9.19.2014

simple stamping II

Like I confessed in part I...I don't do complicated. I'm more inclined to craft if the process is fun and kinda quick. Even though I'm a long time stamper, for a while I had a big pile of stamps hiding in drawers and baskets gathering dust. I had been teaching all of these techniques, but rarely did I find the time or the desire to use those techniques on an everyday basis. I had to simplify how I used my stamps in way that felt comfortable and more importantly...doable.  I refer to this style of stamping as freestyle, because I feel pretty free to use my stamps however I want.

I'll admit right now...my collection is pretty vast. I have some stamps that are 30 years old. Yup, I take care of my sh*t:) But even if you have just a few you can do so so much.

Here are some of my most oft used freestyle techniques:

Favorite #1: diy embellishments

 all stamps by Bananafishstudio except for "Life in photos" by Studio Calico and the ampersand which came in a Kelly Purkey alphabet set



 "This one"is by Ali Edwards. "Hello" and "We are made of Stories" are by Studio Calico all others by Bananafishstudio

Making my own embellishments is super easy with stamps. I use tiny icons and expressions to pretty up all my little labels and tabs. I use them in conjunction with punches and die cuts. I make little flags and paper clip tabs. I stamp on washi, masking tape, cork and wood. You name it I do it. *simple tip...while using colored ink can create depth and visual interest, many of our projects have a ton of color already so sticking to simple black ink can really simplify the process. Also, be aware that you are using the right ink for the right surface. I use Staz-on for washi and vellum...but pigment/dye  for everything else.

Favorite #2:  journal cards

 "Love this" bubble by Studio Calico. "Tell me Something" and "Here's the Story" are 
both by Kelly Purkey 

 Stamps on bottom card by Kelly Purkey

This works on every type of card...filler card, journal card, grid card, even a blank piece of patterned paper. Stamps are a quick way to customize your cards when you can't be bothered having to make something on the computer or when you don't really have much to journal but still want to add a little something. *simple tip...invest in stamp sets that have a mix of simple icons and basic sentiments in a variety of sizes...that way you can use them over and over again without things feeling repetitive. I love a good quote, but it feels weird stamping that same quote on all of my layouts.

Favorite #3: dress up

 "You are amazing" by Ali Edwards | die cut part of the Market Street collection. "U" die cut by Dear Lizzy | stamps by Studio Calico. Note tab die cut by Amy Tangerine | "take note" stamp by 
Kelly Purkey. Diecut and "today" stamp by Studio Calico. Cannot remember source of chipboard butterfly. "let it go" stamp by Bananafishstudio.

I love words & icons...and I like to use them as a design element whenever I can. The fact is, a lot of product is geared toward kids or holidays or specific things that may not apply to my life. Don't like the sentiment on my wood veneer? That's okay, I flip it over and stamp something. This butterfly is adorbs on its own, but a small sentiment makes it feel customized. Super cute stickers and diecuts can sometimes feel a little bit awkward until you create some context. I also love breathing new life into old product with a well placed stamp. *simple tip...manufactured products come in an array of finishes so when in doubt use Staz-on. This is a great way to use those teeny tiny stamps that would get lost on a large background.


Favorite #4: accent

 source of "remember" stamp unknown. "Some kind of Wonderful by Bananafishstudio

Sometimes simple for one person can be complicated to another. Don't care to make your own embellishments, prefer to use your computer for journal cards. don't want to mess up perfectly nice products with a smudge of ink. I get it...when I really can't be bothered to do any of the above, I just use my stamps as an accent on a layout, an art journal page or a journal card. I place it along the side of my photo, right beneath my title, in the top corner or the bottom. It doesn't really matter, because if I jack it up it can easily be covered.  *simple tip...when stamping on layouts use a label, cut out a tiny banner or punch a circle. Sometimes stamping directly on the page can be super scary.

When it comes to simple stamping, "know thyself" is the key. Search for techniques that you know you can do and will do. Organize your supplies in a way that makes them available for use. Clean your stamps after you use them...I know a lot of people don't, but you will be a lot more inclined to use them if you know you don't have to spend a bunch of time cleaning them first. Limit yourself to a set or two, especially if you own a lot of stamps. Nobody wants to spend precious crafting time hunting for things. If you are using a lot of small stamps, cleaning and putting away each time can be a headache. I set all my little stamps down on a paper plate:) When I'm all done, I clean and put away. So simple and I love me some simple:)

9.18.2014

Get Messy | September 18th



I always get a little bit excited when September rolls around. Not only does it mean that Fall is right around the corner but it is also the month of fashion. With New York fashion week wrapped up and Paris fashion week set to begin quite soon. I enjoy immersing myself in a world of color, texture and pattern...if only for a little while.


