I almost didn’t tell this story. I find it slightly embarrassing actually. But to make my point, alas, here it is:

Most of you probably know me as a layout artist on theStudio CT; I joined after winning the layout artist competition here at theStudio. But, here’s a secret: I once entered the designer contest that theStudio runs every year as well. In fact, not only did I enter once, I actually started a little project to enter the designer contest again this year, but I never got past making the second element (see where my “embarrassment” comes in?). Oh, I never wanted to win, but I thought that it would be neat to try. It makes a competition more fun to have participants from all levels, from beginner to advanced. Plus, I had a great idea for a kit both times and knew that if I made it past the first round or two, that there were some neat CU prizes to be had.

You might be wondering why I’d want CU prizes if I’m not a designer. Turns out, CU stuff can be quite useful for layout artists too, especially textures, actions, and styles. I didn’t always know this, but it’s something I’ve come to realize over time. For instance, textures can come in quite handy if you come across a kit that doesn’t include cardstock or solids (it happens). I use a lot of paper blocks on layouts myself, and if all I have is patterns, things can get messy really quickly. With a set of go-to textures, though, I can always make my own matching cardstocks and solids. Alternatively, I sometimes find a kit with patterns that don’t work for me, i.e. they’re too big or bold or busy or small. With the right pattern set, voila! I can make my own to suit me. Styles can make layouts a breeze too. I love not having to ‘figure out’ how to make something look 3D or metallic or vintage.

Whether you’re a tried and true user of CU products, or a novice, you’ll find some great CU options in Snickerdoodle Designs’ CU shop here at theStudio. Like metallics? Check out this set of bronze styles

Looking for a texture set? How about these muslins

One of my personal favorites is Karen’s Vintage Cloth

Wanna hear the good news? Karen’s entire CU shop is on sale for 30% off through November 3oth!

So how about it? Will you give a texture or style product a try? To give you a little taste of what you can do with these, I’ve put together a little freebie for you using Vintage Cloth – it’s a siggy nameplate perfect for this fall season (I personally use a siggy in all forums and on both my work and personal emails – and I change them frequently to match the season!).

This siggy nameplate was created with elements from Snickerdoodle Designs’ Hay Day collection (beautiful, btw), and 3 of the styles from Vintage cloth (two for the plate itself, then a third for my name ‘Jennifer’ on the sample). If you choose, you can download and simply add your own name to the nameplate. Feel free to use it in any forum you choose (resize to 600px width after adding your name – you’ll want to choose a LARGE font size) and even use it to sign your emails. It’s a great way to show off your creative spirit.