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Monday, March 31, 2008

Blog Candy!

I went to a little stamp show Saturday and bought a duplicate stamp from the $1 rubber bin at the Stampin' & Scrappin' (Stamp Affair) booth. So my mistake is your gain! LOL I'll be picking a name randomly from all the comments left in the coming week, and announcing a winner on Monday, April 7th

This stamp is large - 4 1/4" x 5 1/2"! It might make a really cool shrink art trinket. There is self-adhesive cushion attached to the rubber.

Here's a sample card using the same image that I'll send along to the winner of the rubber. I stamped her in Staz-On black ink on tan cardstock, and used colored pencils to enhance. Then I edged the panel with a gold Prismacolor Broad marker. The background piece is three Adirondack inks (Lettuce, Pesto and Caramel) brayered on the diagonal.

Click photo for more detail

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Stampin' Organization 101 - Stamp Storage

Today's topic - Storing various forms of stamps.

I have a smallish room, about 9' x 10', to keep my stamp and computer stuff in, and after almost 10 years of collecting stamping stuff, I'm afraid I've maxed out my space and then some. I've resorted to storing TAC and Stampin' Up! sets stacked in their cases by category on a bookshelf in the basement, and the Holiday/Special Occasion in totes.

I'm grateful that I have a room of my own to work in - sometimes I can't finish projects in the time I have available and need to leave stuff scattered everywhere. That said, if you have kids at home, and no decent workspace, treasure what you've got - children really are a blessing from the Lord and replacing your valuable time with them with too much stamping would be a poor substitute. Every parent I've ever met has said the time they are young goes by so quickly.

Okay - I got to thinking that I better throw in the typical disclaimer right away. The following is how I store my assorted stamps, not necessarily the "perfect" way!! LOL

And just so you don't worry that I'm too neat, here's proof:

This pile has been here since I attended a used stamp sale about three weeks ago. I have run out of stamp storage room, don't like to unmount wood-mounted and have absolutely no idea what to do with them at the moment... And of course after I use a stamp that's kind of hard to put away, I throw it on this pile!

I'll start with how I store my unmounted stamps.

The system I use for stamping with them is acrylic blocks with Tack n' Peel applied. So I don't have anything on the backs of 98% of my um's - they are just plain rubber. I keep them in Manilla file folders, stacked in drawers as shown:

I label each folder on the tabs with the company whose stamps are inside, and I only keep one company in each folder, no matter how few stamps I have from them. I keep some folders of Unknowns for when I get used stamps that aren't marked with a company name.

Here's the actual folder for some of my Eureka! unmounted stamps, as an example. After I stamp each stamp into my image index binders (see previous post) under the image category, I stamp them all on the front of the folder as shown above. Or if it's a full sheet of rubber that came with the images preprinted on an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper, I will just adhere that to the front of the folder instead of stamping each image.

Then I apply Scotch double-stick permanant tape to the inside of the folder in the corresponding area to the cover image, and stick the rubber to it. I've moved the pumpkin square so you can see that you definitely don't have to cover the whole area to get the rubber to stick. And my folders lay flat so they don't see a lot of shaking up, or anything that would cause the rubber to become loose.

The companies I design for are a little different set-up. I wanted to keep them totally seperate and had run out of drawer space for folders so I put them into binders as shown, slipping the original artwork sheet in a sheet protector, and then a piece of posterboard with the same taped-on rubber as above. They have all stayed stuck on which amazes me!

My mounted stamps I like to keep in categories, but honestly, I store them however I can these days! I have this ugly but efficient tall drawered cabinet that works the best because even tho the stamps are one layer high, the drawers are long, front to back:

And then I keep some in those cheap acrylic photo frames which I can stack on shelves and label:

And one of the ways that tickles me the most and is actually pretty user-friendly, is this coated wire pantry rack the hangs along the length on the back of the door:

I love it because I can stack background stamps four deep and the shelves are far enough apart to easily lift a stamp out without removing the rest.

I have some Hero Arts boxes stacked higher up, and it holds the large boxes perfectly front to back.

Stampin' Up! background stamps just get lined up on a nearby shelf on end, and then stacked on LOL where I can reach them easily.

