Thursday, December 20, 2012

Diagnosis Design #2 Elena Roussakis

First an intro...

In medicine, we document using SOAP notes. It is an abbreviation to help keep consistent format when logging information. 

S=Subjective. What does the patient report. Subjective Data. This also includes the Chief Complaint (CC) which tells what the patients main problem is and History of Present Illness (HPI) a history of what happened to bring them in.

O=Objective. What exam findings do you gather. Objective Data.

A=Assessment. What is your Diagnosis, what differentials could there be (alternative diagnoses)

P=Plan/Education. What is the plan for the patient. What do you want them to learn?

This is the format I will use also.

Now, let's begin. This is Elena Roussakis

a mommy of 3...and that gorgeous chalkboard in the background that she uses on her posts sometimes.

 and this is Elena...
a wife with a sweet love story that continues to this day

and this is Elena too...
with family and all the joy that it brings...

CC: Lovin' Lawn Fawn too much (and if it's wrong, she don't wanna be right)

What is your favorite color and stamp of 2012? 
I've been a huge fan of aqua blue this year. And, my fave set of the year has really been my FAVORITE set of the year: lawn fawn's "cozy christmas." I crafted last year's Christmas cards with that set, then used it for decor at my daughter's "milk & cookies" birthday party, and also had my first Paper Crafts magazine publication with that set in the November/December issue - milestones! 

Elena's published card:

HPI: Elena is a stay at home mommy who likes to create the perfect party atmosphere for any occasion you want her to! She even has a business doing just that! She has been blogging since February 2011, you can find her first post HERE.

When was your design aesthetic clear to you? 
I would say that it took a full year of photographing my cards for my blog to realize that I actually had a style. Seeing them in person didn't give me the same perspective.

How would you describe your design? 
other than to say that it's me, it's hard to pinpoint my style. I love cute, and I love simple, but not too simple... I love layered, but not too layered. I'd like to think that my designs are just sweetly me :)

Who do you feel has a strong design aesthetic and why? 
Anyone who gravitates strongly to one end of the "design spectrum" is easy to spot as having a clear style: Melissa Phillips is strongly rooted in her amazingly beautiful shabby style, and on the other end, I love Maile Belles for her uncompromising CAS leanings.

Where do you get inspiration from? 
I gain inspiration from (obviously) other crafters, but also from fabric patterns, graphic prints, packaging, etc. I once created a card based on a pair of Gap Baby pyjamas ;) (see it HERE)

What is most important in creating a card? 
uh, having fun? being pleased with the end result? haha. If my card is balanced, and I've stretched myself creatively while making it, then it was worth making.

The perfect card making blogger is one who...
one who makes inspiring, well-executed cards, and one who is engaging with their photos and their write-ups.

If you could interview anyone for DD, who would it be and why?
Kim Duran. She has that sweet style that I adore (even though it's more vintage than my own), and I'd love to get to know her better.

What is your favorite card you ever made? 
I still adore the sets of russian-doll cards that I made for our post-gallery-idol blog hop. They still make me smile :)

Do you have a craft budget? 
when I got hooked at a stampin' up party, my husband and I agreed that I could spend whatever I made from crafting. I was an SU demo for a few years, and now I craft party decor and teach card-making classes to feed my crafty habits.

How did you start blogging and why do you blog? 
I create party decor and invitations on the side, and I needed an online portfolio that I could show off... and then, there were all of these crafty challenges I wanted to try out!  I still blog for those reasons,  and more: I'm honored to be designing for a few great companies: CSS and Precious Remembrance.

Blog header: how did you come up with the idea, and how often do you change it?  
I've only changed my header once since I started blogging.  The original blog had the words "just me" typed out very plainly... my new logo is a bit more dressed up with sweetness.

Do you keep the projects you make? gift them? sell them? 
A bit of everything.  I obviously keep the ones I love!  I sell less individual cards than party decor, but still a few here and there... I gift out quite a bit: last year, I had my hubs walk around church like a little cupid, slipping a valentine's day card to about 15 different men, so that their wives could have a special little card on love day.

The best way you can see a persons style is through a body of work. Let me show you what Elena can do. These are some of my most favorites...

Yup, she sews!

Her creative space:

She is creating a mood when she creates a scene whether it be on a card, on a photo, or a party ensemble. The mood is sweet and lovely. She chooses sweet stamps and lovely papers, sweet embellishments and lovely colors to make you feel like you are in a new place of wonder. It's just special always.

In asking the community what makes Elena stand out amongst the rest and what they like about her work...

VERONICA ZALIS (Stamping Royalty 2012, World Card Making Day Winner 2011, fan, blogger)What I like best about Elena's work is her amazing attention to detail. She puts so much into everything she creates, and she has a fantastic eye for design. And if all that weren't enough she is great about posting directions with step by step instructions to re-create the paper crafted item on your own. She is a crafter, a teacher, and she shares what she loves. To me that is what makes her stand out in a crowd.
LAUREL BEARD (Lawnscaping Challenge Owner and DT member with Elena): What I like best about Elena's cards is her style and keen attention to detail. Her cards/projects are always flawless and appear to be effortless even though you know a lot of time and detail went into each one of them. Her attention to color palettes and layouts are always unique. There is never too much or too little on her creations.  Her writing style on her blog shines thru with her amazing and bubbly personality!  It's like we are there with her.... The staging she does for all of her photos draws us in every single time. Her creativity and cleverness with how she uses stamps blows me away. She comes with unique ideas with the images I would never dream of. She combines cards/tags with other party ideas to the point where I have a notebook to write some of her ideas down!  She is at the top of my blog roll as I am inspired by her with every post she makes. Some projects that Laurel loved...

