Thursday, October 30, 2008

Theme Thursday + Exciting Opportunity!

This is my first time to participate in the Theme Thursday challenge - I always want to, but it seems like I run out of time the later in the week it gets. This week's theme is vintage tho, so I made myself do something! First I had to clean off my desk . :-(
Ack! Am I the only one with such a horrible looking work surface? I saved all of the little bits and pieces that were lying around, added some pieces that I've been trying to work into projects and it evolved into this!

The stamps are both from Oxford Impressions - the woman is from the Venezia plate and the tag is from the April in Paris plate. The French Laundry hanger is available at RockCandy Studios and the paper flowers are from Walmart. Everything else is vintage.

Now, for the big news! Oxford Impressions is looking for new Design Team members! This is a wonderful opportunity to be a designer for one of the best stamp companies in the business. I am really excited - I know there is so much talent out there and I can't wait to see what amazing art will come our way! Click HERE for the details. Also, since OI designers are required to demonstrate an ability to work with photo stamps, make sure you check out Suzanne's tutorial on getting the best images from this type of stamp. I will give you a few of my own tips too!

From my experience there are three absolute rules you must follow to get the best impressions from your stamps. First and foremost - you must use the right kind of paper. I can't stress this enough. It needs to be coated paper - glossy is fine, matte coated (like Suzanne sells) is great too. I usually use the matte coated, but the for the piece I made above I used glossy because it's what was close at hand. If you try to use plain cardstock you will not get the detail required for this type of stamp. Second - you need to use the right kind of ink and the right amount of ink. My personal preferance is black Archival ink by Ranger. You also need your pad to be on the dry side. I've seen lots of images ruined by overinking the stamp. You end up with a big splotch of goo and not a beautiful photo image! Third, you need to have a firm base to stamp on and some sort of cushion. I prefer to mount my photo stamps on cling foam. I have seen fabulous impressions made with unmounted stamps that are stamped using a mouse pad as a cushion too. Mostly what you have to do is experiment a lot. Sometimes I stamp an entire sheet and end up with just a few good images (depending on how picky I am that day!). Find the best combination of paper/ink/cushion and you will be a pro in no time. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday Stamper - Open Theme

This week's Wednesday Stamper is open theme, which works great for me. I have been doing a lot of stamping, but nothing that I can show you right now, which is a bummer! I finished up a few things today and decided I really wanted to make something I could show, so here it is. Junk art! I have had the idea for this knocking around in my head for awhile. The wood base is a piece of an old pallet that has been lying around for ages - I love the aged look of it. The rest is bits and pieces bought at estates sales or found. Literally. Like, on the ground. :-) Stamps (man and gasoline label stamped on wood) are both from the Family Man plate from Oxford Impressions. Unfortunately, I finished it late and didn't have time to photograph it - this is a scan and is passable for now I guess!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Gothic Arch Challenge - Wee Witches

I must say - love the theme this week! I've definitely done my fair share of wee witches this Halloween. I thought I'd try a different color combination for something new. Still loving the wrinkle free distress tech - this time I used Peeled Paint, Weathered Wood, Faded Jeans, and Black Soot Distress inks. Stamps are all from Artistic Outpost, collage images are from Lisa's Altered Art.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Created Byhand Challenge - Walnut Ink Backgrounds

This week's Created Byhand challenge is Walnut Ink Backgrounds. I've recently rediscovered my Walnut Distress ink, so this was perfect for me. For my background I used the wrinkle-free distress technique. Using a clear plastic report cover, I smooshed my Distress ink onto it and then spritzed with water. I laid my watercolor paper over the ink and pulled it off. Dried w/heat gun and repeated until I liked the result. I stamped the bird (from the new bird sheet by I Brake for Stamps) on a scrap of vintage German paper and then stitched vintage bias tape and a piece of mica onto the card. The sentiment is from Time to Stamp/I Brake for Stamps.

