Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012!

My cards all went out during the second week of December, so if you're on my mailing list you've seen this one already.

The central snowflake was hand-stitched using sparkly embroidery floss.  It required close to 2-feet of thread per card.  Once I got used to the process, it took about 30 minutes per flake to complete.

The sentiment was stamped and embossed with silver powder.  The smaller flakes were punched from sliver wrapping paper and glued to the card.

Some lucky recipients got the "blingy" version which included 3 to 5 tiny rhinestones.  After the first 20 or so cards I began to worry that the rhinestones wouldn't play nice with the postal sorting machines so I stopped using them.


BEST WISHES for the season.  I'll be back in January.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fashion Dilemma

bad at accepting criticism

Our theme this week was "feathers".  I'm sure I wasn't thinking this when selecting themes, but I do like where it went.

Words and balloon were added in PhotoShop.

Stamps Used:  Viva Las Vegas, woman, Oxford Impressions (StampingDiva), feather.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

ATC Saturday: So, How's It Going?

Silliness
Yes, another PC.  I'll get back into swapping ATCs soon, I hope.  Fear not!

Here is another blast from the past.  I sent this PC to a co-worker, just for the fun of it.  Everybody likes to get mail, right?  This guy was the company's salesman and always had a story to tell.  Often, he'd greet me with "How's it goin'?" instead of "Good Morning" and thus became the inspiration for this little work.

Why a dog howling at the moon?  Ahhh who knows...that's the beauty of the medium!


Stamps Used:  Arizona Stamps, Too!, dog, moon; Hijinks Ensue, whirlipig; TooMuchFun, tree; 100 Proof Press, snow/sand.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Penguin Friends

Catch anything, yet?
Our prompt for this week was "Friends'.  These little guys look like they're best buds.

I don't quite understand the appeal of ice fishing, but here in Michigan it is much-loved by many--my oldest brother among them.  He once told me there is just about nothing he'd rather do.

I was gobsmacked.

Stamps Used: Art Impressions, penguins; Print Works, tiny flake

Saturday, December 8, 2012

ATC Saturday: Pie In the Sky

Still no ATC swapping happening for me this month, so once again you're getting a PC instead.  Yay!

This was another in the series I made during one horrible Lent, when I gave up chocolate.  I gave up eating it, but I didn't give up stamping it!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Coffee and Donuts



What's better than a morning off with coffee and a couple of friends?

The prompt for this PC was "dreams". My dreams are pretty simple these days, eh? 

Stamps Used:  Viva Las Vegas, donut; Sumac Designs, cup; Fruit Basket Upset, lady.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

ATC Saturday: Addicted!

StampFrancisco: man, truffles
Happy December!

With the busyness of the season, I haven't signed up for a single ATC swap this month.  That being the case, I've posted a PC for you instead.  This one was created many years ago, during a fast-from-chocolate that I imposed on myself for Lent.

I'll have a sneak-peek of this year's Christmas card a bit later.  Until then, you may check out cards from years past here.

2013 Blank Calendar here.  Makes a great gift!




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

One Wild Party

Thanksgiving at our house.  hahahaa...

Stamps Used:  StampFrancisco (girl), Coffee Break Designs (all clowns), Picture Show (bear), Leavenworth Jackson (acrobat)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

ATC Saturday: Sooner Than You Think

As the title indicates, there is just one short month to go before Christmas Eve!

I made this ATC for a swap that I did with a group of readers of a Catholic blog.  The theme was "Mary", and I chose to focus on Mary at Christmastime.  None of the offerings that I received were stamped (sadly) but it's always fun to swap.  My teens participated, too.

"Heavenly Peace" was colored gold, but the scanner doesn't do well with glittery media.  The image was colored with Prismacolors, and cancelled postage was applied as a final step.

Have you picked up your Christmas postage stamps, yet?  I love the "Holy Night" one that was chosen for the "traditional" theme.  I bought a boat-load of them, and am hoping (and praying!) that our cards will be ready to go in time.

Stamp Used:  Tin Can Mail (Mary)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

We'll be hosting a big Thanksgiving Lunch at our house tomorrow.  We are most-often at home for this holiday, with or without guests.  This year will be "with", which is always fun.

