Hoping to “Sea” you soon!

Hello stampers! I’m here today with a very clean and simple card!  It took just two simple stamps, a tiny bit of sponging and some die cuts and that was it!  Take a look:

I used watercolor paper because I wanted some texture for the card.  I started by die cutting a rounded stitched rectangle die then I did the waves….so easy to do this.  To make the waves I punched a piece of scrap paper with a scalloped punch and used that to mask off the top part of the card.   Then just sponged some blue ink onto the bottom portion.

Then it was just a matter of stamping the sentiment and boat on the front.  I added some die cut fishtail flags on the side for interest and put everything together.  Love it when these simple cards come together so nicely.

I hope you will stop back here on Wednesday = I have a wonderful card from I Brake For Stamps to show you!  Until then – happy stamping!

I Brake For….Large Mums!

Hello my friends.  It’s Wednesday and time to show you my latest card using stamps from I Brake For Stamps.  My card for today features the very pretty Large Mums stamp – available here.

 

This is a perfect stamp for Mother’s day!  The mums here are in the style of Fuji Mums which are so very pretty and come in a variety of colors.  I chose my paper first (a tip I learned long ago and often forget!) and then matched copic colors to coordinate.  The image was stamped on a pierced oval die cut with memento tuxedo black ink. The paper is a from a Michael’s 6 x 6 paper pad.   I sponged some light blue on the side to add a little more interest.

Let’s talk about sponging…..I have many sponge daubers – both the large jumbo type and the small finger ones.  But the sponge part tends to disintegrate over time and a few weeks ago I had to throw out a bunch of them. I’ve also used those round yellow regular sponges but really don’t like how they apply the ink.    Then a friend told me about using latex make-up sponges instead – she bought them at her local dollar store. I picked up a bunch and love them.  Because they are latex they hold up very well and really do a nice job of applying the ink to paper.  Here is a look at the ones I got.  And they were much cheaper then the daubers.  So – that’s my tip for today!!

I hope you like what you see here today.  Head on over to the IBFS store where you can find this and many other stamps.  Use code SAVE10NANCY  and save 10% on your order.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Buying clear stamps from China…my experience

Hello stamping friends.  A couple of weeks ago I posted my experiences in purchasing metal cutting dies directly from China.  I ended up happy and have since purchased even more.  You can read my full blog post here.

While making those purchases I ended up looking at other craft supplies, including clear stamps.  I noticed that in the description of the stamps they were all made with silicone.  Even though I have had no luck with silicone stamps in the past the prices were very good and I saw a few sets that I liked.

So, I took the plunge and ordered several sets to compare against some of my favorite clear polymer stamps that I use regularly.

Here are my thoughts on the purchases and my ratings on these stamps.

Ease of purchase:

I had the same experience with stamps as I did with dies.  Using the Aliexpress site takes time and patience.  The stamp set names are either two generic or don’t make sense.  There are many sellers selling the same thing at widely different prices so it is best to shop around for the best prices.  Checking the sizes is also important. There are a range of styles and I did recognize a few sets as those I have seen in JoAnn’s or Michael’s as well as a few KaiserCraft sets.

Shipping:  With the metal dies I was able to get free shipping.  With stamps I ended up paying a small shipping fee.  I purchased duplicates of some stamps to give to friends and I noticed that once I changed my quantity from 1 to 2 a shipping charge was added.  In the end the cost not too bad.    Shipping time took between 2 – 3 weeks.  I ended up buying 8 stamp sets in a variety of styles.  Some simple line drawing, sentiments, some with a little detail and some with solid images.

What you really want to know is……how do they stamp??? How do they measure up against the high quality polymer stamps?

I’ll tell you right off the bat that I am a  bit biased when it comes to clear stamps.  I can deal with cheap paper, dies, and embellishments but when it comes to clear stamps I prefer those made with polymer.  I’ve been stamping for almost 20 years and have had my share of poor quality clear stamps (and rubber as well) and don’t want to hassle with a stamp. In the past 10 years 90% of my stamping has been done with polymer stamps. I consider myself an experienced stamper and know all the techniques to get a good image.  I’ve also used just  about every type of ink around – not every brand but every type.

