Groveling Gift

In an effort to make things up to everyone for being MIA for a month, today I'm posting a link to Lisa Vollrath's very cool holiday downloads. The best part? They are free! She only asks for a link in return, to share the holiday festivities. I've seen the first set - some adorable postcard ladies are the gift for December 01 - and you can't go wrong with these. They are lovely! She's offering a new download gift everyday from December don't procrastinate!

To take advantage of these great downloads, check out Go Make Something - just one of Lisa's websites. (She's a busy woman!) Clicking on the title of this post will also get you there. Thanks, Lisa!

I haven't been online much since the death of hard drive - since I'm stuck using a pieced-together machine that actually belongs to the beasts, it can take 45 minutes to load one page or one email message. The Queen is much too impatient & busy to wait that long! I have been trying to keep an eye on email and a few of my very favorite sites as time allows - so if you need my Royal Hineyness, drop me a note. I will respond as soon as the Kingdom allows.

The good news in all of this? I have been creating all sorts of art! If this computer could handle photo editing software - or even just the addition of my camera! - I would post some awesome eye candy for you. But for now you will take to just take my word for it. I have my fingers and toes crossed that Santa brings a new laptop for Christmas - but I'm not sure yet where I fall on the whole naughty vs nice list. If you see the Big Guy in Red, please put in a good word for me. After the year Ive had Id like to think karma would cut me a little slack!

I will keep checking in as I can - I hope you all are being good and creating some great art. Enjoy your last few days of 2007 - and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

A Kingdom of Peasants

I don't recall ever agreeing to lead this type of kingdom!

Contrary to popular belief (and an advanced apology to those whose hopes I'm about to dash), I did not run off to the funny farm like my hair was on fire. You'd have to have insurance for that. Neither did Prince Charming show up and whisk me off to some exotic island. That requires too much energy - what, with making the childebeasts pretend they are more human than beast. No, girls - your faithful and fearless friend has not dropped off the face of the earth...I can't afford to fall from anywhere these days. This would not include the fall from grace I've apparently taken. Which would lead you to believe I had grace to begin with, wouldn't it??

I was fulfilling my role as Queen Crazy (as only I can) - creating art, wasting more than my fair share of time on the Internet, and even combining those two passions into an investigation on somehow actually making a living on my art. I was furiously researching ways to sell my interpretation of the world, not entirely convinced I was the next Picasso...but more than a little confident that I could hold my royal own with the likes of Donna Dewberry, Jennifer Perkins & Sandi Genovese. Pretty sure that I could out-crown Cathie Filian & Steve Piacenza (of Creative Juice fame), shoot adhesive out of the top of my scepter faster than Donna Kato can work a block of clay, and grind out a royal funk design faster than Traci Bautista.

It is entirely possible that my crown is too tight and therefore my brain is in short supply of blood - or that I've spent just a little too much time around odoriferous art supplies without adequate ventilation. Then again, it isn't totally unbelievable (or unlikely) that my life of poverty caused delusions of grandeur...especially since the only "grand" thing this queen can afford is delusions!

That said, I decided that mixed media art is hot right now. (Well, I didn't decide this as much as society has decided it's popular right now.) Around the same time, it became impossible to ignore that a reliable source of income is pretty important in the scheme of things. For years, people have said I should sell my art - and when I put some of my jewelry up for sale online, it sold better than I expected. Everything else I've made has been either to decorate my space or to give as a gift...and as far as I know, nothing I've given to my friends/family has ended up in a dark closet, only to lugged out right before my arrival. (I've been known to make surprise visits to check...or compare dust levels!)

As usual, this is the long way to get around to the point...but really, wouldn't you miss all the commentary if I made this quick??

