Thursday, August 25, 2011 |

Cherry Tree Shoppe

     I went to a little shop today that my mom recommended and because it actually carried the We Are Memory Makers SEW Easy tool that I have been craving for the last 6 months. Not one store in my vicinity carries it! So when I heard that she carried the tool, the mat, and an extensive collection of the different attachments I had to go in.
     The business is located in a very tiny center that was very easy to almost miss, but it only has two businesses there in the center, which ironically they are all connected. There is a hair salon, a gift shop, and the scrapbook section which did take up a room all it's own. There was also a nice looking workshop area in the very back. I was very impressed with the amount of things that she had in the scrapbooking section, the room is very full and you do have to hunt and peck and look through stuff, but don't be afraid to really look. She carried a little of everything. Pine Cone Press, Yellow Bicycle, Tim Holtz, Basic Grey, Jolie, and a pretty good variety of papers. It was not a lot of each, but enough that you definitely could find something. Good ever day basics for holidays and special occasions. She carried a variety of tools from punches to a few Cricut supplies and a large selection of Cuddlebug die cuts.
     There was lots of little mini albums of different shapes and sizes and even saw a few little acrylic albums in the basic size which are great for versatility. There were glitters, stickles, Tim Holtz alcohol inks, small selection of stamps, flowers, lots of stickers, and photo albums. I'm not really even sure that I saw everything, like I said the space was cramped, but there was a lot of stuff to look through. Don't get me wrong, it's not disorganized and I can tell you I found more to buy there than at the larger local scrapbook store in our area. I think there is something for everyone there from the novice to the advanced scrapper and from the sounds of it, they are willing to order things for repeat customers. They are also really good at re-stocking. When I was there, she was already placing another order for alcohol inks that were just put out a few days earlier and are already gone!
     The Cherry Tree Shoppe is located at 38295 Cherry Valley Blvd #A, Cherry Valley, Ca 92223. From the 10 Freeway exit Cherry Valley Blvd and take a left. Follow it all the way up and after the first stop sign look for the little adobe building on the right hand side. If you reach the stop light you have gone to far. I thought it was a great little place with a variety of things to choose from not only in the scrapbooking part of the store but the gifts as well.

Starbucks and Bling

     I'm a Starbucks nut, OK I'm just basically a coffee nut! I love hot, cold, blended, and frozen. Where I got the love for the almighty coffee bean, I'm not really sure. As a child when I would visit my aunt she would make for me special little Holly Coffee, lots of sugar and creamer. Over the years my taste for coffee has run into the uninhibited just plain black coffee of course until the advent of Starbucks. Now I love coffee anyway I can get it!
     Now a couple of years ago Starbucks came out with their insulated plastic cup. I had to have one, I searched high and low because they would run out moments after they were put on the shelves! I had a couple of them and I would carry everything in it from water, tea, and of course the cold iced coffee's. Every time I would personalize on, it always seemed to be the one cup that would crack and I would have to throw it away. This year however, they have upgraded their plastic insulated cold cups to a two layer cup that is actually removable and yes, it's bigger than the originals. Instead of a 20 ounce it's 24 ounces. I was really hoping for the Trenta 30 oz size, but still I get 4 more ounces of tea or Frappachino's for the same price as the 20 ounce!
     While on vacation this year I decided that I wanted to personalize my cup. My aunt bought a cup and we even bought one for my uncle. On a trip to Hobby Lobby I spent oodles of time in the scrapbook aisle trying to decide on what I wanted to do with the cup. While there is room in the cup for decorations on the inside it couldn't be to big. My aunt's theme was Labrador Retrievers. So a set of Jolie's with Labs, some paw print stickers (the ones that are clear except for the paw), and some cute dog sayings rounded out her cup. The Labs while slightly thick were still a great fit in the cup it's self and the inner layer screwed back on nicely. On my uncles we bought handy man Jolie and stickers, but the tool belt was a little to thick and while we were able to screw it back together it actually did scratch up the inside of the cup.
     As you can see on my cup above, I have flowers from Memory Makers which I used an all purpose acid free scrap glue called Beacons 3-In-1 All purpose glue. It's great for the heavier embellishments on any scrap project. Dries quickly and is clear. I use it for everything not paper for my projects. It's also relatively inexpensive at no more than $4.99 for the bottle that lasts a long time. I didn't have any actual individual jewels and since I love Fleur DE Li's; I found a small page of 3 of them in the sticker aisle where you will find already made bling embellishments. I had a little bit of a problem with getting the Fleur De Li's off the page so that they kept their shape and a couple of them twisted a little bit once the cup was put back together, but it's not noticeable. It's about as thick as you want to get with those cups. I also bought a sticker page of black glitter borders of different types. The one around the bottom is almost a full strip and the curly part is from another border that I cut apart and tucked underneath all the flowers.
     I think each cup took about 30 minutes to complete. I would line the outer and inner cup up together on how it would look once it was all back together to be sure that my designs weren't going to be covered by the Starbucks logo on the front or the customization strip on the back. The stickers I just stuck on there, but for any Jolie's or other embellishments even if they were "sticky" I re-enforced with the 3-in-1 glue so it stayed strong. I had so much fun making the cups, and I love the reaction that I get when I take my cup into Starbucks. The first time I took it in I was in the drive-thru and next thing I know my cup has disappeared and is being handed all around so everyone could look at it! They don't have to worry about putting your name on the cup or mixing it up with someone elses, since I frequently go in with my friend Melissa who also has a cup.
     You obviously don't have to go into a craft store to buy special supplies for your cup. You can dig into your crafting supplies of stickers, and embellishments that you already have on hand. I only did that because I wasn't anywhere near my crafting room at the time. If you own a cricut machine and have some vinyl you can even use that as an option. I think this is just a fun quick little project that can bring a smile to your face every time you use your cup. I carry it everywhere with me and I like that it has as much personality as I do.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 |