I bought a TON of See-D's when they were clearanced at a big discount store, and just stack them in alphabetical order as shown:

I don't have so many clear stamps and oddballs that I have to worry about how to store them yet, so they are just kind of stacked in a falling down mess on one shelf, which I'm guessing you'd rather not see LOL My Judi-kins, etc. cubes are stored in a plastic frame tray on a shelf.
So that's it - hope you were able to get a good idea for yourself somewhere in there :o)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Enabler alert!

Just a quick note to let you know that I Brake For Stamps has a great $1 sale on some really nice single stamps....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Stampin' Organization 101 - Indexing Stamps

I'm a person who doesn't create well in chaos, so I thought I'd share some of my personal storage and organizing methods for anyone else wondering how to keep all that "stuff" contained and still user-friendly.

Today's topic - indexing the stamps!

Not a single stamp comes into my collection without getting logged into my image index. If I didn't have it I would completely lose track of what stamps I have. And it's invaluable for figuring out what images will work with others, size and style wise. Here are the binders:

Each stamped image on the spine insert is representitive of the topics contained in each binder (the last binder is for my inks - we'll go there later ;o). These are the current categories in the order shown on the binders:

Food * Flowers * Garden * Trees/Foliage * People * Landscape Buildings * Objects - Modern * Objects - Antique * Containers

Frames * Music * Design Elements * Faux Postage * Hearts/Love

Birds * Animals * Transportation * Cultural/Ethnic * Occasions

Children's Images * Handstamped by's/Envelope words/images

Holidays * Alphabets * Words/Phrases

I seperate the sections listed above using tabbed pages shown below:

Each category is broken down further wherever needed - for instance - People contains Men, Women, Children, Body Parts, Fanciful Creatures. I keep them organized by stamping each sub-category on a different page. I like to use Cougar Opaque 80 lb Smooth White cardstock - it's bright white and heavy enough that the punched holes don't need to be reinforced. The binders can get heavy using this cardstock, so I use more and they're lighter that way.

So here's what I do when I get a new stamp. If it's a mounted stamp, I just find the category, and sub-page if there is one, ink the stamp in Marvy black (it's easy to wash off and doesn't stain) and then try to find a place to put the actual stamp! LOL

Stampin' Up! and TAC stamps have their own binders, which are about 9" x 6" and subdivided into categories like the binders are for the single stamps. I stamp each set on a seperate half sheet of cardstock, and label the top of the page with the title and date of the set. When I get rid of a set I just rip the page out and toss it. I like to stamp all the SU words/phrases in the words section of my regular binder for easy reference and I label each with the title and date of the set it's from.

I keep a page at the back of each section for all unmounted images. I stamp the image under the right category, writing the company name under the image. I store all the unmounted stamps by company but I index them in my binders by image categories.

This is a sampling from the birds section:

I try to leave plenty of space in between images so I can easily find what I'm looking for. I add some smaller images in the open spaces as they come along.

If you've never indexed your stamps in this way, seriously consider doing it (in steps so your wrist doesn't cramp up!) - you will be so glad you did. I seriously use mine EVERY time I stamp!!

Up next? Storing Stamps!

till then...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lemon Square

Click photo for more detail

Card measures 5 3/4" x 4 1/2"

I've been going thru some techniques from year 2005 of the TechniqueJunkies newsletters, and it's one of my favorites year's worth already. There is one called Simple Sumi that I've been wanting to try for a year, and as soon as warm weather hits and I can go spray fumey products outside I'm all over it!! LOL Ever since seeing a TV special on how spraying areosol-type products in the basement could potentially cause the fumes to spread under and up into a water heater causing it to explode, I've had no urge to try certain projects anywhere but the great outdoors. Just healthier all the way around!

I wanted to try the Ripped Marble technique from the Aug 2005 newsletter so I started with a PSX Lemons stamp and some black Versafine, and three shades of yellow cardstock. I found that my panel needed a little more depth, so I used the ink and a tiny stipple brush to apply it just to the border as shown.

I mounted this panel to a taupe panel that I had put black rivets in, and tied rafia thru. If I was still working on the card I would distress both ends of this piece. Oh well! LOL I layered a black scrap under this so just the ends stuck out.

