Where does one begin with a story that could take hours to tell, yet needs to fit in to one blog post? If you are interested in the progression of my “ideas,” perhaps you should grab a cup of coffee or tea, because this might take awhile for you to read – LOL!
We have been receiving questions about some of the latest tools I have been developing, and I guess there is no time better than the present to just put it out here in cyberville, so that you will know what I have been up to! J
As many of you know I love tools – plain and simple I am a “gadget-girl.” As I became familiar with this industry and immersed myself in it, I came to realize that there were many things that I “needed,” that were not on the market. My passion for all things done in a “perfectionist” manner has led to some of the products that I see you all so very excited about, using and enjoying daily – for that I am absolutely thrilled! The emails you send to us here at work, thanking us for our service, are words that keep me moving forward.
I began my business in 2006 with the encouragement of my now dear friend, Karen Lockhart. I needed to help my family financially. As a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator and then as a concept designer, it was extremely difficult to earn enough money to even help begin to pay one single bill – LOL! It was upon Karen’s advice that I began selling Lockhart stamps on the internet in the fall of 2006. It was a small thing and was easy to accomplish from one shelf in my laundry room.
As I continued to surround myself with the tools of this trade, I found elements lacking. JulieHRR, Mona Lisa, and I would discuss at length our dissatisfaction with some of our tools – LOL! One of the things that would make me insane was my inability to cut the basic shapes and layer them in a precise manner. There was absolutely nothing in the marketplace that would allow me to layer the way I wanted, or mix my basic shapes together with scallops, pinked edges, or deckled edges in the perfectionist manner I wanted, or allow me to make shaped or scalloped cards. In my mind I had conceptualized the perfect die cut system. It was at that time that I worked incredibly hard to develop and bring my idea of a nesting die to the market place; it was the first of my product ideas that was developed.
For the next several months, I worked like a crazy woman, putting together this brand new product line – a product line that I knew was going to be the hottest thing to hit the market place in years. I knew I had conceived a tool that ever single card maker needed! If I needed it, you all needed it too – right?!? LOL!
It was also during this time that I began to research Copic markers. As an interior designer I was familiar with alcohol ink markers, but the Copics were a “new” tool for me. Yes, I am old – LOL! Copics were not in this country during my educational years, the years I trained to become an interior designer. We had “other” alcohol ink markers and in comparison those were ghastly, but just enough to make me want to find something that would be similar and work for a paper crafter. J
I was fascinated, intrigued and thrilled with what I discovered in the Copic product. Marianne became my Copic educator, and Karen and I began to educate Marianne and the Copic distributors about the world of “rubber stamping.” At that time, I needed to discover what inks worked best with these markers, what paper worked the best, what colors would be the most desirable for rubber stamp artists and so much more. I realized the value of this product and how it would become one of the most basic tools for all rubber stamp artists. I love to color and WOW, could I color with these markers. Not only could I color, but I could airbrush!!! The world of exploration was just beginning for me and I wanted to share it with all of you!
One individual cannot come close to sharing this amount of information with the world – the dies and markers were tools that I felt in my heart would be something we would all be able to use for many years to come. So I reached out to my incredibly talented friends and colleagues. I called my trusted friends and fellow designers; I asked for their help, offering them something new and different to work with. I am so humbled by the women who stood up beside me and reached back to help educate the world about these products. Nichole, Debbie, Michelle, and Trudee took on the challenge with a gusto and skill level that is unsurpassed - I thank you girls for the trust you placed in me, for the education and excitement you each shared with the rubberstamping world.
It was in March 2007 that I had shared my first idea of a die system that would layer precisely in 1/8" increments, allowing you to place simple shapes together with decorative shapes such as scalloped and pinked edges. In June 2007 I shared yet another of my ideas, a piercing product. Adding texture to a card front in a very simple, clean and precise method is something I enjoy immensely. The Ornare tools are wonderful. I love to pierce using them, but they are slowly disappearing from our marketplace and there were so many missing components to this product. There is so much more to this piercing concept and someday I hope to be able to share more with you, as well as bring this product through to a successful completion.
