Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Maybe Just Another Cut...

I am loving my online Stamp Carving class. Now, when I can't sleep I pull out my carving tool and go to work on another stamp.
Monday's class was about creating a chevron stamp. This time I followed Julie's carving pretty closely. The carving went smoothly so I decided to ink and stamp it.
First I stamped a shipping tag in basic black... it was okay.
I then took a few postage stamps that I had previously painted with iridescent watercolor... it was a little better.
It just didn't quite work for me.
So I decided to test it with one of my 'go-to' techniques; watermark ink dusted with Pearl-ex. It definitely improved things.
The results are fairly nice, but it just isn't quite working for me yet.
I guess it's 'back to the old drawing board' ...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Two Stamps Can Be Better Than One

Today I completed the second project from my online stamp carving class. The assignment was to make a pair of stamps that work together to create a two colored image.
The first thing I had to do was design a 1.5 by 1.5 inch square design. My design was a diagonal leaf.
After drawing the design in pencil I transferred it to two 1.5" square rubber blanks. The next step was to convert one leaf into the opposite of the other leaf by changing the negative space into the positive space.
Before carving the stamp, the design needed to be copied in pen so it wouldn't rub off during the carving process. After inking the design it was time to cut.
Finally, I was ready to stamp the design with an ink pad. One of the stamps printed beautifully but the stamp of the leaf's outline needed to be carved more deeply to avoid ink catching in the negative space.
When the revision was completed I began stamping, first with black ink, then with various green inks.
I like the stamps when stamped singly or in tandem, but I really like the way it works as a repeated pattern when stamped repeatedly.
I can't wait for project #3 to be revealed!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Carving Out Something New

Part of the beauty of the internet is all the possibilities that it offers.
In the past decade or so, I've done so many different things online in the comfort of my own home and my favorite pajamas.
This year, I began taking art classes online.
The internet has made it possible to take classes taught by immensely talented artists with other students from all over the globe. My classroom at home allows me to access my stash(es) without needing to pack and shlep one of my extra large LLBean bags. I am in control of the music, the temperature, the lighting, the seating, and the schedule. And it allows me to create in my safety zone and not present my work until I am satisfied with it.
That being said, I was quite satisfied with my first project in Stamp Carving 101 being taught by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. The first project was to carve a heart shaped stamp to get used to using the carving tools.
I was so excited after carving the heart that I couldn't delay printing until I found the archival black ink pad. Instead, I grabbed the white ink that was still in my workspace and stamped some heart and shipping tags. I think I did pretty well for a first try.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Accidents

Sometimes, serendipity sets in. I was trying to make a card to express the idea that 'love is in the air'.
I immediately thought of soft billowy clouds and a translucent rainbow.
As I thought about the clouds, I wondered what would look soft and billowy. Flocking came to mind, but I wasn't certain that the fuzziness would come across.
I tried to think about papers that might convey billowy, when I came across a package of adhesive backed white mulberry paper. Mulberry paper has long fibers that give it a soft effect when torn so I began stamping white hearts which I then embossed with a sheer holographic powder.
Then a happy accident occurred... I removed the protective white backing paper to reveal something I had not remembered ~ mulberry paper is translucent!
My clouds looked soft, billowy, and airy.
I don't know if love is in the air, but serendipity surely was!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Play Time

This weekend I am taking a break from organizing. I have a baggie of wonky newspaper circles, stamped and cut images and a palette of shimmering watercolors calling my name.
Now to see what happens...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Organize or Die Trying

Okay... I did tell my friends that I was going to get organized this year or die trying, but tonight it came a little too close to a reality.
So far, I've been very good about giving things away to people who can make good use of them. I set a goal of saying goodbye to one large bag of things weekly. Today alone, I parted with 5 bags!!!
So I decided that I had earned some new storage to replace a wobbly open shelf.
I went to my local craft store where they were having a 50% off sale on storage pieces. I selected three 3-drawer pieces and a wheeled base unit. I brought in the first of the 3-drawer chests and began to assemble them.
In all the excitement of assembling new storage, I didn't notice that it had an off smell. Excuse me, let me make that accurate, an AWFUL smell. It was like a pungent toxic mix of acetone based nail polish remover and gun cleaner. Either can make you ill... together? Better storage space or not, I think breathing is preferable to organization.
Tomorrow, I am off to return the units and try again. Maybe something or good old fashioned wood.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hidden Treasures

The proverbial "spring cleaning" offers the obvious reward of a cleaner, tidier, better organized space. When you are organizationally challenged with slight rodent-like tendencies (okay, okay... I am something of a pack rat), there is also the possibility of rediscovering treasures.
Today as I was working toward my goal of decluttering my life, I uncovered several treasures. Among them were a large Olfa cutting mat, a package of textured poster board in vibrant colors, and scarlet hued organza ribbons. The highlight --> was finding a pencil and ink drawing I had done many years ago. It was a piece that I thought was lost in a flood one winter while I lived in Boston, so finding it was a wonderful surprise.
Recently, I've uncovered some other hidden treasures as I sort through my 'collections'. The best of the treasures aren't those that readily present themselves but the thoughts connected to the process and the items. I rediscovered my voice as a person with insights and thoughts to share. I rediscovered my vision as I reflect on why I purchased many of these materials. And I rediscovered my sense of purpose and accomplishment by setting a goal and sticking with it.
Perhaps the greatest treasure rediscovered today occurred while I was taking a break from my task. I was found by a dear friend on Facebook where he left a number which I called immediately. I am still surprised by how familiar his voice sounds after all the years.
I wonder if it is mere coincidence that I have been singing Dan Fogelberg's "Auld Lang Syne" for the past few weeks.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Crafting in a Tiny Space

About a month or so ago I watched a woman on television. I tuned in because she was listed as an organizational specialist. She said a few things that made a bit of sense (don't keep things that you don't use, put things where they belong, etc). But then she said something that made me wince.
Essentially, she said that if you have limited space then scrapbooking was not a good choice of hobbies because it requires several supplies. WHAT??? Because I don't have 2,000+ square feet I should take up stamp collecting? Her suggestion was absurd. While you have to adjust your hobby to your space, you shouldn't give up your passion because of cramped quarters.
I confess that I am completely addicted to crafting materials. I love tools, paints, polymer clay, fabric, yarn, and did I mention paper? I am obsessed with paper of every size, color, texture, weight, and pattern. I'm reasonably certain that if I piled up my paper stash it could be an NBA power forward. I guess I don't need to tell you that this is problematic when you share @ 800 square feet with a brother and two dogs.
Since I resolved months ago to spend more time creating, my journey of 1,000 miles is going to be organizing my supplies. This is going to require sorting through the wreckage, donating supplies to a senior center, and designating spaces for whatever I will keep.
If I don't blog again for a long while send in search and rescue.