KELLY MARIE ALVAREZ (Owner of Lawn Fawn Stamp Company): There is something so fresh yet so charming about Elena's cards. I love the way she combines colors. It gives her cards such a soft feel that I absolutely adore. It is rare to see someone that can combine a cute look with a vintage feel seamlessly. That makes Elena unique and wonderful!

NICKI JACKSON (Owner of Clear and Simple Stamps which Elena is on the DT of): Elena has an amazing work ethic.  I'm inspired by what she can do before 6AM, and every detail is flawless. But before I can discuss her talents, let's talk a bit about Elena the person. She has a truly genuine and caring heart, is a loving wife, and I'm sure her kids would also agree - a super cool mommy! She definitely stands up for what she believes in, is rooted in the word, is a supportive friend, and all around wonderful person. All these things I can say after only knowing her one year - it's every aspect of Elena that makes her stand out amongst the crowd personally and professionally.

We first discovered Elena's blog through another CSS designer, Denise January, of  the blog Sassy Stampin'. Denise shared a strong recommendation that left us curious to see more. It just so happened that the day we visited Elena's blog was a sweet post about her discovering a new-to-her stamp company and that she was trying out their stamps….it was the Taglines: Critter set from CSS. Needless to say we loved it. A little time went by, more CSS posts that were equally cute and clever popped up in our inbox, that we eventually reached out and made an offer.

Like those that follow Elena's blog (if you are not a follower of Just Me, you are missing out…take a quick time out, head directly there, visit for a while, then come back so I can say "told you so") you are immediately smitten with her innovative uses of stamps and jaw-dropping parties. Behind the scenes, she is a perfectionist. She is open to critique, and is no stranger to hard work - her blog is a true testament to how committed Elena is to her craft. We appreciate how generous she is with her time and talents, as we all know when you are creating for a team you are spending time away from family to create projects to blog and submit to companies like ours. We do not take this sacrifice lightly and are forever grateful to all of our amazing designers.

You can find the post that won Nicki over and got Elena a design team spot with Clear and Simple Stamps HERE

Think you want to join this genre? 
  • Take your time: I think I must spend about 10 hours a week crafting... (more or less depending on if it's gearing up for a release week with CSS, or making decor for somebody's party)
  • Chose your stamps wisely: Elena choose mostly sweet and cute stamps. Usually they have images of animals or images to create a scene. The fonts are cute too. 
  • Keep it pretty. REAL pretty: Colors are important as is pattern. Most of Elena's work has some sort of patterned paper in pretty colors. Nothing is bold, harsh or too masculine. 
  • Create a scene: Elena's favorite thing to do is use masking and paper piercing to create a scene on her cards. She spends time cutting and trimming to make you feel the love...and it shows.
  • Listen to music Elena does: Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Adele, old school Lauryn Hill... 

If I had to pick a song that represented Elena to ME, it would be this one:
What manufacturers do you love?  my favorites are Clear and Simple Stamps, Lawn Fawn, and Papertrey Ink. I'm quickly becoming a huge fan of Mama Elephant stamps as well.
If someone wanted to design like you, what would they need?  uh, my eyes? a big shot machine? a dark, cluttered basement to create in? hee hee. THEY WOULD NEED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. and there you go.
Thank you Elena for taking the time to answer the questions and giving me full access to your blog "Just Me Prints"
Next Diagnosis coming January 3rd!


  1. Another fabulous diagnosis! It's been awesome getting to know Elena over the past year, and now I know even more about her! It makes me want to take a road trip up north to visit her. Any of you with me? :)

  2. I enjoy your DD posts SO much Wida! I'll be heading right over to Elena's blog next!

  3. What a fun feature! Love learning some more things about Elena!

  4. Hugs, Wida! i'm blown away by the kind testimonials, and that you thought I was worth interviewing in the first place! xoxo.

  5. This is AMAZING. I love Elena and am so excited to read this in-depth and glowing review of her and her amazing talents. Such a wonderful post.

  6. I love Elena, so I was excited to read all of these fun details. Great post!

  7. Great write up Wida! So glad to get to know Elena more:) That girl is amazing on all fronts! Love her to death!

  8. WOW Wida, what a beautiful and thorough analysis! I was already a huge fan of Elena's work before and I'm even MORE in LOVE now. :) xox

  9. This was really cool to read Wida! I've seen other "get to know" interviews, but I think your format is so much better and fun to rad. Lots more information. You captured Elena's style and personality of her blog perfectly. Love this!

  10. Such a great interview with fabulous photos of Elena, her family and her work. I loved seeing her workspace! So, I hear my husband today playing the video from this post and bopping along to it. Good choice, I should say:) Elena is such a talented and sweet artist!

  11. ahhh...really really enjoying this feature Wida. I simply LOVE Elena's style and constantly oooh and ahhh when I visit her blog.

  12. Ms. Journalist, I thoroughly enjoyed your article on Elena ... I fell in love with her work after seeing all her party decor posts. So appreciate the time you took to put this together. Putting all those links in there must have taken a half hour alone! Great article, Wida. Hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!

  13. These are so fun! Excited to see who's next!


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