I had a good crop day, even if I didn’t actually CROP.  What I DID do was make a load of ATCs for the upcoming WOYWW crop and anniversary exchange.  Now I know some people like to keep their ATCs under wraps, but this is the lot I did for the “extra” exchange.  I’ll do a special one for the person above me exchange (or is it the person below? I forget, but am sure Julia will specify again) so not worried about showing these.  I figure most of the exchange will come AT the WOYWW crop so people will see them anyway.

When trying to decide on the design, I figured I should use the techniques that I am “known” for – that means Gelli prints and digital manipulation, I guess would be the best way to say it.  So these all have Gelli prints as the base, some printed bits, and the image of me that I manipulated and then carved on an eraser to make a stamp.


Not too bad in the end.  Not as perfect an image as the manipulated photo (and some of the ATCs do have a printed version on them instead of a stamped one, just for variety) but not too bad at all.


Can you tell the difference from a distance?  A few need final touches but overall the selection is done! And all of them are backed with my ATC back printables from yesterday so now it’s just the handwritten bits I need to add!

I was also super excited as Julia and I popped out to do some errands and stopped in (cause I begged) to Kraft Krazy – I wanted a few Kaisercraft stamps) and she still had some of the Clearly Better stamp pads!  I have the brown and black already but added a Graphite one to my collection.  They really ARE better for clear stamps.  I’m not sure they are still being made anymore but if you find them, grab them.   And I got two sets of border stamps I adore – used on the ATCs, I’m sure you will note.


Ah, now I am seeing the sun too, so best get that laundry done and hung out to dry….


Thinking about my WOYWW ATCs ….

So I am FINALLY getting to go to a crop tomorrow.  I’ve had a run of things getting in the way (and one month it was cancelled) so really happy this week it looks like all systems are GO! I don’t want to dar a load of stuff with me, and with the WOYWW crop and anniversary ATC exchange looming, I thought that might be a perfect way to spend the day.

I wanted to do something a bit interesting this year and had the idea to make my ATCs with something unique and personal.  And face it, aren’t all we WOYWWers curious to see not just the desks of our cross-the-world community members but maybe sometimes keen to see THEM?  Or maybe that’s just me… In any case, after carving the little eraser tip stamps I thought, as I so often do, I wonder if…?

For my first experiment I took that stencil image from one of my AJ pages and reduced him greatly then transferred him to a 25p eraser from the grocery store. They are NOT good.  Oh, they carve like a dream but they are convex, slightly.  Perfect if you want a small image in the middle, because the downward sloping sides keep the edges from printing without having to carve them, but NOT good if you want to make use of the whole area. Maybe you can see that the side didn’t print as clearly as I would have liked.

To transfer the image I simply printed it onto a scrap of vellum and pressed that onto the eraser.  Not good for fine detail, but perfectly OK for this sort of image:


You can’t see it with noting to give any perspective, but the face is approx. 1 inch x 1 3/4 inches.  Not big at all, I also only have ONE carving tool, that I got in a Club Scrap kit, OMG, must be 10 + year ago.  I also have ONE Speedball carving block that came with it (actually only a piece of it) so I wasn’t keen to dive in and risk ruining it without at least a LITTLE practice. I think it turned out pretty good.

So then I got a slightly more up to date photo of me (actually from my passport about a year back, so before I lost like 40 lbs. but still a reasonable representation, and scanned that, used PSE to posterize it then used the Sketch>stamp filter to simplify it for carving at such a tiny size.


LOL!  You know passport photos, you are never supposed to smile…. I suspect it might be hard to transfer with the vellum but I may give it a go on one of the cheap erasers, just to see how I get one before trying the Speedball block


I maybe can get two tries out of what I have left…and LOL!  I just notice in the photo the date is 2001.  I am a hoarder, clearly. I am fairly sure I am not going to get even as much detail as you can see, but I hope I can get something that looks at least a bit like me. And THAT will form, at least in part, the basis of my ATCs!  Of course you’ll have to wait till week 260 (I think that’s right) before you see the rest of it.  I have an idea that may work, but that I’m keeping under my hat for now.

I might just read up a little on stamp carving to get some tips…wish me luck.

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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.




another one of THOSE posts….

Happy Mother’s Day to the UK Mum’s.  Lucky me – I get TWO days ’cause I make the family treat me as both a UK and then as a USA Mom for THAT Mother’s day LOL! Funnily enough when DS came home from Uni for the weekend, with his backpack crammed full of a weeks worth of dirty laundry, I commented to him that the last thing I wanted to do on Mother’s Day was sorting out his laundry. He retorted quickly that he knew nothing would give me greater pleasure, which did make me laugh. And he’s probably right – I do love tending to my family. The cooking, the cleaning, the ministering to them when they are ill (as, actually, DD is at the moment, poor little sausage) is something I want to do for them ’cause I love them.