For the bkgd panel, I started with a piece of cs the same color as the center strip on the lemons panel. I used Marvy Ochre #13 to apply the Frost Background from the Feb 2005 TJ newsletter, and then stamped the lemon slice image (PSX) in the same ink randomly, using first and second stampings. I stamped the script (A Stamp in the Hand) in black along the bottom corner. I was unhappy with how bold it was all looking, so I used a sponge brush to swish light yellow acrylic ink over the surface randomly. I let this dry completely, then used black Staz-On ink to stamp the verse (Eureka!):

"The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits." - James 3:17

then Adirondack Mushroom (one of my all time favorite neutral ink colors) to stamp two lemon branch images (Club Scrap) randomly. I say randomly, but you do have to give some thought as to placement of stamped images in relation to the main panel, etc.

I like to lay the main panel on the background as I go, making sure placement of all elements coordinates with it. A stamp positioner will work wonders also!

I mounted the main panel to the bkgd panel, then this to a black panel, and finally to a taupe panel to tie in the layer under the main image.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, March 24, 2008

New Blog Feature!

Just for fun, go check out some of my favorite free sites unrelated to stamps - you can put a jigsaw puzzle of Mona Lisa together on your screen, make a cool signature to sign all your emails, take a quiz to see what job you'd be good at by just choosing a square of colored pattern, etc. Go to the sidebar for links and enjoy! (More to come as I get a moment...)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Vintage Femme Photo Stamp

I'm learning that certain shades don't scan quite true, but just picture this being more soft all over without as much plum and you get the idea.

Click photo for detail

Card measures 5 1/2" square

For the background, I did the super quick and easy Frost Background from the TechniqueJunkies February 2005 newsletter. I know this will be one of my favorite new ways to add visual texture to my work! If you click on the photo and check out the lower right corner I think you can see the effect - very subtle but effective - it almost seems like a leather look. The original "recipe" calls for glossy paper but I was looking for a more antique look so I used matte cream cardstock.

I started with the main panel, stamping the woman (Treasure Cay) in Palette Burnt Umber, and coloring in with Stampin' Up! chalks and Q-tips. I edged the panel with Adirondack Raisin straight from the pad. I trimmed around closely, rounding the corners slightly, and mounted onto dark brown cs, then onto green cs.

After doing the background (and I kid you not, start to finish it took less then one minute!) I laid the main panel where I wanted it, drew pencil marks at the corners, and then used a stamp positioner to put the tatting border (Stampin' Up!) in a rectangle as shown using the Burnt Umber ink. I used a small stipple brush to color the open areas in with the same. I used Raisin ink to stamp Autumn Leaves Elegant Flourishes by Rhonna Farrer as shown. I stamped some small script (Penny Black) lightly along the side with Stampin' Up!'s True Thyme.

For the quote panel I stamped Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers tulle in third generation Raisin ink and the quote (Inky Antics) with Burnt Umber. I edged it in raisin from the pad and pop-dotted it over the main panel.

Thanks for looking!

Happy Easter!

On this day commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I want to share with all of you guys the most important thing in my life (yes, even above stamping! ;o) If you would like a personal relationship with the living God thru the Son He sent to take our sins on Himself, He is available to you! There is nothing too horrible He won't lovingly forgive a repentant heart - that was the whole point of dying, to provide a sacrifice in our place for all the sins we'd commit. There is no pain in this life you have to go thru alone - He is always there and we need only reach out to Him. No matter how you grew up or what those around you believe, you can know God intimately right now and forever.

Hebrews 13:5 "...God has said "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

On this Easter day may you know His love and peace, and share it with those you know. I'd love to have you email me (see sidebar) if there is anything I might be able to help you with, or if you just want to wish me a happy Easter too :o)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter Iris

I sent this Easter card of to my parents and hopefully it will arrive today or tomorrow. The purples match much better in real life (all fairly violet), but the depth of the background technique confused the scanner a little.

Click photo for more detail

Card measures about 7" x 4 3/4"

Matt. 28:5,6 The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here: he has risen, just as he said."

For the watercolor-y looking background I used my all-time favorite TechniqueJunkies technique called Water Color Distress from the Feb 2007 newsletter. I used just one color of ink, Dusty Concord, and used a sponge to edge it also.

The iris, Judi-kins, was stamped on watercolor paper using Staz-On Black ink. I used Grumbacher paints and a regular brush with water. I didn't have a green to my liking so I went over most of it lightly with some brownish tan paint to tone it down. I added some peach around the flower, but it would have matched the background cs better if I had left it natural. I used a Sakura white gel pen to add a few highlights as it was looking too flat to me.

