Monday, April 11, 2011

Proofing the Cupcake Stamp

I took a few minutes to pull a proof of the cupcake stamp. It looks pretty good for a first view. I see lots of little bits of the block that still need to be cleaned up. And I am correct in assuming my letters look like Flintstones lettering. Too funny! Yep, lots of little places that need tweaking!

In a way I kind of like all the extra little markings. To me it says "hand carved" or "old fashioned rubber stamp" with those little black specs. but they won't stay. I want to carve the lines thinner and more smooth. And I will clean it up, too.

The day seemed to go by quickly. I've spent time on the computer today. That's an easy way for me to lose all track of time. I'm going to have to get my little egg timer back out again and try to be a bit more efficient in that department. I was going to do more work on the studio - moving stuff and maybe start in on some more painting work. But I decided to just make it a quick trip down there to get my ink and try to stay focused on my tasks . . . only to lose all track of time on the computer. But I feel I accomplished quite a bit so not a whole waste of time. For now it is getting late and I need to head off to bed. Just wanted to show I'm making a bit of progress . . . slow progress!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Stamp Making Inspiration

When I posted yesterday I forgot to tell you about another stamp carving artist's site that I find very inspirational. She is a master stamp carver! You will be amazed to see her work at her blog site called 'Girls Are Crying'. I haven't read back through her posts to determine why she named her site with that title, but I will search that out at some point. She does exquisite work with hand carved stamps!

When I was holed up at home last weekend mending from my oral surgery I spent some time getting reacquainted with some of my art books. I pull them out from time to time for inspiration. I signed up for a journal swap on swap-bot a short while ago. It isn't due till July so I have lots of time to work on it. I've got some ideas in my head on how I want to put it together, but I like to review things I've seen before to spur me on. I'm collecting some ephemera in preparation for what I have in mind. I will be recycling junk mail and incorporating other odds & ends in it as well. It should be fun to put together. It will be a mixed media compilation.

On another note, the 'Somewhere in Time' journal swap I wrote about previously has been cancelled by the host. I have to say I am disappointed in that, but have moved on. This new journal project should be fun as well. It will be an excuse to get back into more painting again, too. Okay, enough for tonight . . . I've got some things I need to be working on . . . till next time . . . Adios!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Cupcake Stamp

I am hosting my own swap over at Swap-bot.com right now. In fact, I am hosting two of them. The swap that this hand carved cupcake swap is for is called "Hand-Carved Stamp & Card/Envie". The goal of this one is to carve your own design into an eraser or an artist carving block to make your own rubber stamp. Then create a card and envelope decorated with that stamp for your swap partner. You will then drop the stamp and the card into the envelope and mail it to them.

I decided to make a cupcake. So I drew it out onto a piece of paper with pencil, then turned the written side down onto the carving block and burnished the pencil onto the block. This results in a reversed image of the drawing so when it is stamped it turns out having the same image as the drawing. This reversed/mirror image of the original drawing is important when one incorporates words as a component of the stamp. If it is not reversed, the words would read backwards when it is stamped out onto paper.

I started carving on it a couple days ago. I did a little bit here and there between working on the computer and doing other stuff around the house. It made for some relaxing break times between other chores. At this point it is mostly finished, but I have yet to test stamp it. I know I need to do some tweaking around the letters, but want to test stamp it before I go too far with that. Right now I'd guess they look an awful lot like Flintstones letters . . . all jagged, uneven and maybe slightly illegible. I need to go downstairs and get my inks to do that. As you'll remember in a previous post I mentioned that I hauled all my arting-scrapbooking-drawing stuff down there in what I'm now calling the big "Queen Bee Scrap-Art Migration of 2011". Okay, not really . . . just trying to see it with a bit of a sense of humor! The queen bed is now full ensconced in the Yellow Room awaiting a new head-board and rails that should be showing up at the furniture store sometime today. At present it is piled high with boxes filled with Cloth & Clay Doll Flowers. I'm hosting a swap over there at Cloth & Clay Dolls right now, too. More on that in a later post; this post is supposed to be about the carved stamps.

So, back to the stamps . . . as I said, testing comes later today to see what I'm working with on this stamp.

I used a Staedtler Mastercarve Artist Carving Block for mine. It started off at 4" x 4" and the cupcake was positioned on it diagonally. I wanted to make it as large as possible from the block and still have some little tidbits of scrap left over to play around with. The corners came in handy to carve a few little extras: the leafy twig, the cherry heart and the arrow. Nothing has come to mind for the fourth little corner at this point so it remains to be seen what becomes of that.

I wanted it to be fairly large so it could be used as a notepad image. I plan on stamping out a whole bunch of memo pad images so I can enjoy this stamp awhile even after it leaves my house. I was unsure about the lines on the memo pad being curved like they are. But I decided to go with it as it seemed more artistically sound to mimic the curve at the bottom of the cupcake. I slightly curved the baseline of the text, but not quite to the same degree as the other lines because the letters seemed to visually appear to be falling down too much in the middle - they looked cramped. Hopefully that turns out to be a good call. I'll consider them more when I test stamp. I have it in the back of my mind I can always just carve them out completely if they look horrible - same with the lines. I am also considering cutting into the lines to make them dashed or a series of dots and dashes. I am concerned about them overpowering the whole image and think that will help to lessen their impact. There again, I will see about that later after testing.