But then I do love my blogging too, so I took a moment during the current wash cycle to snap a few photos of stuff that happens to be on my desk at the moment.  Maybe there will be something useful here for you, even if the photos aren’t wildly exciting.

First, I was looking at an article in Craft Stamper about pencil eraser carved stamps.  A few months back I saw an Interweave video about making stamps (maybe it was an E-book free download, I really can’t recall at the moment) and had carved a super simple stamp from one of the many UK pencils with useless erasers (I don’t know why but they are so hard and not fit for purpose, not like the US #2 pencils I recall from my childhood) we have kicking around.  It was handy in my pen pot on my desk so I grabbed it.  The article suggests drawing a grid, which you then erase, in order to stamp the tiny images in an orderly fashion.  I had a quick little stamp of the +/x that I had carved (I thought I could use it to mimic cross-stitch stitching but never really used it) and saw that with this design the problem wasn’t just with laying out the stamped images neatly, but keeping the round pencil properly oriented.

See on the right?  The +/x goes every which way



Just adding a thin strip of Washi tape to the barrel of the pencil allows me to line it up to get the + or the X and keep them straight. A Sharpie line would work as well. The I thought about the whole grid thing – well, I hate drawing then erasing.  Even light pencil lines show up sometimes.  But then I spied a stencil off to the side.  Bingo.  I just stamped the little image thru the stencil.


Depending on the stencil and how you oriented it you could get straight lines or staggered ones or even a circle.  But you can see it works well.


I also have been itching to get some needle-tip bottles, for writing with acrylic paint.  I wanted some that were small, and a lot of them. I wanted proper needle-tip bottles, not just fine-tip ones.  I found them for what I thought was a pretty good price, and they are quite small, so if I wanted to change colours and rinse one out I wouldn’t be wasting a lot of paint.


I tried both filling with plain old craft paint, which is nice and thin and flows perfectly, and mixing heavy-bodies paint with water.  That worked less well, but I think I need to play with the ratio of paint to water.


The paint and water mix gives an interesting effect.


Slightly more blotchy, less defined, but I like it.  As you can see each little bottle comes with a tight-fitting airtight silicone capper that is attached right to the bottle.  I’m wondering if Liquid Pearls are thin enough to work in a bottle like this. …

But those are all thing to play with more on another day.  I can hear the washer spin cycle has just stopped so ….



Mixed media – pre-prep homemade bits

I often start something without a clear idea of the final outcome.  I mean I have an IDEA, but not a vision of the final piece.  I tend to riffle thru my stash and the debris on my desk and that leads me where the piece wants to go.  Problem is I have a LOT of stuff, but I never seem to have EXACTLY what I see in my head.  For example, I like embossed resist papers – I don’t own a single one.  I love big swirls, but I’ve pretty much used up all the chipboard ones I’ve acquired over the years.  When I think Oh that would work there… I am then too lazy  or too engrossed in the process to stop, switch gears, and make something specifically for the piece I am working on.  And my pockets are just not deep enough to buy everything I would like to have on hand.

Thinking about stuff I wish I had, I thought I would take a day and MAKE things that I know I will use, get them all ready to go and then when I think a lovely swirl will fill that space perfectly… I just grab it.

So I did two things.  First I grabbed lots of plain white heavy cardstock.  I stamped a bunch of border stamps and embossed them with white embossing powder. I made a couple of sheets, mixing up thin and fat borders.


Now, when I am layering up clusters of papers and embellishments, and I think a little embossed resist strip will add just the texture I want, I only have to grab the sheet, cut out one, spritz with a bit of ink to match….


then maybe stamp over it with some Distress ink.  That whisks away from the embossing, and the strip is ready to tuck into a layered group.


For a selection of swirls and some die cut border pieces (if I want more texture) I went to my Cricut mini and Craft room.  I figure as long as I am cutting, why not make a morning of it? LOL!

I set up the mat and went crazy.



I also did a mat of borders and one of banners.  Then I thought to myself should I cut two of each to stick together, for a more chipboard-like piece?  When I mist or ink or paint these they are going to droop and flop, even out of heavy heavy card. I had an idea.  A bit like the acrylic medium technique for sealing things, I thought why not seal them with a coat of Gesso?  It will give them a little more body and then they will be ready for adding to mixed media style things in my file folder book.