As I was researching the best way to go about selling my art, my computer became extremely unfriendly and began giving me this nasty message. Something about "fatal error". And no matter how many times I tried to ignore the doom-filled message and continue on, the machine would adamantly hold the "fatal error" stance. I finally gave up, admitted defeat and took it to the repair shop. (This only happened because I was too embarrassed to keep explaining to the landscaping crew why my laptop kept "falling" out of my window and landing on the grass they were trying to mow.) It only took the repair store techie .0035 seconds to diagnose the problem: dead hard drive. After all the surfing we'd done together, the upgrades I'd lovingly bestowed upon it, and the fun we'd shared with the canned hijacked every morsel of information I'd shared with it. My computer selfishly grabbed everything I had freely allowed it to store. This betrayal was worse than any divorce. It shut down in angry silence, never once responding to my repeated questions about WHY. And although I had spent years taking care of it and fulfilling every need that it had, it was clear I wouldn't even get half.

Which brought the true level of this kingdom's sad state of financial affairs into immediate focus. Not to mention that the collapse of my computer clearly violates the sanity clause I have.

The positive spin? I've had lots of time to work on new projects and organizing a good portion of my studio...which has been nice. Not as nice as staying in touch with everyone and sharing art with all the talented people I know...but I'm trying to find the good side. Especially since I don't know when I'll be able to replace my computer and return to my incessant online gabbing. Waah!

I will be checking email and blogging as I please don't give up on me or forget about me. I'll be working on buying another computer as fast as I can - but until that's possible, I'll be creating like a mad woman - and continue to keep all of you in my thoughts. I'll pop in as possible...and hey - if you see Ed McMahon wandering around with that Publisher's Clearing House check, point him in my direction, would ya?

A Quick Peek

Just in case there's a question, yes - I do realize I've been a total slacker lately! The craziness of life directly correlates to the amount of time I can put into my blog. I have lots of projects to post and different things to show you - and I promise I'm trying to get there. There should be a whirlwind of posts soon - so keep your eyes open! (I spent all day playing with polymer stay tuned!)

I still don't have any pictures of my Funky Art Journal (based on Collage Unleashed by Traci Bautista) to share with you - because it was so late, I was in a huge hurry to get it mailed to my partner - and I forgot to take pictures before I did. She has kindly offered to send me pictures of it so I can share it with you guys - and as soon as I receive them, I'll post the pictures.

This is a quick peek at the journal I made for Sherre, the hostess of that swap. This journal was much smaller than my original - and it had a completely different feel to it. I made the cover out of chocolate organza, then hand-stitched flowers and grass to the front. After sewing on blue buttons in various sizes and shades, I used a metallic pen to draw swirls on the back. A funky little beaded star I made adorns the lower corner...and on the front I attached a tiny silver tag engraved with "thanks" that I'd antiqued. The inside cover is made out of this neat collage-looking fabric I found. It's hard to see a lot of the techniques I used so I'm not going to explain each page - but if someone has a question, please post a comment and I will happily explain anything you're interested in. See if you can find my favorite page - a piece of 8.5"x11" acetate, folded in half, with a mix of colors and pressed flowers "mushed" in the middle (along with a couple of pine branches stamped in for good measure) and 2 pressed flowers with Magic Mesh - covered in Diamond's hard to see!

I had so much fun making my original journal that I decided to make a smaller version to thank Sherre for her patience and understanding regarding my serious tardiness, and her friendship. Sherre is an incredible artist who has limitless ideas and always inspires me. I am fascinated by her work and love reading her blog - and if you click on her name above, you will be transported to her mesmerizing blog so you can see her talent firsthand!

I am going to post the pictures of this journal - you can always see a larger image by clicking on the picture. This is not the entire journal - but scanning every page would have taken forever. Especially since the pages are all different shapes and sizes. This quick peek should give you an idea - and hopefully inspire you to create your own Funky Art Journal - to share or keep for yourself. Come know ya wanna!