I hope you have a wonderful celebration surrounded by the ones you love.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Stamps Used:  StampFrancisco (kitchen items), A-Muse-Ing [now 100 Proof Press] (sink, stove), Stampin'Up (swirly label), Diva Rubber (lady)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

ATC Saturday: Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo was the second cat to join our home.  We hoped that she would keep our first cat, Tigger, company.  That plan backfired miserably, but nonetheless, 'Zoo Kitty was home to stay.

Per the swap description, we were again required to use a postage stamp and a book page in the composition.  This gray cat actually looks nothing like Kalamazoo did, but the colors worked, so I went with it.

The image was hand-carved by me back in the 90s.  I used a greeting card as inspiration, and  was happily surprised at how it turned out.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cake


Thoughts of feasting on my mind...
"Let them eat" was added digitally.  My stamping was a mess!

Stamps Used: Hijinks Ensue (man), Too Much Fun (cake), A-Muse-Ing (alpha)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

ATC Saturday: Play Nice

This is a scene right out of my life, ten years ago or so.  Big Sister cautions the baby about the cat.

It reminds me of the time when Little Sister decided to give our long-haired cat, Spike, a trim.  My dear daughter was about four or five at the time.  Thankfully, Spike tolerated his grooming well.

Stamps Used:  Picture Show (cat), Unknown (girl, baby), 100 Proof Press (alpha)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Celebrate


Not even Macy's has a marching band of chickens, I'm guessing. 

Stamps Used:  Stampin'Up (houses, trees), All Night Media (chicken band), 100 Proof Press (squirrels), Leavenworth Jackson (hearts), Picture Show (bird), StampFrancisco (banner)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

ATC Saturday: Buildings


The idea that "less is more" ruled this design. 

I stamped the arch image onto scrapbooking paper to give it a little texture, then cut it out and positioned it to the far right of center, to add interest.

The postage stamp has been in my stash of ephemera for (almost) decades.  It works!  The muted greens of the postage stamp add to the illusion of perspective. 

Anchoring it all down is a small section of digital scrapbook paper from the Shabby Princess "Plentiful" collection.

Stamp Used:  StampFranciso, arch.






Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Creepy

Happy Halloween! 

Here's a creepy take on the theme "Science".  My stamping partners (a.k.a. my teen daughters) were sufficiently grossed out by my interpretation of the theme.

heh, heh, heh.

Stamp Credits:  100 Proof Press (brain), Leavenworth Jackson (man, eyeball), StampFrancisco (skeleton)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Eerie Halloween Night

I've used these eyes this same way on several projects because they're just so creepy!

First I stamped and masked the house.  Then I inked up the "spooky eyes" stamp and used it three times in succession, without re-inking.  I masked the eyes, and sponged the background in two shades of purple.

It sends a chill up my spine!  ack!

Happy Halloween!

Stamps Used:  Unknown (eyes--could be Diva Rubber), Karv'd (house)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bake Sale

Too Much of a Good Thing
My oldest will be graduating in the spring.  She is home-schooled, and will march with other home schooled students at a local parish one night in June.

Unlike most graduating seniors, these kids are responsible for raising the funds required to hold their ceremony.

One of the planned fund-raisers is a bake sale.

Hopefully, our kids won't end up like the little boy shown here.  He seems to have sampled a few too many of his own wares.

Stamps Used:  Impression Obsession (tree, leaves), Too Much Fun (cupcake, wagon), StampFrancisco (boy).  Sign and cupcake wrappers were drawn in by hand.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Buzzing

For this swap, participants were obliged to use a bee in their composition.  I thought it was the perfect opportunity to use my new floral stamps from Stacy Stamps.

I stamped the pansies with StazOn ink on plain card stock, then painted them with watercolors and cut them out.  The bee received the same treatment, but with glitter added to his wings.

A little green was added in the form of leaves, and all the elements were arranged and glued onto a background I created in PhotoShop.

Stamps Used: 100 Proof Press (bumble bee), Stacy Stamps  (pansies), Karv'd (leaf)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Federal Offense

What do you suppose is happening here?  Is the woman trying to send herself somewhere?  More likely, she's trying to retrieve an item she just mailed.

Little does she know the fate that awaits her if she ever gets free of that postal box!  Nice shoes though.

