S&S Sketch #54

Hello, cardmakers!

Are you working on Spring Thaw cards? I know my table is full of pastel scraps right now. Just remember to get those to your nearest shipper by February 28th!

Here's a new sketch to hopefully inspire some pretty spring cards!



We have two great sample cards today, courtesy of the awesome Nancy! You can see more of her beautiful work on her blog, Nancy's Creative Space. Thanks for these sweet samples, Nancy!





Okay folks, have a good idea for a card based on this sketch? Get to it! And don't forget to show us what you make!!

To play along in this week's sketch challenge, simply upload a project using this week's sketch to your blog or online gallery then leave a direct link to your project using the Inlinkz widget at the bottom of this post. And remember, you may use this sketch at any time. Feel free to re-post the sketch on your blog along with your card… then come back and leave a link for us so we may all see your cards!

We encourage everyone to take a few moments to visit and leave comments for the other participants. Comments are a wonderful way to say thank you for sharing your creative project and inspires everyone to create.


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Saturday Seminar Series #1: Creating a Focal Point

Paula, our instructor for this Seminar, holds a B.F.A. from Parson's School of Design, New York. She has 25 years design experience and works as a Sr. Graphic Designer for a small Connecticut printer. Her freelance work includes public service campaigns for a wide variety of national organizations including the American Heart Association, NFL and National Parks Foundation.


One of the most important principles of design, emphasis, is fortunately also one of the easiest to master. Emphasis can best be described as creating a focal point or a center of interest. It is the most important area compared to the rest of your composition. A focal point is the part of the card that catches the recipient’s eye first. The stronger your focal point is the better your final card design will turn out, so planning ahead can have a big payoff.



There are many ways to create a focal point including placement, contrast and color. The focal point can be placed in the center of the card, or off-set to one side. It’s typically the largest element on the card. It is often an image, but it could also be the sentiment or even an embellishment like a silk flower or a tag. In some designs a focal point can also be a special element or technique, like a unique fold or a die-cut window in the card front. 

Your focal point can consist of one image or embellishment, or you can create a focal point that consists of several smaller elements grouped together. When your design contains a number of elements, often one of the easiest ways to strengthen it is to bring them together so that they form a single focal point. A simple tip to commit to memory when creating a focal point from several elements is to use uneven numbers. Choose 3 or 5 as opposed to 2 or 4. Group the items close together or even overlapping so they easily create a single unit. Although they can be, the items don’t have to be the same. You might create your focal point by grouping together three flowers of varying size or color or you could combine a tag, with a flower and a bow.

Let’s look at the samples I’ve created to help demonstrate.


In this before sample I’ve attempted to balance my elements evenly by placing one in each corner. What particular spot is your eye drawn to? The bow? The brads? The sentiment? Which sticker? There is no one obvious answer in this case. You could say that all the elements (3 stickers, 3 brads and the bow) have the same “weight” to them. As you’re practicing creating strong focal points you can test how you’re doing by asking a couple of people what part of the card their eye is first drawn too. When you have a strong, planned out focal point virtually every viewer will easily reply with the same answer. 


This after example uses almost identical elements with the addition of 3 simple white punched circles and a piece of scrap pink paper, but in this case your eye is drawn directly to the center of the card. I’ve added contrast by placing the stickers on the round white punches and grouped them closely together so that they form a single focal point. The addition pink scrap helps to frame the focal point. The curvy punched edge and the rounded upper corners of the background repeat/echo the roundness of the white circles.


In this before sample I basically have two elements each on it’s own portion of background resulting in a split feeling. The flower and the tag are roughly the same size and compete for the viewers attention. Some will look at the flower first while others may look at the tag.


In this after example I have used a slightly larger flower, to introduce some variation, and I have moved the elements much closer together so that they now have a very obvious relationship to one another and work together to create one strong focal point. Note that there are 3 elements in this focal point (flower, tag and ribbon).


In this before sample the focal point is the image/sentiment combination, the largest element on the card.