I was inspired to create a different sort of journal entry this week inspired by my love of fashion and how my own understanding of it has evolved. I use to believe that great fashion and style were synonymous and you couldn't have one without the other. I no longer find that to be true. I wrote a post about fashion and style a few years ago...you can find it here.


Details: I wanted this layout to look slightly editorial as a nod to my beloved fashion magazines. I kept the type simple and chose to include a photo of my very red lips since it relates to the journaling. I drew the photo of the girl using a .005 Micron Pen and a red Sharpie for the lips...I liked the girl's hair because it reminded me of my own...the drawing itself is heavily inspired by the marvelous Garance Doré.


For the record:

I have never actually been to a fashion show...The mall ones don't count right?
I was in Paris during Fashion week last year and it was pretty fabulous.
So were Kim and Kanye.
I use to work across the street from Chanel and a block away from Barney's and never went in.
The closest I've ever been to any designer was when I helped the Mulleavy sisters choose paper.
 

  
Get Messy is an art journal challenge where a gang of crafty vixens are sharing art journal pages we have created to practise our skills and push past our creative limits with hopes to inspire. We share our pages without restraint every week, and once a month we create around a prompt. Go check out these crazy talented ladies who are creating pages who each have a unique perspective and style. We will be sharing our work around social media so follow the hashtag #getmessyartjournal

9.12.2014

the slow roll


Last year around this time the studio shop was wild. It was super busy and I was shocked and elated by all the orders that came pouring in everyday. I had built a little nothing into a little something and was walking around feeling pretty proud of myself.

I was also feeling pretty overwhelmed, pretty exhausted, and pretty confused...shouldn't I be happy and grateful. I felt like my joy was being gobbled up by stress. I made family members help me while on vacation, I changed flights, I cancelled flights, I declined invitations, I ignored my husband, my  dog and myself. I spent morning until well into the evening filling orders, packaging, restocking inventory, printing mailing labels, filing out those little customs forms (thank the lord I can do it online now). I was just a drag to be around and I finally just broke down and wept to my husband who had a very simple response.

It's time to slow your roll.

He was right. It was time. I had done a great thing but not really in a great way. I had risked my own peace of mind and it was awesome for a time...until it wasn't. I ended up clearing out most of my inventory and closing my virtual doors for a spell. You guys know the rest. Recently I reopened after nearly a year. Same Bananafish...different studio. A friend asked me how it was going the other day and I thought for a minute...and said "slow." She took this to mean bad...like business was bad. But, no...it wasn't bad, just slow. And slow is my new favorite thing.

Sure...orders don't come in like they used to...I only have a fraction of the inventory so that makes total sense. I don't spend all my days filing orders, I have been able to assign specific times for that. It doesn't take me three weeks to get something out...more like one. And I have ideas...so many ideas about things I want to make...for myself. Yeah...I've been actually making stuff...and not shop samples but stuff using all kinds of products and supplies. I'm taking a couple online workshops, I have caught up (mostly) on my pocket album and have been participating in the #get messy art journal group.

So the slow roll is good. It's better than good. Much of my day is devoted to my design clients which...c'mon, are really my bread and butter. It took a while for me to settle into my new normal, to accept and enjoy what the shop is now, to recognize that growth means something different to everybody, to pace myself and just go slow:)

Happy Friday!

Look for part two of simple stamping next Wednesday.
edited to add: let's switch wednesday to friday:)


9.11.2014

Get Messy | September 11th

 
 
this week's journal entry is based on one of my favorite poems by E.E. Cummings:
 
maggie and milly and molly and may 
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang 
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing 
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone 
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me) 
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea



I love this poem. I memorized it when I was little and have often repeated it to myself like a nursery rhyme. I grew up a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. The beach was my playground...literally. My father would push me on the swings while the sun dipped and the waves crashed in the background.


It is so true, that for me, the sea is where I find myself. Where my troubles are soothed by salty air and crashing waves. When I leave I feel like a child again...hopeful, optimistic and filled with joy.