Stamps Used:  Hijinx Ensue (skyline), Coffee Break Designs (police officer, woman), 100 Proof Press (mailbox*).
*You may have to ask for this one--it's not on their website, but they do still carry it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

This ATC was a tough one for me. The swap requirements dictated that the background be a page from a book.  I searched and searched for a book I could possibly consider adulterating.  It was a long search.  I'd pick up a book I thought I could mutilate, but then realizing it was out of the question, place it back on its shelf.

Finally I came upon a group of books--all the same--from my teaching days at my parish!  Maybe this could be the one.  The subject matter has to do with Catholic teaching on birth control.  Well.  Not exactly fodder for an ATC.  Or was it?

"Tick tock" stamped in shades of pink-for-girl, and blue-for-boy all across the background set the stage for baby and clock.  Biological clock.

Stamps Used:  Karv'd (baby), The Octopode Factory (sentiment)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Serenity

 Have I mentioned my love of sea turtles?  These little guys are having a ball, swimming around in their underwater playground.

Stamps Used:  Just For Fun (turtle), StampFrancisco (light seaweed), Unknown (dark seaweed).


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ladybug! Ladybug!

My mother used to recite this poem to me on occasion when I'd follow her around the garden.  As a very small child, I was much more interested in the creeping, crawling things than in helping out with the seeding, weeding, and harvesting.

Depending on the season, I'd collect lady bugs, caterpillars, or praying mantis.  Oddly enough, I found butterflies sort of creepy...and bean beetles?  They were right out.  << shudder >>

This ATC celebrates the ladybug, and the memory of my Dear Mom.

Stamps Used:  The Octopode Factory (mushrooms, clock--wings added by hand), Rubber Stampede (ladybug), Hero Arts (tiny alpha)


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fashion

Are you digging the blue eyeshadow?  These ladies are alive with color and stepping out in style.  What they're stepping out onto, I have no idea.  Makes a neat backdrop though, I think.  High fashion demands a bold setting, no?

Stamps Used:  Beeswax (cloud), Lost Coast Designs (background), StampFrancisco (ladies)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Seeing Stars

This Saturday's post is about stars, outer space and rocket ships!

Our challenge was to use at least one star, and one postage stamp.

At first I thought I'd use a celebrity as my "star", because I have some Elvis, Buddy Holly, and Ella Fitzgerald postage stamps in my stash.  But the little guy in the rocket was calling to me.

Stamps Used:  Toy Box (rocket), Mars Tokyo (star cluster), Printworks (blue star and contrail), unknown (crater terrain--possibly Lost Coast Designs)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Oh, how I love duckies.  They seem like they're always smiling, to me.  This composition is a little silly with the cartoon-y ducks, but I like the contrast.  If you look closely, you'll notice that one duck has discovered a tiny dragonfly.

Stamps Used:  StampScapes (River bank), Beeswax (background, clouds), Suzy's Zoo (ducks)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Template for #8 Shipping Tag
If you're in need of a template for #8 Shipping Tags, look no further.

I needed some for a swap, but couldn't find the required size in my local office supply stores.

Click here for a high-resolution PDF of the template.

...now off to find some inspiration for stamping my tags!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Punky Steampunk

I stumbled on a fabulous stamp company called The Octopode Factory.  I can't even recall how that happened, but I do know that I've found another favorite!

This company is based in the U.K. and offers both digital and rubber images.  All designs are original drawings of proprietress, Lily Chilvers. 

Her style is bold and whimsical at the same time.  I can't get enough!

Shown here is Winston.  He's a steampunk gent, busy tinkering and puttering I'm sure.  He's got big plans to build a steam-powered honeybee and make his mark on the world.

Stamps Used:  The Octopode Factory (gent), Lost Coast Designs (mechanical bee), Stamp Francisco (mini tag)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pudding Pie

Mom and tot visit the park.  Something tells me there's a nanny nearby.

This little boy conjures the rhyme "Georgie Porgie Puddin' Pie" in my head.  It looks like he's more "Little Jack Horner" though, with that pie in his lap.  My youngest (of five) is three, you'd think I'd know these characters by now!

The theme for this PC was "trees", believe it or not.  I intended to include a whole forest, but it came out too cluttered.  In the end, I settled for just two.