In the after sample, I have added strength to it by adding contrast. The white background in stark contrast to the black and pink stamping makes the image pop out and really draws the  eye to it. Bordering the image in the pink not only frames and separates it from the background, it makes it slightly larger overall and results in a better proportion of image to background. The stronger contrast of the pink brads makes them more important and helps to adds a nice balance to the overall design.


Again, in this before sample I’ve attempted to achieve some balance by spreading my elements out around my card. They are similar in size and tend to compete for the viewers attention in this design.


By grouping them closely and tying the ribbon into the center of them I have created one strong focal point that the eye is drawn to immediately. Some other minor changes I made in this after version were to scallop the second side of the paper strip (to both add some detail and to allow more of the brown background to show), to ink the edges of the larger yellow flower (to add some definition where it overlaps the smaller yellow flower) and chalking the corners of the background in black to create a bit of a stronger contrast against the base of the card.

Of course it takes a bit of extra time to plan and analyze your designs but with enough practice it will become almost second nature and the results will be well worth the effort. To help you keep these concepts in mind I’ve created a printable PDF that you can keep handy by your crafting table, or share with your stamping group! Download it by clicking here.

And now, your assignment!
Practicing a new thought process a number of times helps it to become something ingrained in you...so spend the next two weeks creating your cards with a focal point in mind:

  1. Choose one or more old cards that you made (they could be last week or 10 years ago!), and analyze them - do they have a focal point? Are they scattered? What could be done to improve them? Create a new version (new papers/sentiments/embellishments are fine) showing how you could improve the older card. Post both of them on your blog, ask your readers to answer the question: "Where does your eye go on this card?" and link it below using McLinky.

    No blog? You can use Flickr or another free online gallery that allows comments; or upload your card directly using McLinky, but there will be no opportunity for the instructor or anyone else to leave you comments, so we recommend a free Flickr account. Please do NOT upload using Facebook images.

  2. Repeat #1 daily (or as often as you can!) for the next 2 weeks. You can also create totally new cards, but we'll all learn more if you're able to share a before/after pair of cards!
  3. Visit the others who link here, and leave them feedback. Be specific, and encouraging - let's all learn together!
  4. In two weeks, on February 12, you can enter ONE of your focal point cards to potentially be posted in a photo album on our site. The instructor will choose which ones get uploaded, so pick your best---let your commenters help you decide which one really rocked the assignment!
  5. In four weeks, February 26, the instructor will choose a number of cards to analyze here on S&S for further learning by us all!






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Featured Friday: Lisa O., Montrose, MI

Congratulations Lisa for being this week's Featured Friday cardmaker! You can see more of Lisa's beautiful work on her blog, Stamping with a Mission.


How long have you been stamping?  Just over 10 years.

Do you have a craft room or specific area where you stamp?  Not really.  I used to keep all of my stuff packed up and did more stamping away from home than at home.  However, I have recently "taken over" the dinning room.  My husband, not realizing what he was saying, told me "just go ahead and leave your stamping stuff out in the dinning room."  I think he regrets that now.  lol.


What are your favorite stamp products?  I have always been a die hard Stampin' Up! customer but lately I have been really enjoying the instant gratification and flexibility of digital stamps.  My card stock, ink, markers, punches, and rubber stamps are 97% SU! 


Do you have a favorite technique?  I love my Cuttlebug dry emboss folders and Spellbinders Nestabilities dies.  I can't imagine how boring my cards were before my Cuttlebug.
 

Are there colors you love to include on your cards?  I have several favorite color combos but when I see a card that is mostly white or even white-on-white I am drawn to it.  Black is always a great color to add drama but I have to be careful not to use it too frequently.


How did you hear about Operation Write Home?
  I am honestly not sure, possibly through Splitcoast Stampers back before the name change.  I was drawn to the cause right away but didn't get actively involved until 2010.


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?  I wish I had a great heroic answer here!  I don't have any family members who serve overseas (my nephew is in the Air Force stateside) nor do I have a special veteran in my life.  I like stamping and I like be an encouragement to others...so OWH is the perfect combination for me.  I am able to do what I love for a cause that is bigger than me.


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Cards 4 Kids

 It was really fun seeing everyone’s White With A Pop of Color creations last week, thanks for playing along!

