Altering stamps for art journaling

Yesterday I shared a page I made with some Janet Klein images that were altered to make them more usable for art journaling. This is how they began life.

Cute, no doubt, but less useful (for ME) in my art journal. I love the technique that MANY people do, of creating figures with more “normal” heads but amorphous blobs for the body. I am a fan, but don’t have a ton of appropriate images. Plus, the journal I am working on at the moment is my very small one made from a free Roben-Marie class. The scale of many of the things one MIGHT use is all wrong. These stamps are just the right size.

While I love the faces and the body bits, those hats! Interestingly, I found that cutting them off produced what I needed. That little dip from removing the cup?

Perfectly filled by flipping the cup, minus handle upside down, creating a little hat.

And that technique works for a couple of them. The birthday cake, when cut away, leaves a hatless lady that can be used as such (see final page) but the hats can also be shuffled around to fit all of them.

And other hat or hat-like things can be brought in as well!

Nice! On the final page I also used a large flower stamp, stamped on deli-paper then coloured and coated (both sides) with GLOSS (not matte) medium on a non-stick surface, like a page protector, and left to dry. This creates what I have seen called crystalline paper.

You can sort of see the shiny translucent nature of the bits, and cut in a certain way they make nice butterfly wings!

I did say there were three things I altered, so lastly, and the most scary, I cut into a stamp set. Yep. I have this stamp and die set, but the dies actually don’t include the little words, and those words could be very useful in many other ways.

With micro-tip scissors I snipped away the text

and used it on the final page.

I think this cluster of figures idea is one that I will explore more. In fact, I had a book delivered that I want to play with, that has some tools (sort of) inside that I think will be useful in this.

Watch this space! And HAPPY NEW YEAR’s EVE! 2021 cannot come soon enough…

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Mount for unmounted stamps – my best use for the Creative Palette (and a cheap alternative)

So there is history here.  You might like to go back and read a few previous posts (or not, as you prefer.)

  • My review of the CP v the Gelli plate and where I die cut it with my Sizzix

That last link is full of warnings – press the stamp HARD onto the CP.  Don’t use it in this way if you worry about messing up whatever you are stamping on to. Shake the mount.  Wash the backs. blah blah blah.

I kept finding that, with every use, the CP surface got less and less sticky and washing it was too much of a bother if I had to do it every time I wanted to stamp an unmounted stamp.

I store most of my unmounted stamps like so:

In binders, and then in baseball card sleeves:

I have not ever wanted to go to the expense of mounting all the stamps, and bulking up the binders.  So over the years I have come up with a few different methods that work for me.  Generally, a strip of strong double-sided tape on a clear mount will do the trick.

I bought a bottle of Aileens Tack It (over & over) cause lots of people recommended it as a good way to make the red rubber, unmounted stamps into “cling” stamps.  It works, sure, but then you have to store all these sticky backed stamps. Ah … No.

Fast forward to the post of CP as mount and….an idea!


Why this works – first, the CP is just a bit spongy.  Not too spongy, but enough that it acts as both the mount and the cushion and gives a nice image (might have been nice had I actually shown that – sorry, I’m out of practice at blogging) especially when stamping on to my cork-floor-tile-in-a-big-ziplock-bag stamping mat. Second, there is only the couple of CP chunks that are sticky. Easy to store.  I keep a lot of plastic packaging.  This is from a Spellbinders die.  I just flipped the halves so rather than tightly encasing the die, there is a slim open area that fits two of the sticky CP bits.

Perfect fit.

Now, this makes sense for me because I already own a (mostly useless for the kind of monoprinting I like to do) Creative Palette.  But the CP is not widely for sale anymore (or not that I could find) and if you don’t already have one, this is not a good enough reason to go buy one.

As a cheap alternative, I had a go at coating a piece of sticky-backed fun foam with the Tack It.  It worked just fine.

There is a slight issue with the fun foam being quite thin.  When you press to stamp the sticky surface can just grab the paper – I found this to be most problematic with tissue paper, not at all an issue with a paint-coated journal page, for example.  I did not find it as much an issue with the CP-as-mount.