Stamps Used:  RBBB (lady), 100 Proof Press (boy), Beeswax (tree)


Sunday, September 16, 2012

2013 Calendar Printables

Assembly Complete

Artist, Laurel, at Work
The weather is starting to feel autumnal here in Michigan, and my thoughts are turning toward the holidays.

One of our many traditions is to make calendars to give away at Christmas.  Shown at left are photos from last year--last year on December 14!  Ack!  We're going to get an earlier start this year.

After printing out the grids (you can find 2013 printables here), punch two holes at the top and then use ring-clips to bind the sheets together.  (Ribbon or sturdy twine would also work for binding.)  Then, add another hole at the bottom, for hanging the calendar.

Now you can personalize the calendar with your recipients' special dates, and add artwork to each spread to make the calendar a treasured keepsake.

Included in the file you'll find a cover sheet, 12 pages of month-grids (numbers are filled in for you!), and a hole-punching guide sheet.  This last sheet may be printed on the backs of the other sheets to serve as a frame for your artwork (see photo of Laurel).

I suggest printing to card stock.  Bond paper is too translucent.

Have fun!  I'd love to see what you make, so feel free to leave me a link in the comments.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

School Daze

 Happily, my children and I survived the first week "back at it"--homeschooling, that is.

The highlight of the week for me happened yesterday, just after breakfast.  As I tidied up the kitchen dishes I was vaguely aware that there wasn't the usual amount of chatter around me.

Ten minutes later, Laurel (13) informed me that Liam (my newest kindergartener) was patiently sitting, hands folded and resting on his desk, waiting for class to begin.

I clambered down the stairs to the classroom and spied my baby, just as Laurel had described.  I thought I'd die from the sweetness.

We got right to work after a big smooch and an apology from me for making him wait.  He was very forgiving (whew).

For today's ATC I was challenged to use a piece of school notebook paper as the background.   I stamped the girl on plain card stock and cut-and-pasted her to the foreground.  She's contemplating her studies, and questioning the meaning of it all.

Stamps Used:  100 Proof Press (girl), The Octopode Factory (star, small spiral), Too Much Fun (sentiment), others unknown.















Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Angelic

I fell in love with the main image shown here when I saw it in a composition on the cover of RSM (March/April 2007 #152, for the curious.)

I ordered it (from Lost Coast Designs) as soon as humanly possible.

I created this PC for my first-ever-ever-ever swap on swap-bot, which was to create ten "handmade" postcards for ten partners.

I spent lots of time masking and coloring, but the result was just what I was going for.

Could she be someone's Guardian Angel?  It looks like she's praying for someone special.

Stamps Used:  Lost Coast Designs (angel w/arch), Magenta (floral borders), Leavenworth Jackson (clouds)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Bump In the Night

Booga! Booga!  Halloween will be here before you know it.  How about a spooky ATC to put you in the mood?

The theme for this ATC was "Things That Go 'Bump' In the Night".  Mr. Bones does seem to be bumping and bouncing around with his disembodied eyeball.  Ewww...

Stamps Used: Leavenworth Jackson (eyeball), Picture Show (skeleton), Unknown (cat)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Don't Try This at Home

Who thought leaving the baby with the clowns was a good idea?

Looks like baby doesn't mind, so far.

Stamps Used:  Mars Tokyo (Shocked Couple), Diva Rubber (Single Guy), Coffee Break Designs (Clowns), 100 Proof Press (Baby), Unknown (grass, clouds).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

There Goes the Neighborhood

We've gotta get OUTTA HERE!
Mr. and Mrs. Mouse are beating feet to get away from their new neighbor, Mr. Cat who looks ready to gobble them up!

Run, mousies!  Run!

The prompt for this PC was "travel".  Instead of going for a destination-inspired theme, I went for a bit of whimsy, hoping to add a little variety to the mix.

Stamps Used: 100 Proof Press (mice, cat), Beeswax (all others)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

ATC Saturday: Postage

Nature + Postage
For this swap, participants were required to use a postage stamp depicting an item from nature.

I decided to run with the postal theme, and added a few cancellation marks and the "Par Avion" stamp.

Butterflies from an Entomology UM Set were stamped in brown all over the background to echo the postage stamp's design.  I added a bit of yellow with Prismacolors to brighten up the background and to tie it in with the central image.

