Friday, September 23, 2011

Sweet Floral

Here's my 7th swap card in the All Catalog Swap I joined! I used Sweet Floral background stamp, which is a new stamp in Stampin' Up's New Idea Book & Catalog! I also used Creative Elements and I LOVE them both! Do you notice my favorite embellishing technique used here? The embossing folder I used for this card was Square Lattice.

I have received my return swaps and I have to state this was the best swap I've been involved in so far! I'm very impressed with the majority of the cards I received! I'll start posting them AFTER I show you two more cards I have made that were inspired by other demonstrators! Stay with me, all right?

Thanks for Inkin' of me,
Keri Blake
Loving my job in Michigan!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stampin' Up! Stamps are a Top 10 Tool for 2011

We're excited to announce that Creating Keepsakes magazine has named Stampin' Up!'s wood- and clear-mount rubber stamps as one of its Top 10 Tools for 2011!

While Stampin' Up! has long been recognized in the stamping and crafting industry for producing high-quality rubber stamps and exclusive images in a variety of artistic styles, being recognized by Creating Keepsakes is just another validation that when you choose Stampin' Up! products, you are choosing the best!

Itty Bitty Bits

I've been patiently awaiting my return swaps! As mentioned on an earlier post, I joined an Stampin' Up! All Catalog swap! Every stamp set in the new IBC (Idea Book & Catalog) was put into different categories. I signed up for seven of those categories! Here's my 6th swap, made with Itty Bitty Bits! I also used the Itty Bitty Buttons and my favorite embellishing technique = Embossing Folder to add texture! I hope you like it!

Stay tuned for my 7th swap and then I'll be giving credit to the other 100 demonstrators who shared their talents in this swap!!

Thanks for Inkin' of me,
Keri Blake
Proud to be living in the Mitten state!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Scary Scenario - Beware

Traffic light cameras are annoying at the best of times, but while some people manage to escape the fines, most of us simply pay up without thinking about it or questioning whether the charge is valid. Tricky scammers are taking advantage of that lazy human tendency, making a handful of money and stealing identities in the process.

Scare tactics
The scam is simple. A no-good type picks your phone number at random and, once you answer, tells you that you have an overdue red light camera fine. The only way to avoid a significant late fee, a court case, or even jail time is to pay the bill right then and there over the phone. If you don't pay up, you're threatened with a warrant for your arrest.

Of course, there was no camera, no photograph, and no overdue bill. The scammer really has no ability to arrest you, fine you, or take you to court.

Taken off guard
The voice at the end of the phone line identifies itself as that of a police officer, possibly even giving you a (phony) identification number. As well as trusting you to be lazy and not do your fact checking, the scammer is working on the element of surprise. It's scary to be told you may be facing a jail sentence over something you have no recollection of doing, and you'll be more inclined to overlook a few simple signs that should tell you that the phone call is anything but legitimate.

After convincing you to pay the fraudulent fine, the "traffic cop" will ask for your credit card information, including the security code. That's required information for paying any bill from a remote location. Alarm bells should start ringing as the questions continue, though, as the caller asks for your billing address, date of birth and Social Security number. Surely, the police would have some — if not all — of this information on file. They have your license plate in the photo from the red light camera, after all.

That's not our style
No American police agency currently conducts business like this; in fact, no agencies anywhere conduct business like this. The police do not use the telephone to chase down or collect overdue fines or tickets. They use the postal service or, in more dire cases, a process server or law enforcement officer.

Even if things did get to the third-party debt collector stage, all correspondence would be carried out in writing, creating an official paper trail that can be traced back and audited if necessary.

The police (and most other authorities) will not ask you for personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call. Dialing the cable company to pay your bill by credit card is one thing — you dialed the numbers, and you can be relatively certain you are connected to the right party. But even with Caller ID, there is no real way to verify incoming calls; if questioned, scammers can come up with a quick excuse. Perhaps they are "calling from a different office" or "a new number that hasn't been set up yet."