My New Wand

Thanks for the comments on my lil Angel Diva...I'm still lovin' her! I wanted to quickly mention that the stand she's on was something I'd made. I painted wood balls and disks, glued them together and then placed her on top. It would have been an easy stand - but since I was trying to attach flat disks to round balls, they wouldn't stay on their I had to hold them together until the glue dried. Which I have no patience for. the Queen, aren't I supposed to have loyal subjects to do that sort of thing for me? ;)

Unfortunately, right after posting her, she became the victim of a Dirt Devil accident. She almost met a most torturous demise - but some quick moving and a loud gasp - saved her. (I'm pretty positive the ear-shattering shriek I let out did something to save her.)

I've been a crazy one-woman-dusting-vacuuming-throwing out-donating-Windexing-antibacterializing Queen lately...I have been nothing short of ruthless as I move, organize and set up my new studio. (I've given away 36 30-gallon trash bags of things to the Lupus Foundation - and last week I lost count at 24 bags of trash.) I've traded in my scepter for a Dirt Devil to suck up little toys, beads and miscellaneous "junk" in a single swoop of my arm. I have replaced my fascination with adhesives and paints...temporarily...with a new curiosity and appreciation for how much a single vacuum bag can hold. I've gone from Googling art supplies to wondering which filter kills more dust mites. Forget playing mad scientist with ratios of epoxy - I just wanna know about HEPA filtration systems and which spot remover works on Kool Aid. The change has been so dramatic that even the childebeasts have commented they wish I'd retreat back into my world of art, and leave their stuff alone. (I will admit that most of their stuff seems to be "junk" - while even the tiniest scrap of my paper is comparable to the Holy Grail.)

In a dust-collecting frenzy, my wand got away from me - and while quickly trying to make sure it wasn't going to "eat" a tray full of odds-and-ends, the hose knocked over the Diva...and she fell. To the ground. Behind the TV. Which I can't reach. Thankfully the dust bunnies caught her - her feathers and halo were all just fine. But the stand I had carefully crafted for her, broke. Every disk came apart. I knew I hadn't used the "right" adhesive...but then again, I didn't expect my wild ways to knock her clean off the bookcase!

She's still recovering...not wanting to stop my obsession with dusting - ok, fearing that if I quit dusting/vacuuming long enough to glue her back together, my fondness for art would quickly replace my new found obsession with cleaning. I'm going to make a new stand for her this week so she's ready to take her place overlooking my new studio. The only problem is that the stand was the worst part of her - and I dread making a new one. Hmmm Sounds like it's time to come up with a new stand plan.

I hope to have pictures of my new studio space up in the next week or so. I thought about painting the room before moving everything in - but decided that's way too much work and I'll never get it done. (I have a tendency to put off things that start with "work"!) Don't know if I mentioned it, but I'm taking over the living room. This has been the room the childebeasts owned for the past few years - and I rarely even ventured down there. I finally did go down a few weeks ago - about the time I was trying to decide whether I should keep trying to cram my studio in my bedroom, or move it to the living room - and when I saw the horrid condition, I immediately decided I deserved the room more than they did. They can play video games in their room - the trashing of the living room was going to stop that day. And it did...for the most part.

I've spent the last couple of weeks sorting through mounds of supplies and grouping them together...and throwing lots of things out. This week is going to be full of carpet cleaning and moving furniture. The oldest childebeast starts school Tuesday and - are you hanging onto your hat?? - it's a mixed blessing. I so can't wait - but at the same time, my muscle power will be gone. Then again, it's only 7 more days and all THREE will be back in school. One in elementary school, one in middle school...and one in high school.

How did I get so OLD???

Altered Angel Diva

I've had a plain paper mache torso for quite awhile - I'd seen a neat variation done by Tim Holtz a few years ago and had a terrible time tracking one down. (The piece Tim did can be found in the book Bravissimo by Design Originals.) Once I found one then I put it aside, "saving" it. I don't know what I was saving it for - I suppose it was just so hard to find one that I didn't want to mess it up.

I came across the torso while I was cleaning out some bins with art supplies. (This studio moving/organizing/cleaning is a really good thing!) Rather than setting it aside and saving it for some unknown purpose, I decided to go ahead and "art it up".

