Monday, December 29, 2014

Simply Lovely Tags - A Tutorial

 I just added these two lovely little stamps to my Etsy shop and was inspired to make a few tags with them.  To make these tags you'll need just a few basic supplies.

Card stock (I cut mine into 2.25" x 3.25" rectangles)
Rubber stamps
Ink for your stamps
Scissors or paper cutter
Circle punch (1.25", or size desired)
Double adhesive foam dots
Marker (Sharpie rocks!)
Corner punch
Hole punch
Mod Podge Dimensional Magic
String, yarn, or thread
Chalk ink (optional)
 I happened to have four images stamped onto scrap card and I just hate throwing things away.  I knew that I had a punch that I could use to salvage the images.  (This is where you will use your favorite stamp(s) on card stock.  Let it dry, then punch them out.)  I used my favorite red Sharpie to color in the hearts on two of the yarn stamps, then I applied Mod Podge Dimensional Magic over the surface of the hearts.  

Set those aside so they don't get smudged.

 It's so pretty!

For the other two stamps I used chalk ink to rub over the edges of the circles to add a bit of color and dimension to the tag.  Just so you know, you don't HAVE to use chalk ink.  I happened to use dye based ink on the images with the embossed hearts.  The ink you use really depends on the effect you're trying to achieve.  Experiment and try all possible ways!  You may just discover what YOU like best.

Use a corner punch to cut the top corners off.  I liked the way it looked with the bottom corners left as they were.  
Punch the hole at the top where you'll thread your string, attach the adhesive dots, and attach your punched circles to the top of the dots.
 And that's it!  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Making Thank You Cards - A Tutorial

About a week ago I added a Thank You stamp to my Etsy shop and I've been having a lot of fun with it since.  Here's a little tutorial  t show how I made these nifty little Thank You cards.

Keep in mind that just because I do something a certain way or use a certain supply, doesn't mean that you HAVE to use the exact same tools that I do.  I'm only sharing with you how I did it.  Feel free to explore with tools that you have on hand.  Remember, it's supposed to be fun and easy!
Begin by gathering your supplies.  
I cut my pieces of card stock down to 4" x 5.5".  This way when they're folded the cards measure 2.75" x 4"... happens to be just right for holding a business card!
Using a 2 inch circle punch I cut a small stack of circles.  Whatever I don't use for this project will be set aside and ready to go for next time. 
Using dye based ink I stamped a hibiscus over the surface of the folded card.  (Dye based ink dries quickly and I prefer it for this type of project.)  Don't forget to keep a piece of scrap paper underneath to catch the ink that doesn't make it onto your card!

Keep a damp towel on hand to clean your stamp between colors!
Something I like to do is draw a line around the edge of the card between the stamped images.  It creates a sort of a border.  It's one of many ways of enhancing the design.
Now back to all of those circles.  The Thank You stamp is just a bit larger than the 2 inch circle, but I don't mind.  That's why I use the surface of an ink pad to gently brush the edges to add a bit of color to sort of "close" it in.  It also helps to make the circle "pop" away from the card.  When you're finished with coloring the circles, turn them over and add those nifty foam dots.  Aren't those great?! 

Aren't those pretty?  Just a few simple supplies and you've got your very own personalized Thank You cards.  I'd love to see what you come up with.  Please share your photos with me by tagging me on Instagram or posting to my Facebook page.  Happy crafting!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Create DIY Stitch Markers Using Rubber Stamps, Shrink Film, and Permanent Markers.

You can create your very own handmade crochet or knitting stitch markers using rubber stamps and shrink film.  There are probably a number of ways to do this.   Experiment with your supplies to see what works best for you!  I'll share with you what I did and hopefully it will inspire you to pencil in some crafting time and make a set for yourself, for a friend, or for those on your Christmas list.
I punched white shrink film using a 1.5" circle punch, then stamped my image using StazOn ink.

Next I punched a hole in the top of each circle with a standard hole punch.

Using my favorite Sharpie marker, I drew "stitches" around the edge of each circle.

You may use your oven to shrink your film (according to package directions) but I use my embossing tool to save time and energy.

Here's what they all look like together after shrinking.  So tiny!

I use Mod Podge Dimensional Magic to add a thick gloss to my pieces to finish them.
After they're dry, use jump rings to attach the jewelry findings you like best to use for either your crochet or knitting projects.  I happened to use a lobster clasp as I had a bunch of them in my findings box.  