DETAILS: I decided to use only three paint colors...two shades of blue and gray. The white is only layers of gesso. I built the layers on top of regular white cardstock. I loved limiting myself to those three colors and trying to achieve depth through layers. I added some faint handwriting in pencil. I just repeated parts of the poem and my own musings. This is one of my favorite techniques. The picture is me on Bainbridge Island taken in April of this year. My husband took it while I wasn't looking and although you can't see my expression, I remember clearly the joy I felt that day. I added that tiny star as a way of connecting that quote to the full poem:

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;
 
 
Get Messy is an art journal challenge where a gang of crafty vixens are sharing art journal pages we have created to practise our skills and push past our creative limits with hopes to inspire. We share our pages without restraint every week, and once a month we create around a prompt. Go check out these crazy talented ladies who are creating pages who each have a unique perspective and style. We will be sharing our work around social media so follow the hashtag #getmessyartjournal

9.09.2014

simple stamping I


Confession: I am not a fancy stamper.

Even though I've taught many many technique based stamping workshops, I don't actually use most of those techniques. I rarely color things in, I don't use copics, distress ink or resist techniques, I hardly ever mask anything off, I don't use mists or alcohol inks, and I don't use very many embellishments. This is not to say that I don't use any techniques...but the ones I love are super simple.


So in celebration of "Stamptember" here are some of my favorite basic techniques .

Favorite #1: the repeat


I love doing this with sentiment or graphic stamps...simply line them up straight, diagonal or create an offset pattern and repeat over and over again in a neutral color and then somewhere...the end, the middle, wherever...stamp one in a bright pop of color. A single stamp can make a great background. You can cover the entire card or cover a smallish piece of paper and punch or diecut a shape.

Favorite #2: fussy cutting



Okay, yeah, I know, this is not for everybody. These days people have lots of options for cutting besides using your own two hands and a pair of scissors. But I still like it and I still do it despite owning just about every cutting contraption known to man...I use those too by the way.  I like giving my cut images a bit of dimension by using pop dots or some sort of foam adhesive. I love that a lot of stamp sets now come with matching dies.

Favorite #3: embossing


What stamper doesn't love embossing? Even though it's kinda bordering on fancy, I consider embossing a pretty basic technique and one of the best ways to get a lot out of your stamps. I love that I can make a pretty ho hum card a little glittery or glossy in a matter of seconds.

Favorite #4: using paint or watercolor



I like prepping a bunch of cards ahead of time with a simple wash of color or bold stripes or circles
then I can grab one at any time and add a sentiment.

Favorite #5: limits

I don't know that I would call this a technique, but it might as well be. If you only have a few sets then perhaps limits aren't really your concern and I don't always do this, but sometimes having all my stamps at my disposal to make one or two cards is a bit overwhelming. So, I grab a few sets or a handful of favorites and work from those.

In case you're interested here's what I used:

color ink, embossing ink
acrylic block
stamp set 1, stamp set 2, stamp set 3
paper
gold embossing powder/ aqua embossing powder
hibiscus acrylic paint

Part two of this simple series will be how I use stamps on things other than cards:)

9.04.2014

Get Messy | September 4th

 It rained super hard Tuesday night...a thunderous short lived power rain. It suddenly occurred to me...it's September. I feel like this is the time of year when everything just moves fast. I think that's a side effect of getting older. The world just moves at lightning speed which makes me feel a contrary need to slow everything down. I wish my favorite books lasted an extra chapter or two, I wish my favorite shows included a few more episodes...i feel the need to stop and really see things, hear things and eat up every minute, but time waits for no man and as the poem goes...
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
                       

 I kinda wish I wrote that poem out on my journal page, but I thought of it after I made the layout. I woke up Wednesday morning to big fat glorious raindrops on all of my roses. The sun was shining and the drops were sparkling and I got in there and took a super close-up. I have two journals going right now...a simple moleskine and another larger book. I intend to use them both interchangeably. I like this little one for more simple entries vs the messier ones.








This particular spread is pretty simple. Since the Moleskine pages are pretty thin, I glue them together and I avoid any water or paint directly on the paper itself. On the left page I just cut up some paper..inspired by these fun raindrop images. On the right, I just included my super close rose pic. You can see the raindrops up close...but from a distance it just looks like a cloud of color. I layered the picture on a paint swatch...I knew I stole those for something:) shhh, don't tell.


