Well, If Simon SAYS So…

Tuesday Revews-Day

At the risk of conspicuous consumption, I figured I’d close this week with a few highlights from the third crafty subscription box I’ve been geeting: the Simon Say Stamp monthly card kit.


I posted back in December about the cards I made from the November kit. (8 Cards from 1 Kit) Not only did I fail to make a set of cards from the December kit, I also ordered their separate deluxe card kit and did absolutely nothing with it, either! (Oh, except for some minor squee-ing over the cuteness of everything in each box.)

December Card Kit

December Card Kit

It’s not like the items in the kits will go unused. If nothing else the Christmas kits will give me a head start on next year’s cards. Plus, look at that little reindeer–that could totally work for spring or fall cards, and anything can be put into the banner.

The additional deluxe card kit. Impulse buy much?

The additional deluxe card kit. Impulse buy much?

Same with the bells and presents from the second kit–could certainly work for birthdays, weddings, and other celebrations throughout the year.

January 2017 Kit

January 2017 Kit

February 2017 Kit

February 2017 Kit

The February kit was a return to the cute and useful no matter what style–those coffee and tea stamps are adorable and I had to have them, even though I’d told myself I really shouldn’t order it. Should, schmould. I adore it. And whether those stickers (“shape sprinkles”) end up on cards or in my planner remains to be seen.

In an effort towards fiscal responsibility (bah, adulthood!) I may have to skip the next few kits until I can a) use the ones I have and b) therefore justify the line in my budget better. Still, for the cost ($24.95) you get a lot of stuff–at least 8 cards worth–plus a set of stamps you can reuse as many times as you want and, frequently, other tools (ink pads, embellishments, and sometimes dies that live just as long–it’s a great way to build your stash if you’re just starting out.

Once again, this has not been a sponsored post at all. I’m just a happy camper who loves seeing Simon show up on my front porch each month 🙂

Have you subscribed to anything crafty lately?

Who Says Stickers are Just for Kids?

Tuesday Revews-Day

Not me! And neither does Mo over at PipSticks, a stitcker subscriptions service that I’d heard about, but didn’t decide to try until a planner friend told me about her experience with it. Now I’m passing on the favor.


If you loved stickers as a kid, this subscription service is for you. If you were a Lisa Frank addict? You’ll find something to love on the monthly missives. And if you’re a planner girl who likes to decorate her pages, it might be worth a go for you, too.

On your first month you receive a best-of packet, which was a nice surprise, and the stickers in that month’s envelope were really stand-out. I haven’t used many of them, but I love looking at them. They make me happy 🙂 The following months were the usual assortment, though, so it’s best to plan to give it at least a couple months to make up your mind.

There’s a loose theme to each month’s stickers, but it’s not like a kit from a sticker shop that’s all meant to be used together. This was the planner friend’s only real quibble with it when we talked–some stickers were a little random and she couldn’t build a page around them. I don’t worry about that as much, so it wasn’t a deal-breaker for me.


In addition to the stickers themselves, there’s usually a postcard (pre-stamped and everything) and a quote card plus a newsy little newsletter. Little additions like that make me happy and show a level of effort on the company’s behalf that I appreciate. There’s also a raffle ticket inside, and the newsletter prints the ticket winner (from the previous month’s batch) for the given prize. The prizes have been pretty sweet (an Instax camera, a Kikki-K binder, to name a couple of recent ones), so hold onto that ticket! (It’s also a pretty ingenious way to keep people subscribing from month to month; as a small business owner, myself, I give them mad props for that stroke of brilliance.)

And if once a month is not enough, they have grab bags available on their website, too. I’ve ordered their shape grab bag as well as one other decorative set: they shipped fast, arrived intact, and were very cool happy mail.

If all you get in your mailbox is bills and junk, this sticker subscription will be a nice change of pace. It doesn’t take up a ton of space or give you a lot of samples you can’t use. Just cool stickers. And if you find a sheet or two you don’t like? Brighten someone else’s day by mailing them to a penpal or friend who also might like some sticker fun. It’s really hard to go wrong.

PipSticks offers several different subscription levels for kids and adults. Once again, this was not a sponsored review, I’m just a happy customer!

Paper Pendants and Studio Calico

In The Studio

A few months ago I decided to treat myself to the Studio Calico monthly stamp subscription, and I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed receiving that sheet of acrylic stamps each month. Because they’re topmost on my desk, usually, they’re much more likely to be grabbed when I need a starting point for my next project.


Case in point: Build a Bouquet (January 2017) meets Imagine embossing. Jewelry ensues. Check out the play-by-play on the Imagine blog.

Now, this is not my first time making paper jewelry. Back when I was with the Gauche team I made paper brooches as well as a slew of paper beads that I turned into a Day of the Dead rosary.Paper and stamping is just such an unexpected material for jewelry that it never fails to impress, so I dipped back into the well this month for a project that incorporated the color challenge (Rose) as well as the theme (Heart of Gold).


