stamp carving 101

I am taking a stamp carving class with Julie Balzer that I highly recommend, Stamp Carving 101. It is an online workshop taught on a private class blog with videos. I finally made time to do Lesson 6 and even though it was challenging, it was successful! we learned how to transfer and carve a Damask design that Julie provided us with.... this is my finished test sheet!
It started like this . . . 

After testing, I made two tags, one for me and one for my friend Linda Kunsman who encouraged me to take this workshop with her. That was a fabulous idea because doing this with her has spurred me on! When we finish all 10 lessons, we will send each other a tag book with one tag from each lesson! 
 click for more details/larger photo -this tag below I made for me! 
 Then as Julie suggested, I used the scrap pieces from trimming this stamp and made some bonus stamps. Mine were all patterning stamps -love it!

Thanks for checking in - I enjoy your visits!


Wake up with a smile and go after life . . . . Live it, enjoy it, taste it, smell it, feel it.
   ~ Joe Knapp




carving a bracket stamp

I am taking an online course with Julie Balzer called Stamp Carving 101. I am really enjoying being her student and especially enjoying that I am taking the class at the same time as my friend Linda Kunsman. We are making tags for each other with all the stamps we carve and we'll send a nice fat package to one another when we finish the lessons -whoop!

Lesson 5 was carving a bracket stamp:
Using a pencil to transfer a ink jet printed design -
Adding more details with a permanent marker

Starting to carve away the excess . . 

more carving
cutting off some of the extra

test printing

more carving needed!

looking better! 

one tag for Linda, one for me!

this has been great fun and I still have a few lessons left!
You can join in anytime - Stamp Carving 101.
Here is Linda's bracket frame -check it out, it is wonderful. She is very talented.

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It's not the men in my life that count, it's the life in my men.
  ~ Mae West

(ha! these quotes are picked randomly, really!)




More lesson 4 - then some more on me!


I am taking a stamp carving class with Julie Balzer and originally wrote about what I did in lesson 4 here, in case you missed it. This particular lesson is about creating a series or set of stamps to use together. At the beginning of the video Julie showed us a banner shaped set she made with a cute little flat top, but then she went on to make a chevron set with a pointed top for the actual lesson. I really liked the banner shape and decided to make my first set that way. While I love this cute set of stamps I made . . .
. . . I just could not get that chevron shaped set out of my head! In fact, I found I couldn't move forward to lesson 5 until I made a set with a pointed top that could link together nicely. My "test" sheet is at the top of this post and you can see how I took my "flower" stamp and kind of linked it all together on the left. I am going through the lessons and carving my stamps pretty quickly (impatient to see my carved stamps!) so I figured more practice would be good for me. Below is my process of my second try with lesson 4:

Getting the shapes cut evenly is hard for me
All carved! My stamps are messy but okay.
Practice makes perfect!
A tag for me on the left and one for my friend, Linda K on the right.
Gosh, you must go visit her blog (link above!). Her chevron stamps are so, so cool!
plus she writes about how we talked with each other on the phone : )

For these tags I spritzed them all with water first to see what would happen when I stamped them with wet, dye ink. Just a little experiment for part 2 of lesson 4. I promise now to go on to lesson 5! Below are my banner stamps (L) in comparison with my chevron set (R):

And here are ALL the stamps I have carved so far in Julie's class:
Stamp carving 101 (click to leaarn more!)

This class has been totally enjoyable for me so far and I love having something to work on and learn/practice. I also find that doing the class at the same time as my friend Linda has really helped keep me on track. I love making tags for both of us after each lesson. What fun that will be to send & receive when the class is completed for us. And we got to speak on the phone together! I believe I have 5 more lessons to do. 

Besides carving stamps I played a little bit with watercolor blocks (like crayons) and soft pastels the other day and made a colorful piece on watercolor paper. I don't know what I will do with it yet but it was great to play in the spirit of the class I took with Bill Buchman. Here's a look:

I continue to take many photographs, most every day and try to upload one per day to my blipfoto journal
I have been able to return to dancing at Nia and Conscious movement . . . I am still going to physical therapy twice a week for my frozen shoulder but have improved by leaps and bounds! There are just a few rotating kind of movements that are not there for me yet, but I a happy to be able to dance again and do most things. My mom is doing well and Steven and I will visit with her tonight. Steven has made over 20 paddles now and he has been selling some. ; ) I am working on a 3-part video of his paddle painting process (editing now) and will share it soon. 
Our wedding anniversary is Monday and we are going to drive to the other coast of Florida, watch the sun rise over the beach on the east coast of FL, drive back home and watch the sun set over the beach on the west coast of FL, all on the same day - June 11, our 7th wedding anniversary! I do not think there are too many places you can do that . . . this is Steve's idea and since it is only a 3 and a half hour drive - so I said, why not? I am sure it will be memorable. 

Hope you are well, take care till next time. Any questions or problems with the new blog layout - template I am using, please contact me. If you are on the blog & click on comments, you may have to scroll down to see the comment box!

