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Old 01-11-2012, 09:52 AM   #1  
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Default How do you decide what to buy?

I have been into scrapbooking and cardmaking for a while, but am just really getting interested in stamping. I am looking at the thousands of stamps that most sites have and feeling overwhelmed.

Do you look at new releases and just see something you like and buy it? or do you get an idea for something and go looking for the right stamp?
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:08 AM   #2  
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When I first started making cards and stamping, I was like you - too many choices! It can be overwhelming. Sometimes I yearn for the old days when we didn't have "31 Flavors" and could only choose from Chocolate, Strawberry or Vanilla. Not really, but you know what I mean.

I got a set of all purpose sentiment stamps, similar to this:

Hero Arts 'Everyday Messages' Clear Stamps | Overstock.com

And an all purpose birthday sentiment set, similar to this:

Stampendous Perfectly Birthday Assortment Clear Stamps | Overstock.com

Then I picked up several different image sets that I liked. Some flowers, some cute critters, etc.

That got me started with enough stamps to make cards for most occasions. Then I came here a lot, read people's posts, looked at the gallery, looked at lots of blogs, and refined my taste a little.

Have fun!
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:09 AM   #3  
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For me I started buuying from different companies, but now I buy mainly from the ones I want.
The Unity KOTM is a good choice, every month get different variety of sentiments and stamps
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:18 AM   #4  
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It can be oh so overwhelming. The key is to figure out your style and find a stamp company or (companies) that reflect that style. I'm big into Papertrey Ink and they make up most of my collection but I also like Paper Smooches (among others - darn this obsession!) which is more cutsey but also my style. Sites like Papertry have releases every month -- I try to order every 2-3 months unless I know I'll need the stamps for an upcoming card. It's hard sometimes to wait but this also gives me time to think about what I would use the stamps for, what range those stamps have for use and if they are trendy or classic images. I rarely go for trendy images. I also sometimes will get a set that isn't my style but is the style of someone I makes lots of cards for. The other fun thing is lots of these stamp companies have dies as well -that just adds to the fun and range of the sets!! Have fun!
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:44 AM   #5  
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It can be very overwhelming. Do you have any friends who are into stamping? If you do, they could be a great resource because you could look at the stamps they have and see what you do like.

When I wanted to try stamping, I went to a craft store and bought a kit that included some stamps and a basic ink pad. I think it was just a $20 kit. The quality wasn't that great - but it gave me an idea if I wanted to buy anything else. And now I'm hooked. It took me a while to figure out what I really like and what I don't. I would suggest really sticking to the basic things at first - as Bugga suggested, a basic sentiments set and then some random stamps that could be used for anything. You can find some nice stamps in the bargain bins too! Once you decide what you like to use and what kind of stamps you like - then you can purchase more. I do have stamps from various companies and tend to just get what I like instead of one brand.
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:52 AM   #6  
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thanks for the advice everyone!

I do have the basics. Ive been collecting them for years since Ive been scrapbooking and card making. Since I was never big into stamping I could only justify the basics. I have some swirls, some flowers, and a variety of sentiments along with a cheap collection that has every holiday represented.

I guess I should have worded it better. I'm trying to branch out from beyond the basics. and I kind of know my style, but I still have trouble thinking what I would use the stamps for. I also have a hard time justifying spending $10 on a stamp that I might use once or twice. But I want to try some cute things, ya know?