Stamps Used:  RBBB/StampFrancisco (all)


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fantasy PC

Stamps Used:  Beeswax (maiden, courtyard), Picture Show (monkey)

Prompted by the word "fantasy", this is what emerged.

Renaissance-gal stands bemused by the trained monkeys parading before her.

Dressed in their brightly colored, modern clothes, these monkeys provide a stark contrast to the dank castle courtyard and the muted colors of the maiden's dress.

This one was just for fun.



Saturday, August 18, 2012

ATC Saturday: Down on the Farm

Our theme for this swap was "John Deere".  I signed up for it only because I just recently purchased the two main images you see here. 

Both stamps arrived unmounted, as requested.  I started out using watercolor markers directly on the rubber, but I'm not a big fan of this method--especially with tight spots like you see on the tractor (between the chassis and the tires).

Instead of fussing with the markers, I cut the stamp apart!  Now I can ink the parts on ink pads, which makes me a happy stamper.

I did the same thing to the corn stalks, but with perhaps less success.  The tassels seem a bit wobbly in places.  This image came as a single stalk.

On the (tiny) farm of my youth, we did not own any John Deere equipment, but we did have an old Ford tractor, a Farmall A, and a Farmall H.  

No, I'm not an octogenarian.  I remember those tractors as being antiques before we owned them.  My Dad frequented auction sales, and these were some of his more useful acquisitions, once he got them up-and-running that is.  To get one tractor that worked, he'd buy two broken ones.  My brother, Neal would then combine parts from each into one machine that worked.

Neal was the mechanic of the family.  He spent all of his after-school free time tinkering with engines of all types in the backyard barn.  He is the one that kept the tractors running for all the years I was at home, old as they were.

Stamps Used:  Picture Show (tractor, corn stalk), Hero Arts (tiny alpha)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lighthouse

Magic in the Air
Shown here is a postcard I made for postcrossing.  I'm thankful that the recipient uploaded a photo to the site, because I had forgotten to scan it before sending it on its way.  ack!

Transfixed by the lighthouse's bright beam in the night sky, the children can't see the other world just beyond.  Night's workers are making sure the stars are placed just so.

Stamps Used:  100 Proof Press, children; all others, Sumac Designs.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

ATC Saturday: Butterflies

Today's theme is Butterflies.  I chose to stamp a monarch, to match the image on the postage stamp.

It seemed fitting to include the letter "B" as well.  I have a certain fondness for fonts that started soon after I learned to write.  As a child of seven or eight, Sunday mornings found me writing the A-B-C's over and over in the margins of the newspaper.  I'd make up different styles of letters and write all twenty-six letters in that style, then start over with another style.

If you're interested in the history of graphic lettering, an excellent book on the subject is: Life with Letters by Ed Rondthaler.  Read it, and you'll learn the foundations of so many aspects of letters that we all but take for granted daily.  PhotoLettering has more info about the intoxicating world of lettering.  Their site even offers an iron ampersand for the incredible price of only $250.  Perhaps another time.

I could go on, but back to the ATC.  This one features a watercolored background that I overstamped with a few little doodad stamps that were included on an sheet of rubber from...somewhere.  They are handy little things that I normally use more sparingly than what you see here.  I stamped the "Bb" and colored the lower case "b" with a green sharpie.

The butterfly was stamped and colored separately, then glued to the card.  I drew in his antennae with a micro pen.  I used a cancelled postage stamp in the corner, and added a few more of the filler stamps to complete the piece.

Stamps Used:  Picture Show (monarch), Ma Vinci's Reliquary ("Bb"), TooMuchFun (blue doodad), others unknown.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sail Away

All stamps:  Eat Cake Graphics
Living in Michigan, there's no shortage of shoreline.  My family is hoping to squeeze a few more trips to the beach in before the weather turns cold.

Shown here is a card I made for Eat Cake Graphics.  Sandpaper is my secret ingredient--what better material to represent the beach?  I used double-stick tape and glue to hold it securely.  It's not the most pliant paper to work with, but the result is a feast for the tactile senses.

The white caps are torn strips of confetti text-weight paper.  These I attached by painting a layer of watered-down white glue with a small, flat brush to the underside of each strip.  When gluing in this way, I find a pair of craft tweezers indispensable.  Mine are Tweezer Bees and I love them.