Front of Altered Angel Diva

This is my Altered Angel Diva - she has white feathers surrounding gold angel wings. She's periwinkle (my favorite color) on the top and a bold sea green on the bottom. I free-handed pink swirls on the bottom of her with dimensional paint and then attached some fun purple beaded fringe to the bottom. Her stand is made up of flat wood disks and rounds that I painted Emperor's Gold (an antique gold). To antique them I put some Rich Espresso (metallic brown) on a plate, dipped a finger in the paint and the rubbed it over the pieces I'd painted with the Emperor's Gold (antique gold). I glued several sizes of disks to the 1" rounds - then glued this "stand" to the bottom of the torso.

After using some yellow dimensional paint around her waist, I added pink, gold and clear rhinestones to her top. Iris Japanese seed beads and copper/clear drops make up her necklace. Her heart "halo" is a brass charm textured with flowers and vines - which I rubbed metallic brown (Rich Espresso) paint into in order to make the texture "pop" and dim the brightness of the gold tone. I twisted some gold wire and attached one end to the halo and one end to her back. The feathers and gold wings were attached to her back and I used a small piece of felt flower ribbon to finish it all off.

There are two copper tags which are impossible to read here - but one says "create" and the other says "art". The words on the tags are raised - and I added Diamond Glaze over the top to give the tags a glassy finish.

Before attaching her wings and finishing her back, I poked a hole with an awl and filled her partially with potpourri. Not only is she adorable, she smells good too!

Back of Altered Angel Diva

I'm so glad I quit saving her for some unknown time and purpose - and actually finished her. She's a great piece and will sit on the shelves being installed behind my desk - watching over me while I create.

She was so fun to create - I can't wait to do another one!

The links included in this post are done in an attempt to be helpful to other artists. The inclusion of these links should not serve as an endorsement of the companies or websites linked to. Although the Queen has had great experiences with the companies she has dealt with, providing these links does not mean the Queen has dealt with all companies listed. THE QUEEN HAS NO AFFILIATION WITH ANY COMPANY CONTAINED IN THESE LINKS. Should you choose to purchase from - or otherwise deal with - the companies contained in the links, the Queen assumes no responsibility. Please use common sense and only purchase from reputable companies.

An Obsession with Containers

I have been consumed with containers lately. Maybe it's the push to actually get my studio together. One of the problems with putting it all together is arranging it in a way that allows me to find what I'm looking for - AND - fitting it all into a small space.

I've had these little boxes laying around forever - I just couldn't figure out what to do with them. Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to put in them.

And this one is my favorite - made from a solid pine box with gold hinges on the back. Painted with light turquoise and stamped with dark brown accents that remind me of flowers. I placed large clear rhinestones, small pink rhinestones and tiny pink marbles in the centers of the accents. The top lip has paisley gaffer tape around it and I used a white marker to free-hand white swirls and dots.

Cats & Kids

We have 2 cats - Sweet Pea and Princess.


Sweet Pea is a normal cat - she's short haired, quiet and stays out of the way for the most part. She can usually be found sleeping at the back of my closet or in the back of the bath tub. Occasionally she'll be found in a drawer someone left partially open. She never meows, never misses the litter box, never tries to "escape" outside, eats a normal amount for a cat, doesn't like water and acts, a CAT.


Then we have Princess. Let me tell you about Princess. She has long hair. Which sheds EVERYWHERE. She must be in the middle of EVERYTHING. She sleeps right next to my face. EVERY NIGHT. She tries to "escape" to outside. EVERY TIME we open the front door. When she finally does get out and we tire of trying to catch her, she lets us know she's ready to come back in by clawing her way up the storm door, ripping the screen off the hinges and falling into the eight inch gap between the storm door and front door.

She meows. A LOT. If you sing she tries to get you to stop by meowing. LOUDLY. She eats. A LOT. If her food bowl has less than 1/2" of food in it, she won't eat it. She'll meow - LOUDLY - and follow you around - EVERYWHERE - making sure she's under your feet - until you fill it.