Here is my rating criteria for these stamps and how they fared:

-Packaging – I don’t need a lot of fancy packaging but the set must have either an image sheet or have the images printed on the plastic sheet they are packed in.

-Ease of removal from the package.  Many of us have purchased stamps that  are next to impossible to remove from the sheet.  I’ve had a real workout on some of them.  There is no reason for this.  The stamps should cling to the sheet but be able to be removed with little effort.

-How do the stamps ‘feel” – are they thin or thick?

-How well do they hold ink and is the image crisp and clean?

I will be comparing the China stamps with the polymer stamps I currently own  I have  over 150 polymer stamp sets that work beautifully.  They are from a variety of companies like Power Poppy, Papertrey, Technique Tuesday, Waltzingmouse, Lawn Fawn and others.

My results:

Packaging – All  8  stamp sets I purchased came undamaged and in good shape.  All had the stamp image printed on the plastic sheet.  Rating:  Pass

Ease of removal from the package.     3 out of 8 stamp sets were hard – extremely hard – to remove from the package.  I ended up ripping one stamp, breaking a fingernail, bending a mini spatula and ended up with very sore fingers.  Once the stamps were off the sheet many of them did not lay flat on the acrylic block  And after all the work trying to get them off the plastic sheet, when I was finished stamping I placed them back on the sheet but many of them did not stick well.   Rating:  on the fence.  You can’t tell which stamps sets will be those that are hard to remove.  Frankly, this alone would deter me from making another purchase.    I just don’t want to work that hard to get a stamp.

How do the stamps “feel”?  For all 8 sets  the stamps are definitely thinner than my polymer ones.  Some were downright flimsy. And if they were the one that were hard to remove from the package the flimsiness only contributed to he problem of not lying flat on the block.   The larger the stamp is the more pronounced this is.  Smaller stamps seemed to be ok.    Rating:  Pass (just barely – mainly because the price point is so low).

How well do they hold ink and is the image crisp and clean?

This is the big test.  For polymer stamps, with the proper ink, I can take them out of the package and stamp without any conditioning.  And that’s the way it should be.  A stamp is supposed to hold the ink and transfer a clean image to another surface.  If you have to do extra prep work to get a stamp to ink up then I consider it a fail.  The type of ink is very important as well.  Not all inks are formulated to work with clear stamps – even the best polymer stamps will have trouble with some inks.  I will base my rating on the inks I own because I have no intention of buying a whole new line of inks just for these stamps. I made sure all my ink pads were freshly inked.

Inks that do not work well with either polymer or china stamps are:  Stampin Up, Marvy Markers, Distress inks.   The result is splotchy, uneven coverage and fuzzy.  A note on Stampin Up Inks (because I don’t want a bunch of SU demos on my case!)  – my SU inks are about 15 years old and still work great on rubber.  I understand that SU recently started offering clear stamps.  If they changed their ink formula to work with clear stamps then that may be an option.  However the SU inks I have do not work on any of my clear stamps.    If you are an SU demo please do not try and convince me otherwise.  I’ve tried too many times and the inks just don’t work to my satisfaction.

Inks that worked well on both polymer and china stamps are:  Memento and Palette brands.  Pigment inks work well but they tend to be slippery and will smudge easily and take very long to dry.    I personally don’t use pigment inks unless I am embossing.

Quality of image: Knowing a little about the process of making a stamp I know that it all starts with a high resolution image.  If the image is high resolution it is half the battle in the making of a good stamp. Sometimes images with a lot of detail do not translate well into a stamp without a good graphic designer cleaning up the image for processing.

I did no pre conditioning of the china stamps – you should not have to.

  I got the best results on images that were simple line drawings using the Memento or Palette inks and with pigment inks..  Those stamps with more detail ended up being a bit fuzzy and not crisp.  In looking at the detail of these stamps is was hard to tell if it was a problem with the resolution of the original image or in issue with manufacturing.

Sentiments – I’m picky about how I want my sentiments to look.  I want them crisp and clean.  The sentiment set I purchased had both simple line fonts and a few solid block words.  The simple line fonts worked fine but the solid block words were splotchy.

