it’s one that I’ve had in my stash for a while, but I thought it worked well on this layout.

These tag embellishments make for SUPER fast and easy card making. I grabbed a bird and adhered it to the tag to make this quick card. It’s simple but has dimension which is nice.

Moving on to some cards made with Jolee’s Confections collection. These embellishments have dimension and amazing color. I found they made my cards stand out all their own, no need for any stamping – again, nice & quick!

When I saw these border stickers that looked like icing, all I could think was “CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!” And then I remembered that I have this stamp set from Hero Arts which is very similar. So then I was thinking “DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONUT” (said in my best Homer Simpson voice, of course) Mmmmmmm….

I used my Copics to color these donuts and added some glitter to bling it up a bit. Doesn’t it look like you can eat that icing? So cool! I was thinking of using this on a layout with Brooke smashing her 1st Birthday cake, too! How neat would that be?

I still have LOTS leftover from these collections so I hope I can make more soon. Thanks to the awesome folks at EK Success for sending these goodies along! If you have any questions about specific product or availability, please let me know and I will pass it along to the folks over at EK Success for ya. I have done my best to include links to all products used below, so you should be able to find most of the information there – hope you find it helpful!

Supplies Used:


Homeketeers Scrapbook Kits

The good people over at Homeketeers contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing some of their scrapbooking kits. I like to make sure that any product review I take on is something I could actually see myself using. After checking out their website & viewing the kits they had in their shop, I knew there would be quite a few that I could put to good use. (After all, I am trying my best to keep up with scrapbooking photos of Brooke!) The best part about their kits is that they offer tutorials along with them, so you not only get the supplies, but also instructions/inspiration for your creating your layouts.

I must admit that for me, one of the hardest/most time consuming parts of scrapping is finding the perfect mix of product for each layout. Ā I was intrigued by this idea of using a kit for that very reason: to have a kit already pulled together takes the guess work out of finding coordinating supplies! All of that means that my scrapbooking goes MUCH quicker! (score for a busy Mama! I think I might try this kit thing more often…)

Anyhoo – here are some pics of the lovely kits they sent over to me – they are chock FULL of stuff! You could easily create several layouts, plus even a few cards with these kits:

And here is what I was able to make with them – these pages pulled together VERY quickly. The hardest part was determining which photos to use! šŸ˜‰

The title on this first one says “Let’s swing…it’s Spring!”

The matching stickers made it super easy to embellish, just added some stamping for the date and adhered to the page along with buttons that came in the kit.

I printed my journaling on the matching green cardstock and embellished with more of the ribbon, buttons and flowers that all came in the kit. SO easy!

This second page is titled “Dada Kisses”…I used the included stickers for the word “Dada” but decided to dig into my stash for the word “kisses”.

How fun is that owl pin? When I saw it in the kit, I wasn’t really sure how I could use it, but I think adding some ribbon and the coordinating button to this page adds interest. And since it’s going under a page protector, I don’t really have to worry about that pin sticking anyone!

I chose to do lots of layering on this page. Mostly because I couldn’t decide between all the gorgeous colors of patterned paper, and lace trim, HA. But I think it turned out nice – the photos are still the main piece of this layout – and I didn’t need much journaling so I just created a small tag to note the date & location these photos were taken…

I am blown away by how much stuff I still have left from these kits! I plan on using the leftovers to make some greeting cards. I’m sure they will work up pretty fast since all of the items already coordinate. Can’t beat that!

If you would like to check out Homeketeers for yourself, you can head on over to their webpage, or even try and win some of their kits from theĀ National Scrapbooking Day website!

Fun with “L Letterpress”, Discount Code, & a GIVEAWAY!

EDIT: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who participated!!

So…I’ve been playing with a new toy lately – it’s called the Epic Combo Kit from Lifestyle Crafts. This post is full of good stuff so make sure you read all the way to the bottom…!!

This kit allows you to create amazing Letterpress designs using plates, but it also die cuts & embosses. It’s just as simple to use as any other manual die cut machine like a Cuttlebug or Sizzix. Go HERE for a full set of instructional videos & demos.

I couldn’t wait to get inky with all the Letterpress stuff. There are several different color inks that you can use. I used them all, but then I decided to try my hand at making my own custom colors too…

It’s pretty easy to do. The key is using the brayer provided and rolling the ink back & forth plenty of times to get it mixed just right:

The results ended up being pretty cool. Check out the purple! Ā The coverage of this piece of paper was fabulous. I made a BUNCH of these in all different colors. Perfect to use as the background for a card – especially something like a wedding or shower invitation:

Here are some cards that I put together with all different Letterpress designs & inks. Love the bright, vibrant colors.

I even used some shaped punches and some cutting dies to cut out shapes and add dimension to these cards.

The sentiment & damasks on this card (both the background & the large one in the center) were created using this Letterpress Printing Kit.

This card was made using this set of flower cutting dies. I paired it with some PaperTrey Ink paper & a stamp from Hero Arts. I LOVE the dimension and texture these die cuts give.

