Apr 13

Altenew blog hop winner & bonus card

Hi guys! I’m absolutely gobsmacked with the number of comments on the Altenew blog hop post! Thank you for every one of them. I hope you enjoyed the inspiration throughout the event, I know I did!

I offered to one lucky commenter one each of Peony Bouquet and Beautiful Day stamp sets, and Random.org chose… Toni C. (Toni Cancellier)!

Toni wrote:
“Gorgeous. I love your first two cards in particular.”

Congratulations Toni! Please email me at iwona_estera(at)wp.pl with your postal address and I’ll send them out to you 🙂
Winner has 48 hours to claim the prize, I reserve the right to re-draw the name and update this post afterward.

And just because I’ve been having heaps of fun with my lovely floral sets, I made one more card with Peony Bouquet, woot! Check it out:

Lots of fussy cutting again, hey? I used Altenew inks for stamping, they rock my socks off! Cotton Candy and Grapevine for the big flower, Buttercream, Caramel Toffee and Dark Chocolate for the small blooms, Frayed Leaf and Forest Glades for the foliage, and finally Desert Night for the sentiment (from the awesome Label Love set).
I layered the cutouts over a triangle die cut panel and a strip of patterned paper. The card base is light grey and the panel is white, I love the subtle play of shades and the little extra something it adds to the lot 🙂

That’s all from me today, thanks again for visiting and I hope I will make an odd appearance here again in the future, time permitting. Mwah x

Apr 07

Altenew 2nd Anniversary Blog Hop

Well hello there! I’m back – temporarily – to join my very special friends at Altenew to celebrate their 2nd Anniversary! I still remember the initial Blog Hop two years ago, and the excitement of being a part of a brand launch. And just look at Altenew now! Great friends and great stamps make up for something really, really awesome and I’m very happy to be here.
Hopefully you’ve come here from May’s blog, otherwise feel free to start at the beginning! (Altenew blog)

Leave comments along the way for the opportunity to win one of THREE prize packs valued at over $100 from Altenew! This amazing prize pack includes not-yet-released stamp sets.

There are 8 awesome companies who are celebrating with us, and they are offering the following prizes:

Be sure to leave comments on each stop by Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 11:59 PM EST for a chance to win! 13 winners will be chosen at random from the collective blogs in the hop list and will be announced on the Altenew blog on Apr 14th.

And that’s not it! Altenew extends these special offers to their customers:

  • First 100 orders : 1 free mini stamp set (Starting April 7th at 9:00 AM EST)
  • Orders over $75 : 1 free mini stamp set (Now through Sunday, April 10, 2016)

Now, let’s go down to business! You probably remember that my favourite designs are florals. I’ve been eyeing both Peony Bouquet and Beautiful Day ever since I’ve seen them in action. I mean, wow, they’re simply exquisite! So I chose to play around with these two, and I could have gone for much more, have I had more time on my hands.

The first card features Peony Bouquet in the most straightforward way – by layering stamps using coordinated inks. It provides stunning effect as-is, no bells and whistles needed!

I used Altenew’s range of inks, you can find the whole selection HERE.
Frosty Pink, Cotton Candy and Grapevine were used for the flowers, and the foliage / berries were stamped with Frayed Leaf, Forest Glades, Evergreen, and Deep Iris, Midnight Violet respectively. I must admit to never have tried these inks before, and they didn’t disappoint this fussy crafter. They stamp like BUTTAH!
The sentiment belongs to the Ori Kami set.

Next, um… I’ve gone a tad over-excited with Beautiful Day. To the point that I run out of time to show you more of Peony Bouquet… Duh! It’s my favourite out of the two (if I have to choose) because on top of the large feature flower, it has a lovely selection of good sized floral doodads that compliment it perfectly. I’m able to create a variety of arrangements pairing them in any way I find pleasing. And that’s what I appreciate most about florals – total flexibility! But really, they’re both absolutely fantastic in this regard and officially one of the best stamp sets I’ve ever tried.

Here I stamped the outlines in black and used Copics to fill in with colour. I’ve seen Altenew’s own Marika lovin’ on these stamps with a similar technique of brushstroke colouring (my own term) and it’s always been one of my favourite ways to colour, so I decided to run with it 🙂

This beautiful, simple ‘hello’ stamp belongs to Hennah Elements.

For the next card I stamped in black again, but I used my precious Peerless watercolours for some freehand job. Quick messy strokes, I was aiming for a more relaxed, informal look. I fussy cut a bunch of pieces and arranged them in a lush bouquet (plus a little add-on accent added to the opposite end for balance)

Another simple sentiment to finish off, from the Lace Up set.

Lastly, I stamped some of the foliage and smaller florals onto a sorbet-ish patterned paper, cut out and arranged freely on this card, around the banner (sentiment also from Lace Up). I enhanced the look in a few places by adding little splashes of watercolour, just a tad of yellow / orange on the flower centers and green on leaves. Love the randomness that comes with stamping on patterned paper.

The background is a patterned paper as well. I flicked some Diamond Glaze around, added a few star sequins and I was good to go!