To Paint or Not to Paint that is the ??

     Something I rarely do anymore is paint my finger nails. I always love to have my toes painted even if I can't always afford a pedicure, but fingers? I went through the whole acrylic stage and will still on occasion get them for fun, but what I find is that the constant abuse on my nails isn't worth the time or the money. Not only for is it not worth it, but don't you find yourself not doing certain things because your afraid they will break? If you have a nail person that is great every time, than good for you. However, I found that the longer you went to someone the cheaper the job you got was. It's like they know they have you hooked so when you first go in and you get exactly what you want and than each time the quality goes down to where instead of my nails bumped and squared and nice and thick they are barely square and thin and brittle.
     Here is a good example. Last February I went in to the local nail shop, one of the most popular ones and I already had a set on from the holidays. I said that I wanted something really cool before I left on my vacation. I had thought that some color tips would be different. She talked me into the colored acrylic. This really nice pink sparkly acrylic. She spent a good hour and a half on my nails taking the old set off and putting the new on. Within 48 hours a had two nails not just break they literally snapped off! I barely touched them to something and I didn't even feel it. So I thought let me see what this is all about so I grabbed a finger and just bent the nail and it snapped right off. There was no pulling, tugging or pain. The rest of the 8 nails popped off in a matter of 30 seconds. $30 or more down the drain for 48 hours of wear and 30 seconds of destruction!
     I say no more to acrylic nails! Besides when your on a budget, I can see a lot more things I can buy with that $30 that will give me endless hours of enjoyment or entertainment! So back to the picture above. Before I left on my summer vacation I was at Sally's and behold the new craze in nails is staring at me from the check out counter. CRACKLE!!! Now wait a minute, I remember crackle paint from the late to early 90's where that was the fashionable thing to do with your refurbished country furniture. Now it's paint for nails? Had to try it on my toes, so I bought basic black and white. I tried the black with some nice bright pink polish I had and WOW, cool, a little Goth looking, but not bad. I recommend not trying the white. It just looks like a paint job gone bad. Of course the Sally's crackle was $6.99 a bottle. However, now that it's the new fade more and more companies are putting out crackle paints with a large variety of colors.
     In fact I was at Walgreens the other day and picked up the turquoise pictured above and a silver for only $3.99. I also got a really cool orange color that I can put on underneath the silver and the black for Halloween. That was the Sinful brand for .99 cents. So last night I actually decided to try the crackle on my fingers. Thought it would be fun and something different. I always hate polish on regular nails, it never lasts very long. That's about the only thing I can say acrylics have going for them. Two weeks and still going strong as far as the color. Still not sure about the crackle on the finger nails. Almost looks like a two year old did the job, but at least it's something colorful to look at for the time being.
     I would love to hear what my readers do for nail care. Do you like pedicures, manicures, acrylics, or do you do your own nail care at home. If  you only have a little to spend what do you spend it on?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 |

What Is HollyStar Designs

What is HollyStar Designs, who is HollyStar? Well HollyStar is me, just Holly with an added ring to it. But seriously, I was sitting down this weekend reading through my latest copy of Better Homes and Gardens and reading through all the pages featuring different designers and realized that I may not be a big name, I may not have my own clothing store or design shop, but I am a designer.

Every great designer started somewhere, be it from displaying their goods and services locally, starting a blog, or on Etsy. Just because I don't have anything to sell yet, doesn't mean that I'm not a designer or something. I design my life, I have helped other people design theirs. Whether it being from advice on life to what color they should paint their walls. I scrapbook, make cards, design my home and I realized I do all of these things because it's fun and I love to be creative. The other great thing about it is that I'm do it on a limited budget!

Of course everyone these days is on a budget, but how often do you see something in the magazine that says budget friendly, but when you see the bottom line you still say, "I can't afford that?" As designers become more popular and widely known, the higher their product and services become. I'm not here to make money, at least not yet, and if the time ever comes that I can take what I love and make a living, it won't be at the expense of my followers. I may not be the next Martha Stewart but I'm hoping that I can enrich someones life by giving them ideas and projects that they can use in their own life and homes. I want the average women to be able to take an idea and run with it. Give them hope that an expensive looking home, or project doesn't have to come from having a huge budget. That all it takes is perseverance, and a little imagination.

So today HollyStar Designs begins. For me this is an adventure of trial and error, of self discovery, and hopefully helping the average women feel that the impossible is possible. I hope you will join me and we can explore and create together!
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