I will not be making stitch markers for sale, but the animal stamps you see in the photos are all available for sale in my Etsy shop along with many others.  Happy crafting!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rubber Stamping Ink - My Thoughts and Recommendations

I'd like to start by saying that I am NO rubber stamp expert.  At all.  I'm just a girl who carves stamps and I happen to have a hodge podge collection of inks and pens in my crafting arsenal.  I play, experiment, and explore.  That's what you should be doing, too!  I'll share with you what I'm doing and what I'm using, but it's ultimately up to you to find what works best for YOU.

Here is an example of some of the inks I have in my collection. I prefer pigment inks for cards, tags, and embossing, that's just my preference, but I also use dye-based inks for my labels because they are quick drying. 
Experiment with different types to see what you like to use most. Different inks have different applications. There may be certain inks that work best on paper, and some that work best on other types of material depending on what you're using your stamps for. Do some research - Google is a pretty awesome (and free!) tool. I usually buy my supplies at either Jo-Ann Fabrics or Michael's. If I can't get out of town, I'll shop on Amazon, too.  If you have an exclusive rubber stamp/scrapbooking shop in your town, stop in and ask the clerk for advice. They'll surely have helpful tips for you and the supplies you need will be right there!

I recommend adding some of these nifty Marvy Le Plume II markers to your collection!
I didn't use my spiffy Marvy markers for this project, but my Color Box pigment Pinwheel instead.  I would recommend that you do to obtain the truest colors when stamping images. Sometimes I get a bit lazy and I might stamp yellow, then orange, then red, etc., before cleaning the stamp. If I'm working in the same range of colors, and working from light to dark (never the other way around!) I might skip the cleaning. But that's just me!
How many of you have used your handmade stamps to make gift wrap? Here's a project idea for you!  My son attended a birthday party for his friend this summer and we collaborated to make him something special. He got to pick two Minecraft characters for me to carve, and we hand stamped the gift wrap from them, too. 

These envelopes were colored with Tsukineko Memento Dye Based inks.  I love the rich brilliant colors and easy clean up.  These can be found online and in most craft stores in the scrapbooking section.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Rubber Stamps on Shrink Film Tutorial

I've been playing with rubber stamps on shrink film lately and as I promised, I'm sharing my findings with you.  As always, I'm not going to tell you what to do (believe me, I'm no expert!) but I'll show you what I did, what I used, and what works for me.  Take this information and use it as a platform to launch your own experiments with different techniques for your rubber stamp projects.
Get your supplies ready!  What you'll need: 
shrink film 
rubber stamps
StazOn ink
fine grit sand paper (if adding color)
permanent marker (optional)
colored pencils or permanent marker (optional)
Mod Podge Dimensional Magic (optional, but recommended)
hole punch (optional)
heat source (oven or embossing tool)

I've used the clear Shrink Film by Grafix in the past, but I've been wanting to try white for a while now.  I was very excited the other day to receive my first shipment.  I'm having so much fun with it that I'm sure I'll be placing another order again soon.

I started by stamping some images onto a bit of film I had left over from Friday's projects.  The black ink is the StazOn, which I highly recommend for this project.  I was curious to see if it would be possible to use pigment inks; if it would dry on the film, and if it would become permanent on the surface without smudging or smearing.  I'll have to get back to you on that as it doesn't dry quickly and has been set aside to give it some time to completely dry.  If I discover that he pigment inks don't work well on shrink film, I'll be adding additional colors to my StazOn shopping list!

NOTE: This ink is VERY WET and smudges easily if too much pressure is applied.  See the last button?  The first sewing machine is an example of not applying enough pressure.  It's okay to make mistakes.  It's how we learn!   
If you're planning to add color with pencil, it is recommended to rough up the surface of the film with fine grit sand paper.  When using colored pencils, know that a little goes a long way.  Colors get deeper and more vibrant when the film shrinks.
(Yes, I borrowed my childrens' art supplies. They were so busy with Minecraft, they didn't even notice!)
I used my From Oregon, With Love stamp and inked the outline only, then colored the design with colored pencil.  It looks REALLY rough!  I liked how my tide pool postage stamp style design turned out the other day so I cut this image the same way using a pair of decorative edged scissors.

When you're finished stamping and coloring, use a pair of scissors to cut out your images.  If you're wanting to punch a hole in your piece, I recommend using a standard sized hole punch or larger.
When all of the pieces are stamped, drawn, colored, and cut, it's time to shrink the film.  I used an embossing gun, but you may also use an oven or toaster oven (refer to package directions for heating instructions.)  