Row House Skinny Pages

I did these recently for a swap on the CCS Yahoo group. The base is watercolor paper painted with acrylics. A few months ago at stamp club my friend Joyce demoed Golden products and this was one of the projects. I came across the 6" square piece while doing some tidying in my studio and thought it would be perfect to cut in half to make my skinny pages. I added some stamps from the new Grunge sheet from I Brake for Stamps - there is also some stenciling in there somewhere. The houses are cut from vintage Bingo cards. The man and woman images are both from Time to Stamp/I Brake for Stamps. The woman is stamped with Stazon on a piece of mica. I added a lot of stitching and then finished by putting the two pieces back to back and stitching them together. I hope she likes it!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Gothic Arch Challenge - Paper Patchwork

The theme for this week's Gothic Arch Challenge is Paper Patchwork. This was one of those pieces I had to work and rework a lot! My first thought was to try the Misty Mawn technique from an article a friend sent me a couple months ago. I followed the instructions and it came out so BAD (I am instruction-challenged I think)!! Definitely not as cool as I'd imagined. So, out came the gesso, sandpaper, and a bunch of stamps! I think, in the end, it all came together and was a fun experiment - what more could I ask for? The background stamps are from the new grunge sheet by I Brake for Stamps. Very cool stamps! The Mona and quote are both from the Winged Whimsy plate from Time to Stamp/I Brake for Stamps.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Created ByHand - Give Thanks

The theme for today's Created Byhand challenge is 'Thanks' and this month's challenge on the Ranger Yahoo group is 'Harvest'. I just bought this stamp at Archiver's ($1.99 spot) the other day and it ended up being perfect for both! First I sponged a wood circle with various Distress/Adirondack inks and then stamped the image using black soot Adirondack ink. I really love stamping on wood - it has so much texture and takes ink beautifully!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bottlecap Charm Bracelet

I just love the Halloween inchies collage sheet from Oxford Impressions - when it first came out, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it! I finally had time yesterday to sit down and make this Halloween charm bracelet using the collage sheet and bottlecap kit that Suzanne sells. A few beads, some UTEE, and presto! Adorable bracelet!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Created Byhand Challenge - House ATC

This week's Created Byhand challenge is 'Houses'. They supplied two cute house templates and I chose this one. I had a scrap left over from my Arch background, so I used that as a starting point. I have been itching to use my new Snowy Woods Christmas stamps from Artistic Outpost and thought it would be fun to try a non-traditional color combination with them. Turquoise and white might not be the first colors you'd think of for Christmas, but I really love how it came out - nice and frosty looking. I outlined my house with Stickles, which gives it a nice sparkly look. I think I'm going to put a little ribbon hanger on the the back and make it into a Christmas ornament!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Gothic Arch Challenge - Turquoise

This week's Gothic Arch theme is turquoise - what a nice change for me! I have been a little heavy handed with the Marmalade Distress ink (!) so it was fun to make something in a completely different color palette. I used the Gesso Batik technique from the latest Technique Junkie newsletter for my background. The background stamp is one of my faves from Time to Stamp/I Brake for Stamps and the girl is from Oxford Impressions.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Adirondack Colorwash Paper Towels

A couple days ago I happened upon this awesome tutorial on making tie dyed paper towels using Adirondack colorwash sprays. The effect is simply stunning! I made some today and it has to be the most simple technique I've ever done, and the results are seriously cool. Here is a pic of a few I did this morning:
Aren't they gorgeous? I made a real quick tag using a piece of the second one from the left. The tag, ribbon, buttons, and transparency are all from RockCandy Studios. The flourish stamped on the transparency, the little flower sprays and the script background are all from Oxford Impressions.

A few tips if you're going to try this:
1. If you're picky about your hands getting stained, wear gloves! I don't mind green and purple hands, but that's just me. ;-)
2. The original instructions don't mention wetting the paper towel first, but I found the color absorbed better for me when I did.
3. I started out using a dinner plate, but it got really hot. I switched to a shallow glass pie plate and liked it better.
4. If you want more color after it's dried, you can carefully re-wet it and do it again.
5. If you're using a two-ply towel you will get double the amount! I didn't even notice this until it was totally dry and I tried to glue a piece to my tag. It came apart and each piece was perfectly dyed.

Thanks so much to ladycherie at Artist Trading Cards and Life for this great technique!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wednesday Stamper - Structure

I was disappointed that I didn't have a chance to do the Created by Hand challenge yesterday - the coffin template is so cool! So, I decided to use it and combine it with the Structure/Texture challenge at Wednesday Stamper. I love this woman - she is from the Scandalous Beauty plate from Oxford Impressions - the Black Magic Woman stamp (from the OI Wicked plate) just seemed to fit!