Like for example, bicycles seem kind of trendy right now and I have seen a few cards that I like using bicycles, but I don't know how many times I would use a bicycle stamp and I am not really inspired to try anything special with it. But then I wonder - if I had it in my hands maybe I would think of something.
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:04 AM   #7  
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The best piece of advice I can give you is that no matter what you want, hold off and look on the buy/sell forum here on SCS for it first! I primarily use Unity Stamp Company with some Papertrey Ink and others sprinkled in. There is a lot of Stampin Up and Unity on the buy/sell forum and chances are, eventually the set you had your eye on will come up. I use the "search this forum" function for the company and set name every so often to check. This really helps me justify my large collection of stamps - I rarely pay full price for any of them.
Also, JoAnns online has tons of stamps online that they don't have in the store and when they run the 40% off all stamps in the store, they run it on ALL the ones online too which includes some Unity, Hero Arts and other great brands.
Enjoy your new hobby!
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Old 01-11-2012, 01:04 PM   #8  
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I think once you have the basics it becomes a matter of honestly assessing how often you would use the item and if that number is worth the item's cost. Storage system/space may also be a factor.

I also often buy a stamp or patterned paper because it reminds me of someone for whom I would make a card or an event I'd like to commemorate in a scrapbook.

For the items I still really like but may not use often enough to buy ... well that's why hubby gets a very detailed wish list on gift giving occasions
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Old 01-11-2012, 01:54 PM   #9  
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I look at almost everything new and funny, as time goes on, I find I am more selective on what I buy, but I do like a lot of the newer style of stamps!

You have to go with what moves you, says buy me, you love me!
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:04 PM   #10  
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I'm the worst kind of buyer. I go into our LSS and go "oooooooh look at that! I'll never use it but I must have it because it's so me" and put it in my basket. Rinse and repeat until I fear the total and than I go pay.
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:35 PM   #11  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by megamayView Post
Like for example, bicycles seem kind of trendy right now and I have seen a few cards that I like using bicycles, but I don't know how many times I would use a bicycle stamp and I am not really inspired to try anything special with it. But then I wonder - if I had it in my hands maybe I would think of something.
I picked up a great old fashioned bicycle stamp in the Michael's dollar bin. That's a cheap way to get something to try rather than order a whole set of something. Sometimes I'll also fill my need to try a trend by just buying a sampler pack of an embellishment from a Etsy seller before I take the plunge by buying a whole bunch of something. With trendy images, I can often fill my need to try it by buying a couple of sheets of patterned paper with that style just to see if I really like it before buying stamp sets in that style. Hope this helps!

Last edited by stampjourney; 01-11-2012 at 07:37 PM.. Reason: Typo corrections
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:38 PM   #12  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Wannabestampin'View Post
I'm the worst kind of buyer. I go into our LSS and go "oooooooh look at that! I'll never use it but I must have it because it's so me" and put it in my basket. Rinse and repeat until I fear the total and than I go pay.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Yep, that sounds like my method, too!

It helps to know what kind of cards you may want to make. For example, birthdays, get well, sympathy, baby, and a few holidays or seasonal. But there are holidays that I just don't send cards for...St. Patrick's Day, Halloween, New Years, Independence Day. I would not buy stamps in those themes because I would not get any use out of them. I'm selling off twelve years of impulse buys right now, so I'm trying to make smarter decisions these days. I can't be lukewarm about it. I have to love it. It has to be versatile, too. Trees, flowers, birds can be combined with any sentiment. I think I have a system, but occasionally, I just have to have something because it makes me smile.
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:15 PM   #13  
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Sometimes looking at cards in the gallery will give you an idea and you'll want to get that stamp or a similar one. I have 20 years of stamps and now only buy cling or clear sets but I discovered my style really hasn't changed much. I love to browse stamp company websites and see what's available and I make up a wish list after making sure I don't already have something similar. Then I buy when there's a sale on the stamps on my wish list. I do buy lots of Halloween, birthday, Christmas and floral stamps because these are what I will use.
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:49 PM   #14  
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In 1996, when I bought my first few stamp sets, I bought things I thought were cute. I ended up with several "home" sets, at least three teddy bear stamps, a bunch of hearts and several angels. Bunches of stamps but not a lot of variety.

Fast forward 15 or so years ... I recently started stamping again. Pretty, cutsie, frilly, feminine stamps are great for my mom, sister and female friends. But the reality is that at least half the people in my life are male.