An open window is an invitation to try to open the screen - with her claws. She misses the litter box. A LOT. And she kicks litter. EVERYWHERE. She gets in the sink when you're trying to brush your teeth. And won't move. When you walk down the stairs, she makes it a race and tries to beat you - by running right in front of you, psychically knowing exactly where you were going to step.

She likes to play. With her teeth and claws. She takes anything black as a personal invitation to rub up against you. She licks your hair with her sandpaper-like tongue while you're sleeping. She will only sleep under the covers. (Did I mention she will only sleep next to my face?) If you close the bathroom door, she meows - LOUDLY - until you open it. If you leave the bathroom door cracked, she paws at it until she gets it open. She is the clumsiest cat I've ever seen. She hops up on the kitchen counter and knocks everything over. EVERYTHING. She tries to run off with your food. She'll drink your coffee/milk/water/juice if you don't keep a close eye on it.

She climbs up clothes hanging in the closet so she can sleep on the top shelf. When doing laundry, she climbs in the dryer and won't get out. You pull her out, she hops back in. You pull her out, she hops back in. Doesn't matter if wet clothes are in there or not. She climbs up the front door - and hangs by her front paws - from the little window. She misjudges distances and falls. She chews on everything. EVERYTHING. She has a certain love for paintbrush handles. Especially if they have wet paint on them. Just this morning she found a paintbrush my daughter had left paint on - and while chewing on it, managed to turn the white fur on her face and front paws GREEN.

Sweet Pea is mellow and prefers to hide and come out for the very occasional loving - on her own schedule. Princess chases Sweet Pea around the house until Sweet Pea has no choice but to hiss and scratch at Princess. Currently, Princess has a scratch on her nose from bombarding Sweet Pea. She licks Sweet Pea, follows her around, and nudges Sweet Pea from sleep so she can take over the spot.

All in all, Princess is the most obnoxious cat in the universe. She's also the most adorable. Her long fur is so soft and she's so sweet. I have never seen a more loving cat.

Until this morning. I've been struggling to organize and clean up my studio. I've made a lot of progress in the last two days - accumulating eleven trash bags of things to give away and seventeen bags of trash. (Not all from my studio - I've now decided to get rid of most household things in general.) I was thrilled with my progress. I had even managed to corral the male childebeasts into helping me rearrange furniture and take out trash. There's still a long way to go - but we were well on our way.

This morning I went downstairs. I was minding my own business - I just wanted something to drink. That's not too much for a queen to ask for, right? Something caught the corner of my eye. What IS all that white stuff?


And no - it wasn't enough that she decided to shred everything. It wasn't enough that she undid all our work. And made more work for us. No. I noticed a nose-wrenching smell. (Why Queen - you can't wrench a may be thinking. You weren't met with the "aroma" I was.) Where is that coming from?? And while picking up the shredded bags, it hit me. Yes - right about the time I jerked my hand back because things that shouldn't have been wet, were.

She "sprayed" the whole lot of bags. All of 'em. EVERY SINGLE ONE. What is up with that?? How does one cat contain that much? More importantly, WHY?

Anyone have any ideas? I can live with her annoying habits. I can deal with the fact she evidently believes she is human. I can even handle her thinking she is actually a "princess". But this?? Not. I can't hang with this. And I have no idea why she did it...or if she'll do it again.

Ahhhhh There. I had to vent about it - because I'm so annoyed. I'm going to research it online - because I truly have no clue what possessed her to do this. At least she missed the new art I'd created. I have pictures that I want to post - but this came first. There's just something about cats and childebeasts. At least the ones in my house. Just look below.

This picture is perfectly representative of my life with children and cats. My middle son (who is Ace Ventura incarnate) calls me to where the cats are peacefully napping, yelling that the cats "made a GROSS mess!!!!". I come upstairs, take a quick look, mentally curse the idea of having cats, and walk off to get some toilet paper to clean it up. I'm wondering to myself why I always get the job of picking up these sorts of messes, when I hear quiet giggling...that quickly explodes into hysterical laughter. Well, two kids were hysterically laughing and one - my middle son - was cackling. Returning with the toilet paper, I'm now mentally cursing the idea of having kids - and making a note about how I can't wait til they grow up and have their own kids.