Nature gives you the face you have at twenty, it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.
  ~ Coco Chanel



Lesson 4: stamp carving

If you are just coming across my blog, I have recently changed the template.
For more info on this new look and how to navigate, please go here!
I am taking Stamp Carving 101 with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. This is an online course where you work at your own pace. I love it! Check it out. My friend Linda Kunsman and I signed up for this course at the same time, on purpose! We decided it would be a great way to inspire each other and that we would also make a tag for each other based on our lessons. What a great idea, Linda!! 

Lesson 4 is about making a series or set of stamps. Julie showed the small banner shape above at the beginning of her lesson, but then went on to make a set of stamps that were more in a chevron shape with a pointed top. I fell in love with this banner shape and went on to make my set this way. Julie said it was okay!!!

Here is my test paper. Julie suggested test printing as you carved, to see if any changes were needed. This was a great idea as I often changed or added cuts, depending on my test print.
My tools and my final hand carved stamp set.
The two tags I made - one for me and one for Linda K! 
The plain pink banner above is the 1st layer for some of my stamping.
The instruction is great and I am really enjoying the exercises.
Even though I have carved stamps before and taught carving before, I am learning a lot! 
Julie has just announced she will write a BOOK about stamp carving due out in the Fall of 2013!
Hope you are well and squeezing in some creative time . . . 

Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.
  ~ Grandma Moses




Art Journal Every Day (only when you can!)

Art Journal Every Day (only when you can!)

"I have some awesomely good news for you: you don't actually have to art journal every day to be a part of Art Journal Every Day. So if you're up for a little bit of "you" time every day (or every other day, or simply when you can) I hope you'll join us for Art Journal Every Day this year." Julie Balzer . . . 

Read More

stamp carving 101 . . . is fun!

Well, I am loving this class I'm taking on stamp carving with Julie Balzer. Most of the teaching is done by videos that are not too lengthy, through a private class blog. I have not watched them all yet but for what I've seen so far, they each run about 20-25 minutes. That's just about right for someone antsy like me! There's also an outline of skills to practice for each lesson and a flickr group to share your creations on. It is working out well and I have completed lessons 2 and 3 since I last wrote about it.

Carving stamps is not entirely new for me. I found out the other day when I located a small notebook that I carved my first stamp in 1995. Wow, do the math and you'll discover that was 17 years ago! (see the bottom of this post for more on that). But I was correct in thinking that a "refresher course" with someone I admire, whose carved stamps I have seen and loved, was a great idea, and a great deal at only $30!

Lesson 2 was about creating two simple interlocking stamps; stamps that you can overlap or rather, overstamp so they compliment each other. I have never done this type of carving before. We started with simple stripes, but I would like to try a more complicated design in the near future.

It may be hard to tell, but these blocks of speedy carve are the same striped design, filled in with black on opposing stripes. I used my linoleum cutting tool to remove all the black on both stamps, creating 2 opposite printing blocks.  




Trying out the printing . . . I need to practice interlocking carving again, 
but it was still fun even if it did not turn out "perfect".



The tags I made are below -I used different colors on a black tag. I am taking this class with my friend Linda Kunsman and we are doing an exchange. We'll make 2 tags for each lesson, keep one and then send one to each other when the class is done! This will make a neat little tag book.


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Lesson 3 was about carving a larger size stamp. The first few we made were only about an inch or so in size. This time I cut out about a 3" square piece of speedy carve and tried following Julie's chevron design. 







I am definitely enjoying this and look forward to lesson 4!

* * * 

I could not help but scan some of the pages in the tiny notebook where my boys and I stamped our early carved stamps. They were around 11-to-12 and 14-to-15 years old at the time (now 27 and 30!!). You can click on any scan for a larger, more detailed look.

my first carved stamp, 8-11-95

dallas and decklin's first carved stamps


Remember, I told you they were carving Calvin & Hobbes! 



This is just FUN!! Stamp carving material is so much better these days. 
Speedy carve is like butter to carve in comparison to what we used 17 years ago. 
Maybe you'll join us? The class I'm taking is Stamp Carving 101 with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer! 

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Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong.  ~ Ella Fitzgerald

stamp carving 101

I am taking an online course with Julie Balzer, Stamp Carving 101. I have hand carved my own stamps before, but not for a really long time. So this class really interested me because I especially wanted Julie's 'take' on the how-to's and any hints and tips. The first lesson was basic as it should be and a very needed refresher for me on how to hold the tools, etc. the best part? I carved my first stamp with Julie, a heart!

we used speedy carve, which I think is great! 

Her lessons include very good videos 
and details online in a blog format.

There is my little heart, stamped plain on the card (right)
and embossed in the journal. 

I started my new art journal which I have been
majorly procrastinating about!

I also did some tags . . . 
one for me and one for Linda Kunsman, whom I am taking the course with!

I added black paint just to see, what it would look like.



and here is my journal entry with my carved heart . . . 

I am looking forward to doing lesson 2!


The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.  ~ Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

(This is pretty funny that the Bill Watterson quote came up randomly . . . my 2 sons used to carve stamps with me and what would they carve? Calvin & Hobbes!)