OK, so: on to the FUN part!

The people over at LifeStyleCrafts.com have been SUPER generous and are letting me give one of these awesome kits away to one of you!Ā This prize includes the Epic/L Letterpress Die Cut Tool, along with an assortment of accessories. You will have tons of fun with trying out Letterpress, I’m sure. (not to mention ALL the other thing you can do w/ the Epic Six…it’s a die cut & embossing machine too).

To enter, all you need to do isĀ visit the Lifestyle Crafts website & check out the products. You can also look at their blog if you’d like to get more ideas & tips. Then come back here & Ā leave me Ā a comment on this postĀ telling me about your favorite project or how you would use theĀ combo kit.

Entry rules: One entry per person. Open to residents of United States only. (sorry International readers, I have to adhere to the rules given to me)

This giveaway is now closed.

And one more thing:

You can use the following discount code to shop away on the LifeStyleCrafts.com website. This code is good for 20% your total order. Just enterĀ KERRYBLOG10 upon checkout. The code is good until Thursday, March 10th. Happy Shopping!! šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚

Silhouette vs. Cricut

EDIT: I’ve updated the bottom of this post with additional notes & answers to questions I’ve received.

I’veĀ receivedĀ quite a few inquiries on what I prefer between these 2 machines. The truthful answer is that I really haven’t played around enough with the Silhouette to say for sure. However in the little bit I’ve been using the machine – if I had to choose one right now, it would be the Silhouette.

Here are my personal reasons why: (Note: everyone has different preferences, so these may or may not apply to you)

  • It handles intricate cuts VERY well. Now perhaps it’s just me – but I’ve tried new blades, new mats, different paper, and all kinds of settings on my Cricut Expression and I’m telling you – the cuts still tear and the machine just can’t handle super intricate images. For me, that’s a problem.
  • No cartridges required. I am not a fan of any more clutter than I already have in my craft room! I also hate the cost of the Cricut cartridges. $40-$50 a cartridge (only if you find them on sale – otherwise they are more like $90) – and most of the time I don’t even really like a lot of the images on the cartridge. I like being able to pay for the elements I want at a much lower price. (anywhere from 20 to 99 cents an image, depending on what plan you have)
  • Size. It’s smaller & lighter. Takes up less room. I like that.

All in all, I feel like the artwork available for the Silhouette is more reasonable in price and also more my style. But that might be because I haven’t purchased any Cricut carts recently. A lot of them are very cartoonish – they are cute, but not so much my style. I do think they are GREAT for kids. (so maybe that means I should keep mine? Ha!)

Lastly, here are some other resources if you really wanted to research further:

Kristina Werner’s Blog post about her experiment w/ the 2 machines.

Chart that compares the 2 machines.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, there are deals out there on the Silhouette – it’s not $299. Whatever you do, DO NOT buy it from Silhouette America’s website. LOL! Try this deal on Overstock.com – that is where Pete got mine – it even comes w/ a few extras.

and with that, I hope I didn’t offend any of you Cricut lovers šŸ˜‰

EDIT 1/14/11: Just answering some more questions & sharing more info that I’ve received:

  • A Blog Reader (thank you Lee Ann) sent me a link to another site with a great price on Silhouette. I have not ordered from here, just sharing this link that she passed along to me. You can find it HERE.
  • Regarding the images you purchase for the Silhouette: You own the images once you purchase them, yes. Meaning – you can cut them as many times as you want. They are stored on your computer for future use & get added to your library.
  • You can also import files into your Silhouette software to cut. So if you purchase any of the digital cut files over at 2Peas, or any other site, you just need to import the GSD version of the file. See a video HERE that explains more about importing GSD files.
  • Another good point some of you mentioned that I forgot to – you can cut out any font you already have on your computer with the Silhouette. You can do this with the Cricut too – but you will need the Sure Cuts a Lot software. SCAL will also let you import cut files that you can buy at 2peas or other places. You use the SVG version of the file & import into SCAL. (I have SCAL and have used it – it’s definitely a great piece of software to have). NOTE: The Cricut Design Studio software will NOT cut anything out from your computer – meaning fonts or anything you download. It will ONLY cut from the Cricut cartridges.
  • One of my favorite places to download digital cut files is from Kerri Bradford. Her stuff is amazing & super reasonable in price. I believe these cut files can be used with Cricut too (you will need SCAL software)
  • Another great place to get cut files for both Silhouette & Cricut: the TwoPeas store.
  • Someone just pointed out that the Silhouette will score. I did NOT know this! I need to figure out how to do that – it sounds pretty neat.
  • To see some examples of using the Silhouette software, try this video by Kristina Werner. There is also this video by Nichol McGourik (she is a HUGE resource for all things Silhouette). I do believe she is using the older version of Silhouette Software in this video though.

OK so that’s all I have to update for now. I am still learning about this machine so I will do my best to answer any questions. Thanks!