I bend over to pick up the mess and that's when I realize...Middle Son had taken a Tootsie Roll, warmed it in his hands and then formed it to look like...well...guess. He thought it was absolutely HILL-arious. As did the other two. And people wonder why I call them CHILDEBEASTS.

(Notice how he placed the mirror by the cats so they could see his handiwork...and how Sweet Pea is looking at the camera like she had nothing to do with it - and how Princess is actually checking it out.)

A Book for Invalid Cyndi

I haven't been blogging lately due to health issues...well, I haven't been doing much of anything lately due to health issues! I have been involved in a couple of recent projects and have been working on some of my own art tho - and I thought I'd share a little of it here with you.

A good friend of mine, Cyndi, fell and broke her arm a few months ago. Several of us who know and love Cyndi decided to get together and make a book for her - the results of which turned out very well. It was a great project to be involved with - I had the chance to work with some really terrific artists. I have asked their permission to post their artwork on my blog and I'm honored they all trust me to share their talent with you. The book ended up being around 30 pages - so I will post the basics here, along with a link to where you can see the book in its entirety.

The artists involved in this project were (in alphabetical order) Linda Burke, Tami Davis, Francine Domschine-Hill, Jenna Kay Francis, Norma Heller & Debra McWilliam. I also contributed (but you know where to find me!) and so did my daughter, Princess Becca.

The guidelines for this RAK were simple: Make a page (or pages) about Cyndi's injury. Cyndi had seriously injured her wrist when falling off a horse - requiring emergency surgery, all sorts of hardware and lots of physical therapy and recovery time.

I collected the pages and bound them into a book. The pages created by these artists are as varied as the personalities involved - but each one has something in common - every single page is delicious! Take a look at the work that went into Cyndi's book.

Cover by Tami Davis
* To see what Tami has hidden under this window, check out the entire book here.

Page by Jenna Kay Francis

Page by Linda Burke

Page by Tami Davis

Page by Tami Davis

Page by Francine Domschine-Hill

Page by Debra McWilliam
**Unfortunately, Debra does not have a blog or website. She is an extremely talented artist and the page she created is WONDERFUL! It's hard to see in this picture, but the arm Debra used is an arm from a Barbie - painted white - and adhered to the page. The silver pieces at the wrist represent the hardware Cyndi had on her wrist. Debra's page is so totally creative and was pure joy to incorporate into the book - without it, the book definitely would not have been the same! If you would like to contact Debra, please post a comment to this entry and the message will be immediately forwarded to her.

Page by Princess Becca

Page by Norma Heller (Contact information to follow)

Page by Queen Katherine

Page by Queen Katherine

Page by Queen Katherine

Page by Queen Katherine

Page by Queen Katherine

Page by Queen Katherine

Back Cover by Queen Katherine

It's important to note that this is NOT the entire book! To see the pages I didn't include here, please follow this link. For some reason the book uploaded backwards - to begin viewing it from the front, please start on the picture labeled "Cover by Tami". The additional pages are worth looking at!

I want to send a sincere THANK YOU to all the artists who contributed to this book and allowed me to post their work on my blog. You are extremely talented and made this a fun and memorable experience. Thank you for trusting me with your hard work - I really hope each of you are happy with the end result. I'm sure your hard work will speed Cyndi's recovery - if for no other reason than to stop the teasing!

I have several other things to post and will be adding them as I can over the next few days - so be sure to check back often!

Silly Scanning

What does an artistic Queen do with 3 kids when she doesn't have the energy to lug out art supplies but wants to do something entertaining & fun?

She gathers the kids around the scanner and follows their instructions!