It wasn't my intention to tear around the image, but my cat jumped up on my workspace just as I was using black ink to stamp an arched "Easter is the promise of miracles" just above the flower. Wah! Oh well, make do or repaint - I think we all know what we choose 85% of the time ;o) So I crumpled up some purple cs, distressed the edges, wrapped sheer green ribbon around to eat up some of the open space, and then adhered the flower image over. I still had too much space LOL so I punched some diamonds from the background panel, and mounted self-adhesive flat back pearls in the centers.

If you don't have any extra background cs made to add elements, consider cutting them from the center of the prepared panel where it won't show (it will be covered by your main image panel), and then affix the bkgd to a cardfront.

I used some more bkgd cs to stamp the phrase on (Inkadinkado) and edged it with a sponge. I mounted this on the same green textured cs I used behind the main panel, and then to the cardfront using pop-dots.

Have a blessed Easter,

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Enabler alert!

I just went to take a peek at the Specials on the I Brake For Stamps site. One sheet is all realistic trees, one is inspirational verses, etc., one is scenic and people, one is the coolest group of animals in interesting poses - giraffes, frogs, an ostrich, one of dogs, one of bugs, and then there are some singles up also including two sizes of hibiscus, and some very cool Southwest. It's a great selection! If any of this sounds like something you might need to fill in a gap, go check out the 'Specials' page.

And along those lines, check out Kimm's blog for a tutorial on scenic stamping to help you use all those cool images together.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Out in the Field

This is another card featuring the new Oxford Impressions Country Girl sheet. Did I mention there are 18 images and phrases?! It's a great deal!!

Click photo for more detail
Card measures 5 1/2" x 4 1/4"

I started this one with a previously-made sheet of Water Color Distress background paper (see TechniqueJunkies Feb 07 issue) I believe I used Tea Dye and Peeled Paint on a cream cardstock.

I stamped the tractor in Staz-On Timber Brown, masked the tire with a Post-It note, and then stamped the wheat in Peeled Paint. I used a Tim Holtz Distressing Tool to rough up the edges and let the cream cs show a bit.

I stamped the Chicks ad block on a couple scraps of cream cs in third generation Timber Brown, tore them into long triangles, and edged them with Distress Antique Linen. I stamped Farm Fresh in Timber Brown on cream cs and edged the panel directly from the Peeled Paint ink pad.

To put it all together, I layered the main panel to a dark brown panel, wrapped the word triangles around and glued on reverse, and put an antiqued copper brad and flower medallion (Decorative Details) over one. I adhered the farm fresh panel and tacked a decorative antiqued copper picture hanger wrapped with brown gingham ribbon (Offray Nice & Narrow from Joann's) on it using an antiqued copper brad.

I used Timber Brown in second generation to stamp various elements (chicken wire, food grade circle label, wheat, Chicks ad and flower) from the sheet on the rust cardfront. I adhered the caramel cs over this, and the rest on top of that.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St.Patrick's Day!

Did you know that legend has it that St.Patrick used a shamrock to illustrate the Trinity of God to the Irish people? His story of capture, escape, and later return to Ireland is an amazing story! Enjoy your day, and go make something green LOL ;o)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Country Girl

I had such a good time making this card using the stamps in the new Oxford Impressions sheet of rubber called Country Girl. I'm such a huge fan of vintage-feel images, and these all go so great together. I have another card from the same sheet that I'll share in the next couple of days...

Click photo for detail

Card measures 5" x 6 1/4"

I started this card with a background I had made previously using my most favorite ever technique from the TechniqueJunkies Feb 2007 newsletter - it's called Water Color Distress. I think the colors I used here were Weathered Wood and Vintage Photo or Brushed Corduroy.

I stamped the house on semi gloss paper using Staz-on Stone Grey and colored it in with inkpads and a blender pen. I stamped the girl in the Grey ink too, but she turned out looking green around the gills LOL so I restamped her in Memories black ink, let her dry and colored her in the same way. Then I trimmed both pieces out closely.

Most unmounted stamps work just fine for me with no cushion aside from the Tack n' Peel on the acrylic blocks, but for photo stamps with incredible detail it's best to mount them on cling cushion and use an ink that is not too wet.

I laid all the elements out on the background to check on the best placement, using a stamp positioner for the words. I adhered the house panel, stamped the words in the Grey ink, pop-dotted the girl, put an antiqued silver brad thru a paper flower and used Glue Dots to adhere.