We have a winner for The Angel Company stamp set to announce today!  Random.org chose #11!  Congratulations Joanne M., I'll be in contact with you soon! 

Our challenge this week is “Cards 4 Kids”.  We challenge you to make cards for our heroes to send home to their kids.  Big kids, Little kids, Birthday, Miss You, Love You, Thinking of You are some ideas to start off with.    We’re looking forward to seeing your creations again this week!

Our sample card this week was made by Doris, to see more of her beautiful art work please visit her blog Mom’s Been Scrappin’.


 Thank you Doris for sharing your awesome creativity with us!



To play along in this week's  challenge, simply upload a project using this week's challenge to your blog or online gallery then leave a direct link to your project using the Inlinkz widget at the bottom of this post.  And remember, you may use this challenge at any time.  Feel free to re-post the challenge on your blog along with your card… then come back and leave a link for us so we may all see your cards!

We  encourage everyone to take a few moments to visit and leave comments for the other participants.  Comments are a wonderful way to say thank you for sharing your creative project and inspires everyone to create. 
Thanks for stopping by and hope you join in the fun!

To play along this week, please enter your name, URL and email address in the link below then press next step and select the photo of your creative project.  An icon will appear on the blog featuring the photo you selected.  If the photo doesn’t appear right away, don’t worry, it will after the page has been refreshed.



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Tutorial - Dryer sheets

Special thanks to Nancy, who is sharing this great technique with us today. You can see more of her cards and tutorials over at her website, Scrap Happens.

You are making cards out of . . .what?

So. . . in the past couple of months I have been really stretching my imagination and exercising my creativity. Too bad that doesn't burn as many calories as an exercise class, right? Hmm. . . I was inspired by a few different sources to try stamping on surfaces OTHER than paper. So far, my experimenting has been full of a few interesting results, both good and bad. Here are a few things that are fun to stamp on: ribbon, buttons, fabric, acrylic and baggies. Things that do not work so well: major appliances, the cat, and my husband. . . although the kids rather enjoy it and can have a lot of fun with their custom "tatoos."

But eureka. . .I had ONE thing that worked very well. . . here is a fun NEW thing to try. . stamping on a DRYER SHEET!!! (. . . . huh? . . .) Yes, I know. (. . . cricket noise. . .) I SAID . . . A DRYER SHEET!!! Please, allow me to demonstrate.

Last weekend, my friend Kirsten was making cards with me, and I started stamping on a dryer sheet. I got the whole, raised-eyebrow, "You're stamping on. . . what?" reaction. . . and since then I have really kind of gone wild with it. Here are two DRYER SHEET techniques that I have found that I have just fallen in love with.

First, stamping on the USED dryer sheet. Not only will this make beautiful cards and scrapbooking embelishments, it will also inspire you to DO YOUR LAUNDRY. Bonus! Remove the used dryer sheet from your clean laundry and rather than discarding it, lie it flat and press it for a short while. Cut the dryer sheet and mount it to a piece of cardstock by taping it on the back side of the cardstock. After the dryer sheet is mounted, stamp on it. Be prepared to use a heavy amount of ink to do this, as the dryer sheet soaks up quite a bit of it. The image will be very soft . . . here is an example of a card stamped on a used dryer sheet. A close up shows the soft image very nicely. I distressed the edges using ink as usual and mounted the stamped image to the card with brads. I have also found that a strong adhesive, but not a liquid one, works best when mounting dryer sheets to your cards. Brads or eyelets are also a good idea to give your project an extra bit of staying power.


What a fun, soft image. You almost want to touch it. It is, in fact, a very fun, soft feeling surface that adds a nice touch to a sentimental card.


Here is a tutorial on another method - using a NEW dryer sheet for card projects. I must admit that I love this technique even more. The opportunities here are fantastic - not only does a new dryer sheet give your cards a lovely scent but you can taylor them to the occasion. Imagine a "New Baby" card made on a dryer sheet that is made from a fantastic baby powder smelling dryer sheet . . a spring time boquet of flowers on a floral scented card. . . a purple, lavendar stamp on a lovely lavendar scented card. . .oh, how fun!