Solid image stamps – did not work well, again a splotchy result.  I will admit that some of my polymer stamps that are solid have the same problem. You really need to get a heavy coat of ink on solid images for it to look right.  The one exception to this are those multi-step stamp sets.  Since you are applying 3 layers of ink the splotchy-ness may not be noticeable.  And those sets tend to have a softer or watercolored look to them so you are not necessarily looking for a crisp clean impression.

Out of the 8 stamp sets I purchased, the inking went well with 4 of them.  2 sets were just too fuzzy for my taste and 2 sets had mixed results because of the type  of image. Rating:  half pass/half fail.

My conclusion?  Would I buy silicone stamps again direct from China?  My issue is that there is a lack of consistency in the product.  I know with all the polymer stamps I have purchased they will stamp well.  For silicone you cannot be sure.  My suggestions would be to limit yourself to simple line images and text as these have worked best for me.  You are still taking a chance on getting a stamp that does not work well, but the price point may be so low that you can live with it.

 

I Brake For…..Trailer!

Hello my stamping friends. Here in Florida the remaining snowbirds (people from northern areas who come to Florida for the winter) are either back home or in their campers on  their way.  In about two months we’ll have a new group of travelers coming for summer vacations. So I thought I would show you a cute card with the image from I Brake For Stamps called Trailer.

 

I stamped the image with Memento Tuxedo Black ink and colored it with copics.  I tried a bunch of different colors on the trailer.  From basic silver to bold red and even did a two-tone version by drawing a line across the middle of the image.  In the end I went with the blue/green color because it reminds me of the color of the motorcycle my husband had years ago.

The image was  stamped on a stitched oval die cut.  The clouds are a silhouette file.  The kraft cardstock base was embossed with a cuttlebug folder.   The patterned paper is from a Michael’s 6 x 6 pad of 60 sheets which I picked up for just a few dollars.

As cute as this trailer is I have to confess I am not much of a camper.  When I’m on vacation I want luxury!

The Trailer stamp can be found on the IBFS store here.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  head on over to the IBFS store where you will find thousands of stamps!  Use code SAVE10NANCY and get 10% off your order.

Thanks so much for stopping by!!

 

I Brake For…Luncheon Meat!

Lunchoen Meat???  Hi everyone it’s Wednesday and time to show you what I did with the cute and funny stamp  from I Brake For Stamps called Luncheon Meat.  First let me show you what the stamp looks like:

Cute, right?  I love the look on the faces of the fish and the helpless worm!  I wanted to go in a different direction with this stamp though.  Here is my card:

To get the most use of my stamps I try to think of various ways to use them.  My card is an exercise in masking and using a stamp positioning tool (I used the stamp-a-ma-jig).  Once everything was stamped I pulled out my copic markers,  set up a rainbow palette and went to work.   My inspiration for the card was this t-shirt:

Once the fish were all colored I worked on the background.  The Watercolored look of the background was created using copic colorless blender in an aqua brush.  I then scribbled some very rich blue color (B69) on a craft sheet,  picked it up with the aqua brush and simply brushed on the color.

Now, if you don’t have copic colorless blender you can use rubbing alcohol but the color many not be the same.  I did a video on this technique a few weeks back and if you are interested you can see it here.

The sentiment on the bottom of the card is computer generated,

The Luncheon Meat stamp can be found on the IBFS store here.

Then I did a second card.  Have you ever cut your stamps apart?  This is one of those stamps that can be cut apart and used in a variety of ways.  In the next card I used the worm an two of the fish.  I can see using those fish individually for so many different cards. The worm and fish were colored, cut out and popped up.  And it was a bit tricky cutting that little worm!!  The waves were created using a couple of curved border dies and I don’t know if you can see it well from the picture but the bottom of the card is embossed with a design that looks like waves.

I hope you have enjoyed these cards.  Please take a look at the IBFS store to find all sorts of fish stamps!   Use the code SAVE10NANCY to get 10% off your purchase.

Thanks for stopping by today!