Sunday, September 28, 2008

Halloween Party Invitation - Rubber Stamped Fairy & Cat Card

Is it getting to be that time of year already?! I'm not sure I'm ready! I love the changing leaf colors, but it always makes me feel that time is going by much too quickly. My to-do list right now is out of control. (Literally, I've got 3 pages of notes on my desk for projects/tutorials, business/website update ideas and dreaded upcoming doctor visits. Plus an email inbox with about fifty poor folks I've been meaning to get back to just as soon as I update my gallery pages / figure out answers.) Yikes!

Well here's one small thing I can knock off that list, a Halloween costume party invitation (stamp from Sheet #Fant-118) I used black VersaFine ink (I love that ink pad, perfect for watercoloring/marker-ing over.) The colors were done with a purple color pencil (for floor shadow) Marvy LePlume markers and one Tombow marker (#N89 which is a nice really light gray for a shadow outline.) I used nestablities to die cut the paper shapes and orange peel Stickles glitter glue. Glitter is too hard to photograph, but it's nice and sparkly in person.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Flower Goddess - Rubber Stamped Paper Art Doll

A while back I added a Goddess form to my free paper art doll template page. I finally sat down and made a doll with the flowers and butterfly stamps on sheet #Roma-119.

First you pick out your cardstock and print out the template from my website. Stamp over it with your choice of stamps, color, cut and embellish. I used color pencils and added the vine details by hand. I was thinking about adding eyelets to her hands for hanging. After I cut her out I decorated with flower/leaf paper punches and stickles glitter glue.

Have fun ;)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Green Crafting - K & Company remake paper pads review

The newest paper line by K & Company is called "Remake" and just... Wow! A must have for card makers and rubber stampers!

I was really thrilled when I spotted this new product by browsing the
K & Company website
for patterned scrapbooking paper last week. I immediately went to my local craft stores thinking maybe they'd have it/were planning to carry it, but no such luck. It's early (summer 08' release) so there's always hope that somewhere like Michaels or JoAnn will eventually stock it. For now, I found a couple craft stores online through google, but ended up getting it on ebay by searching "remake pad" cost me about $4.50 per pad. (I bought 5 pads, and including combined shipping it worked out to be just under $6 per pad.) If JoAnn or Michaels ends up stocking it you'll likely get it for $3.99.

There are 24 sheets in each pad measuring 4" x 6" with four sheets of each pattern. The really nice thing about this pad is that it's double sided - pattern on one side with a coordinated color solid on the other. I always have the biggest problem when I find a beautiful patterned paper to use in a card, but I can't find a single solid color to match it right. With these pads you don't need to worry about stocking up on those variety color cardstock packs, you've got all the matching solids right here! The thickness and quality is well above average and the color selection is fantastic. The nice wallpaper type repeat patterns add beauty, but aren't so BUSY that they dominate your eyes compared to your stamped image. I'm really glad such a big company is making this quality product, I hope it will reach a lot of green-minded crafters.

As a rule I try to limit my waste, recycle as much as possible and avoid things that are toxic in my crafting. Even if you're not really into the whole recycling scene, by purchasing products like this and/or non-toxic supplies, you're helping to save your health! (From excess air pollution from both manufacturing and tree loss, landfill waste and avoiding that pesky label on supplies mentioning "x chemical is known to cause cancer"/contact or inhalation poisoning etc.) With art supplies I'm always careful!

This paper pad was really well thought out. The inside of the front AND back covers are printed with shapes you can cut out and include in your projects! Plus, have you ever seen something with a 100% post-consumer waste percentage?! (On average I've seen more products with 30 - 70%) Even the ink is made from soy! Now I'd prefer to be able to buy this in a local craft store, so I will be mentioning it to anyone I can talk to that is in charge of ordering at my local stores. Maybe you will too?


ps. I am not affiliated with K & Company in any way, but I'm very enthusiastic about earth conscious crafting. Feel free to repost these images/text or link here if you'd like to spread the news to other paper crafters ;)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mermaid Card - Rubber Stamping with Stickles Glitter Glue & Transparency Film

I've been meaning to test out stamping on acetate / clear plastic sheets / transparency film for a long time. I once saw a project that had colored the stamp art with glitter by coating the surface with a thick clear glue (like diamond glaze) and then dumping on the loose glitter.