In hunting for my CP package, I unearthed a nice gelli-print, so I can add at least one decent looking image for you LOL!:

Now I must decide what to do with it.

If you have a Creative Palette gathering dust, why not turn it into a set of stamp mounts? If you don’t have one, try the sticky-backed fun foam.  Let me know if it works for you!


A new skill…

I read an interesting article in The Sunday Times about learning a new skill – from the online version (well, at least as much as I can grab without subscribing to it )

How long does it take to master a new skill? Apparently, the answer is 10,000 hours. That terrifying number was first suggested in 1993 by Anders Ericsson, a professor at the University of Colorado. He had totted up the number of hours a range of children had practised the violin. Anything up to 4,000 hours and, well, meh. Anything over 10,000 and hello, maestro.

But 10,000 hours is eight hours a day, every day, for more than three years. So that’s out. Instead, we’ve adopted the strategy put forward in Josh Kaufman’s book  The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything… Fast. …

I have surely spent at least 20 hours watching videos, reading tutorials and mentally trying to conceptualize the Magic Loop sock knitting technique over the last 10 years .  As you will have seen, the current pair is on three DPNs with the fourth as a working needle.  I prefer the super short ones (which my MIL couldn’t believe) but the longer ones are totally like I heard Lucy Neatby  (sock knitting teacher) describe as “wrestling porcupines.” I have some 8″ ones that I can’t use hardly at all.  4, 5 or 6″ at most  is what I prefer.  I have a set of 5″ needles that is missing one (or perhaps two, as I only have three of them)  and I got a matching set of 6″ ones so cheap from Tiger, when I got the yarn, that I’ve just used one of them to complete the set.  Every time I work the longer needle loose I know I’ve done another row….small victories…


Hummm.  I may actually have two longer ones there … no matter. Back to the point. When MIL was here and we were chatting about knitting, we both expressed an interest in the two-at-a-time Magic Loop technique.  It took me a few days to make the first sock of my set, and possibly 4 YEARS before the second one was finished (and only because MIL finally grafted the second toe for me) – do I have the worst ever case of second-sock-syndrome?  Hopefully not as the 2nd one is on the needles as you can see.

Sorry, still drifting off point. The point is that we both agreed that it looked interesting but we had both attempted it before (I tried to knit my first pair of socks that way but gave up and did them with DPNs) and couldn’t wrap our heads around it.  After reading the article I was inspired to try AGAIN.  To focus my attention and crack it once and for all.  And I did.  Here is where I am as of today.


These are thick worsted weight socks from a free pattern that I like because it has built-in lines to remind you to take note of your numbers as you knit and is designed for the Magic Loop.

Luckily with all the tidying and organizing, I had virtually all my knitting stuff in one place (well, except those pesky missing needles) so I had my row counters and markers.  With the Magic loop, you are always moving the cable around so I wasn’t sure where it would work so I just tied it to my tail from the cast on.  It flopping around is another reminder – when I have it on the left, I’ve finished a row. My other option was this ancient freebie from Simply Knitting – never going to happen. It would be just like me to walk out of the house wearing it still.


Oh, and those little markers at the bottom?  Aren’t they cute?  I was considering how to convert all the DPN needle patterns to magic loop ones, when the pattern will say move 16 stitches from needle 2 and 16 stitches from needle 3 to another needle or something like that. I didn’t have anything marked 1, 2, and 3 but I did have a ton of these little beads in my scrapbooking stash


AND I had a ton of these little triangle jump rings – the oval ones are OK but getting the beads on to some of the round jump rings is hard.


and pairing them up I can use them to mark on my magic loop knitting where the needles are.  I just have to annotate 1 as A, etc.

I found this short video very helpful for “getting” the Magic Loop technique.  Once I get this pair done, and the second sock from the DPN pair done, and get a much longer circular needle, I may try the two-at-a-time version.  Now I’ve done the process for one sock, I think I can see how it will work for two.

And then it’s toe-up sock and the fleegle heel…

…can you tell it’s been a LONG time since I blogged properly? The words, they JUST KEEP COMING.