I brayered the Gesso on to the Gelli plate and laid on the piece – yes, I know the bigger plate would make more sense, but the small one was what was on my desk.  Told you I was lazy….


Brayering over the back coated both sides.  In the end I had a stack of them drying.


I didn’t waste the Gesso either.  I pulled a print off the plate and used the spray inks on it. Cool.


I like the shadow effect where there is no Gesso.  I’m sure I’ll find a use for it…

And I still have the waste from the cut-outs.  They will surely work for stencils and the cardstock is thick enough they will work with modelling paste as well, at least a few times as they are in no way washable!

I know it’s a calculated risk, cutting and stamping a bunch of stuff that I might not use, but I feel that by thinking thru my style, and my process , I’ve identified those things I most often wish I had on hand.  That makes it more likely I WILL actually use them.  We shall see.  I have plans for one of the swirls already and I’m interested in how the coating of gesso will affect it…

Oh and I forgot to mention…that doily sort of thing on the embossing sheet?  That is actually a cup coaster!


It would have worked FAR better had I used a flat stamp mount (which it clung to perfectly) rather than the curved one that I grabbed cause it was on my desk (see? LAZY!) I’ve never gotten the hang of the darn thing and never get a good clean impression.  I think I got a set of 4 of these for a couple of quid.  It’s a little girlie for me, but it might work.  I may cut out the centre circle with the dots around it as that would make a cute stamp too on it’s own. …



Sometimes, you see something that is just begging to be used RIGHT NOW.  Sarah commented on by blog banner for WOYWW – apparently, the fact I had a Hunter S. Thompson quote on it almost made her head explode (her words.)

I sent her a link to one of my Stampotique projects that had many more HST quotes and she returned the favour by sending ME a link to her site with some cute/weird digi stamps.  After trolling thru her long list of them, and grabbing quite a few, a handful of them spoke to me so strongly I just had to do SOMETHING with them right away.

Now, when I want to do something creative but time is short, I tend to fall back on ATCs or tags – they are small, quick to do, and more often than not I can use stuff I have hanging around.  It has been a LONG time since I did any colouring in with my Copics and the images seemed to cry out for that – some of the areas are soooooo tiny, and my colouring skills are not the best, but I think they turned out OK.  I wasn’t even going to TRY to cut the thinnest areas so left a bit of a border.  Here they are:


The backgrounds are all bits of Gelli prints, scraps leftover from other projects.  Here are the close-ups so you can read the text a bit better:

668 – the neighbour of the beast



You’ll never find the answer to “What’s the right hat?”



I think I need another hat on the left to balance it better.  I just need to find one more….

and finally, If you were going to shoot a mime, would you use a silencer?



That one is actually from their Christmas selection, in lieu of 3 French Hens, it’s 3 French Mimes.  The unfortunate placement of the last bullet hole stamp is due to the annoying habit of cling/clear stamps when the sticky is less than strong – they fall off the block and if they are already inked, well, you get the stamped image where it falls.  Vaguely anti-feminist, I think, but That one was the MOST, the fiddliest, colouring in and I am not going to re-do it, so I’ll live with it.

Have a gander at the others – you might find one that appeals.  I still have a Day of the Dead sort of image and one she calls The Patron Saint of Low Bandwidth (OMG do I need a patron Saint like that!) waiting in the wings….

Sad that after missing 2 months of crops the one that was meant to be this week ended up getting cancelled due to low numbers, and the one NEXT weekend may conflict with something.  Since it seems I never get around to making layouts unless I am at a crop, holding on to planned pages for that fun, communal time, I am feeling like I may have to clear the decks and just make a page, to scratch that itch.  But not today…


Stamp-thru on a Gelli print

I have some stuff I need to do so I just thought I would add this thing I’ve been playing with – limited success, until I approached it logically LOL!

I used a stencil over a Gelli print, and stippled the black thru it, but there is no reason you can’t do the same thing when you have used a stencil to PULL a print.


Once I had the black in place and it was DRY, I used my homemade white acrylic ink stamp pad (I had to slightly refresh it with a bit more ink last week, but it is still working well) to stamp text thru the stencil so it only appeared on the black.



My problem was that the clear stamp was very fine, and although it sort of worked on my home-cut stencil, the raised text might not be deep enough to work with a commercial (thicker) stencil.



Some areas worked better than others.

So I thought how I might solve that – it’s a trade-off really.  The thin text looks better on the thin lines of this stencil, but the thicker foam stamps give a much bolder impression.



But with the bigger letters you lose the detail to the point you can’t tell they are letters.