Get Messy is an art journal challenge where a gang of crafty vixens are sharing art journal pages we have created to practise our skills and push past our creative limits with hopes to inspire. We share our pages without restraint every week, and once a month we create around a prompt. Go check out these crazy talented ladies who are creating pages who each have a unique perspective and style. We will be sharing our work around social media so follow the hashtag #getmessyartjournal

BTW...if you're interested, I restocked the shop today!

8.28.2014

Get Messy | August 28th

It's been slow going this summer. My attentions have been divided between work, the shop, and typical summer extracirculars...like catching up on House of Cards and drinking lots of Prosecco. It had been a couple months since I touched my art journal even though I would tell myself everyday to make time for it. I just wasn't feeling it and then I started noticing the "Get Messy" hashtag on Instagram. I was super inspired not to mention hooked. When Caylee gave me a chance to get in on the action I was excited. It was just the push I needed to get back into it.

My first layout also happens to combine this month's prompt:

Journal challenge: Who are you? If you had one page to show the world who you are what would you put on it?
Art challenge: Use anything except an actual photo of yourself to make a self portrait.



I chose to interpret the idea of portrait by using a question mark as my base and filling it with images that are a part of me, but not my face. Some are pretty obvious...others are more obscure. The conclusion is that I'm still a work in progress...a delightful combination of the things and people I love.

I kept things super simple and just used white cardstock, some gesso and watercolors and the pictures...that's it.


Get Messy is an art journal challenge where a gang of crafty vixens are sharing art journal pages we have created to practise our skills and push past our creative limits with hopes to inspire. We share our pages without restraint every week, and once a month we create around a prompt. Go check out these crazy talented ladies who are creating pages who each have a unique perspective and style. We will be sharing our work around social media so follow the hashtag #getmessyartjournal

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8.13.2014

something old + something new


First...thanks you guys.

You made my shop relaunch a complete success and I'm blown away by the reception. SO many of you went out of your way to send me notes of congratulations and support. It makes the many dormant months I spent doubting, planning and working away seem worth it.

I confess, I was a bit nervous about the whole thing. I realized that when I vacated my tiny microscopic space of Internet last year that something else would immediately fill it up. At the time I had no game plan, I just knew that what my shop had become was overwhelming. So...with a desire to live my "one little word" of 2013, I sought to recreate my life with LESS. I started eating less crap, wasting less time on the Internet, watching less TV which conversely gave me more time to read, to visit a bunch of parks, to spend time with my husband, to travel and to knit.

In 2014 I began to imagine a new path for the shop. I never intended to keep it closed for so long, but I new I wasn't ready to re-open either. As a self employed graphic designer, there's often an ebb and flow to my earnings. I wanted to use the shop as a means of supplementing my income and regulating my schedule. My new approach was simple: just make less.

A much smaller shop. Designing products from the ground up. Finding ways to make the things I created compatible with products many papercrafters already own. Ok, so I already did that...what would be different? The old shop was very much centered on an old way of doing things, it was based on my Etsy shop from 2007 which was fine except for now everyone made stamps, everyone made journal cards and many shops were even having things manufactured overseas like washi tape and enamel dots. There was NO way I could compete with their inventory, their pricing...nothing. Except...if I thought that way everytime I wanted to do something...I'd never do anything. There are always going to be folks out there doing things, making things, selling things kinda like you.

Just do what you do...make yourself happy, work your bum off and the rest will happen. To be clear, I don't recommend you ignore the market, or you blow off research or employ poor business practices, I just mean don't talk yourself out of something just because other people are doing it.  This shop is all me...I sell the stuff I design. I work with other small businesses to print all my paper products and manufacture my wood and acrylic pieces. I source other bits from reliable independent shop owners...usually on Etsy. All these folks are spending money right here in their communities and that makes me feel awesome. 

So thanks again. Thanks for appreciating what it was I was trying to do. I know it's not for all of you...but to anyone...ANYONE that ever purchased items at anytime from this tiny little independent shop. Thank you...you helped me learn some hard lessons and gain perspective which is even more valuable.

Just a note...a few things are currently sold out in the shop. I am offering the Well Said stamp set and the Everyday Accessories Kit for pre-order. The ship date is written in the description. I'm also going to be chatting about another new product on Friday. Until then...