Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Casa Isla stamped

Our good friends, Kit and Tony have a lovely newly built luxury vacation home on Isla Mujeres, the island just off of Cancun.
Casa Isla is the name of this house and when I say it is so amazing, those words don't do it justice. Carribbean ocean views from every room and some with several views, It is fantastic....check it out for yourself here. Kit just had a birthday last month and I was so involved in stamp carving that I was inspired to do a stamp for her. This design came to me quickly and I carved it quickly, too. I gave her the stamp before I got to play with it too much, but I did get it in my current moleskine journal.
Stamp carving....ahh, so much fun and quite relaxing. ok, not as relaxing as sitting in the outdoors living room in Casa Isla gazing at the turquoise sea.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Alphabet Stamps Storage

Like many stampers, my collection of alphabet stamps continues to grow. The assortment ranges from $1.00 mini sets I pick-up at Michael's and Target to fablulous collections from a terrific sized set from Michelle Ward and large funky sets from MaVinci's to the reliable easy-to- find & use sets by Hero Arts. Many of these are unmounted because it is much more economical to sell in this fashion as apposed to mounting them on wood. Some stampers like to store their unmounted rubber in binders. I have found I don't access them as readily, I even find I do the same with the clear stamps I have been collecting. My tried and true way of stamping is using wood mounted. It feels better to me and I can work much quicker with a hands-on, technique. A 'Grab and Go' sort of thing! One of the great tips for mounting alpha sets is to use the mini square wood blocks found at craft stores. They come in quantity, in a bag. I use the regular craft foam as a cushion and mount them on the blocks. And also, like many stampers, I store them in an acrylic frame....which I buy on sale at AC Moore, (gargage sales are a good source for these too). Using the different sized frames depending on my needs. My only problem was the blocks of wood would roll over I could never see the index of the stamp, which is really the fastest way to use them. I would spend too much time fumbling throught them looking for a letter. Well, you stampers know the routine. So I decided to try an idea I had, to store them at an angle, so when they go back in the frame, I can easily see what and where they are and they stay put. Long story....but this is what I came up with. Using chipboard which I recycle from used paper pads, I measures a strip of chipboard about 2.5" wide (size does not have to be precise), the length was the the width size of the frame, (at the risk of confusing you.....I found much of the cardboard from my old art paper pads were the same width as the frames, so all I had to do was cut the 2.5" width). Then, measuring with a C-Thru I would score that strip down the middle, cutting through most of the board, but not completely. Fold it over and you have a mountain to insert in the acrylic frame. I reinforced the underside (valley fold) with a bead of hot glue. Place it in your tray and toss in your alphabet blocks and watch them stay in place. Oh, what's that? What are the pink mountains in the frame you see? Well, like with many things in life and art, I over-thought this idea and first tried it by making the mountain fold and securing it with a lot of masking tape onto a base (look closely) underneath. Then, I had to paint it pink....I think the paint was just therapy I unconciously needed after struggling to make these chipboard mountains harder than they needed to be. Of course after the initial pink ones were made I let them sit for many days, avoiding making more of these PITA's (pain-in-the-ass). Then after I 'let go of the process', it hit me.....just do it with two easy strips. Whew!! I am very happy with my mountains and intend to do more after I mount the many other alpha sets I have in binders.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Collaged Journal Cover

I made this journal for a friend and am very pleased with the way it turned out. I first made a support of collaged printed papers and applied a light coat of gesso. When that was dry I brushed blue acrylic paints lightly to color the background but not cover the text completely. Next I used my own carved stamps to print the background with acrylic paints. For the garden girl, I used a stamp I carved and stamped her on bristol board so that when I cut out the image it would hold up. I used a light brown ink because I knew I would be adding color, which I did mostly with colored pencil s and some markers. Next, I cut out her dress interior and adhered fabric from behind and then glued her on the blue stamped background with gel medium. Below is more of the same blue stamped background that went on the back cover of the journal.
The Zutter Bind it All binding system is terrific and I like using it to make quick books and albums.

This is the largest stamp I have carved so far. Maybe a bit too big, because I had to temporarily mount it on a large Judi-kins stamp block just to be able to handle it when I stamp....and she still doesn't fit completely on the wood. But I was able to stamp her image anyway.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Carving a ton of stamps

Here is an a journal page from this past spring, I came across it and wanted to share it.
This past spring is when I really got into stamp carving.
Just like store bought stamps, you can use the different stamp design elements to build a page. The texture and patterns create interesting backgrounds. This is an easy way to color a page that you have written. After stamping I also stippled color in different areas.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stamp Carving

Since stamp carving has become new love, I wanted to share some stamps that I carved this week. Here are just a few. With these three, I used the pink Speedy Carve by Speedball. This rubber is very sturdy and forgiving as you carve, so pieces don't break off as you are cutting out your design. This rubber holds up to all kinds of abuse and especially cleans well like manufactured vulcanized rubber.
I have really enjoyed the challenging aspect of carving my own rubber. Trying to add as much detail as possible increases my skill level. One thing I have learned is that this takes practice and you cannot rush the process.
Since it is only 1/4" thick, when stamping with it can be tricky. I like to mount them on thick craft foam, it is about 3/8" which is thicker than the enormous craft foam selection at the craft stores. Keep your eyes open for it and every now and then you can find it. I stamp an index on the craft foam with Staz-on (let it dry for about 10 minutes first or it will smudge...I know, Staz-on is supposed to dry quickly, but certain surfaces are different and this is one of them). Then I mount the foam to the rubber using E-6000.
Having these stamps mounted makes them much easier to use without inky finger smudges.
For all you stamp addicts, if you have not carved yet.....what are you waiting for? Try it, but give yourself a learning curve and don't give up quickly.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Autumn is blogging....

Welcome to my blog. I am not sure about doing this, so let's see how it goes. Nothing has to be written in stone, but apparently when it goes out on the internet it's there for eternity. Wow. Anyway..... I will be posting mostly my creative ideas and other related items.
You can view my site at with a good selection of my creations, which have been evolving throughout the years, (you probably got here from there).
Art journaling is one of my biggest loves. Combining collage or illustrated imagery with my thoughts, dreams, and written events of my life is very satisfying for me. Interestingly, although I have been doing this for years, I have yet to loose interest in my art journals.
Stamping is my big love. I just love to stamp. I tell my kids (Rosemary 14, and Abraham 12) that life is all about stamping, and they do what all good teenagers do, roll their eyes. But what I am truly saying (and they know this)is that it makes my heart happy. That is why so many of my journal pages have stamping somewhere on them, if not all over them. Even stamping the words with alphabet stamps is meditative.
Ok, well there is my starting point for blogging. And I said I didn't want to blog.
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