Other variations
While this red light camera scam is relatively new (originating in Texas, by the way), it's very similar to another popular identity theft attempt. In that instance, you'll receive a call informing you that you have missed jury duty and — you guessed it — must pay a fine or be slapped with a late fee, along with possible jail time or a court case of your own.

Just like the traffic camera scam, there is no missed jury duty, and the "court official" on the other end of the phone is after your money and your personal information.

Throwing you off the scent
In a particularly nasty twist, you might receive a second call a few days later. The operator made a mistake — it wasn't your car in the photograph, or it wasn't really your name on the jury duty list. Gushing apologies, the caller will fall over himself to reassure you that your credit card will not be billed and that he is very sorry for wasting your time and causing you undue stress.

This second call, of course, is a distraction. You are so happy that you aren't really in trouble that you don't think back over the phone calls too closely and don't think to check your bank account to double-check the transaction. By the time you do check, it's often too late.

Common sense prevails
Fortunately, this simple scam has an equally simple method of prevention. Never, ever provide personal or financial information over the phone, email, text, or mail when solicited by a stranger. At the same time, find out as much as you can about the caller. Get a contact number, name, account number, job title, and any other relevant information that will help you identify them later. Tell them a story about wanting the information in case you need to call back later, if you must. (Hint: They're not going to want to give their details freely.)

If you believe you may have been sucked in by this scam, call your credit card company immediately and cancel your card(s). Look carefully at your statements to see if there are any fraudulent transactions, and report those as soon as you can. Consider getting fraud alerts placed on your credit report by contacting your credit bureau, too; these can be free and well worth your time, if you're concerned.

If you've handed over your Social Security number, slap yourself on the wrist and report that to the authorities, too. You will, unfortunately, need to take further steps to protect yourself from more serious fraud and identity theft....

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hello Doily!

This is a beautiful new single background stamp named Hello Doily! Like the Medallion stamp, it can be used in a variety of ways to create an elegant look. This is a case from Mary Brown who is a very talented demonstrator! I love her work. Don't you?

Thanks for Inkin' of me,
Keri Blake
Happy to be living and working in the Mitten state!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Stair" out the window!

I'm not sure if I've ever shared a Stair Step card that I have created before. This one is with the Aviary and Sincere Salutations, two of my favorite stamp sets! I used Bold Brights Designer Series Paper, Poppy Parade & Daffodil Delight cardstock colors! I also used the Decorative Label Punch for the "window"! Doesn't it look like the single birds friends are checking to see how the bird in the window is doing? I love it!

What do you think?
Thanks for Inkin' of me,
Keri Blake
Stampin' Up! demonstrator in the Mitten state!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

Here's a card made for my mom with Create a Cupcake stamp set! I love the little hearts, recycled from the punch used on the bottom border! Clever Cupcake, huh? Enjoy.

Thanks for Inkin' of me,
Go get 'em Tigers!! Roar!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Just Thank You!

Here's another card I made for my All Catalog Swap (which I'm so anxiously awaiting my returns) in the A la Carte category! This is a single stamp called Just Thank You! This card fits in the standard envelope for mailing (it's a 3x6)!

Thanks for Inkin' of me,
Praying for all those affected by the tornado that hit Ferndale, MI.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Swappin' Season!

Once I finished my schooling and state exams, it was back to creating! I joined an Idea Book & Catalog swap for the New IBC 2011-2012! This swap was for every stamp set in the new catalog! Our swap hostess broke down the catalog into categories and listed each stamp set in that particular category. I selected seven different stamps sets in seven categories and got busy preparing my creations for each set. In all, I should be receiving 105 different cards in return! I can't wait! Meanwhile, here's a look at one of the swap cards I made for the first category, Hostess Stamp Sets. I used Array of Sunshine stamp set. Let me know what you think!

Please note, I receive inspiration from many different demonstrators. Although I do not yet have a watermark for my own, I do want to give credit for the CASE (copy and share everthing) from the original artist. I believe this card was inspired by the all talented Mary Brown.

Thanks for Inkin' of me,
Keri Blake
Loving the last of summer in Michigan