I am so fortunate to be blessed with many ideas. As I work with a product, I see a need. As I educate others how to use a product, I find missing pieces. I wanted to be able to use my dies with products other than paper. Testing product after product, figuring out what the dies would cut and what they would at least partially cut, brought about the development of Craft-a-board. To be able to make embellishments, books, and other “sturdy” projects using a low-profile die helped place one more piece in to the puzzle my mind had created.
This leads me to my latest endeavor. It was in December of 2007 that I saw yet another need. I knew I needed to have more control over my airbrush, but how would I make it happen. The masks that I had been using would tear my paper, leave sticky residue in place, or get soaked with ink. My dies and papers would blow and buffet all over the place as I would use my airbrush with these tools. I found it frustrating and started “jury-rigging” things together to allow myself to work hands free.
I got on the phone with my colleague and friend, Karen Lockhart, and we did what we do best – we brainstorm, we banter back and forth throwing out words. Karen, I cannot begin to thank you for being my sounding board, my support system, and my friend. It was during that brainstorm session when I asked Karen, “What sticks, but doesn’t tear paper when you remove it?” It came down to one word that my brain just glommed on to - magnets!!!
It was at that time that I conceived what many of you are now seeing in the COPIC Airbrush Papercrafting DVD – a magnetic, rotating, self-healing cutting board. The turntable is entirely magnetic and steel dies and other specific tools snap directly to the surface, allowing for hands free use of the airbrush!!! What you see is a prototype of the product I am working on. It is a product that I am extremely proud of. Once again, it derives from a need I have; a need that cannot be filled by any other product currently in the market place. My experience as an Interior Designer utilizing tools to aid me in completing drawings that would successfully share a presentation with clients, has helped guide me in constructing tools that I hope will make a difference in the paper crafting industry.
This product has had to go through the many hoops of the legal world. A patent is filed and I am currently working with a manufacturer to make certain that it works exactly as I have envisioned. You must remember – I am a perfectionist – LOL! Everything takes too long when you want it perfect. J I had hoped that this product would be ready for the market place in January of this year, but as with all things, there have been many delays. It is hard to make things “happen” when life is filled with turmoil, and boy have I ever had my share of struggles this past year. We are on the way though – we need a few more modifications, a graphic designer to make it all look pretty, packaging… and then I believe we will have everything in place to release what is going to be another tool that is going to lead you to creating at a whole new level!
So, for those who are looking for this product, the turntable prototype you are seeing in the Papercraft Airbrush DVD, it is currently not available for purchase, (but hopefully soon!) With the release of this product, you will soon be able to use the tools you already own in a much more satisfactory and easy manner!
As well, many of you have received our little “gift.” When purchasing the papercrafting DVD from us, we have included a sample of a product that we are releasing with today’s “In Touch” post. In my newsletter post today, I share a starting point as to how you can put this magnet to good use. You must promise me that you will remember that this is just a starting point – LOL! There are still numerous components missing, but one just needs to get started at some level. Be certain to watch the CLASSroom as each of our designers shares their ideas for using our new Art Magnetic Masking material. These women are so very talented and I am SO very blessed to be surrounded by such honorable, gifted friends.
Due to the fact that these products are in the initial stages of development, it is an absolutely huge risk to tell the “world” about them in such a public manner. As with all new “good things,” other manufacturers are observing and taking notes. But I proudly stand before you to tell you that these are my ideas, as well, I have more new ideas and they all relate to my previous ideas and knowledge. I will teach you to use your dies, electronic cutting tools (Cricut, Silhouette, etc.), Copic markers and airbrush system, in a whole new way. You will have so much more control over your work! I hope it will allow you to look at things around you in your work room in a new way and to push you to explore your own creativity.
Educating others makes me happy! Sharing new ideas makes me happy! Having customers that share their appreciation for what we do, makes me happy!
I have been blessed; blessed with family and friends, who love me, support me and believe in me. We have been blessed with a customer base that shares their gratitude and supports us as they make their purchases. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kindness and amazing support. You all bless me.
With much appreciation. - Ellen