I have found that stamping directly on to a new dryer sheet gives a more crisp image than on the used dryer sheet. The ink does mix with the fabric softener, and takes a little while to dry. . . so be prepared. Although neither of these other two example cards show stamping directly onto the new dryer sheet, I did find even another way to use new dryer sheets when making cards. . . check this out!


First, I cut the new dryer sheet so that it folds nicely around a piece of cardstock that measures 4 x 5.25"I have found by suprise, that several brands of dryer sheet already come folded in a 4" size. All I had to do was trim down one edge a bit. And yes - the dryer sheet cut nicely in my paper trimmer.

Next, adhere the dryer sheet to the cardstock by using adhesive on the back. Through trial and error, I found that it does not hurt to mist your paper with a bit of spray adhesive on both sides. Although this is not totally necessary - it does insure that the dryer sheet will not "lift" from the cardstock later on. Glue failure is the bane of my existance! A little extra glue never hurts.
If you use a glue tape that has blue dots like I do, do not use this kind on the front of the card. The blue dots will show through the dryer sheet. It does work nicely on the back though.

After your paper is covered with the dryer sheet, run it through your cuttlebug or other dry embossing type of machine, and emboss it with a pattern. After you do this - you will notice that something magical has happened! The dryer sheet and the paper have been pressed beautifully together and become one solid, pretty smelling piece of paper! Of note, if you use a piece of colored cardstock instead of white, it makes the final piece a soft pastel color. It's fun. . . you can even use patterned paper in the middle for a neat result. Try it!!!

After this step, you can then distress the edges of your dryer sheet paper just as you would any other sheet of paper. You can trim the edges. You can use a border punch. I DID notice that the inside of my embossing folder was left with a fine film of fabric softener. This wiped away easily with a soft cloth.

Embellish your card as you normally would and suprise your sender with this fun, smelly little card. I once tried to make smelly cards by attaching silk flower embelishments to them that were sprayed with scented oils. I called the cards "scentiments" and they were fun - I think that these are even better smelling cards, however. What a suprise! I love it!


I don't know about anybody else, but I can't wait to try this! Thanks, Nancy, for sharing this with us.
Remember, if you have an idea for a tutorial or you would like to share one with us, please email me at kate@operationwritehome.org.




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Blog candy WINNERS!

Wow! When we said "Hey let's see if we can get to 52 sketch cards," you folks sure delivered!! As of midnight last night we were at an astonishing, record-smashing, 75 cards! Thanks so much for participating!!

For those who entered for the blog candy in the Cling Mount Tutorial....we have a winner! Lisa O, congratulations!!

And our drawing winners for the Sketch Challenge #52 are... entry #20, Jennifer M and entry #69, KC! Congratulations, ladies!

Each of you can expect to receive an email from Sandy or Julie requesting your mailing address so we can send you a fabulous prize!

Thanks again to everyone that participated, this was a lot of fun and y'all made some beautiful cards!!

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S&S Sketch Challenge #53

Hello, cardmakers!

Before we get started, a quick reminder about last week's Sketch 52 Challenge - if you want to be in the drawing for blog candy, get your card posted on the Inlinkz thingy by midnight Pacific time tonight! Winners will be announced tomorrow (mid-morning)!

Hope y'all are staying warm wherever you are! Think warm, sunny thoughts when you make your sketch card this week - OWH needs your spring themed cards!




I'm sure some really gorgeous spring cards can be made with this sketch:



This week's really cute sample is brought to us by Rhonda! You can see more of her work at her blog, Rhonda's Place to Share. Thanks for a great card, Rhonda!



Okay, everyone, you have your orders for this week! Let's see what you can do!

To play along in this week's sketch challenge, simply upload a project using this week's sketch to your blog or online gallery then leave a direct link to your project using the Inlinkz widget at the bottom of this post. And remember, you may use this sketch at any time. Feel free to re-post the sketch on your blog along with your card… then come back and leave a link for us so we may all see your cards!