I hope you enjoyed what you saw! From here you should make your merry way to WOW! Embossing Powder but before you flee, and because you’ve been so awesome &  read all down to here, how about a little GIVEAWAY from me? Heck YES!

I happen to have an extra set of Peony Bouquet and Beautiful Day and I’d like to offer them to one lucky person. Just leave a comment on this post by Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 11:59 PM EST and I’ll draw the winner on Apr 14th.

Enjoy!! 🙂

Feb 02

In retrospection

It’s been almost a year since I stopped blogging. After a good long, refreshing break I recently reconnected with many of my dear crafty friends, and I started revisiting my past work, getting somewhat sentimental in the process.

It’s been a good, fruitful year. It started off as a big personal challenge as I battled the return of depression and faced the decision of quitting a physically exhausting day job. I also found out that I’m pregnant and I’ve been on a hormonal ride ever since. We welcomed baby Jan (Janek) in November and he’s now a big, healthy 2 month old boy with plenty of smiles for everyone. He added so much to the grand picture and I feel like we’re now perfectly complete as a family.

The girls have been a wonderfully noisy, rambunctious, affectionate lot and I loved seeing them bond and grow together as sisters. They’re smitten with their lil’ brother.

In the works this year were also, building a house for our enlarged family (well underway now!), and opening an Etsy shop for my new little business. I’m enjoying the latter immensely, if I can find any spare time to tend to it that is!

I must admit that there were many days I missed being a part of the community I grew to love so much. While I found that Etsy people are the nicest folk, I felt like I lost something precious by disconnecting from the paper crafting world. Which indeed did happen.

Talking with my friends about familiar subjects brought me back to thinking about the reasons I stopped blogging here. I imagine the general assumption is that I needed to spend more time with my family, and while that’s entirely true, there’s more to it than meets the eye. And because I care a lot about the industry and the people who make it, I’ll lay it down.
I quit because I couldn’t carry on with such an intensive, time consuming ‘past-time’, once I discovered that there’s truly not much else I can do to make it more than just a hobby. Heck, I tried like it’s nobody’s business. I didn’t want to let go. I spent hours upon hours each day for five years, perfecting my work, learning, sharing. While it might have looked fancy and fun to other paper crafters, to my close family it became a burden, and to my extended family – a bit of a joke. And you know what, I understand them. Because I was working my butt off, and I was to expect no payment for this.

There’s leisurely crafting, there’s challenge blogs and personal blogs where people share inspiration just for fun. And there’s Design Teams. And yes, it’s great fun to share the joy of crafting; I’ve been doing it extensively on my blog and elsewhere (remember CASE Study?) and I wouldn’t change any of it, but the moment a paper crafter starts working for a company, and is expected to promote their product & help bring them income, by definition it becomes a job and everywhere else you would expect payment for the service.

Before I go any further, I can’t stress enough that I’m not pointing any fingers. I have so many good friends among business owners, running small stamp companies, etc. Same with paper crafters I became friends with, majority of them being active Design Team members & often tackling a few at a time. I love and deeply respect each one of these beautiful souls. The fault is not as much in people, as it is in the establishment that everyone grew to accept.
Plus the last two gigs I did, I was offered small payment for, so I really hope that someone will chime in with a comment that it’s been steadily improving since and no one really does it for free any more 🙂

So let’s talk Design Teams.
The rule of thumb is that you create something with product provided and regularly share it on your blog. In the majority of cases we do this “for product”, which means that we get sent physical stuff we are to promote. The assumption is that the product is our payment, and somehow everyone forgets about the fact that in order to promote it, you need to have it in the first place. Therefore it’s not a reward of any sort, it’s a tool we need to turn into sales with our skilled hands.

Another interesting tidbit is that while we may be given free stamps, paper, etc., it’s our responsibility to provide cardstock, stamping tools, embellishments, adhesives, colouring mediums, and whatever else is needed to finish our piece. Anyone reading this blog knows that they’re crazily expensive.
Yes, yes, I know. We all have craft stash bigger than our closets, and bills from craft shops longer than grocery lists. We do it because we love it.

That’s not the point.

The point is, being asked to perform a job for someone else, so that someone else may run a successful business, makes you entitled to receiving payment for the said job. Sentiments aside, the ridiculous amount of fun aside, ‘we are all friends here’ aside. In the end it all comes down to the fact that it’s a business. If it wasn’t so for the company owners and manufacturers, they would give us their product in abundance and tell us to do whatever the hell we want with it. They pour their hearts and hard work into their product and they want it to be successful. They also want to be able to sustain themselves off its potential success. And I say, all power to them, I understand it even more now that I run my own small business. All the while I still don’t understand why DT’s are mysteriously stripped of this “privilege”.

I would rather not have a business, than ask people to work for me for free. Seriously. Would you??

I have a very understanding husband (he let me continue with my shenanigans for so long without complaining… so yeah) and he simply calls it exploitation. Why yes, it’s a harsh way to describe it, but how much exaggeration is there exactly?