So the solution is to use a stencil that has a much bigger area.  Shame I used the wrong stamp, the one with the letters reversed to use on the Gelli plate to remove paint.


With that much black, even the clear stamp showed up well. As I’d messed up the stamping already I figured I might as well give it a go over LOL!  I may still find a use for it, but even if  don’t it was worth having a go.



I def. like the effect so will be playing around with this a bit more, I’m sure!



Fun Foam Stamp set

NOTE:  Just to add a link for you. The font I used is called Art Post and is free to download from daFont.

OK, so I know that I often do things that not everyone would bother with.  There are a ton of great alphabet stamp sets out there, and generally I think people are inclined to just buy one.  I often find fonts that I LOVE, would buy a stamp set from that font it one was available, but it isn’t.  What has held me back from making my own is either the font is too intricate to cut from fun foam or I can’t imagine a good way to store the stamps.  The thought of a box of loose stamps isn’t really appealing (although I do have boxes of foam stamps from back in the day that I still use, I really don’t need MORE boxes of them) so I usually resort to some other method – like printing the text and using it that way.

Today I had a lightbulb moment.

I printed the font I used yesterday for the word block (Art Post Black) and cut the letters from fun foam.  This is an easy font to cut, due to the blocky nature of it and the fact there are no “open bits” to the letters.


It’s a perfect task for doing in front of the TV or while listening to Radio 4.


So long as you print the font the right way around then mount the print to the paper covering over the sticky side, then letters will be the right way round for mounting.

I first thought they would be fine stuck to another but of foam, as it was quick and dirty, but DIRTY is the right word – the flimsy foam and the fact the stamps weren’t very thick meant getting a good impression was tricky.


Even if I curved them a little I still got paint on the surround – plus the opaque back made it hard to place the stamp accurately.  Can you see that I often use my 6 x 6 Gelli pate as a stamp pad?  a little medium added to the paint lets it stay open longer so it doesn’t dry out too much.


The give of the plate makes it better for getting a thin, even coat on a stamp than brushing on paint!  But the other issues left me with not a great result


So two problems to solve.  The first issue – the fact the fun foam is fairly thin – was solved by sticking the cut letters to another sheet of fun foam and doing a rough cut around them.  It’s not necessary to cut the letters precisely – the second layer is more like a cushion, and as this is a grungy sort of font a tiny bit of overstamping is OK with me, but not as much as you see above!


I took a piece of clear plastic packaging and using the grid on my mat, stuck the foam stamps to that – just to make sure they were straight – and cut them plastic into rectangles.  The key is to leave a good space at the top (or bottom) cause the solution to the storage issue is simple, effective, and tidy.  Punch a hole in the plastic – I just used a standard hole punch – and thread it on a ball chain!


I used a longer chain that was strictly needed because I found I could load them on in alphabetical order and stamp with them without taking them off the chain that way.


I did write the letter on the back of the plastic with a Sharpie (and for any future sets I think I might use something other than black foam, but that was what I had on hand) just so there was no way I would mistake the top for the bottom and stamp an upside down letter.  And you can see the stamping is MUCH improved, bit in neatness and placement.


So now I have a custom stamp set of a font I love, that cost me the price of two sheets of craft foam, a bit of rubbish plastic, and no more than an hour of my time. Totally worth doing.  I still have the numbers to do – and one of the advantages of this is you do get both letters AND numbers, cause I hate it when I use a stamp set and don’t have the numbers to match – and I might do a couple of words in a bigger point size (this is 64 pt) just for fun.  And I have a couple of other fonts I am loving at the moment that might work well for this … and I have about 3 weeks of EastEnders to catch up on so that sounds like a match made in heaven….


Homemade stamp pad and white acrylic ink

So there was a post on UKS about white ink.  A trick that was shown at CHA for stamping with the Dylusions spray ink came up.  Now, I had this on the way via mail order, but hadn’t received it yet, and I didn’t have a blank stamp pad (another new product) so, as is my way, I went on a hunt in my overstocked craft room to see what I could come up with.

I grabbed a few things:  a bit of Fun Foam, a bit of fabric store felt (not the thinner, less dense craft felt, although I have that too and it might work almost as well) and an old dried up stamp pad.  I peeled off the dried foam from the stamp pad. I cleaned it of old ink and dried it, then stuck a bit of the felt to a bit of the fun foam (I had high-tack spray adhesive for curtain making on hand, but other stuff might work too)  and cut it to fit the empty stamp pad.


I stuck it to the empty stamp pad with low-melt hot glue – I thought the hotter glue might melt the foam, and the low melt version was already in the glue gun anyway.