We encourage everyone to take a few moments to visit and leave comments for the other participants. Comments are a wonderful way to say thank you for sharing your creative project and inspires everyone to create.


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Card Design Seminars coming to OWH




On Saturday, January 29th, Operation Write Home will be launching the first of our brand new Saturday Seminar Series covering topics of card design. These will be FREE seminars, offered every other month here on the Stars and Stamps blog, and will be taught by professional graphic designers!

The Seminars will cover design principles like Focal Point, Texture, Color, Contrast, and more. They will apply the concepts specifically to papercrafted greeting cards. Sample cards will illustrate the before-and-after in several styles, clearly showing the difference that the application of one simple principle can make in a card, and a gallery of juried projects will be added to the OWH card gallery. A preview of the January 29th seminar has received rave reviews, so  you won't want to miss it!


  1. How will an online Seminar work? A blog post here on S&S will explain the principle, show examples of before-and-after cards, and give instruction on the homework assignment. 
  2. How do I enroll for the Seminar? Pre-registration is not necessary. The day the Seminar is posted, you'll be able to use InLinkz to post an assignment, and once you post your first one, you'll be emailed the code to use for an "Enrolled" badge for your blog. Any other Seminar participants who see that badge on your blog will know you are practicing the design principles, and can give you feedback based on what you attempted. We hope this will encourage all your classmates to view work and provide encouragement.
  3. What if I don't have a blog? Flickr, or other online photo accounts can be used, and since we'll use McLinky for submitting cards during the weeks of the review period, you can upload a card from your computer (though comments will not be possible for that option, so we recommend Flickr.). For these seminars, please do not use Facebook images; our team and other classmates will be visiting the postings, and if you aren't already friends on Facebook, feedback is not always possible. If you use a photo service, please be sure there is an ability for feedback, and if registration with a site is required, that it be free and easy for visitors.
  4. What kind of assignment can I expect? To encourage us all to learn at the level we're already at, we'll be asking you to find a card you've made in the past that did not employ the design principle, and "re-make" it. Not always with the same supplies, but something similar that will allow you to exercise your new knowledge. You can use a photo of an old card, or if you still have the old one, take a side-by-side with both cards. We would like everyone to practice the Seminar principle for 2 weeks, making as many cards as they wish to practice the concept, and leaving the "enrolled" badge on their site to solicit feedback from other class members.
  5. What happens after the Seminar? After two weeks of practice, choose ONE of your before/after pair of cards to submit to our Seminar galleries on our Cards page. The instructor for that class will be approving all gallery submissions, so pick your best, and take a really nice photo of it. Once you are approved for the gallery, you'll receive a special blog badge to display.
  6. Will the Seminar be open past the initial posting? Yes! The content will be there anytime for new folks or for review; but we'll be asking for submissions for the gallery between week 2 and 3 following the posting of the seminar. We'll eventually have a tab at the top of the S&S blog with links to all Seminar topics, so it will be an ongoing resource for cardmakers all the world over. 
  7. Is this an ongoing series forever? Who knows! We plan on one every two months for a while and will see how it goes. Your feedback will help us figure out when it's 'over.'
Mark  your calendar for Saturday January 29th for the first in the Saturday Seminar Series! Please help us spread the word by posting the badge below on your blog - and leave us a comment if you think you'll be attending! We want to see lots of you here joining in on the fun!




<a href="http://www.owhstarsandstamps.org/2011/01/card-design-seminars-coming-to-owh.html"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_mGRSodQM8MU/TTdeeKOfOKI/AAAAAAAACyA/fitjUlDMKWo/s1600/s%2526s-sss" /></a>



Are you going to join us for the seminars? 

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Featured Friday: Ann K., Seattle, WA

SPACE
Today's featured cardmaker is Ann K. from Seattle. Check out her lovely cards and leave her some love at the end of this post as she doesn't have a blog yet.



How long have you been stamping? I think I've been stamping off and on for about 15 years. I took a few classes at Impress Rubber Stamps in Seattle and loved that the artwork was already created for me. My best friend and I like to get together a few times a year to make cards. Her girls also enjoy it and have turned into great card makers. I've always loved cards and stationery so getting to make my own was a great creative outlet.