I am still taking advantage of my MIL.  She happened to bring with her a sock pattern that she got free with a ball of sock yarn so many years ago that she has made 100s of socks using it.  I really like it.  When doing the tidy-up I found not one, not two, but 3 pairs of sock yarn skeins. I had spent some time researching patterns, looking for a basic one that I liked.  The last pair I knitted with the Yarn Harlot’s guidelines (not the cheat sheet) in Knitting Rules.  I was looking for something that was jut knit this, do that, etc. etc.  The point is I figured why not give her tried and tested version a go?


So far so good, although I took this photo yesterday then found no time to actually blog it, and by now I have turned the heal, done the heel cup and an at the picking-up-and-knitting the side gusset phase. But it is working well and I already got one tip from MIL that I am in love with.  When she does the long-tail cast on, she doubles the yarn and knits the first k1, p1 ribbing with  the doubled strand.  Not only does that very securely weave in the ends so there is NO WAY they will ver work free, it gives a much softer and thicker top edge.  It’s hard to SEE but easy to feel. This is how I will do every sock from now on!


I am also curious to see how it is possible that the £1 balls of yarn from Tiger are 50 g but only 170 metres and because of that how they will make up.  There is a symbol that is an = sign with a / thru it, between the 50g and the 170 metres – which is what? more or less = to maybe? About = to? Not sure.  But what I am sure of is that this yarn, unearthed in the cleaning, is Regia yarn, 50 g and 210 metres.  40 metres is A LOT of difference.  I don’t want to knit anklets.  It might be worth grabbing another £1 ball just so I am sure I have enough.  £3 for a pair of hand knitted socks is pretty reasonable still, don’tcha think?

Time is growing short, they leave soon, so I now need to look at ALL my knitting, crochet and quilting projects and see if there are any other sticky wickets I would want to ask her advice on before the jet off to sunny Spain.  Sorry to say MIL does not, and never has, free-motion quilted.  That is one thing I can’t get her guidance on, more’s the pity. I wonder if LLJ FMQs?  And if so, what is her availability for private lessons ……


Text converter

It’s Bank Holiday here in the UK and while the garage is done (YAY!) there are an unreasonable number of “junk drawers” that need sorting.  Given the miserable weather, that seems a perfect task for the day.

But I did get a comment/request on my post yesterday asking about the list of words – did I have them in ALL CAPS, like I used for my words.  I didn’t, and while I am always happy to help I just wasn’t going to re-type the whole list in order to get them in ALL CAPS.  Sorry, that isn’t the best use of my time LOL!  But I did find a super handy online text converter.  There are LOADS of these sorts of tools available.

Text converter – this will convert text to ALL CAPS, initial caps, all lower case, alternating caps (remember when that was all the rage? ) and sentence caps.


or check this one out!

& a a a a aBoUt aLl aLwAyS Am aN AnD AnD AnD AnD AnY ArE ArE ArE ArT ArT ArTiSt aRtIsTiC As aT At bE BeAuTiFuL BeAuTy bEcAuSe bEgIn bEiNg bElIeVe bEnEaTh bEsT BeTtEr bEtWeEn bIg bIg bLaCk bLeNd bLuE BlUr bOy bRiGhT BrUsH

Alphabetizer – takes a list of words and puts them in alphabetic order. That one takes a block of text, alphabetizes it, and you can select to add a line feed after each word to create a list


There is also a tool on that page to remove line breaks – so if you found a LIST and wanted to convert it to a block of text you can do it with a click. And there are separate tools to convert to upper or lower case, and to capitalize sentences, but the first link offers all that in one place, which is why I prefer it.

Word Search creator: Remember this set of printables for Christmas cards? Here is the link again for the word search creator.  Very handy.


And while I’m at it, don’t forget the Kuler Color Theme tool! It is so easy to pick a theme, and unlike some, it has more than just three colours.  I like that – and I like the display that includes the RGB values for the colours and use that A LOT when creating my printables.