Now, when I look at stamps, I think:
Do I like it? How would I use it? Will I use more than one or two stamps in the set? Will I use the set more than once or twice? Is it different from what I already own? Will it coordinate with what I already have?

Also, I have a couple images in mind. For my niece: I want to get a monkey stamp that I can use in a variety of ways. For my nephew: I want to get a versatile western/cowboy set. For my oldest son: I want an Angel's baseball stamp (if anyone knows of such a critter, please let me know!)
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:50 PM   #15  
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Lately I have tried to purchase stamps that I can use in a variety of ways and for several types of cards. For example, I love coffee and chocolate, so I have added a few stamp sets to my collection and am using them for birthday, thinking of you, friendship, etc. cards. I searched the gallery to get ideas and to decide which stamps to purchase. Now I have fun using the sets in different ways, and I find that I'm more efficient in my stamping time because I already know which stamps I want to use before I get started rather than going into my craft room and digging through stamps to get inspired. This winter I've also been inspired to pull out my snowman stamps and use them for several types of cards (I've made a lot of thank you cards with them as well as thinking of you and friendship cards). So my suggestion is to look for a stamp set or two that would be useful in several types of cards, search the gallery or other online sites for ideas in using those stamps, and then start creating!
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:13 PM   #16  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Wannabestampin'View Post
I'm the worst kind of buyer. I go into our LSS and go "oooooooh look at that! I'll never use it but I must have it because it's so me" and put it in my basket. Rinse and repeat until I fear the total and than I go pay.


Hilarious!! I love it.
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:10 AM   #17  
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I like getting inspired by new releases and what I see in the gallery, but I take my time buying. For example, it took me so long to find an owl set that I liked that I thought I must be near the end of the owl trend (not!!!). I really like the SU Sense of Time set, but instead of buying that expensively on eBay I took time to look around at other sets with clocks and found one I really liked elsewhere and more easily available.
There are other stamps that I don't think I can justify from my own crafting budget; I love them but it's hard to see that I'd get enough use from them to justify the expense, so I buy them with gift money or ask people to get them for me. Half my Penny Black collection has been built up that way .
And you can be surprised, too - some sets with stamps in them that I never thought I'd use, those very stamps have turned out to be very useful.

Personally I wouldn't start with an idea of something and then try to find the perfect stamp. I've done it only once when I was doing an alphabet ATC swap and really needed a Jaguar for J. Ain't a whole bunch of ATC-sized jaguars out there . Mostly I like to have an idea and then see how I can improvise with what I have. I know that with many people using digital nowadays they can find a suitable image that way, but I'm not into digital images for my cards (moved to stamping from all-digital creations), and like to *make do and mend*.
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:59 AM   #18  
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I've been stamping for about 10 years now. My stamping style has changed to many different things. I don't hang onto stamps I don't use. I sell them so i can get new. I do think about my purchases longer now before I actually buy them on a "whim". I also think "can I use that one stamp for several cards and not just one single card?"
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:26 AM   #19  
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When I first starting buying stamps, I liked everything! I bought quite a few sets that I don't really like anymore. I keep them just in case something comes up.
Now, I like to make a list. If I see something here on SCS, I'll write the stamp name and company down. I keep it in my purse. If I see the stamp used somewhere else again and still like it, then I buy it, knowing pretty much how I will use it.
I have lot's of male family and friends, so I look at a lot of masculine stuff. Tim Holtz line is great for that! I also like horse stamps and there are a lot of great companies with beautiful horse stamps. Those go great for gals and guys!
The list making works for me. I also keep a list of tools and products I have already so I don't duplicate purchases!
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:18 AM   #20  
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Originally Posted by Wannabestampin'View Post
I'm the worst kind of buyer. I go into our LSS and go "oooooooh look at that! I'll never use it but I must have it because it's so me" and put it in my basket. Rinse and repeat until I fear the total and than I go pay.
I see it, I love it, I buy it.
Oh, and a sale makes it even better!
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