For the first patterned layer I stamped the chicken wire background repeatedly using a stamp positioner and edged it in the same ink with a sponge. For the second layer I stamped the Chicks ad words rectangle repeatedly in the Grey ink and edged it with a sponge. I overlapped these at angles, using a scrap cut to the same size to cover what I'd already stamped.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Eiffel Tower Top

I felt so guilty about not posting artwork in so long that it's just about 1 am and I just finished scanning a card that the ink is barely dry on ;o) Hope you like

(click for detail)
Card measures 5 1/2" square

The main panel is using one of the current TechniqueJunkies techniques called reinker splash. I used Distress inks and gold mixative, which is very, very faint, even irl. The image is the one my friend Cheri just gave me a few days ago (marked Eclectic Omnibus, which I believe is now out of business, but you can get this image on Plate #62 from the Frantic Stamper - just go to the Rubber Stamps category on the home page) and the word stamps are some unmounteds I bought at the used stamp sale over the weekend, and would love to know the manufacturer of them. For those panels I stamped the words in black Staz-on, the collage elements over in 2nd generation VersaMagic dewdrop Niagara Mist chalk ink, and used a sponge to edge them with Distress Old Paper. The postage elements are from the same sheet as the words, and the map is Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers, now out of the stamp business, but check with StampFrancisco.

On the dark background, I stamped the map of Paris and the Eiffel tower (unknown) in 2nd generation black Marvy ink. I used the jumbo Stampin' Up! Rough Texture wheel and white pigment ink to add some visual texture over this and tie in the main panel. The three black brads are a nice matte finish.

Thanks for looking,

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Stamping Stuff Tips

Hi! I desperately wish I had a fresh card to share with you, but I've not been able to stamp a card in the last couple days.

BUT, I do have some great tips for you! I had the thrill of going to a used stamp sale on Saturday (love finding images I didn't buy when they came out and have grown to love seeing others using them, and seeing other stampers I don't bump into very often but like very much :o) Also picked up a couple new embellishments at a stamp store on Friday, all of which brought these tips I like to use to mind.

  1. When you get home with embellishments, put them in a basket on or near your stamping surface so you remember to use the new and trendy while it's current.

  2. Attach the receipts to the items in case you realize you made a spur-of-the-moment purchase that's going to turn into a oops, shouldn't have thrown that in my cart! LOL

  3. Go thru the basket about once a month and return/exchange/give away what you know you won't use, and put away the rest into categories amongst your stash.

  4. Stamp your new stamps into an index and toss into the "hot new items" basket so you remember to play with them.

  5. If I get a new stamp image that I have an idea of how to use with other stamps I already have, I use a large blank index card and black ink to stamp them out in the vague format while I'm thinking about it.

  6. If a stamp is a gift, like my cool new Eiffel tower tip-top-view stamp from my stampin' friend Cheri (a recent out-of-state-vacation score :o), I like to jot a note about that in my index.

That's all that comes to mind at the moment - I'll add more if I think of something later LOL

Monday, March 10, 2008

One Day Only Sale!

There is a fabulous 20% off sale today only March 10 at Oxford Impressions - discount code is march10 and is good on all rubber sheets! Go check out the brand new sheet called Country Girl (there are so many great images all together!) - it contains a little girl in overalls, a sprawling Victorian home, wheat stems, a sketchy tractor, chicken wire background, a chicken, vintage labels, photo images of a child on a pony, and more! Can you tell I love the images on this one? LOL If you need inspiration check out the Country Girl gallery on the site for lots and lots of ways to use these images.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A little note and some fun

Oh my goodness, I have been a very bad blogger this past week! Sorry for my absence - I have been working like mad in my spare time to get my TechniqueJunkie sample cards for the April newsletter ready. If you haven't gotten yourself a subscription for the year you might miss my debut issue as a 2008 designer, and that alone would be horrible!! LOL Seriously, you can't buy more stamping inspiration for a $20 bill.
I have a little stamping entertainment for you though - go to Susan's Smartworks blog and check out her wonderful mini tutorial this week. That should keep you occupied for a little bit, and if you finish that up I believe the company is having a 35% off sale as seen on Mama Dini's blog (see sidebar) so head on over to browse.
Have fun! :o)