Do you have a craft room or specific area where you stamp? I wish I had a craft room. Instead I use the dining room table and have to put everything away when I'm done or live with the mess. I've done both.



What are your favorite stamp products? I like a little bit of everything but don't like anything too "fussy". Embellishments with sentiments make card making so simple.

Do you have a favorite technique? Although I haven't done it in awhile, I really like heat embossing. I think the look can be so clean and elegant. I'll have to get my heat gun and embossing powder out again soon.


Are there colors you love to include on your cards? Almost anything goes, I sometimes pull out supplies in a seasonal color theme and see what comes together. Other times I find a sheet of embellishments and try to create cards around them.

How did you hear about Operation Write Home?
I read about OWH in Paper Crafts magazine last spring and then spent a lot of time on the website reading about the organization and getting inspired by all the creativity.


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes? What I liked best about OWH is that the cards they provide to the service men and women so far from home encourage them to write to friends and family. A card or letter in the mail is such a treat and so different from an email or phone call. Something more permanent, to be treasured. Messages from heros on the blog and Facebook really are an inspiration to keep making more cards for them to write home on.

SPACE

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Midweek Throwdown Challenge

Thank you everyone who entered into last weeks Unloved Unused Supply challenge!
We enjoyed visiting your blogs and looking at your wonderful cards!

This week’s challenge is “White on White With A Pop of Color”.  We’re challenging you to make cards for our heroes to send home to their loved ones that are predominantly white with just a pop of color added.  Please remember no glitter or glitter products on your cards for Operation Write Home.  We’re looking forward to seeing your awesome creations this week!




We also have a sponsored challenge this week our kind sponsor is The Angel Company.  The Angel Company has generously provided the Blossoms & Blessings rubber stamp set pictured below!


There will be a drawing January 25, 2011 late in the evening and the prize winner will be announced here the following morning at the beginning of our next Midweek Throwdown challenge!  Good luck!

 Our sample card maker this week is Louise, to see more of her wonderful art work please visit her blog Trinity Paper Arts and leave her some love.



Thank you Louise for sharing your awesome talent with us!


To play along in this week's  challenge, simply upload a project using this week's challenge to your blog or online gallery then leave a direct link to your project using the InLinkz widget at the bottom of this post.  And remember, you may use this challenge at any time.  Feel free to re-post the challenge on your blog along with your card… then come back and leave a link for us so we may all see your cards!

We  encourage everyone to take a few moments to visit and leave comments for the other participants.  Comments are a wonderful way to say thank you for sharing your creative project and inspires everyone to create. 
Thanks for stopping by and hope you join in the fun!

To play along this week, please enter your name, URL and email address in the link below then press next step and select the photo of your creative project.  An icon will appear on the blog featuring the photo you selected.  If the photo doesn’t appear right away, don’t worry, it will after the page has been refreshed.




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Tutorial: Using Cling Mount with unmounted stamps

Today's tutorial by Sandy is showing how to use a product that not all stampers are familiar with: Cling Mount. It is a backing that can be put onto red rubber, and it then sticks to an acrylic block. It's very easy to use - and if you don't already have any red rubber that you would want to mount, today we're announcing a partnership with StampersBest.com to have custom stamps made with OWH and your name! Check out the Homefront Blog for details. The supplies used in this tutorial were generously provided by Stampers Best, aside from the scissors. Which were borrowed from a stampin' buddy, Kelly.



Here is a partial transcript of the video...I can't seem to stay on-script, but it's close. You'll have to watch to get to the secret at the end!

If you’ve ever gone to a stamp company website and seen “UM” or “unmounted” prices, you may have wondered how you’d use them – the prices are lower than woodmounted or clingmounted stamps – because they’re just the plain red rubber.