Another fact is that on top of creating an art piece and blogging it, people need to perform a number of extra tasks. We need to be skilled photographers & savvy social media users. With the popularity of video tutorials, I’ve seen an increase in making them a requirement as well. We’re often asked to share not only our own content, but the rest of the company’s updates, across numerous social media platforms. We are required to be active on at least two or three of them, sometimes we need to join dedicated forums and be present there. I know and you know too, how big a job it is altogether.
Creating an art piece can take anything from half an hour to half a day (or more), photographing and blogging another hour or so (in my case much more, but I’m a perfectionist), social media and interacting with followers… well this one’s a true time eater.

But wait! You get free product!! Plus you become famous and everyone will love you!!
Really?? Ask me how much change it did to my kids, or my husband.
In fact, I’ve been in a situation before, where I overworked myself for a company to the point of emotional breakdown. I had more product out of it than I cared for, but none of it bought us groceries or paid our bills. And that’s all while supplying the bosses with endless paperwork, so that they can keep their records straight.
I also heard, or came to witness horror stories where say, an online store, asked successful applicants to purchase all product with their own money. Because hey, the fame you’ll be all getting! Because think of all the fun you’ll have!

I call b/s.

I know intimately how Design Teams work. I’ve been on more than I probably should have. Go on and hit the Design Resume tab at the top if you want (Find Me Here drop down menu, mind you I haven’t updated it since last year). I also like to think that I’ve been a good team member and brought the companies I loved a decent revenue, and the product justice.
I had SO. MUCH. FUN. I really did. I loved my Teams and people behind them. These were some ace times.

Now I have a business on my own, where I still get to play with all my cherished supplies, it’s doing fine and I’m proud of it. I tend to it with equal love. It’s my baby, just like this blog was. It’s also hard work and constant learning, but at least I know that every bit I put into it, will eventually pay off if I try hard enough.
Unfortunately, as much as I worked hard and yearned for it to happen cardmaking-wise (and my close crafting friends know how much I did), I failed to provide for my family while doing so.  And in the end, even the most enjoyable past-time becomes irrelevant when there’s more important business at stake.

I don’t enjoy as much any more seeing my crazily skilled friends getting all excited about the fact that they’re designing for this or that company, getting “free” stuff, and gaining popularity for working under big brands – because they think they’re just mums tinkering at their table between wiping spaghetti off small people’s faces, or changing diapers, or cooking dinner. Because nobody would know about them otherwise.

Guess what.

Working from home doesn’t make you less valued than any other person out there.
The fact that you don’t have a diploma to prove your skills, doesn’t make you less skilled.
If you’re contacted with an offer to join a Team, or you’re chosen to be on one, it’s not because someone took pity of you. It’s because your talent has been recognized.
It’s wrong to undervalue yourself thinking that it’s good enough to help run someone’s business for little or no financial reward.

And that’s basically what it is, my friends.
(Beside being an overly lengthy rant, lol! If you made it to here, you’re GRAND!)
I do hope that it’s somewhat different now. A lot can happen in a year. I want to see my friends empowered, because heck, there’s boundless talent out there and it should be recognized. The proper way. The way everyone else does it.

Oh, I still love you too, and I miss you. Darn, I miss your sweet comments.
If you want to see more of what I’m up to these days, feel free to check out my Etsy shop.
I’m also on Insta: https://www.instagram.com/inkdstationery/
and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inkdstationery

Peace out :*

Mar 21


Hi there,

I decided that for the time being, I’m not planning to share any more on this blog. It will, of course, remain as-is, also in order no to burn the bridges should I want to resume blogging in the future. CASE Study challenge blog is permanently closed. I’m also removing myself from several social media platforms (some permanently, some temporarily), I find them time-consuming and redundant.

Thank you for your support over the years,

Cheers, Chupa xx

Nov 01

Altenew winner

Popping in quickly to announce the winner of the two stamps sets of choice from the Altenew October release blog hop (post here).

craftingjess wrote:

Holy. My jaw just dropped on that silk screen card you created. ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!!! I am completely floored with your talent!!!

Thank you and congratulations, Jess! I emailed you. Thank you to all who left comments. Carry on! 🙂

May 01

Happy everything, with Penny Black

Rarely I’d get so excited about acquiring a new stamp as much as I got when I laid my hands on Botanical Notes from Penny Black. It’s just stunning and I have no idea how and why it had to wait for so long for me to give it its first inking! Oh, and some Copic colouring too. Here’s the result…

So here’s what I’ve done. I stamped the image twice with black Memento ink – once on the card front – sized panel and once more on scrap paper. Then I die cut the panel using the awesome new Petals Creative Die and poked out all the little pieces. The extra image was Copic coloured and then fussy cut with care. Here’s what I used:
blooms: RV11/14/17/19, Y19/26
foliage: G 2/09
butterfly: Y06/26/28, BG13

For the finishing touch, I added a ribbon banner with the sentiment from Kind Words.
I had help in the form of an inspiration photo from Miss T. 🙂 Click on the image for the permalink to the challenge.

In other news:

– The third day of my introductory week on the WPlus9 blog has arrived! CLICK HERE for the two cards I’m sharing today! Here’s a sneaky…

– don’t forget about the Cards For Him blog hop! You can win a spot if you do your rounds and comment! See the details HERE.

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