I think I put off the experiment for a while because I hate to get messy. I decided to try using Stickles glitter glues instead. There is pretty good glitter density in these glues. If you don't get as much as you'd like onto the clear plastic sheet, you could always allow your project to dry and then do a double coat (I didn't.)

This card used: Basic Grey "Granola" scrapbook paper pad, StazOn inks (blue, purple, black), Stickles glitter glue and acetate. The mermaid was stamped on acetate (aka projector transparency film or clear plastic sheets) with black Stazon on the front side. I flipped the clear sheet over, sponged purple Stazon around the edges and colored the image with Stickles glitter glue.

Allow glitter glue to dry over night, then flip back over to enjoy the protected glitter shining through the plastic sheet. Any thick clear drying glue can be used to secure it to paper, or hole punch to secure with eyelets.

Note: Stamping on plastic takes practice and a firm hand. Care must be taken to avoid smearing ink on such a slippery surface.

I messed up a couple times... I use my stamps unmounted, which may have added to my initial difficulty of making a firm up and down motion when inking the plastic though. Still, I think clear plastic stamping may not be a project for beginner stampers.

The results are beautiful, and with practice I can see a lot of potential in this method. Especially because you have unlimited options for backgrounds. Depending on how much you color it in, you can use your cardstock or patterned papers to change the appearance of the art.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

That's great... but what do ya DO with it?

Sometimes running a one-person rubber stamp business is a very challenging job. I forget simple things like, even though I had a ton of ideas on - how - to use the stamp images I was making, it's not always so obvious to other people. I spend a lot of time collecting and drawing new images for stamp theme sheets. Then, I'm somewhat surprised when the sales are really bad (sometimes it takes many months/all year to make just the investment cost back.) This isn't all bad, once the initial materials are paid off, I'm potentially sewing the seeds for future profit and business sustainability. Though it's hard when I think a design would make an appealing/popular stamp and I'm proven wrong.

While I have always imagined lots of projects for each image, and have sometimes added one or two example art pictures to each
rubber stamp page,
I haven't dedicated enough of my time to providing you with project ideas. That's why I've been kicking it into over-drive lately with the creation of this blog & new tutorial pages around my site.

Last week
Tim Holtz
was giving away these t-shirts that said "Do you see nothing" on blank space, and then on the other side "Or possibilities?" surrounded with a pretty collage art design. Obviously, most of us need a little help getting started with creative projects. Inspiration is everywhere for me, especially when looking outside at the fauna and flora. If I see a simple line-art stamp I imagine what it would look like colored and what materials it would look good on. Getting from that starting point, the "that might be neat" idea, to the finish project just requires the inspiration and daring. That's right, - bravery - is helpful when stamping/crafting. You have to be prepared to accept a failed project with grace, but if you allow yourself to play - just go for it - you also risk coming up with something AWESOME!

Easier said than done, I know. I spend much much more time thinking about a project than doing it. Now I'm making an effort to change that. As the saying goes, it's better to have tried and failed, than to never have tried at all. Also, I think that once you get going you'll find that you'll succeed more often. How cool would that be?

To start, I think that a few of the flower images on
rubber stamp sheet #Roma-119
may not show their true potential in the undecorated preview form.

I started by stamping the image a couple times on pink and lighter pink cardstock. Cut out the flower shape, then cut out only the center shapes of your duplicates. I've colored the image with color pencil and stickles glitter glue. When the glitter glue dried, I stacked the cut out shapes onto each other with a foam mounting square to create a dimensional look. (Other items used for tag: long rectangles large nestabilities die cut sets, computer fonts for type, birch leaf paper punch by punch bunch.)

This gift tag could technically be for any occasion, I thought about substituting "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Birthday" etc., but something about the flower seemed christmasy. Had I thought of that before starting I may have made this a deeper red theme instead of the pink.

I've also imagined another project with the flowers as wall art. Hopefully I'll get to it soon, but I think it would be neat to cut little green paper vines that creep up my wall and place some of these flowers along the vine. There are also butterflies on this sheet that could be nesting on the flowers or vines as well. These pieces can also be used as embellishments for card making (a replacement for some of those expensive pre-made stickers at the craft store?)
Off to brain storming I go!