I also like that you can tweak a theme with the tools, or change it completely with the COLOR RULE menu.

And since I am doing a post of links, I really have to add Taxedo and Wordle, for creating word clouds. All sorts of fun applications for them.

Have fun








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More about pencil eraser stamps and placement

I still have DS in town (and still a list of things to do for him before he heads back, mostly clothing repair – you see? I just KNEW there was sewing in my future, I just hoped it would be quilting!) and DD is home sick from school, so this is just another quickie.

Following on from yesterday, I did eventually find my larger size punchinella.   I just KNEW the size was perfect to use as a guide for stamping a uniform pattern with the tiny eraser stamps, and I was right.


The width of my punchinella is about 3 1/2 inches, but it is very very easy to reposition and carry on.  Even so, just a 6 inch (measured from one full circle to another full circle) length produces a grid of 3 x 6, which would still work widthwise for many cards.


LOL!  My eraser carving is not expert but some of them I quite like.  Remove the punchinella and…


I must have gotten a smudge of brown on the side of my finger cause there are some smudges there, but as this is a sample it doesn’t really matter much.  But it does show you the idea. Personally I think it’s a lot easier than drawing a grid, and a lot more reliable than eyeballing it. And you could perhaps pick out different patterns – I can see how you might make an arrow, or a chevron or straight lines or triangles…

But not a circle.  But as I mentioned yesterday,  other stencils work as well.  Not sure who makes this one, but someone will recognize it, I’m sure.


For the outermost ring of stamping, there is PLENTY of room.  For the next one in, it’s a close fit, so a stamp like I’ve used (the starburst one) works, but the other one wouldn’t – anything that depends on the full diameter of the eraser to show the pattern won’t work.  Maybe another similar stencil will?  Nothing I have carved fit the tiny holes of the smallest circle but just a dot from a bullet-tip marker works.


I think I really need to store these pencils someplace where I won’t forget I have them.  I tend to do that.  Now back to laundry and sewing.




The Distress Spritzer? well, not REALLY…..

This is one of those posts that is a weird confluence of events.  Someone once asked me Where do your ideas come from?  I thought for fun I would document it – the steps may be unique, but the process isn’t. It’s just the way my mind works and the benefit of a messy desk  Feel free to just look at the photos – they should tell you all you REALLY need to know.

1. I got an email from a UKS sponsor announcing they had received the new Tim Holtz Distress Marker Spritzer.  

The more I looked at it the more I was convinced I had one.  Not that exact thing, but something pretty similar. So I had a bit of a hunt and sure enough, in with my stamping markers (a drawer not opened since I got my Copics) there it was.


This has to be 15-20 years old – I know I got it while in the USA so it would have to be.  I had a check for the name and while I see the odd reference to it they no longer sell it that I can find.

2. I popped a few random markers in to it.  One thing I can see is that mine seems to be lacking the inner liner for the pen-holder.  Not a big deal, it works well enough without it but I could always as one of those rubber pencil grips to super thin pens and I bet that would do the trick.

3.  As I was looking across my desk, my eye landed on one of my watercolour brush pens.  I thought, I wonder….

Now, I only have maybe two watercolour brush pens.  I’ve meant to buy some, after seeing Dyan from Art from the Heart show how she has as many water brush pens as she has colours of Dylusions and she uses them to colour with.  But I just never got around to it.  Deep in the back of my mind I had a tickle.  I KNEW that somewhere, probably in DDs “art cupboard” I had some kids version of the waterbrushes.  And guess what? Not only did I have them, I found them.


I know we got them maybe 8-10 years ago at Costco. Some of them are fairly empty.  I deconstructed one of them, thinking I could just replace the cheap ink with good ink, although I thought as the Dylusions aren’t waterproof either, I might as well just pick one or two of the near-empty ones to play with and use up the rest of the ink with mixed media stuff rather than just empty them.


There is no seal on the pens, which surprises me as it’s for the kids market.  I would expect them to be sealed and you would need to buy new ones once these ran out. But no, they disassemble just fine.


