Sunday, 22 November 2009

My first graphic design

I wanted to show you some designs I made before I started this blog, and I figured that now is the time to do it, since most of my new stuff is packed in boxes for moving to my new house.

When we found a nice place on the beach decorated retro style for our marriage over a year ago, I new immediately I also wanted a retro style wedding invitation. I have no clue about graphic design, so I made it in MS Word and printed it on sand coloured paper. The original cards are packed as well, so I coloured the background of the original design in MS paint. it is not the exact colour, but at least you'll get an idea of what it looked like.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

How to and where?

Since I started this blog, I get many questions on stamp-carving techniques. So when I stumbled upon this video I knew I had to post it here. Geninne basically uses the same technique as I do. I found out she also has a very nice blog, on which a 'Hand carved stamps' tutorial can be found.
When i started making stamps, I learned a lot from this website.

However, I also get questions by Dutch readers, who want to know where you can buy Straetler or Speedball rubber in Holland and I don't know the answer. I buy it at Stampeaz. Does anyone knows a shop in Holland which sells stamping materials?

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

vintage wallpaper

I've been away for a while. I went to Morocco and when I came back I had to start preparing for our new home. This Friday we finally get the key. We bought it more than 5 months ago, so it took a lot of patience. Last weeks I have been busy with selecting paint, wallpaper, floors, a couch and find some good professionals who can help to fix the stairs and walls. The top floor of our house, which is quite large, will be used as our bedroom and we want to style it in retro green with sand colors and some nice retro furniture. I would especially like to have a hanging rotan/rattan chair. Anyway, we first have to paint, place a floor and put some wallpaper on the wall before I can start thinking about furniture.
So, I bought vintage wallpaper for our bedroom from Swiet. It arrived today, but as it turned out, there were two different prints. I've send Swiet an e-mail and I'm sure they will take care of it. However, the colour of the wallpaper is exactly what I hoped for, so I am very pleased with it.
By the way, to colours in the photo are a bit different from the real thing. I just made a quit photo (with flash) to show the difference to Swiet. in real, it is, sand, lime green, olive green and orange.I'll show a better picture later on.

Edit 14/11: I chose the left one. Luckily, Swiet had still one (1)in stock, which arrived yesterday.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Learning the hard way

With every stamp I carve I learn something, usually because of the mistakes I make. For example, I forgot to take pictures of the first stamps that I gave away and stamp any prints either, which I now regret I little, because I would like to keep an ‘archive’ of the things I made. So when I made the stamp for Siep, I quickly took some pictures.

It gave me a good purpose for the ‘Floddertje’ notebook that my husband gave me a long time ago. (I will tell you about ‘Floddertje’ later). I can use it as an archive by stamping prints in it with every new stamp I make. My last post shows the prints I made with the Siep stamp.

As it turned out, you can make really nice patterns with stamps, another good lesson. I adore the Siep pattern. It looks like those little images they make for children to learn reading.
So yesterday I decided to make some patterns with the stamps that I have. Some turned out really nice, but I also learned another important leasson: don’t stamp on the backside of a page, because it will show through the paper. The Siep-pattern is ruined, but at least I learned a lesson!

Monday, 17 August 2009


Now my stamp-making skills have developed a little, I felt confident enough to make a stamp for a gift for someone who is not family. So for Siep, the new-born baby of my sailing loving friends a made this cute stamp. I had to make the whole stamp in one night, and by hurrying so much I cut a little too much off the 'e', but I still think it is very cute, and my friends, who love handmade stuff, really appreciated it. And that feels so good, when something that you have made by hand put a smile on someone's face.

Learning by doing

For two of my favorites stamps I preferred a better looking solution, so I sawed two blocks of nice wood, sanded it, stamped the picture on it and varnished it and this is the result. I think it looks much better than the previous ones, although I think I still made some small mistakes that I hopefully won't make next time.

