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.

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