Thursday, July 17, 2008

Stamp makers and Unmounting and ...

(This is long, but there ARE pics of cards further down!)

Well, I've been a busy girl since my last post. I've made a few new stamps (funny -- or sad, depending on how you look at it -- story there), and I've finally finished unmounting probably 99% of my SU stamps!! Woo hoo!! (That's not counting the alphas. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to unmount them.) Now I have a nice, tall stack of CD cases filled with SU UMs just waiting to be categorized and put into their racks. Of course, that's horribly boring and won't produce cards for me to sell in October, so I don't know when I'll ever get around to doing that!

On the personal side of things, this has been a rough week. I have a husband who is stressed out over all kinds of things (what breadwinner wouldn't be these days?). I have a teenager who basically told me that he's uninterested in or bored with his faith. That was a weird conversation. He told me he still believes in God and he's still a Christian, but I got the distinct impression he just doesn't care about religion right now. I guess that's to be expected at nearly 15. And at least he's not shaving his head and chanting "Hare Krishna" or something. But my faith is the most important thing to me, and I want Christ to be the most important thing in his life, too, and it just tore me up to hear him say and imply the things he did (nothing is more terrifying sometimes than a teenager's shrug!) So with that and several other things eating at me lately, I basically had a major meltdown that day. Not in front of him, heavens no. That would have been about as counterproductive as anything I can think of! But it was a rough day, so all my plans for crafting went out the window that day.

Then the next day I spent running around getting my car registered. It was a little bit overdue for that. Um, like six months. Don't ask me how that happened. My husband is usually all over that stuff like a duck on a June bug, but for some reason it just went past him this year. And neither one of us noticed that the little sticker on the front window said "2/08". Granted, there's a blue backing to the sticker that makes it hard to read from inside the car. And, granted, I never, ever look at the stickers whether I'm inside or out. But, still, it was ridiculously embarrassing! So that day was pretty much shot because I had to take Aidan and his female friend to the mall and then to a going-away party for one of their classmates. Aidan was, of course, on Cloud Nine all evening. I, on the other hand, stayed away from the party, but didn't go home, either, because it was too far away and I didn't want to drive that distance four times total, two of them in the dark. So, no stamping that night. (I did, however, go to Archivers and buy a very cool stamp set by Gel-a-tins called "Birds of a Feather", which I did not need, nor could I really afford. *SIGH*)

ANYWAY ... before I tell you about making stamps yesterday, I might as well get on with showing you the two cards I DID make this week.

The first one was inspired by a card my brother gave my mom for her birthday on Sunday. His was store-bought and mass-produced (although it did claim to be "handmade" on the back! The nerve!!), but it was really cool. It had two birds on the front that had been cut out of some kind of heavy cardstock or chipboard and covered with two different swatches of silk fabric. They were raised on foam adhesive. There were also three or four inch-wide flowers stuck around that were also raised. It was a beautiful card, but I promise you it was NOT handmade, except that maybe some poor human beings were hired to diecut the silk and glue it on the birds. And maybe stick the stuff on it.

So, anyway, I thought, "Hey, I could do that, only better!" So I went home and found my "Always" SU set and made a template from the bird in the set. Then I cut out two birds (no legs) from Club Scrap textured cardstock, and again from some Japanese Washi paper I had purchased from Michaels. I "carved up" the washi paper birds and attached the pieces to the cardstock birds to make them two-toned. Then I colored the bird's feet with Close to Cocoa marker and stamped the feet at the top, but then I realized I couldn't do that with the bottom bird -- he was facing the other way! And I can NOT draw even scrawny bird feet. So I ended up using a flat stamp I have and doing a mirror-image thing, then going over the feet with the marker to make them darker.

After that I stamped the flower branch from SU's "Artfully Asian" set along both sides and colored in the leaves. Then I used the Punch Box triple flower punch from SU to punch flowers out of the washi paper and glued them over the flowers on the stamp, plus a couple of extra places. Then I used glitter pens to fill in the berries and the flower centers, and also the birds' eyes. Finally I stamped the "serenity" kanji from the SU retired "Kanji" set with Encore Gold, embossed it with High Gloss EP, glued it on the card, stuck the birds on the feet with pop dots (aka Stampin' Dimensionals), and voila! A very Japanese looking card! (The background is supposed to be Very Vanilla, but it looks kinda white in the scan, BTW)

And, as with last time, I went VERY different with the next card. I was doing the TechnoStamper sketch for this week, and decided to be a little whimsical with it. I stamped the Penguin Chick from Imaginisce and colored in her bikini top and flower. Then I used my Cricut to cut out a blossom from the "A Walk in My Garden" cartridge, and "George and Basic Shapes" to cut out the square (am I lazy, or what??). Both use the SU DP "Bali Breezes". Then I decided to be all clever and use letter squares to make the arrow, since I didn't want to make one by hand. This was where my mojo went terribly south. I had to use the "sign" function on "George & Basic" to make the letters small enough to fit, then cut the signpost off each one. I used the Cricut to cut out the triangle, too. I made four of these cards, and this is the only one I'll show to anybody! I used Stickles on the first two, and got totally carried away. Actually, I'll probably give one of them to my 6-year-old grand-niece for her belated birthday card, she'll love it. Then I did one where I colored in the letters with a white gel pen and made dots around the arrow. Yuck. Then I decided to past the letters over scraps of the turquoise paper so they'd show up better, and that looked SO much better. So I got one out of four. And I'm pooped!

So I will now quickly tell you my stamp making story. I wanted to make some text stamps -- one backgrounder type, and several Bible verses. I wanted the background one to be Japanese letters, and I thought it would be cool if it actually said something, so I found the Beatitudes in Japanese at one of those online Bible search engine sites. I spent eons scaling it and making it just right for the size polymer packet I had (the largest one), and then made the negative. The first stamp I made I did something wrong on and it didn't turn out. So I was very careful on the second one to follow the directions closely. This time I got a beautiful stamp! I was so happy and proud of myself! So I went merrily on my way to make the second stamp -- one in English this time.

Because I never trust myself with instructions, I read them again to make sure I was doing all the steps right. And I discovered something horrible ... I had turned the negative face-down when I made my "sandwich" for my Japanese stamp, and I was supposed to place it face-up! So my Japanese stamp is mirror-imaged! ARRRRRRGH!! Of course, Aidan said only he and I would ever know the difference, but I told him I wanted to sell the cards I made with this stamp, and someone might buy one who spoke Japanese, and THEY would know, and I would look like an idiot. So I totally wasted $20 right there (two large size packets of polymer stuff). Although I can use the background on acetate or vellum until I can save enough money to buy another package of large polymer packets. It's such a beautiful stamp, and it makes such a great image! :(

Well, at least the other three stamps I made turned out okay. I think my motto for this week needs to be "She who pays attention saves aggravation and money." (It wasn't the only thing I screwed up because of lack of attention.)

So, there's my saga for today! I hope you got some enjoyment from it somewhere. Have a great Friday (and weekend, if I don't get back to you before then).

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