Getting things to stick to the sandpaper was a little tricky.  E6000 to the rescue!  I'm pretty sure you could use E6000 to glue marbles to a frisbee, if you wanted.  It's that good.  Remember to open a window when using this stuff, or the fumes will get you!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Digital Stamping? Here, Have a Cupcake

How do you feel about digital stamping?  ...ever tried it?  Back in the day the big debate in the stamping world was "cute" vs. "weird".  Now we're debating what it is that constitutes stamping itself.

What's the Difference?

With digis (digital stamps), instead of transferring ink from rubber to paper, your printer produces the image from a computer file.  Nothing goes kerchunk.  There's no rubber; only pixels!  Of course, there are advantages to using digis.  They can be resized to fit your layout, flipped, or altered in any number of other ways by using graphics software like PhotoShop, PhotoShop Elements, InkScape, Gimp, and others.  Lower cost is another advantage of digital vs. rubber.  Often the price per digi is less than its rubber counterpart, and delivery of digital images can be as fast as your internet connection, with no shipping charges.  Storage space is not an issue, either.  Need to store 1,000 stamps?  No problem--if your hard drive or external storage media can't handle it, you can store a virtual room full of digis on one thin CD.

Digital Formats

Digital stamps are usually offered in ".png" or ".jpg" format--sometimes both.  The acronym "png" (pronounced "ping") stands for portable network graphics, which is a compact method for storing image files.  One of the advantages of png over jpg is that png files support transparency.  The transparency attribute makes using a digital stamp something like using a physical stamp in that the transparent pixels of the .png file are like the portion of the rubber stamp that doesn't receive any ink.

jpgs can't deliver transparency.  In a .jpg file, what would be the un-inked portion of a rubber stamp (or the transparent pixels of a digital stamp) translate as the color white.  Let me show you in pictures:
Left side (blue) is in .png format.  Right side is in .jpg format.

Notice how the blue background of the image on the left side shows through the cupcake?  The cupcake image itself has only one color:  black.  Any pixel that is not black is transparent (in this case allowing the blue background to show through the frosting).

Think of it as using a rubber stamp on acetate.  Whatever pattern you place behind the stamped-on acetate will show through un-inked areas of the image.

Contrast that with the image on the right.  With a digi in .jpg format, we have two colors:  black, and white.  The .jpg shown here includes white pixels in the image itself, and also in the background.  The original blue background is completely obliterated by the jpg's not-transparent, pixel-heavy self.

White background?  Not always a great thing.  Opaque frosting on the cupcake though? Yes.  Whereas the image on the left includes only black and transparent pixels, the image on the right includes black and white.  To get the best of both worlds (transparent background and opaque frosting) you're going to have to (digitally) paint white behind the frosting in the first image, or erase the background of the second image.  Those are two options anyway.

I'm using black-and-white in my example, but actually digital stamps can be any color, or multiple colors.  Some sellers offer digis in color, much like you'd find with digital scrapbooking elements.


Pirate?  Just DON'T.

Before we move on, I'd like to address the issue of piracy.  It is not o.k. to download someone's digital artwork--even if you paid for it--and then share that file with someone else without permission from the seller.  Some companies' policies go even further to state that you may not sell any item created with their images.  Some want you to provide accreditation of their company on the back of your finished artwork, or online if posting on the internet.  Please know your seller's attribution policy, and abide by anti-piracy rules.  Piracy hurts everybody.

Have a Cupcake, On Me

O.K. so let's say you've acquired a digi by proper means.  Take the cupcake (links to download are at the bottom of the post), for instance.  You have my permission to use it for your own personal projects.  If you use it on the internet, please give me credit by including a link to this post.

What to do with it?   Well, you could print that lone cupcake onto cardstock.  Either format will print the same in this case, since the white background will be ignored by your printer (unless you have access to a super-wham-o-dyne printer, white ink is not an option).  Once printed, many users then cut out the image and use it in their artwork as an applique, adding color afterwards as they would do if they had stamped it with rubber.

What Else Can You Do with Digis?

Another way to use digis is to manipulate them in their native environment, a graphics program (see above for links to various platforms).  The ATC below was made entirely in PhotoShop Elements, then printed onto heavy cardstock.  I added an ATC back (find some I made here) and off it went to my swap partner.