Here is an image of the first photo without the extra photoshopping mark-up layer. I've seen some lovely images at some other blogs, and in books about blogging and image manipulation. Just thought I'd play around with that concept to see what I come up with. I have to chuckle at myself . . . I think I need to keep working to get better on the layers and additional mark-making. Yet, I post it for all the world to see anyway. Hee, hee . . .tell me what you think . . . is that kind of thing appealing or distracting? In a way I like the look. You often see it in mixed-media type work, shading the edges of pages in scrapbooking, primitive art, some print images and many blogs showing the Somerset Magazine influence. But other times I see stuff like that and think it just looks grungy and dirty like a distraction that should be left off. Maybe it depends on the setting or to what extent it has reached its grunginess. And again, I'm no expert at everything photoshop either. Perhaps it's just that I need more work at doing my version of it.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Show and Share on Flicker

I have been busy working on various projects for swaps on Swapbot.com lately. This tote bag is one of those projects I sent away recently to one of my swap partners. The other day I decided to upload some of those photos of things I've made recently to my Flicker account. If you want to go take a look at those swap items you can follow this link.

I know I have been absent from this site and not posting much lately. Don't know quite why that is . . . just been staying busy and distracted I guess. Anyway, the link there at Flicker will show you a bit of the things I have been busy working on. There are others, just haven't posted images of all of them. I planned to add more photos as I go along. It just takes a bit of time to sit down and actually do that. Uploading photos takes more time than one might imagine.

So far I have been enjoying my swaps - both the making and sending, and also receiving mail from others from around the country. It's kind of fun to get stuff in the mail.

This past weekend has been a bit draining for me. I had a wisdom tooth removed on Friday, and have been drained of energy and sleeping quite a bit over the weekend. It is partly due to the pain pills that were prescribed following the oral surgery. Since I've been loopy and lazy the last several days it seems like time is passing so strangely. I've been in and out of sleep at odd times of day and night. It seems like I get to feeling better at times, then there are other times of achy soreness in my mouth/jaw that is irritating and distracting. Mainly I've been loafing around doing a bunch of nothing this weekend - feeling lethargic.

Last week, prior to the extraction of my wisdom tooth (the last one as the other three were removed years ago when I was younger), I was engaged in doing a major move of my scrapbooking and graphic art supplies. We got one of those sleep number beds to replace our traditional queen-sized bed. I had thought to move the queen-sized bed downstairs to one of the bedrooms in the basement, but we ran into trouble. The size of the mattress and box-spring was too large to fit down the basement stairs. So . . . we did a major upheaval of the Yellow Room where I did my scrapbooking and computer work. That room is now the new guest bedroom with the queen-sized bed relocated there . . . and all my scrapbooking and graphic art supplies are currently in a jumbled conglomeration from the move out of the Yellow Room and down to the basement.

Last week I had been working on re-painting my Sewing Studio and moved some of the furnishings around in the process of painting the walls. There is still a bit left to finish with that painting job. On top of that, there is a whole lot of other "stuff" to go through and sort now with dragging all my stuff down there. It is a major mess of disorganization down there right now. In a way I have been okay with this weekend's blissful ignoring of any responsibilities, due to the oral surgery, because I really wasn't looking forward to putting everything to order at this particular point in time. This moving/dumping of all my art stuff down there this week was an unexpected interruption to what I planned and anticipated to be a relatively easy and orderly repainting of my Sewing Studio. I thought I had an orderly and well thought out method to my redecorating. And it had been moving along smoothly . . . until we discovered our queen bed would be an issue. It was either just get rid of the bed, or rethink our room arrangements to make it fit. It is nice to have an extra bed should we ever need to make use of it to put someone up during a visit.

I have to say it has been nice to still sleep in the queen bed that I've been used to. . . in my Yellow Room now . . . as I laze around in a sleepy relaxed state of being from my medication. I've had to sleep propped up upon numerous pillows - to help to ease the swelling of my cheeks and upper jaw. I look and feel kind of like a silly puffy faced chipmunk ensconced among my pile of pillows. It has been a bit different to be waited upon by my caring and generous hubby who brings me warm soup and cold pudding. Soft foods have been so easy on the jawline. And I have to say my hubby has been great with helping me out. He does tend to be a stickler on making me follow ALL my discharge instructions - like gargling with salt water three times a day. I just try to think about salty potato chips so I don't gag. I did graduate to a bite of roast elk tonight for supper. It had been roasting in the oven nearly all day and was really pretty tender. But I ate a couple chunks of it then shared the remainder that was on my plate with the dogs so I could move on to my toast. I think I'll go for another cup of tomato soup before I head off to bed. I never thought soup could taste so good. That's been my mainstay now for the past several days - tastes wonderful when one is hungry! Yum . . . soup and pudding . . . a great combination . . . and toast!