It helps to understand that today had been an incredibly taxing day - and we only had a little while before the Princess went to spend the weekend with her dad. We had too much time to sit around...not enough time to get a bunch of stuff out. The kids had boundless energy...I had none. In a rare alignment of the planets the kids weren't trying to kill each other. I wanted to do something fun & creative with them, capitalizing on the brief moment of humanness they were exhibiting.

That said, I also wanted some new materials to play with. I've been wanting to try printing on my transparencies - but quickly found out tonight that the kind I have are not for inkjet printers. Oops. Now the cat has black paws from walking across the no-matter-what-it-will-never-dry transparency. The permanent kitty prints across my sheets should remind me not to try that again!

Pulling out the scanner was perfect! We came up with some really silly scans (thanks to the kid-directed poses) and I think I have some great material to work with for future projects. I have a bunch of stuff I have to do first - but I can't wait to sit down and play with these - they will provide hours of fun for altering projects!

I should probably mention that my children and I don't actually resemble circus people as these pictures would suggest...well, at least I'm not.

I will admit that I crack up every time I look at these!

I'll post the finished results when I get them done.

Printing Plates

A couple of months ago, I purchased some print foam for block printing from Aileen at Outside the Margins. I hadn't had time to play with it until now - and since I'm redoing my Funky Art Journal I decided this was a great time to experiment with it. My goal was to make up a couple of designs I can use in the book. I've used some unmounted stamps in the Journal already - but have felt stifled because I'm limited in the designs I can use to what I have on-hand. I want to add something bigger and more "me" to the I sat down with my embossing stylus and the print foam and began doodling.

The idea is simple - the foam is similar to a foam "paper" plate or a Styrofoam meat tray. It is easily carved and Aileen (owner of Outside the Margins) suggests using a pencil, lollipop stick or ballpoint pen for "cutting" design into the foam. I thought using an embossing stylus may provide for crisper lines and a more defined outcome - but we'll see.

I was a little surprised at the amount of pressure I had to use to get the deep impression I wanted. Since I've never worked with this before, I may have gone way too deep and it might not produce the results I'm hoping for. My elbow is sore and my finger has a blister from the hours of pressing the design into the foam and then tracing over it again and again. I do love the versatility of this stuff and will definitely order more. I love that you don't have to lug out the carving equipment or rubber carving blocks in order to create an image. I also love how inexpensive it is - three 6x9 sheets for $4.00. (And Aileen is very reasonable with her shipping prices.) Not only is the foam a lot cheaper than the blocks of rubber ($1.25 per 6"x9" sheet for the foam vs Hobby Lobby's price of $2.29 for a 4"x4"x1/2" Staedtler Master Carve block), using a common household object to "cut" is much more convenient and cheaper than a set of carving tools.

Another positive I see for using the foam is that it's much easier to cut in a different shape/size than rubber...and it's a whole lot easier and safer to work with. Carving tools must be sharp in order to work properly - you won't cut, stab, jab or scrape yourself with an embossing tool, lollipop stick or pencil. I also like that if you make a mistake, throwing it out isn't as heartbreaking as throwing out a rubber block. You can get "dozens" of prints from one piece of foam - which is perfect for me since I tend to tire of an image after using it a few times. I also like this better than Pen Score because it IS permanent. (Aileen also offers Pen Score through Outside the Margins - just click here.)

If you have never carved your own stamps before - and aren't sure it's something you'll want to do more than once, can't afford the investment, only need one image or want to practice on something cheaper than rubber - this is a great product. Print foam will give you good idea of the work involved in carving your own stamps - and save you some loot, too.


It is almost impossible to get a decent scan of these - since the foam is white and the doodles are just carved into it, you can hardly see it in a picture. It's very easy to see the images in person - I was surprised at how well they stood out. I will post a sample project once I have a chance to move onto that part so you can see the designs more clearly.

Making Rubber Stamp Shelves the Royal Way

As I said in my last post, I'll explain how to make my version of stamp shelves. These shelves are an inexpensive alternative to pre-made shelves, work much better for storing smaller supplies, and totally customizable. They are also mucho easy-o!
Please ignore the curtain rod hanging in the first picture - that is left over from a previous project.
I decided to leave it up so I have a place to hang my art while it dries.


