Sunday, 27 September 2009
A couple of weeks ago I drew some images for the purpose of creating digital stamps for my handmade cards. The one featured in this post is not a self-portrait but you could say it is made in my own image.
I am creating my own digital stamps to fulfill a need for images that reflect some of the things I want to see on my handmade cards. As previously noted in this blog, creating my own digital stamps enables me to use my own drawings that are easily scanned in to the computer before inserting them into a word processor document. Here I can resize quite easily. This is the versatility of digital stamps. I chose a small size on this occasion. I pasted a number of images on to one page so I have a number ready to use once I've printed them on to card.
I used colouring pencils to colour the digital stamp. I could use watercolour pencils but I have yet to experiment with watercolour paper in the printer!
The small card featured here is decorated with plain and patterned paper from my stash. The ribbon came as part of a free gift with one of my card making magazines and the little embellishments were purchased in a local pound shop.
I used this site to get a suitable verse for the insert and printed it in violet with the sentiment to reflect the main colour. My friend is recovering from a recent illness - this card was made to simply wish her well!
Thanks for taking the time to read. Wish you all a good week.
Saturday, 19 September 2009
For a change I've decided to take up another craft so this post is not about handmade cards - it's about knitting!
My mum taught me how to knit when I was seven years old. I learnt how to cast on, knit and purl and to cast off. I got to thinking about how today's new knitters have access to online video for demonstrations of knitting basics on demand. Far removed from the way I learned in those pre-technology days.
As well as demos from my mum I got a lot of my early lessons out of books borrowed from the local library. I was never bored during school holidays as I experimented with the scraps of wool my mother always had to spare, usually making dolls clothes for my little sister's Sindy doll. Sometimes the wool in my mum's knitting bag got tangled up. We discovered I had a talent for turning these mixed tangles into neat little balls of wool. Reward was my own set of needles and a couple of the little balls. My mum is a speedy knitter and she's made many things with and without patterns. I used to love watching her knit. It always fascinated me how a long string could be deftly woven into hats,scarves, jumpers, matinee jackets, mittens and bootees.
My mum still knits. I discovered recently that she has joined a group of women who are knitting squares to make into blankets for orphans in Zimbabwe.
The first thing any wannabe knitter has to learn is how to cast on. I know only one method - the one I learnt at my mother's knee. On YouTube however I discovered a method that I have only ever seen in books.
The method that uses only one needle looks like a popular method judging by the number of videos I found to demonstrate it. Here's one of them...
The second method of casting on stitches uses two needles...
This is the one I was shown by my mother's hands. She taught me to hold the wool that way too.
Once you have your stitches on the needle the next lesson is a stitch - the knit stitch also called the garter stitch. The following video from ThreadBanger demonstrates the single needle method of casting on and knitting the knit/garter stitch. It gives you the basics to make a scarf and also demonstrates how to cast off.
These skills are all you need to make blanket squares. There are knitting groups making them as we speak and is a great way to start knitting. I would recommend it. Anytime you're waiting for something whip out your knitting and complete a row or two. You can even knit while you're on the bus, assuming you have a seat that is. It is a relaxing activity at any time.
Julie of Julie's Knitting Corner creates wonderful knitted pincushions, one of which I bought and gave to my mother. I knew that she could appreciate as much as I do the work that has gone into each creation. I would say admiration of Julie's work is also an important influence on me. I never imagined what wonderful small things can be made using knitting needles.
It's been quite a few years since I picked up a pair of knitting needles - not since I made a pair of baby booties for my grandson so that's at least five years ago. Seeing the work my mum and the other women were doing reignited my interest in knitting. I started with the idea that I would make some squares to add to their wonderful efforts. But I was also intrigued by the idea of knitting squares to make blankets.
I have never made anything bigger than a jumper for a little child. I used to make myself hats when I was a teenager when some of us were making rasta hats for ourselves and each other. Other than that it's been baby clothes. Even then I am better at making bootees as they are quick and easy to complete. I always lacked the patience to make a jumper or cardigan except on the rare occasion when I manage to follow a pattern without making a mistake. I am prone to making mistakes on large projects and get easily demotivated. So the idea of making small squares to make into one big square is definitely something I can work with. Why had I never heard of this before?
So far I have made 12 squares for my new project. And yes, I am working to a pattern and a goal. Progress reports with more details later.
Saturday, 5 September 2009
Digital stamps were unknown to me a few months ago. A sketch challenge where one was used on PaperCraft Planet was my introduction to this stampless form of stamping. I say stampless because there is no need for an actual stamp. No rubber, silicone or wood is involved in the creation of this type of stamp. As the name suggests it is a stamp in a digital form and therefore can be emailed, downloaded and shared digitally.
Researching this topic opened a new aspect of card making to me. When I began making greetings cards one of the things to which I aspired was making my own rubber stamps. However for a beginner and someone on a tight budget, creating rubber stamps for my own use proved to be an expensive project and creating stamps for sharing or sale was even more so. I more or less gave up the idea of making my own rubber stamps until I found another method. Digital stamps are just what I've been looking for.
Digital stamp blogs and websites are not difficult to find. Dare U 2 Digi Stamp is one blog I particularly like which presents digital stamp challenges and a gallery of beautiful cards made using digital stamps. Browsing quite a few sites I discovered that some offer a selection of free digital stamps that you can download, print and use for your own card making and scrapbooking. Be careful to read any conditions that may be attached to free digital stamps e.g. not for cards etc. that you are planning to sell.
One site I used offers free digital stamps and others to buy. I used one of the freebies to create the background paper for the card featured. Squiggleyfly.com has some beautiful stamps available. The one you can see illustrated is called Words paper - for the card I printed it on to yellow paper.
That is the great thing about digital stamps. You can store them on your hard drive or a flash drive and they wont clutter up your craft space. You can resize them and use them in a variety of ways that is so different from rubber stamping. It is an additional way of creating design elements for cards and scrapbooks and it awoke my desire to create my own stamps.
I created my first digital stamp from one of the drawings I made when I was designing rubber stamps. Once scanned I pasted the image in a word processed document and printed it on white card. I have uploaded the file to my new account on 4shared.com. I found this site via another free digital stamp site. Its purpose is to share my humble attempts at creating digital stamps.You may download this first creation for your card making or scrapbooking. It's my first freebie! It's called
Once printed and trimmed I coloured the image using colouring pencils and then made the card 'Thinking of You'. Of course you could use this stamp to say 'Dreaming of You' and colour it any way you wish. If you do download it and make something, please send me a picture as I would love to see what you have created.