I tossed out the cartridge and the little slim tube.  For use with the spritzer you don’t WANT to slow the flow, like you would with a potentially messy pen, with kids, so I binned the cartridge and the tube.

4.  What to fill it with?  Obviously ink is going to be pretty much the same as using a marker, but then…


Perfect.  Acrylic liquid ink. This gives me something, a matte and almost chalky look, that I am not going to get from a marker (I only have ONE Distress marker, the Picket fence one, so I don’t really know if that would be similar to using acrylic ink) and is waterproof. Note:


And wipe over it with a baby wipe


The ink on the wipe is not from the acrylic ink, it’s from rubbing the paint off the stencil.  It give a nice watercolour-y effect.  I also did the flip-and-stamp you might normally do with an ink loaded stencil. The acrylic ink dries really fast so the stamping part has to be done after a spritz of water  on the slick surface of the stencil, and you can also then smear the acrylic ink thru the stencil with a wipe. Kinda both on the same area here


5.  And then, of course, there is WHITE.


Using the spritzer gives you a way more controlled spray than the spray bottle does, so you would use this for either the Acrylic ink OR the Dylusions for this sort of scatter.

So there you go.  I’m still in my jammies and my hands are covered with ink and paint, and my stamp-storage tower (with the wood-mount stamps, where the Blitzer was hiding) is pretty much dumped out on the floor, but now I have a new toy to play with, a whole heap of waterbrushes, a bunch of ink to use up, and it’s only just after 9 AM.  Or was when I started typing….

And Texas Flood is playing from my playlist, the accident payment has been sent, DH is back from his conference, so no school run, and the house is pretty tidy (well, downstairs, anyway) and the laundry done.  Where can the day go from here?  Downhill, probably, but I can always hope ….



A great little trick ….

It’s been a helluva morning already – DD had a Drs. appt this morning and DH is off at some app developers conference so the school run was down to me for a change.  Going around a roundabout a woman who clearly has NO IDEA of the traffic flow, and was unable to read the lane markings, thought she could just change lanes and carry on.  She perhaps could have, had I not been in the way.  Been to the body shop and the mechanic already.  The mechanic says the car is safe to drive so relieved. Now with a seriously crumpled fender and a door that doesn’t open and close as well as it should, but fortunately no injuries, and thanks to a witness,  a clear claim to insurance agreed by both of us that it was HER fault and not mine, I am finally back at my desk for a short time till school pick up.  {sigh}

As a result of al that I haven’t made anywhere NEAR the planned progress, but I did discover a little trick that I thought I would pass on.  I am SO doing this all the time now!

Given my recent issues with t’internet, I’ve not been watching YouTube videos much.  But I did stumble across this one last night.  To be fair is was drifting, nearly nodding off I was so tired, but the round about 5 minutes in I saw something that totally jolted me awake:

When I am making a layout, be it traditional or mixed media, I always layer and cluster piles of things.  Laura, from crop, calls me the Queen of Layers.  Not sure that is true, there are others who do it way better than me, but I will acknowledge it is def. part of my style.  Problem is I am always shuffling things around and I often get it all set up perfectly then when I come to sticking it all down I get a piece turned around or something out of order and then I look at the final result and slap my forehead and go DOH! WELL, a simple staple is all that is needed!

After laying out the pile of layers


Just staple the pile as you want it, once in the middle


This keeps everything as you want it to be, but the edges are all still free, so you can easily slip other layers into the gaps and play around with them to your heart’s content without losing the basic structure of the cluster!


Isn’t that genius?  I find that the base is not going to be something I want to shift – once the photo is on top I’m happy with the overall SHAPE and it’s just slipping in a strip of this, a label or tag end of that, etc.

OK, so it isn’t this A May Zing technique, but it is one of those super nifty little tricks that just make the process so much easier.  And if I WERE to change my mind, there is only one staple to remove to free it all up again.

As you can see I have the next folder ready for its base of paper, before I start building in the colour with inks and sprays and paint and stamps and masks.  I may try to get all that stuck down before dashing off to collect DD so I can begin work in earnest in the morning, but not sure I’m done with sorting out the insurance stuff quite yet so it may have to wait.