Look at how much much smaller these get!
It's up to you if you want to seal your finished pieces or not.  Sealing them with any clear acrylic sealer would work just fine.  I like the extra glossy finish of Mod Podge Dimensional Magic.  It really makes the artwork *POP*.
I use E-6000 to attach findings to my pieces.  I squeeze a bit out onto a piece of scrap paper and apply it with a bamboo skewer or toothpick.
I had forgotten that I had this box of treasures.  Check out this loot!  I imagine I just might be making some earrings, hair clips, and brooches for the bazaar I'll be vending at in November.  Are you inspired yet?
And here they are!  A few of my finished pieces.  The drawing of the tide pool was inspired by a coloring page for the boys' starfish dissection prep work.  It was made by drawing on roughed-up film with black Sharpie marker and colored with pencil.  I knew that the buttons would be earrings and thought the sewing machine would be a small brooch... until I found those hair clips!  Guess what I'm wearing in my hair tomorrow?
(The sewing machine, button, and state of Oregon hand carved rubber stamps can be found in my Etsy shop.  You may notice that the sewing machine is "backwards" according to the listing on Etsy.  This is because I used my master stamp to create my shrink film design.  I mention this just in case anybody might have noticed and would have thought to ask.)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Felted Coaster Pattern

Here's the brief story about how this very exciting Shaun the Sheep coaster came to be.  I'm going to share with you how I made my coaster (hey, cool - free pattern!)  But you'll have to use your imagination to decorate your finished felted piece.

For a few years I've used this felted heart on my desk as a coaster.  It works well enough I suppose, but lately I've been wanting to replace it with a round or square shaped coaster of some sort.
In the beginning, I didn't know exactly what I wanted, so I began with a crocheted circle.   It's simple really.

To make this coaster you'll need:

100% wool yarn for felting (I used Paton's wool)
Crochet hook US size I9/5.5MM
Yarn needle

Begin with a magic loop.

Round 1:  Ch 1.  10 hdc into the magic loop.  Join.  (10)
Round 2:  Ch 1.  2 hdc into each st around.  Join.  (20) 
Round 3:  Ch 1.  *2 hdc into the next st, 1 hdc into the next st*.  Repeat around.  Join.  (30)
Round 4:  Ch 1.  *2 hdc into the next st, 1 hdc into the next 2 sts*.  Repeat around.  Join.  (40)
Round 5:  Ch 1.  *2 hdc into the next st, 1 hdc into the next 3 sts*.  Repeat around.  Join.  (50)
Round 6:  Ch 1. *2 hdc into the next st, 1 hdc into the next 4 sts*.  Repeat around.  Join and fasten.   Weave in ends.  (60)


I'm not telling you what to do, but I'm sharing with you what works for me.  There are different types of felting methods and the easiest is to toss your item into the wash along with jeans or towels, something heavy that will help with agitation.  Click this link for tips and techniques for machine felting from  Since I wasn't doing a load of laundry, I simply added a bit of detergent to a large bowl and filled it with HOT water.  (Make the water as hot as you are able to handle working in it.)  It would have been easier to felt if I had another item or two in the bowl to use for agitation, but I didn't so I did my best to rub the coaster against itself (sounds kinky!) until the fibers began to join and felt.  Agitate, rub, fold over (don't twist!), squeeze, rinse in COLD water, repeat - until the piece is solid.

When I was finished, I tossed it into the dryer with some towels.  Fancy, huh?  It dried pretty quickly and then I was left with a solid gray felted circle.  Success!

 Except... that it was missing something.
Not knowing what I wanted, I turned to the monkeys for some ideas.  Children are often FILLED with ideas and inspiration.  One monkey suggested a heart.  The other suggested an elephant.  Neither of those suggestions appealed to me, and I was on my own.  Think, think, think.

I tinkered with a couple of thoughts, but I really didn't want to put a whole lot of time into this piece.  I DO have other things to do, after all.  I evaluated the colors I had to work with and decided I had a sky and grass in the box.  I started to see something happen.  I asked Monkey #1 what he was beginning to see.  He said, "A farm!"

That was it.  We love Shaun the Sheep and I felt confident that it wouldn't be too difficult to add him to my piece.  And so it was done.  What a lovely thing, that mischievous sheep, by my side at the desk.
If needle felting isn't your "thing", or you're not quite ready to embark on that journey, there are other ways to add designs to your coasters.  You could cut shapes or patterns out of felt and sew it on; you could use thread to embroider a design; while crocheting your coaster, you could alternate colors on every stripe to make "rings"; or simply leave your coasters plain.  Those are nice, too!

I hope this inspires you to make coasters for yourself.  At least one very special piece of art to hold your morning cup of coffee or tea.  They would also make great holiday and housewarming gifts.  Please share your pictures with me on Facebook.  I'd love to see what you come up with!