* The amount of foam core and the number of glue sticks depend on the number of shelves you make. It is important to use foam core of medium thickness - too thin and your shelves won't hold up, too thick and it's difficult to cut.

** You'll need either plain card stock or the decoupaged card stock to make the front lip on the shelves. This is important to keep the stamps from falling off the front - especially if your shelves aren't perfectly straight. The stiffer the paper, the better it works.

STEP 1: Decide if you want to make vertical or horizontal shelves. Once that has been decided, take a piece of foam core and mark each side at 1.5" increments either horizontally or vertically. Connect tic marks with pencil so foam core is lined every inch-and-a-half.

STEP 2: Prior to cutting strips of foam core, if you want to decorate the base foam core and/or shelves, this is the time to do it. If not, proceed with cutting the foam core at your pencil marks.

STEP 3: Decide how far apart you want your shelves - whether you want them to hold small or large items. I have a variety of stamps so I did not space my shelves evenly - I just "eye-balled" placement. NOTE: Your edges will look very raggedy and uneven. That's ok as long as no "chunks" are missing.

STEP 4: Carefully place a good-sized bead of glue along the edge of one of the strips you just cut. Place glued-edge perpendicular to sheet of foam core, taking care to line up the strip as straight and even as possible. (This is important so your stamps don't wobble or fall off one side.) I tipped the outside edge (the side not connected to the sheet of foam core) of each strip UP just slightly. This helps to keep the stamps from falling off the front. Repeat until foam core backing is full or you have the desired number of shelves.

STEP 5: Once all strips are attached to the foam core sheet, run a bead of hot glue on the top and bottom seams where the strips of foam core are adhered to the backing sheet of foam core. (Another way to say it: Run a bead of hot glue on the top and bottom of your new shelf where it attaches to the backing.) I used a semi-thick bead so I wasn't limited on the weight of stamps I could place on the shelves.

STEP 6: Cut stiff card stock into 1/2" strips. Beginning at one edge of the first shelf, hot glue a strip of card stock to the front of the shelf, lining up the bottom of the card stock strip with the bottom edge of the shelf. (The bottom of the shelf should be level with the strip of card stock and there should be an overhang - or lip - on the top.) If card stock strip is not long enough to cover length of shelf, slightly overlap next card stock strip to end of previous strip. This stiffened card stock serves two purposes: it keeps the stamps from falling off the front AND it covers up the ugly raggedness left from cutting the strips.

STEP 7: Using screws, attach to wall. Placing one screw in each corner and one in the middle should stabilize the shelves enough that you won't have to worry about it falling.

Using this process to make several shelves, I haven't had any issues with stamps falling down or the shelves coming apart. It seems that the shelves are pretty strong (relatively speaking) and could hold much more weight than the stamps I have loaded up on them.

If you wanted to store a few ink pads on some of the shelves, cut the strips of foam core wider than 1.5". Be careful not to try to make them too wide or the strength of the shelf will be compromised.
This is the best method for stamp storage I've come across.

I used to rely on a three-ring binder where I stamped every image on a sheet of paper. This was time consuming and never worked right since I'd run out of room for a particular category and just stamp the image at the end. The categories were totally disorganized and incomplete. I also had to remember to stamp every new image I got - and then wash each stamp.

These shelves are much less expensive than bins or regular shelving units; I can decorate them to match my studio and I can easily make more when I need more room. I can also customize the sizes of the shelves so I have exactly what I want. Having them visible on these shelves saves me tons of room, allows me to choose exactly what I want at a glance, stops me from purchasing duplicate stamps, saves me time since I don't have to dig through numerous huge bins and means I also save time by not having to stamp and wash every new stamp. I wish I had thought of this method years ago!

As always, if you have any questions or something doesn't make sense, please leave me a comment and I'll be more than happy to address it. I hope this helps some of you!
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