And Here's Where the Debating Starts...

As a rubber stamper, I object to the term "digital stamping", but not to the process itself.  If graphics is the goal, then I'm more interested in the result than in the method used to get there.

On the other hand, some do object to the use of software in their craft.  They don't consider something that was ultimately printed by a computer to be in the same category with handmade items.


I'm all over the fact that we crafters have yet another medium, digis, at our disposal.  Because it is another medium, it needs to have a different name than "digital stamping".  That's just dumb.


Let me know if you come up with anything.


And now, please do have a cupcake or twenty.  On me.
PDF of 20 cupcakes (5 each of four images) on scribd.  These are intended for printing onto card stock and cutting out.
PNG of a single cupcake on DeviantArt (you might need to create an account there--it's free though).  This one has a transparent background.
JPG of same image.  White background. 

Please

Do not share the images I've offered here, but do link back to this post.  If you end up using the cupcake(s), I'd love to see a photo of your creation (post a link in the comments).

Thank you!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

ATC Saturday: Fly

This is an ATC I made for a swap at swap-bot.
The theme is "birds".

This sweet little girl image reminds me of the illustrations in my kids' nursery rhyme books.  I confess that when it comes to children's books, I check the artwork first.  If the pictures aren't captivating, the book doesn't come home with me.  Here I've used only a portion of the stamp.  You can see the entire image here.

A rigid iron fence anchors this miniature scene, but the little girl's thoughts are soaring to the sky.

I began by stamping the background (find it here) in pale blue.  Next came the ironwork border, which I colored with metallic gold Prismacolors.

The swallows, and the dove were stamped directly over the background.  I stamped and colored just a portion of the little girl, then used a punch to cut out a small circle.  I distressed the circumference of the circle with blank ink before gluing it in place.

To finish the piece, I stamped the word "fly" using one of my most versatile alphas, LL762 Printer's Lower Case from Hero Arts. (This alpha is available elsewhere, too.)

Stamps Used: StampFrancisco (background), Beeswax (girl), Lost Coast Designs (grid iron border), Picture Show (swallows, dove).

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Babies!

cabbage, 100PP; bald baby, Hero Arts?; center baby, Karv'd
In case you were wondering, yes babies do come from the cabbage patch.  These rubber babies do anyway!

Here, a whole scene emerges with just a little tiny bit of doodling added to the stamping.

I remember discussing a certain stamp-designer's early years of this hobby.  She owned only a couple of stamps at the time.  Among them, she said, were Barbie, and a cabbage.  She told us how she had so much fun stretching her creative muscle; coming up with new ways to use just those two stamps together.  I often think of Kathy M.'s story when I need a creative nudge.

It's a great exercise to see what you can create when you limit yourself to just a couple of images.  Think of the fun you could have creating a series of PCs using only two or three stamps!  Sounds like a good challenge for some pen friends or swappers.

Hot Tip: The bald baby is an image I picked up in a bargain bin at a discount store for less than a dollar.  Often stamps carried by general-merchandise stores make a horrible impression either because there is excess rubber surrounding the image, or because the rubber has been mounted directly to the wood/plastic block sans cushion, or both.  Most times, all that is needed is a close trimming of the excess rubber, and the addition of some rubber cushion (available from 100PP, and many others) and your bargain-bin find will stamp beautifully.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Christmas in July: Finale

Christmas in July ends today.  We're out of month, and I'm out of Christmas cards.  I hope you've enjoyed the series!

Here are links to the other posts in the series, in case you missed them:
Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Part 6

Today we'll cover 2010 and 2011.

2010 was a fabulous year.  We were getting settled in the new house and new neighborhood.  The kids--five of them now--were adjusting well.  My stamps were unpacked and stored in beautiful cabinets custom-made for me by my dearly beloved.  What more could a girl want?

Once again, PhotoShop Elements (PSE) allowed me to bypass the labor-intensive coloring stage and beat the "mail by" deadline. 
2010
Here on the front, we see Bunny the dog and Marmie the cat admiring a decorated pine through the window.  Inside (not shown), its the same scene, in the great outdoors.  The snowy wood covers the entire space, and the lower part of the tree and boy are visible, anchored in the snow.