Practical practise

I am still learning the basic techniques of rubber stamp carving myself, but I can tell you a little bit about the material by now.
here are different types of rubber. I use Staedtler MasterCarve, which is white, or Speedy Carve, which is pink. The white stuff looks and feels exactly like eraser. My experience is that the white rubber is more flexible than the pink rubber. The advantage of this is that it cuts more easily. However, there is also a little down-side. Because it is flexible (and thicker), it happens easily that the rubber twists or wobbles a little while stamping. On a stamp, there are always parts that have ink on it, but that are not supposed to touch the paper. But because of the twisting, it might just touch the paper and leave some marks. For me, it is part of the charm and character of stamping, those little carving lines, but too much is not pretty. Mounting the stamp on wood is a way to make the stamp less flexible and improve the stamp. So last week I tried this with some stamps I made earlier. I had done it before with stamps that I gave away, but I didn't have stamps mounted on wood myself. So this is how they look.
It is very practical, but it doesn't look very nice, so that is something to work on.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Dooo yooou speeaak whaalee?

Last summer I bought the book 'Softies' by Therese Lasky. Shorty after, i discovered stamp carving and never got to make one of the cute Softies. At least, until December, when i got a sewing machine for my birthday. Of course I had to try it immediately and I made this cute whale. I think it looks cute for a first project. The bird on his head was to small to sew with a machine, so I did it by hand and now it looks a bit like an old seagull, all battered and plucked. i am not sure if they are a happy couple, they seem to be on a different level...

Sunday, 2 August 2009

As original as can be

When I read the funny story about Nina’s seven Dala horses I immediately knew I wanted to make a Dala horse stamp. Later I learned Nina has one of those too. That made me doubt for a while if I still wanted to make one. But I guess this is what happens when you see a lot of creative work on the Internet, you learn soon enough that your ideas are seldom very original. And because I didn’t want to kill my renewed love for crafting even before it came fully alive, I carved my own Dala horse stamp. And while I was carving, I decided to make also a two sided ‘orange slice’ stamp and an ‘&’ stamp.

Since Ninainvorm inspired me anyway, I thought I could just as well try to make some little collages and so I did. I am quite happy with the result. My only handicap was that I had hardly any nice piece of paper in my house, so I immediately ordered some Japanese paper from CraftingBug on Etsy. They arrived this weekend and I am very happy with it.

Monday, 20 July 2009

My mother-in-law

As I told you in the previous post, my mother-in-law is an amateur bookbinder. Which is great for me, because she made me some really nice notebooks over the years. And this year she even made a beautiful Photo album for our wedding pictures. I adore it. The cover is made from hand painted paper that we found in a shop for art supplies. I immediately loved it and thought it matched the wedding invitation that we made very well. So we asked her to make a book for us and she said yes. I know she spend many days to make it, but it is the best gift we could wish for. And she stamped it in the back with the stamp I made for her. Now all we have to do is put photo’s in it.

Stamps I made

Previous posts might suggest that I didn’t do anything crafty since last summer, but that is a bit exagerated. In fact, I made quite some stamps, of which I gave two of the nicest away (without taking a picture). One of them I made for my little nephew and showed a little train and his name. The other one was made for my mother in law and in fact consisted of a set of four stamps. They showed: ‘Ex Libris’, ‘Handmade’, her name and a rose. The idea was that they could be used seperately or I combination to stamp her books or the handmade (note) books that she makes. Because they were presents I glued them to little blocks of wood on which I first stamped an image of well, the stamp of course. I put them in little wooden boxes that I also stamped. They made nice gifts (although I wish I had taken pictures of them). I planned to make wooden blocks for all my stamps some day….

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Finally awake!

Since my husband and I started looking for a house in January I somehow stopped spending time reading and crafting. I had been reading almost non-stop for about five years, and since the summer of 2008 I also started to pick up some crafting project that had been in my mind for a long time. But with all the major decisions to make about the new house, like how much to spend, what kind of mortgage, city centre or city fringe, more room or a garden and so on, it seemed like there was no space left in my head for crafting or reading.
For inspiration and to relax, I started reading interior design magazines and blogs and I developed this new interest. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, because I am already interested in so many things, but anyway.
Lately, I have been reading Ninainvorm’s blog. She is a great writer and artist and she managed to wake up the crafty girl inside me. So this week, I started to make some sketches during my train trips to work and although they are nothing special, I am really happy that I have picked up the creative stuff again.