I thought having a lid MIGHT make this something I didn’t have to wash out after use. I may cut a piece of plastic to cover the pad, a bit like the plastic over a Staz-on, tho’ not so tight-fitting, to see how that works.

I squeezed a bit, maybe a dropper full, of the Speedry liquid acrylic ink onto the pad and stamped with it.  I didn’t bother with mounts for the stamps, and to be fair I think that might have given an even better impression, but for all the types I tried they ALL worked well.


Here you can see the range


Nice and white, I think.  So I tried two other things – first using the acrylic ink on a bit of Cut&Dry foam, and then on an off-cut of the fun foam & felt version.


A couple of points here.  First, the Cut&Dry foam is really deep and it holds a lot of ink.  For me, that means you either need to be very gentle when “inking” the stamp so you don’t get too much of the liquid ink in the depressions of the stamp (making the text in particular less crisp) OR you need to be very sparing with the ink when loading it – and that balance can be tricky.

See the orange, done with the C&D foam VS the purple with the fun foam & felt?



Now, as this IS acrylic you do need to be sure to clean your stamps…I’m just sayin’…

So then I got my order and had a go with the Dylusions white ink – I really should have turned the bottle a bit but you should be able to tell that is what it is:


Taking into consideration I am NOT using the suggested blank stamp pad, I think it’s pretty good – white, fairly crisp (as crisp as a loose floppy stamp is ever going to be LOL!) and even the smallest text is pretty clear.

But here is where it gets interesting.  My annoyance with all things ink and the fact they bleed when you apply anything wet over them has been mentioned before (often? Perhaps….) so my next step was to check the permanence.  With the acrylic ink I didn’t just wet the paper, I saturated it:


and guess what?  It made NO DIFFERENCE at all. But even wiping over the spray ink version with a baby wipe, you are left with this:


Side by side:


So there you go. I DID try Distress stain as well (can you JUST see the bottle top middle of the photo above?) but I might as well take a photo of a plain black piece of paper, it was so … nothing.

What’s left? Well, I should try washing out the homemade pad to see what happens to it, and likewise I should try leaving it with the lid on for a week or two and see if the ink stays wet. If it doesn’t, how the dried ink will affect the pad might be worth seeing.  But to be honest making the actual PAD is something I would only do for white.  For the colours, I think I would use a bit of the fun foam & felt just loose,  then rinse it out when I was done stamping whatever ink colour I was using.  I did try mixing colours on the pad, which worked but my camera died at that point, and with DD unwell and home from school, I now need to spend some Mom time with her.


Gelli over embossing

This is decidedly weird.  Sometimes, I have an idea and it’s more about seeing if it works and then trying to figure out how to USE the idea in the most effective way.  I tend to share even the pure experiments before I actually work out the use of them.  This is one of those posts LOL!

I was thinking of the technique with ink where you emboss then cover the embossing with ink, then iron off the embossing to leave the bare card showing thru.  Usually it is done with clear embossing powder so I did that first:



I have a couple of 6 x 6 inch background stamps so that made sense with the 6 x 6 inch plate.

I pulled a print onto the embossed cardstock



Ironing it off worked, sort of, but my choice of stamp and Gelli print combo wasn’t the best – you can barely see the Gelli part. But the ghost print was interesting.  where the embossing touched the plate it sort of impressed the pattern of the embossing into it and left it, much like it does with a stencil ghost print!



So I had a go with some gold embossing and a different stamp:



Again, my choice of Gelli prints (bubble wrap) barely shows thru the embossing.  But when I ironed off the embossing powder it gave it a really pretty batik-like effect:



The differences between the two are much more apparent in real life!

I tried a more bold Gelli pattern:



but again, not totally happy with the combo.  What is left on the plate:



and the ghost:


I did try, but didn’t photograph, a couple of text circles, embossed, with a print behind.  Again, it was the combination of the embossed bit and the Gelli print that left me lukewarm. I think more experimentation is clearly needed – as with most things, I like to try a LOT of stuff then try to work out a set of “rules” that will give me the greatest chance of success.  So, single images v overall stamp&embossing? Small scale Gelli patterns v large-scale? Open areas v overall texture? These are the questions I need to answer!  Once I get a firm grip on how the combos are likely to work I will then know in future what will give me the effect I like.

I am also curious about embossing on deli paper and what effect THAT might give – and if the embossing, if left in place and not ironed off, will tear, for collage work, for example, of if breaking the surface tension (is that the right term?) of the embossing will cause it to chip and flake?

So many ideas, so little time to play….So if you have a play be sure to report back your findings.  I’ll be very curious to know what your experiments produce!