When I say plain red rubber – that’s a little misleading. There is plain red rubber, and then there is deeply etched red rubber. Let me show you the difference. This is a sheet of the OWH freebie stamps we’ve been sending out so you will stamp the backs of your cards so we won’t have to. It’s nice thick rubber and etched deeply. You can also see the same on this sheet from StampersBest.com – deeply etched, thick rubber. This other little stamp, which I unmounted from one of the dollar woodmounted stamps, is very thin. I hope you can see the difference between the two – this stamp has trouble with inking around the edges, but deeply etched, good stamps have that inking surface high enough that the inkpad doesn’t touch that rubber edge unless you start smashing the stamp into the pad.

Stamps come in different combinations of mount, depending on the site and what you purchase. You can order plain, wood mounted, cling mounted, cling mounted and trimmed – so watch what you click. These samples are from StampersBest.com. This looks like the same set but – one is just the red rubber, you trim and mount it as you wish. This other set has already been mounted and trimmed, and comes with a cool coated sheet so your stamps stick to it and stay together as a set, and it’s printed with the images on the other side, too.

The cling cushion comes in these huge sheets, so you can mount several sets on each, and they’re reasonably priced. I’ll be using a sheet that’s been cut in half to show you how to use it. You’ll see it has adhesive on one side, very sticky, and the other side is a tacky and will stick to an acrylic block. So….

When you get your red rubber OWH stamp, place the stamp on the sticky side, trim it out, peel off the back, and your stamp is ready to use with an acrylic block. Leave the paper backing in place, and your sheet of cling is protected from sticking to other things.

To mount a set of stamps, cut a piece of cling cushion a little larger than your stamp set, peel off the sticky side, and adhere the rubber to it. With a pair of really good scissors, these are called Kai scissors, trim around the stamp. The deeper etched the stamp is the less you need to worry about getting it trimmed really close. Thinner rubber needs careful trimming.

If you don’t know if your stamp is deeply etched or not, leave a bit of space around the edge as if it is; then when you stamp it, if the edges get ink on them, you can trim in closer.

A note about storage, too – there are a lot of options for storage of cling stamps (as well as acrylics) - Stampers Best has these storage sheets that you can place your stamps on, and I’ll show you what I use - empty cd cases! These should be the thick cases, not the slimline ones, and you’ll pop out the inside tray. Your cling mount will stick nicely to the plastic, and you can stamp yourself a key sheet to put on the top of the case. I also label mine on the sides, and keep the cases on a shelf.

That’s it for our short tutorial today….hope it helps you get more use out of unmounted stamps!

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S&S Sketch Challenge #52

Today's sketch is #52! Do you realize what that means? We've been doing sketches here at OWH Stars & Stamps for an entire year! ... or have we?

Recently, as I was updating the Sketches page, which contains an archive of every sketch, I realized something... there is no sketch 34! Oops! We skipped it!

Today, to celebrate our "one year" of sketches, we're playing catch up and offering you sketch 52 and the mysterious missing sketch 34! And, a chance to win some blog candy!

If you make a card and post it to Inlinkz below, you are entered in the drawing for some fabulous blog candy (pics to come). But wait, there's more! I really want to get 52 Inlinkz cards posted. That would break our current record! If we hit 52 Inlinkz cards posted by midnight Pacific time on next Sunday, Jan 23, then we'll draw a second winner for another fabulous blog candy prize!

Ready to see the sketches?

First, sketch #52:



Our sample for this sketch was made by the amazing Shelly. You can see more of her beautiful work at her blog, Create With Me. Thanks so much, Shelly, for this cute sample!



Next, the myterious missing sketch #34:



For this sketch, note that the heart indicates the embellishment of your choice - it doesn't have to be a heart, of course!

Our sample for this sketch was made by our own tutorials mistress, Kate! You can see more of her work on her blog, Hello From Kate. Thanks for the assist, Kate!



Let's see what you can do, cardmakers, and let's win some cool stuff doing it!!



To play along in this week's sketch challenge, simply upload a project using this week's sketch to your blog or online gallery then leave a direct link to your project using the Inlinkz widget at the bottom of this post. And remember, you may use this sketch at any time. Feel free to re-post the sketch on your blog along with your card… then come back and leave a link for us so we may all see your cards!

We encourage everyone to take a few moments to visit and leave comments for the other participants. Comments are a wonderful way to say thank you for sharing your creative project and inspires everyone to create.


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