Background Bonanza!

I love to have a handy stash of background papers on hand. Here’s a stash I made using Art Foamies big, bold foam stamps and some acrylic paint:

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The Foamies come with their own palette, making it easy to add paint and then just stamp. Clean-up is a breeze, too.

And with these busy backgrounds, you don’t need a lot of embellishments to make a card, such as this:

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You can see the shimmer of the gold paint in this close-up:

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(The “hello” die cut is from Simon Says Stamp.)

Thanks for stopping by!

Experiments in Gel Printing

At the Craft & Hobby Association’s Mega Craft Show this year, I met Laurie Karian, who has her own line of gel printing plates at

I’m a relatively new convert to the joys of gel printing but now that I’ve gotten started, I can’t stop!

I was lucky enough to get a 3×5 inch gel plate to play with, and I went a little crazy:

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Look at all pretty pieces! (Did I mention how addictive this is?)

I played around with a variety of acrylic paints, including Americana® multi-surface Satin™ by DecoArt® and Dina Wakely heavy body acrylic paint from Ranger. To create the patterns, I also used a variety of objects, including stamps, bubble wrap and corrugated cardboard.

I really loved using Plaid’s Fabric Creations™ block printing stamps, which look like old-school wooden block print stamps from India, as well as some foam stamps from Art Foamies (which worked really well with the paints).

The small plate was perfect for creating smaller 4-bar cards, which measure about 3 1/2 x 4 7/8 inches when folded). Some I kept clean and simple, some I indulged with stamps, etc. Here is a sampling:

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The bird and birdcage are from a Prickley Pear stamp/die set. The birdcage was die cut twice, then stacked and gold embossed. The bird has a coat of clear Wink of Stella. The sentiment, black embossed on vellum, is from Hero Arts’ Everyday Sentiments CL497 and attached with a Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher.

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For this piece, the foam stamp was stamped into the wet paint, removing some of the paint; the green leaves were stamped after the print dried, using StazOn ink. The Dew Drops are from Robin’s Nest and were attached using Ranger’s Glossy Accents.

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Here I cut poppies and a sentiment (both from Elizabeth Craft Designs) and added some Ranger Glossy Accents dots. So easy! (The pattern was made using good ol’ bubble wrap.)

One note I have neglected to mention for a while … I have been using ScraPerfect’s Best Glue Ever for a lot of my gluing, especially of tiny pieces. I’m loving this adhesive!

Stay tuned for more of my gel addiction!


Fabulous Find — Blockwallah Stamps

Blockwallah stamps are more that just tools — they are little pieces of art. (I even love the instruction tags!)

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Blockwallah has a fascinating story that crosses continents, from Finland to India. Founder Laura Vacker and her Indian partner work with rural artists in India to produce these gorgeous hand crafted beauties, following an art form that goes back hundreds of years.

The company’s name reflects its origin: ‘Block’ meaning stamps and ‘wallah,’ which is Hindi for seller. The stamps, designed by artists in Finland, India and Sweden, are carved into Shesham wood, also called Indian Rosewood, a sustainable hard wood. The company believes in ethical work practices that help empower impoverished Indian women.

The blocks stamp surprising well if you know a few tricks, such as using fluid acrylic paint instead of traditional stamp ink and stamping on a well-padded surface (towel, mouse pad, stack of newspapers, which is what I used on theses.) I used DecoArt’s Americana Multi-Surface paint (so nice and creamy and I love the colors!) in Steel Grey, Flamingo, Coastal Waters and School Bus.

Here are my first practice sheets:

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The stamps are beautiful to look at and easy to hold. Because they are all handmade, no two blocks are exactly alike and there may be some minor — very minor —  imperfections … but that only adds to the charm!

They are great for paper and fabric.

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I cut up my practice sheet to fit this white card base and edged it with a Marvy gold marker before adhering it to the card front. I colored the elephant’s cloth with a bit of Distress markers, scribbled on my craft sheet and gently painted in with my water brush. The elephant is popped up with foam dots and I added a few tiny Hero Arts gemstones to the flower centers.

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On this one, I added Lawn Fawn sequins and a die cut “happy happy” sentiment from Technique Tuesday (I love that this set has the cut out word AND the shadow. Below is a detail of that element.) I also cut out one of the stamped birds, edged it with gold and used a foam pop dot.

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Below is another card combining these elements:

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Using up all the scraps! The sentiment is an old one from Hero Arts. The letters are filled with with sparkly gel pens and a touch of Ranger Stickles glitter glue adds sparkle.

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Here is a simple card, just the elephant and a sentiment from Kaisercraft’s Confidence stamp set.

To recap, here are some tips for using these stamps:

— Liquid acrylic paint works best. Regular stamping ink is not recommended.

— Whether printing on fabric or paper, work on a cushioned surface, such as a towel, mouse pad, etc.

— Apply paint on a sponge and tap the paint on the stamp.

— Clean stamp before acrylic dries. To clean, wash the stamps with warm water and a brush (an old toothbrush works well). Dry them well with a soft towel and let them dry in an open place.

Do check out the Blockwallah site! Thanks for stopping by.

Fabulous Finds — Gelli Art!

This is a perfect example of what happens when I am afraid to try something and then I do … and I become addicted!

I am now addicted to the Gelli Plate by Gelli Arts. I finally tried it while writing an article about mixed media techniques for the Fall issue of Craftideas magazine. (Shameless self promotion alert! Besides my article, the issue has three of my projects, with a fourth featured in the enewsletter.)

The Gelli Plate looks and feels like gelatin, but is a durable, reusable, easy to clean surface that is used for monoprinting. The simple version: spread a drop or two of acrylic paint on the plate. Use a brayer to spread the paint into a thin layer across the plate. Use a soft object (stamp, bubble wrap, brush, stencils, etc.) to create an imprint. Add more colors if you like. Place plain copy paper on top of the painted surface, rub gently, then “pull” off your print. Not perfect? Add more paint and put on another layer. There are NO mistakes!

Here’s what I made (these are not the ones printed in the magazine.)

Here’s some of the pulled paper:

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And a few cards:

Just plain …

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And with a sentiment:

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Sentiment by Kaisercraft.; sequins from Lawn Fawn.

Stay tuned for more ideas … including how I used up the leftover pieces.

Thanks for stopping by.