The tree is decorated with digital scrapbooking embellishments from Shabby Princess, as well as some rubber stamp images in my collection.

Stamps Used:  Eat Cake Graphics (dog, cat, pine tree), Remarkable! (boy).

Now we've reached the final entry, 2011.

I wanted to tell a story with our Christmas card this year.  It started (as it often does for me) with a single stamp.  The image was of a little girl, dressed as Mary, holding a baby.  The expression on the girl's face captivated me!  She looks so thrilled to be holding that baby.

I bought many of the nativity stamps offered by Art Impressions and then put them together like this:
2011
The sign on the outside of the card reads, "Christmas Pageant TODAY 2:00 P.M."  (It is not a stamp.  I typed it up in PhotoShop Elements.)

Inside we find seven children, plus a sheep and a baby participating in the pageant play.  The three kings (a single stamp) was cut apart to allow one of them to pop out when the card is opened.


Stamps Used:  Art Impressions--all, except for the sheep on the outside.  I drew him.

This concludes our Christmas in July series.  Thanks for taking a look!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

ATC Saturday: Dance

They make it look easy...
Happy Saturday!

We're all about the ballet today.

This image is in my stash because my daughter saw it at a convention when she was ten or so.

Now I have my own "for real" ballerinas--Holly and Laurel both started dancing on pointe a couple of years ago.  This ATC reminds me of them!

I stamped the two dancers, then masked them to add the third.  Purple was sponged on the background, and the floor was colored with grey Prismacolors.

Next the dancers were colored, and the sentiment added (Byron font printed onto a watercolor background).

The top seemed too empty, so I stamped some lace--sort of looks like stage curtains...it's feminine, anyway.  I toyed with adding ric-rac, actual lace, etc. but everything I tried over-powered the design.  Stamping was the way to go here.

Stamps Used:  StampFrancisco: ballerina,  Picture Show: lace

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Christmas in July: Part 6

Christmas in July continues!

Here are links to the other posts in the series, in case you missed them:
Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5

Christmas 2007 found us with two daughters, and now two sons.  Baby Liam joined the family in May that year.  Our growing family had many of its own traditions by this time, foremost among them the delivery of Christmas cookies to friends and neighbors.
...and baby makes four!

More on that later.

"Mary, Mother of Jesus", was the theme for 2007.  I needed something elegant, and "Santa Maria Virgo", from Postmodern Design filled the bill beautifully.  I've been searching around the web to find out what happened to this company.  I found a very few of what might be their stamps here.


In any case, below is the card that went out from us in 2007.  It required only two images, but lots of coloring.  I used four or five different-but-similar colors to evoke a feeling of richness.  The border pieces were stamped, cut out and mounted on foam tape for added dimension.

I like the architectural impression this layout gives.
2007
Stamps Used:  Postmodern Design (Virgin Mary), Unknown (spandrel).

2008 was all about the Christmas cookie.  This was the first year that I used PhotoShop Elements to do most of the coloring for me.  What a relief it was to only color something once!  The large snowman cookie was colored by hand, but the rest was done digitally.  I was a novice PSE user, and this project was a real learning experience for me.

My kids love to decorate cookies, and I admit I may be a teensy bit obsessed with them myself.  The two snowmen you see here are edited photos of actual cookies that I baked, frosted and decorated.  You can see more of our cookies here.

The biggest cookie on the card was printed onto white cardstock, colored with Prismacolors, then cut out and fixed to the card with foam mounting tape.
2008
Stamps Used:  TooMuchFun (reindeer cookie, angel cookie, gingerbread man)

2009 was a crazy, crazy year.  I had given birth (again!) to a baby boy (again) that May (again).  His name is Declan, and he and Liam are best friends.  Oh the sweetness!  Trouble was, our poor little three-bedroom home was bursting at the seams.  We moved to a bigger house when the baby was just ten weeks old (I don't recommend that, by the way).

All of my stamps and supplies had been packed away for months, so ten-year-old Laurel came to the rescue.  She drew a picture of Mary with Baby Jesus that I scanned and colored.  We sent it out for printing as a photo-postcard.  Though no stamping was involved, I've included it for historical purposes because my baby drew it.  Thanks for indulging me.


Only one more post to go in the series--see you on Monday.