Poor DH.  He leaves town for a few days and CRASH BANG WALLOP – so typical.  Just thankful if there was a car accident in the cards, it was one as minor (albeit annoying) as this one and not something far worse.  Thanking my lucky stars….


Red and Black modelling paste

Sometimes, I just want a fast answer.  A question occurs to me and I just have to know.

I used the basic recipe of 1 part paint, 1 part talc, and 1/2 part fabric glue.  And guess what?  Even with red and black paint, the two I expected to have to most trouble with (ending up with pink and grey once I mixed in the white glue and the white talc) turned out great.



And since I was experimenting anyway, I decided to try using the stencil I have that has the tiniest holes imaginable in it, to see how well the homemade version performs.  Would it give me well-defined dimension or would it all create a blob of colour when it squidged under the stencil?? I think this shows that it works perfectly – those holes are no bigger than the head of a pin and they are perfectly formed.

With red:



with black:



Much as I want an immediate answer, only time will tell me if this modelling paste can be stored.  Ideally I think some sort of squeeze-y bottle would be my preferred option, but I’d have to mix up a lot of it, or find a tiny bottle.  These little stackable craft storage pods I have in abundance so I just popped the excess into them – I’ll keep checking and report back to say how long they stay moist enough to use or if they dry out too quickly to store them.  Even so, it only takes a moment to mix one up so I don’t see the problem with mixing a perfect match to your project one the fly…..



Colouring homemade modelling paste

Well, although I was pretty sure I had seen someone someplace colour modelling paste with alcohol ink, I made the BIG mistake of mentioning it before trying it.  When I DID try t I was disappointed with the results.  DOH!

So I took my little tub of past and had a methodical play with the things I thought would work to see how they performed.



I took less than a 1/2 teaspoon in each well and mixed one with alcohol ink, one with acrylic ink and one with bog standard student grade acrylic paint.



Pretty much in order of intensity – the alcohol ink was pretty pale but of the three adding the alcohol ink changed the consistency of the paste the least.  The acrylic ink made a VERY creamy mix, with not near the same body, but the colour was more intense.  The paint left pretty much the same consistency and the colour was the darkest, although lighter than the original paint, as you would expect when mixing a colour with WHITE.

To ramp up the body I added a smidge more talc to all three.  That worked fine.



and the results when using the paste as intended? Hover (or click if on a phone or iPad) to see my comments, but really the photos speak for themselves!

Now, I ALSO tried the other thing I mentioned, which is to made the original mix with a colour of paint rather than white.  Same ration (1 part paint, one part talc, 1/2 part glue)



as you can perhaps see, the consistency is exactly like the original paste made with white, which should have been expected. And the colour is quite vibrant.  It works perfectly – and it dried by the time I typed up this post, so maybe 10 minutes?



Sorry for the dark-ish photos but DD is off school this week. We are going to the cinema so I really have to dash and the morning light + artificial light is rubbish.

What I would say is if you want a true colour, mix up the paste with actual paint in the colour you choose.  I mentioned in my long comment I think what I would do is mix up a bit of a colour for a project  .  Based on how much coverage I can see I would get even with what amounts to about a teaspoon of mix, you can do this on the fly as you need it.  If there is a colour you think you want a lot of, or if you are doing something large and don’t want to risk any slight colour variation, mix up a couple of tablespoons on a palette (easier to scoop it all up with a credit card or palette knife) and pop it into the corner of a plastic bag (NOT a Zip lock one, a soft one) and knot it.  I think you could keep it for a while, it’ll stay moist in the bag, and when you need it, just snip the corner off, pipe the paste onto the edge of your credit card/gift card/whatever and apply thru your stencil or smear on with your palette knife! You could try to re-knot the bag or pipe it into another bag if you still have some left.  I’m interested to try RED paint, cause we all know red and white make PINK so am wondering how the colour will be affected by adding the white talc and white glue – the orange is pretty close to the colour in the tube, but RED and BLACK really are the true test….maybe after the movie….