Paper jewelry tends to be very delicate, it’s a given, but for this project I wanted to protect the stamped blossoms and give them the high shine of resin (but without the mixing and waiting that resin crafts require). Multiple layers of clear embossing powder provided the desired effect and the gold that gets swiped just on the edges melded into the clear rather than creating a hard line–something you only see when you look closely, but that’s okay, too.


I decided to make earrings at the same time, since the Studio Calico stamp set had both a large layered blossom and a small one. For the earrings, since they’re likely to get a bit more hard use with hair and phones and scarves nearby, I doubled the images so the bail is sandwiched between them and both sides are glossy.

Of course, my m.o. is always to make multiples of something when I’ve got all the stuff out, so I have enough stamped and embossed images to make 3 more necklaces and a couple pairs of earrings, I just have to put them together.


Back to the Studio Calico subscription–I really can’t say enough good things about it. It’s a simple program (in a good way): the stamps are sturdy and a full sheet’s worth; there’s minimal packaging; and they come with a little booklet that serves the backing board in the package and includes examples of how their designers have used the stamps. There’s also a url for an online classroom where more projects are featured. While I’ve only been getting the stamps for a few months, the designs are very versatile and they tend to include a range of bog and small pieces within each.

Overall, I’ve been very pleased with them and if you’ve been on the fence about the Studio Calico stamp subscription, I’d say give it a try. Tools are always a good investment, and stamps are awesome tools.

The Stamp Subscription from Studio Calico is $19.99 a month. This post was not sponsored by Studio Calico, I’m just a happy customer.

E-Mealz: a Menu Service Alternative


I’ve often recommended the Menu Mailer by Saving Dinner to folks who have trouble answering the ‘What’s for dinner’ question from week to week. It’s convenient, inexpensive, offers of variety of menu options and takes the weight off your shoulders.

But it’s not the only option.

(And, yes, I still sometimes kick myself for not being more entrepreneurial-minded back in ’98 when I started doing this myself every week for my husband and I.)

From a blog ad I saw several weeks ago I pointed my browser to e-mealz.com (don’t forget the hyphen or the z), just out of curiosity. What I found was a site that touted money-saving, healthy menus for a mere $5 a month. They even match their menus to specific stores! Taking advantage of the weekly advertised specials without actually having the comb the flyers yourself? Nice!

Sadly, I found that you can’t just try the service for a single month–at least not without paying for 2 more. That was a little disappointing (I like to give things a trial before I commit, don’t you?) but I went ahead and signed up for a 3-month subscription. And all those store/menu-style options? Yeah, you have to pick one to subscribe to. No hopping between menus if you feel like shopping the best option each week.

As much as it pains us some days, Wal-Mart is the most cost-effective store local to us (though we frequently stop by Publix for specialty items) so we opted for the Low-Carb Wal-Mart meal plan for 4-6. The recipes (7 per week) cover 2 pages and are written sparingly. Side dishes are also included. The shopping list is also presented as a grid, with staples broken out so that it’s easy to mark out those you probably already have on hand but also can remember to pick up if you’re running low. It’s broken out by sections and has a column for checking items off.

What wasn’t so hot? Meal 3 of our first week was a Toasted Pecan and Strawberry Salad. Sounds great! Guess what wasn’t on the shopping list: strawberries. Oops. Kind of a big oversight (which we, thankfully, caught before leaving for the store). Also it’s great that they recommend so many side salads–5 out of the 7 days on our first week–but when you look closer you see they’ve specified the store-brand bagged iceberg lettuce. Why bother? Iceberg has very low nutritional value–it’s barely even green! We substituted some romaine hearts and a package of spring mix and spent a little more for a more satisfying end result. (Future weeks proved this to be somewhat of an aberration–though a recommended side dish of Pork Rinds seems quite out of place.)

But the recipes were tasty! We were especially pleased with the Hot Taco Salad which ground turkey in a chili-like layer with lots of toppings. And the salad recommendations (once you ditch the iceberg) were inventive–Greek-style one day, Mexican another, with a couple of dinner salads thrown in. We certainly didn’t lack for taste or variety.

How does it compare to the Menu Mailer? MM offers 6 recipes a week, e-mealz 7. Both include side dish recommendations and itemized shopping lists. Both also provide for a variety of primary proteins and seem to use 1 slow-cooker recipe a week. Menu Mailer allows you access to all 3 of their menu types each week, available as downloadable pdf files that you can save for later, a bit of an advantage over the locked-in e-mealz but MM wasn’t always all-access, either.

Menu Mailer administers it’s subscriptions through Big Tent–numerous hoops and clicks required to get to your weekly menu download. I understand that it probably makes things easier on the admins to do it this way but it was a change I was not happy to see happen. E-mealz–either due to a smaller size or just preference–still takes a single click from their homepage to the Members Area when there’s a link to this week’s and last week’s menus. The simplicity is nice.

Sure, the simplicity of their recipes may get to us after a while and we may not renew past our first 3 months, but it’s a nice change of pace for now.

Have you ever tried a menu service? Which one(s) and what did you think?